News & Media

How Speakers are Built

June 21,2017

The first electronic loudspeaker designs were introduced in the 1920’s, and while there have been many improvements in component materials over the decades, not much has changed in the basic functionality of a loudspeaker: a permanent magnet interacts with an electromagnet (voice coil) to move a cone back and forth to produce sound waves. Founded in 1966, Eminence has been a leading supplier of loudspeakers for professional audio, musical instrument, car audio and home hi-fi applications to many of the world’s most recognized brands. While our own components and manufacturing processes have evolved, the way we assemble speakers today doesn’t differ that much from when we started. Here’s how we do it.

Voice Coils

At the heart of every loudspeaker is the electromagnet, more commonly known as the voice coil, which uses an electric current to produce its magnetic field. The first step in making a voice coil is the winding process. A Kapton, Nomex, paper, or fiberglass former material is wrapped around a steel mandrel, which is used to keep it round during this process. These former materials are chosen for their thermal power handling and sonic contributions. Next, copper or copper-clad aluminum wire is wound to specific lengths according to the design.

The coil is then baked to cure the adhesive used for coating the wire. An assurance bead of glue is added at the top and bottom of the winding. As an added quality assurance measure, we double-bake our coils at this point.

For added strength we often add beryllium or copper strips to the coil. Then a paper collar is wrapped around the coil to protect the wire that goes from the winding to the tensile leads. These leads are then spliced onto each end of the winding. We then check the DC resistance and overall quality of each coil.

Fun fact: Eminence makes 95% of our voice coils in-house.

Permanent Magnets

When the voice coil receives an electric current and produces a magnetic field, it is repelled by the permanent magnet fixed to the loudspeaker basket. These magnets come in various sizes and materials, but interestingly enough, they aren’t magnets at all until the loudspeaker assembly reaches the end of our production line. Eminence uses ferrite, lightweight neodymium, and alnico (a combination of aluminum, nickel, and cobalt) magnets.

Fun fact: Eminence uses over 360,000 magnets each year.

Metal Parts

There are a few metal parts used in the construction of a loudspeaker: the basket, top plate, back plate, and core.

At Eminence we use a variety of loudspeaker basket types and sizes. Our cast-aluminum chassis range from 5” to 18” in diameter, and our stamped steel models range from 6.5” to 15”. We also have a variety of powdered metal and steel cores, in both vented and solid construction, and range in size from 1” to over 4”.

The top and back plates are stamped from rolls of steel in our Press Shop. The top plate is either welded or staked to the basket, and the back plate will have a round core welded or staked to the center of it. These two plates will eventually sandwich the permanent magnet.

Once our metal parts are assembled, they are then sent through our in-house e-coat paint process. A uniform coating of cationic epoxy paint is applied over the entire surface of the metal parts to a controlled thickness of less than 0.001”.

Fun fact: Eminence purchases over 1,160 tons of American made steel each year, the majority of it from Steel Technologies right across the street from our factory.

Soft Parts

The soft parts of a loudspeaker are the cone, dust cap, spider, and surround. Our cones come in many different sizes and the bodies are typically made of paper. The surrounds can be made of paper, cloth, Santoprene, rubber, or foam. The spider and the surround make up the mechanical suspension, which brings the cone back to its original resting position.

Fun fact: Eminence purchases over 310,000 cones each year from suppliers in the USA, UK, and Malaysia

Final Assembly

The first step of the final assembly process is to attach a terminal board to the painted basket/top plate assembly using either glue or rivets. Next a rear gasket is applied to the basket to create a seal with the enclosure if the speaker is to be front-mounted.

Next, the magnet and painted back plate/core assembly is glued to the top plate using a centering gauge to ensure a uniform magnetic gap, the narrow space between the permanent magnet and the metal core where the voice coil sits.

A bead of glue is applied to the flange of the basket to attach the cone surround. A vacuum is then used to remove any debris from the magnetic gap.

A Mylar gauge is then inserted into the voice coil to help the technician set the exact coil height for the given loudspeaker design. A bead of glue is then added around the coil to adhere it to the spider.

The next step is to apply a bead of glue to the bottom of the spider, and then place it over the voice coil and attach it to the basket. At this point the voice coil is glued to the spider, which is glued to the basket.

The cone is then inserted into the basket, and is pressed into the bead of glue that was applied earlier. Another bead of glue is then applied to attach the cone to the voice coil. The lead wires from the coil are fed through the two small holes that were pre-drilled through the cone and then through the terminals.

The Mylar gauge is then removed from the voice coil and the exposed lead wires are covered, or “dressed” with a rubber cement for added strength.

An edge treatment is used to seal porous cloth surrounds, as well as for sonic and performance enhancements.

A final bead of glue is applied to the cone to attach the dust cap, which is used to keep dust and debris from getting inside the magnetic gap.

Once the dust cap is in place, the speaker is then sent through our C-core magnetizer, using a field strength of 20 tesla meters to create the magnet.

A front gasket is then added to the basket to create a seal with the enclosure if the speaker is to be rear mounted. The tensile leads are crimped to the terminals and the excess wire is trimmed. A small bead of glue is applied to each terminal to fix the lead wires in place.

The speaker is fully assembled at this point. A conveyer belt slowly moves the speakers through an oven to cure the glue, and then a technician at the end of the line “sweeps” the speaker with an audio signal. This is to ensure the final product is working properly and has no visible or audible defects.

Fun fact: 100% of the speakers manufactured in the Eminence factory are listened to by a person.

Cosmetic enhancements are applied last, including a back plate label and a rubber magnet boot to provide a clean and professional look. If the product is going to an OEM customer, it is typically assembled on a pallet, shrink wrapped and staged in our shipping department. Otherwise, the speaker is sent to our packing line to be boxed and stored in our warehouse for distribution to virtually any destination in the world.

Fun fact: In addition to pro sound, car audio, and musical instrument applications, Eminence products can be found in sports arenas, aircraft carriers, Carnegie Hall, and even the Smithsonian Museum as part of a sound art exhibit.

Eminence Eyes the Future with Engineering Appointment.

June 1,2017

A leading supplier of loudspeakers and high frequency devices since 1966, Eminence today announced the appointment of Courtney F. Morgan, Ph.D. as Research and Innovation Leader.

Morgan has a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Georgia and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Emory University in Atlanta. His post doctoral research focused on nuclear magnetic resonance at the University of California Santa Cruz. Over the last 28 years Courtney has become an authority in research, design, process development, quality control, statistics, and electromagnetic radiation. His expertise in these areas will play a vital role in the company’s endeavor to advance current loudspeaker technology through radical product innovation.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Courtney into the Eminence family.” said Rob Gault, Chairman, Eminence Speaker. “He shares our values and our commitment to excellence as well as our focus on quality.  Courtney’s infectious enthusiasm and proven track record of leading-edge product innovation make him the perfect addition to an already talented team.”

“I am truly grateful for the opportunity to join the Eminence family.” said Morgan. “I have always loved music and the physics and craftsmanship that support dedicated audio engineers and musicians. Eminence embraces both aspects in delivering valuable products and service. I want to contribute to the future at Eminence and appreciate the history here.”

Morgan can be reached for comment at courtney.morgan@eminence.com.

Eminence Expands Sales Team, OEM Services in Europe

April 3,2017

Through their 25 years relationship with European distributor Adam Hall, Eminence has become a globally recognized brand known for high quality USA made loudspeakers and high frequency devices. Now, with the recent appointment of Damon Waller as European Sales Manager, Eminence will greatly enhance their ability to develop custom audio solutions for the many highly regarded OEM manufacturers there.

“By having Damon working hand-in-hand along with Adam Hall, we are better positioned to grow the Eminence brand.” said Chris Rose, President, Eminence Speaker. “Adam Hall continues to do a fantastic job distributing our branded product line. Their in-depth technical knowledge and unrivaled customer service are what make them one of the fastest growing distributors in the industry. With Damon’s new role we will be able to work directly with OEM manufacturers when a truly customized product is needed.”

Damon WallerWaller brings with him a wealth of knowledge and expertise from his previous positions at Trace Elliot, where he eventually served as International Sales Manager, and Orange Amplification, where he worked his way up through the company to the position of Managing Director. His background in international sales, brand marketing and positioning, sourcing, and product conception make him the ideal choice to grow Eminence’s OEM services.

Waller can be reached for OEM inquiries at damon.waller@eminence.com. To become an Eminence dealer in Europe, please contact Adam Hall at info@adamhall.com.

New Products for 2017

January 15,2017

Eminence is proud to introduce the following high quality pro audio and musical instrument products for 2017.

Alpha 3

Alpha 3The Eminence Alpha 3-8 is a truly versatile compact full-range driver perfectly suited for tight fitting pro audio line array and column array applications. With a program power rating of 60 watts, this 3” driver utilizes a 8.3 oz ferrite magnet in conjunction with an internal neodymium bucking magnet for increased sensitivity and extends the response out to 20kHz. The highly pressed cone sandwiches paper with a layer of water-resistant polypropylene for increased stiffness and lower distortion.

“Put eight of these in a column and pair it with a subwoofer for a large sounding system with a very small footprint.” says Jerry McNutt, Eminence Product Design Manager. “With the internal neo magnet acting as a shorting ring, the Alpha 3’s response is extended to the point you don’t need a tweeter.”

Available in 8Ω, the Alpha 3 offers 88.6 dB of sensitivity and has a usable frequency range of 150 Hz – 20 kHz.

» View the product detail page
» Download the product specification PDF
» Download high-resolution images

N151M-8 Ring Radiator

N151M-8Despite its minute size, the 1” exit N151M-8 ring radiator compression driver delivers monumental performance. Weighing in at a mere 1.7 lbs., the N151M-8 utilizes a phase plug design that improves the distribution of forces over the diaphragm surface, which results in a driver with lower distortion, smoother frequency response, and increased sensitivity as compared to conventional ring radiator designs.

The N151M-8 ring radiator features a 4.5 oz. neodymium magnet, a 1.5” voice coil, and is rated at 45 watts (AES).

» View the product detail page
» Download the product specification PDF
» Download high-resolution images

PF-350 Paul Franklin Signature

PF-350Offering complete tonal balance from top to bottom, this attack-sensitive and powerful 12” model was co-developed with veteran session and touring pedal steeler Paul Franklin. With headroom to spare, the PF-350’s tone transfers from low volume to very loud with warmth and clarity, making it ideal for pedal steel and 6-stringers alike.

“I finally have a speaker with complete balance, from highs to lows, where one frequency never dominates another. It gives me the flexibility to use my amp to dial in any type of sound while faithfully delivering beautiful tone at any volume.” – Paul Franklin

» View the product detail page
» Download the product specification PDF
» Download high-resolution images

JS-1250 Josh Smith signature

JS-1250Respected as much for his tone as his guitar skills, Josh Smith’s concept for the ultimate guitar speaker involved combining the lows of the Eminence Tonespotter, the clean highs of the Wizard, and the natural grit and sparkle of the Red Fang alnico. The result is an extremely versatile 12” speaker with vintage tone and the ability to handle the power of modern amps.

“Ultimately I was looking for something that could work in any application, from clean Fender tones, as well as dirty Vox tones. I asked Eminence to combine several qualities of my favorite speakers into one, and they knocked it out of the park. I use it in all my amps.” – Josh Smith

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» Download the product specification PDF
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Wheelhouse 150 Guitar Speaker

WheelHouse 150The warmth of hemp meets the power and responsiveness of neo in this versatile 12” speaker. Touch-sensitive and balanced, the WheelHouse delivers warm, smooth tone throughout the entire spectrum, allowing you to utilize your amp controls to shape your sound. It handles pedals and amp EQ with ease. Go from country to fusion to blues and make it sound like it’s right in your wheelhouse.

“Today’s in-demand session artists and sidemen have to be chameleons. We need to seamlessly blend in stylistically and tonally with whatever type of music is being recorded. This new speaker I helped Eminence develop lets me use my amp and pedals to dial in any tone I’m after, and handles anything I throw at it.” – Andy Wood / Session Artist / Touring Professional

» View the product detail page
» Download the product specification PDF
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Legend CA1059 Bass Guitar Speaker

Legend CA1059A larger magnet version of the popular Legend CA10, the Legend CA1059 is a 10” cast-frame bass guitar speaker modeled after the original OEM spec with the punch and clarity that defined the sound of many popular Eden cabinets throughout the decades. Like the CA10, the CA1059’s chassis is truncated on the sides for tight fitting in 2x, 4x, and 8×10 configurations. Along with higher Xmax, the CA1059 also features a larger 59 oz. ferrite magnet, producing higher efficiency, and lower Qts for dampening than its smaller magnet version. Available in 8 and 16 ohm.

» View the product detail page
» Download the PDF Spec Sheet
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Eminence Introduces the Custom Shop

October 18,2016

Eminence has greatly expanded their custom design capabilities to include modifying stock models for end users.

With over 170 unique pro audio and musical instrument loudspeaker and compression driver models in stock, Eminence has a solution for virtually any audio application. That said, occasionally a stock model with ideal performance parameters is not offered in the impedance needed for the job. That’s where the Eminence Custom Shop comes in.

“We have one of the widest product offerings in the industry.” said Jerry McNutt, Eminence Product Design Manager. “But it’s not always practical to stock every model in multiple impedances. We’ve introduced the Custom Shop to help our end users get exactly what they need for their situation.”

Subject to parts availability, Eminence can create alternate impedance versions of existing stock models, and can even revive an older discontinued model.

“Recently we had a guitar player call and tell us his go-to speaker has always been our Legend GB128.” said Anthony Lucas, Design Engineer. “But he had just acquired a 2×12 cabinet and was dismayed to learn we don’t offer a 16 ohm version of that speaker. In the past I would have tried to guide him to a different speaker, but as a guitar player myself, I know the tone I’m most happy with. We expect the Custom Shop will be a great resource for our loyal customers. If we have the necessary parts on hand, we’ll go out of our way to get you what you need.”

Once only available to in-demand session and touring guitar players, Eminence is now offering a guitar speaker break-in service through the Custom Shop. Most guitar players know a new guitar speaker takes some playing time to fully break in. The soft parts of a speaker will eventually loosen up slightly, which results in the tone becoming even sweeter. “It all started with helping out our A-list artists in Nashville.” said Lucas. “I guess the word spread. We get a lot of calls for it, so I think this is going to be something a lot of players will take advantage of.”

Learn more about the Eminence Custom Shop at www.eminence.com/custom-shop/

Eminence Achieves ISO 14001 Certification

August 8,2016

Eminence is pleased to announce the company has become ISO 14001 certified.

An ISO 14001 environmental management system is a systematic and process driven approach to controlling those aspects of a business that have a significant impact on the environment.

“This certification demonstrates to our customers, our community, and our team that Eminence Speaker is committed to protecting the environment through diligence and responsible environmental management practices.” said Chris Rose, President. “We continually strive to be a good corporate citizen, and we’re very proud to be doing our part.”

The company expects to realize many benefits from this certification, including reducing operating costs, raising environmental protection awareness among employees, and ultimately minimizing their environmental footprint.

Sensey Electronics and Eminence

April 6,2016

We’re very grateful to our friends at Sensey Electronics, our new exclusive distributor in Mexico. Their representation of the Eminence brand at the Soundcheck Expo in Mexico City was truly top notch. We look forward to growing the Eminence brand in Mexico with the expert team at Sensey! Visit http://www.sensey.com.mx/ to learn more about this great company.

A New Sound System for the National Marine Museum

March 16,2016

Eminence is proud to be a supplier of custom designed 10″, 12″ and 15″ speakers to High Performance Stereo for their HPS-4000® system. Following is news from HPS regarding being chosen to provide sound for the National Marine Museum’s new theater in Triangle, VA.

High Performance Stereo is pleased to announce that the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation in partnership with the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, VA, located near the Marine Corps Base Quantico, has selected the HPS-4000® sound system for the new large screen theatre currently under construction. The theatre will boast an 80 foot wide screen that is also 60 feet tall and will be the home of a special new large format film now in production.

Building a sound image big enough for a screen of this size has always presented a challenge for sound systems. In the past most systems have attempted to create tall sound images with a single center speaker high above the main center speaker. While this approach does help, it still fails fill the screen with a wall of sound that stereo is supposed to be.

HPS founder and president John Allen has given this unique problem a fresh look. Maintaining the desired maximum distance between the speakers behind the screen of 15 feet dictates that there be five main speaker systems. This part is not new. It is the same successful approach pioneered in the 1950s with 70 MM film presentations and now sadly all but abandoned. To add this wide sound image a tall vertical dimension, this new sound system will feature five more additional speakers placed 40 feet high.

All the main full range speakers employed behind the screen will be High Performance Stereo’s flagship 545-4 fully horn loaded four-way loudspeakers, each with a continuous acoustic output capability equal to a symphony orchestra. Full horn loading also produces the lowest possible distortion. All the speakers in this system including the surrounds will be built with HPS’s new “Stradivarius” midrange compression drivers. A full ten years in development, these critical sound reproducers are the finest HPS has ever employed.

The subwoofer channel will outfitted with eight 545-W fully horn loaded low frequency systems. This is also the same woofer system used in the 545-4 full rage four-way screen speakers. HPS-4000 sound systems are unique in this way. Using the same woofer cabinet in both the main speaker systems as well as the subwoofers means that the bass will sound the same from every speaker behind the screen. This eliminates the unpleasant “boom box” subwoofer sound so common in today’s cinemas. Each 545-W woofer system is by itself about 12 times more efficient than the typical “boom box” systems. This also translates into about 12 times less distortion.

Adding all this up results in some pretty impressive numbers. The sound systems found in the majority of movie theatres today have a total low frequency radiating area of around 7 1/2 square feet. This is the total area that all the bass speakers combined can have acting on the air in the room. A few theatres may have twice that much. The smallest HPS-4000 systems have a low frequency radiating area of 30 square feet. The larger HPS-4000 systems start at 50 square feet and have been as much as 130 square feet. The total low frequency radiating area of the HPS-4000 sound system at the National Museum of the Marine Corps will be an unprecedented 185 square feet, delivering an acoustic power of 2,576 acoustic watts. To put it another way, this is the equivalent of 36.8 symphony orchestras all playing at once. This system will be by far the most powerful HPS system in the world. Of course no film will ever play so loud. The power of this system simply means that the speakers and amplifiers will just loaf along and never be even slightly strained. The sound will simply be as beautiful and clear as sound can be without a hint of distortion.

Behind this power will be the new balanced-differential amplifiers by BGW Systems of Montebello, California, a division of Amplifier Technologies. The introduction of these amplifiers marks the very first time in the history of audio that this superior type of amplifier has been made for professional installations. Balanced-differential amplifiers are known not only for their incredible speed (transient response) but exceptional clarity due to their low distortion. Amplifier Technologies is the world’s leader in this type of amplifier technology.

High Performance Stereo couldn’t be more proud to be chosen for this special theatre. Opening is expected in 2017.

Artist Appearances at NAMM 2016

January 15,2016

Who’s ready for Winter NAMM 2016? It’s going to be another great show, and we have some very talented artists hanging out with us this year. If you’ll be attending the show, be sure to stop by and say hello and hear the tone clinics these guys will be putting on:

Thursday, 1/21

1:00 and 4:00 – Dave Baker tone clinic with Anthony Lucas
2:00 – Tomo Fujita demonstrates his signature speaker, the TF-1250
3:00 – Pete Anderson’s signature HempDog 12 official launch

Friday, 1/22

12:00 – Gary Morse and Dave Baker
1:00 and 4:00 – Dave Baker tone clinic with Anthony Lucas
3:00 – Eric Gales and Tomo Fujita
5:00 – Travis Toy demonstrates his signature guitar speaker, the Double-T12

Saturday, 1/23

11:00 – Josh Smith
12:00 – Gary Morse and Tomo Fujita
1:00 and 4:00 – Dave Baker tone clinic with Anthony Lucas
2:00 – Travis Toy demonstrates his signature guitar speaker, the Double-T12
3:00 – Eric Gales
5:00 – Pennal Johnson bass guitar clinic

Sunday, 1/24

12:00 – Tomo Fujita demonstrates his signature speaker, the TF-1250
1:00 – Pennal Johnson bass guitar clinic

Eminence Celebrates 50 Years

January 11,2016

Eminence 50th AnniversaryIn 1966 Bob Gault founded what was to become the world’s largest loudspeaker manufacturing company after working as an engineer for Magnavox and CTS (Chicago Telephone Supply). Gault started Eminence building only three 18” speakers per day, based on a commitment from Ampeg’s Everett Hull. Under the leadership of Gault and most recently his son, Rob, the company’s capacity grew to over 10,000 speakers per day, employing nearly 200 people.

“The Eminence Speaker factory is like my brother. We’ve grown up together side-by-side.” said Rob Gault, Chairman. “I’m grateful to my family for the opportunity and to God for bringing together such a great group of people who make up the Eminence family.”

Originally a supplier to OEM manufacturers only, Eminence began distributing its own line of branded products in 2000, and currently distributes to over 90 countries. In 2006, Eminence expanded its worldwide operations with the addition of Eminence Dongguan Enterprise Ltd. The Gault FamilyThe 96,000 sq. ft. facility was part of the international Eminence effort to provide loudspeaker manufacturing capability in areas strategically located near manufacturers of musical instrument and professional audio products. In 2009, Eminence further expanded its Asia operations with the addition of the Eminence Cabinet Shop, providing turn-key solutions for professional audio enclosures, finished systems and components, and guitar and bass amplifiers.

“NAMM is proud to recognize Eminence Speaker LLC for their 50 years of service to their community, staff and to the music and sound products industry,” said Joe Lamond, NAMM president and CEO. “Their hard work and willingness to adapt, as well as their commitment to making this world a more musical place have helped them stand the test of time and will be the driver of their future success.”