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Behavior Under Vibration Three excellent reference books on the behavior of thin membranes under vibration are Rayleigh

: "Sound"; Olson: "Acoustical Engineering"; and Timoshenko: "Theory of Plates and Shells". The author has worked in the field since the publishing of these reference books, but this is his first publication of his fifty-year research. This field is so complex and difficult few have ventured basic treatises. Mathematically, cone design is a nightmare. While it is not generally discussed, even expressing simple dynamics of cone vibration requires third and fourth degree differential equations. The author, after struggling vainly for years, discovered that making speaker test diaphragms was cheaper and easier and more productive then working through the mathematics of a design. This article deals with the subject of cone design from a physics point of view, rather than a mathematical one. Physics is tied to reality; mathematics is not--necessarily. People, who manufacture speaker cones having breakup modes in their used range, attempt to claim that cone breakup, like chromium 6 is good for you. A speaker cone is a "piston" and increases and decreases air pressure (by vibration) over its surface as a means of re-creating the original sound. The cone is even referred to as a piston by many. They talk of the piston range of the speaker. In the piston range, the sound pressure over the entire surface of the cone is in phase. As phase is so important in stereo reproduction, this feature is very important. When a cone enters a breakup mode, part of the cone moves one way and the other part of the cone moves the other (cones only have one degree of freedom). No matter what, this mode (the breakup mode) of operation is not faithfully reproducing the electrically impressed signal on the voice coil. There is no way to deny this. It is fact. There are two basic breakup modes in a vibrating membrane. One mode is called: 'The Chinese Gong" mode. In this mode of breakup, vibrations (waves) run around the periphery of the vibrating membrane. It should be mentioned that the velocity of sound through a membrane is greater than the velocity of sound through air. For this reason, the wavelengths involved in speaker membrane vibration are shorter than the wavelength of the associated sound wave. The wavelength in the diaphragm (for a particular sound wave) varies and is dependent upon the material used in the diaphragm. As various materials are used in the fabrication of speaker diaphragms, the velocity of sound in each material is different and the associated wavelength varies accordingly. In the design of a speaker cone, this must be taken into consideration. The other mode of breakup in a speaker cone is called: "The Plumber's Helper" mode. Anyone who has ever used a plumber's helper knows the

One musician known to the author used to kick a hole in his loudspeaker to intentionally create distortion. Those who are unable to eliminate cone breakup in their speakers make this claim. The bending deformations have wavelengths. The speaker voice coil causes the radiated sound from the speaker cone. Such non-harmonically generated sounds are offensive to the ear. The interference pattern between the Chinese Gong and Plumber's helper vibrations create the complex breakup wave patterns that are generated in a speaker cone in what are called 'breakup mode. Therefore harmonic frequencies in the cone breakup are not related to the intended sound frequencies. this bending by part of the cone is not stationary. but it has other deleterious effects. This is so for the breakup modes generate sounds not harmonically related to the incoming electrical waveform. there is a radial reflection back toward the center. They are related to the velocity of sound through the cone. Breakup mode sound waves are created by the nature of the speaker cone. Selective absorption of sound by the speaker cone. This damping suppresses some of the breakup modes. When the vibration in a speaker cone reaches the periphery. Timoshenko carries out an extended discussion on the nature and cause of this bending on a static set of conditions. not by the intended radiated sound from the surface of the cone. but does not treat the vibratory model. Some manufacturers intentionally make their speaker cones from non-resonance (damped) materials in an attempt to suppress breakup modes. It can be shown that speaker cones that do not breakup sound better (all other parameters unchanged). means that some of the sounds that are supposed to be radiated . but moves with the cone vibration. Sound reproduction should be the intentional re-creation of the original sounds. The breakup occurs because the forces driving the cone cause the cone to bend. It is beyond the scope of his treatise. without introduced extraneous sounds by the cone (through breakup) of the re-creating system. One of the reasons for this is that the velocity of sound through the air and through the speaker cone is not the same. Because the forces are dynamic and vibratory. There are those manufacturers who claim that speaker cones (under vibration) that breakup produce distortion that is good for you. This is easily confirmed by spectral analysis. The distortions (movement) in the plunger travel radially outward.action of the plunger when the stick in the center of the helper is depressed. It must be remembered that the breakup frequencies of the cone do not translate back into sound waves related to the impressed vibrations on the speaker cone. Most of the sounds generated by speaker cone breakup are not harmonically related to the intended sounds to be reproduced.

from the cone are suppressed as well as the breakup modes. drums. percussive sounds so pleasing to the ear. but in the process they absorb plumber's helper vibrations. The same effect occurs in the surround. As you can see. This in itself is a distortion. Organ sounds go through a damped system. This kind of damping also results in distortion. the design of a speaker cone is not a simple straightforward process. but sounds from pianos. you eliminate it. guitars etc. do not. . The general effect of heavily damped speaker cones is the suppression of transients. (The cone suspension) Damped surrounds suppress Chinese Gong vibrations. When you absorb a sound.