Linkwitz-Riley Orions? The Peerless XLS drivers work well,as do the Dayton Infinite-Baffle series woofers.You need to watch the crossover points,to prevent driver over-excursion.Most drivers sound best without the box.
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They sound wonderfull very open and balanced, Imaging is not that good IMHO, (I had Lowther on Open Bafle with a sealed Altec 416 woofer on the bottom a supertweeter) some detail is lost, I could never tell really how many guitars there were, not really becuase detail was lost sometimes you can tell the guitars apart because each one (lets say) is fixed to a speaker, with my OB they where all floating somewhere around the center...so I could not tell which ones were which...etc.
There are quite a few variations that one can run into when discussing "open baffle" designs. Most all of them will lack bass extension and impact due to the cancellation that takes place, especially at low frequencies. This is a generalization, but is pretty much an accepted fact when working with this type of design.
In order to get around some of this, it is possible to use a very large acoustically treated baffle and / or some tyhpe of a "box" / extended baffle that has no back on it. While this is typically referred to as an "open back" design, it is quite similar to an open baffle ( driver mounted to a flat board ) approach with similar, albeit slightly different, results.
Having experimented with various box alignments, box configurations and driver designs, i think that most people that like open baffles would love something along the lines of a Walsh driver. They share many of the same traits, but the Walsh does SOOOOO much more in terms of added dimensionality without the loss of bass. It is also a crossover-less design, which a lot of the "single driver open baffle" fans come to love.
With that in mind, i also think that most of the people that prefer open baffles are more "fed up" with the poor design of the box, the poor choice of drivers and shoddy crossover networks found in most "monkee coffins". A well designed cabinet, crossover and properly integrated drivers can sound quite quick and open, but there really are very few of these around. This is why the simplicity of one ( or very few ) drivers can sound so "refreshing". There's simply less to go wrong due to the shorter and FAR less complex circuit path.
Most of these types of designs will utilize a very specific type of driver with very specific electrical characteristics. Like anything else, picking and choosing what trade-off's are acceptable boils down to the individual designing the circuit / speaker. As such, some are better than others, some are worse. Most of that boils down to the parts chosen and how they are implimented.
There is something to be said for this design approach though, and it is good to see others "tinkering" with it. Experimenting can be great fun and very educational too, if one pays attention and "experiments" in an orderly fashion. Sean
The original Alon designs used the tweeters and mids on an open baffle mounted on an infinite baffle bass module. Most of the current Nola (formerly Alon) models also use a variation of this configuration to good effect.
With these speakers you get a fast, open, airy and transparent sound signature along with mostly excellent bass and a huge soundstage. They are also quite dynamic. To my ears, these Alon speakers (including my Alon Vs fed by the Cary 303/300 and Herron Electronics) produce a very dimensional and natural sound. Of course, with the bass in a box you have crossovers.
I'm not into DIY. I like to buy what sounds good already. It strikes me that the open baffle designs - even hybrids like Alons - are hard to get right.
I used my Lowthers based on a kinda Bazzilla design, though I changed everything, I made about 6 different boards for my Lowthers the last one went down to 100hz, I used the Altec woofers from there on to whatever..30hz maybe? Supertweeters, subwoofers, biamped, triamped I used passive line level Xover, passive (speaker level) Xovers, I used EQ for the Bass...I tried Fostex, Saba green cones, Vintage Telefunkens, Oval Telefunken (recommended) etc.... Never had sooo much fun, I strongly recommend them, the only little detail I found was the soundstage thing...
Then I heard different speakers with a whole new bag of worms and things I could never get with my OB, I still miss some things from my OB, but I think I am getting better results now, I dont get that natural balanced sound, but I get better detail now and better soundstage...I am working to make it sound more "Natural" like my old OB...
Its all a trip, you decide where to go and there is no best place, is Prague better than Cancun?
(I would stay away from Beirut and Haifa for the moment though)
There is a lot of interesting discussion going on at the Audio Circle, REDwineaudio, Decware, and Omega Speakers site re: your very same question-open baffle speakers. That type of speaker design and a new product from Red Wine Audio made for some interesting commentary and wound up with a review at 6moons.com that was positively gushing. Your answer may lie there. It certainly piqued my interest.
Thanks to all for your responses.
Sean, good to see you posting again, just like "back in the day."
Nonoise, I was recently directed torward the 6 moons review.
I'll be ready for new spkrs. in about 4 months and though OB spkrs. were never on my short list, they are now!
I at least gotta audition them.
I heard that some have the characteristics of a Quad.
Should be interesting.