The main "technique" I use in "problem solving" involves a sort of Hegelian turning and re-turning of/to the object of attention (or, my perspective...) to get as many "views" of the object as possible. This sort of reflection has recently brought to mind some potentially useful memories/observations:
For all the problems of the old radio speakers, some of that old paper was very nice tonally and very stable and well-damped at certain frequencies. Cone shape is also a factor, and the straight-faced "piston" is prone to some avoidable troubles by concept/design. It is all well and good to "control break-up"... in theory; in practice, it may work at least as well to simply avoid break-up by limiting stress, and/or even to"distribute" break-up over the cone and/or operating range.
For all the fact that Alnico tends to pull tone upwards as the demands on it are increased, yet it is quite "calm" (like silver wire...) in a way that might be put to good use.
My objective is not to use a full-range or wide-range driver but to wind up with acceptable performance from the system. I know what I want, and I am not stuck on how to get it.
Recently, looking at and thinking about what real drivers I am aware of actually do, I have been "modeling" 3 drivers to fill in for my present 8" Lowther or Reps: A 10"; a 4"; a paper tweeter that can meet my ribbon in a good place. I do not know it yet, but I suspect a "good" 4" will probably not go from, say, 2k to 12k. If it can, then I am always happy to eliminate a driver/crossover!
If I "remember the response curves" of the old drivers correctly, the "hump" is probably at or close to the optimum portion of the coil/gap stroke. If so, this would make my "objective" to somehow limit each driver to what it "prefers" to do, in the first place. Or, a given driver might be refitted and/or "trained" to operate in its optimal range...
But the starting point is tough (impossible...) without some sort of mental "inventory" of available drivers. Yes, it's too bad that the "market" is controlled by name-worshiping clowns with too much free time and money to spend on their fetishes. So, to avoid stimulating these Bozos, perhaps you can say in more-or-less generic terms what sort of * rough * relationships you have worked out with respect to cone diameter, frequency response, SPL, gap and motor size/force? In my case, I would not try for less than about 150 - 200 Hz from my 10" "pivot" driver, and I am not stuck on pushing it higher than, say 2 - 3 k; wherever the 4" does better. The old-ish "theater" speakers mostly have rather large magnet/motors, regardless of cone size; the old "radio" speakers have relatively smaller magnet/motors, and narrower voice coils, regardless of cone size. I do need over 100 dB SPL in my room with orchestras, that's for sure. Basically, how does one "proportionally" relate the appearance of the driver to its purpose?
Petar, it has been some time since I have "spoken" of this stuff in this way with someone who basically takes the words out of my mouth and says/shows me things I "already knew", even though it is certainly "new" to me in terms of the rote, practical applications you present. And so, based on your rather guarded/coded revelations so far, I suppose you re-wind at least some of your coils?
I guess I have to do what I have to do; but, as I have mentioned before, I am a VERY reluctant DIY guy! I am still after results, not process, itself.