Good drivers.

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I'm looking for good drivers to build my own speakers.

Is there a brand that regardless of price is head and shoulders above the rest?

If I'm going to build a speaker I want the best. I don't want, "This speaker sounds wonderful", or "This one was recommended by a pro." I want, "This speaker performs perfectly in an open environment!" (That is, without room interference.) Yes, back to objectiveness. Of course, I've never heard a person say speakers SHOULD color the sound. Obviously, they do, but as little as possible, according to everyone I've spoken to.

I'm looking for tweeter, mid, woofer, and sub. I'm assuming there are different brands that are good at these four types.

I'm planning on a single amp for tweeter through woofer, but a separate amp for the sub. Is there a compelling reason to bi-amp the main speakers? I'm assuming the amp has plenty of power and the speakers to be very sensitive.

Let's look at the basics first.
1) What's the speaker for? AV only? If so, which position? (Front L/R or C, rear, side...) Music only? Both?
2) What kind of program material and how loud?
3) Dynamic drivers? Planar? Electrostatic? Ribbon? Horn loaded?
Like those who would perish rather than buy anything other than a Ford--or a Chevy, and uniformly despise anything made by the 'other' company (and the people who drive them, for that matter), you'll probably get people who will insist that Scan-Speak is Best, or Audax, or whatever. (Not unlike the way some people react to, say, tubes, for instance...)
The bottom line is that there is no head-and-shoulders Best line of drivers.
But...there are a lot of damned good ones.
Both companies mentioned above are clearly among the best, but that's not to say either is The Best.
You said that you're planning on single-amping the mains, with a powered sub. There's a sneaky problem involved here, to wit, a passive crossover. Yes, the math is out there, but it's not as easy to test a speaker as it is an amp. It's one thing to do the calculations for the front end of an amplifier, but the real world has a nasty way of throwing curve balls at you that make it advisable to take a look at what your circuit is doing on a scope. The problem with speakers is that proper testing of a passive implies the use of an anechoic chamber, and a very nice microphone. Things are going to get crazy, fast, especially for someone like you who's likely to want measurements to verify proper function.
Bi or tri amping, although more expensive, kinda smooths out some (not all) of the difficulties. Impedance variations become the responsibility of the output section of the amp. They will no longer effect the crossover point, for instance. You will still be responsible for setting the relative levels of the drivers, but a decent variable crossover will allow you to experiment far more efficiently with the effects of changing the crossover point, the slope, etc.
Is there a conclusive reason to multi-amp the speakers? No. You can, under duress, use the great out of doors as a stand-in for an anechoic chamber while designing a passive crossover. Or you can get one of these cute little computer programs that uses impulse signals to test the speakers. In theory, if the pulse is short enough, your living room will be good enough to get the job done. Be prepared for a lot of cut 'n try if you go that route.
Another possibility is to build a speaker from a published design. Audax, I seem to recall, had some nice looking designs on their website: No, I have not built, nor heard those designs, so this is not to be construed as an endorsement, but the designers are reputable, and Audax makes fine drivers. Take a look. If nothing else, it may stimulate your thinking.
Others will, no doubt, weigh in with their recommendations as to drivers and/or complete designs. Take your time and sift through the options at leisure. Speakers are, by far, the most variable portions of our systems, and it wouldn't do to rush into something.

High end tweeters

Pixie: I don't have any direct experience with these two (sorry), but you might want to have a look at these links:

For tweeters, two of the most highly acclaimed drivers are the Scan-Speak D2905/9900 Revelator (used in Northcreek kits), and the Raven ribbons (used in e-speakers kits).

Just thought I'd help you find a few sources...
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There's a speaker co. called Skaaning. You can find them at The creator started Dynaudio and Scan-Speak. Cost isn't a good indicator of quality all the time, but a well regarded indusrty name is. They are expensive, starting at $300+ for a 5-1/4 driver. No tweeter the last time I looked. The spec are nice and I think Sonus Faber uses them in their best designs.

NHT Makes the 1259 and can be seen at Madisound also. They sell for about $150 each. Great reviews on this one too. Solid down to 25hz they say.

[Edited by vdi_nenna on 03-29-2001 at 01:13 PM]
OK. How about 3-way speakers bi-amp'ed? One amp for the tweeter and mid and a second for the woofer.

Scan-Speak seems to be the best for the price. It looks like for about $150/driver and I'll have a nice speaker.

This is going to be for a simple stereo for the living room. I already have my theater room filled. But, I miss my good stereo in the living room where it can fill the whole house with music. I'm going to connect it to a CD player. I might buy a tuner later. I'm going to build the pre-amp and amps myself. So, the only thing that won't be DIY is the CD player.

I'm fairly set on the 3-way speakers, but the sub is optional if the woofers are good. Scan-Speak has a resonably priced woofer that goes from 19Hz - 600Hz.

Some thing I have found out a few years ago, and quite discouraging, is that the speaker's quality correlates strongly with the driver's quality, which then correlates strongly with the price of the drivers.
Good design technique is needed, but it's almost impossible to push out a speaker consisting of $100 drivers (per box) that can compete with a speaker that comprises $200 per drivers.
The reason is that the main factor for quality turns out to be the intrinsic driver's distortion. High quality (and expensive) drivers are normally loaded with technologies that minimize distortion ranged from cone material, voice-coil material, magnet strength, basket material, suspension system materials, and then complex structural designs and delicate construction techniques. These features come with high cost and although one can design a superb speakers using cheap drivers, another can acheive comparable quality speaker simply by using expensive drivers.
Therefore, I think any expensive drivers are not better than one another, given that they are all appropriately applied. However, my personal enthusiasm has currently been about putting together the following drivers into a speaker system :
Tweeter : Raven R-2
Upper Midrange : 2 of Accuton C2-79
Mid-Bass : Skanning SK170-308
Subwoofer : Skanning SK300-304
Just for the drivers' price alone, it's price (for a pair) is about $3800! Man...


i dont think there is a close relation with the price of a driver and its quality :)

hifi-world (uk magazine) has some interesting kits/designs based on audax drivers and i have heard a few of them , pretty good stuff..

re. skaaning i know them too , not particularly impressed but quite imprresive pricing for sure (to me its like very expemcive cables , i just havent been convinced yet that cables costing more than the equioment it connects is worth while ....:)

re. atc , the 3" dome is quite good 8but i think its expensive for sure) , they are using a 34mm audax dome in another design (allthough it bears the atc label).

also the A651 and A652 (audax + vance dickasson designs) are a good point to start looking (ok listening)...

bye k madsen

For Audax drivers, the audax US site ( is not up to date, there is a new line of high end speaker. You can find some info on the french site but only in french.

I have build some speakers with audax drivers, mid end drivers are quite easy to use because they are quite linear. High end are probably harder to use due to some out of band bumps.

Focal drivers are easy to find in europe and their site has some info:

The next driver I will use is a monacor SPH165KEP, monacor is not known as a high end brand, but this driver has very wide and linear FR, even out of band.

For tweaking there is a cheap brand for mike: , their ECM8000 measurement mike is about 100euros (it is not a perfect calibrated one), and their eurorack mixing console is about the same price, coupled with a terratec EWX 24/96 sound card (200€) it will give you a decent measuring equipment. The problem is to find all these things in us.
Drivers is the easy part

I think that any of the brands that will be mentioned here *can* be good choices. But the design work is not over. The choices you make on the box, build quality, and the crossover will be the difference. I know the parts for the crossover in my speakers cost more than the drivers. That is what really makes the difference between a 1000 dollar speaker and a 10,000 speaker. I take nothing away from those selling their speakers. They probably have invested thousands of dollars and thousands of hours in tweeking the hell out of those "off the shelf" drivers.

If you are willing to experiment and toss out several bad trys, roll your own. If not, I would suggest that you buy the whole kit. You are not just getting the drivers, but the payoff of a lot of work in the overall design.
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