It seems to me that 98% of speakers under $1000/pr use dome tweeters, 95% of speakers under $5000/pr use domes, 92% of speakers under $10000/pr use domes, and 90% of speakers over $10000/pr use domes. Do those stats seem reasonable?
If a manufacturer were designing a new loudspeaker at a $5K or $10K price point, would there be a bias in favor of domes, in order to stick with a known, familiar entity, or a bias away from domes, in order to create interest and set oneself apart from the competition?
This forum does not have a "Poll" function, so I can't ask everyone to vote for their favorite type of tweeter. But I will be grateful for any comments.
While I have no favorite Fostex t500amk2 compression tweeters are close. Most manufacturers use domes for they are affordable. And many folks feel more comfortable with familiar lay outs in loudspeakers. Domes are well known by designers many again stay with what is comfortable, affordable and sells. Since buyers of loudspeakers do not understand design or parts used, most loudspeakers sell on name and hype. If you keep a open mind and ears when looking at loudspeaker design. You will be rewarded with great sound. Or just buy 2-3 way towers with dome tweeters maybe with 2 -6 1/2in woofers or a 2 way bookshelf with 6in and dome....Seems everyone's selling a version or more of these designs.
Domes are extremely good. They are perhaps the best shape for a driver and give the most even dispersion. Small 1 inch domes are very cheap when used as a tweeter (hence extremely popular) and sound great. The likley reason they are not used on most larger drivers is the cost of a huge magnet for such a massive voice coil and the challenge (extreme tolerances) required to control the rocking motion. Rocking motion is worse for drivers with large excursions and large voice coils creating a costly engineering challenge to maintain precise linear excursion within the gap. A large woofer with a tiny voice 1 or 2 inch coil that is aligned by a spider and rubber surround is easy and very cheap to make (and also, funnily enough, what you find in 98% of speakers)
This same phenomenon is known in hydraulic engineering - a piston height should be as long as its diameter in order to prevent binding from rocking motion. A small voice coil is akin to a small diameter pistion and can be controlled more precisely with less precision/cost.
I really like soft domes and try to stay well away from any "metal" dome tweeters, however with that said, the best tweeters I have listened to are the ribbon tweeters of the Verity Audio Sarastro and Lohengrin! There are others that are good too, such as the Dalis and some really bad such as the Legacy Focus HD.
I have always had a soft spot for the Heil tweeter. It hasn't made its way into many commercial designs, I suspect because it's very hard to make a crossover to match it well to a cone woofer. The Oskar speakers are exceptional for their highs IMHO.
Got to admit the ribbons used on the BIG Nola speakers blew me away.Unbelievable sense of air,and detail.Of course there were like a million of them on each panel -:)
I've always thought my Titanium tweets used in my Avalon Ascents were still amazingly viable,in lieu of supposed progress,but the tweeters used in the Magico Mini's are devastatingly dynamic and clean,even at high volume levels.
Yes,the Esotar is a nice meaty tweet,in the best sense,but not the last word in air.Certainly not a weakness.
Amfibius,I have to admit I've been fascinated with the concept of those Plasma designs.
The Lansche speakers look to be amazing,in that they have a unique bass augmentation,coupled to a superb mid,and the Plasma tweet!!All,in a somewhat small package.
Though I've not heard a plasma designed tweeter(actually,I may have heard the earliest type many years ago,but don't have a good fixation on it)I can see no technical reason to doubt your input.Except....
There are some darn good metal dome designs,which need good matching componentry.Otherwise the gag impulse sets in quickly!
I second the Essotar tweeters in the Old Sonus Extrema's and The expensive Dynaudio's. Those and the inverted one's in the Wilson's and JM Lab's Eutopias are veryy good. But I'd have to say I like the Essotar's for dome's, best overall (however hard to drive)
The Gallo CDT was mentioned by several people. I have not heard this speaker or tweeter, but will make a point to do so.
Ribbons -- love the ultra-low moving mass compared to domes, but don't love the distortion, the fragility, the limited vertical dispersion (especially for the taller ribbons) or the high crossover requirements. To go lower with a ribbon, you need a taller, heavier ribbon, so vertical dispersion gets even worse, and you sacrifice the moving mass advantage.
Fostex horns (T500mkII and others) -- these are supertweeters, and can't be crossed low enough to be used as regular tweeters.
Plasma (ion) tweeter -- I listened to this tweeter on the Acapella High Violin 2 years ago. It was certainly a very sweet, smooth, pleasing treble, but there were occasional crackling noises as particles of airborne dust got zapped in the plasma discharge. There was also a faint baseline hiss from the plasma discharge, amplified by the horn, audible within 12 inches of the tweeter. Overall, I am not certain this tweeter would consistently win a blinded A-B comparison against a top quality dome or ribbon. Due to the very high cost and electronic complexity of this tweeter, I cannot justify it, especially when there are so many less-expensive, simpler and more reliable, great-sounding designs out there.
But now I return to my original question: if you were designing a speaker at the $5K or $10K price point, would you go with a dome or a non-dome tweeter? Since domes are the dominant tweeter technology in that price range, is it better, businesswise, to stick with a known, familiar technology, or is it better to set oneself apart from the competition by using a non-dome?
It depends on what you are trying to build.Especially the bandwidth of the midrange driver.Do you design similarly to the Scaena,with minimal crossovers or use steep filters and phase compensation.Many variables. My first thought would be the midrange driver,its' bandwidth /effiency.With the proper choice,the tweeter is more easily integrated and need not carry a heavy load.IMHO.
A question a bit aside from the original, but someone hereabouts might still be of some help: Do dome tweeters have their own fuses? I blew mine out on a pair of Kef 205 speakers and I was hoping for a 'quick fix'....
Infinity EMIT tweeters are my personal favorite these days. I picked up a pair of 1980's vintage RSIIb's recently and the EMIT tweeters and EMIM midranges are amazing. Crystal clear yet very dynamic. Only drawback is that they aren't made anymore, so you have to buy them vintage and hunt for spares - worth it in my opinion, though.
I think you are looking at replacing the drivers. As far as I know, the KEF's don't have any fuses in them. I've had a small set of UNI-Q's for years, and auditioned at home a nice pair of 205's for about a month, and found no fuses of any kind. Probably best to contact a KEF service center, and see if the whole driver assembly has to be replaced, or maybe just the tweeter.
I have metal dome tweeters from 2-5k and the Acapella Ion plasma tweeters above that. I like them without exception far better than any other tweeter I've ever heard, and fortunately, no, they don't smell :-). If anyone is curious about these I will be happy to share my experience with them. Paul
I always suspected that the Gallo tweeter would be a great candidate for a Walsh type omni system in the price range specified by the OP. These drivers match up nicely with >300 degree horizontal dispersion and their extended bandwidth and power handling capability means that they can be crossed at (virtually) any frequency you'd be inclined to choose with a simple network. They also sound great.
I like the Mirage titanium dome with cloth surround--the Pure Titanium Hybrid, or PTH tweeter. It may not challenge the outer performance edge of the really expensive exotics using diamonds or ceramic, but it's a very nice tweeter--very natural sounding, fast, yet not etched or tipped up. The cloth surround mitigates the ringing common to metal dome tweeters, and the titanium brings a superior stiffness-to-weight ratio.
v, my point was centered around the fact that even the very best of the best can sound poorly if used improperly or with poor parts in the circuit. i am sure you have heard a few of these yourself. i know many diyers that would surprize you. they have me. best, b
>If a manufacturer were designing a new loudspeaker at a $5K or $10K price point, would there be a bias in favor of domes, in order to stick with a known, familiar entity, or a bias away from domes, in order to create interest and set oneself apart from the competition?
Depends on size. On narrower speakers domes (or inverted domes) mated to acoustically small midrange drivers can have uniform power + polar response (horizontal and vertical). Coaxial arrangements work well too.
I haven't heard a ribbon mated to a single mid-range driver that sounded natural presumably because the wide horizontal response and narrowing vertical window don't match up well to cone drivers.
The Raal Requisite Eternity had good integration, presumably because the vertical mid-array had polar response which should have been like the tweeter and woofers.
The right spacing in an MTM array might work too.
For larger speakers, a compression driver on a wave guide mated to a large (10-15") mid-range crossed where the -6dB angles match seems most interesting ticket since you're getting uniform controlled dispersion for less room interaction. 95-100dB/2.83V/1 meter sensitivity will yield crushing dynamics.