Panzerholz - its application in audio systems

Jan 16, 2013
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Taiko Audio

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Feb 10, 2017
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Dear WBF Community,

We are fully open to sharing our experiences, designs, theory and practical applications surrounding them. We spend considerable time doing so which generally seems to be appreciated. However we will not engage in endless conversation involving personal bias not open to argumentation or discussion. We are completely open to, and welcome, criticism to ideas and applications, and will happily engage in discussing them, as long as this is a 2 way street. High end audio is an infinitely interesting field where measurements do not always match practical results, although it could be argued we simply do not know what we should measure, and measurements can be subject to error aswell.

We are here to share and learn. I will post some information here, in installments as we are a very busy little company, but will not reply to unfounded argumentation.
 

Taiko Audio

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Feb 10, 2017
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taikoaudio.com
There are different grades and qualities of "panzerholz" available. The industry description is "phenolic glued plywood", there are differences in grain orientation, wood used, wood quality selection grade, amount of compression and composite glue used.

This is an example of "bad quality", it is supposed to be bulletproof but we had a 9mm round fired at it at a local shooting range and it passed through. It is a bit close to the edge of the board but it should still not have passed through, this is delignit panzerholz btw:

IMG_3928.jpg

This is a photo of 3 variants with different wood layer thicknesses, from top to bottom: 5mm, 3mm, 1mm:

IMG_3929.jpg

The 5mm is a bit on the "warm" side of neutral, even a bit "warmer" sounding then Bamboo ply, the 3mm we consider to be fairly neutral sounding, the 1mm we rate on the "cold" side of neutral.

More to follow later with our analysis of the cause of the differences in sound.
 

Ovenmitt

Active Member
Nov 21, 2017
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I loved the Reed wood tonearm resonance data when I first saw it some time ago. I still do as I think there is a Reed tonearm in my future for a variety of reasons. This is very nice data I can wrap my arms around! But examination of the data leads to more questions than it answers, at least for me.

1) To begin, the control response of the system is missing. What is the response of the system without any tonearm? That's an important control and without it, what the tonearm is doing or contributing to the result cannot be meaningfully interpreted.
2) What does the "acoustic properties under perfect conditions" mean exactly? Why is a 40dB rise from 0.5 to 0 Hz "perfect"?
3) Let's assume that the "perfect" response is as they say; namely perfect (translation= most desirable?) Well, then what do we make of an arm such as cocobolo that is up 20dB from "perfect" at 0.5Hz and down 20dB from "perfect" at 0.2 Hz? Is this good or bad?
4) Pick any response for any of the illustrated woods? What is the sonic effect of the responses shown? In my system, or any system, is the idea to re-create the "perfect" response with your chosen tonearm wood? I have no earthly idea. Do I want a response typified by Wenge or Red Cedar, or other? Pernambuco anyone?
5) Seems to me the only way to tell is to try one and see if you like what you hear. This is the classic "ice-cream theory" of choosing audio gear. (i.e. there's vanilla, chocolate and strawberry. You pays yer money and you takes yer choice). I don't see any shortcut around that approach for picking your Reed tonearm wood.

So the data is the data. I don't have any reason to doubt the methodology, but I have no idea what it really represents, Nor do I know what to make of the data presented for the various woods in terms of what might be best in my system. No doubt the woods may all sound slightly different. But the fact that we are indeed dealing with a system just adds to the complexity of the issue. Wood "A" might sound best with cartridge "X" , but wood "B" might sound better with cartridge "Y", etc. What guidance other than listening is there to figure that out?

The variation for most of these woods is in the range of 0 to 1 Hz. Does that truly matter in most systems, for which we can assume has a lower limit of reproduction significantly above 1 Hz? Wish I knew. If someone told me they chose cocobolo because they liked the color and it sounded good in their system, it would be hard for me to find fault with that rationale despite any of the data generated by Reed for the various tonearm woods.

I wish it were easier than that to know the correct choice for tonearm wood for a Reed. If anyone has other insights that might be helpful, I hope you'll share them.
Marty, FWIW, I choose a Reed 3 point in ebony for my TT - it’s a 12 inch model. I chose ebony because I have ebony in other parts of the TT, so it matches. I’m also a guitar player and tend to like ebony in certain parts of some of my guitars; namely the fretboard and bridge on my Martin acoustics.... no science at all in my decision, lol. I do have to say that I really love the tonearm though!
 
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spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
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E. England
There are different grades and qualities of "panzerholz" available. The industry description is "phenolic glued plywood", there are differences in grain orientation, wood used, wood quality selection grade, amount of compression and composite glue used.

This is an example of "bad quality", it is supposed to be bulletproof but we had a 9mm round fired at it at a local shooting range and it passed through. It is a bit close to the edge of the board but it should still not have passed through, this is delignit panzerholz btw:

View attachment 58818

This is a photo of 3 variants with different wood layer thicknesses, from top to bottom: 5mm, 3mm, 1mm:

View attachment 58819

The 5mm is a bit on the "warm" side of neutral, even a bit "warmer" sounding then Bamboo ply, the 3mm we consider to be fairly neutral sounding, the 1mm we rate on the "cold" side of neutral.

More to follow later with our analysis of the cause of the differences in sound.
Emile, I did have two pieces of Delignet in my system, not in use now. Strangely enough, it's protection on gunfire isn't a thing I discussed w the UK rep lol.

Now, had I been a US customer...
 

LL21

Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
11,070
213
263
Dear WBF Community,

We are fully open to sharing our experiences, designs, theory and practical applications surrounding them. We spend considerable time doing so which generally seems to be appreciated. However we will not engage in endless conversation involving personal bias not open to argumentation or discussion. We are completely open to, and welcome, criticism to ideas and applications, and will happily engage in discussing them, as long as this is a 2 way street. High end audio is an infinitely interesting field where measurements do not always match practical results, although it could be argued we simply do not know what we should measure, and measurements can be subject to error aswell.

We are here to share and learn. I will post some information here, in installments as we are a very busy little company, but will not reply to unfounded argumentation.
Well said. Very well said. Thank you for your time.
 

Taiko Audio

Industry Expert
Feb 10, 2017
1,039
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180
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taikoaudio.com

CKKeung

Well-Known Member
Jun 18, 2011
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Hong Kong

kach22i

WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
1,170
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Ann Arbor, Michigan
www.kachadoorian.com
Panzerholz seems to be a topic of interest. Little was resolved earlier.
I never head of it before this thread, and when looking it up I found an adjacent competitor.

http://mockingbirddistribution.com/pyon-sound/picawood/
The only way that Pyon could make fine objects, like arm tubes and headshells, dimensionally stable, was to pursue a structure with many more alternating layers. With standard products, like Panzerholz, much thicker laminations mean there is less stability when using the product on a very small-scale. When you release the confining tension of various layers, above and below, natural wood fibers will start to relax somewhat. This is not a problem with large objects, like plinths, or bullet proof doors, but can create issues when trying to guarantee dimensions that will not change. With Picawood, many thinner plies are used, and are pressed at higher pressures for a longer time. The result is something that it stable, even in very small objects.

Panzerholz VS Picawood:
One is intended for bullet proof doors, the other for audio.
I've watched some of my maple butcher-block shelves come apart, and this line of products looks like a huge improvement.

Thinking it's an improvement over Baltic-Birtch plywood that I've used in projects as well.
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
6,061
1,040
310
North Shore of Boston
Kach, I made a 17 ply per inch baltic birch plywood rack to match my former speaker cabinets. I never had any issues with this material. Have you had problems with your Baltic-Birch plywood projects?

What kind of projects would you use the Picawood for?
 

sbo6

Well-Known Member
May 19, 2014
928
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85
Round Rock, TX
Just came upon this topic, great information. Curious if anyone has feedback on the Clearaudio TTs with Panzerholz?
 

kach22i

WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
1,170
67
210
Ann Arbor, Michigan
www.kachadoorian.com
Kach, I made a 17 ply per inch baltic birch plywood rack to match my former speaker cabinets. I never had any issues with this material. Have you had problems with your Baltic-Birch plywood projects?

What kind of projects would you use the Picawood for?
Baltic Birch I've used has had no audio or furniture issues. Been getting 4' x 8' x 3/4" sheets locally (processed in Russia) in lieu of 5'x5' sheets I've read about.

Locally acquired butcher block no issues, old stuff left outdoors at one time continues to degrade.

Conclusion, do not store indoor wood outdoors even if covered.

Do not leave on basement floor either.
 

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