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Emerging Technologies

NHT Evolution Loudspeakers

Evolution is an appropriate name for the new line of NHT loudspeakers as the company celebrates its 15-year anniversary and seeks to produce speakers that make sense in today's audio world. To that end, NHT decided that the Evolution speakers systems should be simple, flexible, scaleable, and predictable in their response no matter what their placement. The line consists of nine modular components that are easily assembled to form highly customized systems suiting an individual listener's needs, without the need for local audio/video shops to stock a lot of inventory.

NHT also allow the listener at home to upgrade their system slowly without throwing away an existing Evolution speaker. Two-channel listeners can buy a pair of Evolution monitors or tower systems without worrying about finding matching speakers for multichannel audio later. Multichannel listeners who may not have full-range speakers all around initially, can easily upgrade to full-range speakers when the need arises. Such a flexible speaker system requires some careful engineering to achieve flexibility without compromising quality.

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For example, the Evolution monitors have very sophisticated internal designs not visible from a glance at their plain gray exterior. While the monitors no longer have the 21-degree Focused Image Geometry (FIG) slant so characteristic of earlier NHT designs, they do implement what NHT call Virtual FIG. Made possible by the physical offset of the tweeter relative to the midrange towards one side of the cabinet, NHT have designed the crossover so that the main response lobe of the speaker is angled in, towards the edge closest to the tweeter, simulating FIG's physical slant geometry with acoustic and electric means, thereby allowing a rectangular face better suited to normal home decors.

Like FIG, Virtual FIG aims the main response axis away from the walls, reducing sidewall reflections and effecting better imaging. The lobe-aiming also helps when the monitor is used as a center channel. If the center channel needs to be aimed down, if it is placed on top of a TV set for example, then the speaker is placed horizontally with the tweeter nearer the bottom. If the center needs to be aimed up, because it is below a projection screen, then the speaker is placed horizontally with the tweeter nearer the top. The spacing between the tweeter and the two woofers is small so the speaker will not exhibit the horizontal beaming typically heard with an MTM speaker turned on its side.

To simulate FIG's non-parallel cabinet walls (which produces improved midrange clarity) the midrange rear volume is enclosed in its own acoustically small, irregular box within the speaker. The midrange box is acoustically small because the dimensions of the enclosing box are much smaller than wavelengths of the frequencies reproduced by the midrange, so no unwanted resonance, which would reduce midrange clarity, will form inside the box.

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To maximize placement flexibility and decorating aesthetics, NHT have tried to reduce the size of the monitors as much as possible, claiming that Evolution cabinets are some 20 to 40 percent smaller than those of comparable older products. Again, fairly sophisticated engineering allows the speakers to maintain NHT's standards of quality, and indeed, NHT engineers feel that the performance of the Evolution line has significantly exceeded their past efforts, including their most highly regarded speakers, the 3.3 and VT-3.

For example, NHT want high output levels from their subwoofers, so designed a 12-inch aluminum cone driver used in all their subs and woofer modules. The aluminum cone and former help dissipate heat, reducing dynamic compression, which is a distortion that compresses a speaker's output as it gets louder, effectively acting like a level limiter, due to increasing heat which changes the resistance of the driver's voice coil.

To get improved dynamics from their tweeter, NHT's "Wonderbar" aluminum pipe dissipates heat from the tweeter to the rear of the speaker - while simultaneously acting as a cabinet brace that holds the tweeter in place. This arrangement also affords NHT additional benefits: the tweeter uses more powerful neodymium magnets for better efficiency that in turn can survive high playback levels. Also, the acoustically troublesome tweeter baffle is much smaller now that the tweeter is held in place with the Wonderbar.

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Even the plain grey finish of the speakers underwent rigorous, detailed design. The anthracite gray color was selected after the entire engineering team sifted through dozens of samples. The new color is easy to clean, and doesn't smudge as easily as the older piano lacquer finish. Visually, the surface is non-reflective, and disappears easily in a darkened room when watching a movie. The gray color also apparently blends very easily with almost any home décor.

In order to bring all of this engineering to market at a reasonable price, NHT have now completely moved all manufacturing operations overseas to Asia. However, NHT engineers travel regularly to the factory to train personnel, and inspect production quality. Random samples are rigorously inspected once a shipment of speakers arrives in America. []

More NHT Evolution....

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Latest additons 1st February 2002:

Sherbourn Technologies P7/1000
Sherbourn Technologies 5/1500A
DTS In-Car Audio Demonstration
DTS Multimedia Demonstration
Philips Pronto Remote Controls
Philips DVD+RW Recorders
Simaudio Titan & W-5 Amplifiers
WAVAC Audio Lab Model HE-833
conrad-johnson PV-12L & 17LS
conrad-johnson GAT
Quad ESL-989 & Verity Audio Tamino
Avantgarde Acoustic Duo & Uno
NHT Evolution Loudspeakers
NHT Evolution Theory & Design
Joseph Audio Loudspeakers
PS Audio Ultimate Lab Power Cable
PS Audio Power Director & Juice Bar
PS Audio Classic 250 & HCA-1 Amps
Morel Applause & Octave
Anthony Gallo Acoustics Due
Miller & Kreisel Multi-Platform
Miller & Kreisel Column Surrounds
Lamm Industries L2 Reference
Vacuum Tube Logic TL 2.5.1
McCormack Audio MAP-1 Processor
Cary Audio CAD-88 Amplifier
Toshiba Blue Laser Prototype
Draper Revelation & Hi-Def Gray
NHT Evolution Subwoofers
Von Schweikert Audio dB-99

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