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Wide-Range Drivers In Double-Back-Loaded Horns

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  • Wide-Range Drivers In Double-Back-Loaded Horns

    Almost two years ago I purchased a pair of Sachiko double-back-loaded horns with a pair of Fostex FE206E "full-range" drivers installed. These speakers literally blew me away and my Aliante Pininfarina Ones I had been using were immediately removed and delegated to storage. In time after the allure of lightning fast dynamics and coherency of a full-range driver had subsided some, I began looking for a better full-range driver that would improve on all the FE206E's salient points by extending the FE206E's bass performance and cleaning-up a slight coloration the whizzers cause.

    The logical choice was the move up to the Fostex FE206ES-R drivers and much to my delight they did everything I was looking for, i.e. improving on the FE206E's strong points, while attenuating their weak points. In an effort to scrounge & procure every last iota of perfomance from the FE206ES-R I had the cone treated with an awesome, proprietary, 5-step treatment that literally transformed them. Unfortunately in an obssessed effort to get more & more performance from the FE206ES-R drivers, I tried applying more the treatment myself ---{the man who developed this incredible cone treatment went home to let the treatment cure and forgot to pick up one of his boxes}--- and in doing so destroyed all the improvements his treatment had made, making the drivers now sound like built-in TV speakers!

    I was so bummed I actually almost cried. After about two weeks of not even turning my audio system on I realized it was all that bad I just needed to buy a new pair of "fullrange" driver and start over again. Afterall everything else was exactly the same asit before I destroyed the FE206ES-R driver, right? So I set out to buy the last set of drivers for my Sachikos. However I had one small problem, I'm not DIY or speaker building oriented. I had no idea what Qts was and how it would affect what I was about to do. So I searched for the very best Fostex 8 inch full-range or perhaps very wide-range driver is more appropriate in this case, driver I could find.

    After much searching I finally located a pair of the extremely rare ---{only 250 pairs were made world-wide}--- Fostex, whizzerless FE208ES-R drivers. Now due to the fact the FE208ES-R drivers don't have whizzers they're actually more correctly called a very wide-range, as opposed to a full-range drivers and in the Sachikos with the FE208ES-R drivers installed their usuable frequency range is limited to just 100Hz to 8KHz. However while that may be the limit of the FE208ES-R's when installed in the Sachiko cabinets IMHO that 100Hz to 8Khz is untouchable in it's quality of music reproduction!

    While it's true that both the FE206E & the FE206ES-R will play with greater frequency extention at both extremes, from 100Hz to 8Khz the FE208ES-R drivers literally embarrasses both of those full-range drivers. The whizzerless FE208ES-R drivers are so much more transparent, have such greater inner resolution & detail plus they can play so loudly, so cleanly, I'm forced from the room by sheer volume levels before they show any signs of duress. During one listening session with a neighbor at my home I put on Steely Dan's Gaucho and cranked it for him. During that CD we frequently hit 96 + 98dB and even hit 100dB a couple of times!

    However when I had either the FE206E or the FE206ES-R full-range drivers in the Sachiko as the volume increased so did the problems & colorations that are associated with whizzered full range drivers. Even after I had employed the best known treatments and some that aren't so well known, to alleviate the famous "lowther shout" that's so common amongst whizzered full-range drivers. Once you hear all those problems vanish with the whizzerless FE208ES-R drivers installed, giving up some frequency extention is a no-brainer. I've since decided to permanently use the FE208ES-R in the Sachikos because I personally believe from 100Hz to 8Khz they're presenting a reference quality replication of music and with the large, dipole Heils added that now goes from 100Hz to 25KHz+

    Since talking with a couple of people who's names I cannot 'drop' the loss of frequency extention while attaining a much greater level of transparency, inner resolution & detail is precisely what should have happened when I switched from the FE206E & FE206ES-R to the FE208ES-R drivers. With the large, dipole Heils added I now have all the dynamics the double-back-loaded horns like the Sachiko's are famous for, but were never fully realized with the FE206E & FE206ES-R drivers installed. The way I see it, problem is a whizzered driver's colorations become more & more noticable as the volume begins to be really turned up and the louder the music gets the more noticable the colorations become.

    All I know is after much experimentation with cap values, types & crossover slopes I've seamlessly crossed in the Heils with the FE208ES-R drivers. I now have even greater dynamics using the FE208ES-R as a very "wide-range" driver than I ever did with the Sachiko and either of the whizzered "fullrange" drivers. With the Heils added I not only have better, dynamics, transparency, & inner resolution, but I have greater high frequency extention to boot. I've never been happier with any set of speakers I've owned or heard anywhere else, at least from 100Hz to 25KHz+

    So now I just have to find a pair of subwoofers from 20Hz to 100Hz that can match the Sachiko/FE208ES-R/Heils speed and dynamics. At this point I believe that will be best done with a pair of tapped horns. If not those maybe a pair of Bill Fitzmaurice's horn subs. At that point I think I'll have a reference caliber set of speakers. I've posted this to encourage full-range users, like I was to at least consider trying to use a very wide-range driver without a whizzer or perhaps even a whizzerless full-range driver. The benefits far outweigh any negative aspects of doing so.

    Thetubeguy1954 (Tom Scata)

    SETriodes Forum -- Central Florida Audio Society -- Fullrange Drivers
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    "The man that hath no music in himself nor is not moved with concord of
    sweet sounds is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils."
    - William Shakespeare