Electrostatic headphones

electrostatic headphones

Most headphones and speakers use electromagnetic force to drive speaker coils. Electrostatic speakers use electrostatic force to modulate a diaphragm. Mylar is used as the diaphragm in these headphones. Two insulating rings sandwich the mylar and a perforated stator is placed on either side. Ideally these stators would be acoustically transparent, but sheets of metal with 2mm (or smaller) holes that make up at least 25% of the area work. Construction problems can arise from glue not sticking to the mylar and the mylar having not enough or too much tension. A special amp has to be built for the headphones to generate a 450V difference between the stators.

[thanks mrdelayer]

18 thoughts on “Electrostatic headphones

  1. Wow. I was about to say, a headphone post? Nice job there. I haven’t heard about that style of speakers. GIves me ideas now.

  2. I don’t think I’d care to have a pair of these on my head. 450V + homemade hack + your brain (presumably between your ears) sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

  3. #3:

    He does show in the schematic that he uses a *20 mega ohm* resistor as a current limiter. Since it is current that kills, you’d be safe.

  4. Why do people say “amperage”? The correct term is “Current”. I have never ever heard an EE use the term amperage.

    On the same vein, amperage, or voltage, or wattage, is the measure of the quantity- not the quantity itself.

    Ie it’s the current that kills.

    Sorry to nitpick, but it’s that usage of the word annoys me….

  5. according to that definition, you can’t use amperage and current interchangeably. amperage is the measureof the current, not the current itself. i can’t say that my car weighs 3500 poundages, but it’s a word that is the same to weight as amperage is to current:

    Main Entry: 1pound

  6. It is the amperage that kills. Not the current. We have current going thru our bodies all the time. Once the current hits quantities,measured in amperes, above a certain level, thats when smoke comes out of your ears!

  7. Kinda like getting squished by a car–because of all that poundage–would kill a person?

    I’m wondering why someone would want electrostatic speakers instead of the olde type–what’s the advantage? Do they sound better? Or is it the cool factor?

    (Or maybe they’re just lighter per sound?)

  8. Is it just me, or does make steal the posts that are made here? i.e. this one which showed up on their site a day later.

  9. I saw a live version of these electrostatic speakers, bout 5ft tall demoed in a high end audio store in Austin Texas when I was a wee youngun looking for colleges back in the 80’s. They used a lot of power and seem to lack deep bass. Sounded well rounded otherwise. Were made of a grid array covered in a mylar film type material. This is not new but novel for headphones as the bass response would not be as critical at those sizes.

  10. all you ee nerds are sitting around arguing, and you’ve still got it wrong. electricity doesn’t kill people; the government does.

  11. The advantage is that they have higher efficiency than electromagnetic earphones. These are not resistive but capacitive load. This means – the higher the frequency is the higher will consumption be and the higher the volume will be.

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