scanspeak illuminator mid range worth the $$$? - diyAudio
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Old 30th October 2012, 12:44 PM   #1
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Default scanspeak illuminator mid range worth the $$$?

I know that this can be subjective but in a 3-way design what is achieved by getting into a high-end mid-range? I know it can make the cross-over work easier but assuming good cross-over design do you end up with a more refined sound on with the Illuminator or a different "type" of sound given its cone material??

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Old 30th October 2012, 12:48 PM   #2
tvrgeek is offline tvrgeek  United States
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It may be my skill level, but the complexity of a three way has not paid off for me. I don't push to very high levels so there are enough 6 inch/1 inch that do pretty darn well for me. I keep looking for that wonderful 500 to 5K midrange but have not found it.
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Old 30th October 2012, 01:35 PM   #3
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Old 30th October 2012, 02:58 PM   #4
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Generally speaking it is not worth it, but then it depends what you are comparing the Scan to.

If we're comparing say 4-5" metal coned drivers that could be used as a midrange, then as an example you've got the ZA14 from Zaph and the W15CY from SEAS. One is $40, the other is $170. Both are comparable in terms of performance on paper, the SEAS gives you more in some areas and the W15 gives you more in others. Is one definitively better then the other? Not really, your application will most likely dictate which one is more suitable.

As a rule the best choice is usually the driver that fits the design the best, but it depends on what the design is supposed to be. If you're building a three way and you're starting with the midrange driver (a good choice) then it's the other drivers in the system that need to be picked to work well with the mid and not the other way around.

Is the illuminator mid worth it? No, it's very poor value for money. Will it sound better then the ZA14? That will depend on how good your crossover skills are. This is without a doubt the most important thing in all of speaker design. Also expensive drivers aren't automatically easier to work with, often they require better crossover design skills then cheaper ones. This isn't always the case, but it often is.

The cone material used can influence the way a loudspeaker will sound, but this does depend on how the driver is used. The thing that differs the most between cone materials is the way in which they go through breakup. If you are crossing the driver over before any serious breakup occurs, then the difference in the way one sounds compared to another will be less than if you were crossing two drivers well into their breakup regions.
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Old 30th October 2012, 03:47 PM   #5
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Im not an expert like some here, but I will say this-

Dont underestimate the exact needs of your environment before judging the suitability of one driver over another- I have built more than one speaker in the past that I failed to appreciate the headroom I would need to play at the levels I like from that distance and size of room.
This was my mistake when building troels gravesens TJL3W (seas excel magnesium) speakers- the tweeter and mid could not reach the required levels without leaving the low distortion operating window- I may as well have bought drivers that cost 1/4 of the price that were just a little bigger.
The audax TWO34 tweeters I was using in rear speakers would have kicked it **** in this application. (actually, they beat most tweeters in most situations imo- but thats for another time)
Or to put it another way - if you had no size constraints- I wouldn't suggest the scan-speak would ever be worth the $$$.

As it should be- I find the audible differences between drivers more pronounced as they are pushed further to there xmax limits-
solution-get a half decent driver thats big enough and don't approach its limits!
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Old 30th October 2012, 08:18 PM   #6
Hylle is offline Hylle  Denmark
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The 12MU is one of the best midranges i have used up to the relatively high cross-over frequency. 500 - 5000Hz. It sound very clear and natural. Also it has a quite good sensitivity for its size. I can absolutely recommend it, if it is worth the money I dont know. I have not tryed all midranges, the 4" SB midrange, looks very interesting, on paper maybe just as good at the illuminator....
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Old 30th October 2012, 08:23 PM   #7
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How about as compared to the seas h1600 fu10rb prestige driver?
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Old 30th October 2012, 08:35 PM   #8
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Also - you have to think about what filter to use. Most hard-cone drivers have som unwanted breakup notes in the upper range. I have found the Accuton T8-82 5" to be very clean in this area. But I also use an active 24db filter slope for this.
Mine is crossed at 3K to a Morel supreme. And I do not find it problematic. It realy sounds great. Som would use it higher and some pulls the Morel down to 2K, because i theoretically can. But I tried and it puts to much strain on it, which do not sound good at all.
My 5" accuton works fine down to 300hz. But I also have the possibiliy to tweak alot in my active filters. I plays in 15 liters.
Maybe I should try to cross higher, like 4K. very easy with active filteres. But right know it works so good that I use more time on tweaking the bass.
I have also tried the W15CY and the Illuminator 5". I find the seas more alive and free, like the Accuton. The Illuminator seems more closed in sound. But I heard that it's normal for paper to work like a rippel-effect (looks like the small waves made when a stone is thrown into water) when on the other hand metal/ceramic-cones more work like a piston. Maybe this is what I prefer and nothing more. The illuminator is a great driver, but I feel that its abillity to play loud and deep, is at a cost - less upper midrange detail. But again - this is just my experience.

Last edited by Tordenguden; 30th October 2012 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 30th October 2012, 10:00 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Kooshball View Post
How about as compared to the seas h1600 fu10rb prestige driver?
I think you rather have to look at it in terms of what you want the driver to do. The scan has the advantage of having a lot of linear xmax, as well as reasonable sensitivity, so will cope with shallow slopes and the extra excursion requirements associated with them, far more gracefully then other drivers will.

The fu10rb looks interesting, but the proof would be in the third party measurements. I am a little concerned with its response in the 1-2kHz area as there are clearly some resonance issues going on, quite how these will impact on the sound/thd I don't know. As far as small mid range drivers go, you've got a few high performing options at different prices and also different in their construction/abilities.

Of the options you've got the ZA14, the scan 10F, the vifa TC9FD18, the Fountek FR88EX, the tang band 75-1588SE, the dayton RS52, RS125, RS100. You've then got the C90-6-79, the C173-6-096E from accuton, the Vifa NE line, the various drivers in the exclusive range from peerless and the AC120 and AC130/50CK from aurum cantus, most of the revelator drivers and if you like the B&W FST driver.

All of those above will work as great midrange drivers, you've got ones of different sizes, different cone materials, different device type, different sensitivities/impedances and many different prices.

If you want to cross low & high, ie say 300Hz and 4000Hz, then you need a small driver with a soft cone and one with a decent amount of xmax too, so domes are out. If you want to work with a wave-guide then you're also going to need a soft cone and of the right diameter to match the directivity of your wave-guide. There are many other reasons for choosing one driver over another, you might just like it for some bizarre reason, I quite like the idea of trying the 15M5624 from scan speak as it has the potential for being excellent whilst also being very affordable and easy to work with.
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Old 30th October 2012, 10:15 PM   #10
pdul is offline pdul  Denmark
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5M30 and 5MP60 from Beyma to add a few more
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