Air Speaker
A website devoted to massless loudspeakers  

plasma speaker chain




Here I hope to fill in the gaps and link to the information I have on this site and on other sites on the web.

I will list inventors, speakers, companies and anything else that I end up with some linked information about.

Dr. D.M. Tombs, Gerald Shirley and the Corona Wind Loudspeaker

I have Dr. Tombs (great name) in the theoretical section as the designer of a Corona Wind Loudspeaker in 1955. Later he passed the project over to an American called Gerald Shirley (with a view to commercialising it, which I can't find any evidence of). It appears that neither of them patented any aspect of the design, but it was well published in the following articles (full details in the references section): Nature 1955 , Radio and Television News 1956 , Electronics 1957 , JAES 1957

I am personally quite keen on the work that they did as it was the first of these types of loudspeaker that I discovered, mentioned in a chapter of an old 1950's electronics book. There are only occasional mentions on the web of this work, for example in the GIFs at the bottom of this French article, and a ref in this paper.


Siegfried Klein, The Ionovac and Magnat

Siegfried Klien was a prolific inventor and developer of many plasma tweeters from the '50s through to the '80s. He developed and has many patents on the DuKane Ionovac, the Ionophone and the Magnat MP series of plasma tweeters, all listed in the commercial section of this site. There is no point in me going in to too much detail here, as has an enormous amount of information on it, including historical detail, and has some nice pictures of it.


Nelson Pass, Threshold Audio Inc., Ion Cloud Panel

Nelson is a well known and prolific audio designer and designed and built a prototype corona wind loudspeaker (in the theoretical section) that he called an Ion Cloud panel. Here are pictures, the front cover and article from Stereophile Vol.6 No.1 (early 80's) calling him the ionic man and recounting the gas and ozone issues he had with the speaker. It looks like it's another design that nearly made it to production, but not quite.


Alain Deraedt

I know little of this theoretical design apart from this one french article that was sent to me by Pascal Freulon. It appears to be a corona wind design. He also has a 1979 patent.


Jean-Claude Fourriere, Henri Bondar - Tolteque and PlasmaSonic

Henri Bondar designed the Plasmasonic headphones which did make it commercially, for a few hundred at least. Patented in 1982, in his own words here, click "acoustics" on the left. It appears that this may have been more of a corona wind effect than a plasma, difficult to tell - but the only headphones so far made. Jean-Claude Fourriere managed the Audio Reference company that made the Plasmasonic, then went on to AHL Tolteque here, patented in 1990. It appears that a theoretical corona wind version of the electrostatic speaker was intended, but again it didn't deliver the goods as a commercial product.


Hill Plasmatronic

Dr. Hill developed this classic commercial (although not that many made) loudspeaker that contained a really very good multi-point to plane plasma tweeter which operated in a helium atmosphere to get around the gaseous safety issues. Good detail and photos on it on Patented 1979. An article on it here.


Otto Braun, Corona Acoustic

Otto Braun developed the commercial Corona Acoustic plasma tweeter, which went through a variety of models before the design was taken up by Lansch. Unusually, this tweeter can still be purchased.