Originally Posted by Gooddoc
What we have on the enthusiast side is more distortion, no other measurement that shows superiority, and inferior SQ. What we have on the JBL side is the claim to superiority of the D2 driver, as far as I can tell, based on "tools now that can measure characteristics that we could not measure, even a few years ago". JBL doesn't claim the D2 driver is just "good enough", but that it advances driver SOTA.
What are those tools and characteristics? My point is whether this is all JBL marketing BS or are there tools and characteristics not measurable by enthusiasts that explain the claims of "next generation" by JBL?
Is it just a great driver that mates well with the Image Control Waveguide, or truly a driver advance in its own right?
It was something of a shock to sit in a room full of JBL people when the whole package including the 3" drivers were introduced after sincerely feeling that the 4" diaphragm/2" throat were the ultimate expression of the driver/horn approach to reproduction.
There are more things to consider than just size though. when the last gen of 4" devices were introduced, they were coupled to flat front bi-radial horns in those applications that required more portability or lower profiles. Naturally this required higher cross over frequencies as small horns will fall apart much faster (pattern control, etc) than larger horns. Yet those same drivers were also used in the large format horns of the day where crossover frequencies could then be lowered to take advantage of the extended low frequency response/pattern control that a larger horn affords.
What am I suggesting? One can't just look at the driver or the horn alone. They have to be considered as a system. Of course, any design requires rooting in practical considerations and it really doesn't matter how much you want to charge for your product, there will come a point where cost factors will play.
Are the three inch drivers less expensive to build and does that factor? I don't know but it makes sense to think "yes." When it comes to the home, the size of a horn that would be needed to take advantage (control dispersion, distortion and provide an optimum acoustic loading to th lowest frequency) of say a 300Hz crossover is truly a detriment and practical limitation.
I have to wonder how much that plays in the home theatre. Today in live sound reinforcement, the overwhelming trend is to line arrays. Constant directivity horns (though we know JBL now has such a package that is claimed not to require e.q. compensation) are much less common in use in large scale PA as a result.
Compression drivers/horns are unbeatable for maximizing power/sensitivity needs and designing certain types of wide dispersion systems (for the far field) but do other things less well.
I am firmly and happily ensconced with my Salon2s, even with their tremendous thirst for clean amplification which I consider their only major trade off. Still, with "only" 500 watts per channel, I can generate steady state levels of 95dB with peaks of 110dB and over (according to my meter), at which point I start to run out of amplifier in my 3200cf room that is fairly well damped.
I prefer my direct radiators with their smooth off axis response to any horn loaded system I've heard in like conditions. Therein lies a limitation since I have not heard the M2 or Everest systems in a home environment, so take what I say as you will. But.....will a 3" driver and complimentary horn change that? I don't know but again, I have never heard a horn loaded system perform with the equanimity of the Salon2s in a small/medium room environment, including any studio I can remember. It would be
interesting to hear what the M2s could do in my room, but my (admitted) prejudices suggest I'd still prefer the Revels.
One thing I do believe is that no 4" driver/2" entry horn combination from JBL (and I'm very familiar with almost all of those those) will do for me what the Revels do in my application.
The new three inch drivers/horns might....but I'd want to hear it to be sure. I do suspect that for most people, the horns will be significantly harder to integrate in the home environment regardless of size or design era.
Here's where my knowledge runs out: the 3" devices will of course be lower in mass, which allows for either higher speed or more excursion (or both, depending on design criteria). And that could be the place where the physics catches up with a 4" driver.