Nov 15, 2017

How Speaker Cone Material Impacts Performance

When you’re thinking about cones and tweeters, consider the key role that speaker cone material plays in achieving the best performance.

Audio enthusiasts know the speaker cone, or diaphragm, is one of the most important parts of any speaker. That's because this transducer converts the vibrations of the voice coil into audible sounds, allowing for wider dispersion of those mid and high frequencies throughout your listening environment—resulting in a more immersive experience. And speaker cones are made with a variety of materials that can affect the overall performance of a driver.

Fabric vs. metal

Crafting a great speaker diaphragm calls for a material that's both lightweight and highly rigid, with the ability to start and stop vibrating immediately. The goal is to make the reproduction of the voice coil's signal as accurate as possible while avoiding distortion. That means maintaining tight control over the cone's movement and maximizing the frequency where speaker breakup occurs.

Manufacturers have explored a wide range of possibilities for bringing together these desired characteristics, making speakers that feature paper, textiles or metal. For tweeters, the choice often comes down to a soft cone or a hard one. Many of these diaphragms are made with fabrics such as silk or treated cloth, which are great for damping sound and achieving a warm, balanced tone.

Hard diaphragms, like the aluminum dome tweeters found in many Definitive Technology products, have the edge when it comes to frequency response. A metal tweeter cone maintains bright, faithful sound reproduction at higher frequencies than would be possible with a soft one. Aluminum is a great option for a tweeter speaker cone because it's lightweight, durable and ably dissipates heat, preventing changes in impedance that otherwise impact dynamic compression and cause distortion.

How we achieve superior sound quality with aluminum dome tweeters

When annealed and chemically treated to reach the ideal rigidity, aluminum brings together many of the elements audiophiles want in a diaphragm. However, hard speaker cones can raise issues with sound damping because they tend to ring. Moreover, some listeners feel metal cones are overly harsh in contrast to the mellow tones of silk.

Definitive Technology set out to balance the positive characteristics of hard and soft diaphragms through a meticulous process that goes into its aluminum dome tweeters. With the right construction, use and attention to detail, our tweeters provide a remarkable sonic reproduction that perfectly highlights the high frequencies of a recording.

Above all, Definitive Technology is dedicated to utilizing only the best materials within  every component of home audio equipment, while delivering creative engineering solutions to ensure the highest quality sound.