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   Home » Audio Discussions » Natural Remedies for Sick Speakers? (26 posts, 2 pages)
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09-28-2011 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,157
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 21
Post ID: 17093
Reply to: 16827
When the Listener is Ready,
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...the Driver Will Appear

With appologies to the Buddha, and notwithstanding the fact that all the "action" on hi-fi forums centers around what to buy and where to buy it, success with speakers more often than not stems from lessons learned from "mistakes".  As for which drivers to buy, no one has asked on this thread (yet...), but I think that the mid-range is the place to start with drivers, then the tweeter(s), then work down from there.  Then, start over with the assembled drivers.  YMMV.  As for which particular drivers to buy, honestly, this can only draw circular "answers" that are more in line with the Zen koans than venal intentions will suffer.  Whether MF, HF, LF or ULF, any driver is only a machine, and it is not being facetious to say that any intelligence found to inhere in any driver must be so mirrored by its appreciator. This is not just a truism, it's The Truth.

FWIW, I see/hear LF as no different than "the rest of the sound spectrum" with respect to the need for "musical" drivers.  Even at LF, if you can get Music out of any "long-throw woofer" I have ever seen/heard, you must know something I don't about Sound or about Music, or you must possess a canny knowledge of physics that you ought not keep to yourself.

As for finding drivers: Probably, if to "hear the appearance", if it looks like a cast iron spaceship, then it sounds like a cast iron spceship. OTOH, one ought not assume that leather and wood, etc. are good because they are "natural", or that anything is anything else because it is fill-in-the-blank.  It's not that the indicators aren't good, but it's how they are used, of course. Eg, again, my "Best Driver" (according to prices) will be allocated to very limited (although critical...) duty in my system, because that's how it "works" for me in my idea of a system.  Sorry to disappoint, but it's my driver now, and it is NOT going WR on a large OB to play Motorhead.

Still on my "To Do" list: I would love to hear what others think of as "sonic indicators" that one sees/finds in various speakers/drivers, as opposed to the usual fraternal elbow to the ribs, "wouldja lookit that!".  The bald, fat and naked truth is, "seeing is hearing" is true only for those who are simply gifted or - generally - those who have learned by doing.

Paul S
10-03-2011 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,157
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 22
Post ID: 17114
Reply to: 17093
The Price of a Good Education
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What is it, abiout a year simce I started down this road?  Time is such a swirl.  During most of this time I have listented to music mostly in terms of driver "evaluations", with very little of my usual deep listening just for pleasure.  Ugh.  But this is necessary, I'm afraid.  Yes, I have enjoyed some music from some drivers on occasion. But I it seems like the more I learn about materials versus sound, the more there is to learn; and so it goes.

I hesitate to say how many drivers I have "acquired" over the past year, not to mantion boxes and closets (and a garage...) full of papers, glues and parts. As for cost, I absolutely do not recommend this path as a way to "save money" via DIY!

As Haralanov has said, you will not find "suitable" drivers among the ready-made items.  In fact looking for "likely" candidates is like looking for hen's teeth in haystacks, in terms of liklihood of success and also hours spent versus "reward".  The "cost/benefit" here is not "off the charts", it is not even on the charts...

So, why continue?  Well, it might be like any addiction, where the "high" is (necessarilly...) very much the least of it.  In fact, this is likely the case.  OTOH, there actually are "highs". It turns out there is actually something to learn, and it turns out you can find situationally-good-sounding drivers if you keep after the search.  Now, getting these drivers to work with the other drivers, in a coherent, cohesive system, is something else again...  More often than not, one has to re-think even the good-sounding drivers.

Paul S
11-09-2011 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,157
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 23
Post ID: 17354
Reply to: 17114
Why So Long Between Posts?
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How great it would be if there was some kind of "breakthrough" every so often, in order to make linear "progress" with the driver evaluations and speaker development! In fact, it is almost impossible to keep meaningful "controls" in place between evaluation sessions, for lots of reasons, so most of what I am learning must be processed "sub-consciously" and then "re-evaluated", often with repeat listening, to "confirm" findings.

One interesting thing I can share is that many of the old "manufacturers" actually did do some things "right", on occasion.  However, their "making the right choice" was not something that can be relied upon today when it comes time to choose drivers for "development". For one thing, significant physical changes do not always correspond to serial numbers or model designations; some drivers from the same "manufacturer" are simply different than others that bear exactly the same numbers!  This is not only confusing, it is costly!  Also, while some processes were obviously developed to improve response and sound, it seems like other changes were made solely to facilitate production.  Also, like I already said, as time passed, more and more changes were about making the drivers tougher, as opposed to making them sound better.

I finally have a re-built cone and a useable trial motor, and I have the raw materials at hand for a new chassis (I think...).  I am excited to hear the "new" WR driver, but I am also quite weary and disgusted with DIY in general!

Paul S
12-22-2011 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,157
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 24
Post ID: 17564
Reply to: 17354
Determined Listening (and the ongoing cost of success)
fiogf49gjkf0d

I suppose I gave up fairly quickly on the 12" WR drivers, for reasons I cited earlier.  But good things I've continued to hear from them, and Haralanov's shared experience, have kept me coming back to the 12", doing a sort of focused listening that I have used for driver development, as opposed to making initial selections.  In this case, I keep in mind the sorts of things I want to hear and I continue to mess with the drivers until I start to hear more of what I want.  Basically, I try to add good things without losing the earlier benefits.  If this sounds simple, it is time consuming, and it is exhausting.  I have gotten some breaks when the sound was good enough to simply enjoy the music; but mostly it has been about keeping track of drivers, changes, situations and sound, not to lose any benefits nor repeat any mistakes.

Finally, while fiddling with the 12" WR in my "stack", and the other drivers adjusted accordingly, I have gotten much better "glimpses" of a sort of presentation that I do not want to give up, and it includes (finally...) proper image size.  Haralanov has gone on at some length about the acoustic effects in other threads, but I have not yet heard for myself all that he describes.  Lately I have been listening mostly to "smaller" works, in order to establish initial voicing, and the 12" defintely makes appropriate "space" in these cases.  Last weekend, I upped the ante with Mozart's Clarinet Concerto, and it blew my mind to think of this sound, including the "space" I got, as coming from only one speaker (4 drivers).  Now I have some very nice 10'" drivers that I will not use, including the recently re-built one I referred to in the previous post...

Oh, well... Chalk it up to experience, and add them to the pile...

Paul S

06-27-2012 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,157
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 25
Post ID: 18332
Reply to: 17564
The Part of the Amp(s) (yet again)
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How many times have we heard the mantra, speakers/amps/room?  Over the past few months I have listened to many non-musical private and salon installations, amazed that the owners have in every case seemed generally happy with the sound from their expensive systems.  Because of consistently bad overall sound, finding amps has been difficult, and driver/speaker testing bogged down for want of suitable amps.  Well, things hi-fi have finally changed for the better for me.

It should be obvious that to get specific sound in one's room requires specific speakers driven by specific amps.  Sure, an acceptable "range" might be established; but mix-n-match is very definitely out, given clear sonic objectives going in.  In my case, it quickly became apparent that I needed quite a lot of power to cleanly drive any stack I tried.  And I just as quickly established (what I suspected initially), that [clean] power alone was not nearly enough.  Now, while I don't really need to start over, I do have to re-evaluate some drivers and combinations of drivers in light of the sonic advances that suitable amplification has brought me.  Looking back, I'm glad I did not succumb to the PP SET hybrids, despite their wonderful sound, since the more I reflect, the more I realize that they were, indeed, struggling on tutti with less in the way of a "load" than my present amps will see, despite these PP SETs sported a 140W "rating", and so "shouldn't" be as far off the mark as they are, as a matter of fact.

Driver Development 101A makes it clear: While building up ones own drivers, keep the amp(s) in mind all the while.  Although there might be several ways to approach driver and system development, sooner or later the speaker/amp/room path will become a single track.

Paul S
09-25-2012 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,157
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 26
Post ID: 18667
Reply to: 18332
Manufacturing Capabilities
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It really is a shame that there is no market for really good-sounding drivers.  Although I hope to have a useable one-off up and running before I die, it is the drizzling shits having to invent and build even my own templates and jigs in order to try to hold to acceptable tolerances while making formers, winding VCs, removing, modifying and re-fitting cones, etc., ad nuseum.  Suffering DIY, it happens all too often that a minor diviation from intended measurements or values renders the results no good, and most of the carefully-selected materials and sub-assemblies go to waste.  And all the time I am futzing around like a caveman, I am aware that all the machinery needed to streamline and properly control the processes is extent, and it's used every day to crank out one after another bad-sounding driver that will be stamped and shipped and received and re-labled and built into a bad-sounding speaker.

I have actually added a few tools to my already extensive collection because I "needed" them for some small part of the driver building process.  And some of these tools I've never even used yet.  Still, there are plenty more specialty tools I wish I had free access to.

Since I really do hate DIY, and since this has been such a giant drudge, you might reasonably think I'd find another way.

Well, I keep my ears open and my eyes peeled, believe me!

Paul S
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