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Old 11th January 2013, 03:40 PM   #1
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Default What is the best full-range driver?

I've tried Fostex FE126Ens and found them a waste of time. Full of nasties all over the mid to high end. Is there any full-range driver which could give a decent pair of dual-driver speakers (such as my Spendor SP2/2s) a run for their money? All I'm interested in is naturalness of sound, particularly voices, and I'm not too worried about bass extension. Be honest folks, can single drivers really outdo conventional studio monitor speakers?
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Old 11th January 2013, 03:48 PM   #2
xrk971 is offline xrk971  United States
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Boy, did you open up a can of worms in a forum like this with this loaded question!

I suspect that most folks in this forum will agree that for natural vocals (and you made it easy by saying bass extension is not an issue), a well-designed full range speaker is superior to almost any 2-way studio monitor with its need for a cross-over that lies right where the vocal range is.

Last edited by xrk971; 11th January 2013 at 03:57 PM.
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Old 11th January 2013, 03:58 PM   #3
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But from my experience I know that not ANY full range driver is superior. And yet the FE126En gets talked about with quite a lot of respect. I found it full of horrible high frequency resonances, with a far from flat response (more like a roller-coaster) and to cap it all, it left my ears ringing badly even after listening at moderate levels. What I want to know is whether these problems are actually inherent in the single driver concept. After all, top studios use multi-driver monitors for a reason.
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Old 11th January 2013, 04:08 PM   #4
xrk971 is offline xrk971  United States
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The FE126EN is not known for its flat response. There are other brands with smoother curves. The cabinet mostly affects the bass, if smooth mids and treble are what you are after, a smooth response curve from the driver is a must. People also modify cones with coatings, dots, and doping to smooth things out. But having a driver that is inherently smooth to start makes things easy. There are many with a smoother response.
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Old 11th January 2013, 04:22 PM   #5
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Sounds good to me. Could we start talking about particular drivers? What would you say was the best? Let's keep within the range of sensible money, say US$1000 for a pair.
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Old 11th January 2013, 04:22 PM   #6
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Since not all 2-way speakers are identical, what do you think?

Depends. There is no such thing as 'best' with wideband drivers, just as there isn't for anything else. The 126 is not a favourite of my own, some like it since it's effectively a budget Lowther in terms of behaviour & response.

'Naturalness of sound' or 'outdo conventional studio monitor speakers' unfortunately doesn't mean a great deal until you explain how you classify it. I'm going to guess from the fact that own Spendors that you will probably like a mild BBC style dip, in conjunction with a reasonably flat FR / amplitude response under practical conditions. You're not likely to favour Fostex with this set of preferences (the FX120 probably gets closest). I'd anticipate that something from Supravox or Mark Audio would suit you better. Wit $1,000/pr to spend, you could probably scrape the special edition MAOP Alpair 10 from Mark Audio, which ticks all those boxes. The caveat is that it's only made in very limited quantities (AFAIK, mine is the only pair in the West; most end up in Japan). The stock Alpairs are all worth looking at too, but you need quality amplification to get the best from all of them. Regular class A/B amps generally don't cut it. Class A, some class D & gainclones are OK. Think First Watt gear and you're on the right lines.

Last edited by Scottmoose; 11th January 2013 at 04:26 PM.
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Old 11th January 2013, 04:32 PM   #7
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My all time favourite is the well known E.J. Jordan JX92s. I've tried many others, and for me this driver has it all. You always have to take compromises on fullrange speakers, and the JX92s in my humble opinion is the slightest. It is fairly small, so do not expect it to reproduce the lowest octave, but in a 8l vented enclosure it gives astonishing deep bass.

I had many fullrangers: Fostex (didn't like any), Veravox, Tangband and so on. None of them gave me the fatigue-free, balanced tonality and spatiality as the JX92s does.

Actually my Jordans are blended with a tweeter, but having the xover external i can Switch from two-way to fullrange (with active baffle step correction) any time.

More about my Speakers here.

Click the image to open in full size.

Last edited by Groundloops; 11th January 2013 at 04:49 PM.
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Old 11th January 2013, 05:24 PM   #8
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Thanks Groundloops, I can't immediately see a price or supplier of the Jordan JX92, where do you buy them in Europe?
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Old 11th January 2013, 05:34 PM   #9
xrk971 is offline xrk971  United States
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Prepare for the MA vs Jordan debate
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Old 11th January 2013, 06:11 PM   #10
cotdt is offline cotdt  United States
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You really have to separate the efficient 8" fullranges from the smaller 4" fullranges. They sound very different, and are meant to be used with different types of amplification to sound best.
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