Driver recommendation please - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 8 Old 01-27-09, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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Driver recommendation please

I am not yet ready to build my first project, but would like to toy around with some different driver and enclosure setups in my head. I have built subwoofer enclosures before for car subwoofers using winISD, only sealed and ported. My craftsmanship improved greatly by about the 5th or 6th.

So, I also do not have much listening experience. I have only ever listened to 1 high quality home theater before ($20k mains, and all other components to match). So I do not know what kind of sound I am really looking for.

That said, I would love to make the best compromise of both worlds, hifi and efficiency. I listen to music loud, and I also enjoy highly detailed music at any volume without missing any range of sound. My personal idea would be to make something similar to the Klipsch CF-3, CF-4, or KLF-30. I would love for these speakers to serve a dual purpose of home theater and stereo. There is a good chance whatever speakers I build will be powered by a Denon AVR-3300 to start, extra power considered further down the line.

Any suggestions?

Is there a good place to start to learn the technical jargon? I don't even know how certain driver specs translate into audible sound.
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-28-09, 02:41 AM
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Re: Driver recommendation please

Do a search here on Klipsch, they are high-efficiency, but many people do not consider them hi-fi.

Large studio monitors and a few large home loudspeakers try to do both high-efficiency & hi-fi, but typ. at high cost.

Here are some good options:
Griffin Audio
SLS Audio

Last edited by Ears4hire; 01-28-09 at 02:43 AM. Reason: wrong reply
post #3 of 8 Old 01-28-09, 03:00 AM
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Re: Driver recommendation please

Sorry, I should have focused more on Driver recommendations, but those systems above should provide you some good design concepts.

Quality high-efficiency driver brands include: Audax pro. B&C, BMS, Beyma, Eighteen, RCF & PHL (all Euro.). The US brands like E-V & JBL are more focused on PA systems; Eminence has a few lower-cost drivers that usable. From Japan come the awesome but very costly TADs along with Hi-Vi pro. and Fostex.

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post #4 of 8 Old 01-28-09, 01:48 PM
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Re: Driver recommendation please

LSDC by Vance Dickinson is probably the best place to start with regards to learning speaker building. The link is to the older version of the book. It's only $11 compared to $36 for the new one.

For what you're looking at, you can get the high SPL's going with either really efficient drivers or with a lot of drivers. As drivers couple, they get a boost in output. I can't remember for sure but it seems like you double the drivers and you get an extra 3db. So for 1 driver you may get 89db, with two you get 92, with four you get 95 with 8 you get 98 etc etc.

But, a speaker with 89db sensitivty is plenty loud in most situations with most rooms. If you really crank it with something louder, you run the risk of hearing loss.
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post #5 of 8 Old 01-30-09, 11:57 PM
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Re: Driver recommendation please

Well, if was you, I would go with a fully active system. It will make this project turn out better and allow you integrate drivers regardless of their efficiency, as you will not necessarily want to use all high efficiency drivers, as this can force you to make compromises in other areas of performance. I recommend the Behringer DCX2496 as your crossover($275); there is no competing digital crossover unit overall unless you spend at about 3x the cost, which would be the higher end DBX Driverack model. The cheaper entry-level Driverack that retails for $400-$500 is not as useful/comparable to the DCX2496 for hi-fi speaker use and as a result is not very popular for this hi-fi DIY speakers.

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post #6 of 8 Old 02-02-09, 07:53 PM
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Re: Driver recommendation please

I'll add to WinMX's post -- from everything I've seen/read, they make a speaker system better. You also get the added bonus of more efficiency (based purely on hearsay). I think someone said you'd get an extra 3db over a similar passive crossover system.
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post #7 of 8 Old 02-04-09, 11:26 PM
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Re: Driver recommendation please

JCD wrote: View Post
But, a speaker with 89db sensitivty is plenty loud in most situations with most rooms. If you really crank it with something louder, you run the risk of hearing loss.
Why is it that every time someone mentions high efficiency or high output someone always has to say "you don't want that, it will cause hearing damage". Well some people like to be dangerous and buy crotch rockets that will do 185mph. (I'm one of them) We're all well aware of the dangers.

Ego: If you're looking for high output and good sound, you will have to spend a little coin. Your options are highly effcient 3 or 4ways, either semi-active or fully active. Or line-array's. Either way, you're going to want/need more power than what the Denon receiver can deliver. You'll want to look into more robust amps, including the very economical EP2500.

Line-array's may be your best bet. Look into them and if you can put up with their large size then go for it.
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post #8 of 8 Old 02-06-09, 04:18 PM
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Re: Driver recommendation please

Another factor to consider is the room where the speakers will be used. Line arrays can be efficient and handle a lot of power but may be unsuitable for smaller listening rooms. You need space to get proper driver integration.

I wouldn't want to recommend any specific drivers unless I knew more about what type of speakers you want to build. Accurate, efficient and lots of power handling probably rules out two way monitors but that still leaves a lot of open territory.

I'll second WmAx's suggestion of going active. It's a concept I was initially resistant to but I have since seen the light. Most of us use active subs which is a good thing. The benefit of an active system is the amplifier controls the driver with almost no impedance getting in the way. That leads to getting the most out of the amplifier's damping factor and therefore better transients. The biggest benefits come from the bass and midbass ranges but active electronics can also benefit in the treble. The issue is that passive crossovers will present impedance peaks which will knock the damping factor down to almost nothing. I think this is mainly due to inductors in the crossover but other parts probably have some effect.

There's some good information on Sigfried Linkwitz's site as well as Rod Elliot's ESP site.


Receiver: Marantz SR8002, Speakers: Paradigm Studio 20s (front) Studio 10s (surr) and CC-490, Sub: Hsu VTF-3 Mk3, TV: Panasonic TC-P65ZT60, Blu: Oppo BDP-93 TT: SOTA Sapphire (Sumiko Premier MMT arm, Grado Sonata cart) Other: Xbox 360
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