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Old 25th March 2011, 10:05 PM   #31
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I'd feel better about a custom Flex-Unit from Skaaning in the 5 to 7-inch range. At least they have integrity, and won't be outsourcing to China while pretending to manufacture in Europe. It's also why I'm sympathetic to the guitar-speaker crowd - the kind of casual alterations that are common in the high-end are not well accepted by tone-oriented professional musicians.

The time I heard Skannings in a speaker designed by Wally Malewicz (of Wallytractor fame), they sounded absolutely beautiful - and that's something that's very important. Crossovers cannot "add beauty". It has to be there in the first place, in the drivers themselves. The task of the system integrator is to make the whole thing into an artistically pleasing whole - that's what the crossover and, to a lesser degree, the cabinet design does. And, Wally has taste - something not too common in the high-end business. I don't mean this in a snide way, it's just that many designers, and more importantly, powerful reviewers who act as the gatekeepers for the industry - don't care about beauty. They just don't. And the sound just keeps departing further and further away from what we hear in the real world.

I regard it as very significant that Western Electric/ERPI/Altec retained noted conductor Stokowski as a musical consultant, and the BBC (before Thatcher) walked between the control booth (using BBC monitors) and the symphony hall to cross-check the realism of the monitoring setup - not many design organizations have access to live symphonies and chorales as a reality check for what they design.

This is the real reason that Western Electric/ERPI/Altec and BBC designs have gained the status of legends - look at how they were designed, and what they were meant to do. The majority of modern high-end speakers are designed to satisfy the reviewers of $tereophile, Absolute $ound, and $ix Moons. That's why they sound different.

Last edited by Lynn Olson; 25th March 2011 at 10:30 PM.
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Old 25th March 2011, 10:35 PM   #32
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Another little design tid-bit about the Ariels - the efficiency of the paired midbass units was chosen so the tweeter would need little or no attenuation. This turned out to be rather important, more than I expected, really, since series resistors, against all expectation, turned out to have noticeable effects on tweeter dynamics. Part of the "wide-open" quality of the Ariel is the result of that decision.
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Old 25th March 2011, 10:53 PM   #33
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FWIW, I haven't noticed a significant difference with 5 uF Jupiters over 5 uF Hovlands. Tried the North Creek Crescendos, and took them out immediately.

Having 6 spare woofers, I could probably part with 2. They are Vifa, not Peerless, and have similar date codes. It's your design, after all. If you hadn't published it, who knows what I would be listening to.

Since there are left and right speakers, would you still mount them vertical, and would one or the other matter?
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Old 31st May 2011, 02:17 PM   #34
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Default Where to with no P13s?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Olson View Post
The future of the Ariels? That's a hard question. If the existing cabinet with its moderate flaws in midbass is retained, what compact midbass driver is similar in character? Maybe some of the Skanning Flex-Units, which seem to have the old-school sound (and measurements) that I like. I've heard the Skannings, and they are very very good, and have a deeply musical character that is rare in modern drivers.
It's a question that's close to many hearts - I have a relative who wants to make some Ariels and has been collecting bits for a while.

I'm not looking forward to breaking the news that the P13 is no longer. :-(
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Old 31st May 2011, 03:38 PM   #35
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Ive been looking at SEAS ER15RLY a replacement for my aged P13's (Fs 150Hz!) with a reasonable price tag, but as Lynn says there are no drop in replacements. I have yet to pluck up the courage to commit to the risk and deal with the crossover tweaks to accommodate.

I saw SB Acoustics at High End 2011 in Munich recently, the had some interesting pre- production premium drivers on display. The 6" preliminary data looked very promising and there will be a 5" too.
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Old 8th June 2011, 07:37 PM   #36
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Spooky, I'm going to give these people a ring in the morning

Vifa Speakers and Drive Units

The webpage says new stock of P13's available from 2010/2011 manufacture!
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