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dumbo
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Joined: Sep 26 2009 - 6:59pm
What are your experiences with speakers with multiple, smaller diameter driver designs

All of the speakers I have owned in the past have always had rather large bass drivers incorporated into their designs. These speakers have always been very satisfying to me with how well they can fill the room with sound and move tons of air with very little effort. My previous speakers were Klipsch Chorus II's with 2 x 15" drivers per cabinet and my current speakers are Legacy Signature III's with 3 active 10" drivers per cabinet. I'm using a PASS Labs X250 for amplification

Lately I have been eyeballing several other speaker brands that use less drivers or multiple smaller drivers in their configuration. Some of these include B&W 802 and 803D's, Thiel 3.7's and Wilson Sophia's.

My musical tastes mainly center around Rock and Trance music, both of which tend to have quite a bit of low bass with complex, grungy musical passages involved.

Can someone with similar tastes in music who listens at fairly loud volumes be satisfied with a loudspeaker that uses multiple smaller drivers in their design? Can a smaller speaker frame, basket, magnet,cone..etc handle high power levels (assuming clean undistorted power) for long periods without burning itself out?

When I look at a speaker that has 2 or 3 x 6-7" woofers as the largest drivers in it's design I tend to think that they would be too delicate or incapable of producing a room filling sound with authoritative low bass performance below 30hz. I'm talking 95-110db with room shaking air movement without the use of a separate sub.

Please let me know your thoughts and experiences with smaller driver performance verses larger drivers.

Thanks

mrlowry
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Re: What are your experiences with speakers with multiple, small

There are so many variables that it's hard to generalize but smaller drivers have the potential to be faster with superior pitch definition. The output of a smaller driver can be increased to be closer to that of a larger driver by increasing it's excursion (maximum front to back movement) in addition to the number of base drivers. The only limitation that really can't be overcome practically (without major trade off) is the ultra low bass but rock music doesn't usually have ultra low bass. It's usually lots of mid bass. Smaller drivers also allow for a smaller front baffle which can result in less cabinet resonance allowing the speaker to acoustically disappear more easily.

dumbo
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Re: What are your experiences with speakers with multiple, small

Interesting info about the smaller front baffle helping the speaker disappear easier.

I know cabinet design has allot to do with a given speakers abilities to play bass notes more efficiently and would like to think that a resonantly dead cabinet design like those found on the Wilson line could get away with a smaller driver or fewer drivers doing the job.

I guess the real answer lies in knowing what the excursion capabilities are of these different types of drivers. I can't say that I have ever seen this kind of detailed information listed on any of the higher end loudspeakers.
I suspect the reason being fear of giving away design secrets to the competition.

bertdw
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Re: What are your experiences with speakers with multiple, small

In August of 2007 I auditioned several speaker systems in the $2000 to $4000 range with the configuration you mention, among them Paradigm, B&W, and Dynaudio. In every case I found the bass response to be less than satisfying. I bought the Vandersteen 2Ce Signature II, which, among other virtues, had greater impact and weight in the bass.

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