Node Audio Factory Visit

Node Audio Factory Visit


Cambridge ARCC Design and Innovation Centre

This week, HF&MS has had the honour of an invite to see Node Audio and look at the manufacturing processes involved in their Hylixa Signature loudspeakers. We first saw Node Audio at the North West Audio Show where Tony King explained in our YouTube video (from 47 ‘) the incredible innovation and technology in their Hylixa loudspeakers.

An invite to Cambridge ARCC followed where Directors Ashley May and David Evans (not that one!), who are design consultants by profession, introduced me to the manufacturing process. Their early career together included collaborating with a design consultancy producing over forty products for the likes of Joseph and Joseph.  However, their desire to design and manufacture their own products has led to the creation of Hylixa.

Selective Laser Sintering

The Selective Laser Sintering Machine

The Hylixa Signature is a further iteration of the original Hylixa that was launched just as the pandemic took hold, hampering Node Audio’s momentum.  The head chamber of the loudspeaker is manufactured using a process of ‘Selective Laser Sintering’, which is a powder-based layering version of 3D printing in which tiny glass nylon particles are fused by a laser under computer control. The head of the Hylixa takes 45 hours to sinter alone. The point of this structure is that it is almost inert acoustically, having no joints anywhere, ensuring the cleanest and most detailed outcome from the drivers.

Design Outline

The Hylixa Signature is a three-way design featuring a helical 1.6m long transmission line bass-loading designed into the headshell of the loudspeaker.  The main BMR (Balanced Mode Radiator) driver and the tweeter are mounted in the same 3-D laser-printed material integrated into the headshell structure. This helix design acts like a waveguide to enhance bass performance and it surrounds the midrange BMR and the tweeter acting as a single source point.

The crossovers for the three drivers are hand wired and mounted individually in a 3-D printed magazine that slots into the stanchion of the Hylixa. The Hylixa Signature is finished off with an aerospace-grade aluminium CNC machined facia and a very substantial stainless steel CNC milled base plate with seven rather aggressive spikes.  Just about any finish and colour is available on request   Really, if Red Bull F1 were designing a loudspeaker, it would be the Hylixa Signature.

Node Audio

SLS printed head shell needs a little tidying up before assembly and painting

A full review of the Hylixa Signature is in progress here at HF&MS driven by both the Moor Amps Angel  6 and the latest Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista stereo power amplifier;  the review will include further technical insight and specs. Here are the rest of the factory tour pictures…

Factory Tour Pictures

Node Audio After laser sintering and a clean up the Hylixa unified (one piece, no joins) head shell shows the helical bass loading chamber

Node Audio

CNC milled aerospace grade aluminium facias, ready to finish

Node Audio

The CNC-milled stainless steel base is finished and ready to receive the stanchion

Node Audio

The driver housing is also laser sintered on site, the baffle is too and machined to a high tolerance

Node Audio

The externally sourced BMR drivers are all anechoically measured, numbered and paired up and can be replaced with a matched component if damaged

Node Audio

The crossover magazine (also ‘3D printed’) slots into the loudspeaker stanchion (also ‘3D printed) and features individual cable runs between the well-spaced capacitors, inductors and resistors; note the different facia finishes at the top of the picture

Node Audio

Hylixa carefully packed in a flight case

Node Audio

Hylixa Signature are delivered in a flight case, on wheels!

Node Audio

Node Audio Listening Room, featuring the Hylixa Signature loudspeakers driven by Moor Amps Angel 6 power amplifier with matching passive Angel preamplifier and an iFi Pro iDSD DAC with a Melco source and loads of power management at the rear

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