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Audio Bandwidth Extension

Audio Bandwidth Extension

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High-Efficiency Low-
Bl 
Loudspeakers*
RONALD M. AARTS,
AES Fellow 
(ronald.m.aarts@philips.com)
Philips Research Laboratories, 5656AA Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Normally, low-frequency sound reproduction with small transducers is quite inefficient.This is shown by calculating the efficiency and voltage sensitivity for loudspeakers with high,medium, and, in particular, low force factors. For these low-force-factor loudspeakers apractically relevant and analytically tractable optimality criterion, involving the loudspeakerparameters, will be defined. Actual prototype bass drivers are assessed according to thiscriterion. Because the magnet can be considerably smaller than usual, the loudspeaker can beof the moving-magnet type with a stationary coil. These so-called low-
 Bl
drivers have a highefficiency, however, only in a limited frequency region. To deal with that, nonlinear pro-cessing essentially compresses the bandwidth of a 20–120-Hz bass signal down to a muchmore narrow span. This span is centered at the resonance of the low-
 Bl
driver, where itsefficiency is maximum. The signal processing preserves the temporal envelope modulationsof the original bass signal. The compression is at the expense of a decreased sound qualityand requires some additional electronics. This new, optimal design has a much higher powerefficiency as well as a higher voltage sensitivity than current bass drivers, while the cabinetmay be much smaller.
0 INTRODUCTION
The introduction of concepts such as ambient intelli-gence [1], [2], flat TV, and 5.1-channel sound reproduc-tion systems has led to a renewed interest in obtaining ahigh sound output from compact loudspeaker arrange-ments with a high efficiency. Compact relates here to boththe volume of the cabinet into which the loudspeaker ismounted and the cone area of the loudspeaker. We willinvestigate the behavior of transducers for various param-eters. It will be shown later that the force factor (
 Bl
) of aloudspeaker plays an important role.To have some qualitative impression, various curves of a medium-
 Bl
driver are shown in Fig. 1. We clearly seethat there is a band-pass behavior of the acoustical power
P
a
(fifth curve), and a high-pass response for the on-axispressure
p
(third curve), as is typical for medium-
 Bl
driv-ers. In the following we will derive more precise andquantitative relations for the power and pressure response.First we will discuss the efficiency of electrodynamicloudspeakers in general, which will be used later in dis-cussions on special drivers with a high
Bl
value in Section3 and a very low
Bl
value in Section 4. This low-
 Bl
drivercan be made very cost-efficient, low-weight, flat, and withhigh power efficiency. Because
Bl
influences the transientresponse of normal drivers, and these special low-
 Bl
driv-ers in particular, a transient response analysis is presentedin Section 5. But first we show in Section 1 that soundreproduction at low frequencies with small transducers,and at a reasonable efficiency, is very difficult. The reasonfor this is that the efficiency is inversely proportional tothe moving mass and proportional to the square of theproduct of cone area and force factor
Bl.
All equationspresented in this paper are available as MATLAB
1
scripts.
2
1 EFFICIENCY CALCULATIONS1.1 Lumped-Element Model
For low frequencies a loudspeaker can be modeled withthe aid of some simple elements, allowing the formulationof approximate analytical expressions for the loudspeakersound radiation. Since we are interested in the power ef-ficiency and voltage sensitivity in particular, we will de-rive these expressions using this model. The forthcomingloudspeaker model will not be derived here in detail sincethis has been done elsewhere (see for example, [3]–[11]).The importance of efficiency is discussed widely in theliterature in the papers mentioned, but especially in Keele[12], [13] and in particular for efficiency at the resonance
*Manuscript received 2005 April 1; revised 2005 June 15 andJune 28.
1
MATLAB is a trade name of The MathWorks, Inc.
2
http://www.dse.nl/ 
rmaarts/.
PAPERSJ. Audio Eng. Soc., Vol. 53, No. 7/8, 2005 July/August 579
 
frequency in Aarts [14]
[16] and in Zuccatti [17], [18].We first reiterate briefly the theory for the sealed loud-speaker. In what follows, we use a driver model with asimple acoustic air load. The driver is characterized by acone or piston with radius
a
and of area
S
a
2
(1)and various other parameters, which will be introducedsuccessively and are summarized in Table 1. The radianresonance frequency
0
is given by
0
=
t
m
t
(
2
)
where
m
t
is the total moving mass including the air loadand
t
is the total spring constant of the system, includingthe loudspeaker and possibly its enclosing cabinet of vol-ume
0
. This cabinet exerts a restoring force on the pistonwith the equivalent spring constant
B
=
P
0
S
2
0
=
c
2
S
2
0
(
3
)
where
is the ratio of the specific heats (1.4 for air),
P
0
theatmospheric pressure,
the density, and
c
the speed of sound of the medium.The relation between the driving voltage
e
(
), the cur-rent
i
c
(
), and the piston displacement
x
(
) is given by
e
=
R
e
i
c
+
Bl
d
 x
d
+
L
e
d
i
c
d
(
4
)
where
R
e
is the voice-coil resistance,
Bl
the force factor,and
L
e
the self-inductance of the voice coil. This forcefactors is equal to the product of the flux density
B
in theair gap and the effective length
l
of the voice-coil wire. Wewill see later that (
 Bl
)
2
 / 
 R
e
appears in many formulas; it hasthe dimension of mechanical ohms [kg/s]. The term
Bl
iscalled force factor because the electromagnetic Lorentzforce
acting on the voice coil is given by
 Bli
c
. Theterm including d
 x
 /d
is the voltage induced by the driverpiston velocity of motion. Using the Laplace transform,Eq. (4) can be written as
 E 
(
s
)
 R
e
 I 
c
(
s
) +
BlsX 
(
s
) +
L
e
sI 
c
(
s
) (5)where capital letters are used for the correspondingLaplace transformed variables, and
s
is the Laplace vari-able, which can be replaced by i
for stationary harmonicsignals. The relation between the mechanical forces andthe electrical driving force is given by
m
t
d
2
 x
d
2
+
R
m
d
 x
d
+
t
 x
=
Bli
c
(
6
)
Fig. 1. Displacement
X,
velocity
V,
acceleration
A
c
sV 
together with on-axis SPL, real part of radiation impedance
R
r
{
 Z 
rad
},and acoustical power
P
a
of a rigid-plane piston in an infinite baffle, driven by a constant force (from [3]). Numbers denote slopes of curves. Multiplied by 6 these yield slope in dB/octave.
t
is transition frequency defined by Eq. (20).Table 1. System parameters of model presented in Fig. 2.
 B
Flux density in air gap
 Bl
Force factor
 E 
Voice-coil voltage
Lorentz force acting on voice coili
−1
 I 
c
Voice-coil current
t
Total spring constant,
d
(driver alone) +
B
(box)
l
Effective length of voice-coil wire
 L
e
Self-inductance of voice coil
m
t
Total moving mass, including air-load mass
 R
e
Electrical resistance of voice coil
 R
m
Mechanical damping
 R
d
Electrodynamic damping,
(
 Bl
)
2
 / 
 R
e
 R
t
Total damping,
 R
r
+
R
m
+
R
d
Voltage induced in voice coil
Velocity of the voice coil
 Z 
rad
Mechanical radiation impedance,
 R
r
+ i
 X 
r
AARTS PAPERSJ. Audio Eng. Soc., Vol. 53, No. 7/8, 2005 July/August580
 
where on the left-hand side we have the mechanical forces,which are the inertial reaction of the cone with total mov-ing mass
m
t
, the mechanical resistance
R
m
, and the totalspring force with total spring constant
t
; on the right-handside we have the external electromagnetic Lorentz force
 Bli
c
. For the moment we assume that the radiationresistance
R
r
(which is very small) is included in
R
m
;where appropriate we will mention it explicitly. Combin-ing Eq. (5) and the Laplace transform of Eq. (6) we get
 X 
s
s
2
m
t
+
s
 R
m
+
 Bl
2
 L
e
s
+
R
e
+
t
=
BlE 
s
L
e
s
+
R
e
.
(
7
)
We see that besides the mechanical damping
R
m
we alsoget an electrodynamic damping term (
 Bl
)
2
 /(
 L
e
s
+
R
e
), andthis term plays an important role. If we ignore the self-inductance of the loudspeaker and the effect of eddy cur-rents, we can write Eq. (7) as the transfer function
 x
(
s
)between voltage
(
s
) and displacement
(
s
),
 H 
 x
s
=
s
 E 
s
=
Bl
  
 R
e
s
2
m
+
s
 R
m
+
 Bl
2
  
 R
e
+
t
.
(
8
)
We assume an infinite baffle to mount the piston, and inthe compact-source regime (
a/r 
<<
 / 
a,
where
is thewavelength) the far-field acoustic pressure
p
(
) at a dis-tance
becomes
 p
=
S
d
2
 x
  
d
2
2
(
9
)
showing that
p
(
) is proportional to the volume accelera-tion of the source [19], [20]. In the Laplace domain wehave
P
s
=
s
2
SX 
s
2
.
(
10
)
Using Eq. (10) and neglecting the self-inductance
L
e
wecan write Eq. (7) as the transfer function from voltage topressure,
 H 
p
s
=
P
s
 E 
s
=
s
2
S
  
2
 Bl
  
 R
e
s
2
m
t
+
s
 R
m
+
 Bl
2
  
 R
e
+
t
.
(
11
)
With the aid of Eqs. (5) and (8) and the properties of thegyrator, as shown in Fig. 2, the electrical impedance
in
(
) of the loudspeaker can be calculated,
 Z 
in
=
R
e
+
i
 L
e
+
 Bl
2
 R
m
+
R
r
+
i
m
t
+
t
  
i
.
(
12
)
Using the following relations of dimensionless quality fac-tors
Q,
dimensionless frequency detuning
, and time con-stant
e
,
Q
m
=
t
m
t
 R
m
,
Q
e
=
 R
e
t
m
t
 Bl
2
,
Q
r
=
t
m
t
 R
r
Q
mr
=
Q
m
Q
r
Q
m
+
Q
r
,
=
0
0
,
e
=
L
e
 R
e
(
13
)
we can write
in
as
 Z 
in
=
R
e
1
+
i

e
+
Q
mr
  
Q
e
1
+
i
Q
mr
.
(
14
)
If we neglect
L
e
, we get at the resonance frequency (
0
or
0) the maximum input impedance
 Z 
in
0
=
R
e
1
+
Q
mr
Q
e
R
e
+
 Bl
2
 R
m
.
(
15
)
From this we see that
Bl
plays an important role in theelectrical impedance, which is most pronounced at theresonance frequency.
1.2 Efficiency and Voltage Sensitivity
In order to calculate the power efficiency of a loud-speaker we need to calculate the electric power deliveredto the driver as well as the acoustical power deliveredby the loudspeaker. The latter depends on the radiationimpedance of the driver. We now calculate these threefunctions.The time-averaged electric power
P
e
delivered to thedriver can be written as
P
e
=
0.5
|
 I 
c
|
2
 Z 
in
=
0.5
|
 I 
c
|
2
 R
e
1
+
Q
mr
  
Q
e
1
+
Q
mr2
2
(
16
)
where
{
 Z 
in
} is the real (resistive) part of the input im-pedance
in
. The radiation impedance
rad
of a plane cir-cular rigid piston with radius
a
in an infinite baffle can bederived as [19, p. 384]
 Z 
rad
=
a
2
c
1
2
 J 
1
2
ka
2
ka
+
i2
H
1
2
ka
2
ka
(
17
)
Fig. 2. Lumped-element model of impedance-type analogy of an electrodynamic loudspeaker. Coupling between electrical andmechanical parts is represented by a gyrator. For system parameters see Table 1.
PAPERS HIGH-EFFICIENCY, LOW-
Bl 
LOUDSPEAKERSJ. Audio Eng. Soc., Vol. 53, No. 7/8, 2005 July/August 581

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