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Loudspeakers vs Lenses

Mysteries in life, there are many, here’s a couple..

  • Why is glass see-through?
  • How can paper (and ribbons) be so loud?

I have Neat Iota Alpha, in oak, which I like very much (as does my wife, critically). Small, discreet and sound lovely. Use with Bluesound Powernode 2 for a fantastically minimal system, does our TV sound too.

Speaker drive units are usually concave disks, made from all sorts of materials from paper to aluminium and carbon fibre, with a powerful electo-magnet at the middle to make them vibrate. Iota Alpha’s have paper drive units, the one you can see and the other, invisible, facing down from the bottom, hence the spikes. The high frequencies are handled by a ribbon tweeter. So, paper and ribbon make the sound, and they make it loud, go figure.

Lenses are disk -shaped too and although see-through (why?) they manage to bend the light and sometimes capture beauty as it is, occasionally enhance it. Here’s my favourite, known as the keg for its weight and shape

This is our cat Black-Whitey, who is actually quite ugly, but this lens transforms him into a beauty, in our eyes anyway.

The speakers and the lens cost about the same (£1500) and will both last me the rest of my life. Maybe that is good value.