SHO SERIES - Wharfedale Pro

By: Wharfedale Pro  09-12-2011
Keywords: suspension, professional audio, Transducers


SHO Series Professional
Audio Transducer System

The Low-Down On SHO Series Low Frequency Transducers

SHO Series transducers represent massive advancement in low frequency transducer design. First and foremost, all 12", 15" and 18" low frequency transducers employ a very large format 5" (127mm) diameter voice coil. Compare this to the current industry standard of a 4" voice coil, and you will see that for equal coil heights, the SHO Series voice coil has a 25% larger area. Since both power handling and cooling depend on the power per a given unit area, you can see why SHO Series drivers can take more power for extended periods than the competition.

SHO Series Drivers Laugh In The Face Of Heat

With the exception of blast furnaces and welding, heat is the enemy of everything mechanical, and transducers are no exception.The SHO Series transducer design incorporates a unique heat sink which effectively reduces the heat generated in the transducer's magnet gap, and further reduces heat build up on the voice coil-one of the most common causes of speaker failure.

The design of the heat sink provides a large surface area for additional heat dissipation, while the placement of the heat sink under the moving suspension element actually moves air across the heat sink, further reducing potential heat build up. Wharfdale's ingenious dual spider configuration actually moves heat away from the voice coil, and, the spiders are spaced apart with a unique venting system, allowing higher temperature air to vent to the outside.

This combination of active cooling and ultra large surface area aggressively reduces the high loss of efficiency due to heat found in other loudspeakers, offering the greatest thermal management in their class.

SHO Series Low Frequency Suspension System

SHO Series transducers are quite unique in the way they maximize linear output. The suspension system connecting the cone to the frame-or basket-has two basic functions. The first is to allow the cone and coil to move freely on axis, but also control excessive motion that would cause the speaker to self-destruct. The second function is to act as a restoring force for the cone and coil assembly. A wide suspension will allow the cone and coil to move further in a linear fashion, producing a more linear and distortion free response at high sound pressure levels.

Many of our competitor's woofers utilize wide suspension systems in an effort to increase the linear travel and increase the volume velocity of the device, however, these wide suspension systems usually reduce the radiating surface of the system in the process. The displacement is improved but the volume velocity is not maximized. A transducer increases it acoustic output by increasing what is known as the volume velocity of the system. This is how it works. The radiating element, (the cone), moves forward as it reproduces a signal. The combination of the area, moving forward, generates what engineering students know as volume velocity.

When the suspension system in designed to be wider, but the surface area of the cone is smaller to accommodate the wider suspension, the linear travel, or displacement may be increased, but the reduction in the surface area does not allow for a maximized overall linear volume velocity. In other words, they don't sound as good-trust us, we did the math.

The SHO Series does not make this compromise. The surface area of each transducer is not sacrificed for a wider suspension. The SHO Series transducers provide BOTH a large radiating surface area AND a wider suspension. The SHO suspension is a full 50% wider than typical pro audio woofers. It's the speaker equivalent of having your cake and eating it too.

Sounds Impressive!

Ok, for those of us without a PhD from MIT, all this engineer-speak means The combination of a large radiating area and a wide suspension mean that the SHO Series will produce world class, bass-pumping LINEAR reproduction.

More Math To Boggle Your Mind

Now some speaker manufacturers say their woofers can move two inches, but he key to world-class performance is not how far a suspension can travel, but the linear travel of the system. Linear travel, or displacement, is known as Xmax, and is a measure of linear travel, not maximum travel. The linear travel of the system must then be combined with transducer efficiency. A competitive woofer with high linear travel but low efficiency still won't produce high sound pressure levels at low distortion.

At Wharfedale we kept the diaphragm the right size and made the surround 50% bigger

The SHO Series was designed to provide BOTH high linear travel (very low distortion and excellent intelligibility) AND high Sound Pressure Level performance.

But Wait, There's More About Our Suspension System!

There are two levels of suspension for any loudspeaker-the suspension and the "spider". The spider element is behind the cone, and acts to control the centering of the voice coil as well as provide damping for the overall mechanics of the system. Usually, these spiders are no wider than a conventional cone suspension and because of that sad fact, they also act to limit the linear travel of the system.

Once again, Wharfedale comes to the rescue! The SHO Series transducers offer an exceptional solution. Although dual spiders in low frequency drivers are not unique, the venting between the two spiders in the SHO Series adds another degree of cooling to the voice coil. And if that ain't enough for you, since the spiders are much wider than the typical pro audio woofer spider design, they allow for additional linear travel, which as we all know is a good thing.


The Wharfedale approach to double spiders - 50% wider

The Wharfedale Professional philosophy is simple: All with a common design philosophy - Value, Integrity and performance. We put in a lifetime of experience – you get out a lifetime of performance.

Is There Anything Else We Can Do To Make The SHO Series Sound Awesome?

All of the items discussed above relate to sonic quality and performance, but transducers are complex beasts, and the SHO Series have many more important details separating them from the competition.

For instance-there are many basic performance parameters that can be used to describe a transducer's behavior. Two of the most important are the steady state performance and the time domain performance. Steady state performance parameters includes things like frequency response, harmonic distortion etc. These specifications are the ones all pro audio spec sheets hype.

For the SHO Series, particular attention was paid during the design and development to the time domain performance characteristics of the transducers. These time domain distortions act to "color" the tonal accuracy of any transducer, and controlling them can provide a huge improvement in clarity. Time domain performance issues have been identified and discussed in technical literature for 70+ years, but most pro audio manufacturers pay little attention to this all-important aspect of system performance.

In addition to mechanical control of the suspension elements, the SHO Series transducers were designed using the latest technologies in high internal damping cone materials. These proprietary materials provide excellent time domain response for excellent vocal detail as well as high strength for high reliability. We'd tell you more, but unfortunately, we'd have to kill you-and that's just too much work.

The Low And Highs Of Speaker Design

Large format compression driver with a 3.25" pure Titanium diaphragm & 1.45" exit throat. What good would it do if we devoted so much time and attention on the low frequency drivers, than cheezed out on the tweeters? Well lucky for you we just don't roll like that. The SHO high frequency driver is a large format compression driver utilizing a pure titanium 3.25" (82.6mm) diaphragm. The close-spaced phase plug assures high acoustic damping and smooth ultra high frequency response.

Why Smaller Throats Sound Better

Traditionally, large format compression drivers are designed with a 2" (50.8mm) exit diameter coupled to a 2" horn throat. However, the large diameter exit does not allow for directional control when wavelengths become smaller than the exit diameter of the compression driver. What this means is, large diameter exits can't provide enough control to the wavefronts and directional control is lost. Due to this ironclad law of physics, the high frequency horn can no longer offer optimum directional control.

The SHO Series compression driver 1.45" (36.8mm) exit throat is optimized for both low distortion and high frequency directional control. Coupled with a neodymium iron boron magnet, the entire system maximizes acoustic output while minimizing weight.

Waveguides (some people call them "Horns")

The SHO Series constant directivity high frequency wave guides are fully optimized for maximum control and directivity.

The SHO H64 is a fully rotating, constant directivity wave guide with 60 degree horizontal by 40-degree vertical pattern. The four large cut outs allow maximum component density on the front baffle, but still offer full rotation of the horn. This allows suspension of the enclosure both vertically and horizontally, allowing a very high degree of installation flexibility.

The H64 wave guide is used in the SHO-115, SHO-215, and SHO-212.

The SHO H94 features a constant directivity wave guide with a 90 degree by 45 degree coverage pattern. The full rotation capability of the horn allows for maximum flexibility in placement without loss of coverage.

The H94 is used in the SHO 112 and SHO 112M enclosures.

Both the H64 and H94 for constant directivity horns, and optimized flare rates and mouth areas designed to produce exceptional polar control, down to the lowest frequencies of operation.

Crossover And Connect

All non-sub speakers in the SHO family have passive crossover and bi-amp capabilities. Switching between full range and bi-amp is accomplished via a high current switch on the SHO input plate.

Inputs are two Speakon-style four-pin panel mount connectors, and are wired for "thru" connections to other SHO enclosures for parallel operation.

Built Like A Brick Pagoda

The SHO series includes 1x15", 2x15", 1x12", 1x12" monitor/utility enclosures, as well as 2x12", 1x18" and 2x18 subwoofer enclosures. All incorporate 18mm birch plywood construction for incredible strength and durability. Internal flying/rigging points (eight M10 points designed for use with forged shoulder eye bolts) provide for rugged and safe flown installations.

SHO enclosures feature soft polymer co-injected handles for optimum comfort when transporting and lifting. The SHO 115, 112, and 112M utility enclosures incorporate pole mount stand adaptors for use with SHO Series subwoofers.

Keywords: professional audio, suspension, Transducers

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