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Old 6th January 2013, 08:43 PM   #31
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AFAIK the frame on the midbass unit was a generic bought-in job to keep price down. Better frame = higher cost & I don't think the people who commissioned it at the time wanted to pay more: it was supposed to be a realtively cheap unit, and that means very small margins for all concerned.

Now me, I'd like to see it back, black only, better quality frame, no other changes, & accept a slightly higher price. Problem is, as Mark points out, it would mean a distributor or other client being willing to stump up for a reasonable production run, or share it between them. There's no way say, 100 or 200 unit runs are viable, not for this sort of driver, so you'd be talking ~1,000, minimum, and I can't imagine Mark would want to have large quantities of drivers sitting on the shelf gathering dust for a year or more as they are slowly sold off in small batches. It's just not profitable for a small business -any small business, to work that way.
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Old 7th January 2013, 02:57 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by blakkshepeaudio View Post
A thorny problem indeed.

Only Mark knows what his business model really allows. It is great that he is asking the most vocal part of his userbase (DIYAudio folks) what their needs are, but the community here is only a part of his wider customer universe. It must be very difficult to navigate the minefields of existing products, fashion and user requests of unknown sales potential.

Good luck, mate, and thanks so much for keeping us in the loop.

I gather from your comments Mark that some of your 'Best / Most Loved / Most Mainstream' products (Woof 6, Tweet 3, EL70 and even the CSS FR125's) did not enjoy sufficient commercial cuccess to justify continuing their production.

If that's the case, then for my money, your best bet is to stay pretty niche-y while expanding the range of applications your drivers can fill.
So, larger (up to 200mm) wideranges, with a dedicated tweeter (even a modified Tweet3 - already goes to 30kHz) and a reference crossover. Easy. Maybe you could even make and sell the crossovers. Maybe a dedicated bass driver with higher power handling and Alpair-like tech for the FAST fans, with T/S parameters to give fantastic LF in small boxes, sacrificing sensitivity as required to meet up with nominated Alpairs or CHR's.

You would simply have to adjust the prices to reflect the expected limited sales. Your products have never been criticised for being overpriced (not that I have seen anyway) so if you have to load the prices then so be it.

If they sell up a storm then, hey !, make another batch and pocket the profit. It could offset your development costs.

In fact, if the development and tooling have already been written off, why NOT make some more Woof 6's and EL70's? Maybe pre-sell through an auction system, or expressions of interest? Make a few more quid from your existing (and apparently in-demand) back catalogue?

The things that have stayed my hand from committing to the MA-Way have been to do with 'punishability'. The CHR and Alpair drivers seem to fit a fairly narrow niche, hence their success, and also their limitations in sales. But my customers also want some 'welly' and don't want their speaker cones to crinkle if they get frisky with their THX surround amp.

A somewhat bigger driver with higher power handling and more overload tolerance (and a tweeter if necessary - if the driver makes a good 10k then a single capacitor x-over is a no brainer) or an LF driver designed to match the existing wideranges seem the simplest directions to me.

Years ago I did some work comparing the (excursion versus power) linearity of some good drivers.
My favourite Dynaudio 24W75's had fair linearity which flattened out as the excursion increased, giving a kind of natural 'compression' to their dynamics, albeit at quite high levels. No matter how hard you caned them, they just compressed more and never really hit the end. Until they blew up, presumably.
The SEAS Excel bass drivers I also tested were much more linear but folded over much less gracefully when pushed. They worked OK in a 3 way but the system that used them got very thin sounding when pushed.

My point is that if your target audience is SE triode or 1875 Gainclone users then your existing products hit the spot very well. If that market is big enough then, great, don't change a thing.

If you want to expand your market, then viable, robust system combinations are the future.

Hope this makes sense,

Kind regards and genuine best wishes


p.s. is Derek still making his miniwatt amps? Went to buy one but the website is gone...

Hi blakkshepeaudio, (guys)
Happy New Year!
Good to read your post, many valuable and interesting points raised. Your correct about reaching a "wider" market to make lower cost woofer production viable and there's already an "engineering tweak" in the works regards Markaudio full-range driver power-handling (more about this later).

There's allot of excellent thinking and comment following on from this blakkshepeaudio's post. Maybe best if I do combined reply.

Re Derek - Miniwatt. He moved his operation back to Hong Kong. I think he's still re-organising. I'll try and catch up with him in the month.

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Old 7th January 2013, 04:05 AM   #33
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Hi Guys,
Good to read the recent posts. Many thanks for your contributions. Scott's last post points out some of the commercial reality, while Coin (Toppsy) knows the my last woofer well. So I'm torn between my head and my heart on this issue. Would I like to make an update Woof 6 - yes I would; But at the risk of running down my resources without firm backing from dealers; And I need my loyal dealers. As previously mentioned, the 6.5" wood/mid market is pretty much saturated with long standing brand names supported be large scale distribution. Breaking into this market is tough, although I believe I demonstrated it's possible to make a better performing woof for the lower price market.

Is a Woof 6 replacement on the books, yes it is but we'll have to see what how the business climate pans out for 2013.

Not wishing to up-set the coax fellas, but I'm not a fan of the type of driver, nor whizzer or phase-plugs, for technical and production reasons. I'm much hooked on making a pure single cone (single point source) driver emitting the widest possible serviceable bandwidth. Those driver designers with the knowledge know chopping up bandwidth emittance at the point source creates several mechanical and performance differentials.

Frankly, having been in the driver production business for a fair while, I'm saddened to see driver designers in factories "cop out" when it comes to making pure full-range driver designs. Conservative commercial pressure to produce boring safe drivers with their thick suspensions and over-massed cones; Giving the design an "fix" with the use of the various coax, whiz, plug bolt-ons, is not the goal of quality design and engineering, certainly not for better quality sound. Maybe I've been influenced too much by Graham Chapman (Lotus), Matsubara San (father of the Fostex FE range) and Matsumoto san (Honda Formula 1). But I make no apology whatsoever for being influenced by these guys. I believe that Diyers, small OEMs, forum members et al, have been collectively "short changed" for a long time by many sections of the mainstream speaker driver industry with product that's begged for re-development for too many years.

Woof No.6 (EL-166) showed what could be done (near flat/linear response) for modest money once a bit of elbow grease design effort was put in. Ask yourself this question: Why is it that so many woofs have got large peaked outputs, yet sell so well? Surely a crossover design challenge, but why do so many users put themselves through such challenges, maybe because it is a test of their skill to tame an errant driver. Or is it simply that they little alternative product choice?

Meanwhile, I'll ply my furrow. You know me well enough to observe the overriding "engineered - tweakaholic" in me. Here's a pic of the No.1 rapid prototype chassis for the Alpair 8. Note it ain't from the parts bin!

Keep posting your comments and ideas - cheers!

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File Type: jpg CHR80-chass1.jpg (113.8 KB, 283 views)

Last edited by markaudio; 7th January 2013 at 04:58 AM.
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Old 7th January 2013, 06:45 AM   #34
zman01 is offline zman01  Bangladesh
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This Alpair 8 tease has been going on for quite some time - time to share a bit more on the driver, on a different thread perhaps - a bit more on the inspiration/design goals at least - then maybe more on the technical details as you go on?

Or is that good things come those who wait?
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Old 8th January 2013, 01:08 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by zman01 View Post

This Alpair 8 tease has been going on for quite some time - time to share a bit more on the driver, on a different thread perhaps - a bit more on the inspiration/design goals at least - then maybe more on the technical details as you go on?

Or is that good things come those who wait?
Hi Zia, Guys,
No tease intended, Im simply trying to illustrate my arguments. Its too early for me to talk openly about the Alp8, as its in a pure experimental stage. Once I've got the basics sorted, then I'll post information for feedback from members.

One point that's been raised in 4 emails I've received yesterday following from my last post, is the issue of power-handling. To be clear, ALL pure Full-Range drivers will be limited in terms of power-handling. Why the audio industry went power-crazy these last 4 decades, is beyond any technical need; More pure hype marketing. There's little actual need for "loads" of power. For most domestic applications, some sensibly chosen watts and a well-sorted speaker system will deliver all thats needed. To illustrate the point, take a look at Graham's home set-up in New Zealand. For the stereo side, Graham's running the old Alp12's in Pensils powered by an KT88 Ella amp in a HUGH room (see pic). The system plays plenty loud when desired. Details on Graham's site:

Graham's hifi page

I likely won't influence all the guys committed to "power". Its no problem as there's plenty of choice for them. I'm more interested in purity of design and applied engineering. I hope, the outcome is a set of drivers that gives pleasure to those guys who might appreciate my style of thinking and application; And for them to share their ideas to contribute to the design process.

The commercial opportunity for a replacement woof to No.6 can't rest on the new version being a power monster. This might put the new woof at a commercial disadvantage, hence my reluctance to enter the market until more end-user support comes along.

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Last edited by markaudio; 8th January 2013 at 01:48 AM.
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Old 8th January 2013, 05:53 AM   #36
tof654 is offline tof654  China
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Dear Mark and guys.

After reading last post I will like to add mine…

I read with pleasure all this treads about how and why this Markaudio business model should grow here and there… so I will drop mine…
Because of my job I’ve being connected to the mainstream audio companies as designer, creating and evaluating complex propositions to engage people to buy... from power, materials, visual lies and promising stories inside plastic boxes….

To be honest even with some success.... none of them lasted and was at the end cannibalized by its own brand...Why? the audio entertainment word today is itself a commodity… a non-value market, driven by price and lacks authenticity.

What are the enablers for Markudio and some others to have a space? Well the opposite of the audio entertainment stream:, being authentic in a Collaboration, co creation and full experience immersion... of sound.
In my opinion this is what makes an enormous unexplored space for companies like Mark’s one, he in some intuitive (or not...) way is committed to one of the most advanced future value creation trends... collaborative experiences.
I believe as a market/design operator there is a lot of value on this model you are all in... And I believe is the future...

Then if I’m allowed to a point out my view, what is missing here is the translation.... is the complimentary building blocks to enable this story to other people...

But I agree with Mark is not him the one should do this…. and the mainstream is not an answer… is a commodity… boring, less exiting… and slowly fading.
Then very influenced by my creative and people-centric design nature, I will say that this enjoyable sound craft experience need more fields to be combined together….

Let’s put this in a story….
Tomas likes music, goes to concerts, explores jazz and many others… I will call him an obsessed? No, just finds music can transport time and feelings…. and this is an easy way to reconnect with himself.

He will love to have a Custom audio system, something that fit his budget and musical needs of sharing his passion in an integrated family life. But over all he's looking for that moment of relax every nigh: be close to the band, enjoy the technicalities of musical transitions…. and the emotions just music can transmit…
Music for him is 30 minutes of connection every day.

One day friend of him offers the possibility to have that Taylor made system…. starting with the speaker drivers , he could design special enclosures that will match his room and space, but also musical taste, this friend also advise him about many possibilities, advantages and translates many technical features in sound effects… so he can take a better decision..

This person also provides him with the amplifiers will best match those speakers, his musical taste and budget possibilities…
Finally Tomas after number of enjoyable meetings he has slowly upgraded to the system he proudly listen to every night….
He believes “Now the sound is crafted around him….”
How much will you pay for this?

Mark, team and forum people, dream whatever grow path you want... but please stay within the essentials of this co-creative and collaborative space.

Next steps??? Adding missing blocks of the model but not changing the ones are working well…. this could be a new topic for the forum: What are the missing blocks to ensure sustainability of this experience….

I love Marks, Stephen, Scott and all this active members engineering passion, is so emotional and obsessed and enables us to experience the sound in levels that I couldn't before... allows me to grow, explore components... upgrade a system build my listening skills.... but more … gives me every single evening a moment of simple pleasure...
Lest continue crafting sound around us!!!

Too long isn't it? Best regards
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Old 8th January 2013, 10:09 AM   #37
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Hello tof654,
Excellent inside into the current situation and many thanks for your encouragement and support.

Do you sometimes travel to Guangdong Province? If so, please let me know: support@markaudio.com

If i'm coming to Shanghai, I'd be happy to meet up.

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Old 9th January 2013, 03:01 AM   #38
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Wonderful exchange of visions, though audioscapes might be more descriptive...I happen to live in a place where committed music makers put their work out on the air, old school fm radio, all day and night, every day and night. So having a system that honors the integrity of the artist is that far shore, towards which we launch from this cluttered wharf, so to speak. We have the art; the craft to deliver that art is still a work in progress.
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Old 9th January 2013, 07:20 AM   #39
tof654 is offline tof654  China
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Dear Mark,
I'm glad you appreciate the comments.
I might be coming to Guangdong or HK for work by the end of the month but still to be confirmed, will let you know. If you come to SGH please send a PM with your details and schedule to see if we can combine.

Kind regards
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Old 9th January 2013, 06:29 PM   #40
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If I may, I'd like to register my thoughts/interest.

The alpair 8 has me excited. I've wanted to buy a pair of alp7.3 for quite some time, but never have because it doesn't make quite enough bass, but to big/nice for a FAST. So as much as I love it, I've just held back a bit. The alpair 8 may just offer enough bass to push me over the edge and buy a pair.

The woofer 6 was cone and frame was a little ugly. That's not a deal killer though, I use pro woofers and those are ugly. But I did find it was run of the mill. So much competition in that category. I just never found a reason to use it. I did hear a pair in a large TL cut off around 300hz. Impressive to say the least. Would I buy a version 2? I'm 50/50. I think I would, but I have quite a few options in my shop already. Maybe if it was 8". So in all, I think the concerns around competition in this category are very legit. This is coming from a guy who does a lot of multi-ways.

As to the rhetorical question Mark stated about, why use woofers with heavy cones, big cone break ups, etc. No, it's not about the challenge. It's about stiff cones that stay very pistonic and linear even at high xmax and make very deep bass in small 10L enclosures because they have powerful motors. The better question in my mind, is why sacrifice point source, power response, and off axis linearity by using a cross over right around 2khz, just to achieve linear high output bass from a small box. My design philosophy as of late has been to not sacrifice those things to get bass yet still achieve. That means doing it one of 2 ways:

- Waveguide tweeter 2-way with cross over between 900 and 1500hz.
- Multi Subwoofers with high effeciency waveguide 2-way

To speak to the first way of doing it, I think there is a lot, I mean a LOT of potential in the FAST arena and DIY'ers have only scratched the surface. You get point source, huge bass, 20 to 20 output, cheap to do, with very very few minor downsides. IMO, the best way to do a FAST (assuming no size or $ restraints) is to use a 12" woofer and a 3" full ranger crossed around 250hz with an active cross over.

As such, I believe DIY'ers should push this FAST market. Post designs and builds. Beg Mark to develope the A6 for this purpose. Push him for a real 10 or 12" woofer. Not a 6" pansy. And then build them

Last edited by tuxedocivic; 9th January 2013 at 06:35 PM.
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