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Basically they use a whizzer cone instead of a crossover. This can sound very good and needs less power than a speaker with a crossover. It is also like a single point source so should image very well. It was the preferred approach for car stereo for many years. Now modern speaker systems for cars are usually three way - subwoofer, woofer mid range and tweeter - as this increases the accuracy of the sound with less break up distortion and lack of linearity from the use of a single cone.
Soundsrealaudio: I'd be happy to provide periodic updates. I, too, have had prior single driver and concentric driver loudspeakers....although I've owned the Voxativ Zeth for only 2 months I can confidently say that these are different. The Voxativ drivers are natural sounding without appreciable artifacts at high and lower frequencies. I am aware of some obvious limitations at the frequency extremes. However, they are so well balanced that I'm almost unaware of these limitations while immersed in their organic presentation. Thanks for your response!
I believe the higher level models use field coil drivers. Yes, Voxativ drivers use whizzer cones which, in the past in other loudspeaker brands, I have not been terribly impressed with. (Lowther, Fostex, etc) However with Voxativ's drivers and whizzer cones I do not detect any of the familiar sonic irregularities present in other "old school" designs. I am really taken by these loudspeakers (100 db sensitivity - I have the upgrade wooden cones) in combination with my 20 watt 300B SETs with more than ample power. Sound is well balanced, organic, agile, and with surprising impact within the physical limitations of the drivers. For now I do not find myself missing the lowest octave or finding fault with the upper treble. Thanks!
It is fun isn't to enjoy the midrange and uppers so much that the lack of deep bass is a non issue. I see so many posts where people are looking for a subwoofer to match there speakers. I think if the speakers have a really good, organic midrange and get voices and most instruments correctly so they sound real few would want a sub.
This is quite correct, soundsrealaudio. Holger Adler, the man in charge at Voxativ, told me their matching subs sound great with the Zeths. As I've never had great success in integrating subwoofers, especially in smaller rooms like mine, it hasn't grabbed my interest or my wallet (just under $7000 for stereo subs).
A small segment in the intro of Stereophile's ampeggio review as well as the measurements partly explains Voxativ's design approach. Maybe you have already read it.
Can I ask where you auditioned/purchased them? I have only heard the 9.87 a few times at shows and the Zeth wood-driver with Zbass module once. They are speakers that have made me stop thinking and just relax, despite their obvious limitations.
Voxaxtiv is active in stating they make woofers and not subwoofers. I appreciate their approach as the 9.87 system was I think the best bass I have ever heard. Perfectly damped, and like few others they avoid the desire for the dreaded bass "slam". Integration with the Pi was fantastic. I was not so much in to the Zeth w/ Zbass that day. Sound was anemic, although that was just single demo. At a 9.87 demo Voxativ employee said to me he prefers the clarity/detail and bass of the Zeth over the Pi. This confused at the time because the price line up is a little slippery. The customer has think a little bit about what each model is all about. Voxativ, though, has been marketing really well.
i have a DIY voxativs based on the AF-2.6. Its like their new FIT towers. I have a REL S/5 SHO integrated as well as TAKET BatPro2 super tweeters. I drive all this with low power amplifiers. Lately, i have been driving them directly with a Chord Hugo2. The 1 watt headphone amp is mostly about 50-60% volume and sounds, well, incredible.
I think efficient, point source drivers driven like headphones are the future for nearfield listening. Every type of music I throw at this sounds great.