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Old 22nd September 2010, 11:25 PM   #1
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Default Best FR Size for Small/Medium Sized Room

I have never tried out FR before and am doing some research as they sound intriguing. Since the sizes range from 3" up to 15", I thought I would get some feedback on what may serve me best given my space limitations:

My listening space is about 17' X 14', shared w/ TV/Home Theater, and an extension into a small dining area. My current speakers are 2-way MTMs with Dayton RS180/Scan Speak D2608 MTM. From what I gather about FR, they have a narrow sweet spot. This is fine as I only listen to music when seated.

I listen to Jazz, Pink Floyd, Classical Indian Music, Film Soundtracks. I don't need super low bass, 40s should be good enough for me.

Maximum speaker separation is about 9-10'.
Speakers have to be near wall, max 2ft. from front of baffle to wall.
Will be used w/ my HT receiver for TV/Movies as well as standalone ampfor 2-channel.
Seating distance is 9ft.

Lastly, although I can build my own cabinets, my resources and time are limited so simple BR is pretty much all I can do.

That said, how effective would smaller FR drivers be? I am inclined to get something like the Audio Nirvana 10 or 12s or maybe Tang Band W8-1808/1722. Seems like the bigger the better. Am I wrong in this assumption?

thanks
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Old 22nd September 2010, 11:40 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wushuliu View Post
Seems like the bigger the better. Am I wrong in this assumption?
You'll get as many opinions as there are afficianados

Personally i figure the sweet spot is 4-5" (7-10 cm actual cones).

My room is much larger than yours, i have 20W (or 40 if i flip the switch to pentode).

Quote:
maybe Tang Band W8-1808/1722
Of those two (i am working on a pair of each as we speak), i'd choose the 1808... right of the edge of passing outside decent value for the dollar thou.

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Old 22nd September 2010, 11:43 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by planet10 View Post
You'll get as many opinions as there are afficianados

Personally i figure the sweet spot is 4-5" (7-10 cm actual cones).

My room is much larger than yours, i have 20W (or 40 if i flip the switch to pentode).

dave
Are there drivers in that range that perform well in a simple BR enclosure?
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Old 23rd September 2010, 12:37 AM   #4
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Lots of choices, what follows is a sampling -- stuff i've heard.

4", CSS EL70, Mark Audio CHR-70, Alpair7 -- these can reach into the 40s
Fostex FE127 (if you can find them), won't reach as low but more efficient,
Any number of TangBands (i am not familiar -- they'll have larger ones too)

larger, Alpair10.2 (Mark is making these this week so likely not available from Madisound for 5-7 weeks). I did get the opportunity to hear some production prototypes, and they fullfill the promise of Mark's Gen2 drivers. Very much of a family with the A7 and A12. More dynamic capability, can go a bit lower, but a bit tighter sweet spot and a little less agile on the extreme top. Jordan JX92S fits here too, but i feel it is not keeping up.

larger yet. Alpair12 (similar price to the TB W8s, trades efficiency for more cohesion and greater DDR, very good bang for the buck), Fostex FE167 (again if you can find some).

The AN (10 & 12 stamped basket) i was dissapointed with, i have a set of the 8" stamped basket on the break-in bench. The cast 8 gets good reviews.

dave
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Old 23rd September 2010, 12:53 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by planet10 View Post
Lots of choices, what follows is a sampling -- stuff i've heard.

4", CSS EL70, Mark Audio CHR-70, Alpair7 -- these can reach into the 40s
Fostex FE127 (if you can find them), won't reach as low but more efficient,
Any number of TangBands (i am not familiar -- they'll have larger ones too)

larger, Alpair10.2 (Mark is making these this week so likely not available from Madisound for 5-7 weeks). I did get the opportunity to hear some production prototypes, and they fullfill the promise of Mark's Gen2 drivers. Very much of a family with the A7 and A12. More dynamic capability, can go a bit lower, but a bit tighter sweet spot and a little less agile on the extreme top. Jordan JX92S fits here too, but i feel it is not keeping up.

larger yet. Alpair12 (similar price to the TB W8s, trades efficiency for more cohesion and greater DDR, very good bang for the buck), Fostex FE167 (again if you can find some).

The AN (10 & 12 stamped basket) i was dissapointed with, i have a set of the 8" stamped basket on the break-in bench. The cast 8 gets good reviews.

dave

Thanks Dave. I'll do some research on the ones you've mentioned. Didn't realize there was a performance difference between stamped and cast Nirvana drivers...
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Old 23rd September 2010, 02:27 AM   #6
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>>> Of those two (i am working on a pair of each as we speak), i'd choose the 1808... right of the edge of passing outside decent value for the dollar thou.

Not cheap but it's a fun driver to own, imo. It's like buying fostex sigma's... you don't need to spend the money but they are just a bit better than the rest of the line. The 1808 is not perfect but always draws me into the music. I need to get a pair of Alpairs and compare these two drivers. I'm sure neither is bad but curious how they differ. My new open baffle setup is designed to allow easy swapping... sitting atop a pair of H-frames so switching drivers should be as easy as cutting a hole in a baffle.

I'd second everything that was said above. I have used 4" drivers that lit up a room with sound in the right cabinet and my office is approx 16 x 13 with 11 foot ceilings.

Zilla
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Old 30th September 2010, 11:54 AM   #7
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Zilla
"I have used 4" drivers that lit up a room with sound in the right cabinet"

what drivers and cabinet'
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Old 30th September 2010, 01:22 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by otto88 View Post
Zilla
"I have used 4" drivers that lit up a room with sound in the right cabinet"

what drivers and cabinet'

Well, my name's not Jeff, but first of all let me elaborate "right cabinet for the application (venue/audience, etc)" and add a short list of my favorite nominally 4" drivers, in chronological order:

-RS40-1197 (aka Fostex FE103) - BD Pipe (bipole TQWP);
-Fostex FE127E - hard to make this driver sound bad - but my favorites would have to be any of the Fonken family, Scott Lindgren's "Mileva", and the DIY audio "reference" biople MLTL project from several years back;
-Fostex FE126E - generally requires larger back loaded horn of some type to lift and smooth the output of lower several octaves - but a few examples would include Ron Clark Austin 126, Buschhorn MKI, FrugelHorn I &III, and Woden Design (Scott Lindgren) Maeshowe;
- Fostex FE108EZ - not the bottom end punch, extended top end or overall dynamics of the FE126E, but some pretty special about the midrange - Buschhorn MKI & II (personally I found the latter inferior to the former), Scott Lindgren Aiko (as with the Maeshowe, serendipitously good performance with a driver other than the original betrothed );

For my listening tastes and spaces, all of the above are quite happy with power as low as 2-3W of DHT to as much as 30 or so of PP tube power - but as always YMMV.

Designers of the following drivers strived for smoother and more extended natural FR, at the sacrifice of up to 5 or 6 dB sensitivity from those above, so not all Flea power aficionados will necessarily be gob-smacked with "realistic concert levels" - sorry Ed, no Metallica at 104dB with a Decware Zen.

CSS FR125 - a bit of a contradiction - Dan Wiggin's XBL technology is capable of delivering amazing extended bass response with low distortion, but in this particular case, the driver's linear suspension travel doesn't appear to be able to keep up. So on occasions the combination of SPLs and program content will elicit some very disconcerting "frapping" as my son used to describe it. Great for near field monitors, and seems to work best in small sealed or resistively ported enclosures such as the original mini-onken designed for Bob Reimer.

CSS EL70 and Mark Audio (CHR70/Alpair5/6/7/10) - I'll restrain my enthusiasm for Mark's work to avoid sounding like a shill, but they're pretty darned special, and continually evolving. When was the last time a loudspeaker manufacturer actively polled DIYers and dealers for input as part of his design process?

but I'd have to say that of the above named MA drivers that I've heard to date, would have to the Alpair 7, CSS EL70, CHR70 (in that order) - in enclosures ranging from the smallest of the "ken" series to the FHIII, and Woden (Scott Lindgren ) Maeshowe.



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Old 30th September 2010, 04:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Scott Lindgren's "Mileva"
Scott's Mileva? I consulted with him on this, but this one is mine

That said 4-5" is the sweet spot IMHO. If you need more impact & dynamics than they provide, it is no sin to add a pair of well matched active woofers.

With you amplifier i'd point you toward Mark Audio, FR125 as happier with yours.

dave
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Old 30th September 2010, 04:35 PM   #10
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I'd agree that 4-5" is about the best size, but they are SPL limited. When you keep the dize of the drivers in mind, they're amazing for what they do.

I have a pair of FE126eN in small folded Voigt pipes, backed with a pair of 8" woofers. Lovely sound, and they're getting better and better as they break in. Off-axis is pretty good - no huge loss in the main body of the treble even at 180 degrees. Okay, so the very highest of notes go, but 95% is still there. They'll work as background speakers, but the more you listen, the more you hear, the more you want to listen.

I've listened to the larger TB units, and they're another step up again, but they are a lot more expensive.

3" drivers don't really move enough air (you'd want a sub to get all the way down), 8" drivers begin to need a supertweeter, so 4-6" would be about right (though you'd likely need a subwoofer for the really low stuff)... Take your pick.

Chris
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