Which driver is the "real" Fe103a??

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Wich driver is the "real" Fe103a??

I found a pair of these used drivers after I visited this page:

http://www.t-linespeakers.org/drivers/tunnelreflex/index.html

This guy claims that these are vintage Fe103 while the Fostex site shows this driver.. they don't look alike..

See: http://www.solen.ca/pics/fostex/fe103e.jpg

So, what is what? and have my old vintage drivers any real virtues compared to the newer Fostex?

I'd like to either build a TQWT or a Zigmahonet..

Anybody knows how to insert an image directly in the text? using the IMG icon, it lead to an HTTP invite..

Thanks

Sylvain
 
That "guy" is a moderator here at DIY. That's planet10's site you went to.

AFAIK, the FE103A is the alnico version. The other site is showing a ceramic magnet version FE103. So the first one is correct.

Cal

For posting a pic, go down to "choose file" at the bottom of the window, click on it and grab a pic from your files (less than 100K) and select it. It will come up as a thumbnail that we have to click on to enlarge.
 
But..

Thanks for the info, Cal. But I remain puzzled. You've seen the image Solen Canada puts for the 103a..

I'll take your word anyway and build a Zigma.

About inserting an image in my text, I don't see any "choose file" option anywhere.. I really am a zero with a computer.

Sylvain
 
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Sylvain,
After you click on "post reply" go to the bottom of the window you're in and click on whatever the buttom says underneath it. Then go into your computer and find a picture you like and choose it. The picture will be transfered as a little snapshot that we click on to look at.

Maybe go back to planet10 site and ask him the answers about the 103's directly. He's a pro with those little guys.

Cal
 
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A quick & nasty summary, based purely on experience & conversations with others:

I coined the name FE103A. This is intended to describe the family of alnico drivers that the current Fostex FE103 is a descendant of.

These were being built long before Foster ever spun off the entity we know today as Fostex. These drivers -- built in the 60s & maybe into the early 70s use the same basket as today's FE103 (and OEM variants like the Radio Shack 40-1197 and the ACR 103) -- that is serious amortization of tooling. The actual drivers caome with numbers like 5410182, 10RG11, 76C251-2, and probably the most recent and the 1st to carry a name clearly linked the 10F3.

The Foster drivers look substantially the same despite different model numbers. Tey all have the creme cones with the rust colored surround. Most have a centre cyclops eye (vent). The 10F3 is an exception.

In North America these drivers are most often found in Admiral Tunnel Reflex boxes. An interesting design that does no justice to the driver. The 10F3 is found in some Noresco speakers -- i have them in a box with 2/box, Cal found them mated with a Philips 7" FR.

This was a hottly contested market niche, and i have seen versions by Coral, Panasonic, & even Radio Speakers of Canada (the last had foam surrounds which had vaporized by the time i got them). I even have a set (US(?) manufacturer unknown at this point) with a whizzer cone. I've probably seen at least a dozen variations and wouldn't be surprised to see that many more again.

The best (and rarest) of these are the holey basket Coral (creme cone-white surround -- come in 16 ohms in a little Monarch -- a pr at a time) and and 8 ohm version that comes in some Sony reel-to-reels (i've had reports of the foster in Sony R-Rs too). I've yet to find any of the 16s that have Fs much below 150 Hz, i measured the Sony's at 85-95 Hz. The other is the Panasonic (the least appreciated of the Big 3 Japanese OEMs, and arguably the most innovative) that came in a tunnel reflex sized & concept Akai box (newer ones have a ceramic version of the driver).

As well as the more common 4" (100mm) drivers, i have seen Foster 8F3 (ie F83A) and a Sony labeled 5" (F120A). I have seen pictures of a Foster 6 1/2" (FE164A)

dave
 
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I've yet to find a set of the Foster version that don't need to have their surround reattached... you don't want to stress them to much until they are repaired.

How do they sound. In a word very good. Stock, a good FE103A will go head to head with a Fostex FE108Sigma -- they sound different but it is 6 of one, half-a-dozen of the other. Modified they kill the FE108Sigma (the planet10-hifi phase plugs which were the final piece of that puzzle -- no one has let me go on a pair of FE108Sigmas). The FE108ESigma thou is a better driver excepting the magnitude of the bass. The FE103A is a higher Q driver (just got T/S capabilities and 1st samples are measuring in the region of 0.42) and easier to get bass out of.

There is a decided family resemblence in these drivers sonically -- particularily the bit of upper midrange honk they have (until fully modded).

The holey Coral versions & the single example of the Panasonic i have are a bit better (excepting the no bass seen in the 16 ohm Corals).

The Foster versions typically fetch $75-$125 USD/pr on eBay (the upper figures in the range are about right given their sonics). Found at a garage sale or a thrift store they are a bargin. A steal. A big smile on your face when you walk out of the store with them. My 1st full pair were retrieved out of the dumpster of a thrift store because they disn't consider them worthy (i hate to think how many have hit the tip).

dave
 

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I've never actually seen these -- i believe they are Panasonics. Under the big ugly dustcap are (i believe) radial ribs which would make these quite special

Edit: 23-Jun-05. These are built by an OEM called Atomix. They indeed have ribs under the dustcap. Atomix built a lot of the Sansui drivers. If a driver is suffixed with a W or has these characteristic ribs it is almost for sure an Atomix.
 

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