P. L. Marston
Physics Department, Washington State University, Pullman, Washington 99164

These reviews of books and other forms of information express the opinions of the individual reviewers and are not necessarily endorsed by the Editorial Board of this Journal. Editorial Policy: If there is a negative review, the author of the book will be given a chance to respond to the review in this section of the Journal and the reviewer will be allowed to respond to the author’s comments. [See ‘‘Book Reviews Editor’s Note,’’ J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 81, 1651 (May 1987).]

The Loudspeaker Design Cookbook, 5th Edition
Vance Dickason
Audio Amateur Press, 1997, Peterborough, NH 03458. xii 216 pp. (including 51 pp. advertising section). Price: $34.95. The first edition of the Loudspeaker Design Cookbook was released 22 years ago. According to the author, each successive edition reflects the current engineering trends in the ever-shifting field of loudspeaker design. The first two editions were published by the author himself, and then Audio Amateur Press took over the publication of subsequent editions. It is not hard to see why Dickason’s text enjoys brisk sales over 60 000 copies of the latest edition have been printed . He writes clearly, thoroughly, and provides much data necessary for speaker design. The target audience can range from amateurs who are beginning to learn the ropes to well-established designers who like to keep a reference manual on hand. The back of the text contains 51 pages of advertisements by suppliers of drivers, parts for making drivers, electrical/electronic components, test equipment, computer programs to assist and evaluate design, various publications, and even complete speaker kits and assembled speaker systems. The format of the text follows a rather logical path, although the chapter numbering is slightly quirky. There are twelve chapters in all, but the first chapter is titled ‘‘Chapter 0,’’ effectively causing the last twelfth chapter to be christened ‘‘Chapter 11.’’ Technical terms are carefully defined so that there should be no doubt in the mind of a novice as to what they mean. Dickason did not stint on providing tables and parametric curves that are used in designing speaker systems and predicting the performance capabilities of components acting individually and in unison; and a fairly thorough, potentially valuable reference listing is given at the end of each chapter. Chapter 0 describes how electrodynamic loudspeakers work, the effect of gap/coil geometries, the real-world behavior of loudspeaker cones with their resonance modes, the necessity for dust caps, dome shapes in higher frequency drivers, suspension of the cone that is attached to the voice coil which, in turn, interacts with the speaker magnet, modeling of loudspeaker impedance, and speaker input power required on the basis of loudspeaker efficiency and room size. The simplest loudspeaker design is that of a closed box, which is the topic of Chap. 1. The closed box system, more suitable for low-frequency response, subdivides into two categories: the infinite baffle and the air suspension, the latter made popular in the 1950s by Acoustic Research cofounded by Edgar Villchur and Henry Kloss. It remained for Richard Small to publish in the Journal of Audio Engineering Society in June 1972 the most definitive study of closed-box design. The Q-factor of the driver represents the interaction of the electrical, mechanical, and pneumatic factors of the woofer/enclosure combination in determining the system resonance and response curves. Computer simulation through the use of LEAP 4.0®, arguably the most sophisticated speaker design program available at the time, is used by the author to model a series of closed boxes with different values of Q. Performance characteristics such as group delay, cone excursions, impedance curves, etc. are shown to depend on physical parameters such as box size, woofer cone mass, free-air resonance, voice coil overhang, effective driver radiating area, reference efficiency, etc. Vented boxes constitute the subject of Chap. 2. Vented boxes carry the advantage of lower cone excursions near the box resonance frequency, thus providing higher power-handling capacity and lower modulation distortion,

and they operate more efficiently. However, vented systems are considerably more sensitive than closed boxes to inappropriately chosen values of parameters. Manipulation of the total speaker-box Q can be achieved by changing the volume of a closed box; vented enclosures are dealt with in terms of specific alignments, entailing adjustments of a number of specific parameters to achieve a more or less flat response. There are at least 15 well-established alignment categories, such as SSB4 Super Fourth-Order Boom Box , SC4 Fourth Order Sub-Chebychev , QB3 Quasi Third-Order alignment , and discrete alignments such as the Fourth-Order Butterworth B4 , Fourth-Order Bessel BE4 , and Butterworth Inter-Order IB4 . The rather involved procedure of selecting a box size and relevant parameters is described with a discussion of box losses, use of accompanying design tables, calculation of vent dimensions, box tuning, and other parameters. Two drivers serve as examples of suitability for use in vented boxes, accompanied by a description of measurement parameters. Other topics in the chapter include box damping, the dual-woofer format, resistive and distributed vents, and electronically assisted vented designs, and vented rear chamber bandpass enclosures. Passive-radiator low-frequency systems, covered in Chap. 3, contain ‘‘drone cones’’ that substitute for vents. While they closely follow the vented loudspeaker design methodology, the passive-radiator systems carry the advantage of lacking vent pipe coloration and can be used in small enclosures where the required vent lengths would exceed the box dimensions. The procedure of selecting a woofer is the same as that described in Chap. 2, and alignments are generally restricted to QB3 , B4 , and C4 types. The determination of box size and relevant parameters are generally dealt with in the same manner as with vented enclosures. An additional factor is the so-called delta, the compliance ratio of the passive radiator. A section in this chapter also treats passive radiator bandpass enclosures, which can be best designed through computer simulation by the use of a speaker design program such as Speak® by DLC or LEAP 4.0 by Audio Technology . The augmented passive-radiator APR , a double-cavity version of the customary drone cone design, is capable of most of the vented and passiveradiator systems alignment variations. While it requires more volume in the way of enclosure size, the APR yields higher power output and a 15%–25% 1 lower cutoff corresponding up to 2-octave extension . The layout for the APR consists of two unequal area passive radiators, connected back-to-back, with the front baffles joined to the inner dividing baffle. A special table Table 3.4 provides the requisite data for designing an APR system. In Chap. 4, the transmission line TL low-frequency system is described as a means of obtaining low cabinet resonance and strong deep bass. The design situation is somewhat murkier here, as there seems to be little agreement among TL enthusiasts as to what is the optimal system parameter Q. One computer program described in the text was specifically developed for TL design by Juha Backman, but it is not currently available. However, curves based on the use of LEAP, a program that does not model TL designs, yielded results that show similarity to the performance curves developed by Backman. The line length and damping material, tuning of a TL, the TL enclosure configuration, and the selection of the woofer are discussed. An exhaustive listing of articles on construction of the TL enclosure is also given. Chapter 5 covers the topics of cabinet construction. The sphere is the best possible shape to provide the flattest frequency response, but obviously it is the most impractical to build and manufacture. However, the rectangular box, which is considerably less than optimum radiator, is the enclosure type most easily built. Standing wave modes depend on the enclosure shape and can be minimized by choosing appropriate dimensional ratios for the box. Nonparallel shapes can also attenuate standing waves. Box damping is


J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 106 (5), November 1999


© 1999 Acoustical Society of America


Soc. 7. too often given short shrift. followed by a primer on the fundamental principles of crossover design. 9 is somewhat remiss with respect to its modernity. namely cutting down on the ambient background noise levels generated by engine operation and car motion. In summary. Examples are given for the low-pass filter. An overview is rendered of the home theater loudspeaker system. second-order Chebychev filters. Peterborough. midrange enclosures. so the acoustic situation becomes one of a ‘‘lossy’’ pressure field. Also. 10 deals with an area that is growing more popular—the home theater system that is intended to reproduce movie soundtracks rather than conventional stereo programs. Chap. driver motor strength BL. driver suspension compliance. second. radiation pattern of separate drivers. Other topics include crossover network power response.and high-frequency drivers. November 1999 Book Reviews 2330 . Chapter 8 is an important one. but the table of contents is sufficiently detailed to help in finding the subject of interest. it was done in mid-1991 and much new hardware and later versions of software have been developed. fourth-order Gaussian filters. and selection of wall materials are factors to be considered in damping an enclosure. impedance equalization. Driver load compensating circuitry. high-pass filter. the relatively cramped dimensions of the passenger compartment tend to limit the wavelength response. Sections of the car body tend to flex. Design formulas are given for two-way and three-way crossovers. essentially an equalization fix-up. with the result of less than optimal reproduction in the home. Am. Vol. Formulas are included for calculating driver voice coil impedance. 5.and fourth-order Linkwitz–Riley filters. While Chap. response-shaping circuits. The Loudspeaker Design Cookbook merits a place on the bookshelf of every serious speaker designer. No. and voice coil impedance. Tom Holman developed the THX Tomlinson Holman eXperiment home specification. is that of measuring voice coil temperature over time—the description of measuring this parameter concludes the chapter. center channel speakers possibly the most important speaker in a home theater system . NH. While this is a useful listing. Acoust. phase. impedance AC resistance . 1998 . Measurement procedures are given for driver Q. including those of first. Both predictions and actual performance are shown to correlate rather well for a couple of actual speakers and automotive interiors. the author chose to maintain a cookbook format by treating examples of accepted methods commonly used in the loudspeaker industry. 106. driving mounting techniques. driver attenuation circuits. frequency response. Because the Thiel–Small predictions are based on free-field performance of the speakers. A somewhat tongue-incheek discussion of the desirability of including center channel imaging is included with a set of generic installation rules for those who absolutely must have this feature. second. Among the topics are two-way versus three-way loudspeaker formats neither one is inherently superior to the other . including as subtopics the placement of left/right front speakers. It was wise of Dickason to point out the most overlooked method of improving automotive sound quality. amplifier source resistance. RAICHEL CUNY Graduate School Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department and the School of Architecture and Environmental Studies The City College of the City University of New York New York. The automobile passenger compartment is essentially a closed-field environment. Passive crossover networks constitute the main thrust of Chap. cone excursion. series notch filter.’’ Chapter 6 shows how to determine the proper crossover frequencies on the basis of driver bandwidth and boundary orientation and to establish baffle locations for mid. and fourth-order linear phase filters. There is no index to facilitate easy location of particular subjects in the text. boundary-induced interference patterns. magnetic shielding of drivers which may need to be placed close to a video monitor . All of its chapters are well done.. but a number of references on construction details of active filter circuits are given. rear channel surround sound speakers. An important facet of testing. and frequency response in a small ‘‘lossy’’ field by actual measurements. and subwoofers. and midrange and high-frequency baffle configuration. New York 10031 2330 J. controlled vertical directivity. Internal cabinet bracing. complex impedance. e. and high-pass/low-pass summation. which call for additional channels. enclosure floor coupling. An excellent history of the development of crossover networks is rendered here.and fourthorder Bessel filters. Rather than delving into the esoteric aspects of this rather complex subject. and inductors and capacitors in crossover circuits are also discussed. and volume of air equal to driver compliance. Active networks do not lie in the scope of this chapter. Chapter 11 devotes itself to the special requirements of designing a loudspeaker system for automobiles. Loudspeakers other than the conventional electromagnetic type. Two-way crossover characteristics are described. fourth-order Legendre filters. driver mass delta mass and delta compliance methods . it contains enough information to conduct loudspeaker performance tests. Computer simulation can also be achieved by using commercially available programs. Chapter 9 is essentially a compilation of the software intended for loudspeaker design. since it describes loudspeaker testing. adjustments need to be made by establishing the impedance. driver separation and horizontal dispersion.needed in order to eliminate as much as possible the coloration that is retransmitted by most wood enclosures.through fourth-order Butterworth filters. although Chap. and the procedures described are those for measuring driver resonance. electrostatic and planar systems. DANIEL R. Because film soundtracks are not remixed for home playback. and zero delay plane ZDP . Controlled directivity led to the specification of THX speakers.. Attention is paid to attendant factors such as driver placement. While it is not as comprehensive as Joseph D’Appolito’s Testing Loudspeakers Audio Amateur Press. In this chapter the emphasis is on enclosure features rather than cabinet construction ‘‘tips.g. Equipment for determining frequency response is discussed. and enclosure vibration. the effect of boundaries room walls and ceilings on the loudspeaker power response. are not treated in The Loudspeaker Cookbook. It is pointed out that soundtrack recording techniques for conventional home listening and motion picture theatre listening differ considerably. whether he/she be a professional or a hobbyist. and microphone types are examined. Break-in of loudspeakers is recommended. 9 lacks immediacy in its compilation of computer programs but the reader can easily update himself or herself by checking out the Internet or consulting advertisements in current issues of The Speaker Builder.