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Old 9th June 2011, 09:39 PM   #1
toobhed is offline toobhed  United States
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Default full range driver shoot-out

I'd like to contribute my 2 cents on a single driver experiment I've completed. I initially compared 3 different full range drivers in a Parts Express .25 cubic foot enclosure. I purchased additional baffles to facilitate other comparisons as well.

I first picked three drivers that all had a 115mm mounting diameter to keep things easy: the fostex 103, tang band 4" bamboo and tang band 4" paper all ordered from Madisound. My first run was to compare ported vs sealed for each driver...I sealed one cab and ported the other. The port was a 1.5" x 4" PE port....in all three cases I preferred ported to sealed. The strongest ported preferrence was the fostex while the TB bamboo was a coin toss.

At that point I ported both speakers (a real pain with a jigsaw and I look forward to learning to use a router in a woodworking course that starts in a few weeks). I set my source to mono and first used fostex left and TB bamboo right....I preferred the fostex even though my hunch was that the TB bamboo was flatter...the fostex had far greater apparent sensitivity even though both are nominally rated at 89db and also seemed to sound stage and present "3D" better.

I then compared fostex with TB paper and still preferred the fostex, though lesser so this time. I think for about $20 the TB 4" paper is quite impressive. I never directly A/B's the TB paper vs bamboo, but in this enclosure the TB-p was greater competition for the the fostex than was the TB-b.

Just for laughs I then compared my preferred driver in this case, the fostex, with both TB-papers doubled in the other cabinet wired in parallel...this sounded a little more "robust" but on further listening conjested compared to the single fostex.

Still iching for more listening date points, I cut another baffle to mount the fostex 126en in a ported enclosure. I like the 126/127s and I have a few in different enclosures, so I was surprised to once again prefer the fostex 103....the 126 was way too shouty and just obnoxious in this cab.

I finally compared the fostex 103 with the TB composite 5" or 5,5" and was underwhelmed by the later. So, after all the fun experiments I've determined that, for my ears, the fostex 103 was the winner of all mentioned drivers in the PE .25 cabinet with a port.

I must say however, that after receiving the CHR-70 in the birch ply cab and the Alpair 7 in an oak cab (from Tony in HK at TwinAudio) I'm blown away. I don't know if it is the cabinets or the drivers, but the CHR-70 sounds much better than my fostex/PE combo (yet CHR-70 and fostex 103 are close in price) and the Alpair 7 is in a different league entirely as could be expected by price.

So thats it....its been a very fun several months!

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Old 9th June 2011, 10:58 PM   #2
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For me, I find bass performance to be very influencial in my preference for one speaker over another. I appreciate your review, but all these were tested in the same cab and port tuning... It's quite possible that the cab alignment favoured one speaker over the other. Not to mention sensitivity, which you recognized was apparent, however you can't help but be influenced by the greater sensitivity of the fostex. Furthermore, the fostex likely has some peaky treble (based on the manufactures specs) that may give it false "detail" and "air" but after some time, may become bothersome.

Just saying, it may not have been a fair comparison. I don't have a bias for either of these drivers, I've only ever heard some fostex before.
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Old 9th June 2011, 11:16 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by toobhed View Post
I initially compared 3 different full range drivers in a Parts Express .25 cubic inch enclosure.

That's a pretty tiny enclosure.....

Have you played with any box design software to determine a reasonable alignment for each driver based on T/S parameters like Vas, Fs, and Fb? Even if your box volume is fixed, your results will vary quite a bit just from changing the length (tuning) of the port.

Last edited by boywonder; 9th June 2011 at 11:22 PM.
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Old 10th June 2011, 12:01 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by boywonder View Post
That's a pretty tiny enclosure.....
For the FE103 it might be a bit on the big side, for the FE126 optimim vented cab is about 4 litres (and F3 about 110 Hz -- FE103 can go lower). 126 really wants to see a horn.

community sites t-linespeakers.org, frugal-horn.com, frugal-phile.com ........ commercial site planet10-HiFi
p10-hifi forum here at diyA
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Old 10th June 2011, 12:04 AM   #5
joe58 is offline joe58  United Kingdom
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He must mean feet of which is 7 litres and fairly reasonable. But every drivers different and should have their own enclosure.
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Old 10th June 2011, 01:48 AM   #6
tinitus is offline tinitus  Europe
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Originally Posted by toobhed View Post
I don't know if it is the cabinets or the drivers, but the CHR-70 sounds much better

it is the cabinet
or more precisely, driver specs

CHR-70 has high 0.547 Qts
should give it more 'full' midbass
or a bit of BSC
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Old 10th June 2011, 06:45 AM   #7
toobhed is offline toobhed  United States
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Oops....make that .25 cubic feet, not inches....and no I haven't yet played with any cabinet design software....I understand this was very unscientific and indeed it only really tested the synergy between one type of box and several drivers. A more interesting go might be optimizing three different cabinets for each of the three respective drivers, but constraints prevailed.
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Old 10th June 2011, 12:06 PM   #8
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Thanks for your thoughts and time toobhed. At least you get a glimpse into each drivers performance.
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Old 10th June 2011, 12:39 PM   #9
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Shootouts help all of us make decisions on what we purchase to play with.

Playing with foam and my horns, the untreated horn "live sound" was actually echos caused by reflections around the mouth edge, so I'm wary of live sounding speakers now.

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Old 10th June 2011, 12:47 PM   #10
kec is offline kec  United States
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What about burn-in of the drivers before your tests?

Originally Posted by toobhed View Post
I think for about $20 the TB 4" paper is quite impressive.
I agree with this This would be the W4-930SF. Excellent driver with a lot detail. It does have some peakiness in the mids/highs though.

Right now I have the EL70 in the FH3.
MSI E350IS mITX > Foobar > SPDIF > miniDSP 4X10 > Crown XLS1000 > ?
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