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Cast baskets are a more recent "boutique" phenomenon, in reality more to satisfy market expectations than for much real advantage, especially for bass drivers, I think. Witness Fostex drivers. These were probably made by CTS of Paducah Kentucky, as were 90% of all drivers in the USA. With CTS, a manufacturer could specify almost any design parameter, even with relatively low-number production runs.
Uh, well all of my vintage Mitsu speakers from 1974-1979 all have cast baskets so I don't think it is a recent "boutique" phenomenon.
I still maintain it was market driven, and boutique. Cast looks so much cooler than stamped that it became associated with quality, and was thus presumed to sound better. I can see the advantage of not having a large reflective area behind the cone, but a lot of drivers did pretty well with that handicap...and 1974 is "more" recent than the AR-4X design, if not actually "recent".
Yeah, I've seen some pretty old stuff that had cast frames. Can't remember the names, but bigger professional types of drivers used in studio or on stage. Cast frames for ruggedness.
Well, just like one can conduct a "knuckle" test on an enclosure, one can also "flick" a stamped or cast woofer frame and easily hear the difference. Stamped frames kind of have a tinging, clinking sound to them. Whenever I use woofer with a stamped basket, I'll finger flick it and if it rings, I'll apply some of that peel and stick damping sheet material to the basket.
Plast-i-clay on the stamped speaker baskets, as recommended by Frank Van Alstine, works probably just as well or better for a fraction of the cost. Bet it would dramatically improve the little ARs.I'm getting a major nostalgia buzz off these btw, wayner.
Follow up thought, I wish acoustic suspension would make a comeback, but somewhere along the line, a port became a "must-have" selling point to John Q. Public, rather than a design approach that has advantages and drawbacks, like every design approach does. Only brand I am aware of still using this technique is NHT.
As to the other speakers reacting, this can be helped a lot with shorting links across the terminals of the unused speakers. This damps the woofers' resonances.
FWIW, my experience has led me to always try speakers on the long wall first, as that usually sounds best to me. I cringe whenever I see speakers close to side walls in a narrow room: I have never heard a pleasant sound yet under those circumstances - it seems as though breathing room to the sides of speakers may be more important than breathing room behind.More off topic, I am surprised that so few speakers are specifically designed to work with wall reinforcement. Seems to me that would open up possibilities for typical home use. This also may be why the AR-4X works in that placement - sealed boxes have predictable smooth shallow roll-offs in the bass, rather than the precipitous plunge following the resonant hump of the typical reflex. The roll-off of the sealed box is more like the inverse of the wall reinforcement. Roy Allison used this to good effect in some of his designs.As to the other speakers reacting, this can be helped a lot with shorting links across the terminals of the unused speakers. This damps the woofers' resonances.
I am surprised that so few speakers are specifically designed to work with wall reinforcement. Seems to me that would open up possibilities for typical home use.
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