best 4.5" midrange drivers under $1K

Hi folks,

was wondering if any could give suggestion for best midrange. prefer it can make clean audible output down to 100-150Hz, flat up to 5KHz, and has non-paper cone. currently using seas excel wcyex001 in a 3-way setup (alumunium ribbon en fiberglass midbass).

my vote goes to the scan speak 4613 (12m) But your non-paper cone remark leaves this driver out.
12Ms are great drivers but it cannot match the quick transient of my ribbon tw. I guues its because of its paper cone. thanks for your input :) anybody else
I am not sure - those are pretty extreme specifications - do you understand what you are asking for?
This is the only thing I can think of that nearly meets your specs is ACCUTON C²79-6.

I would not design around a tweeter.

I'd start with midrange first and then find tweeter and woofer to match.
Sure, AudioTechnology 4 & 5" Flex Units. They are poly cone and run $240-287 each and most important, you can run full range with no x-over to over 5Khz.
You'll need a 3rd order x-over @6Khz for the 4" unit.
If you make a pair, can I come over and listen?
If you use accuton that low then I'd use two per speaker.

I assumed you wanted metal/ceramic instead of damped designs like paper/poly/fabric.

Another option Jordan JX92S - this will be comfortable in the range you require but it will roll off a bit in dispersion above 2 KHz.
@shadorne: yes I understand what I'm trying to do and I'm willing to pay for it :D I wanna something non-paper, so anything like poly/carbon will do. paper is too laidback of presentation to my likings as non paper will do a clear straight forward presentation. Accuton can go low in 4" size? I think theyr good at upper midrange freq but ok i'll put that on my list :D thankss

@cdc: Flex Unit is on my list. Thanks en sure u can listen

anybody else wanna throw something in mind?
I agree with the AT Flex-Units. You may find this driver's frequency response/construction hard to beat: (
thanks man.

any other?
Zaph is the man. Enjoy
Zaph drivers under 4.5"

Zaph 5.5" drivers

Funny, but I prefer paper for its snappy sound. Poly cones sound smoother but sort of dead IMHO.
Funny, but I prefer paper for its snappy sound. Poly cones sound smoother but sort of dead IMHO.

Exactly my thinking. Poly makes a good material for two way woofer/midbass - not my first choice in a midrange though. It is funny how perceptions are different.
Shadorne, I would guess you are a fan of the dome midrange? What material? In some ways a dome midrange would be better than any cone-type driver. I don't know what they are.
Here is a cheap one albeit aluminum.
Are you saying that paper cones do not have quick transient response? If so, please explain how you reach that conclusion?
@pbb: I reached that conclusion subjectively and dont expect everyone to agree with me but they were too laid back and not quick enough for ribbons tw. Please chip in whats on your mind.
@cdc: thanks for the zaph's website, its very useful indeed, wonder if he can test Flex 4" and Accutons
@shadorne: Im trying to find to best my excel midrange, i know theyr colder than paper but to me they deliver clear and as-is presentation
@shadorne: Im trying to find to best my excel midrange, i know theyr colder than paper but to me they deliver clear and as-is presentation

Shadorne, I would guess you are a fan of the dome midrange? What material?

If Audioism is looking for highly regarded midrange drivers then the ATC SM75-150S should be on his list.

There is a guy called SHINOBIWAN who has done extensive DIY using the driver - I'd google/contact him for help if you are intrigued. Some people really like to criticize it - but it has been around for more than two decades - so it is pretty popular despite being expensive.

The problem is that this driver is so powerful that I am not sure if any ribbon could keep up. It also needs sharp crossover filtering and distortion rises rapidly at low levels. Basically Audioism would need to start a design from scratch - so I did not suggest it.

It is apparently the only dual spider midrange dome in existance apart from a version by PMC which is apparently similar to its junior brother the SM75-150 - non "s" verison. The engineering/tolerances are painful and most other midrange domes (like the Vifa) will distort all too quickly at even modest volume levels - so midrange domes are not such a good choice in general especially cheap ones. This picture shows the "S" on the left and its junior brother on the right. Needless to say this is an absolutely massive drive motor for a 3" doped fabric dome (3" Voice coil) - in fact it far bigger than the vast majority of woofers. It is generally regarded as sounding faster than anything else except perhaps electrostatics (but will naturally go way louder than panels). It is also regarded as an expensive and difficult driver to match and best executed in an active design. Not something to start a DIY with, IMHO.
Well I always believed that paper was a good material for cones insofar as the weight of the material itself is concerned, but that it was more subject to temperature changes and would distort more than metal or plastics. In my second system I have a pair of Rega NAOS speakers that have paper drivers and these speaker,at least to my ears, have excellent transient response.

I do agree that getting good integration between ribbon tweeters and cone drivers is a daunting task.

What did Proac use as a midrange driver in its models with a ribbon tweeter? In the same manner, what is used by Piega? This could give you some insight.
Try 6,5" Lowthers and reconsider paper. It's very fast, hopefully not much faster than yr tweet. The drivers mentioned above, excellent though they are, are very difficult to work with and, I speculate, mismatched sonically with yr alu & fiberglass.
I would further recommend you reconsider the request for a 4,5" to play 150Hz and look for a bigger boy: say, 8".
I totally agree with Gregm. I would be tempted to double up on most 4.5" midranges when working to 150 Hz. I am skeptical that even the accutons could work well that low even if doubled up at all but the most modest of volumes.

Pulp Paper is underated. It is very fast. It is also resonably damped inmternally (the big issue you get when you go metal/ceramic is "ringing" and the need to consider notch filtering to reduce its audibility).
yes I agree with the ringing of the non paper, but have you tried excels? They certainly dont hv common weakness compared to other nonpaper..hence my search yet on nonpaper

Accutons cant go low unless the 6"-7"..even 5"one cant go as low as others in my experience
but have you tried excels?

No. But I am old school and a woofer or mid/bass with a voice coil diameter barely bigger than a typical tweeter kind of rules them out for me. You are talking thermal compression big time, IMHO - even at modest levels.
but try excel whenever wanna opt to metal without ringing with still gives you involving and sweet sound

yeah it's 4in afterall..i cant go bigger cause dont wanna to rework much on enclosure and my listening space is limited if not small
yeah it's 4in afterall..i cant go bigger cause dont wanna to rework much on enclosure and my listening space is limited if not small

The cone may be 4" but have you looked at the specifications for the voice coil. It probably uses a 26 MM diameter overhung voice coil - a diameter no bigger than most dome tweeters. These tend to get hot as the small surface area and long coil in a short gap and which means that heat dissipation can be a challenge. The metal phase plug is intended to help cool the pole piece but it is the voice coil that will get the hottest.
What struck me was the low distortion of the

Tangband W4-1337SA ($55)- click on harmonic distortion

It seems the be even lower than the ATC unit.
Tangband seems interesting, especially the price

anyone has any experience using it? How does it sound aside from its spec?

It all depends at what level the test is conducted and even the units are different. Shinobiwan's test was equivalent to 96 db spl at 1 meter without an infinite baffle (so the low end distortion rises as you go below 600 Hz as the driver loses the baffle assistance or half space 6db boost to the lower frequencies).

Tangband test appears to be done at what looks like 96dB at 1/2 meter or equivalent to 90 db spl at 1 Meter with an infinte baffle.

If you only need modest SPL's then the Tangband is great option but I doubt it can go much above the level at which it was tested. (Of course you could use two in Appolito config to gain some SPL!)

SPL level requirement is the key parameter that governs whether a cheap driver will be good enough or not.

In simple terms the ATC unit was tested at 6 db higher SPL and yet the THD is about 10 db SPL lower - and it can probably play even much louder cleanly. Furthermore, if you look more carefully you will see that 3rd order harmonic distortion is about 20 db SPL lower on the ATC unit. At the end of the day there is no free lunch - the Tangband is excellent but you can only expect so much at $55 (my guess is your Seas Excel is probably a much better driver).
Thanks shadorne...but ATC is out of budget...a pair of them will go about 13k at

yeah i think tangband is good but still money talks :)

Hows Visaton Ti100? know anything about this driver?
Look up Feastrex they are becoming more and more available, thay have a lower line that is still expensive but I would say still within reach

D5 (12cm massive AlNiCo/Permendur) - 290,000 yen each

This might be old data

That is 5 inches

Now if these drivers dont cut it these are your only hope:

Not conected to any of these people...
Shadorne, I may not be reading it right but the ATC was tested at 100dB and distortion was 30dB below the signal. the Tang-band distortion 40dB below the signal, of course not at 100dB. I have no doubt the ATC is the better driver.

Auudioism, I have used that titanium Tang-band driver. For the price, and at low dB, it's a nifty little driver. The good news is that is it clean sounding with low distortion and is pretty fast. However the bumped up H-F IS audible (at least to me) so you either need to cross over below 5-7kHz or attenuate the H-F if you go full range. Don't expect a lot of bass but then again, it doesn't require the power of the Flex Units either. I like it better than any Fostex driver I have heard but still not as much as my modded Tang-Band W4-616 that I am playing with now.
A Jordan JX-92 is much better than the T-B in every way but the sound was pretty thin to my ears. Zaph has spec's for [url=]Jordan[/url]

SPL level is 20 * Log (Absolute THD) - therefore ATC would appear at 60 db SPL down if it were on the same kind of SPL plot. For 0.1% THD you get = 20 * Log (0.001) = 60 db SPL. This may cause all the confusion in the comparison. There is very little out there that is so low - especially the 3rd harmonic which is much more detrimental then the 2nd and appears to be down around 70 db SPL ( this low level may be capable to show up problems of electronic distortion).

You may be right about the level - in any case that driver has no problem at 100 db SPL as it can go to 121 db SPL with 10 db of headroom at 0.3% THD, as in the implementation in the 300's
Hi again, found this company on the web, its based on eastern europe i guess. its a handmade one.

Looks like its piece of art but dunno how its sound
EJ Jordan JX92S 45Hz - 20K awesome driver and they've been at it forever.
If my understanding is correct, Feastrex has some odd prototype components sitting around from which they could put together a pair of 5-inch drivers that would surpass your performance requirements but would probably not quite live up to theirs, and thus could not be sold as regular Feastrex products. Feastrex drivers are normally beyond your price range but if they would agree to put together a pair of drivers using those components for you, you might be able to get them to give you a special price . . . I'm not sure if they would be able to accommodate you right away as their sales nearly quadrupled in the past year and if present trends continue they are going to be B-U-S-Y. But it can't hurt to ask, and if you are going to inquire, sooner is better than later as they are only going to get busier in the future, I suppose.
"EJ Jordan JX92S 45Hz - 20K awesome driver and they've been at it forever."

do you know the weaknesses that this particular driver has? Look insteresting but need to know what to expect if I try this
Audioism, according to your stated requirements, the JX92S should be an ideal fit. In regards to weaknesses, as far as a 5 inch driver is concerned, you will be hard pressed to find much wrong with the Jordan. They certainly don't sound like any metal based driver I have ever heard, musical without peaks or harshness whatsoever. Open, clear midrange and great dynamics to boot. These drivers are so incredibly versatile within their wide frequency range, just check out the specs. For better insight on various applications just browse the forums on diyaudio dot com. Good luck!