Ultra-flat loudspeakers with powerful sound reproduction

September 3, 2009
Bigger speakers, bigger sound - this is the music lover’s creed. Flat panel loudspeakers offer an alternative to those who would rather not or cannot clutter up their homes with speakers. These speakers can be integrated inconspicuously on walls or in furniture. (© Fraunhofer IDMT)

(PhysOrg.com) -- Bigger speakers, bigger sound - this is the music lover’s creed. Flat panel loudspeakers offer an alternative to those who would rather not or cannot clutter up their homes with speakers. These speakers can be integrated inconspicuously on walls or in furniture. At the Internationale Funkausstellung IFA in Berlin, Germany, from September 4 to 9, Fraunhofer scientists are presenting a completely new concept for ultra-flat loudspeakers that still deliver full sound reproduction.

Stereo, Dolby Digital, 5.1 or surround sound - music lovers have to accommodate an increasing number of loudspeakers in their rooms in order to obtain the most perfect sound. Good sound reproduction takes space, at least in the speakers. The loudspeaker membrane must have room to vibrate in order to maintain unimpaired enjoyment. Flat panel loudspeakers can be integrated almost invisibly into the surroundings to keep the multitude of loudspeakers from dominating the room. However, the quality of the sound in conventional models suffers if speakers are installed on walls or in furniture. In cooperation with Sennheiser electronic, scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT in Ilmenau, Germany have now developed a special loudspeaker: ultra-flat, but resonant nevertheless.

“This new generation offers tonal balance and acoustic pressure at a level that will even allow the use in the professional movie or concert segment in the future,” reports Dr. Sandra Brix from IDMT. To make this possible, Brix and her team took their inspiration from the loudspeakers of premium headphones. “We are opening up a new application area for our highest quality electrodynamic headphone miniature loudspeakers in this alliance with Fraunhofer. Because of their compact overall depth, they are excellently suited for use in the flattest loudspeaker boxes, without any losses in tonal persuasiveness,” says Prof. Dr. Jürgen Peissig, head of the Signal Processing and research department at Sennheiser electronic. They are arranged in groups, or "arrays" in the trade jargon, so that they allow audio quality that has not been seen in the past. “Even if these flat panel loudspeakers are placed directly on the wall or integrated into media equipment or furniture, they can reproduce a frequency range from 100 hertz to 20 kilohertz,” according to Brix. “This distinguishes our new concept from conventional flat panel loudspeakers that achieve response characteristics at this level only if kept at a certain minimum distance from the wall.”

Consequently, the ultra-flat loudspeakers are ideally suitable for multichannel systems and the IOSONO audio system. Based on the principle of wave field synthesis, IOSONO produces a realistic and spatial sound field throughout the entire listening area with the help of a large number of small loudspeakers arranged in a ring. Thanks to the new design and sound, this large number of loudspeakers can now be discreetly integrated into the surroundings. In the future, Dr. Brix is convinced, it will be possible to use this technology in all areas that call for an integration and reproduction of sound as invisible as possible. Automotive and aircraft construction are not the only areas calling for good at low weights and installation depths. Spas and hotels also seek to create surroundings that fascinate both eyes and ears equally. For example, the flat panel loudspeaker could inconspicuously disappear into the ambient design in form of a picture or decorative element.

Visitors to IFA in Berlin can experience the first prototypes of the ultra-flat loudspeakers -- in the TecWatch Hall 5.3, booth 14.

Provided by Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft (news : web)

Explore further: Nothing but first-class seats at the movies

Related Stories

Nothing but first-class seats at the movies

July 5, 2006

Invisible, but audible, is the latest attraction at the Bavaria Film Studios near Munich. The "4D cinema experience" is the second movie theater in Germany to have departed from conventional multi-channel sound. The IOSONO ...

'Immersive Dome' -- don't just watch, join the action

August 14, 2009

The "Immersive Dome" puts viewers at the heart of the action and lets them actively participate. Instead of the conventional surround sound, a three-dimensional aural experience awaits visitors. At IBC, the trade show for ...

Recommended for you

Smallest 3-D camera offers brain surgery innovation

August 28, 2015

To operate on the brain, doctors need to see fine details on a small scale. A tiny camera that could produce 3-D images from inside the brain would help surgeons see more intricacies of the tissue they are handling and lead ...

Smart home heating and cooling

August 28, 2015

Smart temperature-control devices—such as thermostats that learn and adjust to pre-programmed temperatures—are poised to increase comfort and save energy in homes.

Team creates functional ultrathin solar cells

August 27, 2015

(Phys.org)—A team of researchers with Johannes Kepler University Linz in Austria has developed an ultrathin solar cell for use in lightweight and flexible applications. In their paper published in the journal Nature Materials, ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Sep 06, 2009
Since some year I am working on a “Holophony”- approach, based on the acoustic curtain principle. In the near field of a huge WFS- speaker- screen the playback room acoustics become subtract in the common system of recording and playback room. For such application the described Flat Loudspeaker Invention were meant for each other by my opinion.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.