The Speaker that took 4,000 years to build


Around 4000 years ago, an invention swept across Asia from somewhere in Tibet or Burma (modern-day Myanmar) that revolutionized communications technology forever. By 600 AD in western China, it had reduced communication latency from days to minutes and relayed important information across hundreds of miles, from one locality to another as many as 50 miles apart. Without telephones, radio waves or fiberoptic cables, this extremely efficient information delivery system warned of invasion, declared governmental edicts, announced royal births, and the coronation of emperors. It is said that some devices could influence the weather and bring about rain in times of drought; even engender healing in the human body.

In 1790, French composer Francois Joseph Gossec introduced its alluring sound into a funeral march, “Le Marche Lugubre.” Thus began its journey into western culture where it now enjoys a special place in the world of sound and music. We know this spectacular discovery as the “Gong.”

Is it any surprise that such a concept should at some point make its way into the arcane corridors of audio enthusiasm? The basic gong architecture consists of a round disc that acts as a driver resonating mechanical energy of various frequencies (some even designed with a treble, midrange, and low frequency region), suspended by one or more straps hanging from a support, and whose speaker enclosure consists of that most ephemeral of materials: air. One audio enthusiast, Luke Zitterkopf, decided to take the pioneering step of adopting this design, which had proven itself in many different applications, from sonic communication to musical instrumentation. He would build a speaker system. Instead of air as the enclosure, he would use aluminum.  Aluminum provided the necessary density and mass to help direct energy through the speaker drivers which took the place of gong discs. The speakers would hang by two points of isolation and decoupling, left and right, leaving no alternative route to the floor for mechanical energy but the emission path provided by the speaker drivers. In addition, its density and mass meant the size could be slender in order that sound deflection off the speaker face be minimized.

But this speaker design was not limited to a single innovation. Luke would employ a similar suspension method used for the monitors, to support active subwoofers as well. Each foot contains a strap that spans the interior of the foot component and imitates suspension qualities of a bamboo foot bridge. Each subwoofer rests on four of these suspension foot components so that it does not come in direct contact with the floor. Such a design renders the subwoofers isolated and decoupled from the floor. Essentially, the subwoofers are suspended in the air.   

The Aluminous Audio Gravitas Speaker system is comprised of a set of four speaker sources, two monitors and two active subwoofers, all suspended in air. What’s more, with four separate sound origins, and two sound frequency sources, low, and midrange/tweeter, greater flexibility is afforded on the quest to find the speaker placement that suits the unique acoustic characteristics of any given space. In other words, rather than deferring to the limitations presented by two substantial speaker enclosures whose vertical planes of emission are fixed, Luke could maneuver four smaller enclosures around a listening environment, allowing him to ‘tune the room’ more accurately for sound performance.  Such flexibility also allows for the system to accommodate a wider variety of listening environments without compromising musical precision or dynamic contrast. Whether one  individual sits in a 10 foot wide, 15 foot deep sound room reviewing recorded masters, or an audience mills about a 16 feet high 25x45 feet living room, the sound delivery system can be adjusted to accommodate the variance in acoustic terrain as well as for the tastes of the listening audience. Whether experiencing a movie’s soundtrack effects, the otherworldly bass funk of an electronica track, or a violinist’s delicate turn of wrist in a performance of Scheherazade, the listener cannot escape the music’s sonic embrace.

The Gravitas Speaker System is built on contemporary research, first-hand experimentation, and an architectural success story of sound that is thousands of years old. Such a speaker system is a prime candidate for the audio enthusiast who is on a mission to realize the best in a listening experience. Contact us at Aluminous Audio to learn more….

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Wednesday, 29 November 2023