Video request to Paul - ribbon tweeter vs air motion transformer

Hi @Paul

Could you do a video explaining the difference between how a ribbon tweeter vs air motion transformer (AMT) works?

I haven’t found a clear explanation anywhere apart from the fact that they both ‘squeeze’ air, compared to dome tweeters that ‘push’ air.


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Or maybe @Chris_Brunhaver or @DarrenMyers could assist?

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Excellent idea.

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This guy tries to explain the difference. I’m certain he knows his stuff but it’s not a clear explanation of the difference.

And the bad audio doesn’t help.

He says they are not the same but doesn’t really clearly explain the difference.

Wikipedia has good articles on Air Motion and Tweeters. Though not in video, they’re quite informative.

The latter talks about all types not just dome tweeters. External links within Wikipedia articles can be quite useful.

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Thanks I’ve seen those but still doesn’t clearly describe the difference.

The description for ribbon is just like how many describe AMT, hence my confusion.

Didn’t read anything yet, but my knowledge of the practical outcome is, that AMT are especially dynamic for a ribbon kind of tweeter.

:raised_hand: :wave:
Another interested in this topic… I run Heils in my work shop & ribbons at home. One day I WILL take the Heil speakers home & actually properly audition them… one day… not today though. Today revenue :canada: has left me rather cranky… :pleading_face:


Per the WIki article, the diff is that AMT (a.k.a. “Heil”) drivers, instead of vibrating in a pistonic or diaphragmatic manner, transfer energy to the air by “pinching” it between the folds of the accordian-shaped conductive foil. I recall that the example used by Heil when the driver was first introduced was to imagine squeezing a cherry pit between your thumb and forefinger to launch it forward instead of pushing it with the palm of your hand…

You’ve described the difference from a typical dome tweeter…

But the question, as per the thread title, is looking for differences from a ribbon…

An example of confusion, both screenshot quotes are from this same page.

Have you Heard AMT Tweeters? - Find Out How They Work And Discover You Might Be Missing Out | Production Expert

followed by:

My understanding is that a “ribbon” is a smooth conductive membrane, maybe slightly corrugated or pleated to add strength, as is the case with the Magneplanar ribbon tweeters. In an AMT driver, the conductive membrane is configured as a folded structure. Apart from that, both are suspended in a magnetic field.

The ribbon moves as a planar diaphragm when a signal is applied. The AMT moves somewhat (but not exactly) like the bellows on an accordion, “pushing” the air from within the folds.

Again, just my understanding. Chris B. should weigh in…

In the meantime, try this link:

And this one:

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See my post above about this link

Try thinking of it this way - the AMT is a special case of a ribbon tweeter.

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Didn’t the AMT come first? So ribbon is an evolution of AMT?

And regardless which came first, this is still not an explanation of the differences.

I’m not that interested in the history, moreso interested in technical differences.

We need a real expert to explain this because there doesn’t seem to be a clear explanation anywhere.

Revenue Canada doesn’t like me either. Yet the IRS is nice to me every year :zipper_mouth_face:

How about LMT Linear Motion Transformer?! Linear in 2 ways, practically linear from 800 Hz to 28 kHz and linear movement.

LMT Linear Motion Transformer

No cross overs and phase changes in the in the frequency range from 1 kHz up to 28 kHz in the speakers where this driver is applied.

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Very cool!

Not related to AMT or ribbon but Manger’s bending wave transducer claims to be to do 80Hz to 40kHz !

Stereophile’s measurement of one of their speaekrs wasn’t very flattering though, so claims vs reality can be out of sync sometimes.

I have ESS Heil AMTs crossed at 1600Hz (DSP linear phase crossover).

I could safely go down to 1200Hz (based on midwoofer measurements) but haven’t gotten around to change DSP crossover settings and listening yet.

Many say even 1000 Hz is fine, depending on midwoofer but I wouldn’t do that for my midwoofer.

Like the Manger bending transducer, AMT and ribbons the LMT is an weideband alternative to doe tweeters.

Manger speakers are beautiful, if I had the budget. AMT speakers sound also really good, I had the chance to listen to Abacus AMT active speakers. Sounded great.

Likewise I had the chance to compare Burmester B38 to Piega ribbons, about the same price. Listened together with my sister. It became apparent that women are much more capable of hearing heights. My sister preferred the Piega Ribbons and I the Burmester, the balance between bass and height was much better with the Brmester to me for my sister the bass was more in balance with the Piega and she found the heights just amazing, for her the best.

I love the Sonus Faber sound also and they utilise a soft dome tweeter. My Yamaha MSP 5 Monitors have metal dome tweeters and they reveal any detail.

So I find the discussion about driver types a bit academic really. It’s the complete speaker that makes the sound and different people have different preferences.

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