Audio Building Blocks 2

Eikona_2405

In 1962, Ted Jordan designed the Jordan-Watts Module to work as both a stand-alone loudspeaker and a versatile audio building block. He revisited this idea, 50 years later, with the development of the Jordan Eikona. Combining a high quality, full-range driver in multiples or with other units gives tremendous design flexibility.

For example, one approach is to use the Eikona in a vertical line array of multiple units, which offers three significant advantages over the use of single, larger speaker units:

“1. In practice one small cone is more efficient at low frequencies than one larger one and both the efficiency and the power handling increase with the number of units used.

2. Irrespective of the power requirements the intrinsic quality of the individual unit is retained.

3. By closely mounting the units one above the other the advantages of a ‘line source’ are secured which overcomes, to a large extent, the problems of poor room acoustics.”

(Derive from First Principles, by E.J. Jordan, Gramophone magazine, April 1964)

At the Bristol Hi-Fi Show in February, there was a demonstration of a pair of reference-quality loudspeakers costing £13,750. They were large floor-standing speakers with a sensitivity of 90 dB/watt, 500 watts power handling and a maximum SPL of 116 dB/metre.

How does the Eikona compare?

As we’re building this ourselves, let’s be extravagant and use 32 Eikonas for a pair of 2.5m-high, line source arrays. Each array features a combined cone area equivalent to a 38cm bass unit but with the moving mass and transient response of a single Eikona. The array has a sensitivity of 98 dB/watt sensitivity, 1600 watts power handling and a peak output of 124 dB – more than enough to handle a full orchestral crescendo at realistic levels.

These figures give freedom to balance enclosure size, sensitivity and bass extension to almost any domestic requirement. For example, a column design would occupy minimal floor area, reach down to 20Hz, be immune to many problems with room reflections and be capable of truly world-class performance. And all for less than half the cost of the loudspeaker at Bristol.

Of course, not all of us have the room or budget for a loudspeaker on this scale, so in part 3, we’ll examine how the Jordan Eikona can form the basis of a more modest instrument and dispense with the cabinet altogether.

Audio Buildings Blocks 1

Audio Buildings Blocks 3

Audio Building Blocks 4

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4 Comments

  1. Had Ted’s own linear arrays using 4-off 2″ (50mm) drive units for a while. Now have the Aurora 800s. Both sounded clean and transparent and create a wonderful soundstage. I’d say however, the Eikona based 800s offer greater weight and depth. As Ted does with his 800s, I fill in the lowest octaves with a sub, although likely he’d agree this approach is far from essential.

    Keep us posted!

    Andrew

  2. The linear array provides the highest level of stereo image precision experienced from moving coil loudspeakers. The inverse square law no longer applies and the stability and scale have to be heard to be believed. This together with a wide bandwidth,razor sharp transients and wide dynamic range provide a level of performance and combination of qualities which are difficult to equal irrespective of price.

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