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Old 10th July 2006, 08:43 PM   #1
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Default car speakers for the home

I've always been curious... full range dual cone car speakers are typically much more efficient than full range home speaker drivers. Used to be you could get Jensen or Kricket car speakers that played very loud with very little power, probably because they were intended to replace factory speakers, and factory radios didn't have much power.

But when a 4" to 5" dual cone car speaker is rated at 92-94 db SPL and the same size Tangband is rated at 87 db SPL.....

....what keeps us DIY types with low power tube amps from using full range dual cone car speakers for home stereo applications? i've got an SET that puts out about 5-6 watts and the high sensitivity ofthe car speakers is intriguing.

Some cheap ones from Jensen and Phase Liinear are still available. see www.millionbuys.com for jensen and www.autobarn.com for phase linear.

Any reasons NOT to try this?

BTW, when i was in college in the early 80s one of my professors had a low power tube amp with DIY speakers that featured Jensen dual cone car speakers. With my solid state mega-watt amp and JBL studio monitors, I was surprised that lowly, cheap car speakers could sound so good.
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Old 11th July 2006, 02:42 AM   #2
lndm is offline lndm  Australia
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Some thoughts,

Many car speakers (obviously not all), have relatively low compliance (stiff) suspensions. A domestic speaker is often designed to fall back on the cabinet 'air spring', but a generic car driver needs to fend for itself in the car's boot or a door of unknown volume that is hardly sealed.

This is a useful approach in a car also due to cabin gain and the lesser need for low bass. So, these car speakers in a closed box, for example, will have a higher cutoff than is useful for home use.

IIRC, higher sensitivity in a car speaker can be attributed to more of the voice coil in the magnetic gap. This suggests a lower Xmax for these drivers. Typically due to the vibrations encountered in a car, it is harder to make high sensitivity drivers by using close tolerances in the gap like they can with domestic drivers.

Just my opinion, but Tangband, like Fostex and Jordan have a mission and a reputation for full-rangers, whereas car dual cones seem borne from necessity and of lesser quality. Don't get me wrong, I think the bottom of the line Pioneer 4" dual cones (for exapmle) are excellent value for money and I've used them a couple of times.
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Old 11th July 2006, 02:52 PM   #3
Kensai is offline Kensai  United States
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I use Kenwood KFC-6949s in small OBs, nearfield in my office rig, powered by a T-Amp. They are quite satisfying. I'm getting ready to mod them with phase plugs to see if I can smooth the top end a bit (they're EQed a bit right now using my E-Mu 0404 sound card to tame the worst of it and to get a bit of my bass back from the small baffle size and being too close to the walls since the rig is in the corner).

I don't see why they couldn't be used in more serious DIY attempts. The ovals are harder to cut well in wood/MDF, and like every other fullranger out there, they're probably best used as widerangers if you're wanting to get more high end results.

My Kenwoods (recently replaced in the manufacturer's catalog by KFC-6950s which look identical to me) are actually about as full range as I've ever heard a single driver. They do not need a tweeter at all. In the right enclosure (wish there were T/S parameters for them so I could simulate this), I bet they could be fine down to 40Hz or so without distortion (they're only good to 60-70Hz on my 16"x20" baffles without EQ).

I've played with some Pioneer dual cone units that might be a bit more hifi if only used as widerangers (maybe 100-12000 or so). They look cool with black flang, black fabric surround, slightly offwhite and finely textured paper cone and black paper whizzer. They have alot smaller Xmax and seemed a touch more refined through the midrange. They would have to be used in a 3-way or in smaller 2-ways with a sub, though. You can usually find them at retail for <$30 a pair though, so not a big risk.

What about a line array of 6"x9" bicone driver, staggered horizontally to get the accoustic centers as close as possible? The Pioneer units might actually be the best for this since they're top end is attenuated anyway. You might be able to get them packed in close enough to keep the problems away up to 8-10kHz if you don't mind 12"-14" wide column of drivers. Being car speaks I bet someone could find them in bulk, closeout or something for very low $$/driver.

So many ideas, so little money to build them and so little house to store them . . .

Kensai
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Old 11th July 2006, 10:54 PM   #4
renfrow is offline renfrow  United States
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Additionally, would they, because of being designed for harsh car environments, be suitable for use in saunas or bathrooms? My wife's going to build a sauna (dry heat), and I like to take long soaks, so I was wondering if they'd be good for these applications.

Tom.
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Old 12th July 2006, 08:10 AM   #5
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Originally posted by renfrow
Additionally, would they, because of being designed for harsh car environments, be suitable for use in saunas or bathrooms? My wife's going to build a sauna (dry heat), and I like to take long soaks, so I was wondering if they'd be good for these applications.

Tom.
For a sauna or bathroom you might be better off going to a spa distributor or retail place that sells spa accessories. The problem with a lot of car speakers is that while they use polypropeline cones, and maybe butile/santoprine rubber surrounds, they still allow moisture to get to voice coil via the center poll holding the tweeter/mid assembly.

If you really want to build your own speaker, then try perusing a marine accessory store for boat speakers. They are designed for even harsher environmnets than a car.

Untreated paper cones and foam surrounds won't last very long in a sauna.
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Old 12th July 2006, 08:16 AM   #6
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Default Car speakers in the home? You bet.

I removed some stock 6x9 dual cone speaker from my old Ford Aerostar in favor of 'better' speakers and for grins and giggles I put them in a 1 cu.ft. cab I made (for another pair of speakers) and gave them to my strepson for his use and I'll be damned if they didn't sound great (they sucked in the van's poorly placed, flimsy mounts).

I wished I knew how to get my hands on some more.
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Old 12th July 2006, 08:53 AM   #7
Wynand is offline Wynand  South Africa
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I'm currently using my 6x9 Pioneer speakers with my poineer stereo amp. It doesn't sound bad at all.

I'm looking forward to building my first set of speakers and to compare them with the pioneers.
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Old 4th March 2012, 06:38 PM   #8
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thanks for all the responses!
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Old 5th March 2012, 02:34 PM   #9
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Being from a car stereo backround,I can tell you that many car stereo speakers should do well in an open baffle.They have to have a high Qts to operate in car doors,which is what you want for OB.Beware of the exagerated sensitivity and power ratings.They are used as marketing gimmics for the kids!

Steve
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Old 6th March 2012, 05:37 PM   #10
chrisb is offline chrisb  Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Lowe View Post
Being from a car stereo background, I can tell you that many car stereo speakers should do well in an open baffle.They have to have a high Qts to operate in car doors,which is what you want for OB.Beware of the exaggerated sensitivity and power ratings.They are used as marketing gimmics for the kids!

Steve

and many tend to be more durable of the power handling abuse to which they'll likely be exposed by the majority of "that demographic" than similar sized offerings for DIY builders

a buddy of mine's been an car installer for over 30yrs, and he's shown me more components in XOs ( i.e. fried tweeter attenuation resistors or blown caps) damaged from excessive power than blown mid/bass or tweeters - in a lot of these systems it's the subs that get the most torture -
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Last edited by chrisb; 6th March 2012 at 05:41 PM.
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