3 years and 8 Open Baffles later.

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Chopper87

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3 years and 8 Open Baffles later.
« on: 13 Jun 2008, 03:22 pm »
Well, it's finally time for me to move from the Audio Asylum high efficiency forum to a dedicated (and well educated and experienced) Open Baffle site.  I have spent the better part of three years trying to fit what some would call a round peg into a square hole.  I fell in love the the strengths of the best Lowthers' a number of years ago.  Since then I have tried just about every box, horn (front and back), and otherwise that these things will fit in.  Ok, I am not a Lowther groupie guys, I have expended a small fortune for many other wide range drivers, all off which I still own.  I just became addicted to that,...  well you all know this story.
I am not the one who is going to sing the praises of any particular brand of driver and claim it to be, well, IT. 
Hey, I think that I may be the discoverer of the "Alnico Lowther/Open Baffle" synergy thingie (I'm sooo technical aint I).

So, here goes, believe it or not this is going to get around to Tone Tubby 12" Alnico Hemp Cones.  It all started with me and my big DX4 stuffed Oris style front and Medallion III back horns three years ago.   You know the story, I was happy and not, and not always wins.  This is nothing new, I'm kind of a desert wanderer when it comes to audio.
Along with my DX4's (and my many other eight inch current and vintage fullrangers) I had been loaned a pair of something called a Lowther PM2MKII's.  These are out of print Lowthers' using the same size magnet as the PM4a, but with a softer pole piece and top plate.  This renders the PM2MKII (2.2) total flux, just like my DX4's, instead of the stronger (2.4) PM4a magnet. 
It was'nt easy but I constructed the proper risers an plates to allow me to compare this fat assed Lowther with my DX4's in my front and back horns.   Ok, so they did'nt add anything special to the front horns that the DX4's had not, and they flat out did not work well in the Medallion III's. 
Just before packing these behemouths up for return I decided to stick them on/in my simple JE LABS style open baffles.  Holly Crap!
Even this low to the floor there was no appreciable bass, but oh what a sound from he upper bass on up.  I tweeked my dualing subwoofers low pass crossovers o around 100 hz and sat stunned listening for many hours, something that I just don't do any more.  There was such pure realism with this defunct (not really because Lowther can and will make them if you want them) Lowther stuck on this cheap ass MDF baffle.   This was the day that I realized that these were no longer cheap test baffles, but the future direction of my speaker persuits. 
ALL my wide range drivers sounded better to me in this cheapo baffle once my eyes/ears were opened to it's potential.
Wow, I thought, if these old (but with curent cones) PM2MKII's sound like this then the DX4'a are gonna be other worldly.  NOT.
I cound'nt believe it, the DX4's sounded great but very different and not in the sonic league of the PM2MKII's in these simple baffles. 
Well, after getting my hands on some normal PM2a's and PM6a's, it became appearent that it was an Alnico Lowther thing.  The PM6, PM2, and PM2MKII's varied in potential detail in accordance with their magnet strengths, but, ALL retained that bizzare and addictive sense of "Life"  that no other drivers yet have. 
Lowther UK claims that it is an air gap thing.  You know, the big gap of the Alnico when compared with the Neodymium and other less physically robust types.  Nice guess?  Who knows?

Of course time goes by and all ain't peaches and cream.  I love the JE Labs OB's, but, one can definately decern that some instruments are comming from knee level, and there is still a weak point where the Lowther and subwoofers DON'T meet.  Long story short (I know, too late),  D.O. size and style open baffles made from Baltic Birch entered the frey.  I now have a closet full off woofers, including a pair of 15" augies, stacked in one of my equipment bone yards.  Could'nt go higher than 100 hz with the JE Labs subwoofer/Lowther combination and have not found a woofer that does not muddy the hell out of the upper bass/lower midrange when bumping up to the Lowthers. 
Ok, if this Tone Tubby driver garnered lots of praise at a recent show, then maybe, just maybe it is the real deal.   Doesn't hurt that the TT was displayed in a baffle setup quite similar to mine.
I had become acclimated to woofer missmatch dissapointment and therefore did not expect much.  Keep in mind that it has only been several days, but, lousy only takes a moment.  I  attached the TT's to a pair of plate amps while the PM2MKII's contunue to run full range off my Yamamoto A08-S 45 set amplifier.   Every other attempted woofer matching ended in failure after the plate amp's crossovers reached around 135-140 hz.  Not this time.  The TT's are only breaking wind between approximately 70 to 200 hz and should not do much to influence the big presence area picture.  Not only is there NO muddy in the upper bass/lower midrange, there is waaaaaaaay more dynamism, etc..........................  Ok, it sounds like my Lowthers' have suddenly become true full range drivers and World class Open Baffle drivers.
There is so much potential with this combination.  I hope to continue to learn from you guys/gals? on this forum.  I hope some day to graduate from novice status.

Lance                             

dyson

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 5
Re: 3 years and 8 Open Baffles later.
« Reply #1 on: 13 Jun 2008, 06:28 pm »
Hi Chopper87,
Thank you for posting the details of your journey.  I love high efficiency open baffle magic myself.  I have a pair of AER BD-3 in a Oris Horn but have always wondered what they would sound like in a OB.  You have inspired me to try. Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

dyson

richidoo

Re: 3 years and 8 Open Baffles later.
« Reply #2 on: 13 Jun 2008, 06:46 pm »
Lance, with 3 years surviving at AA and 8 speakers under your belt, you are no "novice!" That's payin some serious dues! I look forward to reading about your continuing adventures.

Keep your ears peeled for Feastrex drivers, if you get the chance. There are a number of people around the country with them now, and they are exhibited at CES and RMAF. I think you would find them interesting.

Welcome to AC, Lance!

Rich

Dmason

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Re: 3 years and 8 Open Baffles later.
« Reply #3 on: 13 Jun 2008, 07:02 pm »
Hi Chopper,

Nice to see you migrate over the the Dark[Star] side of the force...

I know you have been hooked on the Lowthers/JEL gig for awhile, and this is proof something is afoot, in Vander Hoof,as they say, in British Columbia.

I am wondering if you have auditioned the TT12A full range itself. It is a real monster, big-azz tone monkey with a reach to 5.5kHz, unbroken, and apparently quite abit higher after many miles, according to my brother, who has two in his Twin Reverb.

Chopper87

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  • Posts: 14
Re: 3 years and 8 Open Baffles later.
« Reply #4 on: 14 Jun 2008, 12:08 am »
"Hi Chopper87,
Thank you for posting the details of your journey.  I love high efficiency open baffle magic myself.  I have a pair of AER BD-3 in a Oris Horn but have always wondered what they would sound like in a OB.  You have inspired me to try. Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

dyson"


Dyson,

Who woulda thunk that a Lowther with it's 1mm of cone movement would stand a chance in an open baffle, even when mounted at near floor level.  If my Lowthers' can come alive in this setting, then so can your BD-3's.  I am confident that the Tone Tubby will also work it's magic in combination with your expensive drivers.  I still have lots of tweaking to develope a totally acceptable cohesive system, but so far I am a bit stunned.

Lance   
 
 

Chopper87

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  • Posts: 14
Re: 3 years and 8 Open Baffles later.
« Reply #5 on: 14 Jun 2008, 12:43 am »


Rich,

I guess that I have tried just about every (exageration alert) viable eight inch wide ranger accept Feastrex.  I have no more space for drivers in my modest home.  Like Forrest Gump, "Im not a smart man", I am ready to buy me some of them $9,000 Feastrex's.  Unlike Forrest Gump, I am not a rich man.  No $9,000 full rangers for me.
I am also not going to give it up to the Feastrex's either.  I am not living with these imperfect Lowthers' because I have not tried many other lesser and more expensive full rangers.  These ALNICO based Lowthers' perform remarkable  feats of aural magic in their current setting with the help of the TT's.
Also, been on the AA for more more than eight years.  Hey, I never plan to abandon open baffle so it's time to join those who wizely came before me.  Thanks for a warm welcome to Audio Circle.


No, I have not yet attempted the TT's full range.  I purchased them to hopefully help transform my Alnico Lowthers' into a genuine world class OB speaker.  Well, these drivers seem to be cut from the same sonic cloth.  It really sounds as if someone flipped a switch that magically extended all of the Lowthers' presence and coherence down to at least 100 hz.  Yes, I definately intend to try the TT's wide open, however, the TT's will never fully satisfy without a tweeter (I will give this a try), and these two drivers types work like one.  I plan to exploit these benefits to heir max.

Lance   



    Re: 3 years and 8 Open Baffles later.
« Reply #2 on: Yesterday at 06:46:15 pm » Quote 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Lance, with 3 years surviving at AA and 8 speakers under your belt, you are no "novice!" That's payin some serious dues! I look forward to reading about your continuing adventures.

Keep your ears peeled for Feastrex drivers, if you get the chance. There are a number of people around the country with them now, and they are exhibited at CES and RMAF. I think you would find them interesting.

Welcome to AC, Lance!

Rich
 
  Logged 
 
 
 
Dmason

Posts: 1181


    Re: 3 years and 8 Open Baffles later.
« Reply #3 on: Yesterday at 07:02:32 pm » Quote 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Hi Chopper,

Nice to see you migrate over the the Dark[Star] side of the force...

I know you have been hooked on the Lowthers/JEL gig for awhile, and this is proof something is afoot, in Vander Hoof,as they say, in British Columbia.

I am wondering if you have auditioned the TT12A full range itself. It is a real monster, big-azz tone monkey with a reach to 5.5kHz, unbroken, and apparently quite abit higher after many miles, according to my brother, who has two in his Twin Reverb.
 
 
 
 

Christopher Witmer

Re: 3 years and 8 Open Baffles later.
« Reply #6 on: 14 Jun 2008, 05:01 am »
Hey Lance, good to see you here too! I don't doubt I would be an OB guy myself if I only had the room for them in my home. (Maybe after retirement some years hence.) The PM2MKII is a long-time favorite of my Swedish friend Anders Baptist who is now a dealer for Feastrex in Scandinavia, and who was formerly a dealer for Lowther. He loves those Lowthers in OB and probably knows all there is to know about them, having gone so far as to wind his own feedback voice coils and building amps specifically for them. A LOT of experimentation in a large range of enclosure configurations. He even used Lowther drivers down to 16 Hz by reinforcing the cones with epoxy and putting them in long concrete horns. If you have any particular issues that you are dealing with, you might try firing a question in his direction. (In his day job he is an EE and sometimes travels overseas on business so he can be slow in answering mails) you can reach him through the link at the Feastrex website:
http://feastrex.com/dealers2.html

-- Chris

dyson

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 5
Re: 3 years and 8 Open Baffles later.
« Reply #7 on: 14 Jun 2008, 05:02 pm »

Quote
"Hi Chopper87,
Thank you for posting the details of your journey.  I love high efficiency open baffle magic myself.  I have a pair of AER BD-3 in a Oris Horn but have always wondered what they would sound like in a OB.  You have inspired me to try. Looking forward to reading more of your posts.

dyson"


Dyson,

Who woulda thunk that a Lowther with it's 1mm of cone movement would stand a chance in an open baffle, even when mounted at near floor level.  If my Lowthers' can come alive in this setting, then so can your BD-3's.  I am confident that the Tone Tubby will also work it's magic in combination with your expensive drivers.  I still have lots of tweaking to develope a totally acceptable cohesive system, but so far I am a bit stunned.

Lance   
 
Chopper87,

It's CRAZY.  Every once in a while I shake my head and laugh that these "relics" can sound so good it's spooky.  According to Bert Doppenberg you need to re-EQ the AER driver if you use it with out his Oris Horn.  I just picked up something that should fix that problem.  It's a Behringer DCX 2496 with a Stage 1 (or Basic mod, I forget what he calls it)  modification from EVS.  http://tweakaudio.com/EVS-2/Whats_New.html This thing is a tweaker's dream that has made my system sound better than it ever has. I'm sending it back soon for his 32 bit mod but first I having him 32 bit mod my Oppo 980.  How many TT per baffle are you using?   I would be tempted to put 2 per baffle. I like Baltic Birch for the baffles. And speaking of CRAZY, I just swapped out the screws for solid brass ones and used a torque wrench to make sure they where all tightened the same and WOW.  Try it and let me know how this works for you.  Thanks again for the encouragement.

dyson

Chopper87

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 14
Still very early on for my Lowther/TT open baffle combination, but, the TT's appear to be fairly limited in power handleing.  They are bottoming out before the Lowther/ 2 watt set combination reaches it's volume limit.  I think that either The TT's will require a much larger baffle, or their bass reach will need to be curtailed.   

iON

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 35
Re: 3 years and 8 Open Baffles later.
« Reply #9 on: 17 Jun 2008, 09:40 pm »
Hi Lance, welcome to audio circle! There's lots of nice entusiams in this corner, helpful people and no signs of the tiresome pro/anti OB debates that tend to pop up on other forums.

The TT is rated 40 w for valves (50w for solid state) if I remember correctly. Now the rating is for guitarr amps and they may not be very linear in the lowest octave so one could speculate that the rating could actually be slightly less. Bottoming out at 2w though - thats sounds very low.  What is your experience with other amps?

BTW, Thanks for an interresting thread!
Jon

Chopper87

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 14
Re: 3 years and 8 Open Baffles later.
« Reply #10 on: 18 Jun 2008, 03:44 am »
Jon,

Please let me clarify.  My Lowthers' are currently running full range off a 2 watt set, the TT's are electronically crossed at 160 Hz through a 250 watt Bash plate amp.  The TT's are matched for volume  (as close as possible) to that of the Lowther PM2MKII's/2 watt set amp.   While the Lowthers' are comfortably cruising along at moderately high volumes, the TT's often fart out when the bass gets testy.  A bit disheartening.

Lance

nullspace

Re: 3 years and 8 Open Baffles later.
« Reply #11 on: 18 Jun 2008, 02:09 pm »
Hi Lance --

Does the plate amp use any EQ on the low end? Guitar speakers generally don't have much in the way of xmax, so I would think that even a mild boost would be enough to bottom out the ToneTubbys.

FWIW, I use 2x TT AlNiCo 12" per side and haven't had any issues with running out of excursion.

Regards,
John

Chopper87

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  • Posts: 14
Re: 3 years and 8 Open Baffles later.
« Reply #12 on: 18 Jun 2008, 04:11 pm »
John,

Thanks for the experienced based information concerning the TT's.  No bass boost or eq in these plate amps, unless it is hidden and unmentioned (give the amps the appearance of more bass oomph).
Dual TT 12's is a cool thing, but, will offer more bass output per volume level when compared with one TT per side.  Single TT's in my setting need more power/volume to get where I need them to go in relation to the Lowthers', then they bottom out.  It is a real testament to just how loud my PM2MKII's will play full range with two watts.  Hey, please don't misunderstand, I own and really like MY TT's.  It's just that I did not expect to need to limit their bass extension.  On the other hand, these TT's are probably happiest as midrange drivers.  They have comparatively small (32 Oz) Alnico magnets for their size, Small cone excursion, and potential bass level cone movement expected full range. 

Lance

nullspace

Re: 3 years and 8 Open Baffles later.
« Reply #13 on: 18 Jun 2008, 04:58 pm »
Single TT's in my setting need more power/volume to get where I need them to go in relation to the Lowthers', then they bottom out.

Hi Lance --

Could you tell me a little bit more about the particulars of the baffle you're using and also your crossover settings? I'm wondering if perhaps you're goosing up the volume on the ToneTubbys to compensate for baffle-related dipole roll-off.

For instance, I use two drivers in a 2.5 way setup to help compensate for OB roll-off (18"Wx34"H) and I still only have bass to 100hz. If I wanted to go lower, I'd have to run the 'helper' woofer actively, lower the crossover a bit to flatten the response, and increase the volume, making it work significantly harder. I'm wondering if you're doing something similar.

Something else to keep in mind is the high-ish resonant freq. of the ToneTubbys -- ~80hz. You're just not going to get much below that without some sort of compensation.

Regards,
John

Retsel

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Re: 3 years and 8 Open Baffles later.
« Reply #14 on: 18 Jun 2008, 10:33 pm »
Hi Lance, I still have my Lowther DX4s on open baffle and I am still enjoying them.  I have not tried other Lowther drivers, except that I borrowed a set of Lowthes DX4 drivers treated with the Enable process.  Have you heard of the Enable process and have you heard any drivers treated with Enable? 

The borrowed set of Lowther DX4s treated with Enable were remarkably more coherent, more focused and more dynamic than the untreated Lowther DX4s.  I would suggest exploring this option for your drivers. 

Retsel

Peter Clements

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  • Posts: 6
Re: 3 years and 8 Open Baffles later.
« Reply #15 on: 18 Jun 2008, 10:59 pm »

Good to hear another person who tries things himself, rather than being an arm chair critic. You have followed a similar route to myself. A couple of years ago I was using PM7A's with 4x 18" PA drivers and  ribbons. Dam fine speaker. I have now moved on. I also have stacks of drivers. I was using Alpha 15's years ago. I do not normally post as I was totally rubbished by the armchair crowd for using high Q drivers back then. It just totally cheesed me off.  It was a matter of trying everything with an open mind and ears.I have been using guitar drivers for a few years as well. The lower vas can make quite a difference. You will need multiple bass drivers to keep up with the Lowther the two 18" drivers just did it. From memory the total Q was about 1 , which is the best compromise in IMHO as far as sound quality goes. I have found that the larger cone area just sounds better too.

iON

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Re: 3 years and 8 Open Baffles later.
« Reply #16 on: 19 Jun 2008, 07:18 am »
Lance,

Perhaps you could try a highpass filter below fs to reducing unuseful cone travel? As I recall 'Magnetar' over at diyAudio got his best result using a 50Hz HP for his "high effeciency ob". I think that Linkwitz Orion employs a similar approach also.

Cheers,

J

Chopper87

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Re: 3 years and 8 Open Baffles later.
« Reply #17 on: 19 Jun 2008, 02:15 pm »
Yea, looks like it's gonna be all up to highpassing the TT's somewhere above their stress point.  I had Read that they play quite loud and wrongly ex trapelated that to mean great dynamic capabilities in (their potential) the bass.  But these drivers are definitely excursion and control limited.  Now to figure out where the weak point (at least in my chosen open baffle) is.  I have a feeling that the TT's may need filtering from the mid or potentially even upper bass to allow their excursion capabilities to match the volume derived by the big Lowthers. 
These TT's are, so far, the only drivers that match the coherence, openness and tonality of the Lowthers' with transparency.  Comming in at just under 200 Hz these drivers offer the smallish Lowther  OB's upper bass, mid bass, moderately low bass slam and definition that matches the quality of the eight inch fullrangers.  Just don't expect to get high volume plus slam to match the Lowthers' running full range.  So, for me it looks like I will need to operate my Tone Tubbies in a fairly narrow band between approximately 100-200 Hz.  I do love the sound these TT's and do not regret purchasing them at all.

Lance

Brad

Re: 3 years and 8 Open Baffles later.
« Reply #18 on: 19 Jun 2008, 05:01 pm »
Hi Lance,

Welcome to AC and thanks for sharing your travails  8)
You've got me wanting to try a pair of the TTs now   :x

Chopper87

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Re: 3 years and 8 Open Baffles later.
« Reply #19 on: 28 Jun 2008, 01:03 am »
WoW! I let my Tone Tubby 12" Alnico Hemp Cones run in for several days.  The issue with bottoming out at loud dynamic passages has gone away.  The combination of my Lowthers' and TT's in these smallish OB's is the best speaker setup that I have ever experienced in my home.   Finally a full range very dynamic speaker that slams like big JBL's and finesses like the best electrostatics.  I am going to contact Jon Verhalen at Lowther America to see if he will sell me his solid mable show baffle.
Don't ignore this driver baffle combination folks.  It is that good.

Lance