MartinLogan Script Specifications

MartinLogan Script Specifications
u s e r ’ s
m a n u a l
Contents & Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
Installation in Brief . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3
Operation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
Low Voltage Power Connection
Signal Connection
Using Only One Power Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
Mounting the Script i On A Wall . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
Changing the Direction of Rotation . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10
Room Acoustics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
Your Room
Rules of Thumb
Dipolar Speakers and Your Room
Dispersion Interactions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12
Controlled Horizontal Dispersion
Controlled Vertical Dispersion
Three Major Types of Dispersion
Home Theater . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14
Electrostatic Advantages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15
Full Range Operation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16
MartinLogan Exclusives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17
Curvilinear Line Source
MicroPerf Stator
Plasma Deposited Diaphragm
Transducer Integrity
Low Voltage Power
Electrostatic Loudspeaker History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18
Frequently Asked Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20
Troubleshooting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22
General Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23
Warranty and Registration
Serial Numbers
Glossary of Audio Terms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24
Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26
Contents & Introduction
Congratulations! You have invested in one of the world’s
premier loudspeaker systems.
The MartinLogan Script i represents the culmination of an
intensive, dedicated group research program directed
toward establishing a world class reference monitor
utilizing leading-edge technology, without compromising
durability, reliability, craftsmanship or aesthetic design.
The result of cumulative technology gleaned from previous
research and development projects, the Script i represents
the latest developments in electrostatic and hybrid loudspeaker technology.
Combining our proprietary curvilinear electrostatic transducer with a compact, but powerful woofer, we have designed
a product, in one package, that reproduces music with
uncomprimised electrostatic clarity.
The materials in your new Script i speakers are of the highest quality and will provide years of enduring enjoyment
and deepening respect. The cabinetry is constructed from
the highest quality composite material for acoustical integrity
and is finished with our attractive custom matte finish.
Through rigorous testing, the curvilinear electrostatic panel
has proven itself to be one of the most durable and reliable
transducers available today. Fabricated from a custom tool
punched high-grade steel, the patented panel is then coated
with a special polymer that is applied via a proprietary plasma
bonding process. This panel assembly houses a membrane
just 0.0005 of an inch thick. Ruggedly constructed and
insulated, as much as 150 watts of continuous power has
driven the Script i’s energized diaphragm into massive
excursions with no deleterious effects.
The other sections of your User’s Manual will explain in
detail the operation of your Script i’s and the philosophy
applied to their design. A clear understanding of your
speakers will insure that you obtain maximum performance and pleasure from this most exacting transducer. It
has been designed and constructed to give you years of
trouble-free listening enjoyment.
We know you are eager to hear your Script i loudspeakers,
so this section is provided to allow fast and easy set up.
Once you have them operational, please take the time to
read, in depth, the rest of the information in this manual.
It will give you perspective on how to attain the greatest
possible performance from this most exacting transducer.
If you should experience any difficulties in the setup or
operation of your Script i’s, please refer to the Installation
or Operation sections of this manual.
Should you encounter a persistent problem that cannot be
resolved, please contact your authorized MartinLogan
dealer. They will provide you with the appropriate technical
analysis to alleviate the situation.
•Hazardous voltages exist inside—do not
remove cover
•Refer servicing to a qualified technician
•To prevent fire or shock hazard, do not
expose this module to moisture
•Turn amplifier off and unplug speaker
should any abnormal conditions occur
•Do not operate if there is any visual
damage to the electrostatic panel element
•Do not over drive speaker beyond its rated power
The lightning bolt flash with arrowhead symbol, within
an equilateral triangle, is intended to alert the user to
the presence of uninsulated “dangerous voltage” within the
product’s enclosure that may be of sufficient magnitude
to constitute a risk of electric shock.
The exclamation point within an equilateral triangle is
intended to alert the user to the presence of important
operating and maintenance (servicing) instructions in
the literature accompanying the appliance.
Step 1: Unpacking
Remove your new Script i speakers from their packing.
Step 2: Mounting
Mount each Script i at its desired location on your front,
side, or back wall(s). Please see the Mounting the Script i
section (pages 6–10) of this manual for details on installation
and determining the proper mounting height.
Step 3: Power Connection (see warning)
The Script i requires power to energize its electrostatic
panel. Plug the provided power supply first into the Power
In power receptacle on the rear panel of the speaker,
making sure that you have made a firm connection, and
then to a convenient wall outlet. Please see the Operations
section (pages 4–5) of this manual for more details.
Step 4: Signal Connection
Use the best speaker cables you can. Higher quality cables,
available from your specialty dealer, are recommended
and will give you superior performance. Spade connectors
are suggested for optimum contact and ease of installation.
Attach your speaker cables to the Signal Input section on
the rear panel. Be consistent when connecting speaker
leads to the terminals on the back of the Script i: take
great care to assign the same color to the (+) terminal on
both the left and right channels. If bass is nonexistent and
you cannot discern a tight, coherent image, you may need
to reverse the (+) and (-) leads on one side to bring the
system into proper polarity.
Please see the Operations section (pages 5) of this manual
for more details.
Step 5: Listen and Enjoy
Now, you may turn on your system and enjoy!
Installation in Brief
Low-Voltage Power Connection
Your Script i’s use external low-voltage power supplies to
energize their electrostatic panels. For this reason the proper
low-voltage power supplies are provided. A power supply
should be firmly inserted into the ‘Power In’ receptacle on
the rear connection panel of each speaker, then to any
convenient AC wall outlet. Your Script i’s integrate a signal
sensing circuit which will switch the Script i off after a few
minutes of no music signal, and requires less than two seconds to recharge the panels when a music signal is present.
Your Script i speakers are provided with a power supply
for the power service supplied in the country of original
consumer sale. The AC power rating applicable to a particular unit is specified both on the packing carton and on
the power supply.
If you remove your Script i speakers from the country
of original sale, be certain that AC power supplied in any
subsequent location is suitable before connecting the lowvoltage power supply. Substantially impaired performance
or severe damage may occur to a Script i speaker if operation is attempted from an incorrect AC power source.
high quality long interconnect cables be used to connect
the preamplifier and power amplifier. This results in the
power amplifiers being close to the speakers, which may
be practically or cosmetically difficult, but if the length of
the speaker cables can be reduced to a few meters, sonic
advantages may be obtained.
Connections are done at the Signal Input section on the
rear electronics panel of the Script i (see figure 1). Use spade
connectors for optimum contact. Make certain that all of
your connections are tight.
Be consistent when connecting speaker leads to the terminals
on the back of the Script i: take great care to assign the
same color to the (+) terminal on both the speaker and
the amplifier.
WARNING! Turn your amplifier off before making
or breaking any signal connections!
WARNING! The power supply should not be
installed, removed, or left detached from the speaker while connected to an AC power source.
Signal Connection
Use the best speaker cables you can. The length and type of
speaker cable used in your system will have an audible
effect. Under no circumstance should a wire of gauge higher
(thinner) than #16 be used. In general, the longer the length
used, the greater the necessity of a lower gauge, and the
lower the gauge, the better the sound, with diminishing
returns setting in around #8 to #12.
A variety of speaker cables are now available whose
manufacturers claim better performance over standard
heavy gauge wire. We have verified this in many cases, and
the improvements available are often more noticeable
than the differences between wires of different gauge. The
effects of cables may be masked if the equipment is not of
the highest quality.
We also recommend, if possible, that short runs of speaker
cable connect the power amplifier and speaker and that
Figure 1. Single-wire and power connection. One Channel shown.
Using Only One Power Supply
You may have noticed a connection on the back of your
Script i’s labeled ‘Power Out’. The use of this connection will
allow you to daisy-chain up to seven 16-volt MartinLogan
products and eliminate the need for multiple low-voltage
power supplies.
A variety of low voltage interconnect cables may be purchased at your local MartinLogan dealer. Please ask them
about options to fit your specific needs.
When you first begin to play your Script i speaker, it will
sound a bit bass shy. This is due to the high-quality, long-life
components used in our woofer. Our custom made, butyl
surround woofer requires at least 30 hours of break-in at
90 dB (moderate listening levels) before any critical listening.
The break-in requirements of the crossover components
(and, to a lesser degree, the electrostatic transducer) are equal.
To use this connection option choose a primary speaker
(whichever speaker is most conveinent) and connect it as
instructed in the ‘Low-Voltage Power Connection’ section
on the previous page. To attach additional speakers, run a
low-voltage interconnect cable from the ‘Power Out’ to
the next speakers ‘Power In’ (see figure 2).
Figure 2. Connecting power to multiple speakers using one power supply.
SCRIPT i On A Wall
WARNING! Installing the Script i on a wall
requires only 1 person, but an assistant will
be helpful.
Your Script i loudspeakers ship from the factory with the
wall mounting brackets installed. You will notice that the
brackets are installed on opposite sides of each speaker.
This allows 1 speaker to pivot clockwise and the other
to pivot counterclockwise. Before beginning your installation, place a Script i near the desired installation location
and assure that the direction of rotation will allow you to
pivot the Script i towards your listening location. If the
direction of rotation causes your Script i to pivot away
from the listening location, try the other speaker. Leave
each Script i near it's desired installation location before
proceeding and only install one speaker at a time—this
will eliminate the chance of confusing the nearly identical
wall brackets as you install your new speakers.
Starting with one speaker, prepare a flat surface with
padding and sheets to protect the speaker as you work
on it. Carefully place the Script i face down on the work
surface, using books or pieces of cardboard to keep the
speaker from rocking. Using a 6mm Allen tool remove
the 2 cap nuts and washers located on top of the cylindrical hinges and place them aside (do not reinstall the cap
nuts). Carefully remove the wall bracket from the cabinet
by sliding it towards the bottom of the speaker. Please note
that the 2 long narrow cabinet brackets DO NOT need
to be removed from the Script i cabinet (see figure 3).
The stand shipped with the MartinLogan Script i
loudspeaker is designed for use only with the
Script i. Use with other appliances may result in
instability causing possible injury.
To prevent injury, this apparatus must be securely attached to the wall in accordance with the
installation instructions.
NOTE: These instructions describe how to mount the Script i
to a wall. MartinLogan recommends using 5 wall anchors
to secure each Script i to the wall. If any of the screws hit a
stud, it is recommended to screw directly into the stud.
NOTE: To assure that your Script is are safely wall mounted,
these instructions must be carefully followed. Study them
thoroughly before beginning to install your Script i’s.
NOTE: The following instructions assume the mounting
surface is of standard wood frame and standard sheet rock
construction. If you wish to mount the Script i to another
type of material, you should consult a bonded contractor.
Required hardware (included):
(10) wall anchors
(10) 1" Phillips head wood screws
6mm Allen tool
Required tools (not supplied):
A level
An electric drill and 1/4" and 1/ 8" drill bits
Phillips screwdriver
Figure 3. Removing the Script i wall bracket from the cabinet.
6 Mounting the Script i On A Wall
Figure 4. Step 3
Figure 5. Step 4
At the desired installation location, mark a point on your
wall 27.5 inches above the floor (see figure 4).
Using a level, square the wall bracket and hold it flush
against the wall with the wall bracket’s center hole over
the center point you just marked. The cylindrical hinges
on the wall bracket should point away from the wall
and the hinge pins should point upwards towards the
ceiling. Mark 4 points (2 each at the top and bottom of
the bracket) inside of the wall bracket’s arc shaped cut
outs (see figure 5).
Mounting the Script i On A Wall
Figure 6. Step 5
Set the wall bracket aside. Using a 1/ 8" bit, drill a pilot
hole at all five points. If any of the pilot holes hit a stud
during this step, DO NOT widen the pilot hole and
install a wall anchor at that location. If a pilot hole does
not hit a stud, use a 1/ 4" bit to widen the pilot hole and
using a Phillips screwdriver install the wall anchors so
they are flush with the wall (see figure 6).
Mounting the Script i On A Wall
Figure 7. Steps 6–8
Mount the wall bracket to the center wall anchor (or
pilot hole) using a 1" Phillips head screw driven through
the wall brackets center point. Do not fully tighten the
screw—the bracket must be vertically leveled before
installing the remaining screws. The cylindrical hinges
on the wall bracket should point away from the wall
and the hinge pins should point upwards towards the
ceiling (see figure 7).
Using a level, square the bracket and drive the four
remaining 1" Phillips head screws into the upper and
lower wall anchors (or pilot holes). Do not fully tighten
the screws (see figure 7).
Using a level, make sure the bracket is level and tighten
all five screws (see figure 7).
Figure 8. Steps 9–10
Figure 9. Step 12
11 Make signal connections from the amplifier and the AC
power connection (see Operations section, pages 4-5).
Place the Script i onto the wall bracket aligning the
cylindrical parts of the cabinet bracket hinges with the
upward pointing pins on the wall bracket. Carefully
lower the Script i into place (see figure 8).
10 Using a 6mm Allen tool, attach a cap nut and washer on
top of each pin, but do not fully tighten the cap nuts
(see figure 8).
12 Rotate the Script i to point at the listening position and
tighten the cap nuts.
13 To install the other Script i, repeat steps 2-12.
Mounting the Script i On A Wall
Changing the Direction of Rotation
NOTE: Your Script i’s ship from the factory with the brackets
installed on opposite sides of each speaker. This allows 1
speaker to pivot clockwise and the other to pivot counterclockwise. Most installations will not require any alteration
to the bracket.
NOTE: These instructions describe how to change the
Script i’s wall and cabinet brackets so that the speaker will
rotate in the oposite direction.
Required hardware (included):
2.5mm Allen tool
6mm Allen tool
Required tools (not supplied):
1/ 8" Allen tool
Prepare a flat surface with padding and sheets to protect the speaker as you work on it. Carefully place the
Script i face down on the work surface, using books or
pieces of cardboard to keep the speaker from rocking.
Using a 6mm Allen tool remove the 2 cap nuts located
on top of the cylindrical hinges and place them aside.
Carefully remove the wall bracket from the cabinet by
sliding it towards the bottom of the speaker (see figure 3).
Using a 2.5mm Allen tool carefully loosen the 2 set screws
that hold the 2 hinge pins in place (see figure 10, step A).
Remove the 2 hinge pins (see figure 10, step B).
Rotate the wall bracket 180 degrees (see figure 10, step C).
Reinstall the 2 hinge pins (see figure 10, step D).
Using a 2.5mm Allen tool, reinstall the 2 set screws to
lock the hinge pins in place. Make sure the set screw
tightens against the flat surface of the pin (see figure 10,
step E).
Using a 1/ 8" Allen tool, remove 4 screws (2 each) from the
cabinet brackets (see figure 11).
Rotate the cabinet brackets 180 degrees and install them
on the oposite side of the cabinet (see figure 12).
Mounting the Script i On A Wall
Figure 10. Changing the pivot direction of the Script i wall bracket.
Figure 11. Removing the Script i cabinet brackets.
Figure 12. Reinstalling the Script i cabinet brackets.
Your Room
Your room is actually a component and an important part of your
system. This component is a very large variable and can dramatically add to, or subtract from, a great musical experience.
All sound is composed of waves. Each note has its own wave
size, with the lower bass notes literally encompassing from 10’
feet to as much as 40’ feet. Your room participates in this wave
experience like a three dimensional pool with waves reflecting
and becoming enhanced depending on the size of the room and
the types of surfaces in the room.
Remember, your audio system can literally generate all of the
information required to recreate a musical event in time, space,
and tonal balance. The purpose of your room, ideally, is to not
contribute to that information. However, every room does contribute to the sound, and the better speaker manufacturers have
designed their systems to accommodate this phenomenon.
Standing Waves – The parallel walls in your room will reinforce
certain notes to the point that they will sound louder than the rest
of the audio spectrum and cause “one note bass”, “boomy bass”
or “tubby bass”. For instance, 100Hz represents a 10 foot wavelength. Your room will reinforce that specific frequency if one of the
dominant dimensions is 10 feet. Large objects in the room such as
cabinetry or furniture can help to minimize this potential problem.
Some serious “audiophiles” will literally build a special room
with no parallel walls just to help eliminate this phenomenon.
Reflective Surfaces (near-field reflections) – The hard surfaces of
your room, particularly if close to your speaker system, will reflect
some waves back into the room over and over again, confusing
the clarity and imaging of your system. The smaller sound waves
are mostly affected here, and occur in the mid and high frequencies.
This is where voice and frequencies as high as the cymbals occur.
Resonant Surfaces and Objects – All of the surfaces and objects
in your room are subject to the frequencies generated by your
system. Much like an instrument, they will vibrate and “carry on”
in syncopation with the music, and contribute in a negative way
to the music. Ringing, boominess, and even brightness can occur
simply because they are “singing along” with your music.
Resonant Cavities – Small alcoves or closet type areas in your room
can be chambers that create their own “standing waves” and can
drum their own “one note” sounds.
Clap your hands. Can you hear an instant echo respond back?
You have near-field reflections. Stomp your foot on the floor.
Can you hear a “boom”? You have standing waves or large panel
resonances such as a poorly supported wall. Put your head in a
small cavity area and talk loudly. Can you hear a booming?
You’ve just experienced a cavity resonance.
Rules of Thumb
Hard vs. Soft Surfaces – If the front or back wall of your listening
room is soft, it might benefit you to have a hard or reflective wall
in opposition. The ceiling and floor should follow the same basic
guideline as well. However, the side walls should be roughly the
same in order to deliver a focused image.
This rule suggests that a little reflection is good. As a matter of fact,
some rooms can be so “over damped” with carpeting, drapes and
sound absorbers that the music system can sound dull and lifeless.
On the other hand, rooms can be so hard that the system can
sound like a gymnasium with too much reflection and brightness.
The point is that balance is the optimum environment.
Breakup Objects – Objects with complex shapes, such as bookshelves, cabinetry and multiple shaped walls can help break up
those sonic gremlins and diffuse any dominant frequencies.
Dipolar Speakers and Your Room
MartinLogan electrostatic loudspeakers are known as dipolar
radiators. This means that they produce sound from both their
fronts and their backs. Consequently, musical information is
reflected by the wall behind them and may arrive, either in or
out of step, with the information produced by the front of the
speaker. The Script i was designed to minimize these rear wall
reflection interactions when it is mounted on a wall.
Now that you know about reflective surfaces and resonant objects,
you can see how midrange and high frequencies can be affected.
The timing of the initial wave as it radiates to your ears, and then
the reflected information as it arrives at your ears later in time, can
result in confusion of the precious timing information that carries
the clues to imaging. Consequently the result is blurred imaging
and excessive brightness. Soft walls, curtains, wall hangings, or
sound dampeners (your dealer can give you good information
here) can be effective if these negative conditions occur.
Room Acoustics
Controlled Horizontal Dispersion
Your Script i’s launch a 30 degree dispersion pattern when
viewed from above. This horizontal dispersion field gives a
choice of good seats for the performance while minimizing
interactions with side walls (see figure 13). Make sure both
speakers stand exactly at the same vertical angle, otherwise
the image can be skewed or poorly defined. The wave
launch of both speakers is extremely accurate in both the
time and spectral domain. Consequently, small refined
adjustments can result in noticeable sonic improvements.
Controlled Vertical Dispersion
As you can see from the illustrations, your Script i speakers
project a controlled dispersion pattern. Each Script i is a 26”
inch line source (see figure 14). This vertical dispersion
profile minimizes interactions with the floor and the ceiling.
Figure 13. MartinLogan Script i’s deliver a 30 degree wave launch dispersion
pattern distributed horizontally.
Dispersion Interactions
Three Major Types of Dispersion
In the field of loudspeaker design, it is a known fact that as
the sound wave becomes progressively smaller than the
transducer producing it, the dispersion of that wave
becomes more and more narrow, or directional. This fact
occurs as long as the transducer is a flat surface. Large flat
panel speakers exhibit venetian blind effects due to this
phenomenon. This is why most manufacturers opt for
small drivers (i.e. tweeters and midrange) to approximate
what is known as a point source wave launch.
Historically, most attempts to achieve smooth dispersion
from large flat panel transducers resulted in trade-offs.
After exhaustive testing of these different solution attempts,
we found an elegantly simple, yet very difficult to execute
solution. By curving the radiating surface, we create the
effect of a horizontal arc. This allows the engineers at
MartinLogan to control the high frequency dispersion
pattern of our transducers. That is why you see the gentle
curve on our products.
Figure 14. Your Script i speaker is a 26” inch line source when viewed vertically.
Figure 15–16. As can be seen here, point source
concepts invite a great deal of room interaction.
While delivering good frequency response to a
large listening audience, imaging is consequently
confused and blurred.
Figure 17–18. Even though they suffer from
“venetian blind” effect, angled multiple panel
speakers can deliver good imaging, but only
to specific spots in the listening area.
Figure 19–20. A controlled 30-degree cylindrical
wave-front, which is a MartinLogan exclusive,
offers optimal sound distribution with minimal
room interaction. The result is solid imaging with
a wide listening area.
Dispersion Interactions
It had long been the practice of stereo buffs to connect their
television to the stereo system. The advantage was the use
of the larger speakers and more powerful amplifier of the
stereo system. Even though the sound was greatly improved, it
was still mono and limited by the broadcast signal.
In the late 1970’s and early ‘80’s two new home movie
formats became widely available to the public: VCR and
laser disc.
Surround Speakers.
We recommend that the surround speakers play down
to 80 Hz or below. The surround speakers contain the
information that makes it appear that planes are flying over
your head. Some may suggest that this is the place to save
money and purchase a small inexpensive speaker. If you
choose to do so, be prepared to upgrade in the future as
discrete six channel digital encoding becomes available
and the demands on the surround speakers increase.
By 1985, both formats had developed into very high quality
audio/video sources. In fact, the sonic performance of some
video formats exceeded audio-only formats. Now, with
theater quality sound available at home, the only element
missing was the "surround sound" presentation found in
movie houses.
With any good surround system you will need a high-quality
subwoofer (the .1, in a 5.1 channel surround system). Most
movie soundtracks contain large amounts of bass information as part of the special effects. Good subwoofers will
provide a foundation for the rest of the system.
Fortunately, "Dolby” and “DTS" encoded movies (which
include almost all movies) have the same surround sound
information encoded on home releases as the theater films.
All that is required to retrieve this information is a decoder
and additional speakers and amps to reproduce it.
Home theater is a complex purchase and we recommend
that you consult your local MartinLogan dealer as they are
well versed in this subject
Each piece of a surround system can be purchased
separately. Take your time and buy quality. No one has
ever complained that the movie was too real. The following
list and descript iions will only give you a brief outline of
the responsibilities and demands placed on each speaker.
Front Left and Front Right
If these speakers will also be the same two used for your
stereo playback then they should be of very high quality
and able to play loud (over 102 dB) and reproduce bass
below 80 Hz.
Center Channel.
This is the most important speaker in a video system, as
almost all of the dialogue and a large portion of the front
speaker information is reproduced by the center channel.
It is important that the center speaker be designed by
the same manufacturer as the front speakers, and that it is
recommended for use as a center speaker. This is not the
place to cut corners.
Home Theater
Figure 21. Ascent i speakers as front channels, Theater i as the center channel,
Script i speakers as side surround (effects) channels, and Depth subwoofers
as 0.1 (effects) channel.
How can sound be reproduced by something that you are
able to see through? Electrostatic energy makes this possible.
Where the world of traditional loudspeaker technology
deals with cones, domes, diaphragms and ribbons that
are moved with magnetism, the world of electrostatic
loudspeakers deals with charged electrons attracting and
repelling each other.
To fully understand the electrostatic concept, some background
information will be helpful. Remember when you learned
in a science or physics class that like charges repel each
other and opposite charges attract each other? Well, this
principle is the foundation of the electrostatic concept.
An electrostatic transducer consists of three pieces: the stators,
the diaphragm and the spacers (see figure 22). The diaphragm
is what actually moves to excite the air and create music.
The stator’s job is to remain stationary, hence the word stator,
and to provide a reference point for the moving diaphragm.
The spacers provide the diaphragm with a fixed distance in
which to move between the stators.
As your amplifier sends music signals to an electrostatic
speaker, these signals are changed into two high-voltage
signals that are equal in strength but opposite in polarity.
These high voltage signals are then applied to the stators.
The resulting electrostatic field, created by the opposing
high voltage on the stators, works simultaneously with
and against the diaphragm, consequently moving it back
and forth, producing music. This technique is known as
Figure 22. Cut away view of an electrostatic transducer.
Notice the simplicity due to minimal parts usage.
push-pull operation and is a major contributor to the sonic
purity of the electrostatic concept due to its exceptional
linearity and low distortion.
Since the diaphragm of an electrostatic speaker is uniformly
driven over its entire area, it can be extremely light and
flexible. This allows it to be very responsive to transients,
thus perfectly tracing the music signal. As a result, great
delicacy, nuance and clarity is possible. When you look at
the problems of traditional electromagnetic drivers, you
can easily see why this is so beneficial. The cones and
domes which are used in traditional electromagnetic
drivers cannot be driven uniformly because of their design.
Cones are driven only at the apex. Domes are driven at
their perimeter. As a result, the rest of the cone or dome
is just “along for the ride”. The very concept of these
drivers requires that the cone or dome be perfectly rigid,
damped and massless. Unfortunately, these conditions are
not available in our world today.
To make these cones and domes move, all electromagnetic
drivers must use voice coils wound on formers, spider
assemblies, and surrounds to keep the cone or dome in
position (see figure 23). These pieces, when combined
with the high mass of the cone or dome materials used,
make it an extremely complex unit with many weaknesses
and potential for failure. These faults contribute to the
high distortion products found in these drivers and is a
tremendous disadvantage when you are trying to change
motion as quickly and as accurately as a loudspeaker
must (40,000 times per second!).
Figure 23. Cut away view of a typical moving coil driver.
Notice the complexity due to the high number of parts.
Electrostatic Advantages
Full Range Operation
The most significant advantage of MartinLogan’s exclusive
transducer technology reveals itself when you look at
examples of other loudspeaker products on the market today.
The Script i uses no crossover networks above 500 Hz
because they are not needed. The Script i consists of a single,
seamless electrostatic membrane reproducing all frequencies above 500 Hz simultaneously. How is this possible?
First we must understand that music is not composed of
separate high, mid and low frequency pieces. In fact,
music is comprised of a single complex waveform with all
frequencies interacting simultaneously.
The electrostatic transducer of the Script i essentially acts
as an exact opposite of the microphones used to record
the original event. A microphone, which is a single working element, transforms acoustic energy into an electrical
signal that can be amplified or preserved by some type of
storage media. The Script i’s electrostatic transducer transforms electrical energy from your amplifier into acoustical
Due to the limitations of electromagnetic drivers, no
single unit can reproduce the full range of frequencies.
Instead, these drivers must be designed to operate within
narrow, fixed bandwidth of the frequency range, and then
combined electrically so that the sum of the parts equals
the total signal. While nice in theory, we must deal with
real-world conditions.
In order to use multiple drivers, a crossover network is
enlisted to attempt a division of the complex musical signal
into the separate pieces (usually highs, mids, and lows) that
each specific driver was designed to handle. Unfortunately,
due to the phase relationships that occur within all crossover
networks and during the acoustical recombination process,
nonlinearities and severe degradation of the music signal
take place in the ear’s most critical zone (See Figure 20).
The Script i’s electrostatic transducer can single-handedly
reproduce all frequencies above 500 Hz simultaneously.
You have in one transducer the ability to handle in elegant
simplicity the critical frequencies above 500 Hz.
The crossover phase aberrations that are associated with
traditional tweeter, midrange, and woofer systems are
eliminated. The result is a dramatic improvement in imaging
and staging performance, due to the minutely accurate
phase relationship of the full-range panel wave launch.
Conventional Loudspeaker
MartinLogan Script i
crossover point (2–5kHz)
Critical Zone: 500Hz–20kHz
crossover point (100–500Hz)
Figure 24. This diagram illustrates how a conventional
speaker system must use multiple crossover networks
that have negative effects on the musical performance.
Electrostatic Advantages
crossover point (500Hz)
Curvilinear Line Source (CLSTM)
Since the beginning of audio, achieving smooth dispersion
has been a problem for all loudspeaker designers. Large
panel transducers present even more of a challenge because
the larger the panel, the more directional the dispersion
pattern becomes.
Full range electrostats have long been one of the most problematic transducers because they attain their full range
capabilities via a large surface area. It looked as if they were
in direct conflict to smooth dispersion and almost every
attempt to correct this resulted in either poor dispersion or
a serious compromise in sound quality.
After extensive research, MartinLogan engineers discovered
an elegantly simple solution to achieve a smooth pattern
of dispersion without degrading sound quality. By curving
the horizontal plane of the electrostatic transducer, a
controlled horizontal dispersion pattern could be achieved,
yet the purity of the almost massless electrostatic diaphragm
remained uncompromised. After creating this technology,
MartinLogan developed the production capability to bring it
out of the laboratory and into the market place.
You will find this proprietary MartinLogan technology used
in almost all of our products. It is one of the many reasons
behind our reputation for high quality sound with practical
usability. This is also why you see the unique “see through”
cylindrical shape of MartinLogan products.
MicroPerf Stator
The MicroPerf stator design reduces the size of individual
holes in a stator, allowing more openings per square inch
than a standard MartinLogan stator. This maximizes efficiency
and dispersion of small stat panels and also increases optical clarity. In addition, the tighter grid of holes permits the
MicroPerf stator to drive the diaphragm accurately.
Plasma Deposited Diaphragm
The diaphragm in the Script i employs an extremely sophisticated conductive coating that has been applied to the
polymer surface at an atomic level using a plasma bonding
process. A proprietary compound is driven into the surface
of the polymer film in an oxygen free argon chamber. This
process allows extremely uniform surface resistivity characteristics, an optically transparent surface and adds no mass to
the diaphragm. This uniform surface resistivity controls the
electrostatic charge on the diaphragm surface and regulates
its migration. As a result, no discharging or “arcing” can occur.
Transducer Integrity
All MartinLogan transducers begin with two pieces of highgrade, cold rolled steel. These steel pieces are then custom
perforated and insulated with a unique composite coating.
This proprietary coating insulates the stator to three times
its actual needed working voltage and gives the Script i a
wide margin of safe operation. In addition to the electrical
insulation properties, this coating also provides the Script i
with a durable, attractive finish that dampens the steel to
prevent ringing. These pieces then sandwich a proprietary
diaphragm and spacers into a curved geometry, and bond
together with aerospace adhesives whose strength exceeds
that of welding.The result of these advanced technologies
is a transducer that is attractive, durable, highly rigid, well
dampened, and neutral.
Low Voltage Power
To eliminate the need for a traditional IEC power cord and
broaden ease of installation, especially for custom installers,
the Script i features a low-voltage power supply.
MartinLogan Exclusives
In the late 1800s, any loudspeaker was considered exotic.
Today, most of us take the wonders of sound reproduction
for granted.
It was 1880 before Thomas Edison had invented the first
phonograph. This was a horn-loaded diaphragm that was
excited by a playback stylus. In 1898, Sir Oliver Lodge
invented a cone loudspeaker, which he referred to
as a “bellowing telephone”, that was very similar to the
conventional cone loudspeaker drivers that we know
today. However, Lodge had no intention for his device to
reproduce music because in 1898 there was no way to
amplify an electrical signal! As a result, his speaker had
nothing to offer over the acoustical gramophones of the
period. It was not until 1906 that Dr. Lee DeForrest invented the triode vacuum tube. Before this, an electrical signal
could not be amplified. The loudspeaker, as we know it
today, should have ensued then, but it did not. Amazingly,
it was almost twenty years before this would occur.
would refer to loudspeakers as being either “conventional”
or “exotic”.
Bell Laboratory’s electrostat was something to behold.
This enormous bipolar speaker was as big as a door. The
diaphragm, which was beginning to rot, was made of a
pig intestine that was covered with fine gold leaf to conduct the audio signal.
When Rice and Kellogg began playing the new electrically
cut records through the electrostat, they were shocked
and impressed. The electrostat performed splendidly.
They had never heard instrumental timbres reproduced
with such realism. This system sounded like real music
rather than the honking, squawking rendition of the
acoustic gramophone. Immediately, they knew they were
on to something big. The acoustic gramophone was destined to become obsolete.
Due to Rice and Kellogg’s enthusiasm, they devoted a
considerable amount of time researching the electrostatic
In 1921, the electrically cut phonograph record became a
design. However, they soon encountered the same diffireality. This method of recording was far superior to the
culties that even present designers face; planar speakers
mechanically cut record and possessed almost 30 dB of
require a very large surface area to
dynamic range. The acoustical gramoreproduce the lower frequencies of
phone couldn’t begin to reproduce all
Rice and Kellogg had
the audio spectrum. Because the
of the information on this new disc. As
narrowed the field of
management at Bell Labs considered
a result, further developments in loudspeakers were needed to cope with “contestants” down to the large speakers unacceptable, Rice
and Kellogg’s work on electrostatics
this amazing new recording medium.
cone and the electrostat.
would never be put to use for a commercial product. Reluctantly, they advised the Bell
By 1923, Bell Telephone Laboratories made the decision to
management to go with the cone. For the next 30 years,
develop a complete musical playback system consisting of an
the electrostatic design lay dormant.
electronic phonograph and a loudspeaker to take advantage
of the new recording medium. Bell Labs assigned the project to two young engineers, C.W. Rice and E.W. Kellogg.
During the Great Depression of the 1930s, consumer audio
almost died. The new electrically amplified loudspeaker
Rice and Kellogg had a well equipped laboratory at their
never gained acceptance, as most people continued to use
disposal. This lab possessed a vacuum tube amplifier with
their old Victrola-style acoustic gramophones. Prior to the
an unheard of 200 watts, a large selection of the new
end of World War II, consumer audio saw little, if any,
electrically cut phonograph records and a variety of
progress. However, during the late 1940s, audio experiloudspeaker prototypes that Bell Labs had been collecting
enced a great rebirth. Suddenly there was tremendous
over the past decade. Among these were Lodge’s cone, a
interest in audio products, and with that, a great demand
for improved audio components. No sooner had the cone
speaker that used compressed air, a corona discharge
(plasma) speaker, and an electrostatic speaker.
become established than it was challenged by products
developed during this new rebirth.
After a short time, Rice and Kellogg had narrowed the field
of “contestants” down to the cone and the electrostat. The
In 1947, Arthur Janszen, a young Naval engineer, took part in
outcome would dictate the way that future generations
a research project for the Navy. The Navy was interested in
Electrostatic Loudspeaker History
developing a better instrument for testing microphone
arrays. The test instrument needed an extremely accurate
speaker, but Janszen found that the cone speakers of the
period were too nonlinear in phase and amplitude response
to meet his criteria. Janszen believed that electrostats were
inherently more linear than cones, so he built a model using
a thin plastic diaphragm treated with a conductive coating.
This model confirmed Janszen’s beliefs, for it exhibited
remarkable phase and amplitude linearity.
In the early 1960s Arthur Janszen joined forces with the
KLH loudspeaker company, and together they introduced
the KLH 9. Due to the large size of the KLH 9, it did not
have as many limitations as the Quad. The KLH 9 could
play markedly louder and lower in frequency than the
Quad ESL. Thus a rivalry was born.
As good as these systems were, they would soon be surpassed by another electrostatic speaker.
Electrostatic speakers have progressed and prospered
because they actually do what Peter Walker claimed they
would. The limitations and problems experienced in the
past were not inherent to the electrostatic concept. They
were related to the applications of these concepts.
Janszen continued to develop electrostatic designs. He
was instrumental in the design of the Koss Model One, the
Acoustech and the Dennesen speakJanszen was so excited with the results
ers. Roger West, the chief designer
These developments allow
that he continued research on the elecof the Janszen Corporation, became
the consumer to own the
trostatic speaker on his own time. He
the president of Sound Lab. When
soon thought of insulating the stators to
Janszen Corporation was sold, the
highest performance loudprevent the destructive effects of arcing.
RTR loudspeaker company bought
By 1952, he had an electrostatic tweeter speaker products ever built. half of the production tooling. This
element ready for commercial productooling was used to make the election. This new tweeter soon created a sensation among
trostatic panels for the Servostatic, a hybrid electrostatic
American audio hobbyists. Since Janszen’s tweeter element
system that was Infinity’s first speaker product. Other
was limited to high frequency reproduction, it often found
companies soon followed; each with their own unique
itself used in conjunction with woofers—most notably,
applications of the technology. These include Acoustat,
those from Acoustic Research. These systems were highly
Audiostatic, Beverage, Dayton Wright, Sound Lab and Stax,
regarded by all audio enthusiasts.
to name a few.
In 1955, Peter Walker published three articles regarding
electrostatic loudspeaker design in Wireless World, a
British magazine. In these articles, Walker demonstrated
the benefits of the electrostatic loudspeaker. He explained
that electrostatics permit the use of diaphragms that are
low in mass, large in area and uniformly driven over their
surfaces by electrostatic forces. Due to these characteristics,
electrostats have the inherent ability to produce a wide
bandwidth, flat frequency response with distortion products
being no greater than the electronics driving them.
By 1956, Walker backed up his articles by introducing a consumer product, the now famous Quad ESL. This speaker
immediately set a standard of performance for the audio
industry due to its incredible accuracy. However, in actual
use, the Quad had a few problems. It could not be played
very loud, it had poor bass performance, it presented a
difficult load that some amplifiers did not like, its dispersion
was very directional and its power handling was limited to
around 70 watts. As a result, many people continued to
use box speakers with cones.
Today, these limitations have been resolved. Advancements
in materials due to the U.S. space program give designers
the ability to harness the superiority of the electrostatic
principle. Today’s electrostats use advanced insulation
techniques or provide protection circuitry. The poor dispersion properties of early models have been addressed by
using delay lines, acoustical lenses, multiple panel arrays
or, as in our own products, by curving the diaphragm.
Power handling and sensitivity have also been increased.
These developments allow the consumer the opportunity
to own the highest performance loudspeaker products ever
built. It’s too bad Rice and Kellogg were never able to see
just how far the technology would be taken.
Electrostatic Loudspeaker History
How do I clean my speakers?
Just use a dust free cloth or a soft brush to remove the dust
from your speakers. We recommend a specialty cloth
(available at the Xtatic shop at
that cleans your speakers better than anything else we
have tried. Do not spray any kind of cleaning agent
on or in close proximity to the electrostatic element.
What is the advantage of ESL?
Since the diaphragm is uniformly driven over its entire
surface—unlike a tweeter that is only driven at its edges—
it is the only technology that can be made large enough to
play bass, yet is still light enough for high frequencies. This
unique property allows for the elimination of high frequency crossover points and their associated distortions.
What size amplifier should I use?
We recommend an amplifier with 100 to 200 watts per
channel for most applications. Probably less would be
adequate for our smaller hybrids or when used in home
theater where a subwoofer is employed. Our hybrid
designs will perform well with either a tube or transistorized amplifier, and will reveal the sonic character of
either type. However, it is important that the amplifier
be stable operating into varying impedance loads: a stable amplifier will be able to deliver twice its rated
wattage into 4 Ohms and should again double into 2
Could you suggest a list of suitable electronics and
cables that would be ideal for MartinLogan speakers?
The area of electronics and cable choice is probably the
most common type of question that we receive. It is also
the most subjective. We have repeatedly found that
brands that work well in one setup will drive someone
else nuts in another. We use many brands with great
success. Again, we have no favorites; we use electronics
and cables quite interchangeably. We would suggest listening to a number of brands—and above all else— trust
your ears. Dealers are always the best source for information when purchasing additional audio equipment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is there likely to be any interaction between my speakers
and the television in my Audio/Video system?
Actually, there is less interaction between a television
and an electrostatic speaker than between a television
and a conventional system. However, we do recommend
that you keep your speakers at least one foot away
from the television because of the dynamic woofer they
employ. In the case of our center channel speakers,
however, they are fully shielded and can go anywhere.
Will my electric bill go ‘sky high’ by leaving my speakers
plugged in all the time?
No. A pair of MartinLogans will draw about 5 watts maximum. There is circuitry to turn off the static charge when
not in use; however, actual consumption will remain close
to the same. The primary purpose of the sensing circuitry
is to prevent dust collection on the electrostatic element.
If the diaphragm is punctured with a pencil or similar
item, how extensive would the damage to the speaker be?
Our research department has literally punctured hundreds
of holes in a diaphragm, neither affecting the quality of
the sound nor causing the diaphragm to rip. However,
you will be able to see the actual puncture and it can
be a physical nuisance. If this is the case, replacing the
electrostatic transducer will be the only solution.
Will exposure to sunlight affect the life or performance
of my speakers?
We recommend that you not place any loudspeaker in
direct sunlight. The ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can
cause deterioration of grill cloth, speaker cones, etc. Small
exposures to UV will not cause a problem. In general,
the filtering of UV rays through glass will greatly reduce
the negative effects on the electrostatic membrane itself.
Will excessive smoke or dust cause any problems with
my electrostatic speakers?
Exposure to excessive contaminants such as smoke
or dust may potentially affect the performance of the
electrostatic membrane, and may cause discoloration
of the diaphragm membrane. When not in use for
extended periods, you should unplug the speakers and
cover them with the plastic bags in which the speakers
were originally packed. It is a good idea to vacuum the
electrostatic portion of each speaker once or twice a
year. See the vacuuming FAQ.
A problem has recently developed with my MartinLogan
speakers. The right speaker seems to be hissing even
when the amplifier and such are not connected. I was
wondering if this sounds like any problem you have
encountered previously and have a simple solution for
or might it be something which will need to be looked
into more carefully.
Your speakers are dusty. See the vacuuming FAQ. The
electrostatic charge on the element has attracted airborne
dust or pollen. Since 1993, all of our speakers have been
built with a charging circuit board that only charges the
electrostatic element when music plays. At other times
they are not charged and cannot collect dust. You can get
the same benefit by simply unplugging them whenever
they are not in use. A power strip is an easy way to do that.
Could my children, pets, or myself be shocked by the
high-voltage present in the electrostatic panel?
No. High voltage with low current is not dangerous. As a
matter of fact, the voltage in our speakers is 10 times
less than the static electricity that builds up on the surface
of your television screen.
How do MartinLogan speakers hold up over a long term
in the humidity of tropical climates?
We should tell you that MartinLogan indeed has a very
substantial number of customers in tropical regions of
the world. Our speakers have been serving them nicely for
many years. This concern may have come from our earlier
design of speakers, which were charged continuously.
Since 1993, all of our speakers have been designed so that
they only charge the panel while music is being played.
This improvement has made a tremendous difference
in the consistent performance of our product. There may
be a little more maintenance involved in humid regions
when not in an air conditioned environment. Simply
enough, the concern is to keep the electrostatic panels
dust free. Humidity will combine with any dust on the
panel to make it slightly conductive. This will result in a
slight pathway for the charge to leave the membrane of
the speaker. The solution is simple. They only require
occasional vacuuming with a strong vacuum hose.
How do I vacuum my MartinLogan speakers?
Vacuuming will be most effective if the speakers have
been unplugged for six hours or overnight. You need
not worry about the vacuum pressure damaging the
"delicate" membrane. It is extraordinarily durable
Dirt and dust may be vacuumed off with a brush attachment connected to your vacuum cleaner, or you may
blow them off with compressed air.
Should I unplug my speakers during a thunderstorm?
Yes, or before. It’s a good idea to disconnect all of your
audio/video components during stormy weather.
Frequently Asked Questions
No Output
• Check that all your system components are turned on.
• Check your speaker wires and connections.
• Check all interconnecting cables.
Weak Output from Electrostatic Panel, Loss of Highs
• Check the power cord. Is it properly connected to the
speaker and to the wall?
• Is the power cord connected to a switched outlet?
• Dirt and dust may need to be vacuumed off. Please see
the FAQ regarding vacuuming.
Popping and Ticking Sounds, Funny Noises
• These occasional noises are harmless and will not hurt
your audio system or your speakers. All electrostatic
speakers are guilty of making odd noises at one time or
another. It is the result of airborne contaminates (most
notably dust). Vacuuming is recommended.
• These noises may be caused by dirt and dust particles
collecting on the speaker, by high humidity.
• Dirt and dust may need to be vacuumed off. Please see
the FAQ regarding vacuuming.
Exaggerated Highs, Brightness
• Check the toe-in of the speakers. Read the Placement
section of this manual for more information.
Muddy Bass
• Check placement. Try moving the speakers closer to the
front and sidewalls.
• Check the type of feet that are being used. Try attaching
the coupling spikes.
• Possibly means low electrostatic panel output. See 'Weak
Output from Electrostatic Panel, Loss of Highs’.
Lack of Bass, No Bass
• Check your speaker wires. Is the polarity correct?
• Check your speaker wires. Are both woofers working?
• Check your speaker wires if bi-wiring.
Poor Imaging
• Check placement. Are both speakers the same distance
from the walls? Do they have the same amount of toein? Try moving the speakers away from the back and
• Check the polarity of the speaker wires. Are they connected properly?
• Try switching the left speaker with the right.
The Script i hybrid speaker system consists of a broadrange single element electrostatic transducer integrated
with a quick-response woofer. This approach takes advantage of the benefits that both technologies have to offer.
Dispersion is a controlled 30 degrees. This was achieved
by curving the electrostatic transducer element itself, an
elegantly simple solution.
Warranty and Registration
Your Script i speakers are provided with an automatic Limited
90 Day Warranty coverage. You have the option, at no additional charge, to receive a limited 5 year warranty coverage.
To obtain the limited 5 year warranty coverage you need to
complete and return the certificate of registration, included with your speakers, and provide a copy of your dealer
receipt, to MartinLogan within 30 days of purchase.
System Frequency Response
70 –20,000 Hz ± 3 dB
For your convenience MartinLogan also offers online warranty
registration at
Horizontal: 30 Degrees
Vertical: 26” (66 cm) Line Source
MartinLogan may not honor warranty service claims unless
we have a completed warranty registration card on file!
88 dB/2.83 volts/meter
6 ohms, 3 ohms @ 20 kHz
Crossover Frequency
500 Hz
Minimal straight path design, air core coils
Woofer Type
6.5" (16.5 cm) mineral filled poly-cone with high damping
rubber surround; non-resonant chamber format
Power Handling
150 watts per channel
Recommended Amplifier Power
80 –150 watts per channel
25 lbs. each (11.3 kg)
Size (with wall mount bracket)
10.2” inches W × 6.8” inches D × 44” inches H
(25.9 cm W × 17.28 cm D × 111.8 cm H)
If you did not receive a certificate of registration with your
new Script i speakers you cannot be assured of having
received new units. If this is the case, please contact your
authorized MartinLogan dealer.
Should you be using your MartinLogan product in a country
other than the one in which it was originally purchased,
we ask that you note the following:
1 The appointed MartinLogan distributor for any given
country is responsible for warranty servicing only on
units distributed by or through it in that country in
accordance with its applicable warranty.
2 Should a MartinLogan product require servicing in a
country other than the one in which it was originally
purchased, the end user may seek to have repairs performed
by the nearest MartinLogan distributor, subject to that
distributor’s local servicing policies, but all cost of
repairs (parts, labor, transportation) must be born by the
owner of the MartinLogan product.
3 If, after owning your speakers for six months, you
relocate to a country other than the one in which
you purchased your speakers, your warranty may be
transferable. Contact MartinLogan for details.
Serial Numbers
The serial number for each of your Script i loudspeakers is
located behind the grille cloth and above the woofer. Each
individual speaker has a unique serial number.
General Information
AC. Abbreviation for alternating current.
DC. Abbreviation for direct current.
Active crossover. Uses active devices (transistors, ICs, tubes)
and some form of power supply to operate.
Diffraction. The breaking up of a sound wave caused by
some type of mechanical interference such as a cabinet
edge, grill frame or other similar object.
Amplitude. The extreme range of a signal. Usually measured
from the average to the extreme.
Arc. The visible sparks generated by an electrical discharge.
Bass. The lowest frequencies of sound.
Bi-Amplification. Uses an electronic crossover, or line-level
passive crossover, and separate power amplifiers for the
high and low frequency loudspeaker drivers.
Capacitance. That property of a capacitor which determines
how much charge can be stored in it for a given potential
difference between its terminals, measured in farads, by
the ratio of the charge stored to the potential difference.
Capacitor. A device consisting of two or more conducting
plates separated from one another by an insulating material
and used for storing an electrical charge. Sometimes called
a condenser.
Clipping. Distortion of a signal by its being chopped off. An
overload problem caused by pushing an amplifier beyond its
capabilities. The flat-topped signal has high levels of harmonic distortion which creates heat in a loudspeaker and is the
major cause of loudspeaker component failure.
Crossover. An electrical circuit that divides a full bandwidth
signal into the desired frequency bands for the loudspeaker
dB (decibel). A numerical expression of the relative loudness of a sound. The difference in decibels between two
sounds is ten times the Base 10 logarithm of the ratio of
their power levels.
Glossary of Audio Terms
Diaphragm. A thin flexible membrane or cone that vibrates
in response to electrical signals to produce sound waves.
Distortion. Usually referred to in terms of total harmonic
distortion (THD) which is the percentage of unwanted
harmonics of the drive signal present with the wanted signal.
Generally used to mean any unwanted change introduced
by the device under question.
Driver. See transducer.
Dynamic Range. The range between the quietest and the
loudest sounds a device can handle (often quoted in dB).
Efficiency. The acoustic power delivered for a given electrical
input. Often expressed as decibels/watt/meter (dB/w/m).
ESL. Abbreviation for electrostatic loudspeaker.
Headroom. The difference, in decibels, between the peak
and RMS levels in program material.
Hybrid. A product created by the marriage of two different
technologies. Meant here as the combination of a dynamic
woofer with an electrostatic transducer.
Hz (Hertz). Unit of frequency equivalent to the number of
cycles per second.
Imaging. To make a representation or imitation of the original
sonic event.
Impedance. The total opposition offered by an electric circuit
to the flow of an alternating current of a single frequency. It
is a combination of resistance and reactance and is measured
in ohms. Remember that a speaker’s impedance changes
with frequency, it is not a constant value.
Inductance. The property of an electrical circuit by which a
varying current in it produces a varying magnetic field that
introduces voltages in the same circuit or in a nearby circuit.
It is measured in henrys.
Inductor. A device designed primarily to introduce inductance
into an electrical circuit. Sometimes called a choke or coil.
Linearity. The extent to which any signal handling process
is accomplished without amplitude distortion.
Midrange. The middle frequencies where the ear is the
most sensitive.
NAC. The abbreviation for natural ambience compensation.
Passive crossover. Uses no active components (transistors,
ICs, tubes) and needs no power supply (AC, DC, battery)
to operate. The crossover in a typical loudspeaker is of the
passive variety. Passive crossovers consist of capacitors,
inductors and resistors.
Phase. The amount by which one sine wave leads or lags a
second wave of the same frequency. The difference is
described by the term phase angle. Sine waves in phase
reinforce each other; those out of phase cancel.
Pink noise. A random noise used in measurements, as it
has the same amount of energy in each octave.
Polarity. The condition of being positive or negative with
respect to some reference point or object.
RMS. Abbreviation for root mean square. The effective value
of a given waveform is its RMS value. Acoustic power is
proportional to the square of the RMS sound pressure.
Resistance. That property of a conductor by which it opposes
the flow of electric current, resulting in the generation of
heat in the conducting material, usually expressed in ohms.
Resistor. A device used in a circuit to provide resistance.
Resonance. The effect produced when the natural vibration frequency of a body is greatly amplified by reinforcing
vibrations at the same or nearly the same frequency from
another body.
Sensitivity. The volume of sound delivered for a given electrical input.
Stator. The fixed part forming the reference for the moving
diaphragm in a planar speaker.
THD. The abbreviation for total harmonic distortion. (See
TIM. The abbreviation for transient intermodulation distortion.
Transducer. Any of various devices that transmit energy from
one system to another, sometimes one that converts the
energy in form. Loudspeaker transducers convert electrical
energy into mechanical motion.
Transient. Applies to that which lasts or stays but a short
time. A change from one steady-state condition to another.
Tweeter. A small drive unit designed to reproduce only
high frequencies.
Wavelength. The distance measured in the direction of
progression of a wave, from any given point characterized
by the same phase.
White noise. A random noise used in measurements, as it
has the same amount of energy at each frequency.
Woofer. A drive unit operating in the bass frequencies only.
Drive units in two-way systems are not true woofers but
are more accurately described as being mid/bass drivers.
Glossary of Audio Terms
2101 Delaware Street, Lawrence, Kansas 66046, USA
tel 785.749.0133
fax 785.749.5320
©2003 MartinLogan. All rights reserved.
Rev. #041603
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