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markaudio 22nd April 2013 11:12 AM

Alpair 10P: Preview
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Hi Guys,
Here's a preview of the final 1 of 2 pairs of 10P pre-production drivers. The drivers being run-in my home studio are the No.1 pair. The No.2 pair are on anechoic test today. Norio san and me have been running this No.1 pair for the last 2 weeks. They now have 180 hours of steady run-in.

I'm taking the unusual step of making a "preview" thread as I'd like to talk about my experiences with this driver before publishing all the tekky info; And to acknowledge the Markaudio team's efforts to get this driver operation while I'm dealing with my health situation.

My thanks in particular go to Evan Yu, who's stuck by my side and manned the pumps while I was in for essential repairs and aiding me through gradual recovery. He's taken on the mantle of making this driver operational. Its mostly his efforts that's brought this driver to life. Therefore, the 10P will carry his name on its identity label (as will the 10 Gen. 3 metal). While My future is uncertain, with Evan around (he's a young 38 years old) Markaudio drivers can carry on into the development and manufacturing distance.

I'd like to thank Mr. Lee of SSE (Taiwan) for sticking his neck and going with my "crazy" (his words) design for an ultra low profile, ultra shallow, ultra low mass cone; Technically unstable but thanks to the use of ultra fine glass fibre reinforcement, we collectively succeeded in stablising the flex-ratio while maintaining its weight at <2g. The pic gives you an indication of the shallowness of the cone's profile. Equal thanks go to Po-Yun (Taiwan) for (together with Evan) cooking up a killer coil. Its body wall core is < 50 micron while maintaining a 15mm long CCAW winding and coming in at 2.1g, no mean design feat. I'm drifting into the tekky stuff already (engineers blight) so let me move onto listening impressions.

Where to start. First off I remain reluctant to talk about "impressions". I'll likely remain an "empiricist" to the grave. What can't be measured is often difficult for me to talk about, makes me nervous. But here goes:

The Alpair 10P is, to my ears, the most revealing speaker ever to come from our production. I'm hearing sounds from decent recordings not revealed even by the Alpair 7. Every single detail is brought out into the open. The bass is lovely and tight. Vocals are breathy. Highs (it going passed 25-kHz) are all there, well passed my hearing range. I much enjoy playing classical music on this driver. Strings remain smooth, not shouty. Percussion is something else once you start winding on a little power.

Talking of power, these 2 drivers (No. 1 pair) are knocking on the 90dB threshold (89.7dB) so don't need or want much to push them along. So far (see pic) I'm powering them with an Accuphase E-308 and a 300B tube amp coupled to Brian Cherry's Django (pre). I'm pleased that the drivers work well on both Mofs and Tubes. Certainly, I'm likely to use these drivers more on Tube amps. I'd love to get my hands on a Japanese 2A3 (one might come my way soon). The drivers are likely best suited to Tubes, warm for those who want to soffen the sound. It will be interesting to hear them on class D's but what ever amplification you choose, it must be CLEAN! I was using another tube amp, the drivers complained bitterly, distortion and hum made very evident.

Source: I'm using an Accuphase DP67 CD player. Those members/users who's sole source of music is downloaded compressed music files, this isn't the driver for you. Anything less than a top-draw recordings will be "destroyed" without mercy. So there's no misunderstanding: This driver needs quality amplification and source. Anything not up to scratch will be eaten alive.

Those members who really enjoy fine music and love "tweaking" a system to get the best from it, this driver should serve you well. Every little change you make (I swopped a 5u4 rectifier and heard the difference) will be revealed. On a personal note, I'm looking forward to many hours of Alpair 10 Gen 3 metal and these 10P's. As per doctors orders, I've got to "slow down" and "chill out" (his words). So maybe these drivers will help me do this. I hope members will enjoy these drivers and get allot of pleasure from them.


buzzforb 22nd April 2013 11:49 AM

Very nice, Mark. When do you think they will be on the market?

nattonrice 22nd April 2013 01:30 PM

They look spectacular Mark.

How did the "dimple" come about in the design process?
I don't think I've seen that on your drivers before.

Scottmoose 22nd April 2013 01:46 PM

Shades of some tweeters; SB Acoustics 'ring dome' model comes to mind. Presumably Mark's tailoring the dust cap profile to optimise / match emittance relative to the rest of the new cone's output.

There goes the bank balance; looks like I'll have to buy a pair when they come onto the market. Interesting that it's a glass-fibre reinforced paper mix. I quite like glass fibre from an engineering perspective. Has some useful properties, especially when combined with other materials. I'm startled such a flat cone can be made stable though. That takes a lot of work on the profile & suspension design.

That's one bloody light / fine coil. 50 microns is extremely thin. When I read that, it reminded me of something, which I've just rechecked. I've read that Lowther use 180 micron wire for their VC windings, i.e. 0.18mm. Or to put it another way, 3.6x thicker than the 0.05mm wire used here.

markaudio 22nd April 2013 03:12 PM


Originally Posted by buzzforb (Post 3463898)
Very nice, Mark. When do you think they will be on the market?

Hi Buzz,
Thanks, Madisound have ordered the Alpair 10P's. We should complete their latest order (pretty much every model we make) and ship out by mid May.


markaudio 22nd April 2013 03:15 PM


Originally Posted by nattonrice (Post 3463997)
They look spectacular Mark.

How did the "dimple" come about in the design process?
I don't think I've seen that on your drivers before.

Hi Nat, Scott, fellas,
Scott is on the right track. The dimple is there to balance out the high range output. The output from our original regular cap profile is quite variable at this low mass, the dimple helps to smooth out the response >18kHz.


zman01 22nd April 2013 03:33 PM


Innovative stuff and it's great to see Mark Audio keep on pushing the capabilities of full-range drivers. Kudos to you, Evan and the team!

Looks like you have 2 "must try" products in the Alp 10 range itself... then we have Alpair 8, Alpair 7 MAOP... who knows, add an Alpair 10.3 MAOP to the mix also? :)

Bank balance? What balance? :D

- Zia

chrisb 22nd April 2013 04:57 PM

wanna bet against first shipment being presold out?

joern 22nd April 2013 07:41 PM

Hi all

thanks for sharing the first impressions !
Seems to be another marvelous driver...

When will we have the first pieces in Europe ?

Is there more information avaible, on SPL and TSP on the 10-paper ?

Thanks !

nattonrice 22nd April 2013 11:45 PM

Thanks Scott and Mark, that was what I had thought.

Looking forward to seeing the tech'y bits and news of shipment.

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