With Magnepans we get the question: “Is it a True Ribbon or a Quasi Ribbon?” Ever wonder what a True Ribbon and a Quasi Ribbon are? Well let’s just ask our Superfriends for help!
Say that Ming the Merciless takes over planet Earth.
Well the first thing Ming wants to do, once victory is at hand, is tell everybody the truth:
Ming: “Minions: The world is indeed flat. Copernicus, Archimedes, Galileo? All Morons. Zealots. The world is flat.”
Minions: “Yes Ming”
The second is to radio his buddy Mork and tell him it’s safe to come back.
Ming dreams of making the Mork and Ming show. They gonna film it on an iPad, put it on YouTube!
So to do this Ming needs a way to communicating to Mork. See post Morkindy, Mork been hangin with his crew on Alfa Centari (old Italian planet), a ways off. So Ming needs a big speaker to make a big noise so Mork can hear him.
So Ming boy decides to build an Equatorial True Ribbon Speaker!
First, he needs Aluminum.
So Ming tells all his minions that iPads are no longer ‘Ming Cool’ and that good minions will mail their iPad’s to Ming’s Mingdom in Mahlawee Maine.
A quick call to the Will it Blend guy and Mings blends himself a pile of grade-A (fer Apple) Aluminum.
Ming takes all that iPad Aluminum, melts it down w/Sterno, squeezes it through a repurposed Olive Garden Linguini Machine and comes up with a piece of foil that’s paper thin, about 1/4″ wide and 12,000 miles long. An Aluminum Ribbon.
Ming stretches his Aluminum Ribbon aka ‘True Ribbon’ across the 12,000 mile long Flat Earth equator.
Ming hooks a big Duracell to each end of the ribbon, and attaches his Mr. Microphone inline. The idea being that as he speaks into the Mr. Microphone it causes the Duracell electricity flowing into the Aluminum Ribbon to move back and fourth according to what he says. Makes sound.
“Mork Come Home” sez Ming into Mr. Microphone.
“MBJK CMZZ HZZZ” comes out of the ribbon.
Ming calls his friend Megamind and asks why? MegaMind: “Because the ribbon is just sitting on the ground. It can’t move freely enough to make good sound. It’s a bit like if you put a towel behind your guitar strings. The towel damps the strings so they can’t move freely. “
Megamind tells him he needs to suspend the ribbon using a magnetic levitation field. Think of pushing two magnets together and the force field that pushes them apart. If you put an electrified wire in this field it will be suspended, like a MagLev Train! In fact if you played music through the electro magnets of a Maglev train, it would move up and down, to the funky beat.
Ming thanks Megamind and goes to the Radio Shack Outlet Mall in Minneapolis. He buys two 12,000 mile long magnets. He puts one 12,000 mile long magnet one inch North of the Flat Earth Equator and the other one inch South of the Equator. The Duracell electrified Aluminum Ribbon running along the equator is now suspended between the two magnets in their levitation field. Like a Maglev train!
“Mork Come Home” sez Ming into Mr. Microphone.
“Mork Come Home” comes out of the Aluminum Ribbon. Wow!
Ming rings up MegaMind: “You’re one Evil Dude Megamind!” “You’re pretty bad yourself Ming!”
Ming has created what is known as a True Ribbon Driver. This is the tweeter part of a Magnepan 3.7. The 1/4″ wide aluminum strip is actually making sound as it moves back and fourth. It’s super light and suspended in the maglev field, so it moves back and fourth effortlessly.
Ming and Megamind go out for some Martinis and talk about the new True Ribbon Driver. It’s great, but Mork is still not answering. They’re worried. It’s loud but not maybe, like INTERSTELLAR LOUD. They wonder if he can hear them or if maybe Mork’s still torked over the Mindy thing.
Ming: “It’s frustrating, because the True Ribbon is making sound, but it’s not loud enough and it’s just the high frequencies. Makes me sound like an evil lady. Not good. Bad guys are supposed to have this big deep, evil laugh.” The Marvel guys are calling me ‘Ming the mean girl!’ @#$!#@ Superman. He’s SOOO Sanctimonious!
Megamind: “Let’s go to Costco”
Ming and Megamind hop in the Megamind’s Miata and head over. They pick up a 12,000 mile roll of Saran Wrap and 1000 12 mile rolls of that great clear packing tape. One the way back they hit the Radio Shack and pick up two more 12,000 mile long magnets. At home, Ming Blends Up and creates another 12,000 mile aluminum strip.
Megamind: “You see the little 1/4″ wide aluminum strip can move really fast, but it’s like a little tiny 1/4″ wide drum head. It can only create high pitched sounds. To get more bass we need a bigger drum. Like the bass Drum you see in rock bands. We’re going to do that by stretching a 10″ x 12,000 mile piece of Saran Wrap tight, then taping the aluminum strip to it. When the aluminum moves, instead of moving a 1/4″ strips worth of air, it will move a 10″ strips worth of air!
They place the two new magnets 10″ apart along the equator, just south of the True Ribbon. They stretch the Saran Wrap between the two magnets and Costco Tape the new Aluminum strip to the Saran Wrap.
Ming: (into Mr. Microphone) “Ha Ha Ha Ha, Superman knits Socks that Smell!”.
The Earth SHAKES from the HUGE bass of the new Saran Wrap drum!
Megamind: “That’s totally BAD-A Ming!” Bada Bing, Bada Ming!”
Megamind: “People don’t say that no more Ming”.
What Megamind has created is known as Quasi Ribbon Tweeter. Instead of just aluminum moving air, like the True Ribbon, the larger Saran Wrap surface area can produce lower frequencies and move more air for greater power. This is the midrange and bass panel technology in the Magnepan 3.7‘s and the tweeter, midrange and bass in the Magnepan 1.7. It’s not quite as fast at high frequencies as a True Ribbon, but better for bass and cheaper to make.
To make it sound even better, Megamind could add in more rows of magnets and more Aluminum Ribbons. This would give him more precise control over the Saran Wrap Equatorial Driver. He could also use wider pieces of Saran Wrap if he wanted to produce deeper sounds. Just like a little drum verses a big bass drum!
To make is sound worse, Megamind could remove the Aluminum Ribbon from the Saran Wrap and tape in a round wire. Because the wire is round and thicker than the ribbon, it doesn’t move back and fourth so quickly. This is a classic Planar Magnetic driver.
The Magnepan 1.6 has quasi-ribbon tweeter and planar magnetic midrange and bass.
The Magnepan 1.7 has quasi-ribbon tweeter and quasi-ribbon midrange and bass.
The Magnepan 3.6 has true ribbon tweeter and planar magnetic midrange and bass.
The Magnepan 3.7 has true ribbon tweeter and quasi-ribbon midrange and bass.
Ming taunts Superman for a few more hours then goes back to calling Mork. “Ork, come in” “Mork, ABC is calling!”
Faintly, across the galaxy, comes the almost forgotten words: “Nanu Nanu!”