Flat hi-fi speakers in performance breakthrough

The UK company developing space-saving flat speakers claimed a technical breakthrough will boost the performance of its system in cars.

Audio engineers at NXT have created a single-drive unit capable of producing the full range of audio output, replacing a conventional woofer and tweeter along with their associated filters and wiring. The system, Audio Full Range (AFR), extends the low-frequency range of NXT’s smallest flat speakers by two octaves, doing away with the need for an additional woofer to handle bass.

It is these tiny panels that the company hopes will be used by vehicle manufacturers to produce high-quality audio without taking up valuable in-car space. AFR has been in development for two years. The technical challenge was to combine the low-frequency performance of a specially-designed piston with the mid-to-high frequency capabilities of the firm’s existing technology. The resulting loudspeaker is a single-motor, single-diaphragm device measuring less than 40mm.

Henry Azima, NXT’s chief technology officer, said AFR marked a milestone: ‘Automotive manufacturers are desperate to save space and reduce the number of parts for in-car systems. The smaller and lighter the component the better. On the other hand, they can’t compromise on sound quality.’ The company will now work with audio component suppliers to commercialise the technology.

On the web