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Large-format comp drivers...Which to buy?

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  • Large-format comp drivers...Which to buy?

    Hey all

    I've tired a bit from building piezo arrays and using tiny 1" selenium d220ti's. For my latest build, I plan to purchase a pair of upper-end 2" exit drivers. The jables are, unfortunately, a bit out of my price range. I'm currently looking at 2 particular drivers, the selenium d4400ti and he radian pb850, each of which cost ~300 bucks a piece. The selenium is a burlier machine, but the radian, unlike all the other pro 2" exit drivers, utilizes an Alu-alloy diaphragm. As I will be powering these very lightly (musical program only), bandwidth and sound quality are my primary concerns. As I plan to mount them on large CD horns, strong VHF response is a must.

    Can anyone offer input on the advantages or disadvantages of the radian or selenium? The effect of an Alu-alloy diaphragm vs a titanium one is of particular interest to me.

    Feel free to throw in purely subjective observations as well.

  • #2
    Re: Large-format comp drivers...Which to buy?

    I have owned and used the selenium and it is a good driver. However I have found probably one the most overlooked 2" driver. Electrovoice DH1 or 1A. Both have frequency response of 500hz - 20,000hz. The 4 bolt pattern. The a clear and strong with a super smooth midrange response. Diaphrams are readily available. These come up on E-bay often for $200.00. Sometime a little less and sometimes a little more. Shipping is expensive since the weigh approx. 26lbs each.
    I am and have been using them now for 10 + years. No matter how many times I substitute with other 2" or 1" drivers I always come back to the EV. I have reached the point that I no longer look for "the next greater, better, etc. driver."



    • #3
      Re: Large-format comp drivers...Which to buy?

      Thanks for the advice!
      Never would have considered them otherwise, and I'm delighted to hear from somebody whose tried a bunch. The price is certainly right too.


      • #4
        Re: Large-format comp drivers...Which to buy?

        A compression driver is inherently a band-pass device. that is to say, the "exit" serves as a low pass filter in some ways, as it also serves as a high pass filter in others.

        2 inch exit compression drivers have a drop in sound power response which is inevitible.

        Now consider also that a 2" compression driver will probably use a 4 inch diaphragm. You can use soft materials to prevent offensive sounds, but you lose out a little in SQ. Or you can use harder materials and then add some inexpensive supertweeters to round things out for 8khz on up.

        I also wouldn't underestimate a good 1.4 inch exit compression driver with a smaller diaphragm. You get a bit more high end but still plenty of output and low end.

        There's also a 1" exit compression drivers that should be pretty capable...including one that I will link to in a moment... don't judge all 1" exit drivers by what you got out of selleniums :p
        :blues: Flat frequency response, a smooth sound power response free of resonance, careful driver-integration, and high dynamic range both upward and downward :blues:


        • #5
          Re: Large-format comp drivers...Which to buy?

          Originally posted by GranteedEV View Post
          Or you can use harder materials and then add some inexpensive supertweeters to round things out for 8khz on up.
          Not necessary with the better drivers. All 2" will roll off above 3-5k, but on the good ones it's just a smooth 6dB/oct slope. This is EQ-able to get it to 15k flat. It's when you've got peaks and dips thrown in there that you have a problem. 3" Ti diaphragm drivers are more likely resonance free than the 4", but even that's not a rule.


          • #6
            Re: Large-format comp drivers...Which to buy?

            I'm now seriously considering the EV DH1A drivers. Poking around a bit, I've seen nothing but rave reviews from experienced listeners. Virtually anybody who mentions them ranks them 1st or 2nd in their large-format comp driver pecking order. Price is delightful too!

            Another driver now in my sights: the Selenium d3300ti. Good price, and a much, much more exciting (shallow, in this case) drop off after 5kHz or so than the d4400ti. Obviously, the two drivers were tested on very different horns, the d4400ti on a CD and the d3300ti on an exponential; I derived my evaluation from the plane-wave tube tests of each driver to achieve a more apples-to apples comparison, and the d3300ti's win out big time (with, of course, far less power handling).

            Any thoughts?

            GranteedEV: I realize there are more practical ways to achieve system response to the useful edge of human hearing. However, I'm going a bit more for the style this time and trying to create a workable, solid 3-way setup with a bit of character, for both indoors and out, parties and crit. listening. I appreciate your down-to-earth recommendations.

            As for 1.4" drivers, lens and driver options are rather limited, and I have yet to view a response graph which would inspire me to quit my 2" exit driver hunt. I'm also shooting for something quite comfortable @800Hz or lower (protected with, of course, a near-vertical xover slope).


            • #7
              Re: Large-format comp drivers...Which to buy?

              Still working through and inner EV DH1A vs. Selenium D3300Ti comp driver debate. Taking shipping and good lenses into consideration, the cost for either option is virtually the same.

              Here's where I'm Stuck...

              The DH1a has an army of supporters; many claim it is the first or second best-sounding compression driver ever made. Not to mention it has a serious style-factor for weighing twice as much as the D3300Ti. That said, I'm really quite unsure about how much of the adulation this old, massive driver receives drivers' sentimental value.

              The D3300Ti's response graph looks flat-out fabulous. I'm referencing the Plane-Wave Tube plots of each driver, by the way, not their response mounted on an exponential or CD lens. I have not heard anything about the way this driver "sounds."

              My question boils down to this:
              Should I go with the new driver that specs/graphs out on top?
              Should I purchase a celebrated classic, recommended by many an aging audiophile?
              Should I go by the subjective advice of the seasoned listeners