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Old 15th February 2009, 12:42 AM   #1
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Default Need advice for next project - should I go fullrange or multi-way?

I can't decide what route to go for my main speakers.

Total budget for speaker drivers will be around 1000 USD.

My listening room is small, so speakers should have relatively compact footprint and unfortunately should be placed near wall.

After lot of experimenting with many multi-way sealed or ported designs during years, last few years I settled and listened full range Beyma horns ("Das Viech" project) as my main speakers, just to go fullrange route for a change.

These speakers are probably one of cheapest backloaded horn designs that you can made and during few years and many hours of listening, I'm still not sure what to do for next project - I really don't know should I go back to usual multi-way systems or start experiment with more serious (read expensive) fullrange drivers & even more complicated horn enclosures...

Because even after searching and reading numerous posts dealing with good old debate "Fullrange vs. multi way drivers", it's even harder to decide what to do for next project , as both "sides" have some good and interesting arguments.

Maybe I could decide easier if I listened some high-end fullrange speakers - but problem is that I don't know anybody who is listening such speakers, neither have possibility to find some high-end dealer in the neigbourhood with such equipment.


What I do know are some crucial factors that my next design must include in order that I could live happily with it:

1. it must have ability to reproduce my biggest part of music collection (pop, rock, synth pop, new vave of 80s,etc) for long listening sessions without fatigue - and trust me, with some bad recordings (and unfortunately there were many in 80's), Beyma fullrangers could be painful to listen - midrange shout can be u-n-b-e-r-a-b-l-e...

I mean, if I buy two expensive fullrange drivers for 1000 USD and still have to live with ear piercing midrange shout - hm, that certainly isn't my cup of tea

2. it must play lower then Beyma's - that shouldn't be much of a trouble as they don't play anything worth mentioned under 60 Hz...


3. it should be at least a little bit smaller - these two floorstanders (125cm x 30 cm x 50cm) dominate my little listening room (16m2).

4. I wouldn't like to loose effortless dynamics, control and extremely tight & fast bass - that were features that I liked the most with Beyma's...and that's probably biggest reason that I still listened to Beyma's even with their midrange shout, uneven frequency response, lack of frequency extremes, lack of details... listening very loud to some recordings with real drums I can easily understand why horn freaks exists.

But I would certainly like to avoid coloration in midbass that couldn't be avoided in horn mouth with some recordings (heavy, slow bass lines in Massive Attack for example).


And for conclusion - as I don't listen classical music so much or have musical background to have ability (or need) to recognize Stradivari or Amati violin when playing, I am perfectly aware that I don't need ultra analytical, studio monitor type of sound, that have to reveal all the tinest details in recording and will have ruler flat frequency response. (I heard once active Genelec monitor - and I didn't like it).

I just want speakers that can play many different type of music with ease, maybe slightly warm sounding with transparent midrange, fast, tight bass, with minimal box colorations.

I don't need bass extension to 20Hz - neither I have enough room to reproduce such frequencies correctly, neither I have recordings that go that low.

Now I would like your opinions, advices and ideas
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Old 15th February 2009, 11:33 AM   #2
Henkjan is offline Henkjan  Netherlands
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if you like full range now, and apparently have no complaints about the directivity of a larger full range driver, I suggest you stick with a full range loudspeaker.

I have built a horn with the Markaudio Alpair10 full range spreaker that I absolutely love, see this thread but this has the port at the back of the cab, so might not fit in yr room. but other designs with this FR might not have this problem.

another way which imho combines tha advantages of full range with those of multi way is a so-called F.A.S.T. speaker, a small full range speaker for everyting downto 400Hz (or 300Hz) and for the bass a true woofer. many designs are available for this, but I don't know what is available in your country
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Old 15th February 2009, 02:09 PM   #3
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2 Henkjan:

Hm, it's hard to say that I prefer fullrange sound - as I already wrote above, I only had chance to listen very cheap fullrange speakers, and usual fullrange speaker design flaws (limited extension, uneven frequency response, midrange shout, etc) are of course even more pronounced then with their more refined high-end "cousins" (Jordan, Fostex, etc.).

So I still unfortunately don't know how good can high-end fullrange speakers really sound and how can they cope with more complex music - I do know that fullrange speakers (even ultra cheap like mine) can sound wonderful with some music (mostly simple acoustic music).

But acoustic music consists less then 10% percent of my CD collection - what about rest - can high-end fullrangers cope with more complex & modern music with ease, so I can forget that I'm listening fullrange speaker at all and just sit back , relax and enjoy in music ?


Your project looks very interesting - that Mark audio Alpair10 drivers look very nice, technical specifications seems great, and frequency response seems suspiciously flat for a fullranger - it even seems that they don't need supertweeter and subwoofer.

How do they sound - can you make some comparisons with your other designs or even some comercial designs?

P.S.
Fortunately I don't have much complaints about fullrange directivity because I rarely have a chance to sit in a sweet spot ha,ha - but that's why I am using supertweeter
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Old 15th February 2009, 04:56 PM   #4
GM is offline GM  United States
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Small room = close listening distance = fairly wide dispersion required, ergo multi-way preferred along with either speaker toeing in capability or complex baffle angles/mirror image cabs after NHT 3.3 for widest 'sweet spot', though this doesn't mean I recommend cloning it pre se since I prefer 'FR' drivers to cover most of the BW with super tweeters and a multiple units sub system to fill in the top/bottom.

GM
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Old 15th February 2009, 06:48 PM   #5
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FAST systems offer a very useful middle ground between a traditional multi-way and a single driver system. A small "full-range" which compromises bass for midrange, top and good desperion, coupled with a midbass , or woofer to provide bottom end heft and relieve the little driver of bass duties can get remarkable performance. The XO is low enuff that many of the issues with XOs is pushed out of the areas where we are most sensitive.

Currently i'm listening to such an implementation... FF85 + SDX7 actively XOed at 333 Hz. They are called Tysen.

Click the image to open in full size.

You'll also note off to the left an Alpair 5 experiment. I often end up sitting to the right of the rightmost speaker, and they still pull a decent image.

Click the image to open in full size.

Martin King's passive OBs are another example. (we have one of those underway too)

Any number of small "FRs" can serve duty as the mid-tweeter, the FF85KeN i've used above, FE83/87, Alpair 5/6/10, any number of TBs ....

dave
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Old 15th February 2009, 07:17 PM   #6
Henkjan is offline Henkjan  Netherlands
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at my PC I use FR speakers, and that is close range... what I mean to say is, that even at close range, all I require is that a FR speaker is well toed in, aimed at the listener's position. if you ar ethe only one listening, I do not see an obstacle in the directivity. but that is my opinion. some prefer to have a backward tweeter on a FR to have a more even distribution of high frequencies in the room.

a good FR like the Alpair10 in a good designed cabinet (including some filtering) will not suffer from midrange shout, will sound nice and balanced, neutral, and can handle more complex music very well. when pushed at higher volumes it will suffer from IM destortion than a multiway, so then it might be less clean, less detailed.

The only own-designed multiway I can compare them with, is "Hans" (a 2way with the Neo3 as tweeter) which has its nose slightly in front when it come to details and transarancy in the highs, but when it comes to imaging the Alapir10 horn is clearly the winner.
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Old 15th February 2009, 09:50 PM   #7
MaVo is offline MaVo  Germany
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I started with relatively expensive fullranges from fostex and every way i added made it better. Now, i cant help but think that fullrange is too compromised. Have sold the fullrange drivers long ago and am glad that i did it.
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Old 15th February 2009, 10:27 PM   #8
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2 Planet10:

FAST approach seems OK - I can imagine that very good small fullranger can be better used as wideband speaker, if properly integrated with additional subwoofer for lowest octave...in fact, larger speakers with whizzer cones (like 8" Beyma in my case) suffer from obvious lack of higher frequencies, and that's especially evident with modern music.

Tysen design has sealed box for woofer, if I am correct?

How low can they go in your room?

Could you make some comparisons with some of your previous designs? Was their lower sensitivity problem for louder listening?

Hm, Alpair 5 + SDX7 combination for woofer is very tempting...is there possibilty to integrate maybe 2 woofers (SDX7's for example) in tall TL enclosure in combination with Alpair 5 for mid/high duties ?

That way we can increase cone area for lowest frequencies and slightly increase their low (85db/W) efficiency - of course, if SDX7 is
suitable for TL enclosure.

I am asking that because after horns I really wouldn't want to go back to sealed - in fact, I'm listening to my horns right now on very low levels, and I'm stunned with the bass they reproduce - nothing like sealed or ported, it seems just like lowest frequencies are somehow effortlessly "rolling" from speakers, easily fullfiling complete room even on the lowest volumes but without being overblown - it's hard to describe.

If TL design sound similar as horns, I'm more then willing to try experimenting with TL design.

I'm all ears




2 Henkjan:

I was also thinking about avoiding IM distortion at higher volumes - combination with separate woofer, actively filtered seems like a good approach too me.

I forgot to ask you - what music are you listening?

I'm intersted just so I can have some reference.
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Old 15th February 2009, 11:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by MaVo
I started with relatively expensive fullranges from fostex and every way i added made it better. Now, i cant help but think that fullrange is too compromised. Have sold the fullrange drivers long ago and am glad that i did it.

Ha, ha - I like the part "...every way I added made it better..."

I completely understand you - I was going similar route, only I used totaly cheap fullranger for a start. When I finished with boxes, I started to listen them and then the story went like this:

First after few weeks of listening - "where are the high frequencies ?".

Then I added piezo supertweeter.

Then, after few months of listening - "Hm, shouldn't the bass go at least little bit lower?"

Then I almost started to build enormuos horn subwoofer that will use probably 1/3 of my living space, so that can match with backloaded horns.

And then I realized: "gee, I'm building 3-way fullrange system, am I an idiot or what ?"

Now seriously - we all know that loudspeakers are always full of compromises and fullrange speakers are certainly the most compromised speakers.

But somebody can live with fullrange compromises - I am at least honest to myself and now I know that I certainly couldn't live peacefully having expensive fullrange speakers that are reproducing biggest part of my music collection without top or bottom part of frequency spectrum...and especially if I know that even cheapest 2-way set of speakers can reproduce it without problems....that fact would kill me mentally every day, and that 10% of acoustic/jazz/classic CD's that will sound great just couldn't comfort me.

Verdict: Fullrange - yes, but only in multi-way combination


P.S.

I'm curious, what speakers are you listening now?
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Old 16th February 2009, 12:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bubba Zanetti
Tysen design has sealed box for woofer, if I am correct? How low can they go in your room?
Tysen is sealed bass, aperiodic TL for the mid-tweet. Bass to !40 Hz in room, 25 Hz with a touch of boost.

Quote:
Could you make some comparisons with some of your previous designs? Was their lower sensitivity problem for louder listening?
They need bigger amps yes. The small SE amp that does fine on the FonkenPrime, doesn't really cut it for the FF85KeN. Currently using a 20w triode strapped KT88 PP that is a development mule. Bass has 150W dual mono MOSFET amp. I'd suggest 10+50 w minimum.

Their sound definitely puts them in the same family as our other regulars. More extended highs than the bigger drivers, more impact in the bottom (except compared to the double SDX7 TLs -- TLs don't go quite as low, but the 1st cut TL was size compromised).

Quote:
Hm, Alpair 5 + SDX7 combination for woofer is very tempting...is there possibilty to integrate maybe 2 woofers (SDX7's for example) in tall TL enclosure in combination with Alpair 5 for mid/high duties ?
The original concept that Tysen came from had Jordan J6T. Alpair 5 or Alpair 6 could be used instead of the Fostex. We don't yet know if that will be as good, the fully treated Fostex is pretty amazing. Our Alpair 5 comparo enclosure is just being finished up. Alpair 6 should be here midweek.

As to 2 SDX7 why not... before i put Tysen back in i was running uFonken on top of the dual SDX7 fonkenWoofs. What i'd like to see someone do is to take the MTM version of this SDX7 ML-TL http://p10hifi.net/planet10/CSS/SDX7...110708.pdf,run a piece of 4" ABS pipe from front all the way thru the back in the T position, and use an FF85KeN, Alpair 5 or 6


Quote:
I am asking that because after horns I really wouldn't want to go back to sealed - in fact, I'm listening to my horns right now on very low levels, and I'm stunned with the bass they reproduce - nothing like sealed or ported, it seems just like lowest frequencies are somehow effortlessly "rolling" from speakers, easily fullfiling complete room even on the lowest volumes but without being overblown - it's hard to describe.
Put it this way... the only thing that compares to well executed horn bass, is well exectuted horn bass. Everything else is different, not necessarily worse, just different.

Note: in general i'm not usually all that thrilled with sealed, but the SDX7 is an exception.

Quote:
If TL design sound similar as horns, I'm more then willing to try experimenting with TL design.
No reason you can't execute the same concept with horn bass... you just need to be able to live with/deal with the large time delay.

dave
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