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We're as close to the impossible as possible.
Our new speakers color sound.
Anybody's speakers do.
Should someone tell you otherwise, they speak with forked frequency response.
We at Sony approached the development of our new speaker line with this grim reality in mind.
Thus our goal was to create speakers with a minimum of coloration. With a frequency response flat and wide. With low distortion. And with repeatability.
Which is critical. Which means that each speaker we turn out will sound like the one before and the one after.
Searching and researching.
Our basic dilemma was that speaker specs don't specify much.
You can build two speakers with identical specs, and find they'll sound non-identical.
That's because your sophisticated ear can pick up differences our clumsy measurements can't.
Some examples: You can hear how pure water is. The purity of the water in which the pulp for the speaker cone is pressed will influence the sound. (Spring water is the best.) But water purity would hardly change the frequency response--or any other measureable characteristic.
Nor would the dye used to color the cone--or the glue used in gluing the cabinet.
But you'd hear the dye and the glue.
And there are dozens and dozens of elements that interact this way.
So our job was mammoth. To correlate these factors in order to reach the goal we outlined earlier. Changing one changes the other and almost changed our minds about going into the speaker business.
But we stuck it out. And found the answer to the juggling of these variables thanks to a major technological innovation.
Trial and error.
That's why we labored for three years to bring you our speakers. While other manufacturers rushed frantically to market with theirs.
We keep the whole world in our hands.
Once we understood how to control the sound of our speakers, we realized we had to control what went into our speakers.
So we did the only logical thing.
We built a plant.
And pursuing that logic, we built it at a place called Kofu. Which is at the base of Mt. Fuji. Where we can get all the spring water we want.
This factory does nothing but produce-under outrageously close control -the components for our speakers.
Whatever we do buy, we specify so carefully that our vendors have nightmares about us..(It's unfortunate that we can't make everything ourselves, but only God can make a tree, and only wood can make a fine cabinet.) Few companies make this effort.
So it's safe to say that when it comes to exercising this kind of control, our speakers are a voice in the dark.
Improvements that are heard and not seen.
As you can see, there's a lot that goes into producing a speaker that's not easily seen. (One beautiful exception-the handsome finish on our cabinets.)
Suggested retail prices: SSU-3000, $300 each; SSU-4000, $400 each.
That includes the carbon fiber that we mix into the speaker cone paper.
Carbon fiber is light and strong.
(Why they don't use it in girdles we'll never know.) Light, so our speaker is more efficient. Meaning you need less power to operate it. Meaning you are closer to the ideal of converting electrical energy to mechanical energy without a loss of power.
Light, so our speaker cone reacts quickly to stops and starts in the signal. The result: improved transient response.
Strong, to prevent the cone from bending out of shape in the high frequency range.
Moreover, carbon fiber doesn't resonate much. It has what's called a low Q, and it took someone with a high IQ to realize it would absorb the unwanted vibration rather than transmit it down the cone.
We also cut down on unwanted vibration (as opposed to the wanted vibration, which is music), by using a cast aluminum basket rather than a stamped, shoddy cheap metal one.
We could go on, but at this point the best thing would be for you to move on to your nearest Sony dealer. And listen.
Because the results of our three years of labor will be clear after three minutes of listening.
At which point, far from heckling our speakers, you'll be tempted to give them a standing ovation.
© 1977 Sony Corp. of America. Sony, 9 W. 57 St., N.Y., N.Y. 10019
SONY is a trademark of Sony Corp.
(Source: Audio magazine, June 1977)
Also see: Sony loudspeakers SSU-2000 (Dec. 1976)
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