What are the Principal Virtures and Shorcomings of Full Range Speakers - diyAudio
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Old 3rd December 2013, 12:49 PM   #1
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Default What are the Principal Virtures and Shorcomings of Full Range Speakers

Just thought I would start this as a good single resource for people who may be curious about Full Range speakers and were seeking more information. I realize there are other resources out there that address this, but they often represent a single point of view and I thought it might be helpful to have multiple views on the topic in a single place that is easily identifiable by its title.

Since this is intended as a source of information for the curious, then an honest presentation of the virtues and shortcomings of Full Range speakers devoid of personal attacks and flame wars would be ideal. If the response turns out to be positive then perhaps we could consider posting similar threads about specific full range designs (e.g. Horns, Transmission Lines, Standmounts, and so on) to follow, but for now it is probably best to try to keep it as general as seems reasonable.

Thanks.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 03:43 PM   #2
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Cool idea. It might easier to use the term "wideband driver".
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Old 3rd December 2013, 06:17 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by larryldspkr View Post
I'm sure ALL your questions can be answered by looking around on this forum!

Larry
Hi Larry,

I don't have any questions about this at the moment. I've actually perused a good many of full range discussions here and elsewhere by now (been following things on and off now for a couple of years) and, while I'm obviously still learning, I didn't start this thread for me. Reading through all those many threads and posts is very time consuming, especially when you have to glean the relevant information from threads that meander across a wide variety of topics and issues. This thread was intended to help anyone who might be wondering about Full Range speakers but was just starting out. I was hoping it might serve as a kind of one-stop overview of the general virtues and shortcomings of Full Range speakers to help give the newly curious an obvious place to begin their search (at least that was my intention).
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Old 3rd December 2013, 06:21 PM   #4
xrk971 is offline xrk971  United States
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Ok I will start it off. My favorite advantage of full range is that it is simple: 1 driver, straight connection to amp without any crossover. Disadvantage: cannot do high SPL's.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 06:30 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by xrk971 View Post
Ok I will start it off. My favorite advantage of full range is that it is simple: 1 driver, straight connection to amp without any crossover. Disadvantage: cannot do high SPL's.
Thanks xrk971. This is the kind of thing I was thinking of, but it might help to include a short explanation of why simple (e.g. no crossover) is a virtue. What is it about crossovers that complicates speaker design and production? (The same goes for the shortcomings surrounding SPL.)
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Old 3rd December 2013, 06:52 PM   #6
xrk971 is offline xrk971  United States
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I am no crossover expert but I know they are tricky to design. Furthermore, they introduce frequency dependent phase shifts due to their reactive nature. This reduces the coherence of the sound from the drivers. The ear is very sensitive to phase of sound and if it's messed up, sounds unrealistic and stereo phantom imaging is ruined.

High SPL capability is needed for larger venues or pro audio usage and gives more dynamic headroom for music with wide dynamic range like classical.

There is a way to get higher SPL from a full range driver and that is to use lots of them in a line array.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 06:52 PM   #7
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Full range is only "simple" if you're not the guy tasked with designing the drive unit. By getting rid of the crossover you just dump all the problems onto him.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 07:06 PM   #8
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Full range is only "simple" if you're not the guy tasked with designing the drive unit. By getting rid of the crossover you just dump all the problems onto him.
Fair enough, but hardly relevant to the average DIY'er, wouldn't you say?
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Old 3rd December 2013, 07:42 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Philosophil View Post
Hi Larry,

I don't have any questions about this at the moment. I've actually perused a good many of full range discussions here and elsewhere by now (been following things on and off now for a couple of years) and, while I'm obviously still learning, I didn't start this thread for me. Reading through all those many threads and posts is very time consuming, especially when you have to glean the relevant information from threads that meander across a wide variety of topics and issues. This thread was intended to help anyone who might be wondering about Full Range speakers but was just starting out. I was hoping it might serve as a kind of one-stop overview of the general virtues and shortcomings of Full Range speakers to help give the newly curious an obvious place to begin their search (at least that was my intention).
Hi Phil,
You've created an interesting thread. Hopefully it will attract sensible comment. I'm possibly the only member of Diyaudio with a foot in both camps when it comes to designing and making drivers. I'm currently in Australia designing pro-woofs for use in guitar amps, while at the same time developing another Full-Ranger.

All classes and sub-classes of audio transducers have their relative strengths and weaknesses, a critical factor is their application within a system.

I've got some articles on the design and construction of Full-Range single-point-source drivers that were translated for publication in Germany. If your 100% serious about making time and effort to create a Full-Range resource, should you like me to contribute, please let me know.

Thanks
Mark

Last edited by markaudio; 3rd December 2013 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 3rd December 2013, 10:33 PM   #10
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I don't think phaseshift is that much of an issue on its own. It happens in nature all the time and our brain has developed into dealing with it. We are simply not that sensitive to it. Just like we are not that sensitive to small slow changes in loudness but are very much sensitive to transients and fricatives and other "contrast" filled sound.
The only real trouble with phase is the narrow band that is localised spatially by our head creating an obstruction that delays and attenuates those wavelengths.
And FR still has some phase issues, only less and with softer transitions.

The phase shifts can have an indirect effect though. Namely in the crossover region, where interaction happens between the two of more drivers in a normal speaker. And that is especially bad because is happens abruptly and right in the most sensitive regions of human hearing.

The advantages of FR for me is much better coherence in the upper part of the spectrum. You are not listening to a tweeter but to a relatively homogeneous source.
Also, the small light driver allows for little but very dry and precise bass. And if in a well designed cab, very well integrated with the upper bass.
While beaming is a problem, the gentle fall-off of small FR drivers are much more natural to the ear than the weird holes and dips in the middle of the speechband that regular two or threeway speakers suffer from.

Disadvantages are beaming and low dynamic range.

You are going to hear a lot of crazy talk about doppler distortion or frequency intermodulation, breakup modes and coloured highs. Truth of the matter is that those points are moot at best and has mostly been dealt with either in driver construction or cabs. Normal speakers also "suffer" from these ailments to almost the same or somewhat the same degree.

Beaming and DR can be dealt with in a number of ways. Small driver in a "FAST" (horrible but irritatingly compulsively useful pseudo-term ;-) The "Bose 901 way". IE reflections/reflectors and/or multiple drivers. Or you can use a supertweeter.

Last edited by Squeak; 3rd December 2013 at 10:40 PM.
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