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planet10 6th February 2010 11:01 AM

fonken-style box nomenclature... what is with those names?
Fonken, Mar-Ken, Mar-Kel, milli, micro, prime -- where did they come from?

My 1st exposure to an onken design was when i was selling audax drivers at the hifi store in the late 70s. One of the factory designs was an onken enclosure for the 15" pro driver (boy was that a nice driver). That stuck with me.

When Bob of CSS asked me to come up with a box for the upcoming FR125S, i came up with a small box that looked like an onken. We called it the miniOnken. Update: bending to the will of the people, this term has been changed to fonken-style To keep it from unloading in the bass its ports needed to be damped.

Chris liked the FE127 driver that we were playing with better (it was happier with the small tube amps we were getting into). He asked if i could put it in a box like the miniOnken. Turns out that changing the port spacers (and the driver fitment) was all that we needed. Chris named it Fonken (Fostexonken). It was a game changer.

From the Fonken also came the Classic Golden-Ratio Fonken and the Floorstander Fonken (Mk I & Mk II). An as yet unbuilt WallFonken also exists.

Sometime later the urge to see how small a box we could get away led to an LS3/5A size box. (LS3/5A always facinated me) It took 3 trys to get right. The logical name was miniOnken but we'd already used that so we contracted it to mFonken to avoid confusion.

Now i challenged myself to make an even smaller one. Going thru the Fostex 3" it quickly became clear that the only one that would lead to a smaller box than the mFonken was the FF85K. So a pair was ordered up, and we got the next size smaller on the 1st try (i guess practice was helping). It made sense to call this a µFonken (microFonken).

It now became clear that the m in mFonken shouldn't be mini, but milli to be consistent with the prefixes in the metric system.

Then an opportunity came up to do a small box for someone on the forum for the FE108eSigma. A change of ports spacer an i had a mFonken size box with an FE108eS in it. What to name it? The easy way out was to call it mFonken108.

The concept of a larger Fonken for the FE167e had been on the backburner for awhile. When we finally did it, we didn't like deca, hecto, or kilo, so we just called it Fonken167.

About the same time, we did a FOnken for the FX120/F120A. When done, because of the almost characture size when sitting on a stand, became Fonken-steen. Chris again. I also did a dFonkenFX (deciFostexonkenFX120). A bit smaller than primeSize we now have deciSize (and no doubt centiSize at some point).

By this time just calling something a Fonken was getting confusing, there were 4 Fonken of various sizes. Since the full-size FE127e Fonken was first, we added a suffix to make it FonkenPrime.

We had started working with Mark Fenlon of Mark Audio. We got A6, A10, and CHR-70 to play with. The A6 fit into a milliSize box, and the A10 fit into a primeSize box. CHR-70 fit in a milliSize box but was best sealed. We now realized we had backed ourselves into a corner namewise -- we were struggling. Monken (Mark Audio Onken)? No way. Finally we came up with Marken6 and Marken10 (Mark onkenAlpair6). Still a bit awkward. So inspired by the names of those from Krypton (ie SuperMan), we added a hyphen and had Mar-Ken. Add the appropriate suffix and prefix (if needed) and we ended up with Mar-Ken6 and Mar-Ken10. Note that the Mar-Ken10 ended up being fatter & sqatter than a FonkenPrime because of the big bezels on all the Mark Audio drivers.

Now the CHR-70 was sealed. It wasn't a miniOnken anymore, but it was milliSize. So we ended up with mMarS70 (Mars, milliMarkSealed CHR-70).

Then Bob struck again. Bob was having Mark work on a paper cone driver. We got prototypes and needed to get them into a box quickly. So we did a millSize box. At the same time, we took the similarily sized Fostex FE103e and did a mFonken103. Bob decided to call the driver the EL70, so we ended up with mMar-Kel70.

It was always the intention to do a primeSize EL70 box, it came later. Mar-Kel70. It turned out to be outstanding!

Then came the Mark Audio Alpair7 and Alpair12. Alpair7 fits into a milliSize sealed mMarS7. PrimeSize was too big. We ended up with dMar-Ken7 (deciMark-onkenAlpair7). This one is licenced to a manufacturer in Denmark, and plans will be available for a small fee (as will Fonken167, and an extended series of prime, milli, & microSize Fonken -- stay tuned).

I'm working on a Mar-Ken12. It is a challenge thou. It wants to be in a primeSize box, but has a bezel even bigger than A10. Once i figure this out a Fonken207 may follow, it has similar size issues.

Somewhere along the way, i also did a milliSize for a Tangband W3-593 mTan-Ken593.

There is also a FonkenWoof. There are also lots of unfinished concepts (including a BiFonken & a floorstanding evolution of Fonken-steen)

Since the original miniOnken was done, further work with the FR125 has us much preferring (and recommending) this driver in a smaller box, 4.5-7 litre aperiodic so we have co-opted the origial and all of the above are considered to be members of the miniOnken Family.

There will no doubt be more.

There it is. :) Any questions?


CHR-Ken is the new name for the dMar-Ken70 (now in v@ version 1v1)
dMar-Ken7 @ version 1v1
Mar-Kel70@ version 1v1
Classic Golden Ratio dMar-Ken12 @ version 1v0

planet10 6th February 2010 07:27 PM


Originally Posted by planet10 (
There will no doubt be more.

I did forget one :) And this one could be confusing.

There is a prototype µFonken^2. This is 2 µFonken morphed into a single milliSize cabinet. It is a 1st experiment to check the gains/losses of 2 FF85KeN in a short array. Jury is still out (sounds good thou).

Can also be done with one driver front, one driver side mounted - a configuration that is gaining more traction as more Lotus^2 and Coniston^2 get built.


Scottmoose 6th February 2010 11:37 PM

You're just teasing now Dave... :D

Useful background on the nomenclature, & possibily a salutary lesson in how model ranges can expand faster than the naming scheme can keep up... ;) -be interesting to see how the above turns out, esp. with a side-firing driver.

AndrewL 9th February 2010 07:38 PM

Hi Dave,

How the mFonken108 turn out compared to the rest? I do like this little driver.

-- Andrew

planet10 9th February 2010 07:49 PM

We didn't actually build a mFonken108. I did it up for another member, he never reported back.


AndrewL 9th February 2010 07:54 PM

That's a pity....I'm still trying to decide upon which milli sized one.

planet10 9th February 2010 08:13 PM

What kind of support kit and budget do you have?


AndrewL 9th February 2010 08:34 PM

Hi Dave,

Probably a Crimson, we exchanged an e-mail a week or so ago, the idea of a 108 milli was appealing as I like this driver, I was actually thinking about the A6, if I can get hold of a pair.

-- Andrew

planet10 9th February 2010 09:24 PM

I don't think any of the Fostex are going to really going to be at their best with the Crimson. I'd look to the EL70eN for that amplifier.


tresch 14th April 2010 06:15 PM

So... what's an onken in the first place?

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