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Aug 21, 2007

The folks at Soundwave Research have been looking at using carbon nanotube-based elements for ribbons microphone diaphragms. As Bob explains on their blog the use of their carbon nanotube elements will allow for lighter, stronger ribbon diaphragms with the net effect of increasing dynamic range, diaphragm resilience and efficiency while reducing the noise floor.

A few months back, Bob gave a demonstration in his lab that showed just how strong the Roswellite ribbons are when compared with their aluminum counterparts: They hooked up the ribbon motor to an AC source and “played” the structure like a speaker using very high voltages, resulting in very high displacements. Most ribbons are in danger of deforming or breaking if you (literally) breathe on them - hence the warning one often sees about not blowing into a ribbon mic. This demo would pretty much destroy most normal ribbons, but the Rosewellite snaps back to its original state when the voltage is removed.

I thought it was a cool demo, but Bob swore me to secrecy and I couldn’t talk about it. Thank goodness they finally released a video of the demo so you could judge for yourself. Given all of the mics I’ve destroyed over the years, I’d love to see the Roswellite used for measurement-quality condensers.

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Michael Bauer posted a follow-up on his blog piece on restaurant noise. In the piece, he asks for a response from restaurant owners about how the soundscape affects restaurant earnings.

One of the comments in the blog post refer to a recent Commonwealth Club discussion featuring noted restaurant designer Pat Kuleto. A couple of bloggers have documented the panel’s response to noise concerns:

“On noise levels in restaurants: All were in agreement that a certain level of noise is good - you want everyone to feel the excitement of being in a place with a lively atmosphere (though, admittedly, it’s a fine line between lively and way too loud).”

“Stoll on noise: Our architects — it’s their fault! [Joke — laughter.] If you have a booked place, it’s going to be loud. You want your restaurant to be busy and exciting.

Honest to God, I want a certain level of noise.”

Well, there you go.

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