While a perfect loudspeaker would be able to reproduce any musical signal at any level with zero distortion and no coloration, we realize that any loudspeaker built on planet Earth could not be perfect. Nevertheless with innovative design and careful implementation, we can make progress to more closely approach the ideal. While relatively large loudspeakers are required to produce lifelike dynamics, especially at low frequencies, often it seems large loudspeakers can have large problems. Most large loudspeakers suffer from coloration, imaging, low-level resolution, bass integration, harmonic accuracy, coherency, transparency and soundstaging limitations. In addition, large loudspeakers may be difficult to place in a room. Pegasus was developed to greatly reduce or eliminate these limitations. Bringing over 30 years of experience to bear upon this project, designer Carl Marchisotto would not be satisfied with a design until he would purchase it himself. This is much different from the typical large corporation committee design routine.
Pegasus is built in two sections that are stacked one on top of the other. The upper section contains all the drivers except the four bass drivers that are located in the lower section. A major problem with large loudspeakers having extended bass is in isolating the bass vibrations so they do not obscure low level mid band information. The best solution is to use separate bass enclosures as in the Grand Reference. However, this is both very expensive and takes up considerable floor space. Pegasus utilizes a built-in ball bearing system as an effective means of dealing with this problem.
Loudspeaker coloration is most audible through the critical mid range frequencies. Pegasus utilizes two mid range drivers operating in open baffle dipole mode. The open baffle mode eliminates coloration due to cabinet resonances, air chamber standing wave resonances and delayed through-the-cone resonances. These drivers utilize a new 110mm tri-laminate cone, developed to improve low level resolution. These transducers are driven by the highest quality Alnico magnet systems for lowest possible musical distortion and very wide dynamic contrasts. Two are utilized to double power handling and provide a better match to the air.
The high frequency drivers are domes operating in the dipole mode to eliminate the slowing of the response and resultant slight mechanical sound typical of sealed back domes. These magnesium / aluminum alloy domes are also driven by twin Alnico ring magnets for lowest possible distortion and widest dynamic contrasts. Two drivers are utilized to double power handling and provide a better match to the air.
A unique upper bass driver is rear mounted and upward firing. This driver operates as a dipole over the upper bass range with extremely fast response as there is no enclosure to slow the response. This 200mm driver has its own crossover and also uses an Alnico magnet for highest quality response.
Twin 200mm mid-bass drivers are forward firing in isolated sealed chambers and reproduce the mid-bass through the lower mid range. These drivers employ composite carbon fiber cones for high speed and low coloration driven by Alnico magnet systems.
Upper section cabinet coloration is greatly reduced by using a built-in ball bearing system to absorb vibration and provide isolation from the lower section cabinet.
Four 200mm bass drivers are located in the lower section. They are arrayed in an opposing force vibration-cancelling mode with two drivers on each side and operate as a sealed system. These drivers also use the composite fiber cone driven by an Alnico magnet. Improved cone control is provided by this arrangement, as mechanically the cones are working against each other.
Uniquely, all seven 200mm bass drivers per channel are identical drive units so that even though Pegasus employs 11 drivers per channel, there are only three types -- no more than in a 3-way speaker. This eliminates time smear due to differential mass effects over the whole bass range.
These are all related. Pegasus utilizes only slow slope essentially linear phase type crossovers throughout. While Pegasus is technically a 5½ way system, it speaks with one voice from top to bottom. This crossover design allows excellent pulse reproduction for superb transient response and sound staging. High slope crossovers (24 dB is popular- some use infinite slope) all compromise transient response, harmonic accuracy and soundstaging, to produce ultimately an unnatural sound. The Alnico magnet systems used on all drivers in the system promote natural harmonic structures without the "edge" so often associated with dynamic systems. The combination of harmonically correct low distortion drivers, low phase shift crossovers with low energy storage, reduced diffraction and excellent transient response, maximizes all of the above qualities.
Comments about Pegasus at CES 2005:
Comments about Pegasus at CES 2004:
Pegasus is only 9½ inches wide through the mid-bass to lower mid frequency range. This minimizes diffraction distortion and its negative impact on stereo imaging. Many large speakers can be twice this width, substantially degrading imaging. Pegasus can disappear into the sound stage like a mini-monitor, but with life-like image size and dynamics over the whole frequency range.
From the critical mid range on up, Pegasus uses the same 45-degree mirror imaged array originally developed for the Grand Reference which uses 9 ribbon tweeters and 6 midrange drivers. In Pegasus we use two midranges and two tweeters, but with the same advantage of lifelike image size and improved focus. The mid-high frequency array operates as a cross between a line source and a point source and as in the Grand Reference possesses the advantages of both. The mid and high frequency baffles use a sculpted mirror-imaged shape to further reduce diffraction distortion and baffle reflections. Since the upper bass, midrange and high frequency drivers operate as dipoles, they naturally limit the amount of sound that is bounced off the floor, side walls and ceiling, via dipole cancellation, for a clearer view into the recorded sound stage.
Low Level Resolution
Several techniques are employed to maximize low level resolution. First, all drivers are designed to reproduce the smallest details of the music signal. The drivers are engineered to have very low loss and therefore will respond accurately to signals in the milliwatt range. We can do this because we design all the drivers for our own use. We do not use off the shelf units as many manufacturers do. There is no feeling of needing a lot of power to "get the speaker going". This quality also makes low-level listening a reality. However, larger amplifiers, as long as they are very high quality, will provide a sense of greater ease and life like dynamics.
Second, the sensitive mid/high frequency crossovers are mounted in a separate external module, which sits just behind the speaker. This approach isolates these circuits from the magnetic, electric and vibration fields, which abound inside the speaker enclosure near the speaker drivers. Thus low-level information, normally obscured is now revealed.
Third, the crossovers are all hard-wired using oxygen-free copper wire. No printed circuit boards or fuses are used anywhere in order to preserve low-level resolution.
Fourth, the crossover components are state of the art. Proprietary low loss polypropylene 630 volt capacitors are used- same as in the Grand Reference. While it is common practice to compromise on inductor quality for low frequencies by using non-linear iron core or ferrite core units, this approach was found to be not good enough for Prpteus II. Indeed the low frequency inductor is a massive custom linear air core design employing 17 pounds of oxygen free copper! This inductor is distortion free at levels beyond 1000 watts with no loss of milliwatt low level information.
Instead of using large size bass drivers with small midranges or large and medium size bass drivers in the same cabinet with smaller midranges, Pegasus eschews these common approaches and uses a different concept that avoids the integration limitations of the common approaches. All bass drivers are in fact the same unit so we have crossovers from and to identical units in the bass range. These drivers, while being identical, are utilized in three different ways to cover the bass range. However, the character of the bass, by definition, is the same from below 20 Hz through 500 Hz and this eliminates bass integration problems and helps to allow Pegasus to sound like a single driver.
Because Pegasus is built in two stackable pieces, optimum room placement is much easier to obtain than with typical single piece heavier construction. Also, the use of ball bearing isolators reduces resonance and allows easier placement in the room.
Note: It is Nola's opinion that specifications are useful during the design process but in no way can they be used to judge the suitability of a loudspeaker for reproducing music. While only the palette can distinguish a great wine from a good wine, similarly only the human ear can distinguish a great loudspeaker from a good one. It is often heard that a particular listener may like the way a given loudspeaker is "voiced". This is to provide a certain type of sound from a loudspeaker and is not about accuracy. Many popular loudspeakers are not particularly accurate. Many loudspeakers advertised as accurate do not sound like music. Pegasus is not voiced but instead is designed to replicate as closely as possible the music signal fed to it, without being characterized as being analytical. Pegasus is intensely musical in the best sense of the word. Our goal is to add nothing and to subtract nothing from the music signal. To this extent, Pegasus can be almost chameleon like in sounding soft, hard, full, thin, up front, distant, dull, bright, large, small etc. in reproducing the input signal.
It is advised that only the best equipment be used with Pegasus as all system limitations will be instantly revealed. We feel this is as it should be.
Last Updated: February 3, 2009
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