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jim_vt 2nd April 2005 10:06 AM

Speakers for Decware Zen (n00b questions warning)
Hi all...

I recently bought a Decware Zen SE84CS Select and modified Bottlehead Foreplay for a small mini-system that will end up in my office or bedroom. I've read some articles online about full range and folded horn/TL designs and think I might go this way. I'm a college student on a pretty extreme budget, so I figure using just two drivers can save me some cash :smash:

OK - n00b questions ahead, so you've been warned!

I listen to mostly classic rock and jazz. I'm going to be using a powered subwoofer with this setup, so the bottom octave doesn't have to be really powerful, although I'd like some bottom-end authority; don't want the sub to do all the work. The Decware Zen does most of its power at low impedances (2 to 4 ohms) that's a consideration for the driver. It won't work well with a single Fostex that's 8 ohms. I'm a college student on an extreme $50 or $60 per driver. Maybe less.

So, what drivers to get? What type of enclosure? I hope somebody can help me...thanks in advance.

James D. 2nd April 2005 11:18 AM

The standard recommendations at that price will be the various Fostexs. However I went (for my son whose a student) for the cheaper option of Tangbands. The W4-1052SA is half the price of the fostexs and when simply modified as shown on this link, McKenzie driver mods , is a stellar performer. The other nice thing is that a simple reflex box yields great performance as this driver has reasonable Xmax.

So what does one give up compared to the Fostex? Well, the tone isn't quite a good as a well run in Fostex and it isn't quite as detailed but it has better bass weight which helps with rock. Also the 4ohm impedance will suit the Decware amps.

BTW I wouldn't use anything else than fullrange drivers given that you like Jazz. You need the coherence that these drivers have to really appreciate Jazz recordings.


johninCR 2nd April 2005 05:01 PM

Hi Jim,

Efficiency is more of a concern than impedance. I like to crank up some classic rock on occasion too with my Select. My Fostex FE206E's work fine in my nearfield setup. I've got a Parker 98 kit being delivered Monday. With 98db of sensitivity and 2ohm load it should work great for any reasonable volume in a normal room, but that's more than double the price of my 206's.

The tangbands just don't have the efficiency you need, so forget them.

If you like to listen loud then the options are limited. I know because I am in the same boat. They are:

Parkers- 95 or 98db sensitivity $400+

Pro sound drivers with high sensitivity.

Horn loading something like the Fostex, but you really need to horn load the front too to get the efficiency up. Horns can get you above 100db but are expensive to buy or more difficult to build.

Hammer 12's- Still mid 90's sensitivity and 8 ohms.

Line arrays- You can wire for the impedance you desire. High efficiency is possible. Line array dispersion is a huge advantage in terms of output. I'd suggest using the $5 PE buyouts with the tweaking discussed here
8 per side with a super tweeter will get you a pair of speakers with mid 90's sensitivity and a 1 ohm load if you want for about $100 worth of drivers. They're great for those on a budget and super easy to sell for a profit and fund an upgrade later.

James D. 2nd April 2005 07:15 PM

Hi John,

Good point on efficency. My son has a limit on his listening volume to about 92-95 dB and has to listen nearfield so this suits his requirements. Also his amp yields 12Watts so it about 4 times the output of the Decware.

I guess Jim has to deside what he requires and what his budget is. Thinking about it I like the line array idea in this instance too...

BTW I'm not anti-Fostex. I use them myself in my mid-price designs - particulary the 206 as it is the closest sound I can get to my main speakers - AERs - without spending ten times the amount!


jim_vt 2nd April 2005 09:03 PM

Thanks guys for the help so far.

Those drivers look suspiciously like the TB ones on Parts Express...except they have them wired in series for an 8ohm load. And, there's no crossover...which is a good thing power-wise.

If I took the TB drivers from PE, wired them in parallel instead of series, I'd get 90dB at 2 ohms...respectable, although still not the 95dB/W that the Parkers would have.


jim_vt 2nd April 2005 10:09 PM

Ahhhh, there are too many options in this! :)

I found these Fostex drivers: selling for around 35 bucks on Madisound's site. Would two of them wired in parallel in a bass reflex cabinet work? That would be around 96dB at 4 ohms...should be a killer setup.

johninCR 2nd April 2005 10:35 PM

I've got the FE127E's and they sound great for the price. You can't have them both running full range like you are referring. Unless it's a tweeter line you can't have multiple drivers playing the high frequencies. When the wavelengtht is short they interfere with each other's operation. I wish it was that easy.

planet10 2nd April 2005 10:41 PM


Originally posted by jim_vt
I found these Fostex drivers: selling for around 35 bucks on Madisound's site. Would two of them wired in parallel in a bass reflex cabinet work? That would be around 96dB at 4 ohms...should be a killer setup.
A nice driver those... really low Q usually means a horn to get bass out of them... but with a sub, you could consider a small aperiodic bipole....


Josephjcole 2nd April 2005 10:53 PM

I would think a pair of 127's might be the ticket, I guess it depends on the size and complexity of the box you are willing to build. If size and extra woodworking was not a problem then the fostex 206 in a backloaded horn would be good. Otherwise I would go with a pair of 127's in a bi-pole configuration (one firing forward, one firing backward). Maybe you should check out the single driver refrence project that people have been working on. This would give you decent effeciency and the 4ohms that you want.

planet10 2nd April 2005 11:20 PM


Originally posted by Josephjcole
Otherwise I would go with a pair of 127's in a bi-pole configuration . Maybe you should check out the single driver refrence project...
I went over to Chris' last night and had a 1st listen at our rendition of the bi-pole FE127s (about 15 hrs in). Chris has a pair of parafeed monoblocks evolved from the Decware Zen. The advantage of the FE127 is that in an easily relizable box, they will have bass. With FE126 that is much more of a challenge... althou it has a 2 dB advantage...

I take back the aperiodic box for the FE126... F3 of maybe 200 Hz, F10 on the order of 100 Hz (althou 2 drivers only need a 1.1 litre box!!)

A 7 litre box tuned to 100 Hz will give you an F6 of about 100 Hz, but reflex isn't always easy to blend with a sub...


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