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Racket Scientist 23rd May 2010 05:25 AM

Tang Band W8-1808 open baffle impressions
First let me submit the disclaimer that I'm a full range newbie. I recently bought a pair of W8-1808s and put together a somewhat odd, but I think creative, semi open baffle design. Basically I unhooked the compression drivers in my Klipsch KG 5.5s, turned them sideways to point the woofers to the side walls and present the larger side surfaces to the listener, put together a pair of open baffles made from MDF stair treads and mounted the TBs in those and stood them next to the Klipsch speakers so that the front baffle of the "stair tread" is an extension of the side of the Klipsch (I'll try to post pics sometime). Then I ran my Golden Tube Audio amp direct to the Tang Bands, ran a solid state Crown to the Klipsch, and ran my Audible Illusions preamp through an Ashly active crossover and sent the mids/highs to the tube/Tang Bands and the bass to the Crown/Klipsch. This currently is fed by my Rega Planet CD (my turntable is in the middle of another upgrade project). The system isn't optimized yet - the Tang Band speakers aren't broken in, and I need to bypass the Klipsch crossovers and wire those woofers directly to the amp. I plan to do a few more mods (mostly adding some bracing) to the Klipschs while I'm in there. I played with the crossover a little, but most listening was with the crossover somewhere in the 150 to 200 Hz range.

Overall, I'm pretty impressed. Well recorded CDs sound amazing. There is a bit too much "zing" in the treble, but that improves if I move away a few feet (my normal listening spot is about 10 feet from the speakers), so I think some adjustments in speaker position may solve that to some degree. I'm hoping the mids will bloom a bit and the treble will tame down a tad as they break in. I'm not ready to add any electronics to "fix" that just yet. There is a slight tendency for a loss of realism with loud passages using multiple instruments, but overall definitely the best sound I've had from my home system yet. There is a definite change in balance as you move from the listening area consistent with the loss of the "beaming" treble; on "edgy" material its an improvement.

I have little idea how these compare with Lowthers or other high dollar speakers, but I'm pretty happy with them.

borispm 23rd May 2010 05:40 AM

Will they sound better in a conventional BR?

Racket Scientist 23rd May 2010 02:53 PM

I'm sure that would improve the balance between highs and mids, but then I'd loose the openness of the dipole arrangement. I may try it sometime, but plan to stick with this approach for now.

Godzilla 23rd May 2010 03:47 PM

>>> I ran my Golden Tube Audio amp direct to the Tang Bands, ran a solid state Crown to the Klipsch, and ran my Audible Illusions preamp through an Ashly active crossover and sent the mids/highs to the tube/Tang Bands and the bass to the Crown/Klipsch. This currently is fed by my Rega Planet...

You have some excellent and interesting gear! You just need to play around more and figure out what you want. I think you have all the right ingredients but see you in an experimental mode to determine which type of speakers you like best. This is probably the perfect forum to discuss your situation.

I like the 1808 a lot and think it's maybe the best full range driver i've heard to date. But it's not perfect... just better than many others. It does have a treble zing at first and it is more prominent when closer to it. But i noticed this went away after a few hours and has not come back. It works great in open baffle AND bass reflex. I may do a BR cab for it soon and compare to my OB setup to see how the driver behaves differently in both types of cabs. It's not really an OB speaker but just happens to work well this way. I think once you dial in the correct bass from your helper woofers (whatever they end up being) you will find you have balanced sound from top to bottom. I also have a super tweeter on my 1808 and think it helps fill out the top octaves adding dynamics, punch and realism.


Wonderfully 15th December 2014 09:02 PM

My experience with the W8-1808
This driver has the ability to make you look and feel like a genius! It can produce such amazing sound, with so little effort. Yet, it can secretly drive you mad, if you let it. It can reveal SO MUCH, that you could spend countless hours on inane tweaks and experiments. For me it's fun...

I'm very curious about your remark; that's it's not an OB driver, but happens when to work as one. I can hear the inner Scooby Doo in my head now: "HaRuh...?!?" Could you explain your idea of what constitutes an OB driver? Because OB is, as OB does; if it works, it is, when it comes to OB. In fact, it works flawlessly in this arrangement.

chris661 15th December 2014 09:36 PM

Qts is far too low for this driver to be used OB with no LF reinforcement.

Its possible to apply some EQ to boost the low-end for open baffle use, but this isn't advisable - excursion increases distortion, and you could hit serious issues if you drop a needle too hard - think coil smashing into backplate.


Wonderfully 15th December 2014 09:54 PM

Ah! I think possibly you're muddling the line between the terms OB, fullrange, and woofer. A woofer would need a higher Qts to be considered an OB. Likewise, the W8-1808 would not be considered to operate truly as a fullrange in OB, due to the roll off. But name any driver that will. I think maybe the terms FR and OB are synonymous in your mind. But, really, most OBs are not fullrange. The ability to operate "free-air" involves many parameters in addition to Qts, which has mostly to do with bass response.

If you put the 1808 in a big enough baffle, you'll find it produces as much bass as any 8" driver that is not limited to woofer-only duty. And I'd love to see another driver that can reach any lower and as high, with gorgeous midrange, all while being completely unfiltered, nor modified.

In short, OB is about more than Qts, and anyone willing to be rational, knows a FR in OB is going to need some help in the basement.

Godzilla 16th December 2014 04:06 AM

>>> It's not really an OB speaker but just happens to work well this way.

Old post. I love this driver. It's great on OB and after a year or so of experimenting with drivers on open baffle I agree, any driver could work as long as it has bass support. I no longer use a tweeter with the 1808 either.

chris661 16th December 2014 09:27 AM

I'm definitely not muddling up those terms. All drivers considered suitable for open baffle use have a Qts high enough that they'll have a useful amount of LF extension, without throwing 12dB+ of EQ at it.
Anything not-immediately-suitable for full-range OB use will need some bass support. Sure, you can still use them on an open baffle, but not without help.

The Visaton B200 would be a useful example here - this driver has a Qts of 0.75, and would therefore be somewhere near ideal to throw on a big-ish baffle and call it good. Bass extension would be enough for most small-scale music. This has been done many times by DIYers.

The TB driver mentioned above will be rolling off somewhere around 150Hz, regardless of how big you make the baffle: it has a very low Qts, and therefore requires reinforcement from a cabinet to get anything useful below that.
A narrow OB will put an even higher cutoff on things, but you'll still get a 12dB/octave drop below the mass corner.


norman bates 16th December 2014 10:32 AM

I figure regardless of open baffle size, a driver on it will roll off below its mass corner (Fs/qts). So the 1808 (on even an infinite baffle) will roll off below 100hz.

I had qts .45 with Fs around 43hz 12". Even on a 2' deep open baffle (the phy one), there wasn't much bass.

But running it as a full range crossed 100-200hz, it should work great so long as the dispersion works for you.

The 1808 seems a little bright because it is a little hot in the 1.5khz - 3.5khz range, where I'd prefer a 5db dip, not +5db.
And listening off axis won't help too much as it gets more directive as you go above 2khz.
Nice driver, not cheap, and still needs eq to my ears.


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