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Built from carefully cut and mitred sheets of 19mm plate glass, the intricate shape of the enclosure is far from an accident. Each panel enjoys a different width so that no two elements support the same resonant behaviour. But the really clever part of the structural design derives from the use of advanced Comsol FEA software to model both the mechanical behaviour of the cabinet and the gas dynamics of the enclosed volume. Employed by the likes of NASA for product development, it allows a designer to work with incredibly complex shapes in real time, allowing the shape itself to become a critical factor in the resonant behaviour of the system – and resulting in the Arabesque’s complicated but precisely calculated, tapered footprint. Shaped rather like a Comma, the curved tail section is left open to vent the internal volume. Referred to as a friction port due to its tapered form and narrow mouth, the precise dimensions of the neck allow equally precise control of the air mass. This, combined with Comsol’s deep insights into the cabinet’s mechanical behavior allows the speaker to virtually dispense with internal damping without compromising performance, arguably actually realizing the potential of glass as a structural material for the first time.
Then there are the electrical specs: 95dB sensitivity and a -3dB point of 27Hz from what is, in volume terms, a pretty small cabinet.
The Comsol software allows precise tuning of the speaker’s vent, its mouth being partially closed by a slotted 316 grade, stainless steel plate. This is damped to prevent it resonating, while the only other internal damping is an unobtrusive, domed cushion in the base of the cabinet to help control the vertical standing wave.
The drivers are mated through a second-order passive crossover, although unusually, the tweeter is kept in phase with the bass/mid drivers for a phase coherent output. The ribbon extends down to a low crossover point of 2kHz, again echoing an increasingly common current trend amongst high-end speaker designs. The crossover itself is housed in a separate, milled out block of aircraft grade aluminium spaced from the bottom of the cabinet proper.