Testing the Hypercube Loudspeaker


Tesserax was never a large corporation.  We could not rent time in an anechoic chamber or own our own, like big companies. Yet we needed test data and graphs! People like graphs. People trust graphs. People trust stupid graphs more than they trust their fellow human beings. But how to get them on a shoestring? Needed money to get graphs, and graphs to get money. It was a classic chicken-and-egg problem.

Our first test report was from an engineer named Kessler. It was primitive. We converted one of a pair of JBL L40 loudspeakers and left the other untouched. We put the drivers and crossover into our tesseract enclosure. Only the enclosure was different.

We had to laugh when we took the conventional speaker apart. It was designed properly according to standard audio engineering practices. They did the best they could.  The box was padded on the inside with fibreglass insulation, and there was a sort of firebreglass basket attatched to the back of the woofer. It was a decent woofer, powerful. They knew the quasi-echoes from that particleboard solid box interior would be a problem if they hammered the woofer while it was playing. So it was padded heavily. To try to muffle the “backwave”.

Hypercube speakers need no padding. We use the interior of the geometry. But we weren’t satisfied with this. We wanted a fair fight. So we looked up the most reflective material we could find that we might be able to make the shape from. We settled on thin sheet aluminum. No padding! A real test of our idea. If we were wrong about this, our speaker would sound horrible. So be it! Roll the dice!

We didn’t know about the difficulties of welding aluminum. Turns out you need inert gas flowing over the weld surface: aluminum tends to form a coating of aluminum oxide that ruins welds. So we had to pay to have the aluminum sliced into rhombi and heli-arc welded. If you spew helium (inert gas) over the metal as you weld it, the oxide coating does not form. We found a shop that could do it for us. The manager thought we were crazy, but we were paying customers, so he shrugged and sent for his best welder. He joked that the guy needed a challenge. When the welder came out to look at the pieces he shook his head. “What is this for?” he asked us, skeptically. “A satellite,” his boss told him with a straight face.

You cannot hold these pieces together and weld at the same time. So he tack-welded them together with spot welds, and then ran the seams. He did a beautiful job. I am so sorry that I do not have pictures of them with me. I will keep looking. By now you know that everything I tell you will be true. I don’t have time for lies. Literally.

The test data were taken with a portable  SPL meter on the grassy field behind the local radio station at Gainesville, FL. The meter was placed on the ground to avoid contaminating the data with reflections from the hard ground. Okay, it wasn’t an anechoic chamber, but it was the best he could do: an open field, so the sound would just go away and not come back. Almost the same thing. We were far from any trees or buildings. Later I will find the graph and scan it into here for you.

Tweeters don’t care about enclosures, especially sealed-back tweeters like the soft dome tweeter of the JBL L40 driver set. He connected a signal generator (source of fairly pure sine waves) to an amplifier, and hooked up the speaker. The signal was set to 1000 Hz and then gradually tuned down the musical scale all the way down to 20 Hz, the offical lower limit of human hearing. The results were plotted on log paper, to compress it to fit on one page horizontally. Standard practice. On logarhythmic ruled paper the distance between 10 and 100 is the same as between 100 and 1000. Othewise we would have a very tiny graph or would need 10 sheets of paper. Down below 200 Hz, where the box geometry strongly affects results, the difference was clear: the bass rolloff was less steep in the hypercube-enclosed speaker, even with the same components. It was obvious our design was more efficient at low frequerncies. By the way, the L40 is a “ported” loudspeaker, a design which is supposed to  be more efficient than a sealed “acoustic suspension” design. But our hypercube was not ported, and it was STILL more efficient than the one the competent and professional JBL engineers had created! We had won! We had given them every chance, loaded the dice against ourselves. A metal speaker box, made of 1/8 inch welded aluminum, unpadded. Still better!

The second part of the test, the subjective part was at Kessler’s house. We drove back to his house and there, in front of him, we pulled apart the still-in-its-wooden-box JBL speaker and transferred the parts to our second, empty aluminum enclosure. We were drunk with power, and wanted him to know there was no funny business inside our speaker. He watched as we connected the wires and glued the woofer and tweeter onto our second tesseract enclosure. Now he had a full stereo pair to listen to, using his professional ears and perception. He used his own sound system so we could not mess around. And we did not need to.

This part impressed him much more than the SPL graph. He spoke in his engineering report of the “remarkable non-directional” sound of the Hypercube speakers. We just smiled; we knew all about the omnidirectionality. We let him discover it for himself, though. Better than a lecture. And he also noticed what we already knew: no stereo hole that he could find. You experts know what I am talking about. Volumes have been written about how critical loudspeaker placement is to achieve a decent soundfield, to avoid the perception of a stereo “hole” between and in front of the pair of speakers. But we didn’t have one. Why not? Omnidirectionality. the stero “hole” is caused by acoustic competition from the two loudspeakers: their sound tends to be directional, beaming mostly toward the front, and when separate sounces combine, sideways components cancel, reducing the intensity of the sound.

But we had omnidirectional speakers. The sound waves spread out in all directions from the hypercube-enclosed loudspeaker. The result: You can hear stereo sound anywhere in the room! Placement problem: solved! All from a change in the box geometry. We didn’t get the patent for nothing. We fixed loudspeaker technology. I told you Tom is a genius. He took one look at my inside-out hypercube model, and saw it all. Saw the answer to a lot of problems. That is true vision. I saw a really cool geometry. Tom saw the future of sound technology.

Boy, were we excited when we got the final version of Kessler’s report. Proof! At last, proof! Now we would get some traction and build our future.

Okay, by now you know we were over-optimistic. JBL still wasn’t interested. neither was Sony. Nor Polk Audio. Nor any of the others that we contacted. We contacted them all, taking pains to be respectful to their engineers, pleading with them to introduce this wonderful technology to the public. They just got angry. Not invented here! Same song, second verse.

Okay. Fine. After I moved north, Shirley and I reincorporated as Alternity, Inc. and contacted an audio engineer in Boston, who could give us even better testing: he had a MLSSA setup.  By then, PCs were finally out in the marketplace, and automated testing was all the rage. The MLS in the Melissa stands for Maximum Length Sequence. Basically, the computer controls both the signal generator AND the microphone. The computer barks out a chunk of what sounds like static (because it is a digital sequence of ones and zeroes) to the amplifier, which passes the amplified signal to the speaker, and “gates” the microphone input by turning it on just long enough to hear the speaker, then switches the mike off before room reflections can come back to the microphone. You get several advantages this way, such as the simulation of an anechoic chamber because you don’t listen to the echoes. Also the chunk of digitized static effectively contains all the frequencies, so you don’t have to slowly sweep up or down the audio spectrum. It is a very elegant way to test, and allows computerized analysis of the signal “heard” by the microphone so you can mine a lot of data out of that programmed noise.

I’ve lost of things over the years. Friends, loves, relatives, and papers. But I didn’t quite lose these graphs. Because the Internet appeared on the scene in the late Nineties and I put up a website to try to sell the speakers. And I still have those files. So I can show them to you. By now you know they are not CGI. Right?

The converted and unconverted speakers used this time came from Radian Audio Engineering, founded by Dr. Richard Kontrimas. They make superb high-performance coaxial loudspeakers with compression horn tweeters. (no, I don’t work for them, not a distributor for them, not an affiliate for them. I just plain love the company.) No rascally JBLs this time. That ship has sailed, JBL! Nothing but the best for this test. This company came up through the ranks the hard way, from compression driver membranes all the way to professional and contractor speaker systems. I love this company. And I insanely love their products. Buy them! Love them. Do you hear me, Dr. Kontrimas? I am glad you are still in business. I am going to need some more Radians, when I can afford them. And I will do everything in my power to recommend your drivers and speakers. You ROCK!


This is the unconverted Radian frequency response graph. These are damned good drivers. The distortion components of the sound are like 40dB below the main output. But still there.


This is the converted tesseract-enclosed Radian driver graph. You don’t have to be an expert to see that the distortion curves are even lower. Significantly lower. Like, 10dB lower. See how the curves fall out the bottom?

This is what happens when you take an excellent driver and put it in a superior cabinet. It gets better. See? Do you see? I have wanted so long to show these. Way too long.  This belongs to mankind, like the parabolic dish. Like fire. Like the invention of writing. For you.

Now for the “waterfall” plots. These are even better.

hypercubeThis is a cumulative spectral decay plot for the Radian. It is a picture of how sound dies away in the ordinary unconverted Radian speaker over time. It is a 3D plot with intensity vertical, frequency horizontal and time starting at the back running to the end at the front of the graph.

hypercubeAnd this is the same plot for the same drivers and crossover in our hypercube speaker cabinet. Do you SEE the difference? The decay is much more rapid. What does it mean? Simple. Less “ringing” of the box after a drumbeat or another transient, short, sharp sound. Crisper. Cleaner. This is what you need for the best musical reproduction possible on the planet.

Okay time for a break; that was a lot of typing. I use two fingers. Never learned to touch-type, what they call “keyboarding” these days. You have no idea how hard I am working to give this to you, all free. This is my legacy. This is YOUR legacy.

It is too important to hide, to hoard. It is our future I am talking about.

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  21. “Have you ever considered writing an e-book or guest authoring on other sites? I have a blog based upon on the same ideas you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my visitors would value your work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to shoot me an e-mail.”

    Yes, of course I have considered writing an e-book. But there is a credibility issue, or I would be rich already. Everyone knows that great discoveries do not come out of the backwoods. No one listens. What do you think would happen if I said “hey, we made all existing loudspeakers obsolete, give us money and we will tell you how”? I need people to know me, to believe me, before they will consider sharing their money, their life’s energy, with me. It is what I am working on, acquiring worth in your eyes so that you will bother to write a comment maybe. Later comes the pay-me book. Not now. Hopefully I have enough time to do it all. My friend Tom’s brother died of a heart attack right in front of him. His father died. My father died. People who know about the Tesseract Loudspeaker are dying of old age, and I am racing my heart’s ticking time bomb to try, to try to pass it into your unwilling hands and heads before I am gone too. Understand? I want this to be known.Yes, it could have made my life better, if people had listened 30 years ago. Could have made Tom’s life better. Could have saved his brother Rick. but no one listened then. Ok. I know it is hard to listen. A loudspeaker is not all there is to life. People have jobs, families, responsibilities, it is hard to find time to learn new things. But the human race needs to think beyond 3 dimensions. It is so important that I have run out of words to say just how important. Arrgfh I am raving again. See how you provoke me. I am so sorry, friend, you tried to help. Do you really want to help me? Follow me, gamesavant on twitter! Add your voice to mine! Tell your friends about this, your neighbors. Tell the World. I am trying to. GIVE! I am trying so hard to give, to give all that I have. To You. For Free.
    This we give the World. –MRK

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  28. Tom Weiss says:

    Yea, I know - but I just got so excited about those developments (you know how I get about time-reversal-symmetry breaking and why). Finding you again on the Internet after all these years (decades) got me excited about tweaking the space-tie continuum all over again. I couldn’t resist talking about it. You and Rob are about the only ones who I can talk to about this stuff.

    I tried sending an email via the form, but got some sort of “return path error” when I hit submit. I don’t know if you ever got it or not.

    It looks like you did a Wordpress self-install on your own server under your own domain name, so posting in an inappropriate place may have caused you a bigger problem than I thought. It may involve going into the database (MySQL? Postgre?) and doing some surgery - no fun at all.

    I apologize for that, Matt.

    Hey Rob found this blog too! Cool - Matt, you may want to set up a Physics Playground page we can all post to while we explore the New and Unusual recent developments in Physics - the field is really exploding now, it’s really incredible the way the knowledge-base is increasing - almost like we are approaching a knowledge-singularity.

  29. Heh nice try Tom. Would’ve worked if you had resisted posting later on about pseudomagnetic fields and Fermi surfaces. okay, be modest. The truth is, if Tom had told me about using the shape as a speaker enclosure insteads of his father, I would probably have humored him and smiled politely. By then I was too mired in conventional physics to think that far “out of the Box”. Fortunately for all of us, Tom you were not held back by such conventionalism. All I did was realize that the Kepler symmetry applieed to tesseracts as well as to ordinary cubes. –MRK

  30. And sorry, buit I am hoping you are wrong about not making money, Rob. I am not asking my readers for money, but there are other ways. Donations. Memoires: telling our story in books. Interviews. Consulting fees. Andf so on. The trick is to build demand, which I hope to do by giving away free information, and then waiting for a decent offer. Can you believe that someone offered to buy this blog from me for $3,000 ?? I laughed myself silly. Chump change, compared with what we might make if we concentrate on helping people first. This technology belongs to Humanity now. Thay can thank us when they are ready. For now, Futiquity stays completely FREE for everyone. It is our gift to them, our opportunity to ensure that this technology is not lost when we are dust. –MRK

  31. Hi Rob! Glad to hear from you! “sell the kit…for those with the wit.” if it doesnt fit, then you must quit. heh. Courtroom joke, could not resist. Yes that is an excellent suggestion. Creating the kit is problematic for us at the present time, unless we acquire another CNC or contract with someone who does. I would prefer to help people make good looking hypercubes, and that is a daunting task for beginners. Remember the cabinet makers we hired in Florida so long ago? We got a box of pieces that would not fit, and had to go back and explain in more detail just how precise the cuts and bevels had to be in order for the shape to go together well. However, such things can be arranged.

    Rob, there is a contact page here that lets you send me email even from other people’s computers. Feel free to use it to stay in touch if you are away from your own PC. For those who do not know, Rob is Tom’s brother. Last I heard, Rob, you were working at the Nuclear power plant. How is your sister J. ? How is Betty? By now you probably have a whole new generation of descendants I have not met. Sigh. I am still just me, no kids. I have a special lady, but she is busy working 2 jobs to make ends meet and keep her house, so I don;t see her as much as I’d like. We get too soon old and too late smart — Einstein.

  32. Amazing as always Tom! Although I fear not all here can follow such physics, I have to say that these articles are ones that I am going to have to go over later with intense interest. You are rescuing me from boredom yet again! Scanning tunneling electron “sonar” to detect lattice subsurface impurities? Wonderful food for thought. Gods, if only I had 48 hours in every day! –MRK

  33. Very interesting Tom. As usual you are ahead of me; I had never heard of this effect. For those who do not know, Tom is the friend I mentioned in my post entitled Hurricane Parties and Hypercubes. He is the builder of the first Hypercube Loudspeaker, and a very high level intuitive thinker who sees new effects such as the Hypercube resonance as solutions, not problems. We both share interests in hyperspace and technological applications of unusual geometries, which this is apparently related to. I am so focussed I had not heard of Graphene, although I was aware of Fullerene, Buckeyballs and Nanotubes, all structures built from carbon atoms. The implications are intriguing to say the least! Deformation of monolayer carbon film (Graphene) evidently produces some kind of field. They are calling it ‘pseudomagnetic’ because it affects electron movement much in the same way as magnetism does. The fact that this is done without electric current, and stronger than the magnetic fields attainable with even superconducting devices, without ferromagnetic materials such as magnetized iron, sugggests a glimpse into a hityherto undiscovered underlying field. It is reminiscent of the Tensor fields of Flanagan, and the scalar electromagnetics of Thomas Bearden…and the fields utilized in a novel I am currently working on (when everything else permits) . Thank you for bringing this to our attention, Tom. Perhaps I need to make a new category for these discoveries. For the moment, bear with me; I am so new to Wordpress that I do not know how to move comments yet. — MRK

  34. Tom Weiss says:

    Weirdness from left field - this is probably the wrong place, but what the heck. (You can move it, right?)

    Pseudomagnetic field - a field that effects an electron the same way a magnetic field does - but there is no magnetic field. This is in the “unknown force” category, and is a potential gold-mine for fundamental discoveries.

    They have twisted Graphene and produced a pseudomagnetic field with a strength in excess of 300 TESLA! Try to generate a MAGNETIC field that strong and your cryogenic superconducting electromagnet rig blows up at about 75 Tesla…

    It seems to manipulate the basic underlying hologram under physical reality, doing things like opening up bizarre electron energy levels that didn’t exist before.

    Graphene Under Strain Creates Gigantic Pseudo-Magnetic Fields - http://goo.gl/cUzOE

    Pseudo-magnetic catalysis of the time-reversal-symmetry breaking in graphene - http://goo.gl/ZZ3jJ

    Generating quantizing pseudomagnetic fi elds by bending graphene ribbons - http://goo.gl/QGnpV

    Strain-induced pseudo-magnetic fields and charging effects on CVD-grown graphene - http://goo.gl/TB0Zx

    Strains and pseudo-magnetic fields in circular graphene rings - http://goo.gl/Wnw9h

    Zero-energy states of massive Dirac equation in magnetic fields - http://goo.gl/p8awn

    Pseudo spin-orbit coupling of Dirac particles in graphene spintronics - http://goo.gl/bjE6W

    Graphene is going to open up a LOT of doors.

  35. Tom Weiss says:

    Things that make you go Hmmm…

    Fermi surfaces can be rather fascinating - and familiar.

    http://goo.gl/3KX93 - http://goo.gl/kIQ28

    http://goo.gl/tU2Rm - http://goo.gl/vYuiV

    http://goo.gl/jLP59 - Enjoy… ;~))

  36. Rob says:

    Great to see your site! I have thought of you from time to time, wondering how you are doing…
    I love to see the good data you are putting out about the hcubes…yeah, none of us will ever make any money from it, but they are the best speakers I ever heard, and it is a shame that others do not have the opportunity to hear them. You are doing a good thing here. All someone has to do is build their own if they have the wit. In fact, perhaps a good marketing strategy would be to sell the kit…for those with the wit.
    Anyway, good to hear from you…not many people left who I have played video games with on the old TI platform…

  37. Tom Weiss says:

    Twitter: http://twitter.com/UncleTom23

    My “Genius” days are behind me, these days I’m just an old fart who wears a funny hat. Don’t minimize your role in the development of the Hypercube Speaker, Matt - you made the critical breakthrough in the geometry, all I did was stick a speaker on it.

    Glad to find out you’re still alive & kicking, Man.

  38. admin says:

    Tom, are you on Twitter? I’ve only recently started giving a damn about social marketing, since I had no product to market. Join me! We shall overcome! Hurray, the future is saved! We will jumpstart the future together, both the world’s and our own. Time to get the attention and credit (and hopefully, some money eventually) that you so richly deserve. –MRK

  39. admin says:

    OMG! Tom! Folks, this is the man! It’s him! He did it! I helped, but he made the first one without me. Thank god you are still incarnate like me, Tom. Tom, check out the new upper website look: http://matthewrkennedy.com

    Tom, I am glad you aren’t ticked at me for outing your genius to the world. (outing as in publicicizing, folks. He’s straight. So am I.) I had no idea if you were still alive, and I couldn’t live with myself if I took all the credit.

    I am still tinkering with icons for Facebook and stuff like Search Engine Optimization, so that more people will find us. Love is the Law, love under Will. —MRK

  40. Tom Weiss says:

    Hi, Matt.

    Great article, very interesting graphs, too. Especially those waterfall graphs, pleased to see empirical measurement quantify what my ears have always told me.

    I heartily support your efforts to get the word about Hypercube Speakers out as well.

    Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law.

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