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Old 1st December 2004, 06:06 AM   #1
bigerik is offline bigerik  Canada
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Default State of the art: 1995 vs 2005

Just wondering how the state of the art on drivers has changed in the last decade. The last serious speakers I built used, what was then, pretty close to the state of the art at the time: Dynaudios Esotec line, using the D-260 tweeter and the 17W75 LQ woofer. Sure there were even then some more expensive drivers available, but these were VERY highly regarded in those, almost pre-internet days. Made some VERY nice sounding speakers back then.
As I am getting back into it again, I am wondering how those drivers would compare to what is out there now. Technology being what it is, it should be possible to get both the same performance for less money, and also much more performance for the same money. True?
Any thoughts?
Erik
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Old 1st December 2004, 10:37 AM   #2
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Altough Dynaudio is from the DIY market, I even wouldn't consider it anymore. If you are looking for the next generation Dynaudio sound you have to consider Audiotechnology. It's better performance for more money

Last couple of years a shift towards driverunits with a rigid cone is made. Seas Excel, Thiel en Partners ceramic (also called accuton in the states) Eton with hexacone and not to forget the Focal W-membram. Also various iterations of the kevlar or carbon variety (think of Scanspeak 8546, Focal polykevlar, ATD hypergraph (?)). Those units are quite expensive need a lot of XO work, but when done properly are very good and better then Dynaudio.

Also in the more affordable price range the rigid cones (mostly aluminium) are invading the market, with as latest offering the Dayton Reference series.

This doesn't mean that paper or polyprop isn't considered anymore! The newest paper cones (i.e. the slitted ones from Scanspeak or the new Seas, or the Audax HM170G8) offer also excellent performance comparable or bettering (Scanspeak, Seas) the Dynaudio offerings.

Although the newer drivers are most of the times better then the Dynaudio, sometimes by a quite large margin, I wouldn't say that a quantumleap is made the last decade. Just a small increase in performance, sometimes a bit larger, but most of all a large price increase for the top of the line drivers.

Keep in mind these are just my limited, mostly European observations, as I'm Dutch .

I forgot to add that most manufactures are beginning to offer high excursion (say >5mm) 17cm and 20cm midwoofers, a modern longthrow 17cm in a moderate cabinet (say 20 l) gives a bass performance which is unheard of if you compare it to 10 years ago.
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Old 1st December 2004, 02:50 PM   #3
bigerik is offline bigerik  Canada
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Thanks for all the info.
Had noticed the change in materials. Also noticed the number of Chinese, etc knock off Dynaudio drivers out there. Guess the mystique still lives on. Looked at John "Zaphoid" Krutke's Seas L18 / Seas 27TBFCG combo and it seemed to be quite awesome. Between his skills and the new materials, I am guessing it would give my old Esotec combo a VERY good run for its money. And for much less money than I laid out.
Gotta say, the biggest improvement for for the DIY'er has got to be the amount of info available on the internet. Mind boggling. It just was not available back then. Truly awesome.
Do appreciate your comments
Erik
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Old 1st December 2004, 06:13 PM   #4
JohnL is offline JohnL  United States
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Although not related specifically to speaker drivers, the other big change in the last few years is the great abundance of good analysis and modeling software available to the DIYer. It's great to have good drivers, but having the capacity to do computer models shaves a great deal of time off the build process. Not to say that they are perfect, but they certainly get you in the ballpark a lot quicker.

John
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Old 2nd December 2004, 05:10 AM   #5
navin is offline navin  India
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i too built my last serious pair of speakers many years ago (1996-7). At that time the forum i frequented was called the BASS DIGEST.

Based on reports of drivers there I built speakers using the ScanSpeak 8546 and 9900 and Audio Concpets DV12. I wonder if what is available today is significantly better.

I am considering using the Jordan JX92 and/or a 2way using about $100 in drivers (per channel). My goal is to see if a 10 liter fullrange can compete with a 10 liter 2 way (5" woofer + tweeter) in the sub $300/pair price.

Recomendations are welcome. BTW bass below 60hz is not expected.
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Old 2nd December 2004, 06:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by LaMa
Last couple of years a shift towards driverunits with a rigid cone is made. Seas Excel, Thiel en Partners ceramic (also called accuton in the states) Eton with hexacone and not to forget the Focal W-membram.
That is only one direction (rigid cones with significant breakup modes requiring complex XOs)-- one i have moved away from. In the last decade the realization that many vintage drivers did things that modern drivers didn't there has been a resurgence of the "full-range" speaker... Fostex, new Lowthers, Jordan, SupraVox, Visaton, Fertin, Exact, AER, the new CSS.... no FR actually goes all the way from one end of the spectrum to the other, but as a very wide mid, or with a helper woofer or helper tweeter, these can be stunningly good, and totally enjoyable even on their own.

Often these are also highly fficient, meaning you can use a small amp -- and has become evident in the past years, it is a whole lot easier to build a low power amp than a big one (and some would say, the smaller the amp the better you can make it sound )-- one should always consider that the amp & the speaker have to work in harmony.

dave
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Old 2nd December 2004, 08:26 AM   #7
tktran is offline tktran  Australia
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Full sized systems are dying... arghhh..

Go to your local department store. Whereas in 1995, when bigger was best, now leading into 2005 we have thin plasma & LCD widescreens at increasingly affordable prices.

In 1995 Bose was "high-end" for decor-conscious consumers who wanted a sleek or invisible system to give a BIG sound.

But now tiny 5.1 or 6.1 systems are everywhere! From el-cheapo manufacturers to virtually everyone from cheap knock-offs and clones to 'traditional' loudspeaker manufacturers, and available from $200 systems to $20,000 systems.

Separate components are becoming smaller, and speakers are going to follow...
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Old 2nd December 2004, 12:33 PM   #8
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If speakers get smaller, my guess is it's neodymium motors or BL tricks like Adire Audio's XBL^2 that will make it happen. You'll start having the output of a 5" midbass compressed into a 3" or 2.5" driver that has high excursion and a ridgid cone. Right now, there aren't that many good examples of this, but I think that we'll start to see this soon enough as people realize demand is there and then people start working on the technology to make it happen.
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