Ribbon tweeters...out of favor these days?


Just a quick question about ribbon tweeters on tower speakers. Has the technology with metal dome and fabric dome tweeters produced results that obviate the need for or advantage of ribbon tweeters. I know that some manufactures such as VMPS and Legacy still seem to favor ribbons, at least as a super tweeter.

But I have been researching speakers, and it seems most of the mid to upper line brands such as B&W, Thiel, Vandersteen, Eggleston, and others employ some type of dome tweeter.

What are the relative advantages/disavantages of each type for a 50/50 mix of music and home theater?
still lots of us with Magnepan's, don't think think they are getting any less popular in the Audiophile community
I finally found a metal dome tweeter that equals or beats the metal dome tweeter in my Avalon Avatars, the Berrylium tweeter in my new Usher BE 718s.
These speakers both sound great, to me.
Neither speaker can re-create the thunderstorm at the beginning of Wings "Uncle Albert/Admiral Halsey", as convincingly as my Apogee Mini Grands could. This is my reference track for any new speaker I get, as far as dynamics go.
You just need to understand no point source tweeter (like a dome) can deliver the energy a line source (like a ribbon) is capable of reproducing. Ribbons can range from an inch to 6 feet, or more.
You'll see some manufacturers using many point source tweeters to try to increase hi frequency output. This is complicated & expensive, because all the tweeters should be matched in output as closely as possible.
I'd say it all comes down to personal preference. Some listeners just get spoiled by large ribbon speakers.
Unfortunately, the best ones need room to breathe & are very sensative to the quality of all components upstream of the speakers...
I have used ribbons, Leak 3090, Apogee Duetta Signatures, They are fine but hard to integrate with cones and very expensive if used for all drivers. I actually like the older fabric domes better than the new metal ones, for me the question is how the whole range of the speaker works together. Each type of driver has advantages, you just have to decide what set of virtues appeals to you the most.
I prefer the ribbon tweeter combo like on my Dali Helicon 300 and Ascendo C8 Renaissance.
Thanks, I am only asking about dome vs ribbon tweeters on conventional cone type tower speakers. I'm not considering full ribbon speakers. I guess I am surprised that more manufacturers don't employ the ribbon tweeter or super tweeter. I always thought they were supposed to be faster and provide more HF extension without distortion than dome tweeters. But I see all these esoteric brands are going with metal or fabric domes. Hence, my question as to whether domes have essentially caught up or surpassed ribbons in overall sound quality.
maybe it has more to do with the dispersion and blending with the midrange rather than ultimate performance of just the tweeter itself...

just a thought

also fwiw I have heard both sound extremely good so there are other factors I imagine
I am very happy with my Tonians which use a Raven 2 ribbon with a PHY driver.
second the Raven tweeter (in my case the R1) ... fantastic in the Alon Exotica. GOOD ribbon tweeters are $$$, equal or exceeding the cost to the best dome tweeters. this is another reason you do not see them in many speakers
Just listen to any RAAL, heavenly.
Vlad, what is RAAL?
Vlad, what is RAAL?
Very, very, expensive, that's what.
RAAL Advanced Loudspeakers
I use raal 140-15d amorphous core ribbon in our new KCS x-2 loudspeaker. I used Ravens in the past but the RAAL a good step up and the amorphous core alows tube amps to run them very well. Ribbons can be great sounding transducer.
Thanks for the info on RAAL.

Anybody heard these Selah Audio Visionario towers? They employ a RAAL ribbon, and are not ridiculously expensive for their size and complexity.

Have never heard of (read of) Selah audio, surprise to see how many speakers they offer for such a young company. maybe too many.

Dali implements an "...array of planar dipole ribbon tweeters..." that extend approximately 91" in their flagship loudspeaker, MegaLine III. Actually, it may integrate with a plasma monitor for a home theatre installation...just don't know if I want to run all the tubes for video. Nah, probably not...

I don't think ribbon tweeters are out of favor, just yet :-)
Great post...i remember Infinity using ribbon tweeters extensively on their reference series from the 80s with good results....however...as others have mentioned...they due have their issues...the main detriment being restricted vertical dispersion...unless you have a 6 ft pair of maggies...for the majority of tower-cone driver applications...tweeter needs to be at ear level for proper intergration....like everything a trade off...some feel their speed and detail are worth it...i like a big, open tweeter sound myself...have fun...
It's the line array configuration, to which ribbons are best suited, which accounts for their exceptional performance. Not everyone wants a 6-foot tall speaker.
I am using the Raal 140-15 amorphous core tweeters in my Von Schweikert VR 8's. I love that tweeter!
Top speakers from Verity, the Lohengrin II and Sarastro II, each have aluminum foil ribbon tweeters.
I also own a pair of VR-8's and I'm wanting to replace my damaged tweeters (the original Focal TC120TDXT's are no longer in production). Did you have to change/modify the crossover circuits when switching to the Raal 140-15's? Any advice in making the modification will be welcome.
Most of the speakers being discussed, do not have ribbon tweeters, they have planer magnetic tweeters, very different!

In speaking with one speaker manufacturer who had worked with ribbon tweeters, I was told that while they may sound excellent in and of themselves, they are extremely difficult to integrate with a pistonic (cone) woofer.
That said, the LSA1 Statement monitor, which has been very well reviewed, uses a ribbon tweeter.
Ribbon and ribbon-like tweeters are "faster" in that they can produce extended ultrasonic frequencies. The questions to ask are, how important are ultrasonics, and are they in the recording?

Ribbons/planars typically have a rising response or peak in the mid/upper treble. This response is often favored by those with some high-end hearing loss.

Ribbons typically have higher levels of distortion, interpreted positively as detail and speed, or negatively as etched and "too hi-fi."
Weseixas RAAL Raven are all ribbons.
Thee debate of Ribbons and Domes they both have their +&-
The new Raal Amorphous core is the best ribbon out there they have the actual specs avaialble on their page which have been verified .Very clean fast and dynamic .
I have compared these to a great tweeter such as the hand made Hiquphon tweeters which are only 3/4 " BTW Salk , Devore and a few others use them .In the past fried used them they are super balanced with superior dispersion.THe dome especaily these are great even 60 degrees off axis ,were a ribbon is much more directional .The smaller tweeter does not have the range down to 2k but with a good mid driver to Xover at around 2.5 k that is not a problem great dispersion and under .5 distortion per matched pair.
The Ribbon is more airy and open and inner detail is a little better .For rock and roll the dome is clearly better
mainly because of it's more flexibility off axis and imaging can be slightly better on the leading edge with a dome , it all comes down to preference and implementation of the Xover and drivers used in the application.
The Raal I think is slightly better than the best dome for my taste ,BUT that is my preference .
Well put Audioman...

There are other tweeters that have much greater range such as the Accuton BD20-6-031 3/4 " diamond tweeter frequency of 2500 HZ- 80KHZ.

And you pay for that performance in the product application @ $2900.

Prefer the ribbon tweeter for more open and inner detail for instrumental music and listening to percussion. Would love to AB higher fabricated dome tweeters against higher end ribbon tweeters.
one tweeter that is becoming a fast favorite is the Mundofr
AMT - Air motion transformer tweeters These are byfar the best the 2310 I may be using soon it is solid from 1khz to over 25khz .Don"t get to hung up in th numbers the raal will go out past 60k Bug deal it is ambiance possibly 1-2%
on the best of days .The amt tweeter is very fast and airy but also far more dynamic than a ribbon and very musical
more real sounding .retail about $1k a pair the raal is around $600+ if I am building or buyng from a company such as salk or Selah that builds cutom this is what i am using also to complement this Mundorfs excellent capacitors the Silver metal oil caps with their resistors it is a fantastic match for the highs and mids .
Mundofr I read about before about great drivers.

What speakers use Mundof?
I use Mundorf AMT good transducers
These are just starting to be noticed here in the states. Tony Gee of the Netherlands who builds many $$ custom speakers and well known for his webpage humblehomemade hifi uses them and in Europe several use them I have not exactly went on a search I am going by what I have heard personally .My uncle makes
speakers for the Professional studio market and have I have heard all types of combinations .The Mundorf was his favorite and I also agree it has the dynamics of a cone with the speed and openness of a ribbon.
it is all about taste my new speaker has a special hi spec version of Raals best Amprphous Ribbon tweeter which is the Best bar none Ribbon on the Market .The amt tweeter I found has a little more snap on dynamic swings ,but the Ribbon is more open with more ambiance around the instruments it is also better at micro details it is a faster transducer you can't change the laws of physics.
Also the Raal has a huge magnetic structure which is rock stable and if is very well thought out in it's design.
If you ever did manage to break the ribbon a Pencel or a Vaccum cleaner where it don't belong less than a minute to replace,
a frame with the ribbon suspended between it snaps right in and your are back to the music .
Anybody can explain the difference between the original transformer raal and the one with an amorphous core.

I curently in the buying process but I really wonder all the differences between the 3 version...

Normal, AM, DAM

for of all normal versus amorphous core
afterwards AM versus DAM??

Some say the DAM is for direct tube drive.. does this mean you need a special amp? How will it fare with a t-amp or solid state AB amp.. (those amp would need to be transformer coupled?

What type of amp would you recommend for the amorphous core?

I need the best low level listening experience.. so micro/macro details/dynamics is very important.
Sinae, I am about to find out more information on the amorphous core Raal as well. I will pass on any information I think you may want. From what I understand you will get more micro and macro details and dynamics from the amorphous core tweeter. I think it also makes the tweeter more sensitive, so better equipped for low watt tube amps.
What speakers are you getting?
The best way to understand what the Amorphous Core is, and also why it's better, is to know what amorphous metal is.

The ribbon tweeter has a transformer with a steel core. Steel is like saying plastic, there are many kinds of steel. A normal transformer has ferrous steel, the amorphous core transformer has a core made from amorphous steel.

Amorphous steel is the same alloy, but cooled at 1 million degrees per second (seriously) so that it hardens with no crystaline structure. By not having a crystaline structure, it becomes much more efficient with much less energy wasted as heat.

The end result of how it sounds in a RAAL makes perfect sense when thought of in those terms. The AM Core RAAL sounds more efficient, like more of the amplifier current is reaching the ribbon element. It's faster and more dynamic, with more low level detail retreival and an overall more engaging and energetic sound.

Personally I think the AM core is a HUGE upgrade from the standard core. When performance gets to the level of the standard core RAAL, any improvement becomes hard to come by ... the AM core gives you that same RAAL sound, just more of it.
What low power amp would you recommend to power the raal amorphous core directly.. ?? the best in your opinion? tube amp?
I have GoldenEar Triton 1s which use a HVFR (High Velocity Folded Ribbon) Tweeter. According to GET literature (and Sandy verbals) it is the "best" outside of an ionic tweeter used in laboratories. Sandy goes further to state that he envisions other speaker manufacturers eventually using the HVFR in their designs. Their literature compares HVFR to dome. If memory serves, I believe Emotiva also uses an HVFR in one of their studio monitor. Also, for what it's worth, I recently "auditioned" a pair of Alta Statement Towers ($200,000 a pair and I wouldn't be buying it) and it utilizes three ribbon-like tweeters about 3 inches long each.

I unintentionally neglected to point out that I do realize this topic is about "ribbon tweeters" and my response is geared towards "high velocity folded ribbon tweeters". The following is an excerpt of GoldenEar literature about the HVFR tweeter:

"Our extraordinary HVFR tweeter, which generates highpressure
by squeezing the air, rather than pushing and pulling
it like conventional domes or ribbons, achieves an exceptional
impedance match to the air for smooth response extending
beyond 35kHz, without the break-up modes and zingy sounding
distortion common to other tweeter types. Greater control
also results in improved dynamic range."