THIS SPEAKER IS A TRIBUTE TO THE CITY OF BARCELONA
Interview to R&D Director of Acustica Beyma, Jorge Serrano
Paloma M.: Here we are with the Beyma R&D team involved in the creation of the new LEX SUB of Long excursion subwoofer. Hello Jorge, please tell us: Why is Barcelona mentioned here?
Jorge S: Beyma was born because a journey, the journey made by the whole Masip family from Barcelona (their hometown) to Valencia in the late sixties. They moved here to start a new adventure, so Beyma was born.
In the conceptual stage of the design process we wanted to pay homage to that; so we looked back, towards Barcelona, searching for inspiration.
For us something very unique of that city is the influence of the modernisme architecture, of Gaudi, that invades the whole city.
That is why the shape of the basket has that architectural concept based on nature, organic forms with curved lines, in movement… It is a dynamic shape…somehow like Music.
PM: Could you please briefly explain the creative process?
JS: From the very beginning of the project we knew we had free hands for doing something important from scratch, not a common development, but a great opportunity for creating the new high performance Beyma 18” subwoofer; a really competitive and appealing driver. That explains the mixing of artistic design approach with the most advanced engineering techniques to develop a key part of the speaker, the frame. I remember some faces and expressions looking to me when explaining the concept and it was like: “What?! You want what? For the look?!”
The electro-acoustic side evolved from the conceptual stage to real prototypes in a simulation environment that helped us to achieve the targets. It is funny when you are close to an important milestone and you only have non- 100%-successful attempts. It is like: “we were too optimistic with the initial targets, we have to touch the ground guys!”, but then we wracked our brains again till we get the “OK, this way works!” The feeling is like the Millennium Falcon going out from the Death Star surrounded by fire.
Finally the industrialization phase drove the whole team to validate a consistent product manufactured in our semi-automated line. Imagine, you have to use the million Euro semi-automated line, of course! But then, someone says: “Hey guys: Will be that robot able to catch the frame in that point and move to that one?” After several months defining, making sketches -even with plastilin-, simulating and drawing in 3D, someone comes with a basic question that is able to knock down the project until that moment. That is the perfect example why the industrialization is so important as well as the work from some key persons close to that area.
Finally after thinking, sharing, defining, shaping, drawing, simulating, mounting, dreaming and mainly team working, the new 18LEX1600Nd is a reality.
PM. Main challenge when designing?
JS: I think we had two main challenges. One is the creation of the frame; it is not so common to see such an “organic” design in our field, with so many irregular areas. And, believe me; it is not easy to assure such design for a piece from aluminum injection. It took many hours and many simulations until we had a valid design. There is where Rafa García, Mechanical Designer, gave the added value to the work, making real an artistic concept, using F.E.A. techniques during the 3D modeling to achieve an optimized, reliable and viable design for making a new injection mold.
The second main challenge was to achieve a competitive and balanced set of electro-acoustic parameters, with care of both, the linear and nonlinear behavior. It is important to design a speaker taking into account the linear parameters, related with the small signal domain, which are commonly used for the design of the cabinets. But it is also essential, especially for a subwoofer design, to take care of the behavior with large signal. Finally a speaker will be used in the real application with high voltages, and the low frequencies demand long strokes from the moving assembly of the driver. The achievement of the target behavior in both domains were successfully executed by the team, with Rafa Serra, one of our Electro-Acoustic Engineers, as the main developer, making simulations, proposing and designing the new parts and finally launching the prototypes that would be needed for the definitive design. Last but not least, the key mounting and assembly details and industrial approach from Amparo Molina, our experienced Prototype Technician, as well as the supervising of Manuel Martínez, our Production Manager, guaranteed the speaker would be able to be manufactured in line as intended.
It is fair to mention the contribution from the other colleagues in the R&D department, like Alex, Rafa, Adrián and Nacho, as well as those from other departments inside Beyma who were also contributing to the project. Without such a team work the project would not be possible. You know who you are, thank you Mates!
PM- Have you got the sound you were looking for?
JS: Definitely yes. Our target was to obtain a very well controlled performance, with a detailed and powerful “kick”, a lot of “punch” with real bottom extension. When you listen to the new 18LEX it simply ROCKS!
PM: What type of audience do you expect to reach?
JS: We always think mainly in the designers of audio systems. They are finally our main and most important “audience”. They are the persons that can better extract the features of the drivers and create the system that will finally make the sound. A good driver in good hands results in a good system for sure, and our aim is to have the best audio designers of the world using our new baby.
PM: Why the name of LEX and not another
JS: We are setting the new LAW in drivers now! Just joking… during the conceptual stage, we wanted the model with a strong name, able to mentally drive to the Long EXcursion concept and also able to offer visibility of the model as a reference 18” sub for the market. In my opinion those characteristics are completely fulfilled with the 18 LEX.
PM. How do you make sure that the product supports the rated power?
JS: That comes through the homologation process we have at Beyma. We always follow at least the AES standard. Then for certain models and depending on the target applications, we do some additional power tests with musical program, during longer periods of time (above 100 hours in some cases) and sometimes using other kind of signals apart of pink noise… But that is the normal thing, a must, a sort of usual procedure… in fact during this project we have been thinking about a new signal to make some power testings; we call it Black Noise but I find it difficult to become a standard honestly speaking… ☺☺☺.
PM: Have you carried out any Road test?
JS: Yes, we have been testing the new sub outside Beyma with some very close partners, in order to check the performance in real conditions and even adjust some details during the final stages. That was definitely a big help to launch the product properly.
PM: Taking a look at your past projects, what motivates your team to work on a 4 “Voice coil?
JS: We think that the final goal of an audio system is to obtain a certain sound pressure at certain area. Depending on the application there are some variables: the level of pressure, the quality of the sound (related to distortion levels), the coverage area… In that way all our efforts are normally in creating products able to deliver the best compromise in SPL, sound quality and price. We think a 4” coil using our exclusive Maltcross® is able to deliver at least similar SPL and quality compared to equal or even bigger coil designs currently available in the market, while being more competitive in price.
PM. What short of application is this driver intended for?
JS: Vented cabinets. The best performance will be obtained in direct radiation or band pass designs. Also horn loaded designs can be considered for this sub.
PM. Have you learnt something in the process?
JS: The most important thing I learnt is that I am privileged for working in a company like Beyma surrounded and supported by an incomparable human team. That makes me learning and growing day by day. And I must say I see and feel the team in Beyma is also growing every day.
PM. What advantages do you think this driver brings?
JS: I would say the main thing is the balance of performance and price. Going a bit more detailed, one of the main features is the exclusive Maltcross® cooling system which helps to deliver finally a higher and more stable SPL compared to an equal driver without that system. That allows us in the design to use a smaller coil to obtain high SPL levels, which makes the metal parts are also smaller and so the weight is less, as well as the final price. Apart of performance/price ratio, this new 18” is probably the most competitive in performance/weight ratio in the market at this moment.
Also the long excursion capabilities deliver a really high quality low frequency reproduction. The new suspension system, designed with our MMSS techniques, allows lowering the distortions of the model, especially at the lowest part of the spectrum.
PM: What is Maltcross?
JS: It is result of Beyma’s research in driver cooling techniques. The part of a speaker that gets more heat is the voice coil, where the current is circulating. During many years we have been researching on optimizing the way to get out some heat of the coil, and one of our latest good results were the patented Maltcross® technology, which allows an efficient heat transfer through forced convection. You can read some of our technical papers about it in our website, but in a few words Maltcross® is a circuit inside the heart of the speaker that cools the coil using the air flow created in the movement of the speaker, that’s it.
PM. Next Milestones in your World Tour?
JS:. After the US and European tours, we plan to play in China; our outstanding team there is preparing the tour…. Seriously speaking we plan to go up and down from that 18”. Those are mainly our next steps.
PM: Thanks a lot Jorge for the sharing these insights¡
JS: Thank you, and thanks to all R&D Beyma team for their invaluable work. It has been a pleasure to mix crazy art ideas, top engineering and world class team work. We hope the audience will enjoy it.
March 2017. Valencia. SPAIN
— Technical data sheet 18LEX1600Nd
— (PM) Paloma Martinez: Communication Manager of Acustica Beyma.
— (JS) Jorge Serrano: R&D Director of Acustica Beyma
18LEX1600ND will be presented and exhibited at the Beyma stand of PL&S Frankfurt 4-7th April 2017.
More info at : firstname.lastname@example.org
Acoustic Engineer, +6 years at the R&D Department , Guitar player & Lead Singer on 18LEX project.
Production manager: More than 3.5 million of speakers supervised so far
Acoustic Engineer, Guitar player, 3 years working at the Beyma Sales Office in Guangzhou: Looking for balance through the TAO
Acoustic Engineer, THE BURNER. Death metal Bass player. Master of Black Noise and Destruction tests.
Acoustic Engineer, more than 6 years at the R&D Department, co-author of Maltcross® Technology: someone has to put some sanity in all of this.
Mechanical Designer: THE ARCHITECT
Bass Player & Mechanical Designer: Giving shape to the crazy ideas
Prototyping: More than 25.000 samples and prototypes assembled. Turn ideas into something real
R&D Director. Drummer, The Boss, Friend, Leader.