New Reference Speakers with Full/Wide-Range Driver

Good day to all,

I am just starting to design my next pair of reference speakers. I have been through the many designs and styles, 2 ways, 3 ways, 4 ways, sealed, bass reflex, transmission line, and more, so I have a good idea what I expect and want from a pair of speakers.

My latest and most intriguing experiment has been full-range drivers. I am converted to the concept as flawed as it is, I had just grown tired of listening to crossovers messing up my jazz and vocals. As I have been listening to a lot of acapella music lately, you can always hear a crossover smear somewhere in the vocals. It is just too good to be able to listen to a sax run up the scale and it is smooth as silk or listen to an acapella quartet without the crossover humps or dips.

But(it is always there!) I am finding that the ends of the spectrum just put to much pressure on any single driver that I have heard, you give up good deep bass, and find the highs can be just a little too gritty for my ears.

So to remedy that, here is what I am proposing to do.

A woofer in a transmission line with a full/wide-range driver as the mid-range covering from 90Hz+- to 4,000 - 6,000Hz area where a tweeter or super tweeter will take over. Essentially a three way.

Lets look at each driver and what we want from it and why.

The woofer could be a 10" or 12" Peerless or Scan-speak, with a folded transmission line tuned to a bass cutoff of 30Hz or preferably less. I do not want tubby, fat, or boomy bass, I want clean, quick, fast bass, I will using this for music only. It would need to carry the bass up to around 90Hz and I want to use as simple of a crossover as possible, preferably first order.

The mid range - I want the full vocal range completely free of cross-overs, hence the low 90Hz, I have sang with good bass singers that can smash a C two octaves below middle C, which is only 65Hz, not many but a few. most of the vocal range is from A3 - 87Hz through C6 - 1,050Hz, with a select few sopranos shattering glass a few notes above that. A piano tops out at about 4,200Hz or so, above that you have mostly second harmonics happening. So by covering the 90Hz though 4,000Hz with one driver we completely eliminate all crossovers in the critical hearing, vocal and fundamental range of most instruments. I am completely annoyed with beaming that goes with most larger wide-range drivers, the largest driver I would want would be 4" preferably less. So here is my shortlist of drivers, the Jordan JX92S, Bandor 50AFSW/8, which are fine except are not very efficient. I am open to any suggestions you may have on suitable drivers. I would go for a Manger, but that is such a quick driver that mating a suitable woofer is almost impossible I am told. Again I want to keep crossover as simple as possible, and if possible use enclosure construction to work as passive crossovers. With the two above drivers, a high pass filter is unnecessary because of the roll-off of the drivers. Most likely a low-pass would be unncessary also because we could just tweak the high-pass on the tweeter to pick-up where the mid-range is starting to tire.

Tweeter - 4,000-6,000Hz and above . I have not given much thought to a driver here and would love to hear you recommendations, again remember I have no love for beaming or narrow sweet spots, I prefer a wide, full listening area. So I am assuming a 3/4" tweeter or maybe even a ribbon would be what we need.

I am hoping for a passive cross-over consisting of a first-order low-pass for the woofer, and a first-order high-pass for the tweeter. I may decide to pinch off the top of the midrange just to avoid too much glare and muddiness because of expecting to much of the mid-range in complex and difficult passges. Plus some possible pads to bring everything into line.

OK, fellow full-range junkies, let's hear your ideas and criticisms. I know there are some very experienced full/wide-range listeners in this forum including Planet10 aka Dave(with some very interesting driver ideas), Dice45 aka Bernhard, Mohan Varkey, just to name a few. A budget is not really an issue here, except like everyone, I am always interested in spending less instead of more.

Cheers,

Surf, Sun & Sound
 
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You mentioned that you want as simple a crossover as possible. For the lower woofer, have you considered a Dayton 10" Mk II or Shiva? I know that neither one is a Scan Speak or Peerless, but both seem to roll off naturally right around 90 Hz. The Shiva says it is "an artifact" of the near field measurement technique, but whatever. On the Dayton, anyway, I would think you could put your inductor to take effect around 200 Hz or so, and just use the woofer's natural rolloff at the 90 Hz crossover point. Hopefully, this will eliminate various phase distortions in the crossover area. By the time various phase effects due to the inductor take place, the woofer is out of the playing range.

I believe that other Adire products have a similar characteristic.

I include a graph of the Dayton 10" Mark II frequency response.

Just a suggestion. Good luck.
 

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Hiya Lynn (Welsh name, from Sydney), maybe some of my experience can help you.

Transmission line bass - I have a pair (of course) of old KEF transmission line cabinets.(flat, oval woofers).
On sine wave type bass they give the biggest, horniest, trouser flappingest, like live sound type bass you could want, but they don't do kick drum quite the same.
For sharp bass attack you need sealed cabinets, and for that ever so slightly undersized volume, I reckon.

Full range mids - 10+ years ago I had a pair of Yamaha NS-20 8"/1" 40wrms/80wmusic rated cabinets.
These are the big brother to the notorious NS-10 pro-audio mixdown mini monitors. 6.5"/1".
Within about zero minutes of listening after aquiring them I decided that I couldn't stand the sound of the crossovers and promptly transferred them to the bits box.
With the aid of a standard signal generator (a PC sound card output would probably be fine), a standard amplifier, 5W resistor and audio signal meter, I impedence equalised each mounted driver to past 45 KHz.
The impedence compensated woofer was connected full range, and sounded nice out to past 8 KHz or so, and the impedence compensated tweeter was bled in on 1.1 microfarad or so.

Tweeter - you must impedence compensate to have a chance of decent sweet and high highs, and all crossover caps need to be bypassed with smaller values to make it work.
BIG Hint 1.1mF = 1.111..... = 1.0+0.1+0.01+0.001+0.0001........ down to tubular types !. Ditto, all crossover capacitors.

With 120W+120W, with closed windows and doors and wardrobes this combo gave huge and immediate lows, and on the right bass lines this system resonated bigtime the walkway railings on a block of 6 apartments. (only on sundays when the neighbours were out :D ), and the highs went past my hearing range, really detailed and absoloutely no ear bleeding.
This connection gave excellent phase linearity, which gives wonderfull depth imaging - I had sounds coming through from behind the far curtains, and from behind me ! (and friends).
And this gives fantastic reality to vocals - the lead singer is between the cabinets, the drummer talks from behind the curtains and the crowd is around you - no bulldust, but this requires very fine electrical tuning.
IMO series low pass for the woofer roots the attack, or at least roots the HF/LF integration of such a two-way.
I totally agree that the vocals have to be good, and this worked great for me ! (and friends).
An additional paralleled 10/12/15" deep lows cavity if tuned mechanically and electrically correctly ought to sing right and fling rejected energy to the 5/6.5/8 " LMH driver if you you have a near zero inductance parallel connections between the LL & LMH drivers.
If you need more info, just ask.

Remember the fun is in the chase, and in the eating.

Regards, Eric.

BTW - This excellent depth imaging/excellent phase linearity = excellent absoloute polarity revealling = PITA.
Every second track/record/cd will show absoloute polarity reversals and correct AP is correct AP - you will have to do a lot of swapping of the polarity of the speaker wires at the amp as required !.
IME - I'm all for as full range as can be - with carefull electrical tuning and carefull LL and HH augmentation it can go loud, clean, real, and fast.
Multiple drivers (D'Apillito) can be good too ...... understand two woofers are more than twice as good as one, because of nearfield coupling. Also witness a guitar stage quad box for efficiency .
 
This is a brilliant concept and if you use the right components can be easily designed by ear alone provided you use the right driver for the midband with known response at the extremes. In essence this can be classed as a full range system with a sub below 100Hz and a super tweeter above 10k. I say 10k because the 4-6kHz figure is still far too close to the ears most sensitive region which if you look at a fletcher munson curve will show you what I mean. That is, if you want to avoid the pitfalls you were talking about. The dayton 10" looks like a good canditate since the response could be rolled off with a simple inductor but i would'nt rule out the Peerless CSX 257 H either, you can buy them from WES Comps in Sydney for about AU$100 ea. For the mid I would suggest the Vifa 4" fullrange unit currently on offer over at Parts Express. This unit has a white cone and a response from 100Hz to 10kHz. Check it out. Then all you need is a tweeter for the range above 10k. You could use an old stalwart, the Vifa 25mm alloy dome which has been around for a while and unusually good sounding for the price @ AU$75 from Jaycar.
Make what you will of this, but above all have fun and enjoy the music...
 
Thanks, fellas

Thanks for the input. Keep it coming. I am open to all comers and all criticism.

Some great ideas here, but unfortunately, I do not have time for a detailed response at the moment. I just sneaked a quick look at what everyone had to say before heading to work. :mad:

So I will be rolling this around in my pea-brain all day while I am at work and hopefully get enough done that I won't be sacked!

Thank you everyone for your comments. Will give a detailed reply soon. Must run, see you after work!!!!

Surf, Sun & Sound aka Lynn
 
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So by covering the 90Hz though 4,000Hz with one driver we completely eliminate all crossovers in the critical hearing, vocal and fundamental range of most instruments. I am completely annoyed with beaming that goes with most larger wide-range drivers,

I incorporate that technique into my projects. It works well. I will not crossover lower than 3.5k, preferably 4Khz or over. Though THEIR IS signficant audio information still in this range, I find it to be of minimal consequence. Also remember that IM distortion rises significantly when trying to cover too wide of a range with a single transducer.

I do find that their are some drivers that are suited for that range that are not so small as you seek. A 4" driver will have to be crossed signifcantly higher than 90 Hz. You can use a few 5" units that low, but will then have to use a ported enclosure tuned close to that range which IMO compromises that frequency range. Realisticly, you will need to cross with a steep slope at 150-175 with any 4" driver, while allowing for acceptable output levels. I do not see any way to use a driver 5" or smaller under 100 Hz, with excellent results. You will deal with either non linear distortions or poor transient performance.

Focal makes a very coherent W cone woofer and an Audiom midrgane, 6.5" and 7" respectively, thatoffer outstanding off axis performance a little over 4 Khz. Suprisingly, many of the 'full range' drivers have poor off axis response over 3 Khz, even though on axis in flat to around 20 Khz. Pay attention to this little fact when viewing their data sheets.This will result in poor power response, very undesirable IMHO as this will seriously damage imaging.

The Manger is an excellent idea too, as an extended midragne, but I fear you would need to match it with infinite baffle or dipole woofer in order to reasonably integrate with it's excellent transient decay characteristics, both expensive options if you wish to have reasonable SPL levels. A TL is another possible option. I have considered this driver, but the price alone for raw drivers detracts me from it. Maybe if they could produce a $300 model I would bite.

As for tweeters, consider the Raven, Hi Vi, Phillips, BG, Linaeum or any other ribbons orribbonhybrids. Of course, I never cared very much for any dome tweeter, so perhaps I am biased in this respect.

Have fun, and regardless of what you do, please post your project here when it is completed so that we will have something to read. :)

-Chris
 
A thoughtful Reply

Has it been a long day or what!! I have finally had time to sit down(11:00PM) and digest this information and formulate a response. So I will tackle each post in turn and then have some general thoughts.

To the Kelticwizard,

Excellent idea, to use a sub woofer that will have a natural roll-off right where we want it around 90Hz. The only reason I suggested the Scan-Speak or Peerless was because of the ease of availablilty. I know where I can get the Shiva here in Australia, but am unsure of the Daytona. Anyone with details please let me know. What are your thoughts on the transmission line versus a sealed box in regard to Eric's comments.

Can we get the same roll-off effect with the Shiva or a Peerless or Scan-Speak 10" or 12" as you have shown with the Daytona?

Eric,

I need more information, so I am asking!!!

I must confess, you have struck whole new territory for me. I read a similar rant by you in another previously posted thread with very keen interest, but chose not to reveal my ignorance till now. Possibly, what you have uncovered here is what I find irritating about most cross-overs. After more thought about the sound I want to achieve, I have concluded it is not about a few db dip or humps caused by cross-overs, although they can be very annoying, but rather there is some sort of smear, harshness, or jumpiness that I do not like that seems to go with most cross-overs, so it may phase distortions or polarity or whatever. So lets hear more on this subject.

Tomcat,

You have hit the nail dead center on the head. I agree that the mid-range driver is the critcal piece of hardware here. I want to voice the system by ear, so it will be an interesting and challenging project. I will check out the 4" Vifa as a possible mid-range. If you have any other suggestion, I would be happy to hear them

Chris8,

It is good to hear from someone who used this idea before. I am quite aware of the deterioration of a lot of full-range drivers off axis, that is why I am going to try and use as small of driver as possible. One of the real tests on a speaker is to play an acapella quartet with a strong and deep bass singer, if there is any problems you will start getting bass smear. There is a half-step difference between C2 and C2#, and you should be able to hear it, clearly and cleanly. That is why I am trying to push the midrange into the 90Hz and would ideally like to go as low as the mid-60Hz's, but that is asking to much and still have a small driver to avoid beaming at higher frequencies. I am willing to give a few 1000HZ at the top to get a lower end. I would love to use a Manger but they are just too pricey and I have not heard a good woofer that was intergrated yet.

General thoughts

I have read Lynn Olson's papers on his ideaology on the design of the Arial, and feel much the same way about this project. I am interested in a unique and particular sound. If I wanted a three-way, there are plenty of kits and projects out there where all the grunt has been done. Please, I am in no way near as experienced or as qualified as Lynn Olson(we do share the same first name, may help!), but I like him, do not want an ordinary three-way(or two-way in the case of the Arial). So I know we are going to need to push the envelope here a bit.

The choice of the mid-range is the most important here, and I do not want to have any crossover, mechanical or electrical, above 100Hz. This driver must be able to handle from at least 90Hz to up around 6000Hz and minimize beaming. If I need to I would consider using multiples in parallel or series. My choice is still a Jordan JX92S with concerns of off-axis high frequency roll-off due to the size, the Bandor 50AFSW/8 is almost perfect if they run close their published specs( http://www.bandor.co.uk/Bandor50R.htm - scroll down for this model), with the Bandor 100, and a new addition of the Vifa 4", as serious contenders. The Vifa 4" looks very good as bottom roll-off would down 3db at around 90Hz and has the advantage of being around $40AU per driver versus $250AU, thus very conducive to using multiples. I am sure there other driver options out there. I have being hearing about a Tag-band? El cheapo I know. I do not have to spend $250AU per driver but will if I need too. So keep the driver options coming in. I would be especially interested in hearing from Planet10 aka Dave on this subject. I want to make a decision on the mid-range driver first and work from there.

Gentlemen, I hope this reply makes sense, it is after midnight here and my brain is on the way out. Thank you for you input so far. I will be back with more.

Surf, Sun & Sound aka Lynn
 
I use 4 of the Bandor 50mm driver per channel in sealed 6+ litre enclosures, I have had them for 10 years (The Aust$ was about 55UKpence at the time I think, not these days :( ) so mine are earlier versions with Copper voicecoil wire and a little more mass.

I run them full range no woofers or tweeters, the bass in my room is amazing, when the system is going I don't think of getting a sub woofer, but when it not , like now as I am replastering/soundproofing the room, I see those little drivers and wonder what the Bandor 300mm unit is capable of.

They are more revealig than my (old) Stax SR Gamma-Pro with transformer energizer, but with out the slight rise in the high end the staxs have, they image really well, room filling wall to wall sound.

I think luck played a big part in my room, being smallish, 4.3lx 3.7Wx3.07H, the modes must suit these speaker very well, also being DC coupled from CD player to speaker can't hurt.

Adding a woofer to a system thats working well is a daunting task, I'd think just the presence of large enclosue/s can adversly effect the room sound, and I would prefer a sealed woofer.


Regards
James
 
Fostex FE108 Sigma

Lynn,

What about the Fostex 108? It's used by lots of people for many years and has a good reputation as far as I can tell, never having used them myself. Specs <a href="http://www.fostex.co.jp/int/pages/products/spunits/unitpdf/fe108sigma.pdf">here</a> and it looks like its got a good dispersion up to over 5kHz. Bass might be slightly more of an issue, but a TL/labrynth like the Ariel would extend it clean below what you want, and it might even do it in a stuffed sealed sub-enclosure of sufficient volume. Or you could try a semi-open baffle like the big ProAcs. Multiple drivers being crossed to a tweet at 6k will give rise to some possible comb-filtering problems due to the spacing of the drivers being longer than a wavelength at that frequency. I used a cheaper Fostex 4" driver years ago in a line array (9 or 16/side) and there was a lower treble/upper mid anaomaly that we could never quite cure, which was not present with a single driver on an open baffle. I put this down to combing.

For a tweet to match, make sure that the mid and the tweet have approximately the same dispersion pattern around the crossover frequency as this will help them integrate sonically more seamlessly in a real room. Suggestions would be some of the Fostex horns like a T90A/T925A (even an FT17H!) or a Fane ST5022.

For bass, I like the SEAS CA25FEY (DD H317) 10", in an isobarik "clamshell" type arrangement such as Wilson Benesch use. Chris Brady has a DIY TL version <a href="http://www.teresaudio.com/haven/">here</a>, click <b>subwoofers</b>.

Cheers
 
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Re: mostly FR systems

surf said:
I would be especially interested in hearing from Planet10 aka Dave on this subject. I want to make a decision on the mid-range driver first and work from there.

Lynn,

Your design goals mirror what i have found most satisfying for many many years -- the mostly FR speaker system. Up till recently i have been using ESLs as my midrange unit (acoustats in the latest iteration), but a recent substitution spurred on by the need to recap my main power-amps has me headed in a slightly different direction on the top -- a friend and i threw together a set of BD-Pipes using the lowly Radio Shack 40-1197. I was gobsmacked -- they took a couple weeks of continuous play to break-in, but like anything i have found very satisfying, they are sitting in place with a queue of planned mods piling up, because i am not motivated by any lack to pull them out (soon thou). These have opened up a whole set of possibilities since the cabinet design is not optimum, the drivers are real cheap and i haven't done anything but a little ductseal on the baskets to optimize them. So what happens when you use better drivers in a more optimum box?

Anyway... to your project...

I wouldn't even consider trying to do a passive speaker-level XO on the bass to mid XO, this should be before the power-amps, even if it is just a PLLXO (which would require bass drivers with extended range). On the subject of bass drivers, i always like to use a pair so that i can take advantage of push-push loading -- so i'd look at a pr of 8s or a pair of 10s per side. On the subject of XOs, with a 4" mid (the max size i feel comfortable with right now), 90 Hz is probably too low -- the LF excursions on the mid will cause the mids to suffer. I am currently about a half-octave higher at 125Hz. My active XO intrudes a bit (but the gain overwhelmes the loss) so i have been noodling a lot on a new XO -- top of the list at the moment is either a 4th order on the LP and a PLL 1st order on the HP (just have to decrease the size of the interstage coupling cap to do this).

On the mid. I have been very impressed with the RS unit, the FE103As that we have in a mule are even better, so my wish lists includes the FE108S and (drool) the FE108ES II (but at $1000 CAD for a set of 4, way out of the Frugal-phile's(tm) budget). Getting the extension in the bottom out of these with their low Q is a bit of a challenge. One of the advantages of these is that you can get away with a much higher XO to the super-tweeter -- there is enuff extension that you could use a 1st order series XO at >5 kHz (i wouldn't go any lower) or do what i do and just fill in above where the 4" rolls-off -- about 10-12k in my case -- and just use a single cap on the tweeter. This removes any passive components from in front of the mid and allows it to run FR all the way up.

The higher effiency of these 4s allows the use of a small tube-amp on the mid/tweet -- i use a SE EL84 pentode amp at the moment, but have plans to try two per side (one per driver) and have a fully-differential EL84 PP amp (ala Allen Wright) also in the queue. A little more amp (the 4.5W SE EL84 struggles when i really turn it up) would allow me to try these in triode mode.

enuff for now, got to get to work.

dave
 
Hiya Lynn, the readers digest version of what I am saying is as follows -
Consider that drivers are reactive (and can be resonant) physical systems.
Due to their respective responses as transducers, they will either comfortably admit and transduce or reject electrical energy according to their respective risetime responses.
When a driver can physically track an incoming risetime it appears as a resistance.
When the slewrate is too fast it will , store energy and fling it back towards the source of this energy.
A coil separating this driver from the source will store this returned energy and again fling it back to the driver, and you have an electrically/physically resonant system, and this gives that lumpy sounding bass you typically get.
Combine this with a load dependant or a fussy high NFB amp and you get rotten sound.
Consider this - we have all lived perfectly happily since forever with TV 4" or 5" or 6.5" speakers, that have excellent vocal intelligibility, just no LL's or HH's.
Also consider this - If you have a near perfect zero resistance and zero inductance parallel connection between the correctly chosen drivers, according to their respective admittances, they will naturally and appropriately share the energy between themselves.
The provisos to this are that the resonances of the individual drivers need to be compensated carefully (i.e. - nulled by paralleled series RLC network), and these values are quite critical and can drift due to temperature.
A further proviso is that ALL the capacitors need to be infinitely fast.
The next best sheme is to series C couple the tweeter.
Honest, if all the drivers are correctly compensated, the amp is much happier, and efficiency goes through the roof.
On the NS-20's I spoke of, Pink Floyd landed in a real helicopter in the middle of the lounge room, and got out and played real gutars - I have witnesses !
Then someone trips on a lead or operates a switch or something and causes a faint splatt sound, and then sticks his head out the cabinets and says " Ohh F*** ", :D , matter of factly and as plain as day, and then disappears, but you need a hi-res system to hear it clearly !.
Try a close listen to "The Wall, Track 4, 1 minute or so".

The point is to go for Gaussian responses - natural sounds have Guassian characteristic.

There's a start, digest that and keep asking if you want more.

Regards, Eric.
 
addendum to my above post

The 12TRXB is a "three way" speaker with a 12 inch cone, 5 inch (roughly) whizzer and horn tweeter. With such a speaker the Karlson enclosure will give excellent sound and dispersion over a very wide frequency range - 10 to 10KHz or more!

Check it out!

Happy listening!
 
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Basszilla

Gotta mention the Basszilla by Dick Olsher here:

http://store.hifiauthority.com/olsherkits.html

It is a full range with either a Lowther driver or Fostex 208 Sigma
in an open air baffle. Each baffle sits on a 15" (!) bass box which
uses an Audax driver.

It is a DIY project, he sells the instructions for $20

Says that that includes filter designs to tame the drivers resonances and construction info.

No tweeter is used, but that sounds to me like a fun add on project.


Unfortunately the woofers are about $300 each so the pair with the cheaper Fostex drivers is about $1000 in parts

The best part is the ALMOST 100 dB efficiency!!

Mr Olsher certainly has the experience to design a decent speaker.

I will soon pay my $20 just to see what he has to say.

Another interesting driver that I found on the Fostex site,

http://www.fostex.co.jp/int/pages/sets/prodset.htm

but I'm not sure if it is available in the U.S. is the FF225K
Superbly flat response AND it rolls off about 11k (no whizzer cone)so would work really well with a tweeter. Stamped frame so it is about half the price of the 208 Sigma How does it sound-I don't know, but it is over 95 dB efficient.



Mark
 
Narrowing Down the Mid-Range

Good day,

Again many thanks for the input. I have been concentrating on the mid-range. My choice is actually going to depend on what I can get here in OZ. I am waiting for replys from Bandor and Fostex about availability.

Here is my short list.(actually not so short!)

The Jordan JX92S - $300AU per driver abit more than I wanted to spend. But not ruled out.

The Bandor 50, which I really like, and the 100 which is so similiar to the Jordan that I would most likely choose it based on the price alone, unless I hear negative feedback from someone about it. I am still waiting on pricing and availability details.

This should make a lot of people happy, I have brought in a bunch of Fostex drivers. First choice FE108 Sigma, followed by the FE103E, and with the FE83E, FF125K, F120A, FX120 as options with efficiencies running in the 89 to 92db area. Again I have no idea of the availability of these drivers in OZ. If you get a chance to surf Fostex site check out the 32" woofer( http://www.fostex.co.jp/int/pages/products/spunits/unitpdf/fw800n.pdf ). Pretty cool. I am waiting for a reply from Fostex about pricing and stock in Australia.

I have eliminated the Vifa 4", simply on the grounds of efficiency around 86db. The Rat Shack options mentioned above are not available here, so they are out of question, unless someone wants to sell a few to a bloke "Down Under"!

If anyone has any details on getting any of the above drivers in or to Australia, let me know. It will help move this project forward.

Eric, I am still digesting what you have given me already, I will have more questions be assured!!!

Thanks,

Lynn
 
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Re: Narrowing Down the Mid-Range

surf said:
The Rat Shack options mentioned above are not available here, so they are out of question, unless someone wants to sell a few to a bloke "Down Under"!

Lynn,

I'd happily ship a couple 40-1197s to Oz, but these are a low-budget FE103 built for RS by Fostex (or Foster itself) and i expect by the time you factor in shipping costs they would cost the same as the real thing. And you did say "reference".

dave
 
Yes I did say reference!!

Dave, yes I did say reference, but I have been hearing so much noise and clamor about these lower-cost drivers that it makes me wonder if price has everything or anything to do with it. It is very easy to knock together a multi-thousand dollar speaker using expensive drivers and cross-over components, but that does not say that it sound any better than speaker assembled with low-cost drivers and parts.

When I first started this project I had my heart set on a pair of Jordans, Bandors or similiar priced drivers, but now that I am doing more research and getting feedback from many full-range driver devotees, I am hearing about the parody of driver prices versus performance. I was hoping evidence would back me into a corner where I could justify spending big-dollars for drivers. But it seems that High-end and High-price don't quite equal out at times.

The "reference" refers to how it will sound, not how much I spent. Price is not an object, the sound is.

Lynn
 
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Re: I have to agree

surf said:
it makes me wonder if price has everything or anything to do with it. ... But it seems that High-end and High-price don't quite equal out at times.

The "reference" refers to how it will sound, not how much I spent. Price is not an object, the sound is.

Lynn,

There seems to be little absolute correlation between quality and price -- don't expect to not have to pay a steep price for the very best drivers, but paying big-bucks is in no way a guarantee that you get a good driver. And there are more than a few exceptional drivers at very modest prices. The RS 40-1197 is an example, especially if you live in the US and picked some up at the close-out price of $5 each. But it is a low-budget version of the FE103 and the FE103 does do better, the ACR FE103 (available from Bert Doppenburg is an even better version. The FE108s take it a step further (albeit with the difficulty of getting bass extension without resorting to a horn).

And now with eBay (and an awareness that lots of very good alnico FRs were put in crappy boxes) there is the whole recycled driver market. The price of these compared to new is usually a real bargain. The FE103As are a classic example of this.

An externally hosted image should be here but it was not working when we last tested it.


My entire collection of 19 of these didn't cost much more money than a pr of RS 40-1197s (lots of trips to the 2nd hand stores thou) but i wouldn't part with them for much less than it would cost for a set of FE108s(anyone want to do some swapping?)

I just put another example example of a real bargin up on eBay to-nite -- from my personal collection, these were squeezed out by too many projects in the queue.

A lot of people are happily paying as much as 5x the price of some of my auctions* for shipping alone and laughing all the way to the bank.

These were made when tubes & full-ranges were standard fare and before the cold-war made cobalt very dear in the west, and even the cheapest of them can exhibit excellent performance completely skewing the cost/performance ratio.

* disclosure: due to underemployment over the last year, i have fallen into the vintage hifi recycling market. Interested parties can view my page of hi-fi auctions.

dave