New Joseph Audio Pulsar Graphene 2


Just wanted to update my prior thread where this topic may have gotten lost.  As many of you may know by now, Joseph Audio has come out with the new Pulsar Graphene 2. This new iteration of the venerable Pulsars has a graphene coated magnesium midrange-woofer cone, and the drive motor, suspension system, etc., have been revamped. From what I have been told, the upgrade is pretty significant ... the sound is fuller and has greater ease, yet is very resolved. Jeff Joseph advises that an upgrade path will be available for existing owners of the Pulsars, too. Also, note that the price quoted in the Soundstage piece was in Canadian dollars ... Jeff informs me that the price in USD is $8,999 per pair. I am eager to hear the new Pulsars.
rlb61
Who decided that these should be priced at $8,999 and how?
Post removed 
@kenjit - Manufacturers generally have to charge 4x the cost of the product to make money if selling through a dealer network.  I'd bet Joseph loosely follows this.  Those drivers alone aren't cheap.  
It’s approximately a 15% increase over the original Pulsars. So, when one factors in costs of labor, materials, R&D, marketing, distribution, etc., it’s really not too bad, IMHO. Besides, the market will determine whether the price is right.

@rlb61 Did Jeff Joseph happen to say if this upgrade is planned on the entire Joseph line of speakers?
No ... he mentioned the Pulsars only.
But the only difference between these $9000 speakers and $1000 speakers is that it uses a $200 woofer vs a $50 woofer. So it should only really be $150 more expensive. same for the tweeter. i dont see how it comes to $9000
My rule of thumb is 10x driver cost.


What will be interesting to me is whether or not the graphene actually matters.


Would be great to see FR and distortion plots of the raw driver with and without it.


Ideally I’d love to see graphene damp the ringing and allow for higher use of the mid-woofer.


Otherwise, it’s a marketing feature with no other value.
I think John Atkinson said that SP planned to do a follow up on the new Pulsars. Presuming that he does his typical measurements, we should be able to compare both versions. I’m not sure that the graphene is the big deal here ... I think it’s probably more the new drive motor and other internal improvements. Also, I would think that with improved internals comes a further refinement of the already excellent Modafferi crossover.
Allowing for how much you have to spend to get that last 2% of performance, I'm sure they are worth it overall, but it is a little sad and unsettling to see small monitors getting this expensive.

Thanks for contributing the info, rlb61!
As I hope to be a future owner of the Perspectives, I wonder if Jeff will update those at some point.
But the only difference between these $9000 speakers and $1000 speakers is that it uses a $200 woofer vs a $50 woofer.

@kenjit -- What are you talking about???  The cost of speakers has a lot more to it than just drivers.  The original Pulsars are $7700/pr.  The new ones are $9k for a difference of $1300/pr. or $650 per speaker.  Divide that by four and it tells you the new drivers probably cost about $160 more per driver, which seems very possible.  If you have a problem with this math, build your own and let's see how they compare to the Pulsars.  Jeez. 





@roxy54 ... prices on many consumer items have risen significantly in recent years. With the Pulsars, as with all of Jeff’s products, the high quality is there. So, I understand well that one gets what they pay for. This hobby has some crazy prices ... almost $200K for some speakers, $35K for a pair of cables, etc. ... it’s nuts! So, even with an approximate 15% increase in the new Pulsars, Jeff’s pricing is not crazy given the improvements offered. Comparatively speaking, the increase can be viewed as reasonable given lesser competition at higher price points.

@kenjit ... I can buy a Timex or a Rolex. They both perform the same function, but it’s a matter of consumer preference. It’s the same with a $1K speaker versus a $9K speaker ... your preference will dictate your purchase. Prior to purchasing the Pulsars, I considered cheaper speakers; however, other than price, the Pulsars ticked off everything I wanted in a monitor, particularly the sound. So, I bit the bullet and bought them, and I have never regretted doing so.
Pulsars are some of the best sounding, best looking, best built speakers for the $ and are some of my favorite speakers regardless of cost.  If I ever get into that league, I would love to own a pair!
Full disclosure. I am a Joseph Audio fan. I've heard them at shows in medium sized rooms and small rooms. At home, I have run Perspectives and now run Pearl 3s. I've compared them directly to other speakers with the idea that if I heard something I liked more in the same price range or somewhat higher, I would consider changing speakers. So far, I haven't heard anything I enjoyed more. IMO Jeff Joseph's build quality, beauty and sound quality are very high value at their comparative price points. That doesn't mean they aren't expensive, but it does mean that they truly compete with other brands that cost significantly more. 
There is magic in that crossover. 
I’m a little confused about the claims of the infinite slope crossover though. According to the stereophile measurements it looks like 1700 hz crossover point with what looks like a normal roll off. It's a relatively low x-o point for a retail product, which generally improves dispersion, maybe that's what's all the fuss is about?
Hey @wildfoxinn that’s a really good catch!

You are quite right. Nothing in the FR plots, impedance or dispersion points to the claimed infinite slope. Looks like quite traditional 2nd order, with a possible impedance correction circuit thrown in for the crossover point.

I will say, besides a slightly elevated treble level, the plots are otherwise quite excellent.


I find lowered x-o point can really improve driver integration alot. I have a custom speaker that has top of the line Seas drivers (T29D001 tweeter and a new prototype Excel woofer) that had improved imaging noticeably when the crossover point was lowered from 1800hz to 1500hz.

The Seas millenium tweeter in the Pulsars has a bit more xmax than your typical tweeter and it seems like JA decided to be relatively aggresive with their x-o point and I suspect that’s actually where the "magic" is at. Amphion uses a 1600hz x-o and Revel uses 1700hz for their M126Be which I also find have great driver integration.

I'm not sure in which Joseph Audio review I read this, but somewhere Jeff Joseph mentioned that he now slopes the tweeter more gently at the crossover point - somehow whatever he was doing apparently allowed him to crossover his tweeter at a lower frequency which he said works better.
I think driver integration can be done well at any point, but have you tried woofer-assisted wide band? May be your cup of tea. :)


Best,
E
I see a thread by you about that about a speaker where the woofer covers 400hz and below. Isn’t something like the Kef Reference 1 or TAD ME-1 the closest to that concept in practice--basically a 3-way coaxial?
I dunno.  You guys seem to be implying that this is a 2nd order crossover that's crossed over relatively low in the high frequencies, and that this is what creates the magic.  That seems like an over-simplification to me, and I don't know if it's what the crossover does with phase or whatever, but there aren't many speakers that disappear or image like JA speakers.  I don't know if your giving the JA crossover its due. 
erik_squires
“Ideally I’d love to see graphene damp the ringing and allow for higher use of the mid-woofer.”

>>>>>That’s weird. Graphene is a damper? I would have assumed graphene was a stiffener.


I see a thread by you about that about a speaker where the woofer covers 400hz and below. Isn’t something like the Kef Reference 1 or TAD ME-1 the closest to that concept in practice--basically a 3-way coaxial?

I'm not sure what thread you are talking about, I've posted many, and I'm not the biggest proponent of WAWB speakers, but given your post, I though you might find it an interesting idea.

WAWB is a true 2-way, not a 3-way with coaxial.


The idea is to use a relatively small (3"-4") wide band driver to cover the mid-hundreds all the way up through the top octave. Takes crossovers completely out of the vocal range. You should visit DIYaudio or another site for more information on current thinking of this type of design.

Another way to think of a WAWB is a close cousin of full-range, single driver speakers, similar to the Fostex or Markaudio type of drivers.


https://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/full-range-speaker-kits/

Let me know if you try any of them,

Erik
That’s weird. Graphene is a damper? I would have assumed graphene was a stiffener.


All cones ring somewhat, metal especially, so my point was if the graphene coating reduces the ringing mode, either by damping or elevating the ringing frequency it would be useful.
Also, kind of interesting that Seas makes a lot of woofers for Magico, I wonder if this is a new OEM offering they are making?

I find the SEAS drivers interesting. I’m wary of presuming that drivers will have a particular "sound" in of themselves. And yet I find that one of my favourite speaker brands of old - Hales, which use the similar SEAS drivers to the JA speakers - seem to share a real DNA in their sound. I owned the Hales Transcendence 5 speakers at one point, and still own the Hales Transcendence 1 monitors (and a Hales center channel) using those same SEAS drivers and I’ll never forget first hearing the Hales transcendence speakers in a store. Metal drivers back then (mid to late 90’s) had a rep for sounding a bit hard and metallic (deservedly or not).But the Hales speakers sounded super smooth, rich, organic and with an eerie timbral believability that just grabbed me. I’d rarely heard a speaker that could produce such a believably wide array of timbral signatures. And a notable quality of the sound was a pristine smoothness and lack of etch or hash.

My only quibble that arose over time with the Hales is that they could be a bit dynamically reticent and that smoothness/clarity lack of hash could sometimes seem a bit too smooth. There was just a bit of glaze over the sound, so for instance there wasn’t quite the in-the-room texture of a bow on a violin or cello string.

The only other speakers I’ve heard that sound like the Hales are the JA speakers. They have that super smoothness combined with richness and clarity, and a signature "lack of grain/etch" sound. And if I have any quibble with the JAs, it’s that like the Hales they can sometimes have just a bit less texture than some other speakers. Though it’s not to as great degree as the Hales speakers.


But the Hales and JA speakers share such a special signature, and given their mid/woofer drivers are both SEAS and look so similar, it’s hard not to intuitively attribute something to the character of the SEAS drivers.A special blend of grain-free clarity and warmth.





As graphene is one, two, three maybe four molecules thick I kind of doubt it will have much of a damping effect.  
I wonder if it has any effect at all? 

I mean, Magico claims it is on the cover of their Be tweeters, and now Joseph will claim it covers the Magnesium cones... how would we honestly know?? 


Remember the fake Be driver scandals?? 
If Jeff says that graphene covers the cones, then I would take that to be the truth. I have found Jeff to be an honest and forthright guy, and I believe his representations without hesitation.

Also, kind of interesting that Seas makes a lot of woofers for Magico,
SEAS does not make any drivers for Magico, I know you consider yourself an expert, but one look at SEAS offering will make you realize that their drivers are built on a completely different platform (smaller voice coil, dustcap or bullet plugs vs Magico’s solid cone, etc. I am not even sure they have any Nd motors). SEAS drivers are ancient artifacts in comparison to Magico drivers. Seas now added Graphene on top of their cones (Magico did that 4 yeras ago), so JA can offer it as well. JA never claimed it is his own drivers, BTW...
So, we have Graphene cables, Graphene contact enhancer, and Graphene coating for tweeters. I imagine Graphene would have other audio applications (where stiffness is a virtue) - cartridge, stylus, tonearm, CD (label side), isolation stand top plate, speaker cabinet. 
If Jeff says that graphene covers the cones, then I would take that to be the truth. I have found Jeff to be an honest and forthright guy, and I believe his representations without hesitation.


Except as noted above, he's selling the Pulsar as using an exotic crossover when it really seems to be quite a common design.

@erik_squires ... Well, we certainly disagree on the purported simplicity of the xover and Jeff’s integrity. Here’s a link to the initial patent application for the xover by Modafferi ...https://patents.justia.com/patent/7085389

It doesn’t appear to me to be a simple second order xover, and I believe that Jeff has improved it over time. JA’s measurements in SP are not always the final explanation.
Judging from the :
  • Driver slopes
  • Impedance curves
  • Off-axis response (the real killer)


The speaker JA measured did not perform differently in any meaningful way from a traditional 2nd order speaker, except for a dip in the middle of the crossover impeadance peak which is very likely an impedance compensation circuit. A nice add.

That doesn’t make it a bad speaker, at all. In fact I would say the performance is top notch for a 2-way speaker, but I see no evidence of it being more than a well designed 2-way with good drivers and traditional crossover design.

It doesn’t appear to me to be a simple second order xover,


Please explain from the data in the review.

I believe that Jeff has improved it over time.

Except that the review claims the measured speaker has their infinite slope crossover.

I read another Stereophile review of a JA speaker and it did seem to use a very high crossover slope, but only in the woofer of a 3-way. The rest seemed rather traditional.

Best,
E

One of the benefits in the Magico design is the use of  underhung voice coils to lower the distortion..expensive..but worth the cost!
Magico design is the use of underhung voice coils to lower the distortion..expensive..but worth the cost!
whats that?
the best way to do infinity slopes is active. its hard enough doing 4th order using passive. The use of passive crossovers has no advantages. That alone diminishes the quality. 

You need to eliminate that passive crossover first before you judge the quality of these joseph audios. 

Then you can actually judge how much cabinet coloration there is and how much detail the drivers produce without worrying about what the crossover is doing. 

@kenjit

"the best way to do infinity slopes is active. its hard enough doing 4th order using passive. The use of passive crossovers has no advantages. That alone diminishes the quality.

You need to eliminate that passive crossover first before you judge the quality of these joseph audios.

Then you can actually judge how much cabinet coloration there is and how much detail the drivers produce without worrying about what the crossover is doing."

Um, I don’t even know what to say to this. Are you just making this stuff up in your own mind? Almost all speakers use passive crossovers. What planet are you from? Please get off this site for the benefit of us all.


soix,

Agreed.  That was one weird post!
For me the big advantage of crossing over low is the speaker becomes way less height sensitive, and the majority of the sound should seem like its coming from the tweeter. With most retail speakers crossed somewhere around mid 2000s or even up to 3K, just crossing over this low helps it stand out a lot in the imaging department for a 2-way. But I think anyone who likes the Pulsars should give the Revel M126BE a listen. It’s half the price and is similarly crossed over very low with a a high end SB Acoustics Be tweeter that has very good dispersion but should be capable of more output with a larger woofer.
In beginning Pulsar price was below 5K , as more positive review came pricier it became. Point to be noted that it is regular advertiser in Stereophile.
BTW, I am not of the idea that the only way to value a speaker is by driver costs.


Manufacturer reputation, and relative performance to other products in the same price range are important, as is attention to part quality in the crossover, cabinet construction, etc.


If you want to look at a speaker based on parts, I strongly and without sarcasm, suggest you DIY a pair. I do. :)


Best,
E
theres no evidence these speakers are better than a diy pair at a fraction of the cost.
or is there?
One of the benefits in the Magico design is the use of underhung voice coils to lower the distortion..expensive..but worth the cost!
Nothing special, rare or expensive about an underhung voicecoil. It's quite common, even among some relatively cheap speakers. 
Yeah...Magico’s using those cheap drivers with their under hung speaker designs. Anything to help lower distortion is a good thing in my book.
theres no evidence these speakers are better than a diy pair at a fraction of the cost.  or is there?

Can you figure out why DIY speakers are a fraction of the cost of retail speakers?  Even IF they happen to be as good?
Can you figure out why cooking for yourself at home is cheaper than ordering at a restaurant, even if you can make a meal that tastes as good as the restaurant meal?

"theres no evidence these speakers are better than a diy pair at a fraction of the cost. or is there?"

This line of reasoning makes little sense. Most anything one makes themselves will be cheaper than that made by someone else.
Once anyone says that their DIY speakers sound as good or better than a commercially produced speaker, I'm interested in knowing who else has heard them and agrees with the builder's assessment. I readily admit that ownership of a particular brand reveals an inherent positive bias towards that brand. But, the ultimate bias is for one's own creation. If others aren't asking the builder to make them the same speakers after they hear them, then the speakers might not be as good as the builder believes.