Oberton is a loudspeaker manufacturer from Bulgaria and certainly one of the industry’s best kept secrets, with a full catalog of high-quality neodymium and ferrite cone loudspeakers, coaxial drivers, high-frequency drivers and horns, mainly targeted at professional audio applications.
Based in Plovdiv, in the heart of Bulgaria, Oberton has been designing and manufacturing loudspeakers since 1989, helping its OEM clients to build products that meet or exceed the highest audio performance standards. The company is able to combine precision engineering in well-designed products using high-end technologies and materials, maintaining very competitive price levels.
During the 2015 Prolight+Sound show in Frankfurt, Germany, we were lucky to have some time with Peter Shtarbov, Oberton’s general manager, who introduced us to some of the company's most recent products. Those include new neodymium and ferrite compression drivers, which can be combined with their new high frequency line array wave sources; two impressive 12” and 15” neodymium midbass units; and the new coaxial loudspeaker range which the company has been expanding and now includes the 15HCX, a 15”/1.4” coaxial transducer designed for use in compact reflex enclosures and stage monitors with a nominal dispersion of 80° x 60°.
Starting with the ND45, a 1” neodymium HF driver which is a new improved version of the ND2545, one of the most popular Oberton units. The ND45 uses a new phase plug, new dome with vented suspension and copper inductance ring to improve its sound characteristic and ensure very low distortion at high sound levels. Its 1” neodymium magnet combines with a 1.75” voice coil with copper inductance ring for extended response, providing 80 Watts of continuous program power from 1 kHz to 20 kHz.
According to Oberton, the smooth impedance response in the crossover region ensures perfect work with passive crossovers, while the reduced weight and size make it preferable for high quality compact two-way and line array boxes. The voice coil assembly is also easily field replaceable without soldering.
Oberton also released the D44 1” ferrite HF driver counterpart, improving its existing D2544 model also with a new phase plug, dome with vented suspension and copper inductance ring. Both the D44 and ND45 can be complemented with the brand’s also new range of line array wave sources.
More oriented towards general PA applications, Oberton introduced new 12” and 15” neodymium midbass units, both combining good linearity and efficiency with high power handling capabilities. The 12NMB35 12” model is specified for ,1200 W AES program power, using a new 3.5” (88 mm) high temperature aluminum voice coil and silicone spider. This very lightweight speaker features vented aluminium die cast frame, neodymium magnet assembly with two demodulating rings and curvilinear paper cone reinforced with Kevlar and glass fibers for lower distortion and improved heat dissipation.
Similarly, the 15” high power midbass loudspeaker 15NMB35 uses an 88mm aluminum voice coil and silicone spider with aluminum die cast frame construction, vented neodymium magnet structure with two demodulating rings, being rated for 1,200 W AES program power. It uses a double silicone spider and paper and glass-fiber reinforced cone for improved excursion control and linearity and it is suitable for applications in a wide variety of enclosure types and particularly as an LF driver in two- or three-way boxes. The new 3.5” (88 mm) voice coil reduces power compression in high power handling compared with classic 3” voice coil designs.
Perhaps the most innovative recent development from Oberton, highlighted at the 2015 Prolight+Sound show in Frankfurt, the new 15HCX coaxial transducer is an interesting development with multiple potential applications with or without an integrated horn. Oberton already features a complete range of coaxial speakers intended for professional audio applications with sizes ranging from 6” to 15” with ferrite and neodymium magnets.
The 15HCX coaxial driver is a 15” / 1.4” unit intended primarily for use in compact reflex enclosures and stage monitors with a nominal dispersion of 80° x 60°. The 15HCX covers frequencies from 50 to 16,000 Hz with a 450 Watts (AES) power capacity rated at 8 Ω for the lower frequencies and 150 W program power at 16 Ω from 1 kHz upward. The low profile, curvilinear LF cone provides smooth response within its intended frequency range. The waterproofed (paper with fiberglass) cone design combines with a state-of-the-art 77 mm (3”) LF voice coil with Kapton former, featuring a high temperature resistant resin, to allow applications in a wide range of environments as well as high reliability in high power configurations.
Triple aluminum demodulating rings on the neodymium magnet structure reduce distortion and inductance and improve transient response. The neodymium 1.4” exit compression driver adopted in the 15HCX is Oberton’s ND3672 model. The HF driver diaphragm assembly uses a double layer polyester dome which, together with its phasing plug improves frequency response linearity in the high end.
The HF magnet structure features a cooper ring on the pole piece, which reduces the inductance figure for frequencies above 10 kHz, improving phase and impedance linearity. This set of specifications enables the 15HCX to support extremely high SPL values with mechanical and electrical efficiency.