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World's Best Tweeters Face-off :: Subjective comparison
World's Best Tweeters Face-off :: Subjective comparison
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Old 17th September 2015, 02:31 AM   #1
JonBocani is offline JonBocani  Canada
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World's Best Tweeters Face-off :: Subjective comparison
Arrow World's Best Tweeters Face-off :: Subjective comparison

I had a great opportunity this week (thanks to Chris at Solen): Side-to-side comparison with 3 of the greatest tweeters on the planet, from the Serbian company RAAL:

.: The super efficient 210-10D ''Lazy ribbon''
.: The renowned 140-15DAM (amorphous core version)
.: and the not-available-to-public 70-20XR

Over the years i had the chance to play, test and listen to each of them for many hours, but i never had the opportunity to make a comparison test, side-to-side, using the very same system and room and keeping the memory fresh with same music excerpts.

So, here it is.


An externally hosted image should be here but it no longer works. Please upload images instead of linking to them to prevent this.


As you can see, i added a little intruder: a ''value'' tweeter, the surprising Airborne RT-4001... just to have a ''non-Raal'' driver as a reference...

Before i start, here is a quick presentation of the system: it's an active 4-way that uses DEQX preamp/DSP/xover + ICEpower amplifiers + macMini/itunes music server that feeds digitally the DEQX. Other drivers are: (4) JL audio 10w7 + (2) Volt midbass + (2) Voxativ AC-1.6.

EQ calibration made from the listening seat, distance of 4.8 meters and about 8 deg off-axis using Earthworks M50 calibrated mic.

The Voxativ was the perfect midrange for this test because it's a fullrange/wideband that is really at ease with pretty much any highpass xover point i had to try...

First, i did a little test to see what they have in the belly, their comfort zone, their natural in-room frequency response. For that, i made a DEQX highpass setting of 1000hz with very steep 162db/octave linear phase.

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Then, based on the results, i made other DEQX configurations, EQ'd the FR and listened to each of them. I kept the EQing very light so the real sonic signature of each tweeters stays realistic.

Most of the time it was with a 300db/oct slope linear phase, so if you're using passive set-up your results/conclusions may be different than mine, but i think, overall, it gives a good idea of each drivers. It's subjective, of course, but i'll do my best to stay objective ;-)


AIRBORNE RT-4001

Lower Frequencies: 7.0/10

Higher Frequencies: 6.5/10

Micro/Macro dynamics: 6.5/10

3D feeling and Texture: 7.0/10

Transparency: 7.5/10

Ease of integration: 7.5/10

CONCLUSIONS: The overall performance of this inexpensive tweeter is very good. In fact, it's surprising how good it performs in this somewhat unfair comparison. Comfort zone from 2,5khz up to 14khz... FR not too bumpy... handles well the EQ corrections... Not a lot of energy but very decent... a little ''sssssss'' sonic signature that reminds us we have tweeters in the systems, but i've seen a lot worst.

----------------------------------------------------------

RAAL 140-15DAM

Lower Frequencies: 9.0/10

Higher Frequencies: 8.5/10

Micro/Macro dynamics: 8.5/10

3D feeling and Texture: 8.5/10

Transparency: 9.5/10

Ease of integration: 9.5/10

CONCLUSIONS: Considered by many as THE best tweeter in the world, i have to admit this one has no weakness. Like.. at all. It's, by far, the most well-balanced high-frequency driver i heard in my life so far. It disappear completely while keeping the razor sharp resolution you expect... natural FR is excellent... handles EQ correction like a champ... Comfort zone 1.6khz - 20khz+ makes it very easy to match with almost any midrange driver.

----------------------------------------------------------

RAAL 70-20D

Lower Frequencies: 9.5/10

Higher Frequencies: 8.0/10

Micro/Macro dynamics: 8.0/10

3D feeling and Texture: 8.5/10

Transparency: 9.5/10

Ease of integration: 9.0/10

CONCLUSIONS: Rumor was floatting about this not-available to public driver that it could beat his mighty brothers... Well, i wouldnt say that but some might find it indeed better, in some ways... Comfort zone 1.6khz - 10khz with a surprising roll-off smoothly starting from 8khz, that is the ribbon tweeter that sounds the least like a ribbon tweeter. Very ''domish'' sonic signature, if i may say. Would probably compete well against high-end domes such as the big Scan-speak and such. Because of his discreet high frequencies, it's very transparent while keeping a very good resolution feeling. High frequencies are there, but never annoying. Lower frequencies (+/- 1.6khz-5khz) is on par with the 140-15D or even better.


----------------------------------------------------------

RAAL 210-10D

Lower Frequencies: 5.5/10

Higher Frequencies: 9.5/10

Micro/Macro dynamics: 9.5/10

3D feeling and Texture: 9.0/10

Transparency: 9.0/10

Ease of integration: 4.5/10

CONCLUSIONS: As you can see, that's a wild one. Comfort zone from 3.8khz (and more likely 5 or 6khz) One of the most painful driver i had to integrate. Bumpy FR and limited bandwith. Nasty peak between 12khz and 17khz, dip at 7khz, another peak at 4khz... Not to mention the laser-narrow directivity. Doesnt look like i appreciate it very much, is it ? Well, on the contrary. With the right mid (which i have) you can take a chance with this stallion. The micro dynamics are out of this world, you have a 3D feels that add depth in almost every music you listen to... More resolution, more texture, more audio porn. Like a marriage with a Victoria secret's model, it might very well end up in a divorce, but you may also enjoy the ride.

-----------------------------------------

Unfortunately, no clear winner. It really depends of your needs and tastes. But i think that's some good information to start with, i hope it can help a little...

Next: i may try the Beyma tweeters

Jon


P.S. all drivers specs are available on the new Solen website: Home | Solen Electronique - World leading producer of high-end crossover components

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
***EDIT ADD-ON 24 december 2016***
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

BEYMA TPL 150 H


Lower Frequencies: 7.5/10*

Higher Frequencies: 6.0/10

Micro/Macro dynamics: 7.5/10

3D feeling and Texture: 7.0/10

Transparency: 8.0/10

Ease of integration: 8.5/10


CONCLUSIONS: A bit of a disappointment, i must say. Not a bad tweeter at all, just not as good as a 4in. diaphragm compression in the mid-hi region, and surely not able to compete in the last 2 octaves against the RAAL ribbons. On the other hand they are quite efficient, you can cross it low, they don't have any obvious flaws, they are pretty good jack-of-all-trades performers and probably more interesting than most of the dome technology tweeters there is.

*didn't try lower crossover point than 2.2khz and without a proper installation on a baffle, so the lower-frequencies (1khz-4khz) was not properly tested and mainly just compared to the Radian 950BPbe's midrange performance in that bandwith (in which the Beyma completely lost in comparison).

Last edited by JonBocani; 24th December 2016 at 05:23 PM.
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Old 17th September 2015, 07:30 AM   #2
oon_the_kid is offline oon_the_kid  Malaysia
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While you are at it, could you also tell us how to get married to a Victoria Secret's model, I don't mind giving that a shot...

Oon
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Old 17th September 2015, 08:12 AM   #3
acg is offline acg  Australia
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Thanks Jon,

I have wanted to get an idea how these drivers fit together in their own stable. I have the Lazy Ribbons here that have an amorphous transformer core and are direct tube drive that I am yet to hear. They will be used above roughly 10kHz and will shoot out between some horns so that narrow directivity you talk about may work just nicely.

Cheers,

Anthony
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Old 17th September 2015, 12:02 PM   #4
Boden is offline Boden  Netherlands
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Hello Jon,

Thanks for the test. However, I do not at all understand your test protocol.

Have these tweeters been equalized by de DEXQ to exactly the same transfer functions/acoustic output and level in your system, e.g. 4e order LR @ 2500Hz with 86 db/Wm passband level?

Furthermore, I see no measurements unfiltered or filtered. Could you post these?

Thank you,

regards,

Eelco
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Old 17th September 2015, 02:25 PM   #5
rb132333 is offline rb132333  United States
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I know that everyone luvs the Raals. The endless gushing over them seems to go on and on and on and....... Alas, I have never heard them. Thanks for this comparison and write up.

You mentioned the possibly doing the Beyma tweeters next which would be great to hear the overall comparison. I have been reading about them for some time and my curiosity is peaked.

My request would be to include the ESS Heil AMTs (which I own). I do have trouble imagining that a tweeter can sound much better.
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Old 17th September 2015, 03:11 PM   #6
JonBocani is offline JonBocani  Canada
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World's Best Tweeters Face-off :: Subjective comparison
Quote:
Originally Posted by rb132333 View Post
You mentioned the possibly doing the Beyma tweeters next which would be great to hear the overall comparison. I have been reading about them for some time and my curiosity is peaked.

My request would be to include the ESS Heil AMTs (which I own). I do have trouble imagining that a tweeter can sound much better.
Beyma TPL 150 or 200 and also a Scan-speak Revelator (Illuminator?) maybe
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Old 17th September 2015, 03:16 PM   #7
JonBocani is offline JonBocani  Canada
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World's Best Tweeters Face-off :: Subjective comparison
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boden View Post
Hello Jon,

Thanks for the test. However, I do not at all understand your test protocol.

Have these tweeters been equalized by de DEXQ to exactly the same transfer functions/acoustic output and level in your system, e.g. 4e order LR @ 2500Hz with 86 db/Wm passband level?

Furthermore, I see no measurements unfiltered or filtered. Could you post these?

Thank you,

regards,

Eelco
Auto-measure function were not used with the DEQX, all manually with the mic and RTA.

Of course, i tried to keep common grounds for all drivers so all same EQ settings and xover for the sub/midbass/mid

and xover points were:

110hz* / 770hz / 2800hz for all 3: 70-20XR, 140-15DAM and RT-4001

and

110hz / 770hz / 3800hz for the 210-10D


* passive xover for the sub since the DEQX is 3-way only.
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Old 17th September 2015, 03:21 PM   #8
JonBocani is offline JonBocani  Canada
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World's Best Tweeters Face-off :: Subjective comparison
Quote:
Originally Posted by oon_the_kid View Post
While you are at it, could you also tell us how to get married to a Victoria Secret's model, I don't mind giving that a shot...

Oon
You have to spoil her with gold-silver diamond coated cables. Or is it necklace ? sorry can't remember.
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Old 17th September 2015, 03:25 PM   #9
WTS is offline WTS  Canada
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Hi Jon,

Thanks for the link to your thread. It is a very interesting read considering I just received a long email from the Aleksandar about the plus's and minus's about using his ribbons with brick-wall filters. If you would like I could send you his comments.

Yes I agree I would like to see you compare these to other high end tweeters like the SS revs (6140/7140/71003)and Illuminator models(6620/6600) as well as maybe the Mundorf AMTs and Beyma. These seem to be about the cream of the crop for the whole speaker industry. And considering you have an in at Solen where most of these can be had, well okay not the Beyma or Mundorf.

Last edited by WTS; 17th September 2015 at 03:36 PM.
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Old 17th September 2015, 04:05 PM   #10
JonBocani is offline JonBocani  Canada
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World's Best Tweeters Face-off :: Subjective comparison
few years ago i did a side-by-side comparison between the top of the line Scan-speak dome and the 140-15D. While both were obviously very capable drivers, i prefered the 140-15D.

To be honest, at this level it might be a matter of taste as well. The second you're allergic to very high frequencies and/or extremely detailed, chirurgical sharp resolution, you might prefer the sound of a dome tweeter. But then again, the 70-20XR is as smooth as a dome but with greater resolution.

Spent last evening with the 70-20XR in my system and that's one hell of a good driver. It lacks the ''spark'' of the bigger brothers but the mid-hi is breathtaking.
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