Some Line Source Background


Conventional speakers are a conglomeration of different-sized transducers in what can often be mummy case-sized enclosures…or thin stretched panels…or even groups of flared horns.  They all attempt to meld the output of dissimilar devices into a coherent sonic whole.  And clearly many do a very impressive job.  But not as impressive as a line source can.

How a line source operates has been understood by scientists for a long time, harking back to the days of Bell Telephone Labs. A brilliant researcher who worked there taught the world how they worked; his name was Dr. Harry Olson, a physicist, experimenter, theoretician. He developed the complete theory of the line source, showing how an infinite line source would behave when generating a sound wave, and how a practical length of line source could become a close approximation to an ideal, infinitely long one.

So what happened? Why are line sources just now becoming popular with audiophile listeners, high-end audio dealers, and the press? Well, the answer is because it has been difficult to understand their detailed operating principle. Lots of advanced math, complicated room interactions not easily understood, and the difficulty of developing a practical method of actually building one. The scientists at JBL®, Bose® and others have tackled the problem, have written papers that ARE easy to understand, and the world now knows how to do it.