Unity vs. Econowave?

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ORNJ

Member
2011-03-15 11:02 pm
CA
Can anyone explain to me the benefits of the Unity style horns over the Econowave? I understand that it allows a lower cross to the midbass driver and the unity acts as a single point source for pretty much the entire critical midrange....However, I was wondering how much of a benefit it is compared to the econowave....

Is it something that would be night and day difference?
 

ra7

Member
Paid Member
2009-02-07 6:47 am
Davis, CA
Yes, it probably is quite different. First, as you say, it is a point source over a very large bandwidth. You cannot get this through econowaves, where the c-c spacing will result in a lobe. This is not too bad if you choose the right crossover frequency and matching horn and cone driver.

Second, it will control where the sound goes to a very low frequency (you can choose how low you want to go). The lower you want pattern control, the larger the horn will be. And this is the key aspect of the Unity/Synergy horns: pattern control down low. If you compare it with an econowave, a 15" driver will have slight directivity at 500 Hz, a 12" will have none.

By controlling where the sound goes, you are eliminating early reflections and this results in better imaging.

Third, you can get very high efficiency ~100db out of them, always a benefit. And by using multiple drivers, power handling should be better.

All in all, a winner. Except, it will be probably be larger than an econowave. And I've read that its a bitch to cut the wood into odd shapes for the horn. There's lot more info on the diysoundgroup forums.
 
I have built the Econowaves, and having heard the original Unity horn, and then Synergy I think the biggest benefit is the midrange resolution/quality. You'd expect this as they are produced by 4" drivers as compared to 12" or even 15" woofers in the Econowaves.

Then of course the other benefit of Unities like pattern control etc. But you need to trade size and complexity. I'm talking about HUGE horn in a room. Not really pleasant :)
 

AllenB

Moderator
Paid Member
2008-10-18 11:31 am
ORNJ, they should be more similar than different. If the difference was night and day I would think the individual designs needed refining. There is a good post on this here somewhere, maybe search for unity and summa in one post by patrick bateman.

@ra7 Your comments that the econowave will not control directivity below 500Hz are offset by the fact that it is decidedly less important at those lower frequencies. The econowave layout allows more attention and refinement to be paid to the waveguide, yet the unity design has found ways to minimise it's issues there.
 
ORNJ, they should be more similar than different. If the difference was night and day I would think the individual designs needed refining. There is a good post on this here somewhere, maybe search for unity and summa in one post by patrick bateman.

@ra7 Your comments that the econowave will not control directivity below 500Hz are offset by the fact that it is decidedly less important at those lower frequencies. The econowave layout allows more attention and refinement to be paid to the waveguide, yet the unity design has found ways to minimise it's issues there.

The good thing about a Synergy horn is that the midrange and high frequencies radiate from a point in space that's about the size of a baseball. Due to this very tight integration, the intelligibility of the speaker is epic. When you listen to a beloved recording, you hear things 'in the mix' you never knew were there.

On the downside, they're hideously complex. Not a DIY project for the faint-of-heart.

I like my Gedlee Summas, but they need a BIG ROOM. Personally, I think the 'sweet spot' is a two-way with a 10" or 12" waveguide. This gives you a lot more flexibility as far as placing the speakers in the room, and smaller speakers can be listened to at a smaller distance. (Basically the smaller the CTC spacing, the closer you can listen to them and still be in the farfield.)
 

ORNJ

Member
2011-03-15 11:02 pm
CA
Patrick,
Thanks for the input. I am indeed looking more at the econowave type of designs. I just do not know if the extra expense is worth the challenges of a DIY Unity. I believe I have read a post of yours somewhere that the mids were better from the Summa as well.

There is something to say about a simple speaker...

The only other style I was looking at was the open baffles like the LX521 as they also try to control room interactions. However, multiple amps and the cost of such a system is far above what I am currently willing to spend.

The only thing that I would consider at this point in time is a BMS coaxial CD when looking at horns... but even then I question the return I am getting for the return....I am a very frugal person and try not to spend more than I have to if you can't tell

I also thought about the possibility of a "D8" where I would essentially be doing something like the JTR T8 but with an 8" Coax and then a 8" midbass but from what I understand that is also more complicated and the econowave will give a bigger sweet spot which is one of my main goals since this is going to also be used for home theater purposes....hopefully one day behind a projection screen
 
Patrick,
Thanks for the input. I am indeed looking more at the econowave type of designs. I just do not know if the extra expense is worth the challenges of a DIY Unity. I believe I have read a post of yours somewhere that the mids were better from the Summa as well.

There is something to say about a simple speaker...

The only other style I was looking at was the open baffles like the LX521 as they also try to control room interactions. However, multiple amps and the cost of such a system is far above what I am currently willing to spend.

The only thing that I would consider at this point in time is a BMS coaxial CD when looking at horns... but even then I question the return I am getting for the return....I am a very frugal person and try not to spend more than I have to if you can't tell

I also thought about the possibility of a "D8" where I would essentially be doing something like the JTR T8 but with an 8" Coax and then a 8" midbass but from what I understand that is also more complicated and the econowave will give a bigger sweet spot which is one of my main goals since this is going to also be used for home theater purposes....hopefully one day behind a projection screen

I'm using the ultra-cheap KEF UNI-Qs in a home theater setup currently, and it's a screaming deal for the cost.

When you do a Unity or Synergy horn, there's a lot of reasons to go with a big mouth. For instance, when you use a 40cm mouth like the Lambda, the horn is basically not doing anything to control the pattern of the midranges. (There's a *little* bit of pattern control, but it's basically collapsing at the frequency where the compression driver is passing the baton to the midranges.)

The Danley SH-50 has a mouth with an area that's four times as large, so you're getting pattern control well into the bandwidth of the midranges... But at the cost of an enormous chunk of real estate.

I think these factors are one of the reasons that a forum member named "Sheldon" didn't hear a huge difference between running the Lambda Unity as a three-way (with the midranges) versus a two-way (without.)

The Kefs might make a wicked wanna-be Unity; it would be trivially easy to drop them into a wide-angle waveguide, kind of like the coaxial boxes that Danley sells.

The Kefs were a way better deal when Newegg was blowing them out for $250 a set, but they're still available on eBay for around $300.




Sorry this is so long winded.

It basically boils down to this:

Do you have a huge room? If yes, then Summa-type speakers could be very nice. Due to their very extreme dynamics, you really need to think about your neighbors because Summas just beg you to crank 'em up. They just don't exhibit any type of stress or harshness.

If you *don't* have a huge room, I'd go for something like the Gedlee Abbey, Nathan, or any of the smaller Synergy horns. (Due to the smaller center-to-center spacing, they're going to work better in a small room than a speaker with large CTC spacing.)
 

ORNJ

Member
2011-03-15 11:02 pm
CA
Yea, if I was going to go with econowave type of speaker I think I would most likely go with a Lamda TD10M or the TD12M with the SEOS waveguide.

I know the AE drivers are a little pricier but everything I read says that they are worth it.

However, they still are not as expensive as some of the other offering I have seen.

And I wont lie, the effortless dynamics with huge SPL capabilities are the other thing I am interested in besides the large sweet spot. However, I do think my room is too small for something like a summa....that can be a long term goal
 

AllenB

Moderator
Paid Member
2008-10-18 11:31 am
I don't know, I used to listen to 15" mids and waveguides much closer than many would think it appropriate to. Far from disappointing.
There is something to say about a simple speaker...
One could say that they're both simple speakers....ratio of direct sound, point source. They sound simple, the reason is simple etc.....

The reason the econowave concept is simpler to build, I think, is along the lines of those that see parts that they like and buy them on their own, then later try to fit them into a design with something else. The econowave concept is a little more forgiving there and a little easier in being able to 'fix it in the crossover'.

Put it together with a unity and an experienced designer and they'd both need considerable attention to be done right.
 

mayhem13

Member
2008-09-22 4:37 am
As to directivity extending low, what about what KEF is doing with the blade and its 'hyper Cardoid like' sidefiring woofers? If it works as well as a Unity type system, the space saving attributes are enough to make it a more advantageous design, not to mention the lower difficulty factor if someone was to construct a DIY variant.
 

ORNJ

Member
2011-03-15 11:02 pm
CA
I am not that familiar with the KEF Blade. I'll make sure to look into that.

One thing that occured to me on my drive home from work was something that may be more similar to a JBL 4343 type of design that had maybe a 8" midbass driver and horn designed to be big enough to cross where the directivity of the two drivers match. Then have either a 12 or 15" driver below to extend the speakers bandwidth.

This would give a small CTC spacing for the possibility of better imaging without sacraficing much sensitivity and extension...However, three way speakers have challenges of their own.

That said though, I have always wanted to experiment with some more lossy cabinets
 
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