Technology / Home Audio / Ribbon Driver: The ribbon tweeter driver is a very thin corrugated aluminum 'voice coil' hanging freely like a streamer in a side-by-side magnetic field. A ribbon is actually a type of dynamic driver, in which the voice coil is in the form of a flat, ribbon-shaped conductor which, positioned between opposite magnetic fields, actually becomes the diaphragm itself. The ribbon is free of the stretched film resonance's and obstructing magnets of the planar-magnetic, so it offers outstanding pulse response, uniform drive, and a good approximation of a line source, but the efficiency and impedance are both phenomenally low and the base technology is not usable as a woofer due to the small area. Most practical ribbons either use a step-down transformer or ask the amplifier to drive a ½ ohm load (not a practical solution for most). The ribbon cannot be used to produce low frequencies. To create a moving element large enough to generate frequencies lower than a few hundred Hertz would mean moving opposing magnetic poles so far apart that they no longer exert a sufficient magnetic field over the entire area of the ribbon. But, a ribbon offers very precise treble around, superior to dynamics or electrostatics. In many ways, a ribbon driver can be an excellent performer: the moving element (the ribbon itself) is extremely light, allowing good speed and transient performance as well as freedom from coloration. They are however, expensive, and hard to find.
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