Help me choose drivers for a pair of Frugel-Horn speakers
As the title implies, I'm not sure which drivers to go with...
Alpair 7 and Fostex 126eN are obvious candidates and are the go-to products, but perhaps I should include ffwk85 and Alpair 5.2 in F-H Lite as well?
I have a system that I very much like already, but I feel like it's time to add some new speakers to the mix so that I can play with something different from time to time.
When not in use for 2 channel, they would serve duty as rear surround speakers in some kind of Frankenstein HT system hi-passed at 80-100hz, roughly 3 meters from listening position.
My new FH3s would mostly be used for late night listening in near field arrangement. The room if fairly big at about 3000-3500 ft3 (9' ceilings), but the main listening position happens to be 6 feet from the main speakers and these new ones would be even closer at about 5.5ft (roughly 4ft from front wall). Moderate volume and nothing over 90db at listening position.
Most likely they would need bass reinforcement and that would be provided by a pair of servo-controlled OB subwoofers located on each side of the main speakers.
In terms of amplification, 2 different flavours for 2-channel: high power class-d that sounds incredibly good and natural (Mivera SE amp with 1200as module) or SE AD1 tube amp similar to 2a3, 4WPC.
Please note that a cap was inserted in the tube amp so it's high-passed at 80hz and therefore the main speakers (or frugel horns) are relieved from low bass and can play a little louder.
As expected and from what I've read on the forum, the tube amp would be a very good match with the fe126eN and most likely the Mivera amp would pair well with the Alpair 7.3.
Then again it is possible that the tube amp could also power the Alpairs adequately considering the high-pass and spl level required :D And that the Mivera amp could do an ok job with the fe126 drivers (?)
To put everything in context, I had a pair of Hornshoppe Horns back in the days with FE108 Sigmas and although they weren't a very good fit for me and the rest of my equipment at the time, they certainly made an impression!! That's why I'm taking a bit of a leap of faith with the frugel horns and I'm hoping I can get the same coherent yet slightly diffused and enveloping sound (what comes out in the back(mouth)), tasty mid bass (whatever is there) and most importantly a very strong center image with excellent focus for the main vocalist or solo instrument such as piano or acoustic guitar.
I get it in spades with the main system but vocals are not 100% there...and would prefer a more 'front row' presentation (like I can almost reach forward and touch the main vocalist with my hands)
My room is treated with diffusion on front wall and behind main OB speakers, absorption is used on side walls for main reflection points.
So......what would you do if you were me?
Current system configuration
Between the FE126 and A7.3, my personal preference is for the Alpairs. Notwithstanding the putative sensitivity advantage of the Fostex, I find the Alpairs do everything else that I’m looking for from a small single driver so very well, including wider real world bandwidth without assistance, that unless SPL and dynamics are hamstrung by very low power - say such as a 45 DHT - they are a clear winner by a big margin.
Mind you, it’s been at least as far back as the original FH1 prototypes that I was limited to the power levels of tube amps such as Decware SE84 clones or Bottlehead Paramour 2A3, so of course, YMMV.
Edit - p.s. in today’s #metoo environment, I’d be careful about even voicing out loud the temptation to reach out and touch the vocalists or any of the musicians, even with what you might interpret as verbal consent.
Thank you for sharing your opinion with me. I realize this topic has been beaten to death but the community here has always been very helpful nonetheless.
Anybody else wants to comment?
If you are hi-passing at 80 Hz the Frugel-Horn Lites wil produce no less bass extension, only ultimate loudness, not an issue with near field. Matter of fact, FF85 or A5.2 would reach your LF goals.
The FH-Lite surprises everyone on 1st listen with the bass they can do… not the really low bass, but the 1st harmonic suficiently well that you don’t know what is missing except in comparison with something thst sctuslly reproduces the lowest notes (pensil10.3 in the particular test we did).
The smaller drivers will have better high frequency dispersion,probably not an advantage for your near-field use, but maybe an advantage for surrounds.
The Alpairs (the A6s should fit into the conversation too) will work with either amp, the limits being loudness with the small one, the FE126 much prefer a high output impedance amp.
As you know I ended up ordering a pair of 7.3eN drivers from you and I can't wait to move forward with this project. Thank you for helping me out in selecting drivers.
I was sharing my excitement with a good friend yesterday and he's now asking me to put a system together for him on a limited budget. I guess it's contagious... :D
His room is pretty large (open concept), he's not all that much into critical listening for now and he says he usually prefers using headphones. That's going to have to change lol.
From what he told me, he's going to use his system when streaming movies/series/Netflix and mostly to play ambiance music when cooking or when he has people over, late night listening, etc.
We're starting from scratch so I'm recommending a Klipsch Powergate all-in-one streamer/DAC/pre/amp. It's class-D that's not supposed to sound too grainy and can provide up to 50wpc. Pre-outs will let him upgrade to something like a Camp Amp in the future (or 2) and note that he's not interested in adding a subwoofer to the mix.
For now he streams 100% of his music using Spotify but I'll get him a free 3 month trial with Tidal after the break-in period is over and we'll see what he thinks.
Listening position when watching tv is around 3 meters from speakers but again he's going to be moving around quite a bit in his place or so he says.
His music tastes are relatively varied and I don't think he needs crazy SPL since he lives in a condo and has neighbors.
The big thing here is that he's very picky when it comes to looks and WAF is also a huge concern. If it wasn't for that, I would recommend a pair of FHXL with 10.P drivers in a heartbeat.
Considering the above and the fact that he wouldn't mind a bit of a retro look, I've been looking at your compact floorstander Mar-Ken design and find it rather appealing.
At this point, I'm considering the Pluvia 7 driver which is quite affordable. I couldn't help but notice that the enclosure dimensions (Mar-Ken10x) are identical if fitted with Alpair 10.3 drivers and only slightly larger for the 10p paper version. I assume that the bigger drivers have potential for greater scale and SPL which could be a good thing for ambiance music considering distance from speakers (?).
I'm also wondering how they would compare in terms of bass extension and slam (anechoic F6, F10, typical room response)? Also if you don't mind please include FH3 with P7 driver as well as half-tower mltl (pluvia 7) in the comparison just in case they're the ones that get approved by his spouse :D
Compact FloorStanders (so far) come in 2 sizes so far, the original 13 litre (EL70, A10.3, Pluvia 7) and a wider version for A10.2, A10p, FF165wk. The last 2 drivers will fit into the smaller box with a bit less extention. Each driver is tuned to its optimum retention, the P7, EL70, A10.2 have the greatest potential extention.
In the FH3 the horn dominates so drivers tend to have the same potential (but some like the FE126 need some help — ie corners). It will have an edge over the floorstanders for extention.
His room is slightly bigger that I thought at 19'x25' with 9' ceilings. And usage is 95% music, 5% tv/movies.
I just ordered the amplifier for him and I'll bring my FH3 speakers over to his place once I get them. Since the horn dominates, I assume my 7.3 drivers should give us an idea of what can be expected in terms of bass extension with the Pluvia ones.
Personally soundstage and imaging are very important to me and I'll make sure to show him what the FH3 design is capable of, but he's almost 100% sure they're not going to pass WAF because of their footprint and that the 9l compact floorstander would be a better option with either Pluvia 7 drivers or Alpair 10.3.
In terms of ultimate loudness, P7s should be good for 99db at 1m as opposed to 103 db for the 10.3 drivers according to my calculation. We'll try playing my 7.3 drivers fairly loud so that we can establish if the smaller drivers could be sufficient as far as spl is concerned.
There's much more to music/sound than loudness and bass extension and I don't think Pluvias and Alpairs have the same level of refinement.
Most likely nobody has heard the Compact Floorstander fitted with both drivers back to back so it's a bit difficult to compare them or ask for opinion. (Personally I would go with paper drivers since they are bit more forgiving but that's just me. The enclosure is a bit bigger too which could be a problem for his 'tendre moitié').
According to your last post, P7 drivers have the greatest potential extension. Would it be possible for you to model both P7 and 10.3 drivers in the 9l compact floorstander design so that we know specifically how they compare in that department?
Apart from that, Alpairs would offer more DDR if the rest of the system is up to the task and we're listening for it, most likely more impact and weight as well as spl capabilities but they would lose to the smaller Pluvias in terms of high frequency dispersion, correct?
What would you or Chris do if you had to choose between the two? :D
A10.3 est F6 mid 40s, F10 40.
P7 by the sims only goes moderately lower. Tiny bit.
Not as much as i thot.
Well that doesn't look too bad. Thank you, Dave.
Would you advise to go with the vent located in the front? That way they could be kept relatively close to the wall if needed in order to reinforce that bass response a bit?
Does the rest of my reasoning make sense or does it simply come down to a matter of taste?
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