Atlantic Technology H-PAS

At the first press conference of the show, Atlantic Technology unveiled a new speaker technology called H-PAS (Hybrid Pressure Acceleration System), which purports to significantly increase the bass extension, dynamic range, and efficiency of just about any speaker while reducing the distortion with nothing more than a sophisticated acoustic chamber within the cabinet—no electronics. Developed in conjunction with speaker maker Solus/Clements, the system combines elements of horn loading, transmission lines, bass reflex, and acoustic suspension—hence "Hybrid" in the name. The frequency response of the chamber actually increases as the response of the driver decreases at lower frequencies, resulting in a very flat overall response from 70Hz down to a frequency that depends on the specific driver.

To prove the point, AT's Peter Tribeman played CDs through a pair of prototype speakers with twin 4.5-inch "woofers" and a 1-inch dome tweeter on top and a big port on the bottom with a scrap of paper placed inside as depicted in the photo above. The bass extension on things like Pictures at an Exhibition played on a cathedral organ was astonishing. According to Tribeman, H-PAS allows those little 4.5-inch drivers to reach all the way down to 31Hz (-3dB at 28Hz). The low notes definitely fluttered the paper in the port, but it didn't fly out—rather, it flopped around inside, demonstrating that the air was moving in concert with the driver. And the drivers themselves were moving very little, which leads to lower distortion. No consumer products were announced, but we could see some at CES.