Larger vs smaller seos? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 47 Old 01-19-2014, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Wondering, what's the advantage of the larger seos waveguides? I've been looking into building a high end set for music/theater.

With the seos 15 hitting now is it worth waiting for new designs?

On another note, what are you doing for surrounds? I've looked into the kits and we're hitting anywhere from 95-100db efficiency. Unless using more huge systems for surrounds how do you keep up? I don't have the room to build 7x tempest for example!
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post #2 of 47 Old 01-19-2014, 03:09 PM
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A simple answer would be that a larger waveguide allows for a crossover lower in frequency.
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post #3 of 47 Old 01-19-2014, 03:39 PM
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The larger waveguide can hold directivity pattern lower in frequency, thus allowing a lower XO to a larger woofer. In general.

Surrounds are often placed closer to the listener and have less content to reproduce, so a smaller surround is generally acceptable. Although many people spare no expense here.
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post #4 of 47 Old 01-19-2014, 04:24 PM
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The larger woofers will typically offer either higher sensitivity or deeper extension or some combination of both. Generally you want to go with the larger woofer if it fits your budget and space.

For example, a 15" woofer that can play down to 20hz in a vented box might be 91db sensitive and a 12" with similar extension might be 89db sensitive.

The question is a bit murkier when you compare a higher quality woofer like a TD15 to the cheaper 15" woofers. In that case I'd generally pick the better woofer, but you will sacrifice some sensitivity or extension.

The advantages of the larger horn are not as tangible or measurable. The biggest difference is that they will hold pattern a bit lower.

As far as surrounds are concerned it is certainly not vital to have them match your mains precisely. In fact I think coaxial style surrounds work extremely well with horn mains and can be far easier to fit in the room. The smaller horns that work with 8" woofers are also excellent options.
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post #5 of 47 Old 01-19-2014, 05:14 PM
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So what is to be gained by using, lets say, a Seos-18 with a typical 1.4" compression driver versus a Seos-15 with a typical 1" compression driver? Is it simply the ability to cross the larger compression driver lower? How would this relate to better SQ? Is it safe to say that crossing a compression driver lower, assuming that the compression driver is fully capable of being crossed lower...how does that help with the overall SQ?

Now, I also understand that the larger waveguides/horns will also hold their patern lower. So the combination of having the compression driver crossover to the woofer at a lower frequency, and the compression driver + waveguide/horn also able to hold the pattern lower, why does this sound better? I mean, with conventional dome tweeters in a traditional speaker, the SQ can be massively different between different tweeters, even those that might be crossed over at the same frequency. How does this compare to compression drivers with wave guides/horns?
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post #6 of 47 Old 01-19-2014, 06:47 PM
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I feel I've had this discussion with you before Marty.

First, in a home environment, the reason to move to 1.4" throat is to utilize a larger horn which allows for lower pattern control and crossing to larger woofer arrays like dual 15s.

It is not a free lunch though as the response above about 12khz will suffer some (how much depends on the CD design). They also cost more, especially if you try to avoid titanium diaphragms which I would always suggest doing.

To the best of my knowledge, the SEOS-18 is a 1" throat.

The best 1.4" throat horns I know of are the SEOS-24 and 18Sound Xt1464 and Xr1464.

Are those better than a SEOS-15? Probably but it won't be night and day. It also depends on the CD used. The cheapest 1.4" CDs I'd use start around $400.

I'd say it would cost about 4x as much to do these larger horns. They won't be 4x better so the decision is up to you.
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post #7 of 47 Old 01-19-2014, 07:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martycool007 View Post

I mean, with conventional dome tweeters in a traditional speaker, the SQ can be massively different between different tweeters, even those that might be crossed over at the same frequency.

Are you sure about that?

Assuming both tweeters are crossed at the same frequency, with the same type of XO (LR4 for example), to the same woofer, on the same baffle, and both within their output capability, I've never heard two different tweeters sound massively different. Or even moderately different. It's very likely you're hearing the rest of the speaker design which is massively different.
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post #8 of 47 Old 01-20-2014, 05:13 AM
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Oh yeah I was going to address that Tux but forgot.

Yep, the idea that there are massive differences between tweeter is false. Yes there are different sonic signatures like metal vs cloth dome because of how they breakup. This also happens with compression drivers. But even there the differences aren't huge when we'll implemented.

When well implemented, there aren't even big differences between a cheaper Eminence 12 and a TD12 for instance. Certainly not to the extent that people want to believe.

Far more significant are the following traits:

1. Simple on-axis response.
2. Off-axis response.
3. Directivity q.

Significant differences between speakers are primarily attributable to these 3 factors. Assuming these factors are equal the difference between let's say a DE250 and 4550 based speaker will be small and possibly not detectable.

The idea of massive performance differences comes from old tricks played by hifi stores to make their speakers sound comparatively good when in fact the $2000 model probably sounds nearly identical to the $4000 model (and even the $10k model). Marty, I know you have done a bunch of hifi demoing. It is a psychological trick.
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post #9 of 47 Old 01-20-2014, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coctostan View Post

Oh yeah I was going to address that Tux but forgot.

Yep, the idea that there are massive differences between tweeter is false. Yes there are different sonic signatures like metal vs cloth dome because of how they breakup. This also happens with compression drivers. But even there the differences aren't huge when we'll implemented.

When well implemented, there aren't even big differences between a cheaper Eminence 12 and a TD12 for instance. Certainly not to the extent that people want to believe.

Far more significant are the following traits:

1. Simple on-axis response.
2. Off-axis response.
3. Directivity q.

Significant differences between speakers are primarily attributable to these 3 factors. Assuming these factors are equal the difference between let's say a DE250 and 4550 based speaker will be small and possibly not detectable.

The idea of massive performance differences comes from old tricks played by hifi stores to make their speakers sound comparatively good when in fact the $2000 model probably sounds nearly identical to the $4000 model (and even the $10k model). Marty, I know you have done a bunch of hifi demoing. It is a psychological trick.
Off axis is one of the main reasons a RAAL will sound much different than a dome. As far as dome size and dome vs. ring radiator, they also have different directivity patterns and based on that alone will sound different. There's also the implementation of the dome, if they weren't crossed high or steep enough and their native distortion profiles that could make a difference in how each sound.

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post #10 of 47 Old 01-20-2014, 08:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coctostan View Post


To the best of my knowledge, the SEOS-18 is a 1" throat.
Poland was working on a 1.4" version of the SEOS 18, but I don't know if it was ever completed.

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post #11 of 47 Old 01-20-2014, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Face2 View Post

Off axis is one of the main reasons a RAAL will sound much different than a dome. As far as dome size and dome vs. ring radiator, they also have different directivity patterns and based on that alone will sound different. There's also the implementation of the dome, if they weren't crossed high or steep enough and their native distortion profiles that could make a difference in how each sound.

Yep, and there are inherent directivity differences between a 1.4" throat horn and a 1" throat horn. The 1.4" throat horn will start to beam above about 12khz which will affect the the off-axis response significantly. The subjective difference will be fairly small though because the region above 12khz is probably the least important audible region. Nonetheless, there will be a subjective difference. Some will prefer and some won't.
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post #12 of 47 Old 01-20-2014, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
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So That sums it up for the larger vs smaller waveguide. More or less lower xover+ lowed controlled directivity. Thats going to do wonders for off axis response changes in general lower x-over seem to work better as your getting closer to a point source. Thats what I had assumed, I didn't know if there was anything else special it did! Thanks

Where I do get a bit sketchy is the idea that a low cost tweeter is near or just as good as a high end tweeter, assuming both well implemented.

Speakers have measurable distortion. Lower even and odd harmonic distortions are measurable and depending on the models quite easily in the hearable range. I haven't seen a whole lot of data on compression driver measurements.
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post #13 of 47 Old 01-20-2014, 02:40 PM
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I mentioned distortion above. Although with most CD's, as long as they're not crossed too low, they generally have very good distortion at hifi listening levels(due to being designed for use at much higher SPL's than your standard dome).

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post #14 of 47 Old 01-20-2014, 06:03 PM
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There are certainly crappy tweeters and woofers but the differences are much much smaller than most people want to believe. Distortion does play a part but it is secondary to the differences you hear with different on and off axis responses.

The advantages of point source behavior are debatable and difficult to separate from their typical vertical off-axis advantages. It is easy to assume that there is some "magic" about a point source because it is tangible and visible. Frequency response differences are not so obvious especially off axis.

As far as distortion of CDs, There are tests out there. You will find that quality CDs tend to have exceptional distortion performance and they also don't vary much from each other. The exception being titanium diaphragms which have nasty breakup that is audible and there is nothing you can do about it in the crossover (treated diaphragms like some of JBLs helps).
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post #15 of 47 Old 01-20-2014, 07:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coctostan View Post

There are certainly crappy tweeters and woofers but the differences are much much smaller than most people want to believe. Distortion does play a part but it is secondary to the differences you hear with different on and off axis responses.

The advantages of point source behavior are debatable and difficult to separate from their typical vertical off-axis advantages. It is easy to assume that there is some "magic" about a point source because it is tangible and visible. Frequency response differences are not so obvious especially off axis.

As far as distortion of CDs, There are tests out there. You will find that quality CDs tend to have exceptional distortion performance and they also don't vary much from each other. The exception being titanium diaphragms which have nasty breakup that is audible and there is nothing you can do about it in the crossover (treated diaphragms like some of JBLs helps).
Do you think that beryllium CDs are a waste of money? I suppose it depends on the quality of the cabinet, crossover, amps and all the other associated equipment. I believe that you need to match the quality level of all your components is order to hear the small but important differences (to fanatics like me< smile.gif between individual components. A $5000 amp won't significantly won't show its value in a $1000 system but it may be required to match up with the other parts of a $20,000 system. Likewise you wouldn't want to put cheap $50.00 tires on a Ferrari.
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post #16 of 47 Old 01-20-2014, 08:31 PM
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"Do you think that beryllium CDs are a waste of money?"

The single best improvement that I have made to my system over recent years was moving to Be diaphragms. Once you hear them properly applied you will accept nothing less.
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post #17 of 47 Old 01-20-2014, 10:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl_Huff View Post

"Do you think that beryllium CDs are a waste of money?"

The single best improvement that I have made to my system over recent years was moving to Be diaphragms. Once you hear them properly applied you will accept nothing less.
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Have you compared them to BMS's coaxial CD's?

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post #18 of 47 Old 01-20-2014, 10:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Face2 View Post

Have you compared them to BMS's coaxial CD's?

I am using 2 inch CDs with 4 inch Be diaphragms. And yes, I also have a set of BMS coaxial drivers. Over the last 20 years I have owned or borrowed pretty much every CD out there and the Be drivers on a Radian body are easily the best of the lot.
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post #19 of 47 Old 01-21-2014, 05:19 AM
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The reason beryllium is such a big leap with large format CDs is partly because of the poor materials they replace. Most 1.4"-2" throat CDs use 3-4" diameter diaphragms and that requires the use of some sort of metal diaphragm. Traditionally aluminum was used and it sounds OK but lacks extension due to breakup and is fragile. When titanium became available it was the choice due to its durability and low cost but it has harsher breakup than aluminum.

Beryllium is far better than these others in every way but price (and durability). Like I said before different diaphragm materials do matter and more so in the large format drivers because the breakup is audible and there is nothing that can be done about it.

Whether Be is superior in small format drivers like the 1" BMS and B&C drivers using plastic diaphragms is debatable. There is still HF breakup with these 1.75" plastic diaphragms that might not be as prevalent with Be but the difference will be tiny compared to the larger diaphragms.

Until recently the only Be small diaphragm driver was a TAD which is rarely used due to it costing >10x the next best CDs. There are now some 1" Radian Be drivers which are more reasonable. I'm planning to try some in the next few months just out of curiosity.

But don't mistake it for some sort of magic. It is simply how each material breaks up. Unlike a woofer where you can low pass this isn't an option if you are trying to cover the upper frequencies with one driver.

Concerning the BMS coax, it is not a free lunch or it would have wiped out the entire large format market. The need to combine the responses of the two drivers has some sonic effect but how much is hard to quantify. You can see some of this in the response of the BMS coax which does exhibit some behavior similar to a woofer/CD coax.

I've not done an A/B of a Be CD and BMS coax. There are tradeoffs on both sides and there will also be variance in how the BMS coax crossover portion is handled (and it can be botched).

It is very easy to mistake cause and effect in speaker design when it is far more nuanced than it sometimes appears.
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post #20 of 47 Old 01-21-2014, 06:59 AM
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I'm grabbing one I the Radian 951 be today. The seosr still has work to get it performing at its best, but I'd like to do a direct comparison of them with the 4594 and ultimately use whatever wins in the end. I feel like it will give others here a good subjective opinion on which does better in which areas and sbe some guys some heartache. I'm not sure I'll scrap the BMs yet because I think they have incredible potential on the seos 24. Airy and extension are absolutely fantastic, just. Touch of siblance and a tad sharp. I think some work on the processing will fix that. It will be interesting to compare them still
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post #21 of 47 Old 01-21-2014, 07:18 AM
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Chop, how/why did you pick the 951 over the others? USS speaker seems to have a ton of options, just not sure how to differentiate between them. Unless you just went with the most expensive...?

Face, could you explain this statement: Off axis is one of the main reasons a RAAL will sound much different than a dome.

Coctostan, do you intend to try the 1" Be on a seos? Have you ever told us which speakers you use in your reference system?

This thread has been a nice read. Although I have seen this topic before (mostly with Marty asking the same questions), it's a good refresher. smile.gif
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post #22 of 47 Old 01-21-2014, 07:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChopShop1 View Post

I'm grabbing one I the Radian 951 be today. The seosr still has work to get it performing at its best, but I'd like to do a direct comparison of them with the 4594 and ultimately use whatever wins in the end. I feel like it will give others here a good subjective opinion on which does better in which areas and sbe some guys some heartache. I'm not sure I'll scrap the BMs yet because I think they have incredible potential on the seos 24. Airy and extension are absolutely fantastic, just. Touch of siblance and a tad sharp. I think some work on the processing will fix that. It will be interesting to compare them still

Take some measurements first. Is this with the entire speaker and crossover?
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post #23 of 47 Old 01-21-2014, 07:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChopShop1 View Post

I'm grabbing one I the Radian 951 be today. The seosr still has work to get it performing at its best, but I'd like to do a direct comparison of them with the 4594 and ultimately use whatever wins in the end. I feel like it will give others here a good subjective opinion on which does better in which areas and sbe some guys some heartache. I'm not sure I'll scrap the BMs yet because I think they have incredible potential on the seos 24. Airy and extension are absolutely fantastic, just. Touch of siblance and a tad sharp. I think some work on the processing will fix that. It will be interesting to compare them still
No sibilance here, but I went with my own passive crossover plus a tad of DSP(to get rid of the dip at the crossover freq).
Quote:
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Face, could you explain this statement: Off axis is one of the main reasons a RAAL will sound much different than a dome.
Very wide horizontal with much narrower vertical dispersion will interact with the room differently than any dome. I'm a big fan of the OEM Raal, IMO it sounds very nice, I wish it was available for the public to purchase.
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post #24 of 47 Old 01-21-2014, 07:46 AM
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Originally Posted by a|F View Post

Chop, how/why did you pick the 951 over the others? USS speaker seems to have a ton of options, just not sure how to differentiate between them. Unless you just went with the most expensive...?

Face, could you explain this statement: Off axis is one of the main reasons a RAAL will sound much different than a dome.

Coctostan, do you intend to try the 1" Be on a seos? Have you ever told us which speakers you use in your reference system?

This thread has been a nice read. Although I have seen this topic before (mostly with Marty asking the same questions), it's a good refresher. smile.gif

Up until recently, the 951 was the only 1.4" CD that was available with a Be diaphragm. It uses a JBL spec 4" diaphragm but with Radian's own motor and phase plug. TruExtent JBL spec diaphragms are used in them. Recently US Speaker started listing Be diaphragm'd Radians in the smaller 3" voice coil medium format models. I don't know if they are sourcing these from TruExtent because for years they only offered 4" voice coils. If I had to guess, Radian is sourcing them from TruExtent because there aren't many sources for Be.

I've never used the medium format Radians (636, 745, 835 series). I don't know how their phase plugs differ from the 951's. The 4" diaphragm should allow for better low frequency performance than the 3" diaphragm but it would need to be tested to know the extent. Of course, 3" diaphragms tend to do better at higher frequencies, but much of that is dependent upon the phase plug. It would really need to be examined more closely.

I think what Face is referring to is how RAAL's are tall which means the HF beamwidth narrows significantly. There is a pretty significant reduction in off-axis energy.

Yep, I would try it on a SEOS-15 and I also have DNA-360's and 4550s to compare to. My reference system uses an older JBL horn the 2352 with JBL 2452H-SL compression drivers. Dual TD15Ms for midbass. The 2452H's have titanium diaphragms that are coated with JBL's Aquaplas. They are the most advanced CDs JBL uses short of their new dual diaphragm CD. The phase plug is the same as what is in the Everest CDs. I've come close to buying Be diaphragms many times before, but haven't pulled the trigger. The coated titanium is far better than uncoated titanium and in some ways better than aluminum. I have another design in the works for my reference system that has taken a bit longer to get done than I had hoped, but I plan to try some 1" Radian Be drivers at some point vs the more common plastic diaphragms. I've not tested that difference so I can't say for sure how big that gap is if there is even an advantage to Be in smaller diaphragms.
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post #25 of 47 Old 01-21-2014, 07:54 AM
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I appreciate the responses.

How do you guys feel about the CSS planar 2 with its horn? Any experience using or listening to it?
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post #26 of 47 Old 01-21-2014, 07:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Face2 View Post

No sibilance here, but I went with my own passive crossover plus a tad of DSP(to get rid of the dip at the crossover freq).
Very wide horizontal with much narrower vertical dispersion will interact with the room differently than any dome. I'm a big fan of the OEM Raal, IMO it sounds very nice, I wish it was available for the public to purchase.

Like I mentioned earlier, the crossover between the HF and MF on the BMS coax can create significant variance. It is not trivial and the stock crossover is really intended for pro use which means power handling and cheap. Getting the crossover right there is also not as simple as getting it flat. What horn are you using them on?

The RAAL also exhibits breakup way way out of the audible range which does impact subjective sound quality. The question is which trait dominates the subjective? The significantly different off-axis response or the slightly different breakup character? That is always tough to answer because it is hard to control the test.
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post #27 of 47 Old 01-21-2014, 08:05 AM
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Originally Posted by a|F View Post

I appreciate the responses.

How do you guys feel about the CSS planar 2 with its horn? Any experience using or listening to it?

Talk to Tux about them: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1484902/creative-sound-solutions-planar-2-tweeter/0_60

They seem to measure nicely and he likes them.
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post #28 of 47 Old 01-21-2014, 08:38 AM
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When I say frequency response (first on-axis, then closely behind it off-axis) dominates, look at this comparison of the Radian 950 with Be and Aluminum diaphragms:




(screen cap'd from this PDF):
http://materion.com/~/media/Files/PDFs/Electrofusion/TTB001_BeX_Vs_Radian

The Al diaphragm above 10khz is completely out of control breaking up. You won't see this in a smoothed measurement but this will sound objectionable. This is partly why people used to always use supertweeters with large format CDs since most were aluminum. The Be diaphragm doesn't start to get nasty until just past 20khz. (also, this Radian aluminum diaphragm is better than many of the old school aluminum diaphragms...titanium diaphragms usually push breakup a bit higher, but it is even nastier than Al once it starts)

It isn't magic or invisible. It is measurable. The 4" Be diaphragm simply has superior frequency response which dominates all other characteristics of a speaker (or in-room response once you put the speaker in room).

Now does the Be diaphragm translate to subjective superiority when using it with far smaller diaphragms? I haven't seen those measurements, but I'm willing to guess that whatever advantage it shows it is not as subjectively distinct because the less exotic materials don't exhibit breakup as low as 10khz like Aluminum. If you look at unsmoothed measurements of high quality 1" CDs like the 4550 or DE250, breakup starts to happen around 16khz to 20khz. It is generally less objectionable because of the more compliant material plastic vs Ti or Al. I'd guess a similarly sized Be diaphragm will push breakup into the 22-25khz range like the TAD 2002 shows. I really don't know how much tangible benefit that would provide, but it is probably something that is measurable in response and does intrigue me.

You will notice that manufacturers sometimes use Be in super tweeters like the JBL Everest. My opinion is that they do this to achieve a flat to 40khz spec. Be is one of the few materials that can extend that high with power applied, but obviously it requires a small diaphragm to do so. Whether there is any benefit to clean response that high is debatable (and I personally have never found any...but in the world of selling $100k speakers that spec helps).
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post #29 of 47 Old 01-21-2014, 08:42 AM
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Like I mentioned earlier, the crossover between the HF and MF on the BMS coax can create significant variance. It is not trivial and the stock crossover is really intended for pro use which means power handling and cheap. Getting the crossover right there is also not as simple as getting it flat. What horn are you using them on?

The RAAL also exhibits breakup way way out of the audible range which does impact subjective sound quality. The question is which trait dominates the subjective? The significantly different off-axis response or the slightly different breakup character? That is always tough to answer because it is hard to control the test.
The horn is a SEOS 24. The BMS actually works ok without any crossover between the mid and tweeter. You're correct, the crossover is for protecting the HF unit for PA use, for home use it's not absolutely necessary as distortion was still -50 without it. But, I'm still using the BMS crossover on the HF unit only just in case an amp or connection lets go, these units are too much money to take chances. Using a custom passive crossover on the mid(without a low pass, natural roll off) and the BMS crossover on the tweeter(plus L-Pad) and some DSP(via J. River), I have flat response and nice phase tracking. I may play around with just a protection cap on the tweeter with DSP and a L-Pad to see if I can still get flat response and good phase tracking.

As for the RAAL, it may be a matter of both.

Mike
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post #30 of 47 Old 01-21-2014, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by coctostan View Post

The RAAL also exhibits breakup way way out of the audible range which does impact subjective sound quality.

Then it must have a measurable effect within the audible range, no?
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Originally Posted by coctostan View Post

When I say frequency response (first on-axis, then closely behind it off-axis) dominates, look at this comparison of the Radian 950 with Be and Aluminum diaphragms:




(screen cap'd from this PDF):
http://materion.com/~/media/Files/PDFs/Electrofusion/TTB001_BeX_Vs_Radian

The Al diaphragm above 10khz is completely out of control breaking up.

Is that big bump above 10 kHz in the BE's response not breakup as well?

Noah
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