108E Sigma vs. 126E - diyAudio
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Old 1st March 2009, 06:39 AM   #1
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Default 108E Sigma vs. 126E

Could someone that has owned both the 126E and the 108E Sigma, and who lived with each in their own room longer than a one day audition, describe the sonic differences? I'm aware that the 108E is a bit less efficient and more expensive, but I'm looking for adjectives that would give me at least a rough idea of how they sound different in similarly sized cabinets. i.e. Frugal-Horn Mikasa.
Thanks!!!
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Old 1st March 2009, 07:29 PM   #2
chrisb is offline chrisb  Canada
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I'll bite,


I've had over 5 years of experience with both drivers in a wide range of enclosure types (mostly BLH of some nature), and with good cross section of budget commercial and DIY electronics both SS and tubed.

To be specific, I've heard both drivers in the Frugelhorn, Buschhorn MKI, and Hornshoppe Horns, as well as the Sigma in Aiko, and the 126 in Ron Clarke's A126.


In as few words as possible, I'd describe the Sigma as less dynamic, much smoother and more "finely grained" in the midrange, with a more recessed and wider soundstage. It's softer at both ends of the spectrum; with my hearing loss and tinitus, I'm far more aware of the difference between the two drivers from the mid-bass down, rather than above, let's say 12kHz.

The 126 has nominally 3 dB of higher sensitivity, clearly noticeable extension and dynamics at both ends, and a far more forward presentation. It can certainly deliver more SPL and jump factor with the same amount of amp power, and for most folks would probably win the "bang for the buck" contest - however it can be a bit harsh in the upper midrange (3-8k). It does respond very well to treatment.

If physical space and aesthetic concerns were not an issue, I'd be hard pressed to decide between the FE108EZ in the Aiko with powered woofers, or a full zoot A126 with EnABLed drivers, etc. They deliver such a different presentation that it would probably depend very much on the music and my emotional state - I find Sigma far more relaxing and contemplative than the 126
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Old 1st March 2009, 08:10 PM   #3
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Exactly what I was looking for! Thanks for taking the time to type out your perceptions.
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Old 2nd March 2009, 02:51 AM   #4
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Default Similarly,

As someone who has heard both and built commercial enclosures for them, I would have to second Chris's comments.

I would say, however, that going between an Enabled 126e and a FE108EZ is probably a more fair comparison.

The stock 126e I find to be quite harsh and hard to live with up top (the same 3-8k region Chris talked about). Modified, even slightly, it can help alot. Of course, I have young ears so I am very sensitive to roughness up top.

The FE108EZ has a better (not bigger) magnetic circuit with higher quality cast iron. This, along with the cast frame results in a much smoother presentation overall.

The FE126e, however, has a softer more cottony suspension system which gives it the extra dynamics, jump factor and "naturalness" of tonality, along with an increased max spl rating and boomier bass (mostly in a good way).

Even the FE126eN does not get past the lesser magnetic material's effect on the sound, it sounds the slightest bit "sandy," making things seem somewhat less ultimately "resolute" than the 108EZ, however the benefits of cone treatment to the overall balance and musicality of the driver are undeniable.

If the 108EZ were to have a softer suspension like the 126eN, it would be a happy day. It is well known among users that the "EZ" family of drivers can take seemingly years to break in fully. Too much synthetic resin in the damper... The 126e and eN, a few months to sound fantastic.

-Clark
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Old 2nd March 2009, 02:58 AM   #5
doorman is offline doorman  Canada
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I've got both the aforementioned drivers, and will be receiving the 126's with Dave's "full-monte" treatment. I'd been using the 126's, but having re-installed the 108ez's I realize I love the mids.
What about EN 108's?
Don
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Old 2nd March 2009, 03:32 AM   #6
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I have a set in the queue...

dave
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Old 2nd March 2009, 06:28 AM   #7
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cool!
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Old 2nd March 2009, 08:23 AM   #8
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Quote:
I have a set in the queue...
Cool +1

I am interested in the outcome.

BTW, could Clark's post also suggest that diff materials are used in the suspension of the F120A and 108eSig? Longer life in tropical climates?..

Cheersies
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Old 2nd March 2009, 09:03 PM   #9
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Ive never seen the suspension of a F120A. is it softer or harder than the FE126e?
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Old 2nd March 2009, 09:47 PM   #10
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Dave, if it's not a trade secret, how do you intend to deal with all the hills and valleys.

Every time I get serious about attempting it on my 168e sigmas, I chicken out.
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