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How do you choose drivers for the project?

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  • #16
    Re: How do you choose drivers for the project?

    Wolf posted some good points here and I will add some below...

    Originally posted by Wolf View Post
    It depends on a lot of things:
    -Where the driver rolls off naturally or what xover points are preferred.
    -difficulty of xover.
    -preliminary models for box size, Bass F3.
    -Nominal Impedance to suit your amplifier's characteristics.
    -Sensitivity to suit your amp's power output.
    -cone materials.
    -origin of manufacture.

    You get the idea,
    I am copying a post that I made back in April of 2007 that was sort of along similar lines, since I think it still applies:

    ================================================== =====

    Hi Brian,

    Maybe this is not the advice that you are looking for, but I like to make some rough cuts at what I might build next by answering some questions about what I want the system to do. For instance:

    1. How loud should the system be able to play and how far away is the listening position?
    2. What is the low end extension that is desired?
    3. What is the room gain of the listening environment?
    4. What are the demands of the music program material that is to be reproduced?
    5. How large can I make my speaker?
    6. Should I consider sub+satellite or will everything need to be in one box?
    7. Active or passive crossovers or a mixture of both?
    8. How much amplification is required?

    The answers can help to illuminate and constrain the design a lot. For instance, one would have very different answers for (1) a pair of computer speakers, for (2) speakers to be placed in a large living room and (3) for an all-out home theater system. System (1) would need to be small or perhaps small satellites + sub and would be typically listened to at less than one meter. System (2) might require more output, the size might not be an issue but bass extension might only need to go to 35 Hz. System (3) might have special requirements for subsonic "bass" since DVD movie tracks can have significant information to 5Hz!

    Once you have figured out all of that, there are still more design questions, like:
    A. full-range, 2-way, 3-way, 4-way?
    B. What are my crossover points?
    C. What crossover slopes will be required?
    D. What are my Xmax/displacement requirements for each driver?

    The answers to these can help you decide whether that $50 driver will meet your needs or is more than you need and, instead, the $30 driver might work just as well since some budget must be observed in the end. At this point I find the driver reivews at Zaph audio and Mark K's page to be very useful for picking and choosing drivers on a cost versus performance basis:

    I feel that I am more apt to get what I am after when I take this approach to speaker design. I wouldn't let anyone else tell me what they think I should build because it just might not fit my needs.

    That's my opinion, in 2 cents or less. Good luck on your project!


    ================================================== =====

    I still stick by this approach. Of course I forgot to mention the "B" word... budget! Sometimes you just gotta work with what you can afford but you can still apply some of the principles above to guide you. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that it is helpful to convert the garage area into an infinite baffle subwoofer...

    Charlie's Audio Pages:


    • #17
      Re: How do you choose drivers for the project?

      Originally posted by terryo View Post
      I'm with Brian on this, and we're not alone. Why anyone would take drivers that are hard to work with is beyond me, unless they enjoy the challenge. All the attributes that Brian mentions above about drivers is desirable and in some cases necessary. A friend of mine, Dave the "200% Norwegian," uses series crossovers in many of his designs (using his proprietary software that he took 2-3 years to develop and debug) and his criteria for drivers is just the same as Brian's.

      Best Regards,
      Hey , what's this proprietary software ? any chance of having a look at it ???

      series x-o's RULE !!! with the right drivers.
      If people want to listen to wiggles, that up to them....

      I prefer music.


      • #18
        Re: How do you choose drivers for the project?

        I like quality poly or paper drivers with a nice smooth roll-off, minimum corrections required. I can work with them with series x-os without all the measuring stuff. As soon as you start using drivers with big peaks in the response curve, you are forced to go with measurements and generally lots more x-o components.

        I know many think this is the wrong way to go about things and cannot give a good speaker, but on several occasions I have ended up with essentially the same x-o for a specific set of drivers as someone who has built from measurements, the usual difference being that I seem to prefer a slightly rolled off top end.
        I believe that you cannot design by ear with drivers which do not have a nice smooth response.
        If people want to listen to wiggles, that up to them....

        I prefer music.