In the field of electrostatic speakers, there are a handful of names that evoke a sense of awe and excitement, a primal reaction to the memory of their sound. In the USA one such name was Acoustat, the creation of Jim Strickland.
Born in the USA in 1972, Acoustat reached closer to the goal of a perfect full range panel speaker. Acoustat also addressed the issues of cost and reliability, through innovation that resulted in a better sounding, more reliable and cheaper speaker.
1972 - Acoustat Inc. established in USA by Jim Strickland.
1980 - Invention new type of i/f allowing any good quality amplifier to be used.
1983 - Design of the modular series, allowing full range ELS, but bulky.
1992 - Design of all electrical model (SPECTRA) delivering better dispersion of treble.
1995 - All new design - very slim and light using aluminium frames.
During the 1980s, Acoustat merged with David Hafler Corp (Pro-audio par excellence) and later with the Rockford Corporation (Car audio par excellence). These divergent areas led to the acquisition of Acoustat Technology by an Italian high end manufacturer in 1992, and eventually to lower costs through manufacturing in China in 1999.
Italian ownership resulted in re-engineered aesthetically pleasing products and the innovative use of stiffer PVC insulated rod-like wires for the static field, making the speakers virtually maintenance free, extremely robust compared to other ELS and aesthetically well ahead of their time.
In 2002 , Acoustat moved to the present base in mainland China, where electrostatic panel speakers are reaping the benefit of reduced manufacturing costs.
Electrostatic loudspeakers (ELS) are inherently highly directional at the higher frequencies i.e. the fabulous sweet point is tightly defined in both planes. The development of SPECTRA technology, in the late 1980s overcame this fundamental problem and resulted in a much more user friendly system. SPECTRA delivered an electrical, rather than mechanical, solution to this problem resulting in better performance and easier manufacturing.
Another inherent feature of ELS, dipole radiation, requires proper positioning to avoid detrimental reflection interference in the room, although conversely, the same characteristic mimics most natural sound sources Rear and side wall reflections do require some control. ELS can generate beautiful, controlled bass given sufficient panel area however few people can accommodate 6' X 2' speakers, however slim, and so many ELS panels are paired with high quality cone woofers.
Acoustat were the first to overcome the need for expensive amplifiers in the early 1980s. Most panels are now similarly able to be driven by any solid state amplifier with a strong current delivery, making ELS an everyday, affordable product, now extending their reach into surround sound systems.
Thus, after almost 90 years of the first patents being filed, we have a speaker type that is beautiful to behold, practical to own and truly offers high fidelity sound reproduction by its very natural.