Some good suggestions might be
Cain & Cain Abby w/ Fostex drivers
If you are into DIY, you could do a similar cabinet called the Voigt Pipe with Lowther drivers.
These are called "full range" speakers, but they actually omit the lowest octave from 20Hz - 40Hz. Most users don't mind this, but some use subs in conjunction with them.
They can both be driven with a couple of tube watts, and don't present any difficult loads for tube amps.
I'm sure some other folks will have more suggestions.
TWL makes some good recommendations. I've heard the Cain and Cain Abbys (w/the Fostex 166e drivers) and they are fast, coherent, dynamic and exciting to listen to. They are also efficient and easy to drive. The REL should work very well with them. Start the cutoff at about 70Hz and work your way down. Also, as a bonus they are awesomely constructed and finished.
I've also heard the Omega speakers (also with Fostex drivers), but was not too enamored with their sound.
Lowthers are in another league, but they are probably out of your budget, unless you are into diy. (Check out the full range driver website for more information on diy.)
I'm not aware of such a beast. The only manufacturer I'm aware of to make such a claim was Yankee, at a much higher cost.
After reading some comments made by John Curl over at AA, i'd like to find out more info about the Manger drivers. I don't know what they cost, but they are probably far more linear and time coherent than any of the other stuff that you'll run across in this thread. Like most other full ranges though, they are probably bandwidth and spl limited to one extent or another. Sean
Sean...Check out E-Speakers website for Manger info. My concern would be about life expectancy of these drivers. They might work well for a few hours between breakin and wearout.
A little over your budget @ $1750, but you might take a look @ carolinaaudio.com (the JTM model).
They are similar to the Konus Audio speakers in that both use modified cabinets based on the same Ted Jordan design (both speakers also use the same Jordan driver).
The Jordan 92's are not efficient speakers/drivers, but considering your room size and amplifier they should be a decent match.
I have listened to them (the Jordan 92 drivers) in two different types of cabinets (one based on the Ted Jordan TL design, the other being sealed) and was quite impressed with the sound.
I alternate between three sets of 8" vintage drivers in our living room setup. One pair of single drivers, one pair of coaxial drivers and one pair of triaxial drivers, so am somewhat accustomed to single driver sound (Sean, may need to bone up a tad based on his concern regarding the time coherence of FR single drivers:-).
Have listened to a few Fostex based speakers, but as they used their entry level drivers I will not comment on the sound, considering your associated gear and budget. Would like to listen to some of their better drivers in TL and back horn enclosures @ some point, which I should be able to do @ one of the LA area DIY/horn/FR get togethers.
If vintage is of interest then take a look @ the drivers listed with my system. However, a tentative problem with these types of drivers is locating "matched" pairs in good condition. I was fortunate in that both pairs of my Coral drivers are not only sonically matched, but they were NOS as well when found. With my Stephens I was able to hand/ear select a pair from an assortment of like drivers (this sort of opportunity does not arise too often I would think).
Thanks all for your input. Will look into the Cain & Cain and Carolina Audio.
One to consider that maybe you havent' is the Martin Logan CLS electrostatics. Can be had used in that price range. Excellent, and better sounding IMHO than anything mentioned so far.
I've been thinking about the Zu Cable Rune speaker. It is essentially a single driver speaker, but has a tweeter for 12-15kHz and up. Very efficient load and reportedly goes down to 40Hz, ans potentially a little lower with proper placement.
Dekay: Even a single driver has time delays as frequency is altered. If one wanted to "get picky" about it, the Manger and other "bending wave" type drivers are supposedly "more" time coherent across the band than other FR's. Mounting height of these types of drivers must be paid attention to though if one is to achieve the best / most linear results though.
Having said that, mounting height and arrival times become even more critical with "full range" drivers of more conventional design. Not only does radiation pattern come into play, but due to the amount of beaming of high frequencies taking place, arrival times will also vary as one sits further off axis. As such, one pretty much has to sit on axis with such a design IF one is worried about the time domain. Having done that, i found the tonal balance to be quite lean and forward i.e. not to my liking. Obviously, one looses bass as they bring the driver closer to ear level and these type of drivers are already lacking low frequency output to begin with.
As to the Jordan, i've seen limited testing on it. From what i can recall based on that information, it did more things wrong than right. As such, i lost interest in it rather quickly. I'm sure that others may be able to tweak better results out of the driver than what i saw, but "individualized specialty items" will almost always be built to address specific points while compromizing other aspects of operation.
As it is, i just threw the Manger out there as it seems to take a completely different approach. Whether it sounds good and is reliable is another story. It tries to deal with the various matters of sound reproduction in a rather unorthodox matter and does so as even-handedly as possible. As such, it may be a series of compromises that does nothing well. I'd be interested to hear from those that have heard or own Mangers.
El: Thanks for the info. I'll check it out when i get a chance. Sean
I like my Hornshoppe Horns with Fostex drivers. I use them in the bedroom with Bottlehead Paramour amps and have been happy with them.
Mine were $700 new, but I believe the price has gone up to $775 now. They come up for sale used occasionally.
Manger is not really qualified as a fullrange driver, even in the looser sense. It only responds down to 80Hz, and all the Manger speakers have a woofer, or use a separate subwoofer. If you plan to use the sub anyway, then they might be a consideration.
They are a very interesting design however, and I had some interest myself in them at one point. But the low efficiency was not suitable for my system. Quite expensive too.
You looked @ measurments while I instead listened to the Jordan drivers in two different types of enclosures. The Jordan drivers offered an amazing amount of separation (single instruments and musical lines in complex material) which in turn made for great deal of realism.
To compare time coherence between the drivers I use and the typical, popular 2/3 way cone based speaker is like comparing apples to oranges. The single driver speakers (and even the coaxials) sound very much like decent planers, but with greater dynamic swings and a very 3D effect. My drivers are neither bright/lean nor are they lacking in bass/mid-bass while playing popular music (considering the size of the cones). The Stephens would be considered to be forward sounding by most (I enjoy this type of sound) and the Coral speakers are more middle of the road in this aspect. The Stephens 8" drivers present stronger (if not deeper) bass/mid-bass response than most of the 12" FR drivers I own or have owned, so go figure.
If you place any driver in a poorly designed cabinet (or mount it poorly in a well designed cabinet) there will be problems such as you mention (there were also problems with the early Lowther driver designs, in general, but from what I have read this has been addressed with their most recent offerings). I would not own vintage Lowthers on a bet having listened to various driver and cabinet combos over the years, but then this is but a small selection amongst a sea of FR single drivers of which to choose from.
Though I have not had any of my speakers set up properly for a while (we need to do some serious sorting/cleaning), when I did the desirable listening area covered pretty much the width of the living room with the Stephens drivers. These are a bit odd for vintage FR drivers in that their desired baffle width (in a non sealed enclosure) is approx. 11 inches. My current cab's are slightly wider than this so I do expect an even more open sound (wider/deeper presentation) when proper/narrower cab's are used.
I do agree that some of the older box/cabinet FR designs requiring a wide baffle area do seem to restrict the size (width/depth) of of the listening area, but then again the few open baffle setups I have listened to had quite the opposite effect, and the baffle area was huge. As I do not have room for large open baffle designs, I try not to dwell on this, but I suspect that open baffles with the right driver, and perhaps subs, are the way to go.
Why not pick up some FR's and experiment with them yourself?
Twl: I've not really read a lot about the Manger's other than a few bits and pieces here. I tend to be drawn to "freak" products that are technically adventurous and the requirements for high power are not a problem for me.
Dekay: I have experimented with a few FR drivers, but not as much as i'd like to. My brother was running some 8" full ranges w/ whizzers in a modified transmission line, but he never really liked the results. I don't think that he built the line right but he insists that he did. I wanted to tinker with the drivers that he had, but he ended up selling them to a mutual friend.
As a general rule, unless i can get something dirt cheap and it is something that i already have a bit of interest in, i basically try to weed things out by looking at the technical merits that specific designs / products have to offer. I realize that i may miss a few "garage built gems" along the way using this routine, but i've already got so many different projects going on that i have to use some type of "filtering" to keep things reasonable. This place already looks like Sanford & Son's Audio / RF Wrecking House, so i'm trying to be a little more selective lately : ) Sean
If you spend any amount of time @ thrifts/garage sales (you know the sales where the stuff actually comes from garage/basement/attic storage) you are bound to run into desirable vintage single/coaxial drivers on the cheap.
These types of drivers were very popular when I was little and growing up in the Midwest, though most of their user's were usually more interested in woodworking (building nice show piece cabinets) than fine tuning their mono/stereo systems.
An exception to this were a couple of our neighbors. One a wood craftsman that could have taught Norm a few tricks and the other an electrician for Westinghouse. Together they built great sounding/nice looking speakers and tube amps based on Klipsch, Stephens, Marantz, Williamson, other designs of the time.
These were the very first killer Hi-fi systems I heard. One of the neighbors (the woodworking guy) hosted a couple of parties a year @ which the grownups used to dance to music later on in the evening. His living room speakers looked to be Klipsch Cornerhorns done in a variety of hard woods. He cut his own trees (ran a selective one man tree service on the side:-) and/stored/aged the wood himself.
Try Creative Sound in Canada. They sell the Jordan driver and have links to DIY designs. The Tang Band W3-871s may be better and there are line arrays such as done by Jim Griffin with this little 3".Creative Sound
CDC: While Jim Griffin has done a lot of work and makes it easy to build a high quality line array with the information provided on his website, line arrays present a very different approach and sound than what one gets out of a single point source driver. None the less, i agree with what you have to say and recommend that anyone interested in building or learning what goes into building a good line array should check into his website. I learned a lot there myself and am incorporating much of that info into a design that i'm working on for a friend.
Line arrays have very specific radiation patterns which can be put to good use in specific situations. This is not to mention their increased power handling, improved dynamic range and potential for lower THD. The one i'm working on is not of the "full range" variety, but instead makes use of 36 tweeters, 18 mid-woofers and 8 woofers per cabinet. This guy plays REALLY loud and tends to blow things up, so i needed something that would shake the house and do it on a regular basis without fear of destruction. Between this and about 400 wpc, he should be good : ) Sean
Hey Gang. What about the Tannoy Dual concentric? Great tone,very efficient,easy to drive and set friendly.