|The Von Schweikert Research VR-8.
Albert Von Schweikert is proud to present the Virtual Reality VR-8 to
those wishing to experience music on an exalted level, far beyond ordinary expectations,
Do you remember the moment you fell in love with audio? For many of
us, emotional involvement with music and quality sound reproduction is a profound
experience. If you love music as much as I, you will understand why I have spent over
twenty years developing my concept of Virtual Reality which has led to the VR-8. Along the
way, I have discovered technology which allows a more faithful recreation of a sonic
illusion. Acoustic Inverse Replication enables the speaker to "decode"
the spatial sound field picked up at the recording site. In effect, the speaker behaves as
a mic in reverse, allowing the original perspective to be reproduced in your home. The Global
Axis Integration Network is a circuit I've developed which allows the VR-8 to radiate
sound waves in a spherical pattern without beaming, similar to live instruments. This,
along with A.I.R., enables soundstage imaging over a broader area of the room and
replicates the psychoacoustic cues necessary for Virtual Reality. This crossover circuit
along with a specialized driver radiation pattern using front and rear driver arrays,
combine to enable true room filling sound with breath taking 3-D imaging.
Frequency, phase and transient response, including
low distortion and coloration, have seemingly been perfected in modern loudspeaker design.
Yet "realism", the missing ingredient, has eluded even the most ambitious and
expensive systems. Initially, I thought that extreme clarity would provide this
ingredient, and exotic drivers were utilized with lighter, stiffer diaphragms made from
woven carbon fiber and titanium. However, although enhanced clarity did provide a better
"window" to the performance, it alone did not provide this missing element.
Several years ago I became interested in developing
a speaker system of high efficiency suitable for use with low powered amplifiers and
"rediscovered" the effects of high dynamic range. As the magnet strength was
increased and the diaphragms lightened further, the drivers sounded more "alive"
due to the actual clarity increase combined with the effects of increased dynamics. Minute
details veiled by low and medium efficiency transducers were brought out in full relief.
The heightened dynamic range also resulted in a very high excitement factor.
However, when combining several drivers which seemed
to have promise, I discovered that the enclosure and crossover circuitry had to be
developed in parallel with the transducers, not as an afterthought. The dissipation of low
level detail by enclosure vibration and circuit absorption had a very deleterious effect
I have termed this dissipation of low level signal
information "The Masking Effect", and the resulting design of the VR-8 seeks to
achieve the missing realism by eliminating low level dissipation.
A significant portion of the drivers energy is
absorbed, hence destroyed, by the medium-mass enclosures of typical high end construction,
since the moving diaphragm can either convert the energy of the electrical signal into
sound waves or cabinet vibration. Dramatically increasing the enclosures mass has the
effect of providing a non movable foundation which in turn allows very subtle diaphragm
motions to be heard. The increase in low level detail add a "breathiness" which
I found very captivating and high in the realism quotient.
Next, I did research on typical crossover circuit
components and found that normally accepted dissipation in even expensive film capacitors
and air cored inductors was absorbing far too much low level detail. Several months were
spent testing all available capacitor types, including the most expensive aerospace units
not generally available. Amazingly, the best performing units were "ancient"
can-type oil filled paper units, dating back to the beginnings of radio. Not surprisingly,
these are the same type of caps used in the $ 78,000 Audio Note Ongaku amplifier,
generally accepted as a "milestone" product.
Further research into wire and inductors led to our
design of a proprietary solid core wire, featuring extremely high purity and a foamed
Teflon dielectric covering. The wire permits very low level detail to be easily heard, as
the reactive effects of inductance, resistance, and capacitance are minimized.
In addition to the specially designed electrical
components and wire, the actual circuit topology is of innovative design. My Acoustic
Inverse Replication (AIR) radiation pattern is employed, since the goal of a true
reference loudspeaker is to radiate the signal back into the room in the same manner as
the microphone picked it up. In conjunction with the Global Axis Integration Network, my
name for the special circuit, the AIR design allows a very wide dispersion pattern to
develop. Listeners can sit virtually anywhere in the room and hear excellent stereophonic
imaging, even when standing in between or behind the speakers.
The VR-8 system has been dubbed an "unlimited
performance" system since every aspect of it’s design and construction has been
engineered to provide the ultimate sense of realism. Musical information simply dissipated
and lost in other systems comes alive. For instance, full bass response and wide sound
stage imaging is available at whisper volume levels. The VR-8 has a sensitivity of 96DB,
making it at least five times more efficient than most planar speakers. The efficiency
gain is similar to increasing the amplifiers power from a few watts to hundreds of watts.
Since dynamic range is now heightened to very
dramatic levels, low level detail is "magnified" and crescendos are rendered to
very high volume levels with out a trace of distortion or strain. Frequency bandwidth has
been extended at the same time, with an available response from 16Hz to 40Khz. Coloration
has been reduced to imperceptible levels, as the driver technology is at the
state-of-the-art level. Woven carbon fiber fabric is employed in the twin midrange
drivers, where oxidized titanium is used for the tweeter diaphragms. Each enclosure weighs
close to 500 lb. due to the use of critically braced MDF from 1" to 3" thick.
Recommended power is from 7 watts up to one kilowatt. Impedance is 4 ohms with very little
variation. The Midrange . Treble unit is adjustable for vertical angle and is Time
aligned, providing the ultimate in depth and imaging.
Crossover frequencies: Virtual "one-way"
design, using full range drivers as "main" system, augmented at sub-bass and
treble frequencies. The frequencies chosen, 100Hz and 3.5Khz, are well outside the
ear’s most sensitive range, allowing full midrange coherency without driver overlap.
Bass system: 13" sub-bass and 10" midbass
high efficiency, cast frame drivers using extremely stiff and lightweight paper cones,
large 4" voice coils, and huge 6000 gram magnets. Separate periodically vented
enclosures are tuned to a sixth order Chebychev alignment which features transient
response speed enhancement due to magnetic overdamping and 100% stuffing fill.
Midrange system: Twin 5.5" cast frame drivers,
featuring woven carbon fiber diaphragms, edge wound ribbon voice coils, oversized vented
magnets, and Norsorex surrounds. All 4 midrange drivers have tested and matched frequency
response tolerances to within 1/4 dB.
Treble system: Titanium inverse dome with dioxide
damping layer, phase control plate, transmission line loading, Ferrofluid cooling, and
enormous 1200 gram magnetic structure.
Ambiance retrieval system: Rear firing midrange /
treble driver ( same as front tweeter ) with Ambiance Derivation Circuit and Spatial
Dimensional control for effects level.
Frequency response: 16 Hz ( with optional filter )
to 35Khz, +/- 3 DB. ( Midrange +/- 1 DB )
Inputs: Separate pairs of metal posts for woofer,
midrange / treble inputs for bi-amping or bi-wiring.
Sensitivity: 96Db @ 1W 1M anechoic, 100 Db measured
in room with boundary boost.
Impedance: Four ohms nominal rating. High current
tube or solid state amplifiers recommended.
Power recommendations: Five watts minimum, 1000
watts maximum peak input.
Enclosure: Two piece stacking type, with wall
thickness varying from 1" to 3" using constrained layer damping techniques and
cross bracing. Adjustable midrange / treble module with time aligned drivers.
Weight: 500 lb. ea.
Dimensions 74" H X 18" W X 28" D.
Suggested Retail: starting at $17,500 per pair depending on finish