Audio Engineering Society

Chicago Section

Meeting Review, December 4, 2007

other meeting reports

12/4/07 Meeting Highlights
by Nick Kettman

At the Chicago Section’s December meeting, David Prince of Tymphany Corporation discussed his work on the Linear Array Transducer (LAT). The Tymphany LAT is a departure from traditional cone transducers which displace air using a single diaphragm. In contrast, the LAT features a linear array of smaller transducers which can be arranged in a stacked formation, resulting in a more efficient geometry. Such a driver can be utilized where larger, conventional drivers normally do not fit – for example in the sound bar of a flat panel television (FPTV). Mr. Prince worked as an architectural acoustics consultant for TALASKE in the early 1990s and later studied acoustics at Penn State and The University of Florida. He has worked alongside engineer and designer Bob True at International Jensen, True Technologies, and presently at Tymphany Corporation.

The Tymphany LAT was designed for use in consumer products such as FPTVs, iPod docks, and other devices which generally only allow for narrow and shallow speaker enclosures. The first product to feature the LAT was an automotive subwoofer produced by Alpine Electronics which was designed to be placed in the space behind the seat in a truck. One particular advantage of the LAT design is the use of opposing end motors which essentially cancels all vibration along the displacement axis. Despite the benefits of the LAT design, however, Tymphany has encountered challenges such as the increasing price of neodymium magnets, the ever-decreasing thickness of FPTVs, and the industry’s tendency to choose convenience and simplicity over sound quality.

Mr. Prince demonstrated the LAT technology by offering a comparison of two similarly-sized FPTV sound bars: one using conventional speaker technology, and one which incorporated a LAT. The LAT sound bar, although comprising only 3.7 liters of total enclosure volume, was the obvious winner in terms of low-frequency extension. The Tymphany LAT is the engine behind several high-end speaker brands, including Peerless and ScanSpeak.