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Old 12th June 2008, 11:39 PM   #851
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Originally posted by rcdaniel
Chris, I thank you for contributions here; they are generally most informative. Without said comments it is likely most of us would not have heard about Feastrex and many folks would not be enjoying music as beautifully reproduced in their own home as they are with these drivers.
Thanks for the encouragement . . . too often there are genuinely good ideas and/or technologies in audio that get forgotten or overlooked, or are otherwise unable to gain/maintain the recognition that they deserve, and it has been my hope from the beginning to see that the unique and excellent features of these drivers don't suffer that fate.

Not that these are the "only way" to make beautiful music! But I think the world will be a richer place in the long run if this type of driver can gain full recognition in the world of audio. It gives users a broader range of choices, and perhaps gives current and future manufacturers stimuli and hints for producing new and hopefully even better loudspeaker solutions in the future.

-- Chris
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Old 13th June 2008, 12:06 AM   #852
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Default Re: D5nf vs. DX3

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Originally posted by bappe ...you get all the strong points from the Lowther but with most of (if not all) the ills taken away...i can recommend one little trick...
Hi Anders, thank you very much -- I really appreciate it, and I will definitely try your trick!
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Old 15th June 2008, 11:28 AM   #853
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Default Report on visit to Feastrex in Yamanashi, Japan

My friend who visited the Feastrex listening room June 7 wrote up a report and sent it to me. After deciding to post it here at DiyAudio, I edited it a bit to make it easier to understand for public consumption (e.g., the driver model names were not in his report to me because he didn't know all of them, but from his descriptions I ascertained the models and put that information in), but the gist of the report is unchanged.

************************************************** *

'Last week I visited the Feastrex factory and listened to four different pairs of their drivers in their respective speaker cabinets. The drivers that were going to India, a special one-off variant of their D9e-III all-Permendur field coil drivers were . . . (drum roll please) . . . retailing for 3 million yen per driver! The D5e-I (pure iron) field coil drivers retail for around 430,000 yen per driver. The entry-level NF5ex field coil drivers retail for around 230,000 yen per driver. The fourth pair of drivers were the permanent magnet entry-level D5nf in the old style of Feastrex cabinets.

'My favorite drivers were the D5e-I pure iron field-coil type. Clear and not harsh. Lovely. And not congested. Damn. This is why I don't have a stereo system yet since my last move. Basically I have not bought single driver speakers because the sound is harsh with no bass. But man, single driver speakers are fun. They are so naturally, appropriately dynamic. I was "cursed" last fall with the loan of Mr. Teramoto's personal D5 drivers in those just-plain-wrong cabinets Feastrex had been using. I heard Ry Cooder's solo acoustic guitar from the Paris, Texas soundtrack and that was it. I heard the same song at the stereo shop thru various speakers and it just wasn't the same. On all the other speakers, it was boring. Yes, the sound was precise, clear, open, accurate, not harsh, excellent value for the money . . . and boring compared to the sound through those D5 drivers in those silly Mickey Mouse enclosures.

'Back to the D5e-I drivers. These were in some new experimental cabinets that Feastrex has come up with, and the bass was far more powerful than the old cabinets. I could live with this bass, I think, as well as with the treble. I think the bass will get considerably better still even once Feastrex finally, FINALLY I hope, designs a good cabinet. This experimental cabinet is better than the old just-plain-wrong cabinet but still does not do the drivers justice. Real marshmallowy cabinets here I believe. Still, this sound was interesting. Clear, detailed, and not harsh. And fun, not boring.

'Hmm. I'm having trouble writing about this experience I had. The sound is just different. Not traditional stereo here. For example, I think about detail. How detailed were they? I can't say! Certainly they were detailed, but how detailed? Very detailed? Extremely detailed? I can't say. The sound I heard wasn't what you would describe as "highly detailed." It was just like live, unamplified strings and voices from the center of row 10 in the Tokyo Opera City concert hall. That's not what you would call "highly detailed" either. But there is certainly a lot of detail. And I for one audiophile do not deride or trivialize detail in any way. I think this is a very important quality in audio indeed. Interesting.

'I thought about the treble quite a bit during the listening. I'm looking at these 5 and 9 inch drivers and I'm thinking to myself that they must not be able to do treble. How good was the treble? I can't say! Compared to a good pair of Piega speakers (I like Piega speakers) the treble is not as extended and prominent. And I don't think Piegas hype their treble. I think their special tweeter blends well with their midrange driver. But I'm thinking perhaps this Feastrex treble is more realistic, more accurate -- like, once again, treble in the Tokyo Opera City concert hall. But then again I may not have heard cymbals there. I don't specifically remember. I'm not sure here. The thing is, I'm just so used to hearing concentional speakers that certain comparisons are difficult. I guess the bottom line is that this treble is not as extended as other good treble I've heard, but on the other hand maybe it is the best treble I've ever heard . . . or maybe not. The thing is that it is so very much part of the music and doesn't stand out on its own. And it is this quality that I have not come to terms with yet. By the way, Chris or whoever knows, please tell me -- do these drivers reach an honest 20 kHz? I'd be curious. My guess is that this might just be true. Ok, bottom line attempt No. 2: The treble is probably a little weak. And yet it may be the most natural treble I've ever heard. I need second opinions here.

'The bass in the D5e-I that I heard was rather strong but I feel it needs more work in getting it punchier. It seems full enough but needs more punch. I believe they can solve this problem with better designed cabinets. I was encouraged by what I heard in the bass department at this point.

'Ok, on to the issue of using field coils versus permanent magnets. Among Feastrex PM drivers I have heard the D5nf and the D5 in the past, although neither in what I would consider to be an enclosure that does justice to the drivers. Boy, sorry to say, field coils are the way to go. Yes you need a power source for steady DC feed to the drivers but they're just better -- indispensable for hard core single-driver lovers I'm guessing. Those entry-level field coil speakers, the NF5ex, were much better than the D5nf, in my opinion. And, speaking from memory -- it has been several months since I returned Mr. Teramoto's personal units and I can't be 100% certain -- I think they are also better than the more expensive permanent magnet D5 drivers. (I did have the use of the D5 drivers for a few months.)

'The entry level NF5ex field coil drivers use the regular grade of loudspeaker yoke material whilst the D5e-I use "pure" iron. Actually it is not truly 100% pure because that would be too soft to machine. (Instead of crumbling, truly pure iron comes off the cutting tool like a long string of spaghetti and clogs the machine -- a real mess to work with. So just the bare minimum of impurities are added to get a modicum of workability.) These entry level field coil drivers sounded very good, but my personal favorite D5e-I were just better. The entry-level sound, after hearing the D5e-I, had a haze to them that disappeared when I went back to the D5e-I. For me, it's the D5e-I or bust.

'On to the super-duper version of the all-Permendur D9e-III, retailing for 3,000,000 yen per driver. I liked it second best. The problem, I'm 99.8 percent sure, is the big @ss marshmallowy cabinets they were using -- just something they happened to have on hand and not designed at all for these drivers. I think the enclosures were muddying the sound a lot. I'm hoping I'll be able to take another trip back to Yamanashi and hear all these drivers in good, well-designed cabinets at some point. Man, what's that D5e-I going to sound like in a good cabinet? I mean, they're already open-sounding now in what I believe to be a cabinet design inimical to open sound.'

************************************************** *

-- Chris
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Old 15th June 2008, 01:34 PM   #854
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Hello Mr. Witmer,

Thanks for this sort of intermediating between two different cultures (including two different ways of perceiving Hi-FI) .

I am curious about the construction methods of these speakers. As I understand the Feastrex drivers are in fact made with the know-how of EXACT drivers, am I right? And furthermore, could you please present us a bio of Mr. Teramoto? You presented him as an enthusiastic figure but I guess he has some technical background also, as he seems to continue th work of Mr. Sano,

Also, I know there was a link to the paper used in the feastrex drivers, could you please post it again if possible?

The reason of this interest is that I feel that the manufacturers of fullrange drivers like lowther, feastrex, supravox, phy-hp, are very concerned with the vibrational modes and distortion figures of each materials used in their devices. This concerned has long been forgotten in the industry. I think that except fullrange aficionados, only the guitarist are aware of the characteristics of the tone of each material used.

I am not really yet convinced of the capabilities of a single driver to play 20-20000Hz, however I am interested in the design features of these drivers.

By the way, is there any chance Feasterex will produce whizzerless, limited bandwith drivers? Or at least, would this be possible on custom-order?

Thank you!
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Old 15th June 2008, 03:25 PM   #855
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Here is the link to the website that describes the manufacture of the paper used in the main cones:
http://www.washiya.com/shop/iwanohou...rienglish.html

Yes, Feastrex and Exact have important features in common; however, Feastrex has dumped every aspect of Exact drivers that were unique (or nearly unique) to Exact. The salient features that they have in common are the use of generally similar paper in their main cones, and the use of leather surrounds. There is a general similarity in their sound, at least when both are compared to other fullrange brands.

Mr. Teramoto completed just the minimum amount of schooling required by law in Japan. He has a great deal of intelligence, but it is the intelligence of someone who learns through his fingertips rather than through his eyes (i.e., through reading). He has done a lot of different jobs that require both skill and hard work, and he has suffered numerous work-related injuries over the years. He has backpacked around the world and knows a lot of phrases in various languages, especially Thai and Swedish. (He worked for several years with a person from Thailand, and he also worked for a Swedish company for several years.)

The great thing about Mr. Teramoto is that he has tremendous ingenuity and has developed a really good "horse sense" for problem solving. He sold his house in Tokyo to finance his startup venture building speakers in Yamanashi, and he took me to see the house while he was in the process of vacating it. He was proud of that house because he built it himself. It was indeed a nice house, much better build than most Japanese houses. He also helped me repair a cracked cast iron plate in my piano, and despite having zero previous experience in such repairs, the results were excellent. My piano tuner, one of Japan's leading piano technicians, was extremely impressed. He is just one of those people who are very comfortable building and repairing things despite lack of prior experience.

Although he had plenty of experience with audio in general, he really had no background in building speaker transducers before Mr. Sano taught him the basics, but Mr. Teramoto's background was in fact nearly ideal, as so much problem-solving through a hands-on approach has turned out to be necessary to the development of the drivers. I have met professionals working the field of loudspeaker manufacturing who had attended a 4-year university to learn science to apply in this field, but they suck as professionals because they can't think beyond what they were taught.

Mr. Teramoto is also pragmatic and has the good sense to focus on the drivers rather than dividing his limited time and energy between drivers and enclosure development. He does spend some time and energy on enclosure development but only a small fraction of what he spends on the drivers. The enclosures are extremely important, obviously, but it is something that others can do just as well or better than him. Feastrex is now in the process of trying to hire someone who can join the company in assisting Mr. Teramoto, and if that works out, they will have more resources that can be devoted to enclosure development.

Mr. Teramoto has told me that he might consider the develpment of a whizzerless driver, but that he only wants to deliver drivers that are capable of being properly categorized as "fullrange" drivers. So far none of the Feastrex drivers do 20-20k; they all give up something on the bottom end. However they deserve to be called fullrange just as much if not more so than other fullrange drivers. I'm sure he would be against the idea of deliberately producing a driver that had a narrower useful band. His rationale is simple and self-centered: "I can only produce a limited number of drivers before I get too old and must retire, or die. I want all of them to be the type of drivers that I love most, fullrange drivers. If others want to use them in multi-way systems, that's fine, but I don't want to produce drivers that are oriented primarily toward a specific frequency band."

-- Chris
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Old 15th June 2008, 05:57 PM   #856
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I would like to comment about the question of whether Feastrex drivers do 20-20Khz as I see it come up on a few posts.
The low end, obviously, is very much affected by the enclosure the drivers are put into. If you looks at Brian Cherry's postings and measurments you can see that the D5nf ia a small 13L bass reflex box goes down to 40Hz. My D9e-1 subjectively goes down to about 30Hz in 120L bass reflex box. As for the treble, Brian's measurements of the D5nf shows that it does go out to 20Khz. He has in fact measured treble energy from the drivers going out to 30Khz but has not shown it in his measurements because it gets tricky to measure accurately at such high freq. Now, people who know fullrangers will seriously doubt if whizzers can go to such high frequencies but I saw the construction of the Feastrex drivers in Teramoto's workshop in Nirasaki and there is something very special about the paper, voice coil, whizzer and how they are put together that is unique to Feastrex. I shared what I saw and heard from Teramoto with Brian Cherry and we concluded that this special contruction made snesen as to why the treble of the Feastrex are so good. In fact, when you listen to the drivers, especially the field coil version, you would think that there is a compression horn tweeter in the driver. I get this comment from listeners who are multiway horn fans. Naturally, the smaller and lighter 5 inch drivers do treble a little better than the 9 inchers but the bigger drivers are so much more dynamic and louder that they produce very lifelike images. BTW, I also own a pair D5nf in the "just-plain-wrong" cabinets. I would like to end by commenting that while it is good to see so much being written up and proposed/tried on enclosures for Feastrex, its important to note that they sound very good in the current boxes that Teramoto recommends for them. FWIW
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Old 15th June 2008, 06:38 PM   #857
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Quote:
Originally posted by ddriveman BTW, I also own a pair D5nf in the "just-plain-wrong" cabinets. I would like to end by commenting that while it is good to see so much being written up and proposed/tried on enclosures for Feastrex, its important to note that they sound very good in the current boxes that Teramoto recommends for them. FWIW [/B]
Are there plans anywhere for those cabs ddriveman? I'm interested in the D5nf drivers for a future purchase(keeping fingers crossed).
Dave
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Old 16th June 2008, 03:27 AM   #858
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Originally posted by DaveCan
Are there plans anywhere for those cabs ddriveman? I'm interested in the D5nf drivers for a future purchase(keeping fingers crossed).
Dave
If you are going to purchase the drivers, I think Feastrex would provide the necessary enclosure drawings by email for the asking. The newer, larger enclosure would be easier to build and many would say it sounds better than the older enclosure, although some prefer the sound of the old enclosure (less bass but it has a nice tonal balance).

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Old 16th June 2008, 05:21 AM   #859
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Quote:
Originally posted by cdwitmer


If you are going to purchase the drivers, I think Feastrex would provide the necessary enclosure drawings by email for the asking. The newer, larger enclosure would be easier to build and many would say it sounds better than the older enclosure, although some prefer the sound of the old enclosure (less bass but it has a nice tonal balance).

-- Chris

Cool that seems fair.. When I get to the day that I put in my order, I'll see what the most loved cab for the D5nf is, and give it a go..
Dave
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Old 16th June 2008, 05:24 AM   #860
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Or maybe I'll go OB
Dave
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