Spectra 22, Various, dangerous?

Read more on the Acoustat Spectra 22 in our home audio section

Tim2004-02-23 22:21

Hi, I intend to purchase the Acoustat spectra 22 electrostatic speakers. But I\'m concern if they will pose any danger to the children. Please advice. Thanking you in anticipation Regards, Tim, Singapore

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Andy Szabo2004-02-23 22:21

Any electrostatic loudspeaker contains high voltages, as much as 5000 volts or more. Most commercial ESL\'s are pretty safe, although I feel that Acoustats, by virtue of their design, are safer than many.

The Acoustat panel itself is made of a plastic louver structure, with the insulated stator wires encased within. The stator wires carry the audio signal. Between the stator wires is the diaphragm itself, which carries the fixed 5000-volt bias. All of this means that the high voltage portions are not exposed, and are safely out of the way. Furthermore, the panels are located behind a grille cloth, which inhibits access to the panel, and provides a measure of dust protection. The electronics chassis (called the “interface” in Acoustat terminology) contains the highest possibility of shock hazard. However, as long as the chassis is securely screwed in place, there is no access to the internal parts.

Naturally, no product is completely safe. A knife or other slender metallic object thrust through the grille cloth into the panel could result in a shock, but what would your children be doing with such an object anyway? Since you have expressed concern for your children\'s safety, I\'ll assume you have already childproofed your home to keep such objects out-of-reach.

Liquids splashed onto the speaker are also of concern, but it would take a lot of liquid to soak through the grille cloth and form a conductive path.

Overall, I think Acoustats are as child-friendly as any piece of furniture or appliance you may already have in your home. Even if a shock did occur, the currents available are limited, with a very low possibility of any real injury. I don\'t recall ever hearing of an Acoustat owner getting shocked from the panels themselves, and from the interface only when they stuck their fingers where they didn\'t belong. (Working at Acoustat, I got shocked many times, and all my parts still seem to work okay.)

Your only remaining concern is that you will raise your children in the presence of some really good music reproduction, and will likely spoil them for life. Such are the perils of owning an electrostatic loudspeaker.

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