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In the Forum: Audio Discussions
In the Thread: Lowther Driver
Post Subject: Why do Lowther (and why stop)?Posted by Paul S on: 8/13/2007

I realize that some people have been raised from infancy with the Lowthers, take them to bed, etc., so I do not mean to do anything here other than air some recent thoughts on the subject and perhaps get a discussion going about these drivers and possible further “evolved” uses for them.

I wound up with the Lowthers after starting with horns, then going to sealed, then planar speakers (briefly), then back to sealed, this over 40+ years.  I liked and still like some things about each of these topologies, and, honestly, I have stayed with what I have considered the least problematic speakers, hoping for a nice cost/benefit ratio in my dotage.  So shoot me.  But if you know or have heard the litany of Lowther Problems, then you know one is up against it when deaing with these suckers; it is still no cake walk and no End of the Rainbow, for that.

Actually, I have had some very particular positive reasons for doing as I have done.  I have for some time wanted to wind up with instrumentally-correct pitch, timbre, weight and scale, and this has been my main priority – but not my only priority - for some time.  The early modular  Fultons were fun toys for years, and remarkable in terms of pitch, timbre, etc., incredibly colorful, but too slow and vague to stay with when their cheap-o crossovers started to go and the old drivers wanted re-coning.

What I wanted from the Lowthers was fast Fultons, but it was not to be so simple as that.  While they do not have quite the palette of the old original Fultons, I find the DX-4s rich in color, quite dynamic for cones, and possessed of a certain “gestalt” that other drivers just lack.  And I find it truly remarkable how wide a frequency and dynamic range the Lowther can do its stuff with.  None the less, .IMO, the Lowther does not do “full range”; period.  Also, attempts to use horns to amplify the Lowther severally color the sound, so that is out for me, too.  And oh, yes: the notoriois "spikes" at 2.4k Hz and 8k Hz.  So, what do you do with these temperamental little near-misses?

I started thinking “wide range” rather than “full range”, and "tame the spikes", soon after I started with the Lowthers.  I tried a few options for growing the available range, but by the time Dick Olsher introduced his OB “BassZilla”, it actually made sense to me.  Also, by the time I got mine built, Dick had figured out that Lowthers should not be fed anything under 150 Hz., and he had added a ribbon tweeter to augment the Lowther’s whizzer, which trails off above 10k Hz.  A tweaked “final” version of Olsher’s design, the Diamond Edition BassZilla, is what I now use.

I like the relative absence of colorations, and I like the dymamics, within their limits (more, anon).  The BR bass is compatible with (if not a perfect extension of) the Lowther DX-4.  The ribbons I am now using go up as high as you’d want, and they are probably as good as or better than available amps.

Plusses: good pitch, timbre, weight and scale; surprising dynamics (for cones); nice imaging; excellent articulation; nice, big listening area; can be driven with SET***.

What’s wrong?  I will always take more color(!); has a gelatin ceiling on dynamics, at least with the ML2s; can’t really be driven to best advantage with one SET/channel, IMO.

So, here I am, open to fire on a horn-ish website.  Where do we go from here, guys?  I am futzing with the crossovers, then I am +/- whether to add amps or veer South to warmer climes.

Best regards,
Paul S

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