Whether it’s raw rock, powerful arias or any of the choral repertoire, voices are central to musical communication and conveying all the emotion requires the very best midrange rendition – the finest driver operating in an ideal enclosure. Taking the simple tube concept of the original 4-way Nautilus™ a stage further, we perfected the Nautilus ’head’ to allow a single driver to cover the whole of the critical mid band in one seamless sweep.
Crafted from inert Marlan® composite, the internal cavity – a sphere closely coupled to a short tube - absorbs most of the sound from the back of the driver, with the fibre filling mopping up the last vestiges. On the outside, the glossy teardrop shape smoothly disperses the sound around the speaker creating a solid, three-dimensional image. It was pointed out in the section Nautilus tapered tubes that the technique is limited in bandwidth by the onset of cross-mode resonances as the wavelength gets smaller. It has long been known from horn theory that, if there is a cavity between the driver and the throat of the horn, high-frequency performance is limited. While undesirable in standard horn design, this effect is just what is needed to attenuate higher frequencies before they enter the Nautilus tube and cause any cross-mode resonances.
Cavities, of course, have their own internal resonance problems. Indeed, it is to get away from these that we use tubes in the first place. However, for once physics is on our side. Extensive computer modelling and practical experimentation showed that, if the cavity is a sphere whose diameter had a particular ratio to the diameter of the driver diaphragm, and a hole directly opposite the driver which is the same diameter as its diaphragm and leads to a tapered tube, the internal resonances are to a large extent eliminated. Any residual effects are readily mopped up by wadding inside the sphere and tube. The sphere also has the ideal shape for avoiding diffraction effects on the outside of the enclosure, with consequent benefits to the imaging.
Find out what Bowers & Wilkins customers and audio enthusiasts are talking about on our blogs, and read in-depth articles in the Sound Lab.
Sonic Meditations #1 Pauline OliverosApril 27,2017
Ten R&B tracks that made the ‘80s greatApril 27,2017
Production Notes by Tom HickoxApril 25,2017
People Power: Fighting for PeaceApril 13,2017