THE PINNACLE OF AUDIO DESIGN AND ENGINEERING
Since 1989 Wilson Benesch has been the pioneer in the development of advanced carbon composite loudspeaker enclosures. The A.C.T. Monocoque enclosure offers the lowest signal-to-noise ratio in the industry, setting the benchmark in performance for others to aspire to. Never the less, the launch of the Cardinal loudspeaker in 2013 represented a bold design statement, defining an ambitious line of products that would become our award-winning reference line Geometry Series. Since then, we have continued to develop the technology in the Geometry Series to achieve new levels of performance. The new Eminence loudspeaker builds upon the legacy of the Cardinal and takes key technologies a step further. Eminence introduces the Tactic 3.0 midrange and bass driver, the incredible Fibonacci Silk-Carbon Hybrid Tweeter with a new decoupled motor design and the new A.C.T. 3zero Monocoque, realising the pinnacle of Wilson Benesch loudspeaker design and engineering.
As Wilson Benesch approaches its 30th-Anniversary year, the company is now recognised for the considerable intellectual property developed through three-decades and successive research and development programmes. This R&D has often been funded publicly through grant funding awarded on the merit of the engineering excellence that exists within the company. Publicly documented, these ambitious R&D projects and the body of work they have produced recently secured Wilson Benesch an invitation to form an alliance as part of a multi-million-pound pan-European R&D project to develop tomorrow’s cutting-edge composites for applications beyond 2020 in aerospace and other advanced engineering applications. The alliance of Wilson Benesch with 13 top-tier Universities, a handful of similar SME’s as well as blue-chip companies such as Akzo Nobel underlines Wilson Benesch’s position at the forefront of advanced materials science. Eminence is born directly of the IP developed from this huge body of work, it is wound directly into the DNA of the loudspeaker.
Tactic 3.0 Drive
The new Tactic 3.0 drive unit is exclusive to the Eminence loudspeaker. Made possible thanks to advances in the companies manufacturing technology, the Tactic 3.0 features the new 3D printed Fibonacci element which is comprised of Carbon Fibre-Polymer composite.
Inspired by solutions found in nature and interpreted by Fibonacci’s formula, the new Fibonacci element results in a drive unit that produces text-book perfect roll-off without any inductor, extended frequency response up to 4KHz and flat frequency response within its operating range.
The Tactic 3.0 drive unit retains the isotactic polypropylene cone which offers the optimal balance of stiffness and damping. This unique blend of material properties allows Wilson Benesch to maintain the crossover free, directly amplifier coupled design for the midrange drive unit that has been seen in our reference loudspeaker designs to date. The direct link maintains zero-phase distortion. It is the harmonious relationship between these two elements that opens the heart of the music, providing the listener with a realistic, immediate, highly articulate, yet natural character of the sound.
In 2012, Wilson Benesch introduced the Semisphere, the world’s first hybrid tweeter dome design. Based on a Silk-Carbon Fibre composite dome, the design highlighted our understanding of composite materials technology, specifically the need for damping as well as high specific stiffness in audio structures.
The latest iteration of Wilson Benesch tweeter technology builds upon the revolutionary Semisphere tweeter design pushing it into the next generation. The exquisite Fibonacci tweeter faceplate is formed from a Carbon Fibre - Polymer composite structure, creating a geometrically optimised waveguide, tailored exactly to the unique output of the Silk-Carbon Hybrid tweeter. This faceplate and the motor is in turn decoupled from the rest of the tweeter chassis, achieving not only ruler at frequency response and ultra-wide dispersion characteristics but also optimal frequency and timing integration with the Tactic 3.0 midrange drive unit.
The proprietary Neodymium magnet – open architecture precision machined componentry ensures optimal energy paths for both acoustic and thermal energy; critical design considerations where super low distortion levels are aspired to.
Isobaric Drive System
In the Isobaric Drive design, Wilson Benesch extend this philosophy a step further. By deploying two Tactic II drive units, conventionally connected, with the motor coils wired in parallel, the composite dual driver has the following characteristics if compared with a single device: twice the moving mass, half the compliance, half the impedance for which it draws twice the input current and hence double the power.
In layman’s terms, the Isobaric Drive works harmoniously in a push-pull formation, dividing the load of creating low frequency sound across two powerful drive units. By sharing the load of the work, the Isobaric Drive can produce extremely low bass, while remaining highly dynamic and perfectly integrated with the midrange drive units.
In the Eminence, Wilson Benesch have deployed a total of 6 Tactic II drive units across three independent Isobaric Drive systems, in a clamshell formation.
The enclosure exerts a considerable influence over the sound of the complete system. A moving coil driver radiates energy by vibrating a diaphragm assembly whose reaction will simultaneously excite the loudspeaker chassis causing it to vibrate in sympathy. The chassis must therefore be ridged and highly damped to prevent it from moving and in turn stop the chassis from dissipating energy as unwanted acoustic output.
Numerous examples of chassis damping are evident in the Eminence. The A.C.T. 3zero Monocoque alone is the most highly damped enclosure ever manufactured. However, Wilson Benesch also employ steel bars to internally brace the cabinets in each Geometry Series loudspeaker. In the Eminence three 14mm steel bars brace the chassis between the foot and the mid-plate, clamping the entire enclosure around the powerful Isobaric Drive Systems. Much like a cathedral roof, the bars or struts tie panels to one another, bracing and stiffening the panel and in turn damping the cabinet.
Carbon Fibre Top
Following the same principles of the A.C.T. 3zero Monocoque, the carbon fibre top in the Eminence, the Cardinal and the Endeavour have been designed firstly to damp internal cabinet born resonance and secondly to negate standing waves interacting with the loudspeaker surface. The overall effect is vastly improved signal-to-noise ratio.
These carbon fibre tops are the most complex carbon fibre forms ever created by Wilson Benesch. Starting life as a hand-formed clay sculpture, evolving in turn to a wax model, the model is laser-scanned by our partners at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre in Sheffield to create a 3D computer model. This process allows a highly complex organic structure to be created, the like of which would be almost impossible to create digitally. The result is a beautifully sculptural form, which ultimately makes no compromises in terms of its function.
Following the same principle as the A.C.T. 3zero Monocoque, Wilson Benesch have optimised the design of the Eminence and before it the Cardinal and Endeavour baffle, creating a curved profile to reduce flat surfaces on the loudspeaker.
Much like a mirror, flat surfaces reflect sound waves directly back in the direction from which they came, with little of the energy of the original wave being dissipated. This type of wave reflection is called a standing wave.
A curved surface on the other hand reflects a sound wave across a wide angle, diffusing the sound wave and in turn dissipating the energy of the original sound wave into many waves. In a listening room, this means that any reflected sound is more difficult to discern, therefore lowering the loudspeakers noise signature.
A.C.T. 3zero Monocoque
The Eminence loudspeaker enclosure is the most advanced Wilson Benesch enclosure ever built, taking the industry standard in terms of specific stiffness and damping into the next generation.
A proprietary new core material developed directly from the current R&D projects in progress using FEA, increases the stiffness to damping ratio of the A.C.T. 3zero Monocoque by 30%.
An internal matrix of high-tensile 14mm steel ties actively compress all the vertical structures reducing any resonant artifacts. High-gloss 2 x 2 twill weave cabon fibre pays homage to the original Carbon-Nomex structure that Wilson Benesch introduced to the High-End audio industry in 1989 whilst enhancing the aesthetic of the complex geometric form of the sloped carbon fibre top.
Eminence is a statement in State-of-the-Art contemporary loudspeaker design and engineering. No other component bears testament to this than the Eminence foot.
The largest sub-component of this complex structure requires a quarter of a million lines of CNC code and 16-hours of machining, reducing a 100kg solid billet of aluminium by more than half, to create a single 38kg Eminence loudspeaker foot. This formidable component governs over the energy above by way of the 14mm tie bolts that generate a metric ton of compressive pressure. This is the foundation, ground zero and arbiter of performance.
First introduced in the kinematic bearing design in the Wilson Benesch A.C.T. One Tonearm in 1991, the bearing was designed on the principles of kinematic coupling. The fundamental principle of kinematic coupling is to selectively eliminate each one or all of the six degrees of mechanical freedom that any physical body has.
In the Eminence, three 28mm steel threads, each tipped with a 12.5mm steel ball, meet with three 12.5mm steel balls, held captive inside the floor protector. This creates a triangulated structure, with a contact point of less than 1mm2. This provides high-integrity, stable location of the loudspeaker.