These are the absolute "BEST", but at $500 ea. they better be.
8" custom Flex units from Audio Technology (Skaaning)founder of DynAudio and Scan Speak (think like buying a "over the top" custom designed Ferrari, with state of the art materials, from the Ferrari design team). The Flex units have bass output similar to a high quality 15" woofer, and can accelerate at twice the speed of other similarly sized "over the top" 8" drivers (the BEST of both worlds!). According Skaaning in-room response will be down to 18Hz.
A more reasonably priced "over the top" woofer to consider the 8" Revelator woofer. It has the second fastest impulse response of any woofer that I know of, and is similar in response to a 10-12" woofer by other manufacturers. Very uncolored and extremely well dampened. I'll put this woofer up against anything else (except for the Scanning).
You may be able to buy either of these drivers directly from Peter Thompsen at http://www.av-reality.com/ as he uses both of the Scanning and the Revelator in his premium speaker lines. Since he offers kits for his other speakers, I think he may be willing to sell these drivers too. Good luck on your quest for the "BEST".
Ehider the thread did say "best" which the scanning are but they are very pricey (400 EACH!!) so between the 3 practical contenders FOCAL SCANSPEAK SEAS..i'll have to vote big on the SEAS as top..for 2nd place its a close call..the revelator may be better in the lower bass but the SEAS will overtake it in the upper midbass..which is better for my listening of classical music...there are hundreds of manufacturers of midwoofers..most are not audiophile quality
No argument with your advice regarding the SEAS, but this guy is building a three-way, i.e. my secondary recomendation for the Scanspeak Revelator, since it is having to play less upper midbass in a three way application than in a two-way design. I do think both of these woofers offer interesting trade-offs though.
Like I said before, if you want "the best" , go get the Scanning. The power of this woofer, with it's ultra control and speed will SCARE you on drum beats, etc. It's that good! (BTW: If you do buy the Scanning, I don't want to know which bank you're going to rob to get the money...HE,HE)
Ehider i've got a spectatular 3 way in the possible making..i'm waiting word from the designer..its a biamp..SEAS 8 inch(30!!hz to say 500hz)EX22 + SEAS 4.5 midwoofer (500hz to 3.5hz)W12CY + PHILIPS RT8 isodynamic..what ya think?..doable?
Along these lines, what do you folks think of ETON?
They make 5", 7", 8", 11", & 12" mid/base and woofers.
Your project speaker sounds like it could be pretty darn good. Is it doable? ; I don't see why not. I would concentrate on getting the crossover right though, as this can make or break a speakers' sound (regardless of the drivers used). My favorite crossovers are:
1. The new Av Reality design (it's free to use, just go to his website for the circuit details).
2. Quasi-second order (time alignment like a 1st order with steeper slopes, that don't tax the drivers nearly as much as first order XO's).
3. First order.
I also suggest using INDIVIDUALIZED zobel networks for each and every driver in your speakers. These are a no-brainer circuit to implement that only has upside improvements. The point of individualozed networks is to correct the phase angle shift that occurs due to the inherent inductance in the voice coil of each driver. Once this is corrected, your amplifer's output devices will better control the speaker's drivers, and the resulting sound is cleaner and obviously better controlled.
I've been posting details about INDIVIDUALIZED zobels on Audiogon for the last two years ever since I heard the difference on Dunlavy Althenas, IVa's, V's, Pipedreams, Mirages, Infinity IRS's and Montanas which were zobeled by their owners. The difference is NOT subtle, and makes you wonder if the whole speaker design world fell on their heads! These circuits cost less than $40 to implement and offer a more significant sonic difference than the differnce between cheap interconnects and muti-thousand dollar interconnects! I guess nobody really cares, but I'll keep preaching to the choir and maybe someone will wake up. WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!!!
In regard to the Eton question; I think they are not nearly in the same league as the other drivers that were currently mentioned. It's like discussing Ferraris and Porsches then asking: "What do you think of Mustangs and Camaros?" Not that Etons are horrible, they just don't hold their own when compared to the "best of the best".
Mr Ehider your post is THE best post for the year on audiogon...points of the UTMOST importance..and yes ain't nobody listening...and could care less..but like you i'm after a SUPERIOR balanced system..and that means superior drivers + SUPERIOR xovers...which i'm afraid if the commercials did use both..their prices would be even higher...and they are already over priced..the xovers you mention sound excellent...i'm very green on the tech info of speakers..so the xovers you mention i'll have to discuss with my designer...my jadis has an out so i may be in luck to biamp the 3 way SEAS W22 + SEAS W12CY + PHILIPS RT8P..if the out RCA jack is for biamping then i'll look into a used ELECTROCOMPANIET AW series stero amp to drive the 8 inch SEAS woofer and let the jadis take care of the 4.5 inch SEAS midwoofer and the RT8 isodynamic tweeter...BTW go to the LINWITZ (spelling) web page ..this master of speaker engineering talks about active xovers allowing the amps to perform at a much greater efficiency than your basic passiver xovers..yes a skanning woofer on a poor design xover and inferior quality xover parts is a defeating objective..and the ETONS do not rank with the top 4 SEAS SCANSPEAK FOCAL PHL..these 4 offer superior technology..and if you can afford..go SKANNING..yes the folks are spending $$! and some $$$..$! on interconnects..and totally ignoring the drivers and xovers in their speakers..i've got a story to tell about MEADOWLARK's web page..i'll save for later..keep me informed about your researches in the xover tech..thanks tweekerman out
Ehider i'm sure you already know this site ..http://members.chello.se/jpo/diy.html..clik on active filters LINKWITZ labs..possible the most learned guy in speaker tech
Thanks so much for the complement. I've been writing here for the last two years not to stroke my ego, or push what I own on others, but to help others with their quest to find great sound, without all the hype or non-sense. Lately I've about given up because these forums are dominated by others who want to prove that their current equipment purchases are the best for everyone (There are some good posters, but there are more product pushing posters IMHO). I really appreciate when someone realizes that I'm passing EXTREMELY valuable information on to them.
I've spent over 20 years in high end audio, getting to know many of the big name desingers personally and getting on the "inside" of some high end reviewers. Unfortunately, these guys are a big part of the problem. The reviewers are just propenciating the idea that you have to spend stupid money to get "over the top" sound. Most of the circuit designers are re-circulating existing circuit designs, and are constantly finding new ways to charge a fortune for their so-called "best of the best" products.
I find it hillarious that my custom little pre-amplifier is cleaner sounding that all the AR, Krell, Pass, Rowland, Spectral, CJ, Levinson and other pricy gear I've compared it to. What's so hillarious is that it only cost $750.00 to build. Imagine the reactions at various high-end dealers when this little tiny box beats their $10,000.00+ top of the line pre-amplifiers. It's become a truly sad state of affairs in high end. Everybody thinks you have to spend thousands and thousands, just to get great sound. Oh well, enough said on this subject...
In regard to your posting regarding active crossovers, you are dead on man! This is the wave of the future, yet nobody is paying attention yet. Active XO's allow each amplifer to couple to that particular driver better, which in turn will give you greater detail extraction. If done properly, it is the TRUE "state of the art" way to properly integrate speakers and amplifers. We will shortly see this happen as the newest wave of digital amplifers make their way into silicon chipsets by the Japanese manufacturers, in the next couple of years. Analog amplification is truly doomed in the long run.
I'm telling everyone I know to aquire the new AV Reality digital amplifier (while they are cheap, before the patent royalties on the ICE patent starts charging more to use this design). Every reviewer in Europe who has heard it, has purchased one. They are selling like ice-cream on a warm summer day in Europe. Last week an ultra high end magazine editor who used Gryphon mono-blocks (way more pricy than a Levinson or Krell, but definately a top conteder for the best of the best in anlog amplification) was shocked that the AV Reality digital amp was better sounding in every respect. (He bought one also).
We have entered a paradigm shift in amplification technology, yet no one is raving about this breakthrough??. I guess there are too may Krell type owners who just love their big expensive mono-blocks, and have egos to satisfy.
Thanks again for the kudos!
Humble thanks from me too for all the info. Now,
a Zobel question. Will a multi-way speaker with all-active
crossovers benefit as much (or at all) as passive crossover
Rbj, the answer to your question depends on the drivers and their crossover points. When using active crossovers, they should be used to bracket the ranges that the drivers are most suited to drive.If you use only the flattest center sections of the response curve for that driver, then you will likely also be free of the typical phase shifting and impedance rise areas of that driver. Use steep enough slopes to have them well rolled off before they reach the "bad zones". The woofer will probably benefit from a Zobel network tuned for the resonant freq(Fs) to deal with the spike around that freq. The tweeter may also have a similar problem, depending on where it is crossed-in. If you try to run any of the drivers in a wide-range manner, you are likely to need it due to your running into the extreme upper and lower freq.s that driver can handle. This is where most phase shift and impedance rises occur with most drivers(there are exceptions).I have found it to be very beneficial in single driver systems also, where the impedance peaks on both ends of the spectrum must be dealt with. Very useful circuits.
I have also enjoyed this thread. I almost always read all the speaker threads but this one really zeros in on the huge rip off most manufactures charge for their products. All of my equipment sounds great (to my ears) and are either produced by company's that represent great value (in high ends terms) or I buy a great piece used. I have been wondering for quite some time if I would be capable of building a quality speaker, amp, pre-amp myself using top quality brands. You guys have me fired up. Ehider I have been looking for a new pre-amp I wonder if you could share with us a site or components you used with your pre-amp. Iam interested.
Mr Ehider once again your post tops the chart..i can tell from your post that you've tried to sum up in 500 words or less "things that need to be said"..your playing the flute but i doubt if you'll have many followers...the mags ads, the "professional" reviewers ,the commercial labs, the "hi-fi" shops are all in cohoots and the amount of hype generated by the previous cohooters have the masses "hype-ta-mized"..i've got more to say about your post but gotta run..i got my PHILIPS RT8P isodynamic "ribbon" tweets in today..SUPER!!!
Another Zobel question. The thread is changing direction
here, but since we're on it, and it's interesting, here goes. If we put a Zobel network on the woofer to flatten the reactance spike in the very lowest usable register,
wouldn't this decreased reactance now allow a higher signal
current to flow, meaning that the low end flat response is extended? The limiting factor of the flat response at this point is now the "X-max" total linear cone travel AND the
mechanical cone mass/damping factor (classic mass/spring/
damper system), NOT the electrical damping. If this is true,
shouldn't we look for woofers with high moving mass, long
long X-max (P-to-P), and "tight" non-compliant surrounds?
Rbj..Stehno may know your answer..i can't help you..your question is a good one for madisound.com chat page..over there you'll get very accurate answers..i'm green on the tech stuff..i just ask alot of questions to the designers about certain drivers qualities and then i choose from my top picks..the xover and speaker design i leave up to the designer..i tell him to use premium parts..choosing the "best" drivers is barely half the equation..the easiest part..the many xover options is not an easy task..i'm glad i found a designer with all the measurements for the drivers i like
Rbj. Your question is a very observant one. If you have followed my threads on the single driver subject, you will know that I have been using a network like the one you describe for my own speakers. Yes, the network does lower the impedance spike at the resonant freq. and allows the amp to control the woofer more comfortably at lower freq.s, thereby extending useable bass response and reducing phase shift. However, trying to use long Xmax with a tight cone suspension merely raises the Fs of the driver and takes you away from your goal of lower bass response. The method I used to get good results was to use a network, and tune a transmission line to a freq. half that of the driver Fs. This allows the T-line to handle the output of the lowest freq.s at a higher SPL than the cone would produce, and with shorter excursions. In my particular system, I achieved a full octave deeper bass before rolloff, with this method. In my network without the capacitor, the high freq.s in a single driver system are also improved similarly, with an extension to the high end gained by reducing the gradual impedance rise that is commensurate with rising frequencies. T-line tuning is a bitch, and has some problems like comb filter effects, but they can be minimized with some work. I think that if more people employed a design like this, you would see more single driver systems being accepted as true full range systems. The nominal impedance value of the driver is slightly lowered so an amp with some flexibility in this area is required. Good question.
Thank you TWL. I surmise that current "state of the art"
is bottlenecked at the woofer itself. I am unaware of any
audiophile-quality woofer with an X-max of , say, 30cm.,
regardless of cone material, power handling, etc. I acknowledge that there are several methods, some sucessful,
such as you described above, to extend the bass. Until a
better woofer becomes available, I think I'll comb more thoroughly through the responses of others here, and at other sites. Another thread topic could be the pro/cons
of using, say, two 8" woofers vs one 12", comparing total
cone area, X-max, air displacement, total voice coil winding,etc. (physical ability to create sound waves).
Something like comparing one large intake valve to two
smaller valves, in an engine.
There are currently 8 select audiophiles who are involved in building the latest dual mono version of the pre-amp that I mentioned. It will have DACT controllers, Jensen caps, the works. The cost will come in at around $1000 and the wait is 4-6 months. If you are interested in getting one, you'll have to be willing to annie up the money without hearing it first. Let me know if you are interested, becuase after all the parts, chassis, etc.. are ordered, that will be it for this small build.
I will be selling my little pre-amp for around $600 after this deluxe version is finished, so there is another option for you too. It will be sold with a guarantee that it will sonically crush any other pre-amp under $3000, and hold it's own against ANY pre-amp period in terms of detail retrieval and harmonic preservation. There will be no guarantees on the amount of bass, or treble sweetness though, because these things can be colorations of certain circuits and tubes. I also think that the $8500.00 Blowtorch pre-amp may have a little better bass preservation than my little pre-amp (based on my study of it's design). We are talking about a $7900 difference in price though!
No BS, The ScanSpeak 18W/8545 for a low crossover point or the "k" verson on a 2 way system. If you design a top notch box and use a 2nd order config on these woofers they truely are the best. The only woofer I have ever heard that dosn't bake all bass sound the same. They have to be backed though by good chokes and hoveland, rel, or at the minimum, solen caps though.
Mike do you think the Scanspeak W18 will challenge the bass produced by a Seas W22? I just got my Seas W22 in. They seem to be super high tech. The midrange of this solid copper phase plug driver is supposed to be outstanding.
I've been looking at the Vienna Acoustics Mahlers, which use 10'' Eton bass drivers, and a 1.2'' ScanSpeak tweeter. I can't remember who makes the midrange drivers. Haven't had a chance to audition a pair, but I was just curious to hear your opinion since you know your drivers and I saw your comments on the Etons.
Also, do you know what kind of drivers Audio Physic uses?
Thanks in advance
Well, I think The Scanspeak may do a little more in the extreme low end (Sub 30Hz), But that Seas is an absoultely sick driver all around. It can do midrange better than about 99% of all woofers out there, I have heard a 5 and 1/4 seas bass driver with a copper phaseplug/magnet. But like the scanspeak....It needs the good stuff behind it. (Scratches head)I didn't even think of the seas.....
Mike please explain your post a little further.."sick"??? the 4 1/2 inch is the one i may buy or the Skaaning 4 can you tell me about these 2 drivers..i've heard that the Skaans are of "old" tech and are way overpriced. Then i heard they are well worth it.??? Are the Skaans that much better than the Seas W12CY
Stick with the Seas... "sick"(as in really good) Sorry for the slang, You know what it's like getting all excited over these things... Heh heh. Well The Pro Ac Responce 1SC uses a verson of the w12cy. It has a clear poly-glass cone insted of the normal one. Same driver though, just different cone material. If you have time, for fun go to the scanspeak web site and check out their new concentric dome tweeter.