What’s in the Box? Speaker Design with YG Acoustics' Yoav Geva

This is the first in a new series I’m putting together with high-fidelity industry players where we discuss how their companies came about and the specifics of their chosen field of design and manufacture. Our premiere interview is with YG Acoustics founder and co-owner Yoav Geva where we will discuss how he got into the arena of loudspeaker design and ended up becoming one of high-end audio’s foremost designers.

Future instalments of this series will focus on the different types of DAC manufacturers and their designs (R2R, Multibit, Delta-Sigma, etc.), music streamers/server manufacturers (Ethernet, NAS, USB, SSD, wireless), amplifier and preamplifier manufacturers (tubed and solid state, OTL, etc.), digital and analog cable designers and manufacturers, AC power treatment manufacturers and CD player designers and manufacturers.

The idea is to pull back the curtain on not only what exactly goes into the manufacture of high-fidelity equipment, but the reasons behind the designs and most importantly, why they work and sound the way they do.

The reason I chose to go with Geva for the initial instalment was because I had been contacted about a mid-November event at Alma Music and Audio in San Diego that would feature the flagship YG Acoustics Sonja XV loudspeakers (which I’d heard previously at AXPONA in Chicago) being driven by the west coast debut of the Relentless 1,500 Watt mono blocks by Dan D’Agostino. Unfortunately for me, I couldn’t get there, but thinking on the event inspired the idea for this series, so in a way it turned out for the better that I wasn’t able to attend; the mind works in mysterious ways.

Luckily I was able to have some qualified boots on the ground for the Alma Audio event and score some photographs courtesy of Brian Hunter and Adrienne Alterman from YG (who also kindly connected me Geva). Hunter sent me the following after attending: “Fueled with ones and zeros by an Innous Statement Music Server and MSB Select II DAC, the big sound produced by the modular Sonja XV filled the room with delicate but authoritative, curated sonics. The four-tower 15 year anniversary eXtreme Version can be bi-amped of course, but the single pair of mono blocks at the event was more than enough amplifier to sustain the flagship pieces on their own. The week-long showcase featured both press and local audio society presence, culminating with a hands-on presentation by D’Agostino on Saturday. The setup was the second appearance of YG speakers and D’Agostino amplification in as many years, also congregating together previously at T.H.E. Show in Southern California under the same dealer banner.” 

Speakers are the final arbiter of sound for any traditional two-channel system, it falls to their time domain, design, construction, materials used and placement to translate any upstream changes in the delicate audio-signal path for our ears, so I was fascinated to be able to speak with Geva and get his unique take on transducer and chassis design and background on what got him started and how YG Acoustics came about. I hope you enjoy this interview as much I enjoyed connecting with Geva.

Q&A with Yoav Geva of YG Acoustics

Rafe Arnott: Yoav, your entré into the world of high fidelity – so the story goes – started when you were a teenager and you decided that you wanted better sound than what you were getting from the speakers in the family home. Your father decided you should have a grounding in the differing types of loudspeaker and crossover designs, so he facilitated your access to this discipline through books and materials for you to create your own. What was what it that you first had in mind when you approached him that saw you eventually turning it into a lifelong passion and multi-million dollar loudspeaker manufacturing company?

Yoav Geva: “At the time I was only 15 years old (it was 25 years ago). So, needless to say, academically this childhood-project was at a beginner's level. However, where it contributed to me immensely was in terms of passion and enthusiasm for audio. These still accompany me in everything that I do to this day, and inspire me with energy and motivation that makes my job lots of fun.”

RA: You came up with your own proprietary software for speaker design that had a focus on phase and amplitude response, had you had any background in acoustics or coding previously?

YG: “Yes, my background before starting YG Acoustics was in the software industry. Also then, it was with an emphasis on math-heavy, algorithmic programming. I still today do all of YG Acoustics' coding, but now it consists of two distinct tasks: some involves "real" programming of our own software as has always been the case, and the rest now includes CAM/G-code programming of our in-house CNC machinery. The former is much more complex, but the latter poses its own unique set of challenges. I love doing both.”

RA: There are so many variations on where to start from when deciding on how to construct a speaker from scratch; sealed enclosures, infinite baffles, acoustic suspension, bass-reflex, horn-loaded, dipoles, etc. What was it about your initial design prototypes that led you down the path you chose to follow? What drove your direction?

YG: “Your question focuses on the acoustical alignment of the enclosure, and it's impossible to answer it comprehensively without also looking at the remaining elements of the design (drivers, crossovers etc). So, please excuse the simplistic answer: all else being equal, I chose sealed enclosures because of their fundamental "correctness" - i.e. they solve problems by not having them in the first place, rather than requiring complex workarounds that inevitably have negative side-effects. For instance, the best way to eliminate port-resonances is not to have a port at all.

“Another example is that the comb-filtering associated with dipoles doesn't exist in monopoles (which is what sealed enclosures are, assuming near-zero enclosure-vibration). Now, over time YG Acoustics has evolved from single-chamber sealed enclosures to much more complex, multi-chamber designs that use proprietary formulas. Nonetheless, the basic thought-process remains unchanged - rather than working around acoustical issues, it's best to make sure that they don't occur in the first place.”

YG Acoustics LLC
4941 Alliston St. #124 Arvada, CO 80002