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Maximum Efficiency of Direct-Radiator Loudspeakers

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The Thiele/Small method of low frequency direct-radiator loudspeaker system analysis neglects the radiation impedance components in the equivalent electric network model. When these components are included some surprising results are evident. Due to the definition of efficiency widely used in direct-radiator loudspeaker analysis, the absolute maximum efficiency is limited to 25%. With voice-coil inductance neglected, inclusion of the radiation impedance components transform all responses from high-pass into band-pass functions. Fow low frequencies, the maximum achievable nominal power transfer efficiency is found to be proportional to cone diameter. For a specific diameter, the maximum efficiency depends only on the moving mass to air-load mass ratio. Relationships and graphs are presented which relate the true nominal power-transfer efficiency to the Thiele/Small derived efficiency.

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