The beginning of the Raven Design Studio can be traced back to Paris, France, where young designer Kimon Bellas had begun to apply his passion for sound and music into designing speaker systems. After creating a bit of a stir with his early designs, Kimon Bellas eventually immigrated to the US, in California, and founded a company called ORCA Design and Manufacturing. During this time Bellas began to narrow his focus towards a curiosity that has always fascinated him: the pure ribbon tweeter. “The pure ribbon approach was so fascinating because the ribbon itself is the engine. It is both the emitting diaphragm and the voice coil fused in one. It is also such a simple concept, something that students may crudely make in science class to see how a transducer works and I began to wonder if I could take that simple concept and, using the absolute best materials and an efficient design, push it into a new range of performance.” Orca began work on developing and refining their own pure ribbon tweeter based on this idea.
The Raven Pure Ribbon Transducer: The original Raven models (R1, R2, and R3) make their debut. One of the greatest challenges was to find the proper material for the main component of the speaker: the ribbon itself. According to Bellas, “Due to its need for it to be both extremely thin (as thin as 5 microns) but still durable enough to withstand the movement of music, which meant of very constant thickness and chemical composition throughout. We had to search around the world for a manufacturer able to make such material. We found one in Europe, in Switzerland, and we had to place such a large order to have access to that source that the speakers we manufacture today still have ribbons derived from that original stock.” Upon their release, the Ravens are an immediate success and OEM manufacturers begin to use the speakers in their systems.
The evolution continues as the core Raven models are updated to the Line Source and the Point Source. The Line Source uses a new ribbon made from a proprietary material dubbed MMX. The idea behind the Line Source was to develop a driver that by itself would cover a huge range, normally covered by two or three drive units, from a proportionally compact device, thus allowing more freedom in cabinet design while not compromising at all on intrinsic quality of music reproduction. Also at this time Orca becomes much more involved in designing and producing custom Raven products for exacting US manufacturers of high-end speakers.
Bringing it full circle, Orca debuts the Raven Design Studio line of complete speakers cabinets, the Ebb, the Bard and the Menhir. These are the culmination of Orca’s design and processes, and feature the same attention to precise design and premium materials as the Raven pure ribbon drive units. The Ebb and the Bard made their debut at the 2010 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest and the Bard was described in Absolute Sound magazine as “A monitor of exceptional subtlety and refinement… It pulls you deep inside the music.” The Ebb was then selected as recipient of the CES 2011 Innovations Award.