Why Every REL Design Begins with the Driver


I always explain that we start every project with our drivers. Let me back up half a step and explain what a driver is. Driver is industry parlance for what you think of as an actual speaker. The object that actually moves back and forth that you can see when it’s playing particularly loud is called a driver.

The reason that the driver is so critical to get right, I learned this from my old mentor

Franco Serblin who was the genius that created all the amazing legendary speakers for Sonus Faber back in their classic heyday.


We went through this a few years ago when we developed the original Serie S and it forces you to think about every part of it.

The surround, which is the half round piece that you see on the front of a driver, is intended to allow it to move out under control to its maximum stop. Well, the surround has to have a huge amount of radius to it to, to allow two inches of forward motion. And then it has to have a tremendous amount of plasticity to it. Its gotta be easy going back in.


The spider, which is the piece that is a ridged fabric designed to locate the voice coil, and the former has to be able to support this through two inches. Now, goodness gracious. So, every part of that has to be handled perfectly right down to the frames. Do the frames have exactly the geometry that we’re going to need to allow this to happen.

Every time we wind up with an issue towards the tail end of a project. One little hangnail that’s just something that’s bugging me, it always winds up being something in the driver that we didn’t know that we couldn’t hear, but as we went through and resolve more and more detail, we could suddenly hear this hang nail start to emerge.


That’s why we work so hard on the drivers. It’s an immense amount of work up front. In the end, it saves tremendous amounts of work and it gives us really predictable results. It means that the back end of the project goes four times faster and we can really trust what we’re hearing out of the driver.

November 5, 2020 - Posted in: Sound Insights, Videos