Complementary to precision microphones, creating an ideal point source monitoring speaker has long been considered the holy grail of loudspeaker design. Coaxial transducers unfortunately typically come with several design compromises, such as adding intermodulation distortion, giving rise to various sources of diffraction, and resulting in somewhat restricted maximum output performance or frequency response. In this paper we review the history of coaxial transducer design, considerations for an ideal point source loudspeaker, discuss the performance of a minimum diffraction coaxial loudspeaker and describe novel designs where the bottlenecks of conventional coaxial transducers have been eliminated. In these, the coaxial element also forms an integral part of a compact, continuous waveguide, thereby further facilitating smooth off-axis dispersion.
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