- Yamaha’s exclusive Advanced PMD diaphragm (woofer and midrange)
- Aluminium dome tweeter with DC-Diaphragm™
- Edge-wound ribbon wire voice coil
- Spider and Surrounds (woofer and midrange) by Kurt Müller
- Neodymium midrange and tweeter magnets
- Carved wooden port
- Non-parallel surfaces
- Three-way mitered-joint construction
- Two-chamber cabinet (woofer and midrange separated by slanted partition) with vertical bracing
- Chamfered tweeter baffle and diecast aluminium tweeter plate
- Independent direct crossover connection
- Highest quality parts including ICW capacitors
Design Refinements for Truly Superior Sound
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Design Refinements for Truly Superior Sound
While based on the original Soavo-1, the Soavo-3 drivers (woofer, midrange and tweeter) have been redesigned. Most notably, magnets, cone thickness and surround materials (foam rubber to solid rubber) have been refined to provide sound with greater detail and smoothness in all frequency ranges.
A-PMD Woofer and Midrange Cones
Yamaha’s exclusive A-PMD (Advanced Polymerinjected Mica Diaphragm) cones are extremely light, rigid and sturdy thanks to the use of a low specific gravity material called PMP (Poly-Methyl-Pentene) that is much lighter than the commonly used polypropylene. It provides very fast response time (sound rise and fall), as well as excellent midrange clarity and bass response. Outstanding internal loss characteristics decrease unwanted resonances to achieve the smooth frequency response that results
in natural sounding vocals. Yamaha's original base material also contributes to the beautiful quality of sounds in the vocal range.
Aluminium Dome, DC-Diaphragm™ Tweeter
The high-performance 3cm (1-1/8”) tweeter features a dome made of aluminium, with Yamaha’s DC-Diaphragm that integrates the diaphragm and voice coil. It is extremely light yet durable, and transmits large amounts of sound information (highly detailed sound) for a denser sound field. The neodymium magnet is compact yet powerful. You’ll enjoy highs that are crisp and clear at all power levels.
Selected High Performance Parts
The edgewise-wound ribbon wire voice coil contributes to high resolution, exceptional sound detail and excellent imaging. The spider is a high performance model made by Kurt Müller. The midrange driver is powered by a newly designed, compact and powerful neodymium magnet.
Diecast aluminium baskets ensure solid support for high stiffness, improving sound image localisation and depth reproduction.
Carved Wooden Port
The wooden port is carved from high quality wood, and has thick walls and a flared shape, for smooth sound flow, low port noise and a spacious and massive bass feel.
Innovative Cabinet Design
One of the keys to Soavo’s ability to deliver Natural Sound music reproduction is the cabinet design. While maximising sound clarity and imaging, the designers strived to drastically reduce internal standing waves and produce an expansive sound with an exceptional feeling of depth. Their solution was to create a cabinet with non-parallel sides, divide the woofer and midrange sections by a slanted partition, and strengthen the interior with large, vertical laddertype bracing.
Three-Way Mitered-Joint Construction
Yamaha’s excellence in woodworking is used to good advantage in the three-way mitered construction of the cabinet joints. This technique ensures extremely tight joints so the entire cabinet behaves as a single unit, providing tight bass reproduction.
Without plate vs. with plate
A diecast aluminium tweeter plate isolates the tweeter from cabinet vibration and provides a solid attachment for the tweeter unit, preventing unwanted movement, so the high range sound is clear and transparent, with no colouration.
Diecast Aluminium Stands
The Soavo-3 is equipped with diecast aluminium stands that provide the necessary solid floor contact for stability.
Independent Direct Crossover Connections
Yamaha’s scrupulous attention to the sound of Soavo-3 is seen in the design of the network circuit. It uses the highest quality parts, including ICW metalised polypropylene capacitors and high grade air-core coil with carefully selected wire. Furthermore, these parts are connected by directly soldering each one individually, instead of using printed circuit boards. This contributes to the speaker’s rich and vivid sound.
Audio & Video
Two new unique members have been added to Yamaha's HiFi speaker Soavo Series. One is the Soavo-1 (BP)*, having the same luxurious finish as a Yamaha grand piano, and the other is the Soavo-3, which emphasizes the good qualities of a single woofer. Their biggest feature is their achievement of sound individuality, which differs for each speaker. Today we will have Masahiro Tobise, the Product Development Project Leader who has been involved with the entire Soavo Series, and Koji Okazaki, who was in charge of driver development, talk about the aims of the development of the two models and the differences between their sounds.
* Piano Black
This interview was conducted at Yamaha on July 14, 2008.
Pursuing good bass response.
I would like to ask about the Soavo-3, which you announced along with the Soavo-1 (BP). I have been told that the Soavo-1 (BP) was created in response to requests from the European market, but isn't it true that the Soavo-3 was created for audiophiles in Japan?
Tobise: Rather than that, this was the speaker that we wanted to make (laughs). The worldwide mainstream is now a dual woofer, but a single woofer is characterized by good low-range response like a two-way bookshelf type, and if we aim in an audiophile direction, the single is worth mastering. We thought it would be interesting if there was a single woofer model with a large volume cabinet.
The sound of this speaker honestly surprised. Its sound is smooth, and has extremely high resolution. Perhaps because it is a single woofer, the bass also gives a speedy impression, and I think that it has the quality and balance of speakers that are one class higher.
Tobise: People who say this sound is good are true HiFi enthusiasts. It could also be said that they are big fans of Yamaha (laughs).
The shape and size of the cabinet are identical to those of the current Soavo-1, but the trend of the sound is very different. It has good qualities such as large extension of the bass range, while taking advantage of the agility of the bookshelf type Soavo-2.
Tobise: The basic designs of the Soavo-3 and the Soavo-1 (BP) are both based on that of the current Soavo-1, but technically the drivers should be regarded as second generation, and the sound tuning has changed quite a lot. If we liken them to automobiles, we obtain images of the Soavo-1 (BP) as smoothly polishing the sound with fine tuning such as balancing a crankshaft or port polishing, and of the Soavo-3 as a model created by pursuing response as a way of reducing its body weight.
Woofer location that has been thoroughly calculated.
Many people seeing it for the first time will feel that the woofer is attached in a unique position, won't they?
Tobise: Do you think so? (Laughs.) Certainly compared with a normal floorstanding three-way, the space between the midrange and woofer may appear to be too wide. In fact, this is a result of the search for the acoustically best position. Because of this position, the woofer responds smoothly.
Is that really true? The bass of the Soavo-3 is definitely extended to the bottom, but it isn't dull. I feel that this kind of bass is difficult for a dual woofer to produce. And not only the bass, but also sound that is gentle but with focus that fits properly, has been impossible to achieve until now, not only from Yamaha speakers.
Tobise: We could not aim for that kind of sound from the beginning, and it may be correct to call it the result of properly combining various elements and directions in sound creation.
Before listening, I assumed that it would be a speaker focused on the vocal position or other such details, but the major impression left when I actually heard it was the extremely neat way the sound disappeared or scattered. The way it fades away is also very attractive.
Okazaki: This is an abstract way of putting it, but I feel that it is no longer the shape of the singer, but rather a way of listening that draws one close to the spirit of the singer.
Tobise: In the future, we want to create speakers that seem to eliminate the existence of the speaker, so when it is a song, the singer is in front of you, and when it is classical music, you are in the concert hall.
Pursuing precision from the component level is revealed in the sound.
When I listened to the Soavo-3, I thought, has the wave of another technological revolution in speakers emerged?
Okazaki: No, there is not very much technological progress. Rather, in terms of our speaker design, it may be that the way development is done has changed little by little.
The way it has progressed?
Okazaki: In the world of cuisine for example, don't chefs go out to the fields to search for vegetables in order to achieve the taste they want? The situation somewhat resembles this. We went out to each factory where parts are produced, to increase the precision of all parts cooperatively with the people who actually manufacture them. We made extremely difficult demands, but they responded to them well, successfully tilling the fields with us. I think that the sound of the new Soavo is a result of these small accumulated efforts producing big output.
Was this also done to develop the drivers?
Okazaki: It was done for the drivers, and also for the cabinet. The directions of the sounds that were the aim for these two models appeared clearly from the beginning, so it was neither very laborious nor confusing to develop them. The only matter was the process of how best to achieve our goals, so the only choice was to again set out for the fields.
Tobise: When the Soavo Series began, because they were the first HiFi speakers in some time, we went to various parts of Japan to assess the technical capabilities of manufacturers with whom we had temporarily suspended relations. Taking this opportunity, we returned production of the woofer and midrange voice coils, the tweeter DC-diaphragm windings and other parts from overseas to Japan.
Have these factories properly inherited past technologies?
Okazaki: Yes, even though we searched the world, they only remained here. Because we asked them to perform tasks more difficult than in the past, we had to use the world's top makers in that field.
I see. When I hear you say such things, I can sense how the world of Yamaha HiFi has resumed expanding. In particular, a line-up of three types of floor models with unique sound characteristics will probably be very attractive from the perspective of the customer.
Okazaki: When we began development, others at Yamaha said things like, "Why is it such a difficult task to change the finish or take out one woofer", and it was hard to overcome the differences in our understanding, but when they heard the sound, they definitely were able to understand the ideas incorporated into each model.
About 70% of the parts have a new design.
Two years have passed since the appearance of the Soavo-1, which was the first model in the Soavo Series. Its recognition in the domestic market has risen steadily during this period, and it has also gained an international reputation, earning the EISA award in Europe, for example.
Tobise: Thank you. When we first put it on the market, we were worried about how well a luxury HiFi speaker would sell on the Japanese market in particular, but fortunately, the Soavo sound has been highly praised both inside and outside of Japan, so the recognition of it as a new HiFi speaker brand has gradually spread.
In retrospect, it seems as if HiFi has received more recognition in the past two years, with steadily increasing worldwide interest in luxury audio. In this sense, hasn't the environment surrounding the Soavo Series changed a lot since its debut?
Tobise: That's so. It may be true that the piano finish model, Soavo-1 (BP), which we are now introducing, was created against the background of such market stimulation. At any rate, it is also true that we have newly designed about 70% of the parts, including the drivers.
Oh, really? I thought you had only changed the coating of the cabinet, but is it completely changed?
Tobise: In fact, I am afraid that people may think the same way you do (laughs). During the past few years, speakers with piano finish have become increasingly popular worldwide. The Soavo-1 (BP) is also a model which was planned because people wanted a model with Yamaha-like piano finish added to the Soavo Series, but the person in charge of product planning at first casually assumed that we would only change the exterior finish color.
Well, usually you would think so.
Okazaki: But inversely, the speaker engineers thought that would be a high hurdle to clear. The piano finish is a hard and thick coating that completely covers the cabinet, so acoustically, very little cabinet reverberation occurs.
I see. Regarding Yamaha speakers, isn't it your traditional policy to create sound by placing importance on the cabinet reverberation? If this is so, won't your design policy also change substantially?
Okazaki: That is true. In terms of musical instruments, the current Soavo-1 was tuned with the image of a warm tone like a wood bass or oboe, but no matter how we tried, it was unreasonable to aim in the same direction. Because the piano finish holds down cabinet reverberation and increases the S/N ratio, the Soavo-1 (BP) inversely takes advantage of this feature, aiming for sound suitable to a piano finish that is clear and highly detailed through the use of better quality parts.
New drivers that emphasize sound detail.
I hear the drivers were also all newly designed.
Tobise: Yes. The tweeter, midrange and woofer are all new. With the current Soavo-1, a neodymium magnet was used in only the midrange, stressing the feeling of completeness of the vocal range. The Soavo-1 (BP), also uses a neodymium magnet in the tweeter to arrange the tendencies of the midrange and tweeter sounds, overcoming the challenges of linking the midrange to the high range, the feeling of elongation and the sound detail.
What was the point of changing the midrange driver?
Okazaki: We optimized the driver itself so that the sound detail can be heard more clearly by reducing the thickness of the diaphragm from 0.45mm to 0.4mm, and changed the surround from the conventional foam rubber to solid rubber made by Kurt Müller of Germany. As for the woofer, we didn't change the thickness of the diaphragm, but for the surround, we also used solid rubber from Kurt Müller. Of course, we didn't intend to use rubber from Kurt Müller from the beginning; we discovered during listening tests that it was the only way to achieve our target.
With the current Soavo-1, its relaxed sound with a good atmosphere was a big attraction, but in the case of the Soavo-1 (BP), its bass is tight, and its rhythm and tonality are expressed even more clearly, aren't they? With this good bass plus well-matched high resolution and clarity in the mid-high range, it provides excellent quality suitable for a high performance speaker. Of course, the good effects of making various improvements to features other than the drivers are revealed in the sound, but...
Tobise: The shape is the same, but because adding the piano coating has changed both the balance of the vibrations and the way the sound reverberates, we reinforced the inside of the cabinet and also made many changes to the network.
Genuine Yamaha grand piano finish.
I have heard that the piano finish is done by the same process as that used to finish Yamaha grand pianos.
Tobise: Yes. We received a proper endorsement from the piano division (laughs). Using a specialized polyester coating and a specialized automatic polisher, we polish each one, but on complicated surfaces such as around the tweeter, this can't be done automatically, so two people hold the cabinet and push it against the polishing machine. It is quite difficult and time-consuming to obtain an identical smoothness on all surfaces.
Because Yamaha has called it a piano finish, we users count on the finish being genuine, and this jet black is definitely as brilliant as a grand piano. On top of that, the sculptured shape of the Soavo and the elegant burnish of the piano finish are well matched. If such a speaker matches a room, it will create an extremely luxurious mood, won't it?
Tobise: Yes, it will. I hope that it will be chosen by people with such a sense of values.
|Type||3-Way Bass-Reflex Floor-Standing Speaker System|
|Woofers||16cm (6-1/2”) Advanced PMD cone|
|MidRange Driver||13cm (5”) Advanced PMD cone|
|Tweeter||3cm (1-1/8”) aluminium dome with DC Diaphragm™|
|Frequency Response||35 Hz-50 kHz|
|Nominal Input Power||40 W|
|Maximum Input Power||160 W|
|Dimensions (W x H x D)||349 x 1,051 x 487 mm (with stand); 13-3/4” x 41-3/8” x 19-3/16”|
|Weight||26.5 kg; 58.4 lbs./unit|