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High Efficiency designs?
High Efficiency designs?
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Old 7th May 2007, 12:23 AM   #1
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Default High Efficiency designs?

I have a nice tube amplifier and am having trouble finding a high efficiency design that sounds good. I have tried single drivers but they are harsh sounding. I am looking for efficiency of around 98.

I was considering the Pi speakers but the reviews on the net are not that favorable. Column speakers are expensive and difficult to build.

Can anyone suggest a nice design that can provide high fidelity and efficiency at the same time but not be extremely expensive? Perhaps it is a pipe dream?

Kind Regards,

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Old 7th May 2007, 01:42 AM   #2
CeramicMan is offline CeramicMan  Australia
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High efficiency speakers tend to work by operating in the break-up region. The partial oscillations mean that there is a favourable combination of cone area and moving mass across a wide range of frequencies.

That sort of thing is the forte of paper and other soft-coned speakers, where the cone is only stiff at low frequencies. The downside is that the cone tends to resonate, producing harsh-sounding peaks and troughs in the frequency response.

So if you want good quality sound and high efficiency, you can pay hundreds for a super-duper premium paper cone speaker that has been specially selected and fine-tuned, or maybe use horn loading?
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Old 7th May 2007, 03:12 AM   #3
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I have looked at perhaps building a Lowther design but haven't heard them before. From all reports, they sound like Fostex speakers and I haven't had a great experience with those. There is a cool old Lowther design called the Audiovector that looks interesting but the drivers sould cost $2600 US (two required for each speaker).

I have considered making an Altec style speaker but have had trouble finding designs on the web. Some of them are very large with low wife appeal. I thought that perhaps a corner horn would work well. It seems that the Pi speakers use inexpensive drivers and may not have a very refined sound. I would hate to spend bunch of money on drivers and be disappointed with the results.

My other option is to sell the tube amplifier and stick to solid state. It seems to me that the speakers and source are more important than the amplifier. It would be a shame to waste the effort and money I spent on it (E Linear by Pete Millett). It sounds great!

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Old 7th May 2007, 06:28 AM   #4
Nanook is offline Nanook  Canada
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Lightbulb eddie...,

well you may be in luck. A couple of very interesting "things to consider that will rock your world, and have a pretty high WAF, too.

Go to planet10' site site. Look at the Metronome. They do look quite nice and are scaleable. There is even an example with a couple of drivers. Dave sells some drivers, mainly Fostex. He may have a direct recommendation. Other Fullrange drivers are available. Even the old Pioneer "BUF20" from PartsExpress has a "seal of approval from Nelson Pass himself as the least expensive decent to listen to (non irritating) fullranger.Others are available. Hemp Acoustic sells their FR8s for $120ish each in the US. (please know I love my Hemps).

Also consider the BIB types. Available at on Zillaspeak's site. and now for a kit that's not a kit. CSS has a single set of Onken style cabinets and css full rangers for $400 CDN. I've been listeninjg to planet10's "Fonkens" for a few weeks now (for a review), and am impressed, just not for Rock. Everything else is quite beautifull. If the CSS version is anywhere near as good (and it should be, as planet10 designed it), then they could be a good value. If Rock is an issue, I'd go with the Hemps, the Pioneers or any other good sized full ranger, in either the Metronome or the BIB.

As a quick check, just buy the Pioneers, make a BIB and see if you like the results. Perhaps 1 sheet of ply, or mdf (watch out for formaldehyde dust).
stew -"A sane man in an insane world appears insane."
Let's help Ruth and Dave
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Old 7th May 2007, 10:30 AM   #5
carstereogeek is offline carstereogeek  United States
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Have you thought of Hawthorne Audio Silver Iris's? $300 a pair and 96 dB.
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Old 7th May 2007, 11:01 AM   #6
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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I think Tannoy's horn range go to about 98db/W
Their standard range are 92db/W to 94db/W.
The drivers are nearly identical whether fitted into a horn or reflex loaded.
Look for Westminster for some details.
regards Andrew T.
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Old 7th May 2007, 02:56 PM   #7
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I was quite interested in the Silver Iris drivers but room placement is a problem. They have to be far from the walls and the wife appeal would be very low.

I have thought about the Hemps for quite a while. I have a 45 liter cabinet here and may order a set and give them a test. However, my previous experience with single drivers has not been great.

Have any of you guys tried the Pi speakers?
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Old 7th May 2007, 03:11 PM   #8
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The Tannoy Westminster speakers look very interesting. I didn't know that they made high efficiency speakers. Thanks.
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Old 7th May 2007, 06:01 PM   #9
el`Ol is offline el`Ol  Germany
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Supravox have a dome tweeter that makes a conventional high sensitivity setup possible:
A suitable midranger should be found at
For bass there are many options.
If you find fullrangers sound harsh you better stay away from compression drivers. Ribbons are a question of THD.
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Old 7th May 2007, 06:41 PM   #10
Hornlover is offline Hornlover  United States
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Another possibility for you is to bi-amp, using SS for the bass, and your tube amp for the mids and highs, where the ear is most critical. For a great sounding crossover, check here.

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