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Bad Horn, Good Horn: FE164 -> FE166ES-R
Bad Horn, Good Horn: FE164 -> FE166ES-R
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Old 22nd June 2008, 01:55 AM   #1
rjbond3rd is offline rjbond3rd
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Default Bad Horn, Good Horn: FE164 -> FE166ES-R

I came across a folded horn made in 1997 as a prototype by someone associated with the German speaker company known as Einstein. The story goes that 10 or so were imported to the US to test whether people would buy these horns.

Sadly, these horns had tweeters which were unbearable and got immediately disconnected. The main driver was the FE164 modified by ACR, and when I say modified, I mean that they ripped off the whizzer and not in a very neat way. But the main problem was that I couldn't get enough oomph from these things, even in corners.

I mistakenly thought it was an inverted BiB. It sits on three peg-legs about 4" off a MDF baseplate. When you look into the underside (see pic), there is a very obvious fold but it doesn't go to the right midpoint for a BiB. When I yanked the FE164, I found there was a second fold so this wasn't a BiB. Another indication that it wasn't a BiB: not much bass. The folds seem to divide the box into thirds of about 4.5" each which I tried to indicate on the crude attached pic.

Intending only to use these horns to break drivers in, I installed the FE166ES-R's. But just as I pressed the driver into the cutout (through which the magnet barely fit), just as the mounting holes lined up and I pressed it against the baffle, a strange thing happened.

Lots and lots of amazing bass! Oh well, sometimes I guess you get lucky. I've attached a crude sketch of what the partitions seem to be. If anyone's interested, I can try to make more precise measurements but ultimately, I think I'd have to slice it in half to really know, because the folds aren't like anything I've seen.

Perhaps someone else has run into this before. Regarding another thread in which someone asked, "Can't some Fostex sound as good as Lowther and other very high end drivers?" I have to say yes, at least these ones! They compare favorably with their housemates, the DX3's. While the Lowthers have more "palpability," and you feel strings when they are plucked, these Fostex drivers are sweeter and prettier on notes that sustain (to my untrained ears).

Piano notes are effortless, and they ring in the proper way. Upright bass is almost totally fantastic (a couple notes go missing now and then if other stuff is playing). Using test tones, 50Hz is very, very strong and 40hz is audible but much quieter. Anyway, dumb luck I guess!
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Old 22nd June 2008, 02:19 AM   #2
paba is offline paba  Canada
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Montreal
Thanks for sharing...

my 166esr are still mint in the box waiting for me to 1) pick a cabinet 2) build it....

Being a limited release driver, there haven;t been too many options out there specifically for it.

I'm still tempted by the Hiro with the steps mod proposed by the authors specific for this esr but I still don;t know if the wife will approve the size. This cabinet you show here is certainly easier to get approval for.

you sound very pleased, what else have you played the 166esr in to claim this cabinet as a great fit? The fostex factory model perhaps?

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Old 22nd June 2008, 03:02 AM   #3
rjbond3rd is offline rjbond3rd
diyAudio Member
Join Date: Jan 2007
Hi Paba, mine were mint too until I popped them into these oddball boxes. I expected hours of ear-bleeding break-in, but oddly enough, they weren't at all bad to begin with.

I don't suggest that anyone build this cabinet -- I just had it laying around. I'm a complete novice. But for all I know, maybe this driver is so good that even a novice can't screw up its inherent excellence. It's the prettiest thing I've ever heard.

As for future cabs, I was planning on the BiB or maybe the factory (lotsa little pieces). Or maybe I will wait and copy whatever you decide to build!
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