Replacing B200's with Dayton Audio PS220-8 8" Point Source Full-Range Neo Drive

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mcgsxr

I am posting here for member Richard, who is having trouble getting his s/w to function.

He writes:

I hesitated to write this "review" of the (somewhat) new Dayton Audio PS220-8 8" Point Source Full-Range Neo Driver (yes... quite a mouth-full), the pair of which have replaced the pair of Visaton B200's I originally used mated with the Eminence Alpha 15A's.

Why? Well... something has changed in my thinking... I no longer believe in the myth of "good" audio... or rather I have come to see clearly that the subjective side of audio places all "reviews" closer to fiction than anything "real" or verifiable... something our community could possibly agree-on as a whole... at least not without certain conditions being met that would account for individual taste... as in the sense of a "universal" rightness... a sound that could be corroborated by all. That then is the ground of this review.

Strangely, I purchased this pair of cheap speakers (everything is relative isn't it?) many months ago... I have no sense of time... I lost that after teaching for a year in India, 20 years ago... I stepped out of time and never stepped back into it... so I can no longer measure time inwardly... I digress... but the point is that I no longer remember why I purchased them. Alzheimers, dementia? Or is my life just too complex with competing interests that swallow each other like descending sizes of predatorial fish?

I think I was looking for a cheap alternative to fancy expensive British and French full-range Alnico paper cone speakers... also I was trying to discover an ethical source for the no-longer-in-production Coral Japanese full-range speakers that are now priced way over-the-top... and the Alnico magnets they use are old and should be tested... Alnico goes bad... cold drastically affects it, also if you drop them, not to mention time and use. In the olden days when Alnico was "the" magnet... users simply sent them out for a re-charge... a necessary service to keep the magnetic charge up (their performance suffers if the charge is low).

So I saw these drivers listed on Parts Express - http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?Partnumber=295-346 - $99 each... less then $200 the pair... and I thought, this is a nice price... this suits my almost non-existent budget... and look!!!! they even have a rapier-lance-like needle nosed phase plug!!! Also, I liked the look... I took a chance and ordered them (OK... not so much of a chance really, you can return them if they don't sound good in your OB set-up).

So how do they sound? I use an old 1950's Heathkit EL84 Triode tube integrated amplifier that produces 7 watts (not single-ended). It has bass and treble controls... in other words the old-fashioned EQ. After listening to them for 10 minutes I put my B200's in the boxes that the Dayton Audio PS220-8 8" Point Source Full-Range Neo Driver came in and have not looked back... it has probably been around 8 months since I began to use them in my simple flat Open Baffle design.

Are they for everyone? That is where I am having some difficulty with this "review"... I don't know! There appears to be some upper frequency glare on certain recordings... I turn down the treble tone control a little (Sam Kim designs his modded Heathkit with a "modern" tone control circuit... is it based on "removing" the treble or bass... he calls it "subtractive" instead of additive... so it does not suffer from the usual distortions that earlier tone controls produced due to a constricting of certain frequency gamuts... but I am having trouble with his amp... it doesn't always play... many of the parts are original and old... I can no longer recommend Sam Kim's amps because of this) and that seems to work very nicely... I have no sense of something being "missing" in the upper frequencies.

So what if I did not have a means of "EQ'ing" the upper frequencies? I think many in our Open Baffle community would find these speakers difficult to live with with a "hot" top end on certain music. But in my system, by adjusting the treble control to relax the upper end response on various musical sources, the sound is electrostatic-fast... incredibly smooth across its range (I run it full-range... the Alpha's cross-over begins to fade around 250hz) and extremely articulate... voices are "real" sounding... wonderful separation on instruments... nice sense of space and "air" around everything. In fact there is no need for a tweeter with these speakers!!! It is all there.

So what if you are using SS amplification and no EQ? Hummmm... if there is no way to modify the upper frequencies this speaker is probably not for you. If you love tubes this may be the perfect "full-range" speaker in your Open Baffles paired with reasonably good bass speakers. With the Alpha 15A's the integration is completely seamless... they combine to sound like a point-source speaker... and they disappear. If your tube amp is designed to exploit the treble information and you have no EQ... this speaker may not be a good match... unless you would be willing to work with some form of variable upper frequency trimming device (digital or mechanical).

The immediate thing that struck me when I inserted them into my OB's was that I heard musical information simply missing from the B200's... like a great deal of "air" and space... much less of a homogenous instrumental presentation... a more focused "lens" looking at the music.

I notice that this very speaker is being sold by decware, in a modded version... and is mentioned in this OB thread: http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=89781.0

But... and this must be factored-in... the type of amplification and the use of some form of EQ (I love well-designed tone controls) will be critical in your being able to use these speakers to their advantage. I love what they are doing for my OB's. Honestly... my OB's have never sounded this good. Like the original Quads on steroids.

I notice that this very speaker is being sold by decware, in a modded version... and is mentioned in this OB thread: I notice that this very speaker is being sold by decware, in a modded version... and is mentioned in this OB thread:

They stick a large tube on the back with some form of modded frequency circuit to tame the upper frequencies... it may be quite a good alternative to purchasing the original speakers if your budget is well flushed. If you are handy and can "tame" the upper frequencies (variable noble pots for example) you will have a world class speaker for cheap... assuming of course that we are walking on the same musical "ground"... perceptually speaking. It would be interesting to hear from someone else that has tried these "sleepers" in their own OB's.

With Warmest Regards ~ Richard


kyrill

erghhh come on

I was just so happy with my B200 but the chance that maybe something more musical is out there for a reasonable price is...ergghh gnawing
And living in Europe diminish the not content send it back option
BTW  "old fashioned" tone controls but also analogue new types introduce (a lot) of phase "shifts"

thx for sharing

scorpion

Hi Richard,

You have done it. Strange how similar the responscurve is to the B200's.
Someone should have a go with these, some measurement gear and a MiniDSP.
Based on my B200 taming experience one suggestion would be a BSC-circuit with 15 ohm and 0.6 mH in parallel to begin with.  :)

/Erling

P.S. From some discussion on diy-Audio about this driver it seems that my BSC-proposal could be almost identical to the DECWARE modification in effect.
« Last Edit: 24 Apr 2011, 10:50 pm by scorpion »

-Richard-

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Thanks Erling... a very good suggestion.

It is peculiar that I have found that any introduction of a "corrective" appendage (mechanical or digital) that augments a speakers signal seems to lift a layer of "presence" from it... that "extra" sound that is not the result of an instrument playing (or voice)... but the sense of the "space" or "atmosphere" that sometimes is infused into the recording... and that is altogether subtle.

Admittedly... to run after those kinds of subtle sound affects is probably a doomed affair... I can only imagine the endless hours, the endless frustrations, trying to pull out "atmosphere" from a recording only to realize that it may be some form of "artifact" that could actually injure some other quality that many of us find so satisfying... like the clarity of instrumental tone... and may be why some people prefer "tubes" over SS amplification. Or worse... that it may be yet another psychosomatic addiction to seeking the "live" in what is after-all a mechanical recording.

Still, if I can find the inspiration to gather up some energy I might give your excellent suggestion a try.

I have begun to study the classical guitar. So the hours I used to spend listening to recorded music is now spent actually playing music myself... a deeply satisfying form of "play" that gives me a chance to express myself (whatever that actually means) while being splashed with waves of tone colors pouring out from this beautifully executed and rich resonate instrument.

Incidentally, given my work designing my own OB's... I took months to find a suitable classical guitar that fit my budget nicely... but in the end I did find one that sounds incredibly good... and I think the work I did with my OB's helped to create a ground for confidently relying on my own ear. The work we do with our own OB's is a learning experience that is not lost.

If you are happy with your B200's kyrill, there is no need to think about having to purchase these speakers... it is not a night and day difference. It is subtle... and... more to the point... may be entirely dependent on ones ancillary equipment, like amp and CD player. Don't even give it a second thought... honestly.

This "review" was really written for those of us who want to experiment on the cheap with a possible alternative to the very useful Visaton B200 in a simple 2-way OB system... that is all. It is not an injunction to make a switch... and it may have inherent problems that many of us would find frustrating and counter-intuitive.

If I was starting from scratch... and wanted to build a simple OB just to see/hear what all of the raves are about... I would use the Dayton Audio PS220-8 8" Point Source Full-Range Neo Driver and give myself over to solving its problems just to have a cheap yet very fast and transparent OB speaker to work with.

With Warmest Regards ~ Richard

kyrill

Dear Richard

you are so right and then also so wrong with me ;)
I have to make a confession to explain

 my whole life I am seeking for the holy grail of "perfect" natural quality of the properties of life-sound that makes you completely forget you are listening to a recording. I call these moments "magic"
Natural for me is far beyond freq. specs or even distortion figures. Live for me is the "fastness" of the sound, the focus of myriad micro details so that even empty space enveloped around the actors and their instruments becomes an observable "object"
And then this strange "musicality" that obliterates all links to an electronic substrate, you listen to wood, voices of flesh and blood, sounds of copper and silver and of electronic guitars and synthesizers and drums of skin carried by air and not electrons.
At least that is the experience of the illusion that really brings tears in my eyes or even fear as an alarm ( not often  luckily ; ) when the illusion places an unexpected voice  softly in my room in my private space and not on the stage. Suddenly someone is here, with me, while I am totally relaxed in trance, eyes closed, lights out.


The better my equipment became, the higher the chance this magic will happen but still 3-4 times out of ten. And then I notice it is subjective. My brain needs "reasonable" musical faithfulness and when that musicalness crosses over a certain threshold, my brain makes it real by"filling?" in the rest. The more "high end" equipment PLUS quality "recorded" music reaches the speaker, the more music crosses that "magical" threshold.

The last three years I have that magic 80% of the time depending on the source, still I better my equipment. My DEQX is now in Washington to be modded by Asitek ( I live in the Holland, at the Hague) My  tube amps I have sent to Australia ( Joe Rasmussen), so I am really dedicated to better my equipment.
My starting high end in the 1990's was Martin Logan Quest and Manley 200 watt tube amps and  "Ultimate preamp" + Well Tempered turntable and Koetsu MC. Not a bad start, I sold them all except the Well tempered and MC when I discovered DIY OB and modded ( secondhand equipment) sounds so much better that ultimate official super brands or equals the (for me) unaffordable real super high end.

The B200 was because of our  Audiocircle forum. they were nice. With The DEQX ( cannot live without it anymore, especially since I discovered that a 96khz 24 bit well done recording with a special clock AD converter of an LP  sounds as good as the LP and strangely enough sometimes better (? maybe because of real time interference I dont know about when playing the LP)

I could barely live with the B200, they sounded very musical ( The DEQX eliminated all their freq bumps)  but missed "sparkle"  the very high definition of the specs of dust dancing in the sunlight kind of like, when music would be a 3D video. until after 2 months listening I noticed I forgot to "paint" them with Ennemoser violin C37 lacquer. That made a world of a difference. Suddenly "everything" was in perfect focus and still very musical. velvet fat sounding cello's or alt violins had more definitions without the slightest hint of  sharpness creeping false definitions.
I have my B200 between 150 Hz and 8kHz.

And now you Richard, mentions exactly all those things I find very very important in musical reproduction.
although after rereading your original post, you mention exactly what you miss with the B200 what I noticed as well before I painted them.
So hmmm. the Dayton would not need the lacquer for those reasons, but I will paint them anyway as I have done it now with three different brands and they all sounded "faster" and more musical. I cannot let rest the Daytons as for their price the gamble is worth it
I can always use the B200 for my HT setup, they are too good to sell


el`Ol

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A similar driver in Europe is this:
http://www.spectrumaudio.de/breit/sica/sicaLP210.38N140.html
I haven't seen a review yet, however.

neobop

I would guess that a zobel might do the job nicely, without all the negative consequences of a coil in the signal path. One of the added benefits would make it an easier load for a tube amp. Of course any time you change the frequency response, the previous colorations are used as a point of reference and decisions must be made as to which colorations are more or less desirable. In this case, the natural response of the driver or response +  impedance correction. A zobel is a cap and resistor in series, hooked up in parallel to the driver. I've used zobels before, and it will tame the high end.

In this case the model would be to use an 11.7uF cap and a 7.5 ohm resistor. The cap value determines the frequency where the zobel kicks in. The resistor is the parallel load, that determines the max resistance.

Design formula is C = Le/Rc squared. Le is inductance in henrys and Rc is rated impedance.
R = 1.25 x Re (6 ohm)  Values are tuned by ear or measurement. If correction is kicking in too low, use a lower value cap. If you feel that it's too much correction you could try a higher value resistor, like 8 ohms.

You have to give the parts a little time to settle in. The same goes for your ears. If you want to try something like this, I suggest getting caps of lower value and stacking. That way you could remove or add a small value to tune. Unfortunately high power (10w) non inductive resistors can't be stacked for an additive value. You might want to start with a higher value, like 8 ohm. If you want to take it down to 7.5 ohms, stack a 120 ohm resistor. You could use a 2w resistor for stacking.
neo



Viridian

I think I was looking for a cheap alternative to fancy expensive British and French full-range Alnico paper cone speakers... also I was trying to discover an ethical source for the no-longer-in-production Coral Japanese full-range speakers that are now priced way over-the-top... and the Alnico magnets they use are old and should be tested... Alnico goes bad... cold drastically affects it, also if you drop them, not to mention time and use. In the olden days when Alnico was "the" magnet... users simply sent them out for a re-charge... a necessary service to keep the magnetic charge up (their performance suffers if the charge is low).

With Warmest Regards ~ Richard

I have heard this as well about Alnico(my preferred magnet alloy) and asked a few pro speaker outfits that offer that service and they told me that if the drivers had not seen hard use as pro gear that it was unlikely that they would need remagnetizing. I have no experience though.

Erik

-Richard-

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Hi kyrill ~

Your experience with music reminds me of my own... at least once upon a time. In one sense it is an admission of the lack of magic in our everyday lives... we have broken the connection with nature, with cosmos, as the magical profoundly mysterious source from which life assembles itself... religion and science have robbed us of that mystery by subjecting us to their dreary causal explanations which are fictions... but which once "absorbed" into the deep layers of the psyche, rob us of the true mystery of what it means to be alive.

More than that... music must have arisen naturally from the sounds of nature... the wind, the creaking of various surfaces, frogs, birds, animals (here in Ojai it is quite usual to hear the magical coyote clans sing their communal hunting songs) the rushing river, the ocean's throbbing pulse.

Music was once the pathway to our shamanic travels to the underworld and sky-worlds... we would easily slip into trance... into a shamanic energetic penetration into other dimensions. Than religions stole our inter-dimensional travel and turned it into a corporate affair and used it as a glue to paste large societies together as we marched inexorably toward empire.

So it is in our blood... in our DNA... this sense of music shifting us to other dimensions of perception. Your writing reminds of the "tone" of the nineteenth century poets... the "romantic" century... the last gasp of heightened feeling before industrialism began to stamp us out like sheet-metal products from factories. And here we are... still inwardly longing for a connection with our "source"... with the "wild" early state of being connected to the root of life... like domesticated dogs that begin to sing when they hear the wild wolf or coyote... something in them still remembering.

Now we are engaged in getting our audio equipment to render the "original" musical performance... with it powerful sense of existing in another dimension from the everyday dull mechanical life that is our common experience... with its powerful rhythms echoing within us a deeply felt emotional response... and that seems entirely worthwhile to me. Especially since the high priced glittering junk that is paraded before our eyes by most commercial audio designers are really super-hyped mediocre fair that reviewers fall over themselves to describe in gushing superlatives to spin the audio world into an elitist hobby where money replaces the heart-felt love of music.

So we have taken things into our own hands... we build our own speakers... as best as we can... we learn how to listen to amplifiers and media for synergy... we enter into the role of designer in order to get us closer to that magic you wrote about so elegantly.

And this forum... with our friends and dedicated community of music lovers and DIY hobbyists is here to support us and encourage us to get involved and jump into this very interesting process. Thanks everyone for your incalculable help and information... I and everyone who reads the Open Baffle forum has the highest gratitude for your help.

With Warmest Regards ~ Richard

kyrill

Ah a philosophical approach to the magic in music
I agree fully.
Music to remember the spiritual roots of my identity, which cannot meet itself in metals and plastic, in all kinds of modernity

But music can also be used as a vehicle to set the body in motion, hip hop discotheque dance music, preferably a beat of 2x,3x hart beat, and it awakens the animal kingdom in me.

Which I liked also very well before 30 years ago ;)

scorpion

Richard,

You may very well have hit a jewel. What people say about this Dayton driver suggest it. I agree a bit about corrective measures and their influence on sound. Remember when I was comparing B200 to my MJAO design. Passive correction didn't show the effects that I was after. But eventually even analogue EQ produced good results.

Like our friend Dan Mason assessed: Digital EQ-ing may very well have very little if any, repeat if any, influence on what will be output soundwise, other than what is meant to be done. So I think the first choice would be to have a go digitally.

But also remembering my initial success with the B200 BSC-circuit, in comparison to itself, the B200 at least to me and a lot of followers do sound better with this corrective circuit than without. Of course it will affect the 'presence' effect, all the change is in that frequency range. It is just how you perceive it.

Lately I have myself been dragged into the ashes because the Eminence Alpha15s simply does not compare to Acoustic Elegance IB15s actively and EQ driven in my Blindstone OB: http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=88075.20 . If you too long go for just 'the truth' you can obviously cheat yourself.  :)

/Erling

Viridian

I hesitate to say more in the presence of the wise, but....

My friend Dan Mason gave up on the B200's years ago and steered me strongly away from them when I first made contact with him. He simply won't listen to anything without an Alnico motor(excepting woofers) or anything with a whizzer. Just FYI about a guy who is imminently about the music. I've ignored a lot of what goes on here at AC and have instead taken Dan's lead as a more experienced music enthusiast on what to listen to; with no regrets. All that to say that his advice has, at every step, brought me closer to the music. He has never deviated from recommending paper coned alnico drivers, run wide open if possible.

In that vein, Richard, you may be happy with what you have settled on now but I just wanted to point out these drivers: http://www.audionautes.com/Altriprodotti/pioneer/datape-16m.htm I just picked up a pair for less than those Daytons, so they do not represent a serious investment. But they do have a very serious pedigree, designed by TAD as a FR driver. Because it is just about the music.

Feel free to dis(respect) or dis(regard),

Erik

ebag4

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In that vein, Richard, you may be happy with what you have settled on now but I just wanted to point out these drivers: http://www.audionautes.com/Altriprodotti/pioneer/datape-16m.htm I just picked up a pair for less than those Daytons, so they do not represent a serious investment. But they do have a very serious pedigree, designed by TAD as a FR driver. Because it is just about the music.

From the link you provided these drivers are listed at 400 Euro/pair or about $589 US.  That is nearly 3 times the cost of the Daytons, care to share where you picked them up for less?

Best,
ed

Viridian

Ok, I wan't thinking. My habit is so much to buy used drivers(vintage is nearly always that way, right?) that I wasn't thinking about that. Audionautes does not have any new drivers for sale. The only availability now is used via eBay or some of the Japanese audio sites. I waited quite a while to find mine. The last two pair I saw on eBay went for $180 and I think $200. So, really, they are pretty hard to find. But worth finding.

Erik

-Richard-

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Hi Erik ~

I am not at all certain what you mean by "Feel free to dis(respect) or dis(regard)".

Dan Mason (bless his heart wherever he is) is a very dear old friend... we go back many years and were in constant (sometimes daily) communication with each other until he became too ill to stay in touch.

I deeply appreciate your sharing what looks like a wonderful Alnico (aluminum, nickle and cobalt combined for those interested) speaker. I will look for one if I can find the time (not easy these days as I am working on a new series of figurative paintings that are quite large and quite demanding... not to mention helping Deborah out with her book design projects when she gets backed up a bit).

Did you think that my recommending (well... sort of) a non-pedigreed neodymium magnet, paper cone with whizzer speaker somehow is a "snub" to Alnico non-whizzer full-range speakers? That is quite a fascinating conclusion... but I meant no such thing.

Incidentally, for those interested in this non-pedigreed neodymium magnet speaker, be forewarned... the modest sized neodymium magnet belies a power-house magnet that will snatch any steel or iron tool from your grip if it comes anywhere near it... it is "strong" and powerful!!!

Also... I once spoke to a friendly and very well-informed speaker designer... trust me... he is good and known for his world class speakers... he told me that it was not the Alnico magnet by itself that produces the sense of "warmth" and "analogue-like" sound... but rather the way the Alnico magnet allows the paper cones to be suspended (the  structure)... interesting no?

Of course there are marvelous retro/vintage speakers out there that use Alnico magnets and simple light-weight paper cones to achieve stunning sound reproduction. I am using an amplifier that was originally made in the early 1950's... and love it... so I am no stranger to the "classic" designs of yesterday (I have also owned a few world class classic tube SET amplifiers).

Dan had the right idea... actually he had an uncanny talent for finding the best sounding speakers and also had a terrific recipe for combining the best attributes of different speakers for what could easily be the best OB speaker in the world... and it would be quite modest to make (and subsequently to purchase) as well.

Again... thanks for sharing your insights with us Erik... please do not hesitate to feel comfortable sharing anything that you think might help us to get closer to the "truth" in audio that you have discovered... and we shall try to do the same.

With Warmest Regards ~ Richard

-Richard-

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Hi Erling ~

You have a prodigious memory (and marvelous indefatigable speaker design skills) and you are quite right that way back nested in the history of our OB adventure there was a great deal of talk and experimentation with digital EQ.

Actually I did some research once and came up with a fantastic EQ device that was simply stellar!!! Too bad it was a bit less than $2000... not a lot of money for what it did and its precision for controlling the discreet gamuts that make up the entire musical frequency spectrum. Alas... my budget could not handle it... I wish it could have... it would have been one investment that I could have used so many times as I moved through various configurations of different drivers in my OB panels.

So of course you have me thinking again... as you always do... of whether or not investing in something like the ubiquitous Behringer digital EQ would solve my problems for now. Incidentally, I forget... which Behringer did everyone feel was the best for our OB work? Or is there a better... perhaps more user friendly digital EQ out there that is similar in price (the Behringer has a notorious reputation for being "difficult" to navigate).

As always I (and everyone reading your "well-tempered" and well-informed posts) are very grateful to you for sharing your insights with us. I am motivated... now if I can only find some money to work with (not easy... I am, for the most part, a retired college teacher who was definitely not a wealth builder... to say the least).

With Warmest Regards ~ Richard

kyrill

I found a pair of Saba green tone ( alnico) drivers, but they sounded more mute than the the B200. I dont know under 150 hz as I use them above that point

If i remember well, the B200 was designed with those old alnico drivers as an example to test against

mcgsxr

An interesting read, and glad to see some long standing members sharing where they have taken their exploration over the years.

I am not moving off the b200's though.  Stick in the mud?  Perhaps, but I have a history of getting deep into experimentation, and then keeping a static system for a decade or so!

I remain very happy with the combo of gear I have, and the great music it provides for solo listening, and billiards background music alike.

Viridian

Hi Richard,
Heck no, I was not meaning to throw sand or anything. Just pointing out that the guy who started the OB B200 craze and doesn't seem to post much any more has chosen a divergent path(yet again). And that I've followed his direction with good results. I don't doubt that the Daytons sound great and your point about Alnico allowing a different way to suspend the cone being part of the unique sound signature is very interesting. I started out trying modern drivers(Fostex etc) and now here I am with my thing being Vintage stuff.

Just anecdotal, but I have gone on a driver buying/trying spree over the last couple of years. All alnico and light paper cones. Some coax with phenolic diaphragm horn tweeters(some very sweet), large bore, small bore, etc. Japanese, German, etc. I really really liked the sound of Pioneer PAX30G's. Isophon P30's were good, Sabas not so much. Corals were mostly a pass. Etc etc. I can't believe looking back how manic I was in the quest(wife wasn't particularly pleased). But, one thing I learned was to trust what my ears were telling me. I had some Coral triaxials that didn't stay in my test baffles for more than 2 minutes, they were BAD. Calrad CR12's are exceptional and it's possible that I am now becoming very sensitive to phase shifts and that is why I am more interested in single wideband drivers now with bass support.

I've been leaning more towards something along the lines of the Lowther tinybaffle lately. But with different drivers. Hey, the OB experimenting is just plain fun as well as educational to the ears. More technical expertise would perhaps allow me to squeeze better results from some of the things I try but I think I've gotten further with a simple go/no go test that sifts through the raw components to find the real gems. Just my story.

I might mention that there has been great results from users of the miniDSP for both active EQ and crossover. Check out the posted listening tests, they are very interesting. Especially for something as cheap as it is with the power to do a digital Linkwitz transform, etc. Also, that test thread, if you can find it, was comparing to heavily modded Behringer DEQ and other high end gear. The results, again, were very interesting.

Cheers,
Erik