Lowther or Audio Nirvana 8 in driver - diyAudio
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Old 4th September 2010, 10:17 AM   #1
HPH is offline HPH  Viet Nam
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Default Lowther or Audio Nirvana 8 in driver

Hi,
I plan to buy a drivers but wondered which one I should choose from Lowther 8 inch driver or Audio Nirvana driver, Please help me to choose.
Thanks
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Old 4th September 2010, 03:03 PM   #2
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1. What kind of efficiency / what kind of amp?

2. What type(s) and size of cabinets can you tolerate? Can you build a horn, or does it need to be OB, TL, BR etc.

3. Any budgetary considerations?

4. What styles of music?

5. Why limit yourself to those two? There are lots and lots of good 8" drivers. Does it need to be 8"? There are some amazing drivers somewhat smaller (and bigger). If you don't need the sensitivity, there are some drivers which are very easy to work with.
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Old 4th September 2010, 04:25 PM   #3
ra7 is offline ra7  United States
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I would advise you to stick with the higher efficiency paper cone drivers. The liveliness of these will make the whole thing sound much more real besides being able to play louder. Of course, the trade-off is in the bass region, where the high eff drivers roll off much quicker. I've had success with a voight pipe cabinet with the AN8... it gets down to 50-60 hz.

If you have the money, go for the Lowthers but higher models, otherwise, as a start, the audio nirvanas are perfect. Do get the model with the phase plug.
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Old 4th September 2010, 11:52 PM   #4
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I just can't resist

The Lowther units are simply no good, imo. Wait, let me try to explain! It is true, they are among the world's very best at resolving your music. If it's there, you will hear it.

But that's not enough. Doppler limitations aside, I expect any driver to sound good with all types of music and at low and high volumes. The Lowther (and Fostex) drivers simply fall apart on music with energy in the upper midrange, which is a big chunk of our music. Yes, upper mids are the problem area for all drivers, but these drivers have little or no engineering to combat the problem. They are built to be as light as possible without regard for response flatness or cone breakup issues. They impress quickly but annoy 'down the road'. They are 100% failures! So we're talking about saxophones, female vocals and electric guitar. All you get is painful shrieking mush unless you listen at low volume. Many people who love these drivers consciously or unconsciously modify their listening to exclude these types of music. That's why they move toward jazz, for example. They also use amplification based around tubes because the 'warmth' or harmonic distortions of vacuum tube sound will help reduce the problems a little.

Now the AN drivers aren't free of these issues. But they are light years ahead! They have good damping in the cone construction. They play loud and sound great! With everything. No, they do not resolve as much detail. But the difference is slight. And they cost way less. They are also more durable and contain no foams to rot. They have a flatter response.

No, I don't work for CSA

So I will summarize: buy Lowther or Fostex if you want to be impressed quick and if you want to resell them within a week. Or if you want to tell yourself the problems are fixable with enclosures, treatments, wires, amps and months or years of useless effort.

Or try the AN S8 and still be loving them 2 years from now in the simple whatever you hammered together in 3 hours.
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Old 5th September 2010, 01:44 AM   #5
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Hi InclinedPlane, just curious but what kind of boxes did you have the drivers in?
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Old 5th September 2010, 02:52 AM   #6
HPH is offline HPH  Viet Nam
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Hi All,
Thanks you very much for your valuable infos. Since I am a newbie so I would like you to help to choose a driver as well as suitable cabinet (I have a cayin A88T amp, Carat I57 CD and amp combo, Rega P3,P7, Graham slee V era gold). Most of my time, I listen Classic, Jazz, Pop, Rock,..., can you please advice which driver and cabinet that I should buy.
Thanks
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Old 5th September 2010, 07:42 AM   #7
hm is offline hm  Europe
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Hello HPH,
i tested a lot of fullranger in horn construction
with feedback and measurements take look on my HP.
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Old 5th September 2010, 08:47 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjbond3rd View Post
Hi InclinedPlane, just curious but what kind of boxes did you have the drivers in?
Yea InclinedPlane, it would help the community if you could answer this.

Have you tried the Fostex Sigma series. I think they are among the best (for the price) provided you have them in some sort of a TL cab. I have the Fostex 168Sigmas in MLTQWT and once the slight shout is taken care of (by EnAbling and proper damping) you thoroughly enjoy them. They do go down to about 50Hz and with a high damping amp (plus QWL for minimal cone movement), you can play any high energy music.

Check Nelson Pass' opinion on this driver in a voting thread buried somewhere in this forum.
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Old 5th September 2010, 11:57 AM   #9
Daze is offline Daze  Canada
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Your opinion... and that's fine

In my experience, Lowthers have been on top of my short list for quite some time. I have extended experience with various Lowthers, Fostex (Modified and not), AN, and many multiway variants (Living voice, Harbeth, Triangle, etc...etc...). Lowthers are amongst the Top few if implemented correctly. Lowthers need horns that are well adapted to their caracteristics. When properly done, they beat the crap out of Fostex, AN and most other variants.

Properly corner loaded (Bigfun and Allfun horns), they are truely fullrange. My current system uses AER Mk1 in Lamhorns... Different, but not necessarely better than the Allfunhorn with Lowther DX-3 that I previously built.

Everyone should deserve the chance to hear Lowthers done right at least once...




Quote:
Originally Posted by InclinedPlane View Post
I just can't resist

The Lowther units are simply no good, imo. Wait, let me try to explain! It is true, they are among the world's very best at resolving your music. If it's there, you will hear it.

But that's not enough. Doppler limitations aside, I expect any driver to sound good with all types of music and at low and high volumes. The Lowther (and Fostex) drivers simply fall apart on music with energy in the upper midrange, which is a big chunk of our music. Yes, upper mids are the problem area for all drivers, but these drivers have little or no engineering to combat the problem. They are built to be as light as possible without regard for response flatness or cone breakup issues. They impress quickly but annoy 'down the road'. They are 100% failures! So we're talking about saxophones, female vocals and electric guitar. All you get is painful shrieking mush unless you listen at low volume. Many people who love these drivers consciously or unconsciously modify their listening to exclude these types of music. That's why they move toward jazz, for example. They also use amplification based around tubes because the 'warmth' or harmonic distortions of vacuum tube sound will help reduce the problems a little.

Now the AN drivers aren't free of these issues. But they are light years ahead! They have good damping in the cone construction. They play loud and sound great! With everything. No, they do not resolve as much detail. But the difference is slight. And they cost way less. They are also more durable and contain no foams to rot. They have a flatter response.

No, I don't work for CSA

So I will summarize: buy Lowther or Fostex if you want to be impressed quick and if you want to resell them within a week. Or if you want to tell yourself the problems are fixable with enclosures, treatments, wires, amps and months or years of useless effort.

Or try the AN S8 and still be loving them 2 years from now in the simple whatever you hammered together in 3 hours.
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Old 5th September 2010, 08:39 PM   #10
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While I respect Inclinedplane's opinion, I fear he has inadvertantly neglected to note that much of his post is his opinion only, which is not only at odds with the majority of people's experiences, but also with some rather critical facts. So. Speaking within the context of wide-band drive units:

Quote:
The Lowther (and Fostex) drivers simply fall apart on music with energy in the upper midrange, which is a big chunk of our music.
While I am not a particular fan of Lowthers, and could not live with them unless supported with LF units or have suitable Eq applied, I haven't heard one 'fall apart' compared to any other wide band drive unit. I haven't heard a Fostex 'fall apart' either. Admittedly, I've no idea exactly what is being refered to by 'fall apart', but in no particular area have I heard one substantially inferior to any of its equivalents, including some ludicrously pricy ones. Different, yes.

Quote:
Yes, upper mids are the problem area for all drivers, but these drivers have little or no engineering to combat the problem.
I can only surmise Inclinedplane has not attempted to avail himself of any knowledge on these, because this statement is completely inaccurate. Take the new FE166En for example, which has several dips engineered into its response in the critical sibilance zones to ensure things are kept smooth; something independently noted here by Bob Brines. Lowther are somewhat more idiosyncratic, as they have different priorities in mind (efficiency is their primary goal, with other factors being secondary), and are to a large extent prisoners to the requirements entailed by their heritage. However, their efforts in developing their motor & VC designs, whizzers and plugs rather contradicts statements that they have 'little or no engineering to combat the problem.'

Quote:
They are built to be as light as possible without regard for response flatness or cone breakup issues.
A (forgive me) completely untrue statement. Lowther, while partially stuck due to the need to give customers what they want yes, try to compensate as far as possible elsewhere. Fostex? Different story entirely. For a start, you might note that Fostex drive units do not in fact, always possess a lower Mms than, say, their AN equivalents. Much of the time, yes. But the FE206En for e.g. at 12.2g is heavier than the ANS8 at 11.66g. Which brings us onto response flatness & cone breakup. Let us take those two units as our examples, and compare the respective factory released FR plots. Both companies employ roughly equivalent smoothing, so there are no major issues with a rough comparison.

ANS8. Nominal sensitivity 95.28dB. Peak at ~112dB. 16.72dB difference.
FE206En. Nominal sensitivity 96dB. Peak at ~106dB. 10dB difference.

In general terms, neither has more significant variances in the response than the other, ergo by definition, the AN is rather less flat than the 206. How they can therefore be

Quote:
100% failures
is therefore mysterious. Especially given the thousands of people who are very happy with them and would be startled at such a pronouncement, which is frankly both insulting, and not a little patronising toward owners of these products.

Quote:
Many people who love these drivers consciously or unconsciously modify their listening to exclude these types of music. That's why they move toward jazz, for example. They also use amplification based around tubes because the 'warmth' or harmonic distortions of vacuum tube sound will help reduce the problems a little.
I think you will discover that the majority of people who purchase such units already like such material. The choice of amplification is less to do with valves than the output impedance: Fostex & Lowther units are primarily intended to be used with amplifiers with a modest - high output impedance. Incidentally, not all valve amplifiers are 'warm' sounding, nor SS devoid of harmonic distortion. To put it mildly, these are sweeping generalisations based on cliche. For e.g., I could point out very sharp sounding valve amplifiers indeed, with what little distortion exists being predominantly 3rd order harmonic, and just as many very warm sounding, relatively high (2nd order harmonic) SS amps.

This is not a 'problem.' If a drive unit is designed for a specific function, or to work with particular components, it is not its fault if someone decides to use it with something else & unsurprisingly gets poor results. Any assertion that this somehow means it is badly designed can be dismissed as twaddle, because by analogy, this would imply that a Bentley Continental R Mulliner is somehow a bad car because unlike a Land Rover, it cannot be driven up an unpaved Scotish mountain track in a thunderstorm. Focus is not a design flaw.

Quote:
Now the AN drivers aren't free of these issues. But they are light years ahead!
I'm truly glad you like your AN drivers, but this is your opinion, not fact.
%

Last edited by Scottmoose; 5th September 2010 at 08:47 PM.
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