Coaxials - Reality vs. Experience?

Should say "hype vs. reality" in the headline. 


Coaxial speaker design has been around in one way or another for a long time. I often think I’ll be absolutely blown away by them, but in practice traditional vertical layout speakers often have sound as good, or have other features that make them sound better.

Thiel, KEF, Monitor Audio, Tekton, Seas are among the many players attempting such designs, but none has, by the coaxial drivers alone, dominated a segment of the market.

What are your listening experiences? Is it 1 coaxial speaker that won you over, or have you always preferred them?



As far as Tannoy tulip vs. pepperpot waveguide: pepperpot (usually paired with a single alnico magnet which is VERY expensive) is capable of a more vibrant, lifelike and gorgeous midrange with very fast transients and "startle" factor, but on the flipside its top end can get a bit rough and requires careful system matching to keep this in check!



The occasionally sharp treble sting of my Tannoy Berkeley’s was reduced by 2 things.

The first was the use of isolation under the 4 feet, especially the front pair which carried most of the speaker’s considerable weight.

And secondly by gently loosening the 4 drive unit bolts to hand tightness.

Otherwise, I don’t know if even all of their alnico midrange glory would have been enough for me to stay with them for so long.

I've owned coax speakers (Thiel) and listened to a number of others - e.g KEF, Tannoy, more recently the SourcePoint 10s.

I have not found any particular advantage just due to a speaker using a coax design.  I don't for instance find the KEF, Tannoys or SP10s "extra coherent" or casting a soundstage unlike I can find elsewhere.  In fact I've found a number of speakers, even the old Shun Mook Bella Voce (Shun Mook!!!) speakers to strike me as more coherent than for instance the Tannoys or SP10s or even the KEFs.


That said...I have found the two most recent Thiel speakers I've owned - Jim's last flagship 3.7 and also the 2.7s - to be just about the most coherent multi-driver speakers I've ever heard.  Especially the 3.7.

I had the Thiel CS6 at my place years ago which had their then-new coax midrange/tweeter.   That speaker sounded very coherent with the exception of a slight change in character with listener position, especially vertically a bit as I remember.  I think some form of interference was producing a slight "hollow" sound from certain positions.

It seems that Thiel finally nailed the coax design with his last version - the tweeter set in the "flat" (corrugated) midrange driver.   That speaker's midrange and treble (and bass) was just totally coherent in my home.  Same with the 2.7.  I can not for the life of me "hear out" the difference in drivers, any transition, cancellation or anything.   And it maintains it's character over a very wide area.  The sound is very consistent even when I stand up and walk around the room.

The other thing with the Thiels is the insane imaging prowess.  There is a focus and precision and density to the imaging I have rarely heard before.  Even my Joseph Speakers, renowned for imaging, sound slightly diffuse and less tight when directly compared with the Thiels.

So ultimately I have no idea how much of this to attribute to the fact it's a coax driver for the mids/highs, or to the first order/phase coherent design, or to any number of other design choices in the Thiels.




@prof Prof    100%           it is impossible to hear difference between tweeter location in the center of main driver or couple inches from . This is placebo efffect or good marketing point.LOl, Is it also applicable only  to 2 way speakers , but a lot audiophile disagree, Keep Enjoy 

@prof Prof    100%           it is impossible to hear difference between tweeter location in the center of main driver or couple inches from . This is placebo efffect or good marketing point.LOl

Sure just get a cardboard box and throw a few drivers in there, place them wherever really, what does any of that matter? 😂

Some of the most successful implementations of a point source I've heard (which is what coaxial comes down to, being a point source - certainly over a relatively wide frequency span, if not most of it) is the Synergy horn by Tom Danley and TAD's CR1, but I'm also quite fond of the WLM Diva's (10" Eminence coaxial). I've found the Tannoy Dual Concentric iterations a bit too "flavored" or heavy/dark sounding to my ears, albeit with a very easy-going presentation and distinct sense of a coherent "radiation bubble" in front of me - a vital trait to aspire to.

What I'd consider the most here is a Synergy horn, but even being large I find they tend to lack a wee bit of upper bass energy that can be more successfully achieved from a dedicated midbass horn. So, instead of going with a 2 or 3-way Synergy horn crossing over to a midbass horn at 3-400Hz and then subs ditto further low I'd rather skip the Synergy horn altogether and go with a larger format MF/HF single-driver horn that takes over from the midbass horn on up. Being careful with timing/delay and maintaining uniform dispersion patterns at the cross-over frequencies a very coherent radiation sphere-of-sound can be achieved, while having more dedicated driver/horn sections to their respective areas. More of a hassle for sure, but to me at least ultimately more rewarding.