System Overview

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Years of Engineering

Decades of audio engineering expertise have been applied to provide the ultimate sound reinforcement systems comparable to natural sound in a free space, or really loud sound in sometimes quite un-natural spaces. The resulting box/cone/dome designs have been very impressive, very large, very complex and very expensive to own and operate.

The Tectonic Flat Panel System is an alternative approach to solve the same decades-long challenges. We have developed and applied new technologies and believe that we have met existing needs and bested them: superior sound & coverage – very compact – very cost effective – very simple to operate.

Components

TAL_DML_1081Hz.gifAt the heart of the Tectonic system is the Distributed Mode Loudspeaker (DML) concept that utilizes very small drivers to excite relatively large & rigid acoustic panels. Unlike traditional loudspeaker systems, DML’s excite nearly randomly over a large surface at up to a six-octave frequency range. The net effect is a very large surface that radiates audio in a very wide and diffuse manner.

We add a large-format HF ribbon and shallow wave-guide to assure high frequency fidelity and, in combination with DML’s, accurate stereo imaging throughout the venue.

Our system typically crosses-over at 100Hz to whatever sub-system you prefer.

System Coverage

Traditional systems combine multiple-sized drivers to cover the audible frequency range and push audio in a piston-like manner to produce audio waves.  By their nature, each size driver narrows its coverage (beams) as frequency increases within their operational range.  This means that any given seat in a venue will have different coverage from individual drivers, depending on what frequencies are present.

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This means that these systems produce acoustic output that can miss areas of the venue, collect in others, bounce off of the floors, ceilings and walls of the room, creating time and phase errors and unwanted interactions.

The result is some audience seats get excessive audio energy, which may be frequency dependent, while others are out of effective coverage.  Additional fill-speakers that cover out of range seats can become problematic due to phase interactions and overlapping coverage with other enclosures.

The Tectonic system, by contrast, excites the venue by acting as a near-infinite number of micro-drivers, and overcomes issues of coverage and driver beaming; regardless of frequency range.

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With an integrated system of Distributed Mode Loudspeakers (DML’s) mid-range panels and high-frequency ribbon drivers, four Tectonic panels per-side can fill a typical 5,000 seat venue at concert volume (>100dB at FOH). 

Room Interaction

Traditional-Room-ReflectionTraditional pistonic point-source systems push audio energy out into the venue that bounces off incidental and facing walls. This is perceived as 'slap-back' from a single surface or reverberation from multiple surfaces.

The Tectonic system, with its diffuse audio propagation, does not push a column of audio energy towards any surface. When its diffuse output does contact a flat surface, the reflection is equally diffuse, non-correlated to the original audio and is non-destructive.

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Our system reduces room reflections, and eliminates the annoying slap-back effect. This mitigates the need for expensive acoustical treatments.

Stereo Image

tec9With traditional box/cone/dome systems, an accurate stereo audio image is typically available only for seats in the middle of the venue. Component coverage decreases with increasing frequency, called ‘beaming’. The only accurate stereo image is represented only at the middle seats of a venue.

tec10With the Tectonic panels, the imaging is as well defined and stable in the stereo ‘sweet spot’ in the middle of the venue.  However, outside the typically small area of optimum stereo, we have found that Tectonic panels actually deliver superior stereo imaging because of their better off-axis performance and reduced room interaction. Another important contributing factor is the way Tectonic panels, quite counter-intuitively, behave like a point source in the far field.  This means that pretty much every seat in the house hears audio from both left and right speakers, assuring a stereo listening experience for all.

Consistent Volume

tec11Traditional speaker systems push air into the venue. Physics dictates that the energy of this pistonic motion of air must diminish with distance. To meet a given audio level requirement at the back of the venue, the level at the front must be much higher. This results in an uncomfortable listening experience for those in the ‘expensive’ seats and a diminishing audio experience as one sits farther away.

tec12The Tectonic systems’ method of propagating audio energy is much more linear over long distances. We have found that audio output level is much more consistent over a far greater distance than traditional systems. Row 5 is as comfortable to sit in as the balcony; with a nearly equal audio experience.

With the Tectonic system, there is also no cone or dome-based high-mid or high-frequency transducer break-up distortion – the kind that hurts and induces ear fatigue – even at high levels. Even the loudest concert with a Tectonic system doesn’t produce and ‘audio hang-over’. (Admit it, pro audio guys. You know what we’re talking about.)

Feedback Control

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Standard pistonic systems propagate point-source wave motion potentially pointed directly into an open mic placed in front of the speakers. The mic reflects what it receives back to the speaker system, excites a resonant frequency of a cone or dome, and feed-back occurs.

The Tectonic system propagates diffuse audio waves that only incidentally meet the microphone; not directly into it. Even if significant audio energy is reflected back to the panel, there are no inherent resonant transducer frequencies in the Tectonic panels to excite. The run-away effects of feedback are very difficult to initiate. Artists can perform at concert volume – 10, 20, 50 feet in front of the FOH panels. Additional anti-feedback E.Q. is not necessary.

System Intelligibility

Tectonic panels exhibit superior intelligibility for spoken word and music. The DML transducers have a continuous frequency response from 100Hz to >7KHz with no cross-overs. This critical frequency range in which all vocal and most instruments reproduce is therefore free of cross-over induced phase, delay and distortion errors.

Additionally, conventional pistonic transducers, by the nature of their design and physics, produce odd-order harmonic distortion that is relatively near the level of the program material and can equal or exceed the program material volume at significant playback levels. Our flat panel speakers' odd-order harmonic distortion is almost undetectable at all frequencies or system playback levels and therefore never interferes with sound quality.

Summary

These traits of coverage, minimal room interaction, stereo imaging, consistent volume output over distance, feedback resistance, and intelligibility combine to make Tectonic panels the perfect sound solution for nearly any venue. One single loudspeaker design solves the perennial problems of traditional point-source and line array systems.

Our decades of audio engineering expertise developed a sound reinforcement system comparable to natural sound in a free space.


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