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February 20, 2014

Why We Make Our Own Drivers

Filed under: Audio Knowledge — Ian Colquhoun @ 11:44 am

Axiom’s new tweeter

In a recent post on our message boards, Message Board Member Eggman asked “Would you happen to know if Axiom makes all their speaker parts in-house? Just curious.”

It’s a great question, and it was followed up by MichaelTrottar asking “is that for a better sound quality….?”

There are two main reasons for manufacturing our own parts: sound quality and consistency.

The sound quality is achieved by having more options available to us when designing the finished product. If you are selecting your drivers from already available parts then you only have the crossover and the cabinet as variables that you can completely control in the design process. This will put limitations on how refined you can make your family of curves (assuming you have the facility to measure them at all). The family of curves is by far and away the thing that affects the sound quality of your finished product the most. The family of curves refers to all the amplitude response curves taken in a sphere around the loudspeaker in an anechoic environment and the various averages built from all these response curves. And finally the interpretation of all of these curves and averages which needs to be determined using Double Blind Listen Testing.

Consistency of the acoustical measurements of each part manufactured is what guarantees that every finished product you make is exactly like the original design reference. Without this there is really no point to spending a lot of time refining your original design. Consistency of the end acoustical measurement of each part in driver manufacturing is not an easy thing to achieve. Manufacturing our own drivers allows us to batch manufacture them as opposed to the usual assembly line. Batch manufacturing means that we can test each batch for acoustical consistency and never have thousands of drive units either finished or partly finished before doing a full suite of acoustical tests.

Ian Colquhoun
Founder and President of Axiom Audio
Ian has been designing, engineering and manufacturing high-performance audio equipment since 1980.

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