Cheap drivers vs expensive drivers in our DIY projects. - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 53 Old 11-17-2019, 10:22 AM - Thread Starter
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I know this sounds like a title for the speaker section but for some of our DIY project builds (like a pa460 loaded Devestator) store bought speakers don’t even compare with our builds even with budget drivers in them. So, with that being said. Is there a sound/quality difference between budget drivers vs expensive drivers if box design is compared?

I know the obvious answer is yes for SPL, but let’️s exclude that for this question.

I am just wondering if I should upgrade drivers for better sound quality even if I have no need for higher spl levels? Is there really a noticeable difference?


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post #2 of 53 Old 11-17-2019, 10:26 AM
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I've always been a big believer in buying better drivers right from the start. Ive never been a "buy a bunch of cheaper drivers to equal one good one" type of guy.
I fully understand why people do it,I personally would just save up a bit longer and get something better.... But that's just me.... And I also run my stuff hard, so there's that... Lol
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post #3 of 53 Old 11-17-2019, 10:40 AM
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Obviously, you can do whatever you want...it's your time and money. My question is, why not purchase the driver with the better sound quality in the first place
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post #4 of 53 Old 11-17-2019, 10:42 AM
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What store bought sub is better than a Devastator?
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post #5 of 53 Old 11-17-2019, 11:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimlock View Post
What store bought sub is better than a Devastator?
I also would like to know..... here is the ONLY one that I am aware of that is even close..... but it takes FOUR 18" to get there......


https://bagend.com/wp-content/upload...6/QUARTZ-I.pdf


The devastator line is the TRUTH...


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post #6 of 53 Old 11-17-2019, 11:52 AM
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Bandwidth and distortion will typically measure better on higher quality drivers. The audibility of that is hard to quantify, particularly if max output isn't approached. I have had audible differences with driver "upgrades" but attributed the sound differences more to the better parameters of the better driver (i.e. dug deeper in same box). I tend to push my equipment fairly hard though, so this definitely exposes hardware differences more.

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post #7 of 53 Old 11-17-2019, 11:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimlock View Post
What store bought sub is better than a Devastator?
I read it as "there's not a comparable store-bought equal" in the devestator's favor. Either in design style or performance.

Eye of the beholder I suppose.
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post #8 of 53 Old 11-17-2019, 01:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimlock View Post
What store bought sub is better than a Devastator?
Edit: fixed
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post #9 of 53 Old 11-17-2019, 01:48 PM
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More expensive drivers is usually a combination of effects that drive up costs, not because they necessarily sound 'better.' Better build quality, more power handling, better cooling, better inductance control, better linearity ... and the list goes on.

The PA460 is super cheap, if you look at how much material goes into it you can see why, its just a basic driver with quite a bit of xmax. I think it was MTG90 or maybe somebody else that look at the distortion at high xmax for the driver and it showed to be very clean which is why the VBSS is so popular. If it dug low and put out tons of distortion, price be damned, it probably wouldn't of become so popular.

As for starting out with more expensive drivers, well that totally depends. The UM18 is a middle of the road price 18" driver, there are obviously better drivers out there than the UM18 but not in the price range. Those drivers being better doesn't mean they will be different or way different at the same sound levels in the same box, just that they can do MORE than the other.

The PA460 in a devestator does well, it already gets louder than what anyone person would need in a single living room, but you might have to play with the DSP a little bit when compared to the Lavoce 21" sub.

I guess long and short answer is, it depends. You won't know if those better drivers actually sound better until you sim to make sure they work in the enclosure and then listen to them side by side.
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post #10 of 53 Old 11-17-2019, 03:16 PM
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If your are looking for simple way to weed out use Le/Res any keep it under 1ms. If you go to DB and run down the list all the drivers under 1ms are considered good performers and the lower you get the higher up the food chain they are considered.


I can't say how far apart you need to be to notice but I went from drivers with 1.1ms to drivers at .5ms and the difference is audible above moderate levels.

8hz ULF TR for the masses and the Cashless. Like a BOSS


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post #11 of 53 Old 11-17-2019, 06:24 PM
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Whats the craze with the Devastator? Ive not seen and good ULF or under 20hz measurements- seems more of a MBM
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post #12 of 53 Old 11-17-2019, 06:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Remy.Alexander View Post
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Whats the craze with the Devastator? Ive not seen and good ULF or under 20hz measurements- seems more of a MBM
Basically, bass that will rip your chest apart and take your head clean off. Wish I had the room...

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post #13 of 53 Old 11-17-2019, 08:17 PM
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Basically, bass that will rip your chest apart and take your head clean off. Wish I had the room...

Remove the furniture. Get floor pillows or a floor sofa. Put Devastors in place of furniture. Put Floor Pillows/Floor Sofa on top. Sit on Devastor. You can "make" the couch out of devastprs, so that you have a devastor throne.

This is a DIY forum. Please don't come here with your "excuses"


Jokes aside, if spsace isn't an issue, you should just get an HSU VTF 15 MK2 over the Devastor. LOL JK, but think about that, the Devastor is ~$1000...... before shipping. That's crazy. For bass that will "rip your chest apart".

But I'm positive it was the AVS DIY forum that taught me that you don't always need the most expensive driver, but the right driver, but that's more speaker builds. And that there are diminishing returns on sub output. So I think the thread may be a little gungho on spending a lot on drivers. The JBL 12s for $33 make a LOT of people happy. Or maybe I'm just misreading people in the thread.

Also, for comparing the Devastor to a sub, I know it's not a "store bought" sub, but wouldn't you want to compare it to a JTR Orbit Shift Pro? I just did a search and couldn't find anything. How does that compare? For $1k...
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post #14 of 53 Old 11-17-2019, 08:27 PM
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Whats the craze with the Devastator? Ive not seen and good ULF or under 20hz measurements- seems more of a MBM
Devestators tuning is about 20hz so its not a MBM, the craze comes from the massive amounts of sensitivity in the mid bass though. To me, this is paramount in a good system that they have this headroom in the mid bass for freedom of DSP. ULF can get a lot of help from the room but the midbass is a bit trickier to get right.
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post #15 of 53 Old 11-17-2019, 09:05 PM
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Originally Posted by tential View Post
Jokes aside, if spsace isn't an issue, you should just get an HSU VTF 15 MK2 over the Devastor. LOL JK, but think about that, the Devastor is ~$1000...... before shipping. That's crazy. For bass that will "rip your chest apart".
@tential
The Devastator is only $1k if you get the FLAT PACK.... you could build a few yourself for less than a grand. If you have not seen any charts is because you didn't look very hard.....
Here you go.....https://www.avsforum.com/forum/155-d...tor-index.html


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post #16 of 53 Old 11-18-2019, 01:52 AM
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Originally Posted by jujuman200 View Post
@tential
The Devastator is only $1k if you get the FLAT PACK.... you could build a few yourself for less than a grand. If you have not seen any charts is because you didn't look very hard.....
Here you go.....https://www.avsforum.com/forum/155-d...tor-index.html


Juju
Ah very true, it's only $1k if you get the Flatpack.

Where did I say I hadn't seen any charts? Or even asked for charts?
You might want to look a little harder at what I wrote
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post #17 of 53 Old 11-18-2019, 07:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tential View Post

Also, for comparing the Devastor to a sub, I know it's not a "store bought" sub, but wouldn't you want to compare it to a JTR Orbit Shift Pro? I just did a search and couldn't find anything. How does that compare? For $1k...
different subs (similar size), but look at the tuning.

The Dev is a 20-80hz

The Orb Pro is 37-120hz

The orb will give you more SPL in its response range but it won't give you much of anything below tuning. The tuning could be higher and JTR is just listing the F10, I don't know.

edit: disregard, its on DB, the tuning is exactly 37 but it has a nice roll off after that. So the frequency range is comparable to the Dev.

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post #18 of 53 Old 11-18-2019, 07:52 AM
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different subs (similar size), but look at the tuning.



The Dev is a 20-80hz



The Orb Pro is 37-120hz



The orb will give you more SPL in its response range but it won't give you much of anything below tuning. The tuning could be higher and JTR is just listing the F10, I don't know.



edit: disregard, its on DB, the tuning is exactly 37 but it has a nice roll off after that. So the frequency range is comparable to the Dev.


There is an orbit shifter lfu that is probably a more apt comparison also.
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post #19 of 53 Old 11-18-2019, 08:02 AM
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As for the original question, I think cheap drivers will win on a $ to performance scale, if you have the space for multiples.

My problems are not having the space, and knowing I would always wonder just how much better a given enclosure could be with a “better” driver.
Therefor, I’m running 18ds115’s and HST 18’s, and considering switching my cheap sealed to a pair of HT-3’s.
I’ve splurged on the best of the best 18’s, now I’ll just have to wonder if NSW 21’s could have been better than the HST’s.

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post #20 of 53 Old 11-18-2019, 08:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tential View Post
Ah very true, it's only $1k if you get the Flatpack.

Where did I say I hadn't seen any charts? Or even asked for charts?
You might want to look a little harder at what I wrote
Sorry tential..... that was for Remy..... my apologies.


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post #21 of 53 Old 11-18-2019, 08:35 AM
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As for the original question, I think cheap drivers will win on a $ to performance scale, if you have the space for multiples.
I think this is the key. I don't have a lot of money to throw at subs, so I want to stretch my limited budget as far as I can. My 4 VBSS deliver.

Down the road I might build some mini-dev cabs for 2 of my PA460s and give it a try. Its a cheap upgrade path.
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post #22 of 53 Old 11-18-2019, 08:37 AM
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I think this is the key. I don't have a lot of money to throw at subs, so I want to stretch my limited budget as far as I can. My 4 VBSS deliver.

Down the road I might build some mini-dev cabs for 2 of my PA460s and give it a try. Its a cheap upgrade path.

If you have the tools they are cheap to build. I have less than $200 into the cabinets on my current build.
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post #23 of 53 Old 11-18-2019, 08:38 AM
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yep

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post #24 of 53 Old 11-18-2019, 08:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Remy.Alexander View Post
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Whats the craze with the Devastator? Ive not seen and good ULF or under 20hz measurements- seems more of a MBM
If you have not seen any charts is because you didn't look very hard.....
Here you go.....https://www.avsforum.com/forum/155-d...tor-index.html
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Anthology http://www.speakerdesignworks.com/Anthology_1.html

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post #25 of 53 Old 11-18-2019, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by jevchance View Post
I think this is the key. I don't have a lot of money to throw at subs, so I want to stretch my limited budget as far as I can. My 4 VBSS deliver.



Down the road I might build some mini-dev cabs for 2 of my PA460s and give it a try. Its a cheap upgrade path.


I’m not convinced the mini dev is a great utilization of the pa460. Or more correctly, that the pa460 is a good utilization of the mini dev cabinet. The pa460 is already a midbass monster by nature, and the dev design emphasizes the midbass without adding on the low end.
Having heard neither, so just speculating on numbers, i would choose 2x vbss over a single mini for the same floor space. This would give you twice the low end with roughly the same midbass.
Exceptions would include not having enough amp to drive two vs one (a rare situation for the pa460), or future plans to swap to the SAF.

Chris
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post #26 of 53 Old 11-18-2019, 10:44 AM
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Cheap drivers vs expensive drivers in our DIY projects.

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Whats the craze with the Devastator? Ive not seen and good ULF or under 20hz measurements- seems more of a MBM


The devastator is not a ULF design at all. If you desire ULF, look at IB or sealed designs. Or LLT, depending on your definition of ULF.

The devastator is certainly not a mbm however. The 19hz tune digs nearly as low as most ported designs, with a massive midbass sledgehammer blow on top. Think of it more of a mini marty with a few mbm’s added in.

Which is quite literally what it is, a 19hz tuned ported enclosure on the back, with a quarter wave resonator on the front tuned in the midbass range. Since it’s designed to use already midbass-heavy pa drivers, it ends up with a ridiculous punch.

There is the LFE version which digs a bit deeper. But certainly none are designed for ULF. Another recent design thats gone super popular, the BOSS couples very nicely with the dev, or any other design, to fill in ULF without costing ridiculous money and/or destroying your house.

Chris
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post #27 of 53 Old 11-18-2019, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by a77cj7 View Post
I’m not convinced the mini dev is a great utilization of the pa460. Or more correctly, that the pa460 is a good utilization of the mini dev cabinet. The pa460 is already a midbass monster by nature, and the dev design emphasizes the midbass without adding on the low end.
Having heard neither, so just speculating on numbers, i would choose 2x vbss over a single mini for the same floor space. This would give you twice the low end with roughly the same midbass.
Exceptions would include not having enough amp to drive two vs one (a rare situation for the pa460), or future plans to swap to the SAF.

Chris
Well, one thing I'm after is increased TR from my existing equipment. I EQ'd and room corrected this weekend and it helped a lot, but I still would like more. I'm thinking Mini-devs will give me more chest-punch than my VBSS cabs.

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post #28 of 53 Old 11-18-2019, 11:46 AM
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Well, one thing I'm after is increased TR from my existing equipment. I EQ'd and room corrected this weekend and it helped a lot, but I still would like more. I'm thinking Mini-devs will give me more chest-punch than my VBSS cabs.


The problem with the PA460, they’re so cheap that buying a second one and building a second vbss isn’t significantly different than building a mini dev for the existing driver. The vbss is massively simpler and faster to build, if you put a monetary value on your time.
Of course If you don’t have the available amp capacity to double the number of PA460’s, the mini dev is more economical.

Now the mini dev will have higher particle velocity, which should increase TR. Whether or not it will be a significant difference over 2 VBSS at similar placement, I can’t say. Either way, you’re doubling spl capability, so should gain significantly.

Particle velocity falls off exponentially with distance, so another option to look at would be nearfield placement. A pa460 sealed VNF should beat a mini dev at distance. A mini-dev VNF may just kill you, but at least you die happy.

Chris
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post #29 of 53 Old 11-18-2019, 11:59 AM
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Originally Posted by a77cj7 View Post
The problem with the PA460, they’re so cheap that buying a second one and building a second vbss isn’t significantly different than building a mini dev for the existing driver. The vbss is massively simpler and faster to build, if you put a monetary value on your time.
Of course If you don’t have the available amp capacity to double the number of PA460’s, the mini dev is more economical.

Now the mini dev will have higher particle velocity, which should increase TR. Whether or not it will be a significant difference over 2 VBSS at similar placement, I can’t say. Either way, you’re doubling spl capability, so should gain significantly.

Particle velocity falls off exponentially with distance, so another option to look at would be nearfield placement. A pa460 sealed VNF should beat a mini dev at distance. A mini-dev VNF may just kill you, but at least you die happy.

Chris
I'm not 100% sure but I think I'm struggling with room modes. I time aligned this weekend and that helped a bunch, before I was getting good bass response but very little TR, now I'm getting some. I have two VBSS stacked center behind the screen, and 2 end tables flanking the MLP. I'll post some graphs soon.

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post #30 of 53 Old 11-18-2019, 12:03 PM - Thread Starter
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So it seem like you all answered my question.
Piece of mind and a lack of being satisfied. I get it though, that WHAT IF thing can really eat at a person which is why I asked the question. I don’️t think I would gain enough to do any upgrades considering I don’️t need massive amounts of spl and there seems to be no real significant quality improvements to the sound (although that is not entirely true I know). My spl and sound Q meter (my ears) seem to be more than happy, thank you for curing me of upgradeitis. Next project.....

And just for fun.

Red f20
Blue picowrecker
Orange 20hz pa460 “VBSSâ€Â
Green pa460 narrow mini dev
Click image for larger version

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Last edited by Audiophile75; 11-18-2019 at 12:19 PM.
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