Which Tweeter preferred- dome natural material, Beryllium/Metal or Planar Ribbon? Why?

This is bugging me. Just as I think I have the

right answer it slips through my fingers. 


Let's not consider cost in this opinion poll.


For example-

Pick one of the types of tweeters

Choice- Planar Ribbon

Reason-Low moving mass and larger surface area vs domes.


Everyone should have an opinion here unless they are relatively new to the game.

Lets see if we all learn something new!


There are several specific world class tweeters I can think of.  

In every category including ring, AMT and Be there are absolute garbage examples of each, so I decline to answer.

Silk is the best!  No wait, Beryllium is the best… Except for ribbons.  No wait, Maggie's are the best!  

I think its safe to say that there are fine examples of each.


This question is like which flavor of ice cream is best?  






Aurum Cantus true ribbons and AMT. I love um. I like two horn loaded planar designs to. They were over 25khz

There are a lot of soft domes and rings I like to. They just don't have the range.

There is not a single hard dome I like, diamond, Beryllium, iron, magnesium, SS or tactile. YUK!

Mid range that different. There is a couple tactile domes I like 1 1/4" - 2" or so.


I think dispersion plays a bigger part. A wave guide or wide baffle vs narrow baffle changes things a lot. Motor and back waves matter a lot too. 

For a direct answer I find silk domes are kind of dull in general (some exception in there) but in general I like BE tweeters done right. 

the standout performer for me is magnepan’s ribbon in the larger models but the lack of dynamics in the lower mids and bass does not do it for me as a whole. 

2nd Be tweeters done right. The few ribbons I’ve heard were awesome but have no impact which is weird to say for a tweeter. Dynaudio soft dome ain’t too bad also.

Wow there are some very specific choices here-Thanks!

I should have specified that I am looking for  tweeters that

will work in a box speaker environment.

And thanks to all who had a reason why they preferred what

they chose. Without that the opinion is less useful.


I’m a fan or the top Seas silk-dome tweeters used in, for example, Joseph Audio’s better speakers. They just sound very extended yet musical and natural to me.  I’ve heard metal/beryllium tweets in some of the best speakers in the world, and they just don’t work for me. 

It really depends upon the execution of the design and integration in the speaker as a whole.

Almost all types of high-frequency transducers have their uses. It's a big mistake to isolate and focus on parts when loudspeakers are designed as a whole.

Done right I love them all.Depends on the design of the speaker and the other drivers.

What Eric said. In the 90's I was convinced metal domes were harsh and soft domes were smooth while amt's squaked off axis. I can no longer guess correctly what type of tweeter is playing just by listening to it.

@mofojo I’m sure i can’t give you a top 3 of each, but from what I’ve heard:


Top AMT: Beyma and Mundorf


Top Ring: Scanspeak. Even their relatively inexpensive Discovery R2604 is a stellar performer, and has made it into a number of megabuck speakers, Krell, Magico, YG and Sonus Faber (if memory serves) and some incarnation makes it into modern Polk speakers, and for good reason. Even the cheap units have very low distortion and stunning frequency response that flies by 20 kHz.


Top BE: Scanspeak Illuminator D3004, basis of Magico’s tweets.

I’ve not heard Satori’s Be tweets so I can’t really comment on it. I have heard another brand... Transducer labs? And was really not taken by it. TL has a big following including by at least one speaker maker I respect but I just don’t dig it.


I’m not a fan of the Focal inverted dome’s for lack of natural air. To me a good tweeter absolutely vanishes. The Focal’s make their presence known.

I do want to say again though, that we pay far too much attention to tweeters given what a small part of the energy of a speaker they actually reproduce.  Many listeners can't even tell if a tweeter stops working. The price is often out of proportion with their value, and yet, yes, I spent 2x as much on my tweeters as my mid-woofers.  😂

After 40+ years I am totally satisfied the the incredible sealed-ribbon tweeter that Raidho uses (and Borresen Acoustics) in its D series (old used D2s for me). (Mid/woofers ported, but a small floor-stander 'box' design.)

I liked my oldest, 16-yr mains, ML SL3 electrostatics, but the treble performance of the Dynaudio silk Esotar II was much better for the five years I owned the Sapphires, nice speakers but not the D2s I was fortunate to acquire. I do feel silk is very good for a dome, metal not so much, and diamond tweeters-ugh, never took to the B&W 800s a bit, too harsh for my ears.

The Heil AMT type sure offers some good examples and probably some so-so, like all styles as others have noted. Implementation of the design counts.



The best I've ever heard were plasma at the CES show 40 years ago.  They were that memorable.  

The AMT tweeter with a SET amp are pretty magical

Great tech and review source is Hifi Compass.

My personal favorite is the Viawave Srt-7. 


The best I’ve ever heard were plasma at the CES show 40 years ago. They were that memorable.


I’m afraid I’ve heard them, in a cramped hotel room of course, and wasn’t that impressed. It would be nice to hear them again in a more ideal setup.


It really depends upon the execution of the design and integration in the speaker as a whole.


I'd say so too.

The best tweeter is one that does not draw attention to itself.

I’ve heard some cheap tweeters that didn’t and some expensive ones that did.

The worst case was the Seas Excel which introduced a very odd colouration to John Lennon’s voice on Across the Universe.

Before anyone gets upset, I acknowledge that it’s an great tweeter, almost everyone says so, but in this design, despite the high level of resolution it offered, it was drawing attention to itself.

Custom satellite grade carbon fiber dome integrated into bespoke Scanspeak frame / motor matched to .25 db the pair, had tuned w filter network in anechoic chamber to match the reference. No breakup modes from midrange filter and 30 kHz.


I enjoyed my Seas tweeters in my audio physic speakers.  After a move to a basement system instead of a joist supported floor, went to Martin logan montis.  I found the hi frequencies detailed without fatigue, yet missed the air movements produced by conventional drivers.  Present pleasure is compression horn in Fyne audio.    Still have the ml in ht

Musadd- Funny  you should land on the sealed planar ribbon tweeters 

as your flavor. I find the Borresen speakers to be the best sound I've

heard- and by a pretty good margin. 

Danger-Danger!- Nelson Pass loves to tell the story about his Plasma

speakers which nearly killed him. 

Arguably two of the best German speaker manufacturers, FinkTeam and Wolf von Langa, employ custom Mundorf AMT tweeters, and they sound fantastic.


I truly believe there’s no such thing as the best tweeter, especially if you limit to material only.

The best tweeter is the one that perfectly integrated to a given speaker and the other drivers. I’ve heard ribbon tweeters that sounded odd (poorly integrated), Sol tweeters that sounded lifeless and metal dome (and inverted dome) that was like ice picks. On the same token, I’ve also heard the complete opposite of all… it comes down to the designer and how that fits your preference. 

As has been said, any tweeter is only a good as the overall speaker design. The Focal Inverted Ti is a good case in point - a unit that can sound radically different in different applications.

However, purely to expand the field, plasma tweeters e.g. the Lansche unit do have some pretty special qualities.

In mho....I have a pair of the full dipole ESS AMTs that sail away from anything else I've heard in terms of  what you can subject them to....

Get the xover right and pair them to whatever can 'keep up with them' in a space prep'd for dipoles.

Effortless.  And if you overdrive them, the element is replaceable...

(Always thought a line array of them would be scary....)

...but I'm just weird....*L*

There are too many good and bad implementations of each of these materials.  I have heard incredible Beryllium tweeters and painfully bright ones.  I have heard awful diamond tweeters, I have heard brilliant.  Same with ribbons, ceramic, aluminum, AMTs, etc.  There is not best material.  The total system drives the greatness or mediocrity of a speaker.  

Depends, but Magnepan seems to have the best.  The Decca ribbons failed a lot, unfortunately, but maybe they have improved them.

I BELIEVE (don't shoot me if I am wrong, it has been a long time) that the idea is to move as little mass as possible.

Evidently, along with the best (most accurate) speakers on the market, Magnepan has come up with a ribbon-style that is hearty and accurate.  Not bad!


@danager Well, Charlotte is but 2ish hours from me.  I suspect the dealer would take one look at me and accurately judge me a 'lookie Lou'.  So I'd have to talk extremely fast, rent a car that would require return Immediately if not sooner, dress beyond spouse's comprehension, and enter with some willowy blond that would also need to be....'rented'. *L*

But, agreed...I'd love to hear them as well.  It would spoil me worst than being staked out in the yard for a month after untimely demise (although some here would demand a stop-motion vid to verify that fate...). 

Meanwhile, the 30K$ is a bit of a pause...but being the sneaky SOB I can certainly aspire to....

ESS will sell you direct 18 of the large Heils' for $3,582 plus tax & shipping.
They're heavy, so the latter will be substantial.
Throw in the extra $18 and you can have 18 BT adapters and a choice of 2 versions of headphones....wipe out your gifting for years... ;)

They offer their 10" woofers for 149$ each....get as many as you think you could tolerate....the passive radiators for them are 110$ each, but to duplicate the Apollos'. not really required....

Crossovers...I'd go with some pro version.  I like my Behringer 2496 and you can tweak yourself into a puddle...*teehee*

OK, you're down about 5~6K$.

Cabs...Heils' are dipoles, and ESS doesn't 'cab' them....why should you?
I can suggest a line source frame that would make wood blush, but I'd go with aluminum.

Woofer cabs....Apollo's are lovely, but the design is ancient.  Personally I work in wood, so not an issue....for me, anyway.

Sweat equity in assembling something that'll crack sheetrock. *Evil G*

I've just saved you nearly 20K$.

I'll bill you later.  ;)

When would you like to begin?

Regards, J.

(ESS ought to give a discount on a 'bulk buy', but they've already discounted on them....Promise pics of the end product....;)...  The Heil AMT is too good to let fade into obscurity or bankruptcy...and NO, I'm not a dealer and I don't get a commission on anything.  I'm just a fan....)

Y’all could do so much better if you’d try....Really.

*kicks soapbox into the corner...

Do this simple exercise.  Disconnect the mid and bass drivers leaving only the tweeter.  Play some music.  It's impossible to tell if the tweeter is good or not.  Meaning one can only tell how good a tweeter is once it is integrated to the rest of the speakers.


Sounds doable but Heil only go down to 800Hrz  the Apollo go down to 125Hrz to cover most of the vocal range.  They custom built them which why I suspect the price. 

As soon as my baffles get built (waiting on my cousin but the labor is cheap... beer mostly)  I'm planning a OB two way using the big Heil and a 15 inch woofer. 

I'd bet Apollo has an open house that you could listen too without the rent a blonde but then  again you don't get to rent a blonde.

Designer and manufacture of Arion Apollo speakers.

Hey asvjerry, I applaud your enthusiasm for AMT drivers.

The Apollos are dipoles. The $30K includes two towers, two woofer modules, woofer amplification and a Trinnov ST2 processor. We build our own AMT drivers in house. We do need to make a few dollars to keep the lights on :-)

The Apollo all AMT towers are high passed at 120Hz and can be driven by 2 watt SET amps or any other amps to very high SPLs. Don't try that with a stack of ESS Heil divers, or any other AMT for that matter. They are very good drivers though.

Please stop by in your most comfortable form. No blond or fancy car required. We are proud of our accomplishments and like to share, whether you are a buyer or not.


You wouldn’t happen to have a pair in the Northwest would ya. I wouldn’t have to rent a blonde I married one.

@arion ...Hi Mike, and I'll happily take you up on your kind offer..  At the minimum, I'll give you the shot at addicting me, and making @danager insanely jealous.... ;) 

As said here in AVL, "....it's like getting 2 birds stoned at once!" 
...but I know nothing about that sort of thing....🙄

We've an upcoming project in the TriCity area 2nd quarter this year, so that would be the likely time to Not show up in or with any form of 'rented'  device or organism.

I'll be nice, so you ought not to have me see anything that would require a NTC agreement or the like. (I'd sign one if requested, however....know the routine...)

  And I fully appreciate 'keeping the lights on'; spouse and self have our own 'beast' to keep fed.  The results are in your area, PM for locations...and other perhaps interesting bits...

The Apollos' are impressive on the pages of your website, and I'm already concerned that they will live up to and beyond my wildest exhortations to my spouse....who would have me talking soprano for bringing them home.

"Are you Insane?!  ...oh, right...that already existed....*grumble*damn*

Thanks again, and back to...

@andy2 ,,,Heils' sound Horrible by themselves....a heavy lump of 'squeeky', it's true.  If you didn't know beforehand what they Can do, you wouldn't buy them either.  But that's the case of any tweeter singing solo.... ;)

@danager that is true, 800ish is a more comfy zone to start the cross.  You can push them near 500, but they're not happy about it....
I've a pair of Polk 6" with a passive that fills that gap 'twixt Heil and woofs...with a sub for 100 and below....

Would ultimately do the same for a Heil line source. which could make my 'fever dream' above more practical in reality...

...whatever That is...open to interpretation as usual, esp. in sounds audio. 

Hi there @arion 

A'gon can be unfriendly to manufacturers so I'm glad you are here and look forward to your insights.  Pretty remarkable work to get an AMT to function that far down in the range.  Outstanding!





Ever been 'smote by a Greek god'? *L* 

Not quite the same as:
"SMOTE (synthetic minority oversampling technique) is one of the most commonly used oversampling methods to solve the imbalance problem."

...but it does cause a pause for one...;)

'The walls have eyes and ears.....'  👀 *ghostly racket*L*

Dome natural material ONLY, has to be 91db +, lower than 91db sens, Not interested, Dome only, natural material. NOT Be, Not metal. 

Tweeter type does not matter.  This is a very subjective area.

The one which sounds the best to YOU should be the one YOU should pick for yourself.

@cakyol , precisely...I'm obviously addicted to amts'...horns are edgy and  'in your face', domes one step behind if metal (paper?; see 'cones'), cones sound 'stretched' at high levels...

Other 'exotica' I've not been exposed to...plasma could be a 'contender' if they didn't purport to suck the air out of the room...(I like air...use it a lot...)

'Stats are ok. but have the 'Maggie Issue'...the larger ones' make me feel like I'm in the first segment of 2001, the smaller (spouses' pref) seem 'leashed' and restrained....

"Call me...irresponsible..." or just a crank.... (I'm ok with the latter...)

I run a  pair of tweeters with my dual FR, Wonderfullll, Never would go back to a single tweeter. 

About to experiment with a  trio of tweeters, But I think 1 will  be edge out by the 2 superior tweeters.

I note someone mentioned Seas tweeters, Seas are too low senstivitity,

Even their Crescendo rated 92db, I found in actual tests to be like 84db, IF THAT. 

A single tweeter in classical music just is too thin. Dual tweeters are a  winner

Designer and manufacture of Arion Apollo speakers.

Thanks Eric. I do get the impression that Audiogon can be unfriendly to manufacturers so I usually stay away even though we pay quite a bit to advertise on this site.

We always welcome visitors for a listen, buyers or not, no pressure here. We like to share. How often do you come across a tall open baffle true line array speaker that can play clearly to high SPLs with 1.5 watt SET tube amps?

danager, Sorry, no. The only place, at this point, to hear them is at our showroom in Charlotte, NC.