Top end of Mark Audio 7MS?

I have the 5.3MS drivers, and have been quite impressed. However, in a small sealed box they (of course) can only go so low with conviction.

I'm now considering a lowish extension down to around 200hz crossover (in a WAW). The 5.3 can do this but I'd like more impact/SPL than a little cone is ideal for. So the 7ms is quite an appealing step up. My question is how much does that sacrifice the top end?

For perspective, I also have the 11MS and they are surprisingly good at the top end for their size... until compared to the 5.3 or a decent tweeter. So I/m wondering if a middle ground like the 7ms may be nearly as good up top? If not, then a tweeter-assisted wide-range might be an preferable - crossed above our ability to discern very much about location etc..

I've only heard the 5.3 but looking at the specs of the 7ms the cone area is doubled, so they should go about half an octave lower, all else being equal. If anything, the 7ms looks like it has more cone area vs mass, which may be from using a similar sized voice coil as the 5.3 rather than one that's twice as heavy, so I'm guessing that could lead to a tighter waterfall plot and quicker energy decay.

The 11ms seems to have a heavy cone for the extra strength required for mono suspension (and/or extended bass, I'm not exactly sure how they balanced the different attributes).

I was wondering about the pros and cons of the single suspension vs something like the CHP-90 and CHR-90. For the surface area, those ~5 gram cones are really light. So maybe that's the payoff: a spider allows thinner, lighter cones that flex more, so the highest frequency vibrations get mostly absorbed by the air before they ever get a chance to reflect back from the rubber surround and form standing waves and all that. On the other hand, maybe the spider adds its own colour because it adds a direct load to the voice coil.
The top end of the 7ms is good. Nicely contoured transients and impressively wide dispersion for a driver its size. Cymbals have a lot of detail and effortless realism to them.

I like the 7ms more as a midtweet than a fullranger. It’s a bit thin/distorted at the lower frequencies and lacks power handling.

The 11ms has better mids and upper bass. The 7ms will be a step up from the 5.3ms in that department but nothing like the 11ms.

Right now I’m playing with the combo of 11ms + 7ms with ~3000hz first-order filter and it works really well. 200hz may be too low for the 7ms.
Thank you, both, for the thoughts; most useful.
Yes, I can more or less decide the suitability at the lower end, it was the higher frequencies that I was interested in learning more about. So that is encouraging.

I suppose, in practical terms, higher frequency performance includes things like directivity and agility (probably many more things too). Oddly enough, Markaudio tends not to publish off axis responses very often, which I'd think would be a key attribute of drivers that are really 'meant' to be used above the usual range for their size, or even (as I've seen suggested) best listened to a bit off axis. So strange not to see basic fr/axis info offered. Though this posted by Planet10/Dave looks reasonably encouraging in that respect:

As for agility, I suppose that as acceleration = force/mass, then for drivers 'something like' BL/MMS might at least be a guide. It seems the 5.3 and 7ms are quite similar here - the former results in 1.3 whilst that latter still achieves almost 1.2, which is again encouraging; the extra size didn't cost very much (the 11ms is about half that).

I may perhaps try the 7MS then. They could potentially be a sweet spot for me, between lower crossiver and still managing well without a tweeter.

Acceleration through the rising response & mass-controlled region up to the point where TL modes take over is proportional to the current slewed through the coil, with the nominal acceleration factor in meters per second per second per ampere (take Mms in kg rather than g) basically being another way of describing the conversion efficiency. When TL modes come into play, that vanishes; it then becomes about cone material, geometry, VC and cap dimeter (and their materials, profiles etc.). The 7MS has a relatively gentle HF > ~15KHz although since most of us can't hear that high anyway (I'm coming up on 45 and when I last checked, I could just about hear a 17KHz mosquito tone, but that won't last much longer) it's a bit of a moot point; more significant is that it remains fairly consistent off-axis out to about 30 degrees, so there are less in the way of percieved tonal shifts that can happen with significant deviations in the polars over a modest axis.
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Thank you, Scott, that helps my understanding. Yes 15khz is fine for me, I'm in my early 50s and have fairly typical hearing for my age. Boosting the higher frequencies can compensate to a small degree, but it seems a bit artificial to take that very far.

It does seem that the 7MS might be worth a try, then. A fair chance of finding contentment without a tweeter, if I need to go lower or louder than the 5.3.
After yet more listening, I confirmed the (rather lovely) little alpair 5.3s start to sound a bit pushed at the volumes/frequencies I was trying; nothing major and I love these little things, but without a bigger or more cunning cabinet design to support them I'd want something a bit more beefy here. The 11ms don't have this issue, but there is something happening that I don't understand; at higher frequencies their sounds start to become quite localised to left and right driver (rather than a wider soundstage, like the rest of the frequency range).

Not sure why, though holding an object a bit in front of the drivers themselves noticeably reduces this, so I don't immediately think it is about the cabinets but instead something radiating from the drivers themselves. This is really quite close listening, so perhaps a smaller driver could indeed help, potentially the 7ms. Or possibly crossing to tweeters, which I haven't noticed this issue from so in that sense would be a safer bet.
Beaming and your head casting shadows with the bigger drivers? My 5.3s are slightly boosted in "live edge" wave guides and have a gorgeous tone, but I still need to get round to equalizing them. The w.g. starts off conservatively with a steep, almost 90° throat angle, with a view to being able to widen the horn if necessary. But it'll be a nice day when that finally reaches the top of my list of things to do. The 12" woofers for bass support should be done by about Christmas. (We'll see if the Lavoce's can keep up at the estimated 1 kHz XO.)

I'm fairly confident about making analogue active crossovers, so I'll be able to fix the "nasal twang" tilt in the EQ, but there's still a lot of work ahead. In the meantime I make-do with rough, unmeasured passive crossovers to route the bass to the bass, and the treble to the treble. The experiment gave me a lot to think about and I'm definitely not going back to the usual Bauhaus / Minecraft school of tweeter box design. Masochists, he says, pointing fingers. :ROFLMAO:

Circumstances dictate that I can finally dust off my keyboard and put it in a horizontal position! So I'm v. happy that I now have an excuse to build more speakers. Each merry-go-round seems to bring a bit more knowledge with it. A home-office / studio seems likely, but I'm reluctant to buy up every possible M.A. driver for testing, although it is tempting!

If I end up putting speakers on a desk, I may use some kind of heavy wooden wedge for the baffle to tilt them back a little, and attempt to shape it so the flat desk surface acts more like a natural extension of the wave guide rather than an unexpected source of reflections.


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Thanks both. I suppose it comes down to where I need to cross over and at what SPL. Maybe also how complex and/or large a box I can accept, too. Ultimately it 'is' quite a tiny driver and so inevitably can only go so far, but perhaps that could be made to work. Whilst I'm a fan of waveguides (for a few reasons) the frequencies I'd most want to support in this case would make the guide rather wide for a small speaker.

TBH I was hoping the 7ms might be the best of both worlds, but I guess in practice it can only be a compromise between upper end performance and lower end dynamics. Perhaps a similar story with HF localisation, too.
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Yes I've seen you post about those before, Dave. IMO that kind of thing is probably optimum for such drivers, but rather too tall for my situation. I'm (unsurprisingly) finding that smaller boxes are less capable, so IMO benefit from either bigger drivers. Or a higher crossover in a WAW, which inevitably still bring compromises, just different ones.

But I suppose that isn't a deal-breaker for me, really. For close listening, I remain keen on approaching the 1/4-wavelength driver separation that you often mention, but provided that is satisfied I personally don't object too strongly to crossing over a bit higher than many would, if necessary. Though preferably still well below 1khz.

Not ideal, but all these decisions involve trading off different compromises. My personal challenge is not becoming unduly fixated on one ideal at detriment to the other requirements.
I have both the A5.3 and 7MS in bass reflex boxes. While not exactly an apples to apples comparison, I sat down with both of them and top end comparisons in mind.

A5.3 is crisp, clean, and forward. Whether I'm sitting in front of them or walking around the room, that sound quality follows.

7MS is more reserved, laid back but still with an excellent smooth sound that projects the sound stage.

Overall, I would argue that you're not going to miss anything by choosing the 7MS. There are differences in the listening experience but neither is necessarily better or worse. I happen to prefer the 5.3 but generally listen to them near field (desktop). However, in a bigger listening space 7MS will likely serve you better.
Thank you for your thoughts, very helpful. I perhaps should try the 7MS then, it seems that it'll be an improvement over the 11MS, so in that sense I couldn't lose.

Though I've been doing a lot of listening lately, and I'm starting to suspect that wrt mid-tweeters I personally prefer quite small drivers. If so, I should really only consider their use in designs and applications that well suit drivers of this size. I'm probably trying to stretch things to far otherwise, which would lead to either struggling drivers or using bigger ones than I'm happy with.

Yes, the little 5.3 is rather nice, in particular; it is clearly (if unsurprisingly) the most convincing of the alpairs at the top end, and also has a smoother frequency response. I've been listening to it for a while now, and there is little to dislike if (as Dave suggested) it has sufficient support for the bass.
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Okay, I decided that the alpair 7MS would be a safe enough bet for another project I'm working on (which requires covering an extended mid-range). So I've ordered a pair and if I don't like their top end sufficiently then it won't matter, but I'll get to find out.

It'll also be quite interesting to see how I find them compared to the 5.3MS and the 11MS. After lots of listening I've finally concluded that a little wide-range driver in a WAW/FAST of modest SPL is my personal sweet spot for this kind of approach. I'm growing less keen on the bigger wide-range driver, perhaps because I'd personally favour a different approach entirely (like horns) for larger or higher SPL speakers (and I haven't fully taken to the single-driver approach). So I'll be keen to see if the 7MS is small 'enough' for me to like as a middle ground.
Well the little 7MS have arrived. Unfortunately I can't test them immediately, but first/visual impressions are fairly good.

The 5ms (that I already like) have a hard cone diameter that is a smidge over 2", but the 7ms isn't exactly massive by comparison either, at slightly less than 3". Yet has a much bigger magnet, a more profiled cone (and the lower-profile bezzel, if that matters), and noticeably bigger displacement. So it is at least possible the 7ms will be the sweet spot that I'm personally looking for.

It also looks really quite small compared to the (slightly-over) 4" hard cone of the 11ms, and the response curve looks smoother too. So for use in a WAW of lowish crossover and modest SPL, at first glance the 7ms seems quite encouraging.

Whether I want to also tweeter-assist it (TAW+WAW?) remains to be found. But essentially I'm interested in a good uninterrupted and wide main frequency band, and already consider that to be a stretch, so I'm happy to supplement at either low or high end if required.
Just beginning to fiddle with this. But for interest thought I'd take a photo or two of the alpair's relative sizes. Top is the 11ms cone, at the same distance pictured below it are the 5.3ms and 7ms cones:
(click to enlarge)
The cone of the 7MS doesn't seem as much bigger (compared to the 5.3MS) as I was expecting, which is probably good in my case. Though the bottom picture shows that it has a substantially bigger body and magnet, so I can well believe it'll still dig a bit deeper and louder thsn the 5.3ms, which is my main reason for trying it.

I'm only just beginning to break in the 7MS and it isn't even in a box yet, so far too early to conclude very much. However FWIW I find the imaging very good and can't localise the high frequencies (like I could with the 11ms). So things are encouraging so far, and especially pleasing is that some of the midrange sounds very clear and articulate.

By comparison, the top end is currently an over-bright mess, but it needs a box or baffle before I'll worry about frequency response, diffraction etc. All I can say at this point is that it has no problem in at least reaching the highest frequencies that I want. So a box is the next step, in the meantime they'll be exercised to break in.
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Well I have the alpair 7MS drivers on sealed boxes of appropriate volume, and have run them in for a few days. Their spatial imaging is generally very good, and even in a simple 9L sealed box they have enough bass and dynamics for a low-ish WAW/FAST crossover at the SPLs I need. So that is encouraging.

Though still work to do: they sound less than smooth above several khz, so I might need to employ finer resolution than my current (software) equaliser possesses to address specific peaks and dips; I've tamed things a bit but some notes/frequencies still seems a bit exaggerated. I'm hoping it is simply that and not something like a chaotic off-axis response, anyway.

One unfortunate surprise is that I'm going off the treble that I initially appreciated. It is delivered in a way that gives an initial impression of air and top end performance, but after a while I started to find it a little false; almost splashed about giving effect rather than accuracy. So hopefully that is something that will disappear if I calm the higher-frequency response to a bit more smoothness.
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Ah, now we're getting somewhere. The issues seem to be somewhere between 7khz and 15khz, perhaps closer to the latter. There could be things going on higher as well, but beyond my hearing. If I attenuate the 12khz slider on my equaliser quite significantly (by several dB), and then apply a gently falling slope across the whole frequency range, things are much improved. The jingly sparkle thing doesn't annoy me any more. Toeing them in a bit also seems to help with smoothness.

That is obviously just a crude attempt; in time (when the drivers were in their final cabinet) I'd want to do proper measurements and much more targeted frequency tweaking. But it is enough to show that these will indeed work for me, which is all I needed to know at the moment.

So that is good news. I suspect things might still be improved with a tweeter, maybe above 8khz, which I shall likely also test at some point. But I wouldn't be unhappy without one, and might not think it worth the compromise and extra cost/complexity for some designs. If going there, probably I'd want a waveguide for it (to match directivity) and another amplifier in active systems, etc. so it would take a bit of effort to get right. The lack of a tweeter needing to be close to the mid-range also gives a few more options for the baffle around the 7MS - to more thoroughly counter edge diffraction etc.

Anyway, for now I'm liking how clear things like vocals, strings and pianos sound through the 7MS without any top end assistance. Looking forward to seeing how they sound when crossed to a woofer at around two or three hundred herts, but that might be quite some time away.
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If I attenuate the 12khz slider on my equaliser quite significantly (by several dB), and then apply a gently falling slope across the whole frequency range, things are much improved
Maybe it's an opportunity to experiment with small inductors? After playing with some 0.125mm winding wire, I can confirm that it'll work for low power filters. I used bottle corks (approximately 20mm diameter) and wound 6 metres of wire across a width of about 1cm with a low speed drill, and covered it in hot melt glue to stabilise the structure. Roughly guesstimated XO freq: 1kHz.

For 10kHz+, I would reduce the amount of wire to about 2 metres and trim if necessary. For a more solid and permanent build, a proper bobbin with raised edges would be better. 0.125mm is extremely fragile and fiddly, but they probably use an even thinner gauge on the voice coil.

YMMV and 0.25mm might feel a lot more solid, but you'd have to compare a couple of different inductance calculators as they never seem to give the same result.
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