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Old 27th January 2004, 07:58 PM   #1
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Location: Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Default Lambda Acoustics / PHL vs. Seas


My dad and I are going to be building some towers over the next few months.

Our current setup:
Paradigm Eclipse Bi-polar towers
Paradigm Monitor CC-370 center channel
Paradigm 3se MkII rears

My dad likes listning to music in Dolby Pro Logic II, or Logic 7. We have a Harman Kardon 430 receiver, 65Wrms x 7.

We are unhappy with the Eclipse bi-polar's because the tweeter sounds very tinny, and the midrange clarity isn't there. In addition, because they are bi-polar they don't image that well.

So ... we want to build some sort of TMW or MTMW configuration but we are unsure of what midrange drivers to be looking at. We will probably be using Raven R-2 ribon tweeters ... I think this is a good option.

As for the mids ... we were debating between the Seas Excel or some of PHL's offerings. My main concern is that they blend well with the smooth tonality of the center channel and that the midrange keeps up with the Raven R-2 tweeter.

I've seen thylantyr recommend PHL 1120's. How exactly do this sound? Are they very thin and airy, or do they sound quite rich? I personally like the sound of highly accurate, high efficiency drivers for my music, but my dad listens to jazz, blues, and new age type stuff. Think the Seas Excel drivers would suite him more?

As for the woofer, we want to get something that will fill in 50hz to ~300 hz (wherever the midrange drops off). The Lambda acoustic drivers should do well in this department but are they still available? I don't want to be waiting 6 months to get the drivers .... so any other recommendations? I've looked at PHL's 12" drivers and they might do the trick ... ?

Thanks for the help ...
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Old 27th January 2004, 09:49 PM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Mars
Andre hooked me up with the PHL stuff. I tried some and liked the
products. I also ordered other samples from other manufacturers
to compare with. Send him an email to get another design opinion.

The reason for choosing those particular PHL's was to meet
a need I seek, otherwise there are other options not limited
to PHL.

I think there is two avenues to think about.

A standard TMW or MTMW design where the midrange
has extended low end, typically these may be lower
sensitivity drivers so you have to adjust for sensitivity
matches between the other drivers, unless you plan to
go fully active - hehehe

An esoteric TMW or MTMW design using some high
sensitivity midranges, but you will lack low end response
from these drivers, ie, high pass 300hz or so. This works
well with low powered amplifiers for example, and it may
integrate better with the Raven.

I'm not sure which detour you want to take, but if
you seek higher sensitivity drivers these are my picks
6.5" PHL 1120, 8" PHL 2520, 10" PHL 3450, otherwise
you can also find PHL drivers that extend lower but have
less sensitivity. If you are not seeking high sensitivity,
then I would take a closer look at the Seas Excels, perhaps
dual 8" to get some decent low end and easier integration
to the subwoofers, bypassing the need for another woofer
between the midrange and subwoofer like using the Lambda
woofers, ie -> 3 way tower plus seperate subwoofer.

I've seen a picture of a customer system where they
used the Raven or Esg, plus 10" PHL, plus Lambda 12",
a cool 3 way design. If I was going to build an interesting
mini-tower, that recipe fits my style... <-- I said mini --- LOL

If you really want to be creative, how about a line array
from Jim Griffin.

There is another but I forget the link.

You migh have some issues getting Lambda woofers as
Nick has slowly ramped down this business over the year,
in fact, I'm still waiting for two more woofers and it's been
a ... long ... wait. --->
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Old 27th January 2004, 09:57 PM   #3
Bricolo is offline Bricolo  France
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Where can we find the frequency response curves for the PHL drivers?
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Old 27th January 2004, 10:06 PM   #4
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Contact PHL, I haven't seen any posted on their website.
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Old 27th January 2004, 10:36 PM   #5
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Location: Winnipeg, MB, Canada
thanks for the help thus far ...

I'm wondering, if I go with the seas excel
drivers, will I have to l-pad the raven tweets
in order for them to blend properly? Is it a
task to l-pad ribon tweets? They have to be
wired through an impedance transformer
correct? Is it best to simply get a different
turns ratio on the impedance transformer,
or use the one provided and use series/parallel
resistors to lower the spl?
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Old 27th January 2004, 11:33 PM   #6
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Location: Winnipeg, MB, Canada
I just noticed the price on the AurumCantus G2 tweeters ... I thought they were much more expensive. The are 1/3 the cost of the Raven R2's .... how would you guys compare them?
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Old 28th January 2004, 02:30 AM   #7
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Location: Mars
I like audio systems that are fully active to allow tweaking in
real time - while listening to music - heh .....

That said, if I was building a regular system with passive crossovers
I would always use L-PADs so I can tweak, but most people don't
do this when it's so easy to implement .....

I haven't played around with the Seas Excels, many people
recommend them, but what you might want to look into is how
much power do you need to drive them well ? Low sensitivity
drivers require more power vs. the high sensitivity ones.

I have some old morel midrange drivers that have very low
sensitivity ratings and 200w rms Adcom amplifier is needed
just to drive them ok ..

On the other hand, the high sensitivity PHL's work miracles with
very few watts but they can also take a beating. I can drive them
into high spl with my cheap/old/horrible Kenwood receiver of meager
power and they sound pretty dang good, but at the same time, they
have no issues handling 200w from my good amplifier. But, if you
don't have a low pass 200 / 300hz bass sub system solution, you
might as well abandon the high sensitivity PHL idea... Realistically
if you did a design like this you would want to do a large tower
with TMW, classic 3 way and them biamp. One amplifier for the
Raven/PHL, another amplifier to drive the woofer, otherwise if
you didn't, you'd have to Lpad both midrange/tweeter and send
more than 65w to the woofer. /hehe

Most people choose the easy way out, a midrange/woofer
'combo driver' , somthing like the Seas Excels, perhaps dual's
for extra low end... MTM or TMM as your main towers and then
integrate the subwoofer with these. Lpad the tweeter, then
you have to question whether or not 65w x 7 is adequate for your

At first glance I would think you need 200w give or take just to drive
those Seas into sonic nirvana... You might need to upgrade
to a multi channel power amplifier... Maybe something like so...

If money isn't as tight, then the best solution is to do what
I do.. narrow down the list of midrange candidates to lets
say a certain PHL model # and Seas model #, buy one of each
and get your Raven tweeter. Build a test box out of cheap
particle board and do some listening tests to find out which
driver sounds best to you. In the end, you will not use one
of the drivers purchased, but you gain a huge peace of mind
advantage and you would never second guess your design.
Use the other driver for another system later. Just build
one cabinet, listen to only one channel, it's good enough
for comparison.

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Old 28th January 2004, 03:48 AM   #8
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Location: Winnipeg, MB, Canada
Yea I would love to be able to run the woofer(s) active and the mid/tweet passive (referring to the crossover type).

I think I might have to convince my dad to take back the Harman Kardon 430 and get pre-amp only unit ... then we can get some higher powered amps to run everything.

The Harmon Kardon kind of sucks because we are not using 2 of the 7 channels, and we can't because they are dedicated rear channels -- the information being sent through them is different from that of the front channels.

I'd love to get that 7 channel power amp. We are only running a 5.1 setup right now, so the 7 channels would be perfect (4 channels for the front towers, 1 center, 2 rear = 7 total).

I think we might run 2 10" or 3 8" drivers to maintain efficiency (those ribon tweets are very sensitive, as are the phl mids).

I think it'd make life a lot easier if we just ditched the ribon tweeter and used a revelator instead. To many decisions ...

I emailed PHL regarding midbass options ... so I'll just wait for their response. I tried modelling up one of their 8" bass units (the 2410) using WinISD and came out with some retarted numbers. An efficiency-bandwidth-product of 288 ?!?!? Port length was just a mere 354" long (3" dia.) due to the 0.004 cuft box size I'm pretty sure I inputed all the T/S parameters correctly.

Oh ... I forgot to mention: My dad was going to buy the Paradigm Reference Studio 100's ($2400-cdn) but wanted to get the same performance for 1/2 the price via DIY.
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Old 28th January 2004, 05:52 AM   #9
Variac is offline Variac  Costa Rica
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Make sure the units are correct when you are inputting data into WinISD You can click on the WISD units to change them from liters to cu ft , etc.

I think that if you are using a big ribbon tweeter like the Ravens
which are quite efficient, then you would want to use the PHL's to take advantage of the efficiency has speaker designs with Ravens and Phl's I believe.
Look under "high efficiency"

The Aurum Cantus ribbons are getting a GREAT reputation. One rumor I heard was that they are the latest designs from the guy who designed the Ravens.

Espeakers does have kits too:
"The geek shall inherit the earth"
Burning Amp thread here on diyAudio
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Old 28th January 2004, 06:36 AM   #10
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Default Re: Lambda Acoustics / PHL vs. Seas

Originally posted by substrate
The Lambda acoustic drivers should do well in this department but are they still available?
Nick is still making them to order. If you are patient enuff for them to gestate, still right up there with the very best.

community sites,, ........ commercial site planet10-HiFi
p10-hifi forum here at diyA
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