I may draw the wrath of some for this comment, but I've never been very enthused by Lowther speakers. If I were going to assemble a system with a moderate-powered tube amp (I built a Fisher X-202-B kit about 40 years ago, and used it happily for 5 years until I got drafted for Vietnam), I'd probably take a long look (and listen) to one of the Coincident Speaker Technology models, all of which are quite efficient. The Coincidents have a better balanced frequency response than the Lowthers, and will do a nice job of reproducing both classical and jazz.
thanks for the response Sdcampbell, but outside the bookshelfs, the Coincidents are way out of my price range. the Lowther speakers can be had for around $1500 new.
If you must have a high efficiency full range speaker, get one without a whizzer cone. Fostex makes several such lines in various diameters. I think that all Lowthers have whizzers.
I second Eldartford's recommendation. Other than Fostex, Supravox also offers spkrs without a whizzer.
But you'll need a (super)tweet to reach +20kHz (unless of course you opt for the expensive 215/2000).
If you must go the Lowther way, see if you can afford the EX series. The response is somewhat tamed.
My advice... listen for yourself in your own room. From there you can decide which way to go.Response graphs won't and can't replace a good pair of ears. Everyone has an opinion but the only one that matters is your own!
Not to be a contrarian, but I have heard several Lowthers, and was quite smitten with the sound. It is much better than I expected; "sounds" more full range than it measures. The sense of being alive was almost shocking. These speakers had so much presence that I was blown away. Perhaps more like live music than anything else I have come across.
On the other hand, it is definitely a love it or hate it sound. Put it this way, if you like Coincidents, you'll love these. They make my Coincidents sound like they have horse blankets on. Conversely, if you are a Vandersteen guy, like my good friend Scott (Sdcampbell), I would definitely look elsewhere. What I consider live, others will find horrifically upfront and bright. It's all about your tastes, like most things...
For those who have not heard the latest Lowther changes to the whizzer cone, it is a significant improvement over the old whizzer that had no stiffening gusset on the unsupported edge. The new whizzer has a completely different edge shape now, and is not subject to the "tizziness" that was related to the old whizzer shape. It has also significantly reduced the characteristic "shout" in a narrow band of frequencies in the upper midrange, so that the new Lowther versions are a dramatic improvement over the older series. Not perfect, mind you, but much improved. There is also a change in the suspension roll, which also improves the sound over the older series.
While I agree that the whizzer cone does impart some anomalies to the sound in the upper mids(now primarily a small response hump), due to the mechanical characteristics of the interaction of whizzer and main cones, it is still providing a pretty good sound up into the high frequencies(22kHz on axis), without resorting to a crossover and supertweeter.
Whether any particular listener likes the sound of the Lowthers is up to their personal tastes. I will say that virtually all of the available Lowther cabinet designs have serious flaws regarding the baffle-step compensation, and they either use an electronic baffle-step compensation network(which kills off 5db of efficiency in the system, and introduces filter problems), or they have a 5db dropoff in response below the baffle-step frequency of the cabinet being utilized. Either way, the performance that is expected from the driver is compromised, either by losing the direct-drive and high-efficiency benefits if you use a compensation filter, or by losing midbass and bass response if you don't(and use typical narrow cabinets).
Many of the typical Lowther problems that get attributed to the drivers, are really problems in the cabinet designs which were not properly addressed. IMHO.
Short comings and all---about as good in mid-magic as it gets.---Lowthers sound better being driven a receiver than any speaker I know of(also being driven by a receiver).---On the cheap; most will be impressed.--- Yup, my Lowthers are driven by a receiver--- got their center as well.---On voices and most instruments--- will put to shame many big buck cones---But I guess that is subjective and you gotta hear for yourself.
Is that another way of saying you find Vandersteens horrifically upfront and bright, Joe? Just asking.
4yanx, no, not at all. I find them to be on the other end of the spectrum.
Sincere apologies if I didn't make myself clear. Although English is the only tongue I have ever spoken, some would probably call me an ESL candidate. Wouldn't be sure what the first language would be in that case, but that's besides the point...
My apologies. I was pretty certain that wasn't what you meant. It seemed that you drew a comparison of the Coincidents to the Lowthers and mentioned that the Lowthers invoked a sense of live music better than most others youd heard. Then you said that if you liked the Coincidents, youd love the Lowthers. Finally, you said that, conversely, if you were a Vandersteen guy, a look elsewhere would be in order. I misconstrued the conversely part to mean that the Vandersteens would perhaps have the opposite characteristics, to the extent that what you found preferable might be horrifically upfront and bright to others. I took an IQ test with my son on a lark recently and maybe I was unduly influenced by all the If all Quarks are Gorps, and if some Gorps are Bleeps questions!:-)
Perhaps I made my post sound a bit to negative.
I use Lowthers, and like them very much.
I was just trying to point out that there have been changes in the last couple of years, and maybe some people hadn't heard the newer versions, which are better than the old.
However, the situation with the cabinets is still a problem in most cases. These problems can be overcome with some thought and application of known technology.
thanks for the responses! let me add another question, which as I see on some past posts is widely debated: do you prefer the lowther or fostex drivers? i could pick up the cain abby speakers for even less than the lowthers, which do you prefer and why? the fisher is not heavy on the bass, so maybe, just maybe, the lowthers would be overly bright.
Both Fostex and Lowther are good drivers. Some will prefer the Fostex, and some will prefer the Lowther.
Personally, I found the Lowther drivers to be what I preferred.
Generally the Fostex drivers are a little bit less in sensitivity, with about 94db being typical for them, whereas the Lowther drivers have models going up to 99.5db sensitivity. This may be useful if the amp's power levels are quite low. The Fostex will be just fine with anything about 8 wpc and over.
I think that the Lowther has more detail and is a bit faster and more transparent, but they cost alot more than the Fostex.
There are proponents of both brands, and ultimately you would have to decide which you like, and which suits your budget and system best.
I'd like to add that the 1.3 bass-reflex box for the PM2C is not really the right design for Lowther drivers. The Lowther is designed to have the rear-wave loaded into a back-horn type enclosure, or a Voigt Pipe(Cain&Cain Abbey type).
Also, the PM2C is the "budget" Lowther, and has lower sensitivity around the same level as the Fostex, has ceramic magnets, and offers less detail, speed, and transparency than the higher Lowther models. But they are still good speakers. They would be probably more similar to the performance of the Fostex models.
Twl, if I prefer a more mellow sound, is the Fostex the better choice? not that I don't want accurate speakers, but I don't neccessarily wan't every flaw on a recording to be revealed.
Jtn the Cain&Cain Abbys are terrific musical instruments.
I spent several hrs auditioning them. You can listen to these for hours without fatigue.They aren't rolled off,neither are they hyper reality. The Fostex has a very natural sound.It's cone is made from banana plant fiber, it should sound natural LOL.
None of these speakers will suit a rock & roller. Anyone into jazz,vocals, instrumental or classical music owes it to themselves to take a listen. I'm done with speakers that use crossovers. I never realised there was so much information and emotion in the music that's stripped by some crossovers. The only speakers with crossovers I've heard that come close in coherency and natural timing are Green Mountain Audio Europas.
Single driver/crossoverless type speakers really do make some speakers sound like a blanket was tossed over them.. no matter their cost!
Give these speakers a good source and be prepared to have your mind blowed! I find good old fashion copper speaker wires do the trick as well. These speakers don't need silver..I already made that mistake!
As always listen for yourself.
Jtnicolosi, yes probably the Fostex would be a bit less revealing in ultimate detail, and may provide a bit more ease of listening for those who tire of deep detail in their systems.
Twl and other Lowther fans...I don't mean to offend, but my take on whizzers is that they just create a lot of very high frequency noise, not directly related to the music signal. However, the ear does not really distinguish individual notes up there, so the brain may just be stimulated to perceve the harmonics which ought to be there based on the lower frequency fundamentals. But what the hell...if this works, it works. By the way, I bet this applies to some extent to a lot of HF drivers. Just more so with whizzers.
El, yes some whizzers do exactly that. That's what happened in the older Lowther models with the old whizzer cone.
Now it is different.
While it is true that whizzers can have their downsides, they also have their good points. There is no doubt that the whizzer is much smaller in diameter than the main cone, thus improving high-frequency dispersion greatly, with the beaming frequency much higher than just the main cone alone.
In a speaker with such a wide range, a whizzer cone is an applicable technology which works for its intended purpose. Although the unsupported edge has been a problem for most whizzer designs, the new gusseted-edge Lowther whizzer has really worked that problem down to the bare minimum. Also, the new Lowther "shower head" phase plug keeps the whizzer loaded at all frequencies which it operates in, and assists noticeably in keeping it under control.
No, it's not perfect, but it is pretty darn good, and I'll take it over a crossover and tweeter for my uses. Trade-offs abound in all systems.