My Loudspeaker Journey A slow move to a radical approach

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I had many Loudspeakers go through my home before I built my first open baffle Loudspeaker build. I like to share my journey and I will do it in small steps. Just to warn you as the story develops my speakers become more radical.
AE 109 My first Hifi speakers. They had a really nice mid but the rest of the sound was not well balanced.
Jamo Concert 8 No real bass and the treble could be fatiguing
Wilson Benesch Actors A bit on the boring side but the treble was a good bit better in terms of not being to in my face.
Silverline SR17 I really liked these speakers and paired with a good subwoofer were very capable
Wharfedale Opus 3 My last pair of normal speakers. They needed an amp with a lot of grip to get the best out of the bass drivers. But nice speakers
So so far as you can see a very traditional approach.
I started to become friends with Vic from Transfi and became interested in Open baffles I was a bit worried about not having enough bass and came across Hawthornes who's Duets were supposed to do good bass. I heard a few built in the UK so decided to build a pair using Darrell instructions. I used 3/4 birch ply I quite liked the result. A year later I had Vic help me with a more radical shape and had a baffle built to this design.


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The next step of my journey was when I heard what the PRV 5MR450-NDY I really like how these sounded and decided to sell the Hawthorne drivers
I added the Neo selenium x 2 per speaker as the Neos are capable of going a bit higher than the Augies and needed this to match with the PRV drivers
It was not a pretty sight one bass driver on top and one at the bottom With the PRV 5MR450-NDY in the middle. But it was a step forwards
Unfortunately, I cannot find a picture but it was not pretty.
Next up I heard how the Neo Selenium sounded in a semi isobaric configuration e.g Both front and back facing each other. So I got the top of the baffle chopped off and placed the PRV 5MR450-NDY on top
This was a nice step up in performance I was finally getting the bass I wanted and the I loved the presentation of the PRV drivers
The design is becoming a bit more radical but at this stage I do not really care as I enjoy the results


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For about a year my friend has gone totally baffle-less and whilst I like the results, it is at the time to much a radical step for me.
A year passes by and then I hear a friends system with speakers being supported on Townsend Podium stands makes a good difference to them. I know going baffle-less means using a frame and the drivers being independently supported. This is a way to get similar results. So I ask Vic to build a scaffold-based frame for my drivers.
I am pretty impressed with the results.
Unfortunately, a few months later I blow one of the PRV drivers. Due to the cost of the PRV Vic suggested I go for the Beyma 5G40Nd/N - 5" 200W 8 Ohm.
I liked how they were a bit better in the treble but missed the mid punch of the PRV drivers. Thankfully I managed to get the PRV drivers re-done, Adding the PRV with the Beyma gave me the perfect mix for me of mid-end punch and treble detail.
The Neos are now in true Isobaric configuration. They go down to about 30nz which is low enough for me.
With all of this, I found that even Open Baffles added colouration. Now I get music that sounds natural and realistic. I do not see me ever going back to standard speakers. Whilst I freely admit most people would not believe it is possible to get good sounds this way. Let alone a system capable of realism for not crazy money. I think the major drawback is how it looks, it is not wife friendly for sure.


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You gotta roll with what you like. That's all that matters.
In theory wouldn't there be a notch in frequency due to the circular "baffle?"
Having said that I just tested my favorite full range driver, a Tang Band w5-1611 with one arranged 30" vertically higher above the other and I loved it. I guess that's a no no due to comb filtering but it sounded nice to me and raised the soundstage.
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The Tang Band W5-1611 are pretty good, value for money. I see some people have a bit of prejudice towards polypropylene cones, but I think it can work very nicely on FR drivers like the W5-1611 with moulded polypropylene, and also the Seas FU10RB which has woven polypropylene membrane.

Whatever works is indeed the thing.

Spatch, Do you really think the isobaric solution was worth it in a baffle-less?
I would think that you'd get more sort of value for your membrane area if you just used the drivers to double membrane area instead?
Not critique, just wondering if you really thought it was worth it.
I like this approach, provided that one has no woodworking tools nor skills. In my opinion, isobaric may be more espensive, (2x drivers), less efficient, but maybe, just maybe, it goes a bit lower.
So, maybe the best solution soundwise (though not wallet friendly) would be to use 4 bass drivers per side, baffle-less, isobaric?
PP cones do get judged. I listened to the paper version and felt the PP did the top end about the same and everything else sounded a skoche better. Aesthetically though the paper one is beautiful in that light color.

Good value? An underhung motor, inverted surround, nice spider and sparkly phase plug for $50! Not to mention the smooth and articulate, accurate, sound reproduction.
Vix, I really do not think isobaric works at all for OB or baffle-less. The most obvious thing is that you'd really want to utilize all the membrane area to full effect, instead of just making them flap about vividly. But i'd be just as happy if I'm wrong and it actually does bring something to the table.

You're preachin' to the choir, Dave. I do think the Seas FU10RB is a little bit better, but since you absolutely MUST have bass help for the Seas... I think the the W5-1611 is a better overall "FR" driver if you can only have one, since the FU10RB really cannot do any bass at all. (I actually prefer the W5-1611 to my MA 10.2.... SHHHH! Don't tell anyone. I expect the newer MA drivers are another thing though.)
"I think the major drawback is how it looks, it is not wife friendly for sure."

Maybe try one of those "backbone" frames where the drivers are mounted to the front edge of a standing board at a right angle to them.

With the frame, I'm surprised a simple ring wasnt used. Like an old microphone. With spring suspension ;')
I had wanted to like Mark Audio. Boutique brand, cool looks, tech, but I had a bad experience with the Chn70's terrible treble shreik. I sold it and I'm gun shy about their graphs.

I have the 3" and 4" Faital Pro's. They're nice but not much bass either.

Just hard to beat that Tang Band and the sensitivity too. If you find something like it but better let me know. I could trust a guy who likes the W5! I have given thought to a Pluvia but I'm not sure I'd be doing any better. I have a 15" infinite baffle sub and I'm adding another so bass is covered from 100 down
Yeah, the CHN70 where a bit shouty.
If what you're after is 1 driver with no other help or filters then the W5-1611 is really tough to beat. But I guess the MA 12P would be better, have not heard it.

If you can accept the use of DSP then there's a lot of drivers that are really good, also quite a few that can even pump out more and deeper bass than the W5. I'd recommend the Fane 12-250TC or the 15-300TC if you can use DSP, absolutely some of the most full-range widebanders out there if you can use a bit of modern majick to tame them.

If you do not have DSP, but can accept the use of a few basic components to help nudge the frequency response to be slightly more palatable, there's the 8" Seas FA22RCZ.
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