Know Your Sound Tool: Beryllium Drivers

In our new series featuring the design and technical aspects of our headphones, earphones, and speaker, we speak with members of our product team to learn more about what goes into the engineering of our premium audio products.

Image by Johanna Parkin

Today, we talk about a new material used in our latest model of headphones: the MW50 Wireless On-Ear Headphones. These headphones are the first ones we created that use beryllium drivers.

So why beryllium?

“When designing the tiny speaker that goes in the headphones, you want to have a very light diaphragm, but you also want it to be very stiff,” Nick Slaney, our senior mechanical engineer, explains. “Headphones with a light but stiff diaphragm allow you to reproduce sound more accurately. Basically, you want it to act like a piston. If it’s not stiff enough, it’s going to flex and distort—and that translates to distortions in sound. And if it’s not light enough, it’s going to have a hard time moving back and forth fast enough to produce the frequencies that we want our headphones to produce.

“So the ideal material you use is something that is very light, but also quite rigid. Beryllium checks both those boxes. It has one of the highest strength-to-weight ratios of all materials.”

So why doesn’t everyone use beryllium?

One big reason: it’s expensive. But here at Master & Dynamic, we like to use the best. And beryllium is pretty much the best, second only to diamonds. (We’re not coming out with diamond headphones anytime soon, because it’s too brittle as a material—not to mention a little too rich for our blood.)

For more on our MW50 Headphones, head here.

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