A trip through Japan, home of the FE103E - diyAudio
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Old 2nd March 2004, 03:35 PM   #1
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Default A trip through Japan, home of the FE103E

I spent last evening googling FE103 and .jp, for an interesting tour through the cult that has developed around this wonderful little driver.

Of course, they are also into the other 4" variants, such as the 107 and the 108sigma, but the ~$30.00 price tag of the driver (all you really need) tends to get those guys going.

I am also thinking of adopting a one-design approach (with regard to the driver) and spending some time experimenting with the different enclosure designs to push the low end response without (hopefully anyway) compromising those wonderful mids and soundstage.

I would encourage anyone who has not yet built a pair of speakers (who is not a basshead, granted) to start with these sweet little drivers.

For anyone else interested, some links are posted below. Most all of the text in in Japanese, but there a re lotsa cool pix. There are many example of designs using other drivers, but the FE103 shows up again and again.

http://audionova.nu/docs/107.htm (not Japanese)
http://conlui.hp.infoseek.co.jp/hp121.htm (Love the little red BR's)
http://www.geocities.jp/mutsu562000/e/hp066.htm (nice 168 Sigma BR)
http://www8.ocn.ne.jp/~h.mosoro/koinobore/koinobore.htm (fish heads, fish heads....)
http://osaka.cool.ne.jp/koucaky/sound/machines.htm (love those 103 eggs!)


And any ideas you may get - please post!

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Old 2nd March 2004, 03:48 PM   #2
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Great links,

Check out this phase plug:

From one of your other posts I found the SOlo 103 kind of intersting.

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Old 2nd March 2004, 04:21 PM   #3
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I saw that, too. Doesn't have that familiar "suppository" look to it, tho. Wonder how it works differently?

I love my 103's BTW. I listen to jazz and vocal, some acoustic-based rock and folk. They image incredibly well.

I am definitely gonna play more with the 103's.
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Old 2nd March 2004, 05:06 PM   #4
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Default Pondering the 103

I donít know that Iíve actually heard the 103, however I find its principle very appealing.

I expect that following the less is more principle will apply here too. Complex cabinet designs may be able to augment certain characteristics of the driver, but at what expense. I've never been much a speaker builder, hell I hardly have time to listen to music these days.

I think thatís where the SOLO 103 comes in for me. It looks (qualifying as my unqualified observations) like a good design without a whole lot of complete.

I was a big fan of two-way phase aligned speakers for quite a while. (URIE 809, Tannoy LGM 10) However over time I grew fonder of small diameter 2 ways like the Genelec and Meyer HD-1, but alas, I too must worry about the day when I'm too old to bring in a salary and cant seem to justify the cost. My Tannoy PBM 6.5 have served me well for years of fruglphilia but have always fallen just short of being enough.

I do listen to a fair amount of Jazz (Miles, Cannonball, Nancy Wilson kind of stuff). But I'm also interested in a descent 5.1 home theater upgrade. I also remain very suspicious of my own susceptibility to the Beranek effect, which also makes the 1-03 appealing. It should not be too difficult to test and verify that Iím not teaching myself some horribly inaccurate listening preferences.
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Old 2nd March 2004, 05:25 PM   #5
Greggo is offline Greggo  United States
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Has anyone heard (directly or indirectly) the "Memorial" version as opposed to the standard 103 or the latest FE103E? I love the idea of building a project around this little driver but can't stand the thought that I may be starting with less than the best that fostex has to offer in this design category. Anyone ever pressed Madisound on trying to bring in the Memorial version???

Also, regarding 103's in general, I would think that a very promising approach would be to build something along the lines of a "zero box" where you have a 103 facing front crossed over to two side firing drivers mounted up high with the 103 to handle any baffle step and also provide more bass impact. Of course, you would want to find a roughly 5 or 6 inch driver that blended well with the 103 and have it run from 45-1200 Hz while you run the 103 from 120 Hz out to the end of it's range. Seems to me like you would preserve 99.9% of what is great about the 103 while adding more bass, SPL, and dynamic capability albeit still with a speaker that is more about finesse than slam bam bombastics....

Just my two cents...
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Old 2nd March 2004, 05:35 PM   #6
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If I were just going to build one pair of 103-based speakers, I would be inclined to build the Buschorn Mk2's seen here, as I think they would give fuller range for 2-channel listening:


But, if you are eventually going to build a home theatre setup, you should build the Solo 103's first. Then, you could build a more complex (like the Buschorns - but only marginally so) for your fronts (or for straight two channel listening). And just move the Solo's to your rear speakers.

It would be a cinch to build another 103-based speaker (even a Solo 103 on its side - it is vertically and horizontally symmetrical) for a center channel. Only remember to use the FE 107 (shielded) version of the driver. Might even want to for the horns, too. Supposed to be better than the 103. (One of the links is a detailed CC 103-based speaker, using two drivers. I would use one, myself, to keep the impedences the same all around.)

Mated with a variable-gain sub, (which I am sure the bassheads here would love to help you with) this would make a very sweet 2-ch music setup (the horns) and a trippin' HT setup, too. Total costs for the drivers would be ~160.00, plus whatever you spent on the sub.

I might just do it, but I would have to have a tube amp / HT amp speaker switch setup to go to tubes for the 2-ch music listening. The 103's and tubes were just made for each other. My neighbor called me to complain that the soundstage was expanding onto his property...
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