Thanks to its extremely high stiffness-to-mass ratio, beryllium outperforms both aluminum and titanium by dramatically reducing mechanical deformation (breakup), and shifting resonant frequencies outside the audible range. As a result, beryllium offers the potential to advance loudspeaker performance well beyond today’s “state-of-the-art” systems. Over the last decade, Materion Electrofusion has pioneered numerous manufacturing techniques that have further improved beryllium’s performance advantages while also reducing overall production costs.
By uniting Materion’s beryllium technology with VUE’s extensive design and manufacturing capabilities, we’re now able to bring beryllium transducers out of the esoteric high end and into broader sound reinforcement applications. As a result, VUE engineers are actively developing a full range of compression drivers that feature Materion’s Truextent® beryllium diaphragms. These revolutionary HF transducers will form the foundation for an expanded range of ultra high-performance professional loudspeakers capable of delivering measurable improvements in everything from response linearity to output and long-term durability.
al-4 and h-Class Raise the Bar
The first result of our development partnership with Materion is the 4-inch compression driver found at the heart of our h-12 and h-15 active two-way systems. This revolutionary HF driver features a Truextent® beryllium diaphragm. h-Class systems pair this powerful device with equally advanced LF transducers as well as active electronics that include driver-dedicated amplification and system-optimized DSP.
Following the h-Class, VUE engineers developed a smaller, 1-inch exit compression (1.3-ich voice coil) compression driver for use in our al-4 Subcompact Line Array System and al-8 dual 8-inch based Line Array System. Also featuring a Truextent beryllium diaphragm, the HF transducer is ideal for the ultra-compact al-4 acoustic element, where it’s mounted to a precision waveguide delivering 90-degrees of horizontal coverage (the al-8 combines a pair of the 1.3-inch drivers on a wave-guide). The compression divers are mated with Kevlar cone neodymium transducers that flank the HF device. All the al-Class systems are matched with a companion rack mont VUEDrive System Engine networked dsp-processor / amplifiers to complete the systems.
The new al-12 Large-format Line Array System incorporates a pair of 3-inch voice coil compression driver that was designed form the ground up to take full advantage of beryllium’s extended high frequency bandwidth. It features a unique designed high pressure di-cast phase-plug optimized for output above 10,000 Hz resulting in response up to 30k Hz.
Thanks to their unique beryllium transducers, both the h-Class and al-Class deliver dramatic improvements in both HF extension and response linearity – far beyond what would have been possible with more traditional aluminum or titanium components.
The h-Class and al-Class systems are only the beginning. Today VUE engineers are actively developing an expanded family of beryllium compression drivers for use in finished systems targeting a broad range of applications from commercial audio to portable PA and touring sound. At the same time, our R&D team is also exploring other unique ways to leverage the benefits of beryllium and advanced hybrid materials beyond just HF devices.
If you’d like to learn more about the science behind acoustic beryllium, here are a few “must read” resources to get you up to speed.
The Use Of Beryllium In Transducers
Read the expanded version of the article that appeared in Live Sound International magazine.
Beryllium’s near perfect pistonic motion results from its extremely high stiffness-to-mass ratio, dramatically reducing mechanical deformation (breakup) and shifting resonant frequencies outside the audible range.
Lower Mass Equals Greater Acceleration
Beryllium has the lowest density-to-mass ratio of any metal used for compression driver diaphragms. (Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity. Density measures mass per unit volume. A lower overall mass allows for greater acceleration, which increases both efficiency and frequency extension.)
Growing The Loudspeaker Ecosystem: The Use Of Beryllium In Transducers Read the expanded version of this Live Sound International article on VUE’s beryllium engineering efforts.
Tuning forks: Let Your Ears Do The Math! This fascinating paper by Materion’s Peter J. Andrews offers an entertaining method for demonstrating beryllium’s unique abilities. By utilizing three tuning forks of the exact same dimensions (one each of aluminum, titanium, and beryllium), Andrew’s strikes the forks to show how much faster sound travels through beryllium, as it resonates at a much higher frequency than the other two.
Beryllium dome diaphragms whitepaper presented at the 2011 ALMA European Symposium. This paper compares genuine Truextent beryllium to titanium and aluminum, and shows Materion’s Truextent brand is indeed the superior material.
Materion provides safety information for a variety of their products and materials. This link will take you to the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for Beryllium.
Truextent is a registered trademark of Materion Brush, Inc.