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Neodymium Speakers


Tom Capasso

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In my current quest for a bass, I went to Rudy's on 48th in NYC.

I don't know the bass-person's name, but he told me a story about neo speakers. (If this was discussed my apologies)

 

He said that most neodymium magnets (also called "rare earth magnets") come from China. He also said that China is shifting their manufacturing to focus on windmills and hybrid cars. The result has been limited export and radically increased prices.

 

Net results: speaker builders have abandoned neodymium speakers. I can just imagine those engineers who worked to create a good-sounding cabinet design (and the early ones were not as pleasing) only to have driver supply yanked out from under you.

 

That twinge you heard was the collective sound of thousands of bass player's back muscle sympathy spasms.

 

I saw this blog and thought it was well done, though I have no way to assess the accuracy:

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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It's not just our backs that are going to suffer; it's also our sound. There is no ceramic magnet driver available anywhere that performs nearly as well as the Eminence 3015LF (as just one example). When the engineers figured out they could design better drivers by using neo magets, most (if not all) R&D with ceramic magnets ceased.

 

As I understand the situation, the Chinese lowered the price of neo to the point that most other rare earth mines, processing and manufacturing facilities closed shop because they couldn't compete. Now that the Chinese control nearly all of the supply, they've raised prices and limited exports. This has caused shortages and huge price increases in all products that use neo magnets, of which speakers make up a very small percentage.

 

The shortages should go away as other sources open/reopen over the next few years, but I doubt prices will ever return to what they were when I bought the drivers for my fEARful cabs. Several mainstream bass cab manufacturers have stopped (or will soon stop) using neo drivers due to price increases and/or availability fluctuations. What this means to bass players is that we will have fewer choices and pay higher prices if we want the performance that well designed neo cabs offer.

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who knew?

 

i kinda sorta had my eye on 2 gk 210s...kinda. It will be interesting to see how this all pans out.

 

can anyone provide insight into why the US doesn't tax the heck out of imports when there exists a domestic alternative? It's like we promote the global economy to our detriment (this statement is not as informed as it should be). I'd love to read some nonpartisan history on our import/export tax policy.

 

jason

2cor5:21

Soli Deo Gloria

 

"it's the beauty of a community. it takes a village to raise a[n] [LLroomtempJ]." -robb

 

My YouTube Channel

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I'd love to read some nonpartisan history on our import/export tax policy.

 

Let me know when you find it. Everything is so partisan, acrimonious and jingoistic now I wouldn't recognize an actual fact if it walked up at smacked me in the eye.

 

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

 

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Let me know when you find it. Everything is so partisan, acrimonious and jingoistic now I wouldn't recognize an actual fact if it walked up at smacked me in the eye.

 

Indeed. My knee-jerk reaction to about anything these days is, "Who are you working for?"

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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Hello,

 

This is your friendly neighborhood moderator.

 

I am going to leave this thread unadulterated and open, but I would like to request that we do not let politics and political debate further enter this discussion. I've been pretty hands-off with this type of thing re: politics and religion because I have a great deal of respect for ALL of you, and I find heavy moderation to be the death of a forum, or at best, it becomes focused upon the moderation.

 

This is a bass forum, and while the initial post was not political, this could fall into an acrimonious debate, which really has no place here.

 

Thanks!

 

Zeronyne

"For instance" is not proof.

 

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Ok.

 

I suspect that it costs a lot more to mine in the US because, reading the Telegraph article, it looks like it's pretty nasty stuff to mine. I would guess that the environmental controls on mining in the US are tighter that they appear to be in China. I know that they do open mine Asbestos in China and the US still mine Asbestos and export it to China. Even though most of the Western World have banned it.

 

However the US do seem to have re-opened one mine:

 

http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/214938/us_rare_earth_mine_resumes_active_mining.html

 

Although there seem to be a few political comments in that article as well. :D

 

Have manufacturers actually stopped using the Neodymium speakers and replaced them with the normal ones or will they put their prices up?

Feel the groove internally within your own creativity. - fingertalkin

 

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G7TZ:

G-K owns a plant in China, so they're not as affected as some other manufacturers. However Bob Gallien recently posted on TalkBass that prices will go up in January.

 

TimR:

I gleaned the following from TalkBass.

Rumor has it that Bergantino is discontinuing the AE line of cabs.

I've read that Epifani is not buying any NEO drivers for the time being.

Aquilar has suspended production of the SL410 cab but not the SL 112.

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Hello,

 

This is your friendly neighborhood moderator.

 

I am going to leave this thread unadulterated and open, but I would like to request that we do not let politics and political debate further enter this discussion. I've been pretty hands-off with this type of thing re: politics and religion because I have a great deal of respect for ALL of you, and I find heavy moderation to be the death of a forum, or at best, it becomes focused upon the moderation.

 

This is a bass forum, and while the initial post was not political, this could fall into an acrimonious debate, which really has no place here.

 

Thanks!

 

Zeronyne

 

You're no fun anymore. (Gratuitous Monty Python reference)

 

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

 

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Ok.

 

I know that they do open mine Asbestos in China and the US still mine Asbestos and export it to China.

 

I can't confirm that, but if The Colbert Report's cameras were where they said they were, Canada mines asbestos and ships it to India. And in India, they're like honey badgers; honey badger don't need no mask, honey badger don't care.

 

Weird, 'cause that's so not like Canada. Well, except for the tar sands thing.

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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Well, since the median age of an adult male is, like, 35 or something, it's not like they're likely to hang around long enough to develop asbetstosis.

 

I guess that's a good point. But even still: Ouch!!!

Things are just the way they are, and they're only going to get worse.

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The concern is that in the Western world asbestos is pretty much banned in all products. So it's not the miners at risk but the general population that use the end products.

Feel the groove internally within your own creativity. - fingertalkin

 

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hey, y'all. just a friendly reminder to keep the political discourse to a minimum, and on topic. obviously you can't completely separate politics from this issue, but please be aware that if it's not strictly about neodymium sourcing and pricing, the political discussion and jokes might rub other people the wrong way.

 

fortunately no one has flown off the handle and gotten angry, but this forum is nothing if not extremely civil. i'd like to keep it that way and avoid people getting really angry at each other.

 

THANKS!

 

robb.

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robb., any of this neodymium discussion going on in your professional circles?

 

Peace.

--s-uu

 

we're getting slaughtered by it. over the last two or three years we've made a huge push into light weight and high efficiency systems predicated on delivering SPLs rather than watts. the gain in fuel economy was not insignificant, so we were pushing for wider availability and take rates.

 

now all those gains are being subverted by cost increases in neodymium. $2 commodity neo speakers are now $12. that's a bit of an exaggeration, but it's not outlandish. that said, given the environmental regulations governing most of the world's rare earth mines, perhaps the higher prices are the new normal. the cheap neo was only available because the chinese undercut the rest of the supply.

 

i had read a year or two ago about a new seam of neo found in idaho. perhaps the price will come down a little if the supply is increased, but i am not optimistic it will be drastic. we'll be back to the old days, were only the really dedicated will pay for the light weight.

 

robb.

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