jeemus! FE126E-P10 puts hair on chest! - diyAudio
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Old 12th November 2007, 10:45 PM   #1
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Default jeemus! FE126E-P10 puts hair on chest!

holy cow dave...

This is an account of a listening session I had last weekend.

firstly, let me mention that I am so excited to be in this this small but growing industry of DIY-to-market hifi that Dave and I are in. It is people like this that makes the rather hard work it takes to do this for a living all the more worth while.

The story all starts with the fact that for some time I have been sittin on the fence, just a thinkin about building a special swan type enclosure to accept the 126e, but the big hold up for me has been thinking about my distaste for the slight lack of refinement in the stock 126e.

Hearing about the FE126E-P10, I simply had to have a pair. so I got some, remaining skeptical till the end. I went to my customer's house, brought over the Berning ZH270, tore up his living room, fired up the soldering iron, and started the party.

My customer, Mark, has my literally first pair of "blumenstein ultra fi" horns, which, while initially built for the fx120, works best with the 126e. Mark has his system posted here:

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr...trt&1193605728

Since these horns, I have sold 18 different stereo systems. usually the amps that go with them too. I always felt that the 126e was a solid performer for the medium sized living room. it attempts realistic goals and manages to inspire at a level beyond what it ought to be able to, especially given the cost of the driver. that said, It also tries to do a little too much. the bass can be a little over done in certain ways. treble energy too, is good. but still too much though in a certain region.

anyways, since these first horns, i have definitely moved in the direction of updating and adapting the Nagaoka tradition meets cain and cain wood acoustics considerations. all adapted for for modern ears, eyes, our inner spirit animal, low budgets, and full range technology.



So we started the party out simply listening to his well broken in setup. the horns are thoroughly aged, and despite perhaps not being quite stiff enough in the driver mount area, still have a pleasing tone to them. the wood was the poplar core stuff the cain and cain horns are made of. singier than birch, but still definitely refined acoustically. The drivers are 1.5 years old and are truely hitting their stride by now. Lots of immediacy as opposed to brightness. heavily extended and very clear frequency extremes. a true single driver system that leaves us calling for no frequency reinforcement. Most of those little flaws inherent in the 126e are gone by now. It is simply a pleasing listen. Lots of dynamic energy. they remind me alot of my other favourite middle sized full ranger (which, like the 126e, is ACTUALLY a full ranger...), the 168EZ.

so after an album or two, we decided to pop in the newer shinier version.

Look at http://blumenstein-ultra-fi.com/Photo%20Gallery.html
scroll to the bottom.

having hooked everything up and turning the volume back up on the Olive album we were listening to, after a solid 30 seconds of silence between us, jaws slowly dropping, at a lul in the song Mark commented: "I feel...high."

Basically, the Planet 10 version is gangbusters. The hand painting is very accurate but still "human." it makes me feel that I am listening to something special. someone had it in their mind to go to all this trouble over a silly little speaker driver. that this driver is important. worth the effort. I have always been critical of the 126e. I have always been critical of driver tweaks, for that matter. having done many myself and concluding that they were not worth the trouble. or rather I should say, MY trouble. but I have always felt that Dave and I likely had similar tastes in musical presentation. Dave has alot more resources and experience behind him than I have in this realm of audio for sure. his 2-3+ year effort with the 126e alone really shows.

He spotted a capable full range work horse, had a vision for it, and evolved it slowly over time. taking into account further and further driver tweaking methods as time went on.

Importantly, the FE126E-P10 is a music machine. It sounds minimally compromised dynamically considering the various substances painted on the cone. in fact, while I suspect that there IS an ever so slight loss in efficiency just by definition of cone weight to magnetic flux, they sound MORE efficient, engaging. This is a psycological effect. dave always talks about real hifi being those EXTRA DB down in the mix. 40-50DB down and well below. That is the greatest audible improvement from his tweak. that extra information is so important to a pleasing musical experience. he has effectively flattened the response of the driver, simultaneously dropping the noise floor. the result is a driver that works better at all volume levels. it sounds more under control in the strictest sense of the word. but in a certain, and ever important way, things are more musically out of control than the 126e. the hard to ignore the inherent aggressiveness of the stock 126e. but the aggressiveness that matters for us to enjoy the intensity of music is still there in the modded version. This driver still has claws if it wants, but there is an entirely new microdynamic aesthetic there now which we used to have to try to listen for.

there is more balance here. the ripping apart of musical extremes. the contrast between the calm and aggressiveness gives more weight to either extreme. balancing the entire world on the point of a needle is hinted at in such a manner that usually only the higher efficiency drivers are capable of producing.

perhaps what is most striking to me is the bass clarity, quality, and quantity increase out of the driver, however. It sounds every bit as good, if not slightly better than the 168EZ in this regard. my foot bounces on a weird, oozing, subtle trampoline of overall bass dynamics. there is reactince here. feeling in the bass. pure strength too.

I will consider this to be the only difficulty I will need to deal with when designing the swans. swans are known to positively smear the listener with bass if not properly setup. they are very high gain. we will see if the extra bass from the modded driver is welcome in the swan. I will need to watch that CC volume, perhaps slow or choke the expansion rate, lengthen the horn.

sonic aesthetics? I am simply impressed with this driver. i feel communicated to. there is a vision here. a totality of focus brought to my attention. these are all such similar goals that I strive for in my horns. but maybe i am being presumptuos as to dave's ultimate goals.

In most of my work, I do not strive for "rock and roll," or jazz or classical aesthetics in sound but instead I worship the 45 tube and what it stands for. my goal is usually to communicate a very stable, yet rather intellectual idea of a cosmic balance which spirals out of balance in fractal shapes and rips apart tangible paradigms from the omnipresent ooze of nothingness. that said, one paradigm I simply love to keep in tact is the vintage. Not surprisingly, my studies go back well into the history of keyboard instruments, which was my thesis in college. I also simply love the 78rpm acoustic horn, moving forward in time.

Not surprisingly, I am a big fan of dennis fraker and his work. I feel that he frequently gets pigeon holed into a "1950's horn sound" camp. but his work is so much more than that. Its all in the amps, and his juxtoposition of "camps" in audio through those amps. His work is thoroughly engineered and it sounds like he has been trying to acheive the same musical idea for half a century. At RMAF, that was probably the single greatest stand out room to me in that sense. Dennis is his own paradigm. I was leading a friend around the show who does not know too much about audio. We stopped in Dennis's room, and I think my friend at that very moment understood that audio CAN in fact be an artform. Such a heartbreakingly rare one though. meaning a rarely successful artform. so many balls in the air.

It is stuff like this that discourages me in my own pursuit. there are so many fakers out there and seemingly no body can spot them. so many people who design music equipment who cannot feel music. and YES, DANGIT this IS a freaking tragedy. in so many other artforms, it is considered a common crime to, oh, say over engineer your oils and forget to think carefully about where you paint them. Some call this "modern" art. I call it a crock of shizzy. As always, there is no accounting for taste. and no, I am not denouncing noise metal or free form, whetever art. or music, for that matter. there is great stuff in any genre. it simply bothers me when people use a genre as a crutch for their emotionally handicapped soul. i think in the end, I think it is just called ---have the decency to have a pulse.
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Old 12th November 2007, 10:48 PM   #2
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Default continued...

Jason Flanary (lovecraft designs/cain and cain) and I were having a conversation about HIFI recently. Around about the end of the audio show. Jason and I, and Terry when he was alive (and several other members of this industry) it seems are about on the same page in our feelings on music listening right now. In my personal music listening, I am simply not an audiophile in the traditional sense. it is all a cruel joke, anyways. higher fidelity than thou, etc. I just wanna hear my music. I have learned to listen to music through just about anything and enjoy it. that said, I am always hunting for the nextest greatest mega amp and driver. just like all of us with this disease.

that said, I actually PREFER the limited frequency response of 78 records for instance because I think that our materials science is still not there enough to reproduce honest to god frequency extremes in an EMOTIVE way. so I don't even want them in the music. my idea of a dance party is boogieing down with my mom to oldies played through an old AM radio. I want weird distortion, hum, hiss in my life. cutting edge, fuhgettaboutit!! bleed my ears, bleed my soul out into your pitch black background while you stab me in the eardrum with your tissy, 20000hz aluminum needles!

Common hifi is like going to the dentist for me. I am going to have my film making friends depict this process some day. It will be on youtube.

so yeah, I am tired of hearing tweeters being overexerted and subwoofers oooooffing their listeners into a state of emotional oblivion.

Whenever I come across people, products, music, whatever which I see as attempting to make an honest expression of something or another beyond the laboritory, I get rather excited indeed.

I feel that aesthetically, the FE126E-P10 represents a fine EXPRESSION of music, and it easily gives a clear idea of what modern music - art - equipment ought to stand for.

It is well balanced overall, which is important for any modern audio product. It needs to be postmodern, without ego, paradigm, to an extent. but importantly, is the point at which I hear the heritage of a component travel back in time, and within and across paradigms. This, the FE126E-P10 does well indeed. I get some vintage, mono sound all the way to headphones. naturally, the headphone aesthetic is there stronger.

within the headphone clarity camp of single drivers, the FE126E-P10 has a strong foothold. it would need to sound a little more hollow and sarcastic to be gangsta. phatter and more tinkley and evil sounding to be within the commercial aesthetic. the driver instead has an ever so slight inner glow and chillness which is hypnotic. a ZEN even. It all reminds me aesthetically of the ATH W5000 headphones somewhat. I could say that about a number of other well refined SD-BLH's but it would be a very short list. i think that the W5000s are an aesthetic goal to strive for perhaps. just a theory.

My swan production for this driver will certainly start now. experimentation through the deep, dark, cold walla walla winter. my senses dulled. my will to simply survive increasing. lots of animal energy in this design. it will be named after a sturdy, aggressive bird.

or something like that. the first step will be trying it in the d-101s, which I will be building for my 108ES-IIs anyways, also putting them inside the d-168 (for the 166es-r) finding out about where in the middle I need to be, and then going from there.

well, I am tapped out.

over and out,

seelark.

blumenstein-ultra-fi.com
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Old 12th November 2007, 11:21 PM   #3
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Default comp to feastrex.

yeah I have to say, for all the buzz on the feastrex 5 inch drivers, these P_10 5 inchers deserve a little. they are about a tenth the cost... these things do outperform the 108EZ in all respects. the 108ES-II I have are a little harder to beat in the detail arena. being a function of simple cone weight to flux density at VC. that said, these P_10s are more dynamic. More energetic. They have a total refinement of tone. compared to the feastrex, I would say that the it lacks some of the sheer, unltimate organicness of tone quality and lagging a fraction of speed of the feastrex is where the P-10s fall behind. Some would consider the organicness and speed for the sake of it to be a mere effect, not essential to the enjoyment of music (though I REALLY did enjoy that effect in the feastrex). in the end, they are both solid performers. I would not feel let down to have to choose either. i never heard the feastrex on the famed third day of RMAF when everything clicked in that room, so I cannot comment on the bass comparison justly. I will say though, that me being a frugal phile to an extent, I simply enjoy a cheaper product which makes an untimately artistically refined sound. period. no excuses for itself. I get off on it.
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Old 12th November 2007, 11:21 PM   #4
chrisb is offline chrisb  Canada
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Clark - now that you've had your first taste test, you need to try the Planet10 FE166eN in an "adult-strength" BLH or similar enclosure. I think even TC would be tappin his toze.
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Old 12th November 2007, 11:22 PM   #5
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Default she would not google..

what is this driver you speak of?
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Old 12th November 2007, 11:28 PM   #6
chrisb is offline chrisb  Canada
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Default Re: she would not google..

Quote:
Originally posted by blumenco
what is this driver you speak of?
Having spent considerable time refining the process on the FE126/7 "twins", Dave has now applied the same combination of treatments to FE166/ 167 ( and others)

It is a time consuming, manual process, and between that and answering my phone calls, he's probably been too busy baking these goodies to update the website's menu.


The "eN" suffix is his appellation for the modified drivers, which include a combination of the EnABL process and other tweaks as well.


You could probably contact him directly for more information
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Old 12th November 2007, 11:47 PM   #7
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I take it you will be wanting to hang on to these. Thrills me to no end to imagine the looks on you and your buddies face... i have seen it before.

The official designation for these is FE126eN. Yours are from the pre-official batch and are designated FE126eN-b.

The loss of efficiency is about 1/2 a dB.

dave
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Old 12th November 2007, 11:51 PM   #8
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Default oh

gotcha.

I wish I could edit my posts now. to update the suffix... alas the thirty minute rule.

Clark
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Old 12th November 2007, 11:52 PM   #9
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Default Re: she would not google..

Quote:
Originally posted by blumenco
what is this driver you speak of?
The FE166eN has not yet been made. I have done up R&D units of FE206eN, FE207eN and FE167eN. These are just landing in the UK today and some independent reviews should be appearing shortly. Also FF85KeN -- they are destined for µFonken.

dave
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Old 12th November 2007, 11:57 PM   #10
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Geee yall guys type a lot?

ron
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