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Old 29th March 2005, 01:38 PM   #1
rjm is offline rjm  Japan
Richard Murdey
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Default Fostex Full Range Wall O Sound

For your amusement. I was at Akihabara on the weekend. I tried to discern some useful information from the dozens of drivers hooked up in the display pictured below, but regrettebly the only message I was getting was that they all sucked, a prominent, ragged upper midrange with no extension in either direction.

I also visited Koizumi Musen ( http://www.koizumi-musen.co.jp/ ) and checked out those funky little horns made from CNC'd MDF and Fostex 83 or 103. Unfortunately they basically sucked too, in the same way.

And the sound is pretty much in the same ballpark as my experience with the FE166 in a bass-reflex box. The only Fostex drivers I've heard that sound better than a cheap table radio/TV are the sigma series.

At the risk of being flamed to a crispy crisp, what do you guys all hear in these things that I'm somehow immune to?

-R

P.S. I'm currently running a pair of Onkyo D-605sr's. I picked these out from a similar wall-o-sound arrangement with no regrets. The soft dome tweeter integrates nicely with reinforced fiber cone woofer, and the little unported MDF cabinets are remarkably solid. $300 for the pair. Despite a 83dB efficiency, my 2wpc 6BM8 amp plays just fine, thank you. Sigh, looks like I'm just not cut out to be a full range driver convert.
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Old 29th March 2005, 01:54 PM   #2
Ropie is offline Ropie  United Kingdom
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Each to his own I suppose. I have a pair of horns with Radio Shack 1197s in, which are apparently Fostex 103s in a different box, and the sound is almost exactly the opposite of what you describe - crisp, wide and airy mids and highs with a surprisingly deep bass response. Admittedly they can sound a little 'forward' at times and do benefit very slightly from a helper tweeter, but I used them for about a year very happily without the tweeters.

Nice pic by the way
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Old 29th March 2005, 03:40 PM   #3
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I must admit, I have yet to be convinced of the benefits of the Fostex full range phenomenon. Like you I find them a little rough up top.

I have noticed that those that like them tend to be a little, erm, more mature, so I wonder if the high end roll off in hearing that we get with age is a factor in these reviews...
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Old 29th March 2005, 03:44 PM   #4
GregGC is offline GregGC  Canada
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Default Re: Fostex Full Range Wall O Sound

Quote:
Originally posted by rjm
For your amusement. I was at Akihabara on the weekend. I tried to discern some useful information from the dozens of drivers hooked up in the display pictured below, but regrettebly the only message I was getting was that they all sucked, a prominent, ragged upper midrange with no extension in either direction.

I also visited Koizumi Musen ( http://www.koizumi-musen.co.jp/ ) and checked out those funky little horns made from CNC'd MDF and Fostex 83 or 103. Unfortunately they basically sucked too, in the same way.

And the sound is pretty much in the same ballpark as my experience with the FE166 in a bass-reflex box. The only Fostex drivers I've heard that sound better than a cheap table radio/TV are the sigma series.

At the risk of being flamed to a crispy crisp, what do you guys all hear in these things that I'm somehow immune to?

-R

P.S. I'm currently running a pair of Onkyo D-605sr's. I picked these out from a similar wall-o-sound arrangement with no regrets. The soft dome tweeter integrates nicely with reinforced fiber cone woofer, and the little unported MDF cabinets are remarkably solid. $300 for the pair. Despite a 83dB efficiency, my 2wpc 6BM8 amp plays just fine, thank you. Sigh, looks like I'm just not cut out to be a full range driver convert.

By no means I'm a valid voice here, but the way the speakers are set up (on the picture) I doubt that they'll sound the same as in a normal room setup. Just MHA.

Greg
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Old 29th March 2005, 04:40 PM   #5
pjpoes is offline pjpoes  United States
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I would add to this discussion that a huge part of it is what is important to you in sound. We all accept that all speakers are defficiant in certain ways, and different design methodolgies are defficiant in different ways. Small Book shelf speakers normally use relativly simple crossovers and are simple in design. This allows a relativly full range speaker remain somewhat coherent for not a lot of money. Because of the small box you usually have low box defraction, and so you have among the best soundstages you can get. They often, if done right, can offer a wider, deeper, and more precise soundstage than a larger more complicated speaker.

However then you have large multiway speakers, which also offer good soundstages, but in order to offer good coherence and soundstaging, they usually end up costing a fortune. Some argue, and this is my experience too, that very very few, if any actually get all that right. It seems to me that large multiway speakers do one thing good, Dynamics, and many things bad, like coherence. Many large speakers have huge soundstages with weak center images and vague placement. I also find cheap ones to offer a great deal of discontinuity, making the height of the stage change depending on the tone.

Then you have the school that says, all crossover create distortion, all speakers with more than one driver create discontinuity. There is a lot of truth in that statement. The closer I get to my speakers, the more problems of that sort I have, and I do have relativly small speakers with vary narrow baffles. I can hear that the way inwhich high frequencies come out does not come across the same as lower frequencies. A Dome tweeter doesnt sound the same as a cone midrange, and so, when used to produce a range of tones together, they dont sound the same across the frequency band. Another issue with speakers of my sort, or even those with more drivers yet, such as large full range speakers, is that they are very complicated. Many people argue that putting as little in the reproduction path minimizes compounding errors. Any multiway speaker used for home that offers some sembolance of bass in a smallish box, ported or not, is pretty inefficiant. My speakers are considered efficiant at 92 decibles, and that truely is nothing compared to these simpler full range designs. Every time another crossover part is added, another driver is added, a simpler box is used, the speaker becomes less efficiant. Trying to get a lot of bass from a small driver in a normal enclosure requires a Q value that will make for an inefficiant driver.

Now for these Full range speakers, they obviously dont offer truely full range sound. THey dont have the flattest of measurably frequency responses, and they have limited maximum outputs, limiting to a point the dynamic range. However, they offer no discontinuity, as one driver produces all frequencies. They act as a point source, the same way real music is produced. They offer far more precise soundstageing as a result of this, making for a more realistic presentation. I have experienced among the deepest and most vivid soundstages ever from a pair of horn loaded full range Lowthers. The speakers used in these are also highly efficiant, often in the high 90's or more. This means usually that they require very little power to play loud, and if made right, I have heard some that not only have great microdynamics but great macrodynamics as well. One thing that I have not heard in any speaker I have owned is the accurate portrayal of the dynamic performance that exists in an orchestra. To be honost, I dont think I have ever heard a classical play or even Broadway music reproduced with the size and dynamics they exist in the live show. Many of these speakers come closer for me than even very large multiway full range speakers.

People accept the shortcomings of various speaker designs because of what they can do well. A lot of people would rather have a large complicated full range speaker because it offers great measurable performance, and they feel the shortcomings are not important to music. I also think these are people with little or no experience with live unamplified (No P.A.'s-electric guitars and basses can still count as unamplified for this purpose) musical reproduction. If all you hear for live music is Rock Concerts in large venues where everything comes from a set of large left and right PA speakers, then of course these large home speakers will offer "Perfect" sound reproduction. However, as I hinted at in my rant on orchestrated music, these speakers dont get that right. Multiway speakers often dont get a lot of the dynamic issues right, or the coherence issues right. They have less than realistic soundstages and less than realistic performance scales. However, conversley, Single driver high efficiancy speakers dont often get the absolute volumes as right, they dont get the frequency responses right, and they often sound far more congested, as if they are struggling. We accept the defficiancies of each design in order to achieve what we value most in music. The issue is simply that many people are unwilling to admit that, and so would rather state that some other design simply gets it wrong.
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Old 29th March 2005, 06:04 PM   #6
Ropie is offline Ropie  United Kingdom
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Quote:
Originally posted by pinkmouse
I have noticed that those that like them tend to be a little, erm, more mature, so I wonder if the high end roll off in hearing that we get with age is a factor in these reviews...
Hey! Why don't you generalize a bit. I'm 30 next week!
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Old 29th March 2005, 06:13 PM   #7
joensd is offline joensd  Germany
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Just for the record.
Im 28 and I love my Fostex FE-167E.
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Old 29th March 2005, 07:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by pinkmouse
I have noticed that those that like them tend to be a little, erm, more mature,
Hey, I resemble that remark, you young whipper snapper.

Just remember it's us er, umm, mature people that paved the way for you youngsters.

I heard someone say that this generation is differrent. He said "we have computers, microwaves, chip amps and all kinds of things that are different now". I said "Yes, aren't you glad my generation invented them?. What do you have to offer the world?"

Feeling old with my 103's

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Old 29th March 2005, 08:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cal Weldon
Hey, I resemble that remark, you young whipper snapper.
Of course, I speak from knowledge, being 39 and working in Rock 'n Roll for a good few years, I can't hear much over 15K myself...
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Old 29th March 2005, 09:20 PM   #10
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I'm only 26 & I like full range drivers, especially those made by Fostex, which I really rate. But it does depend on what I'm listening to at the time. Some speaker types are better suited to certain music types than others. We all know that. Iron Maiden or Bruce Dickenson and full-range drivers do not a happy combination make as a rule. I'll take a Revolver RW45 3 way that'll produce 25Hz in my room thanks. Loreena McKennitt? Single drivers every time. Very few full-rangers can do rock, and it'd be daft to expect them to. I know only one that by reputation can pull it off -Bob Brines FTA2000. I intend to find out by buiding a variation as my next project when I can aford those F200A drivers.
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