The pressure and the easiness: tatanka

tatanka” is the buffalo. The analogy of the many “a” in the name is thoroughly aimed at the behold atacama, without mixing up both. Plenty of things are equal but there are also significant differences:

First the common ground with the atacama:

Both share the same ground shape turned out to be very practical and effective. I have to admit: at the tatanka there is a deviation in the mid-high-section to benefit from a very special tweeter.

Both do have the same striking funnel of the bass outlet. The positioning is not totally identical and the tatanka has not a band-pass, but this is already a difference and will be explained later on.

Both mid-high-range crossover at relatively low frequencies, the atacama at 2.0kHz, the tatanka at 2.6kHz, but the reasons for that do have very different origin.

Both use the completely identical well proved aluminium isolating system.

Both run from the same tri-amping mono block power amplifier, even though some minor changes in hard- and software have taken place at the tatanka.

Both share the same algorithm to eliminate all individual behaviour of the chassis when it comes to amplitude, phase and group delay. Self-evident both do have an option for room correction.

Both will be connected through only two or three cables including power cord and audio feeding signals.

Both have the same interconnecting system between both sections with the armed Sub-D connection.

Both do have the decent integrated chimney and heat sink.

Both are available with various veneer finish.

Both are manufactured exclusively in Germany. The electronics are assembled at the main plant of behold. The woodworks take place in the black forest by Josef Wochner GmbH using a 5-axis CNC milling machine to achieve the necessary high precision needed for a good reproduction. For sure, the chassis come from Denmark with the exception of the tatanka tweeter.

Now the differences:

Superficial looking the bass section is very equal. But appearance is deceptive. With the cabinet the tatanka is 10cm taller and does no longer contain the amplification. Every available cubic inch is dedicated fully for the bass volume since there are two bass chassis present. They drive against each other and they are mounted on top of each other. They compensate their vibrations close to totally. And they do not build a band-pass. A band-pass would limit the upper usable frequency around 100Hz. For reasons related to the used mid-rang chassis makes it necessary to crossover at 200Hz. To define a name what this construction really is, is still open since nobody up to now ever used such a construct as far as open to public literature offers. It operates better then very well. The deep bass (20Hz - 30Hz, true “Hz” are meant here, not “wished”) can be used so far downwards that there is a chance to get unwanted noise. To avoid this the electronics does equivalent.

Most striking are the differences at the head of both speakers. While the atacama has two less spectacular chassis the tatanka comes along with a total of fife, four pieces of mid-range chassis around a tweeter. The 12cm mid-range chassis come up four times faster then the 18cm mid-range at the atacama. The price for that is a higher low frequency cut-off by almost one octave and the difficulty of arrangement. Factor four in speed due to the fact that the mass of the membrane is only 4.7g instead of 17.5g and the force factor of the magnet is 6.1 instead of 5.7, caused by a Neodym magnet. This much higher acceleration capability enables a precision at the upper edge of the mid-range not known before. Resulting is the easiness despite the size and the acoustic pressure of the tatanka.

The change of the lower corner frequency of the mid-range to double the value is the reason why we have to quit the band-pass concept for the tatanka.

The arrangement of the four mid-range drivers is not done as a straight vertical line array exactly knowing what disadvantages such a choice would have in result. An unwanted vertical focussing would force for a certain listing height. Besides the acoustical advantage of such arranging them around the tweeter it gives a more interesting looking.

To avoid harmonics at high frequencies and levels an “Air Motion Transformer” is chosen. He can keep up with the four mid-range chassis with an extra ordinary low harmonics distortion of about -60dB. At the same time he moves plenty of air relative to other concepts. One the other hand the membrane mass is still very small resulting in excellent acceleration capability.

All this is more in effort at the tatanka leading to more precision and speed but to a higher price too compared to the atacama. And for sure the tatanka is one of the fastest speakers available.

Another difference lies in the fact that the power amplifier is located in the head instead of the bass cabinet. In any case wiring for mid- and high-range, the more critical, is much shorter thus supports speeding up.