Originally Posted by Andyisc00l
So why does seas, a huge corporation, charge $35 for the 29TFF/W and $80 for the T25CF-001 (excel tweeter)??
It is simple really - because one technology is more expensive to implement than another. One tweeter uses an array of neodymium magnets in the motor assembly and another uses a ferrite magnet. Neodymium is expensive when compared to ferrite. Both are magnet materials, neodymium offers a stronger magnetic field per gram of metal than ferrite, thus allowing smaller magnets -- at the sacrifice of cooling. More expensive technology does not necessarily mean better.
I am intimately familiar with the entire SEAS line of tweeters (in addition to many other lines of tweeters.) Retail pricing for tweeters rarely reflects performance. I have personally measured 1000's (yes, that is thousands) of stock and proprietary tweeters in my 25+ years of designing loudspeakers. I can clearly recall spending almost 4 full work weeks, perhaps 12 years ago, with every hour of each day dedicated to evaluating various tweeters for a new project using some of the most advanced audio equipment available. The end result was that the *most appropriate* tweeter for this application was almost the least expensive in the bunch. Sure, there were tweeters that had lower distortion, higher power handling, flatter response - but these were not suitable for our application.
I have seen such well regarded tweeters such as the 27TDFC ($27 retail?) in $10,000 speakers You would be making a mistake to judge the performance or value of any loudspeaker by what you think is the retail price of the tweeter. Additionally, the tweeter we are using is *not* the 29TFF/W - we have modified this tweeter to better suit our needs.
One of the many items that make the Sierra such a unique loudspeaker is that the desired response, including off-axis dispersion and the slopes of the crossover filters were designed well before we even chose our components. Most (if not all) loudspeakers are designed opposite from this (including every other loudspeaker I have designed) whereby we chose a tweeter, chose the woofer and then design the crossover to work with the drivers.
The tweeter we went with was better suited than any other tweeter I evaluated. I required exceptionally clean spectral decay + flat frequency response from 1 kHz to 30 kHz + controlled dispersion. Considering these requirements, the tweeter we are using bested (by a large margin) every other tweeter we tested --- including the SEAS Millenium (and various other SEAS models). The list of tweeters, both stock and proprietary that I tested for this application was both extensive and time consuming
Now back to performance.. This is indeed a very interesting site (never saw it before) http://www.zaphaudio.com/tweetermishmash/compare.html
these measurements actually correspond closely with my own.
Andy, let me ask you a question if you don't mind... Based on the measurements you see on the site listed above, with tweeters ranging in price from nearly $300 / piece to $5 / piece - based on my requirements for the tweeter I needed, which of the tweeters listed on that site are most appropriate? Looks like the lowly 29TFF/W even beat the Millennium, Crescendo and highly regarded Scanspeak 6600 in every category I mentioned. Hmmm how could THAT be possible
With tweeters, more expensive does not mean better - it means it cost more to build. With neo ring tweeters (the expensive ones you mention), the goal is to reduce or even eliminate the back wave reflection that comes off the tweeter dome, bounces off the magnet structure and then reflects back out of the front of the tweeter. Accomplishing this requires using many small neo magnets positioned in a ring around the former/voice coil of the tweeter so that there is no (or little) material behind the actual dome. Accomplishing this is very costly due to the complicated toolings involved and all of the neodymium required This feature (like all things audio) involves compromises. Improve this, sacrifice some of that
I should mention that there is a feature of the Sierra that you are overlooking here --- have you forgotten about the laminated hardwood cabinet - here is a material that cost 5 times what MDF costs and improves all aspects of performance without ANY compromises I challenge you to find another loudspeaker anywhere in the world that uses this type of construction at anywhere near the price of the Sierra.
The value you get with Ascend is not only remarkable performance - but you are getting decades worth of engineering expertise, technical know how and many years of experience in loudspeaker design that is not common with many ID companies
Loudspeaker design is about balance, it is about knowing exactly what to design for and how to go about achieving it. It is not about picking the most expensive or newest tweeter and designing around that tweeter - that is EASY my friend. If that is what you want, why not purchase those exact same parts yourself, buy some pre-fabricated finished cabinets, obtain some crossover modeling software and build your own speakers?
An experienced designer will tell you that it is all about balance, a synergistic approach to all components in the loudspeaker - all parts performing equally well - the tweeter, woofer, cabinet, port tube, crossover, damping - everything. The Sierra-1 achieves this delicate balance far greater than any other loudspeaker I have ever designed, worked on or measured.
Sure, I could have used the Millennium (or even the Crescendo), charged $100 more per pair and then used that feature to help market the Sierra, but that is not what this speaker (or Ascend for that matter) is about. The Millennium does not have the integrated wave guide which I needed for controlling dispersion, it has a shallower roll off which would have had to be compensated for in the crossover (requiring additional crossover parts which would have compromised performance) and the spectral decay (a tweeter specification that is most critical to me) is not as clean Why would anyone want to pay $100 more for a speaker that actually offers lesser performance? I know the answer to this question and it is not Ascend customers, and those are who I design for....
I am not saying that the tweeter we use is *better* than the Millennium, however, it is, a better tweeter when considering the specifications that were important to the design of the Sierra-1. There wasn't even a close second (at any price point)
Andy, if you are seriously interested in discussing more, I would be more than happy to. However, if your # 1 concern on the purchase of a loudspeaker is how expensive the assumed retail price is for just 1 of the components of the loudspeaker, our products would not be your best choice.
If you are looking for a loudspeaker that is the culmination of decades of design experience combined with truly remarkable performance, it is going to be very tough to best the Sierra-1
Please feel free to send me a PM or call and ask for me if you would like to discuss more As any of my customers will tell you, I am more than happy to discuss any of the details of our products.
Oh, and BTW, $35 for a tweeter is actually expensive compared to the vast majority of loudspeakers out there. In my experience, the average OEM price for tweeters found in >$1000/pr speakers is far less (normalized to reflect retail pricing with typical margins). While I won't share numbers with you, you would be in for quite a shock at what some of these tweeters actually cost -- and there is nothing wrong with that. It is all in the implementation --- being able to save some production costs while making no compromises on performance means that other areas of performance can be improved.... Definitely something worth thinking about... If you were building a $20,000 1/4 mile dragster, which suspension system would you use, the $2000 one that was perfectly appropriate for the car or a $10000 suspension that also offered formula-1 style handling (oval track)? Which car do you think will end up having a higher horsepower to weight ratio and use better tires? (the key parameters that would ultimately decide the 1/4 mile time - the better performer)
Hope I made some sense...