So you're an audiophile
and you've seen every speaker technology that's out there. You've tried giant German horn speakers, "W" sandwich composite cones, titanium alloy woofers, magnesium/foam drivers, you've tried them all. But of course you need more, you want extreeeeeeme
listening. Your $20,000/pair tube monoblocks
should be driving the best. Well, you, my friend, need a plasma tweeter
The plasma tweeter is a radical design for high frequency
sound reproduction. Instead of a moving cone or diaphragm
to create sound in the air, a ball of plasma is used, much like those Sharper Image plasma
globes. The circuitry uses a high-power transmitter oscillator
which drives a tesla coil
to produce a small plasma flame. The current
producing the flame is modulated by an audio signal. Bigger signal, bigger flame. The changes in flame size cause pressure waves in the air (a.k.a.
They are supposed to sound amazingly good. Frequency range is ~3kHz up to ~40kHz at up to ~108dB and the sound radiates sphereically from the flame source. Because the flame can change its size much more rapidly than a dome can move in a traditional tweeter design, muscial transients
are rendered particularly well. One drawback is that the tweeters produce ozone
, so don't play them for 10 hours in an unventilated room.
Additionally, because the upper frequency range extends to 40KHz, there is no need for a SuperTweeter for ultrasonic frequencies. Because of this, the Plasma Tweeter may be a good match for high sample-rate recordings such as DVD Audio
which contain ultrasonic information.
At the moment it is extremely hard to find manufacturers selling these units. It is mostly a hobby
ist market and there are several places online to find schematics and information on how to build them yourself. However, a large portion of it is in German.
Pictures available at http://www.plasmatweeter.de