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Speaker off axis: coaxial speakers

by ct_acoustic_frontier July 06, 2022

This blog article is the fifth in a series on speaker directivity and off axis response. This article will consider the off axis response of coaxial speakers and consequences for acoustic design. Previous articles in the series established the psychoacoustic as well as subjective importance of speaker off axis response, different ways to measure speaker directivity, the off axis characteristics of waveguided and non-waveguided forward firing cone / dome speakers and the off axis characteristics of constant directivity horn waveguide speakers.   A coaxial speaker is one where two or more drive units are physically co-located such that the sound they radiate comes from the same point in space. The most typical arrangement is a coincident midrange and treble, as seen in speakers from KEF, TAD, Tannoy and others.    />

 
<h3>Consistency of both vertical and lateral off axis: a primary characteristic of coaxials</h3>
The major advantage of a coaxial is off axis response consistency in both lateral and vertical planes. Speakers using a vertically stacked driver array can be engineered to measure extremely well laterally off axis but as soon as one moves into the any other plane there will be some lobing resulting from phase cancellation due to path length differences between the two drivers. This can be seen by comparing the vertical off axis measurements of a coaxial and conventional speaker as shown in the KEF LS50 and YG Anat III measurements below.

 

<img class=this page for more details on issues with 'normal' professional coaxial drivers.  />

That wraps up our look at coaxial speakers. Well engineered coaxials are probably the easiest speaker type to design for acoustically because of their superb off axis performance. They don't offer as much pattern control as some waveguides but their even, relatively wide dispersion makes acoustic treatment design straightforward.

In future articles we'll look at other speaker designs such as dipoles and CBTs. In the meantime please leave any comments you have below!


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