W A R N I N G !

W A R N I N G !

This page is full of non-facts and bullsh!t, (just like the internet and especially forums and other blogs), please do not believe entirely without exercising your intellect. Any resemblance to real things in reality is purely coincidental. You are free to interpret/misinterpret the content however you like, most likely for entertainment, but in no case is the text written on this blog the absolute truth. The blog owner and Blogger are not responsible for any misunderstanding of ASCII characters as facts. *cough* As I was saying, you are free to interpret however you like. *cough*

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Full-range speakers - how purist are they actually?

This topic might need some background introduction -

Full-range speakers, or fullrangers, or (according to some) more accurately wide-range speakers, are basically speakers that only have one driver per cabinet that handle the entire range of frequencies.

The beauty of this lies in the lack of crossovers that dirty the sound.

But, in order to make up for the lack of frequency extension, the low-end is usually covered by an elongate bass reflex port while the high is sometimes handled with a coaxial tweeter. Bass reflex cabinets have an extra resonance from the reflex port that is used to boost the low-end volume, but this extra resonance also means harder tuning for the entire system, and almost every guide on bass reflex speakers will mention the group delay and poor transient response, which combined with the resonant frequency of the port gives what's well-known as boomy bass.

What is a whizzer cone?

As for the coaxial tweeter, the main woofer diaphragm can be compliantly coupled (think suspension) such that only the lower frequencies are handled by the main diaphragm while the high frequencies that can't get to the main diaphragm are handled by the whizzer. It's a mechanical crossover.

So in the end, in order to make the speaker full-range, one has to introduce other resonant frequencies that will give the speaker the required greater frequency extension. These frequencies can be tuned of course, but this goes against the purist mindset of fullrangers already. Even if only one driver and a sealed cabinet is used, there will still be one resonant frequency that will show up as a peak, but this should be obvious as the peak is formed due to the trough appearing at where the bass and highs should have been - frequency response is relative.

To top it off, some of the best designs include the addition of a supertweeter which obviously does not include having a crossover design for the application.

One should wonder why we had two-way (or 3 and 4-way) systems in the first place, when the first speakers were single-way. As with many things are simple when they were first invented and got complicated later on due to progress and development, but there are always those who are willing to fall back to the Stone Age. I blame those who can't get a real engineering job and turn to making simple products out of textbook designs, then marketing them as new designs to suckers. Think, if any Tom's Dick's Hairy can come up with a simple design within a few months thousands others must have thought of it before already, and didn't go with it because they obviously knew it sucks. They know they'll make more money designing something else that will sell more rather than this niche market.

I'm not bashing the concept of full-range speakers, but everything, including audio equipment plus others. This topic warrants its own post, but I'm posting it here on momentum. Good full-range speakers do exist, but they're certainly not designed by Tom's Harry Dick. And usually at those competency levels nobody believes in purism anymore, so it's okay with me; I'm just against self-delusioning.

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