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#107467 - 08/11/05 10:24 AM Chicken or the Egg - Cabinet or Driver First?
Capn_Pickard Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/09/04
Posts: 1056
Loc: Arlington, VA (NOVA)
I was perusing some websites, and I've noticed (as all of us have) the variety of cabinet and driver designs out there.

I wanted to know, generally, which comes first the driver or the cabinet. That is - when designing a speaker, does one pick a set of drivers first, then build a cabinet around it that will permit that driver to be even over the range of the soudn spectrum, or is it the other way around - where the basic cabinet design is formed using acoustical theories, then different drivers are dropped in depending on which sounds best over the spectrum.

It seems like it would be the former rather than the latter. If this is the case, then, couldn't a speaker manufacturer save a lot of money by choosing less expensive driver components and designing a good box around it?

Bonus question - is driver qualitry a subjective thing (based on the box that surrounds it) or would placing "better" drivers in a lesser engineered box generally make that lesser speaker configuration sound better?

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#107468 - 08/11/05 12:26 PM Re: Chicken or the Egg - Cabinet or Driver First?
St_PatGuy Offline
axiomite

Registered: 03/07/05
Posts: 7395
Loc: Glendale, Arizona
From what I have read about speaker building, you really want to pick out your drivers first and then design the enclosure. In that way you are not limiting yourself to a certain set of drivers. Find out what you want and what drivers work well together, then start building a box to fit them.

I am no expert on this, though.
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#107469 - 08/11/05 12:40 PM Re: Chicken or the Egg - Cabinet or Driver First?
F107plus5 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/24/05
Posts: 2034
Loc: Fla. Orig. Mich.
Can't help but think that's correct

There are tons of programs out the there that allow you to plug in the Thiele Small parameters of the various drivers to get the box size and port dimensions; but I don't ever remember a program that allows you to put in the box size and port dims and give you the speaker drivers you need!

Yup....best to get the components first and then build the box around it(Well; in most cases anyway

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#107470 - 08/11/05 12:49 PM Re: Chicken or the Egg - Cabinet or Driver First?
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5279
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
I think it's normally :

- get a rough idea of cabinet style/size/goals

- pick driver

- design cabinet

The detailed design would probably have to be driver first, in the sense that you have infinite freedom with cabinet size, type etc... and can even tweak things like port depth after construction but with drivers you have to take what you can get.

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#107471 - 08/11/05 03:19 PM Re: Chicken or the Egg - Cabinet or Driver First?
Capn_Pickard Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/09/04
Posts: 1056
Loc: Arlington, VA (NOVA)
If this is the case - and it jibes with my first thoughts.

If the goal is to produce a smooth response curve over the audible frequency range, and a cabinet can be designed to produce that smooth curve, even with a cheaper driver, then why ever use the more expensive drivers that I see on speakers liek B&W or Swan? Are those drivers easier to design a cabinet around?

It just seems that with a little bit of engineering, a sow's ear can really be made into a silk purse. Am I wrong in believing this, or do the materials/construction, etc. of the drivers influence/interact/create the "audio waves" that differently?

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#107472 - 08/11/05 03:50 PM Re: Chicken or the Egg - Cabinet or Driver First?
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5279
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Tweeters aren't really affected by the cabinet (just the baffle) so in that case you really do get what you pay for.

With woofers the extra $$ doesn't really buy you flat response as much as it buys you low distortion, low resonance frequencies, high excursion etc... -- all things which are hard to compensate for with cabinet design.

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#107473 - 08/11/05 03:52 PM Re: Chicken or the Egg - Cabinet or Driver First?
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16258
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
I think you actually want really high resonance frequencies so that they are well above the operating range of the driver.
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#107474 - 08/11/05 06:21 PM Re: Chicken or the Egg - Cabinet or Driver First?
bridgman Offline
axiomite

Registered: 08/25/04
Posts: 5279
Loc: Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada
Yeah, THOSE resonance frequencies you want above the driver's operating range, but each speaker has a natural free-air resonance which is at least a factor when designing a cabinet. The speaker's resonance frequency is affected by the enclosure (sealed enclosures raise it, ported enclosures can sort of drag it around a bit) but it is a factor. Midrange drivers usually have a higher natural resonance than woofers, although I am sure there are exceptions to this (eg. I think KEF used the same B110 driver as woofer and midrange in different speakers).

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#107475 - 08/11/05 09:35 PM Re: Chicken or the Egg - Cabinet or Driver First?
real80sman Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/16/02
Posts: 1121
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Just because a driver uses esoteric materials in construction does not necessarily make it better. What If Axiom used a material that was the same weight and rigidity as the aluminum, but cost 5x as much to manufacture? Would it perform better or worse at the NRC? More importantly, would it SOUND better?

I would think that even leaving the cone as-is, but stiffening the spider or surround would drastically change it's performance.

Sorry for the rambling - I was in a golf tournament today with an open bar. I'm not even sure the above makes sense.....


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