know that many speakers on the market use tweeters made
from silk? And silkworms are killed to get the silk. But there are
excellent alternative to silk tweeters.
is actually a hard
subject to get to the bottom of. Silk tweeters may be labeled as such.
But they may also be referred to as "fabric tweeters". And some fabric
tweeters use a synthetic material like polyester. And while some
dome shaped tweeters are made from metal, such as aluminum or titanium,
they use a fabric surround, which may or may not be silk. The surround
is a ring that acts as a suspension, connecting the dome to the frame
of the tweeter. You can easily see the surround on a woofer, but it's
usually made of rubber. A speaker
with an aluminum or titanium tweeter is not necessarily silk-free.
Here's an example
of a metal tweeter with a silk surround. As
far as the consumer electronics industry is concerned, this is a matter
of virtually no importance. So it takes some work to sort out all the
As a general rule, there
are classes of speakers which don't use silk in the tweeters. One class
inexpensive speakers that use tweeters made from materials like mylar.
Usually, the tweeter is 1/2 or 3/4 inch, where traditional fabric
tweeters are usually 1 inch.
second class are
speakers with exotic tweeters. These usually use a flat membrane, made
of a plastic or aluminum. These tweeters are usually
referred to with names like "ribbon tweeter", "planar tweeter", or "air
motion transformer" (AMT).
Urban Fidelity full range speakers
Also, there are full range
speakers. Materials and design have gotten to the point that one driver
can reproduce almost all of the audio spectrum, eliminating the need
for a tweeter.
And finally are speakers
which just don't use silk on the tweeter dome or the surround.
These products are
speakers with ribbon tweeters, available from theaudioinsider.com.
These actually appear to be outstanding value speakers.
(Bowers & Wilkins) says most of their speakers don't use silk, but
provided this list of models that DO use silk on the tweeter: CT7.3,
CCM7.3, 7.4, 7.5
CWM7.3, 7.4, 7.5
CCM684, 664, 665, 663SR, 664SR.382.362
doesn't use any silk on the domes of their tweeters. Boston Acoustics
is a big company in the world of speakers, so this is good news. Boston
Acoustics has developed their own tweeter which they call the Kortec®
are capable of frequency response out to 25,000 Hz. shop online for
Boston Acoustics at amazon.com: bookshelf floor
(make sure it's a model with a ribbon tweeter). GoldenEar Technology
was started by Sandy Gross, who co-founded Polk Audio in 1972. So
there's lots of experience designing speakers at GoldenEar Technology.
except a few with dome shaped tweeters, use a variation of the air
motion transformer, or their own electostatic designs, which don't use
a traditional tweeter at all. Martin
Logan calls their version of the air motion transformer tweeter the Folded
Motion™ Tweeter. video of their
advanced tweeter shop for Martin
Logan speakers on amazon.com
Monitor Audio uses tweeters
made from ceramic coated aluminum-magnesium alloy, (which they refer to
as C-CAM®), with
surrounds made of rubber.
use any silk on any of their speakers. The surrounds for their
tweeters, which are metal, are not silk. This is great news, because
PSB is considered by many to be a value leader in the world of
speakers. Paul Barton, who started PSB, is a professional musician by
No Response or declined to answer:
I contacted several companies to
make this list, but didn't get a response from some companies:
Bose declined to provide
information, saying it was proprietary.
Infinity - no response
KEF - no response
Brands to watch out for
These companies DO use silk in at least some of
Alpine (car speakers)
Insignia (this is Best Buys' house
the way, if you are wondering
about all your other devices with speakers in them, that's a really
good question. It's beyond the scope of this article to wade into that.
But here's a good rule of thumb. Most devices like clock radios, iPod
docks and smaller TVs often don't have tweeters. They use one speaker
to reproduce both low and high frequencies. These are often referred to
as "full range speakers"
and are usually 4 inches or less in diameter. So if you're shopping for
a product, one with a full range speaker would be a safe way to go.
Products with full range speakers can range from not very good sounding
to extremely good. So you'll need to do some reaserch to find
something that sounds good wnough for you. As
far as TVs, I'd tend to look for a smaller TV, with a less elaborate
audio section. Then, if you ever wanted, you could hook up a modest
external amplifier. Or you could hook it up to a full home theater
system with rear channel speakers.
recommended iPod dock:
Acoustics Duo-I Plus (Boston doesn't use silk.)
Good luck shopping!