Originally Posted by watchnerd
I'm so confused by Dynaudio driver names / specs.
First, we seem to have model lines, like:
And then we have driver designations like...
...which seems to denote driver diameter and voicecoil diameter.
What's the secret decoder ring to decipher all of these?
To be honest, we have not been very consistent when it comes to the naming schemes of our drivers. This is mostly due to the fact that we are no longer selling individual drivers. We are not trying to create lineups of drivers that are easy to understand, as we don't want you to buy drivers, but to buy speakers. Our drivers, especially our woofers, are available in many different variants, and it's not easy to draw lines between them, as the differences are not straight forward. And in many cases we do not tell you what the actual difference is, for several reasons. Sometimes a difference that is small on paper makes a huge difference in sound. Sometimes it's the opposite. For this reason we are actually trying not to put too much emphasis on the individual component details, however it's a balance as this is exactly the details that most enthusiasts want to hear... So for instance for the new Contour we are going a bit deeper in detail than what we have usually done.
But, generally speaking, for instance 18 W 75 tells you that you have an 18 cm Woofer (W) with a 75 mm voice coil. But that doesn't actually say much, other than the size. There are a LOT of variations within one size, as you may imagine. Esotar is our marketing name for our top of the line tweeters (and is also used for high-end aftermarket car woofers, with no underlying logic other than to say "this is the best one"). We don't actually have a defined set of features that make out an Esotar, other than to say that it's the best we have.
Esotec started out as the name for the D260 tweeter, and has since been used to varying degrees to designate a level of quality that is below the Esotar, but above what we call our "standard" drivers (which actually don't really have a marketing name as such). Esotec+ basically means a driver using Ferrite+ magnets, but again there can be many variations.
In short, other than the crude definitions of Esotar vs Esotec vs Standard, we currently don't really have a meaningful way of publicly differentiating the drivers from each other. We are looking into how to make this more transparent, but as we are developing the drivers to work optimally for each speaker, not to have it fit into a certain pre-defined lineup of features, it's not a simple project. And we don't want to make worse sounding speakers, just for the sake of putting more "logic" into the feature naming of the drivers. It can be very restrictive to the R&D process to pre-define a set of rules for which features go into each lineup. To give an example, we have a very different set of priorities for a 17W75 woofer in a two way speaker with a crossover point around 2 kHz, and an 18W75 woofer that would go into a three-way with a crossover point at, say, 300 Hz. Looking at the feature list of the drivers, it might not be obvious why we would abandon certain features for the more expensive three-way, when we are touting them as key features for the same size driver in a two-way. But the requirements for a driver are vastly different, depending on the frequency range you are using it in. Because of this, it can be extremely complex to evaluate the quality of a driver, based on the features that go into it. Which also explains why, for instance, a few of our drivers use copper voice coils, while we are at the same time touting aluminum voice coils as superior for most of our products. They are used in different ways.
I'm not sure that's the answer you were looking for, but this is the main reasons why that answer doesn't really exist...