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Old 31st January 2010, 05:02 PM   #101
Bill13 is offline Bill13  United States
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Default A3 array speakers, and an alternative driver possibilty

I bought mfishmike's pair of speakers that use four each Audience A3 drivers per side in a Dayton curved 1 cu ft. cabinet. Mike reduced the internal cabinet volume for purpose of venting - for added bass response -- he added some plywood inside the cabinets. Mike's speakers sound great.

The A3 drivers have exceptional 'palpable' mid-range clarity, and are extremely dynamic !

I haven't made any SoundEasy Lab measurements yet, but even though these A3 cabinets are ported, the bass doesn't seem to extend below roughly 100 Hz.

I was astonished to find that adding my Velodyne DD-15 subwoofer in at around 80-100 Hz blended seamlessly with the A3s (sub is located immediately behind where I sit - & on the axis midway between the A3 array speakers). I plan to do interesting experiments with these A3 array speakers -- such as changing the detachable front panel & adding a 6.5" Excel magnesium woofer on the front, in addition to the four A3s. This woofer will roll out very low at say, 125 Hz max .. It goes without saying that much trial and error listening, testing, etc. is essential.

BTW, since many DIY hobbyists are looking for less-expensive alternative drivers to the Audience A3, the Fountek FR88-EX 3" aluminum cone driver is a most promising candidate, assuming that a bi-amp'd woofer below say, 125 Hz is added (remove cone excursion demands from the 3" drivers).

Driver colorations are not as audible below about 125 Hz -- anyway, adding a woofer should be an extremely cost-effective tradeoff !

IMO, a simple 6 dB/Oct capacitor-resistor crossover at the input to the separate amplifier for the 3" drivers should be easily tolerated by the ear.
Maybe the woofer could be rolled off at even a sharper rate above 125 Hz without detrimental results. Could even use digital low-pass filter (such as a Behringer digital crossover) for input to woofer amplifier. Of course, use a higher quality amp to drive the array of 3" drivers above 125 Hz.

The Fountek FR88-EX voice coil is underhung, & has only 1.86 gm moving mass as measured by Zaphaudio.com, This less expensive Fountek FR88-EX ($18.42 ea. for qty 20 at Madisound) looks like a 'best' where driver cost is the issue compared to the Audience A3.

Zaphaudio.com did many tests of small drivers and concluded that the Fountek was the 'best performing' 3" driver tested (smooth frequency response, very low distortion, very good efficiency, aluminum cone, neodymium motor, high quality for the money). Tests seem to imply that the Fountek's sound might be comparable to the Audience A3, assuming a designer can live with the higher Fs around 100Hz, and the smaller 1.5mm Xmax -- but an advantage might be that the Fountek doesn't exhibit a treble resonant peak below 10 kHz.

Bill
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Old 31st January 2010, 06:41 PM   #102
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Zaphaudio.com did many tests of small drivers and concluded that the Fountek was the 'best performing' 3" driver tested
Did he test the Fostex FF85K.

dave
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Old 6th February 2010, 03:45 AM   #103
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Bill,

I saw those speakers for sale. They look really interesting. Glad to hear that sound great.

Do you know how many feet of hook up wire would be needed for a speaker like yours that uses 4 A3 drivers per speaker?

This would be helpful to know.

I look forward to finding out the results of your experiments with different drivers in the mix.

-Nick
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Old 6th February 2010, 10:37 AM   #104
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that fountek has a bit of hash on the waterfall plot from 1-4khz, I've seen comments of the peerless tc9 that has a similar waterfall as commenting that it sounds a little "hazy."

klemminger said (about the fountek fr-88ex) "In direct comparison with Vifa TC9-FD-18-08 and Visaton FRS8 i prefer the Fountek/Dynavox. It's well buildt and sounds clear and detailed. For the price i can recommend everybody to give it a try."

That looks to be a sharp driver.

Maybe in the far future.


Fountek FR88 3" fullrange driver - DIY Mobile Audio

or as a raal loudspeaker clone
HTGuide Forum - Fountek FR88-EX

Seems we ar getting a bunch of $20-$30 good drivers in the 3" realm.

Bill13, I'm glad you are happy with your a3's.

Norman
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Old 6th February 2010, 02:09 PM   #105
Bill13 is offline Bill13  United States
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Default Wiring DIY speaker using A3 drivers & consider the new "2+2" passive radiator design

nicksgem10s,

The four A3s in the Dayton 1 cu ft cabinet are wired in parallel (resulting in a four ohm load) -- Allowing for some hookup wire slack from the rear-mounted speaker terminals to the removable front baffle-panel, perhaps you may get by with only 8 feet of wire -- but get 10 ft. 'just in case'.

However, you might ask mfishmike (Audience A3 dealer/speaker DIY expert) for his opinion(s) -- you may want to go with the impressive "2+2" with passive radiator in a smaller conventional rectangular shaped cabinet.

A '2010 Show' report includes a picture of this new Audience "Clairaudient" style experimental "2+2" prototype. Reportedly, this little speaker received some "rave" comments -- I think 'mfishmike' posts the 2010 Show pictures on his website, and supplies A3 drivers, advice (I understand) & passive radiator parts, etc.

Bill
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Old 6th February 2010, 02:44 PM   #106
Bill13 is offline Bill13  United States
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Default Fountek might make a great midrange crossed to a RAAL ribbon

Initially when I caught "speaker upgrade fever" again, the RAAL 140-15D ribbon tweeter looked promising for a high end style DIY speaker design.

However, I just wasn't happy with using 5" to 7" drivers for midrange up to 3+ kHz or so (want to try quasi-2nd order crossover). The transparency and CSD waterfall of the RAAl seemed far better than what's available from most mid-woofers.

Then a rave review of the '8+8 Clairaudient' no-crossover fullrange array speaker that uses the Audience A3 drivers.

Despite the measured response peak around 8 kHz, the A3 driver reportedly offered audiophile-quality sound from mid-bass al the way up to high trebles.

I'm still not sure that adding a RAAL ribbon tweeter to an A3 array wouldn't improve the trebles. Anyway, an A3 driver array, by itself, is expensive enough, already.

I guess eliminating the loudspeaker crossover obviously (?) outweighs any S-O-A enhancement the RAAL might make?

However, crossing over a RAAL might be more cost-effective if an array of cheaper Fountek FR88-EX drivers is used? The CSD and 'sonic-signature' of the aluminum-cone Fountek 3" might be more compatible with ribbon tweeters than typical larger cone bass-mid drivers? Use a woofer crossed below say, 125 Hz when using Fountek 3" midrange drivers.
Wish that the RAAL ribbons weren't so expensive -- but would like to try anyway. So far, can't even find used RAAL ribbon tweeters -- RAAL owners evidently must be happy.

Bill
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Old 14th February 2010, 07:24 PM   #107
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Crossover discussion moved to here: Crossover Phase Behaviour

dave
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Old 14th February 2010, 08:28 PM   #108
Bill13 is offline Bill13  United States
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Default Plans to improve DIY A3 line array spkrs

Good idea to form separate discussion of speak crossover network coherence, etc.

Anyway, more about DIY Audience A3 line-arrays:

An update to what I'm planning with DIY A3 arrays in Dayton curved cabinets.

I'm very impressed with the sound of these A3 drivers, but as currently employed, they sound a bit too bright.

After much deliberation of alternative ideas, good way to go is to another four rear/side facing Audience A3s per speaker, for BSC. This should effectively lower the trebles relative to the midrange, and give more bass power.

After all, Audience Inc. doubles the number of drivers by adding rear/side facing A3s in their "4+4", "8+8", "16+16" 'Clairaudient' family of speakers.

Putting the cabinets near room boundaries (walls) for more bass is not an option in my room.

Further improvement: can try fastening some DIY shaped material like foam/cloth padding to the sides of the DIY speakers' front baffles -- to acoustically extend the speaker's width from 9" to say, 15" in order to lower the BSC frequency -- achieve a wide, curved front baffle like in the Clairaudient speakers. However, afraid that this approach won't look good.

Electrically, I like the idea of making a custom (preferably passive) R-C network to be used at the inputs to the power amplifiers. Op-amps might have to be used if need more voltage gain, isolation of filter components, etc.) This custom passive/active network can be designed using "SoundEasy" or other circuit simulation program.

This circuit can do several adjustments to the speaker's frequency response such as:
1. BSC
2. High Pass filter starting at lowest frequency to limit driver excursion, and to protect the drivers.
3. Provide gentle roll off (contour) upper midrange thru trebles if desired - including the famous desirable psycho-acoustic dip at 3 kHz (see Linkwitz OB speaker website).
4. Bass boost (fixed amount)
5. Use high-value ferrite inductors to add R-L-C notch filter in the network at amp inputs to compensate for A3 drivers' 7-8 kHz resonance(set filter Q = 10 approx.). I have a collection of such inductors up to 680 millihenry -- obtained from Mouser and at other suppliers -- they are physically small. Hysteresis and other typical nonlinearities should not be a problem for this particular application (very small signal currents throught the inductors, & very small frequency band affected, etc.).

Bill
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Old 14th February 2010, 08:54 PM   #109
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Electrically, I like the idea of making a custom (preferably passive) R-C network to be used at the inputs to the power amplifiers.
Passive Line Level Baffle Diffraction Step Compensation

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Old 15th February 2010, 01:39 AM   #110
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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I'm sorry I missed this thread - don't spend enough time on the full-range forum.

I spent quite a lot of time with the Audience A3 line array, the 8 driver model. It's a very good speaker and the driver is remarkable. I like line arrays up to a point. To me they sound very natural and clean, like a really good horn system. But too many line arrays sound "too big." Everything is over sized. Some people like that, I don't.

But the Audience line array sounded quite natural to me. At least the 8 driver version. I never heard the bigger one.

The only obviuos flaw I heard was a disturbance in the ~300Hz range. Like you might hear on a 10" woofer. No surprise, as the A3 driver is just about the same size as the dustcap on a 10".

I have 1 of the A3 drivers, wish I had 2. A great driver, but I really do feel it's overpriced. Too bad, as at a more reasonable price, they might sell a lot more and make a lot of people happy.

My 2 cents worth.
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