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Thread: Elliptical Speakers. Why Are They No Longer Used in Hi-Fi?

  1. #1
    Join Date: Apr 2012

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    I'm Geoff.

    Default Elliptical Speakers. Why Are They No Longer Used in Hi-Fi?

    (restarting this thread as it was accidentally deleted, previous contributors please feel free to repost)


    Generally, manufacturers don't use elliptical drive units in Hi-Fi speakers. They were very popular years ago. Ellipticals have much going for them, less obvious cone colouration, broader operating bandwidth, and the narrower chassis for a given cone area allows slimmer cabinets to be designed. It's all good news.

    Perhaps they fell out of favour for being regarded as 'old hat' or 'radiogram speakers' years ago.

    Mordaunt Short were that last maker to employ them in quantity that I can recall.

    No doubt there may be an obscure design or two out there using ellipticals, but I can't think of any.
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  2. #2
    Join Date: Sep 2009

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    I'm Josie.

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    I was going to say before. Aren't some car speaker still oval shaped?

    I had some, I think Shnieder? speakers once which sounded good, they were oval.
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  3. #3
    Join Date: Apr 2009

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    I'm Dave.

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    Maybe they are more difficult to make but having said that, they were the go to choice for radios and radiograms etc, so they needn't be expensive.

    They could be used to good effect in the modern slim line speakers as they could provide a larger cone size than a circular unit but not require a wider cabinet.

  4. #4
    Join Date: Feb 2013

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    I'm Grant.

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    a wider freq response
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  5. #5
    Join Date: Oct 2012

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    More distortion and cone break up, less pistonic in action, more coloured... Mainly used to save space in lo fi gear.
    Bizarrely, they were used in several hi fi speakers for tax reasons! You paid less tax in the days of "purchase tax" as round units were in a higher tax bracket than elliptical...

  6. #6
    Join Date: Jan 2009

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    The B&W DM3 speaker used an elliptical driver. As did some some Heco speakers.

    You could argue the KEF B139 'racetrack' drive unit is a development of the elliptical design.
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  7. #7
    Join Date: Jul 2009

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    As someone who designed several OEM car 6x9 subwoofers when at Goodmans, I can assure you they bring an interesting set of design challenges compared to round speakers! That said, I must admit I'm surprised there hasn't been more of an effort to come up with something like a modern KEF B139, which would bring the advantages of a decent cone area, but still in a width that would fit a modern, slim cabinet.

    As an aside, one of my good friends and former colleagues worked at Goodmans for several years before I did, including the time when Mordaunt Short were in the same building and developing the 800 series mentioned above (which had the elliptical drivers).

    They had 'one or two issues' with the drivers' design and my friend was loaned to them for several months to sort it all out, which he successfully did, and rumour has it the 800s are rather good. However, to this day, he still develops an inadvertent twitch if I mention them in his presence!
    Adam.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arkless Electronics View Post
    More distortion and cone break up, less pistonic in action, more coloured... Mainly used to save space in lo fi gear.
    Bizarrely, they were used in several hi fi speakers for tax reasons! You paid less tax in the days of "purchase tax" as round units were in a higher tax bracket than elliptical...
    Speakers using more than one drive unit were regarded as 'professional' and were, I believe, not subject to purchase tax.
    Have you listened to this month's choice in the Album Club?

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  9. #9
    Join Date: Oct 2012

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    I'm Jez.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    Speakers using more than one drive unit were regarded as 'professional' and were, I believe, not subject to purchase tax.
    Indeed but there was also a driver size limit with too small = domestic. They could quote the longer dimension of the elliptical cone and get round it that way!

    This is according to the book "Leak: Firsts in high fidelity" re the Leak Mini-Sandwich.

  10. #10
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    I'm Tony.

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    Still sounding good now in my MS 400


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