March 7, 2011

Waveguide shootout 2 - conclusions

We conducted these two events to learn about different waveguide and compression driver combinations. Both events proved very enjoyable and revealing and in coming together there is a unique opportunity to condense the learning.


Above: the JBL clone loaded with DE250 sits on top of the TD10M - one of the best measuring and sounding options we tried.

Some of my conclusions include:
  • The Selenium driver is not a good choice for a home system due to sound quality issues
  • The JBL clone waveguide is an excellent budget conscious waveguide
  • Apart from the Selenium, the other compression drivers all had very good performance
Econowave comments

It is unfortunate that the Selenium driver that is used in the Econowave is not the best unit. Our listening tests have indicated that titanium isn't the best material for a diaphragm and this agrees with the experience of many. The Selenium is easy to use because it has a screw on connection which suits many waveguides. Many of the better compression drivers are bolt-on types. One solution is to remove the thread and create a mounting plate from an acrylic sheet. Another is to use an adaptor. Either way it's important to ensure a smooth transition. Some of the cheaper B&C drivers may be worth considering, although where budget allows, the DE250 is highly recommended. If you already have the Selenium driver, the good news is the sound can be improved a great deal. 

Where does it go from here?

I'm currently listening to some of the combinations that we didn't get to hear on the day. Reports to follow soon. 

We will also be investigating foam mods to the waveguides where we fill them with reticulated foam. 

4 comments:

  1. Hi

    I have been experimenting with the 12" PE waveguide and the Selenium driver and after talking to Andi (Gainphile) and making some measurements I have been able to to tame most of their harshness. What steps have you taken to improve their sound quality? I have the bolt on version that I have been using with an adapter but wonder if I custom make a waveguide for them + use foam if they can be made to work with harshness. What are your thoughts?

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  2. Hi Paul,

    B&C DE250 + foam + one of the better waveguides = bliss. Each of those steps will make quite a difference - do all three and you'll get a dramatic improvement. I wouldn't persist with the Selenium D220Ti, it's an obnoxious beast. Put any of the other drivers in the same waveguide and you get a much smoother sound. Much better to start with one of the better sounding drivers and then see what you can do with it. The Dayton round waveguide isn't bad, but the Pyle was clearly better.

    In answer to your question, I haven't taken steps to improve the Selenium because I see no real potential. I bought a pair of B&C DE250 for about $350 shipped - that isn't expensive for the performance.

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  3. "If you already have the Selenium driver, the good news is the sound can be improved a great deal."

    Could you post a link to these improvements you're talking about?

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  4. critofur,
    I meant the sound can be improved by using the DE250 with a screw on adaptor and adding the foam. Since writing that, gainphile has commented that the Selenium improves with notch filtering but I haven't heard that driver since. I have written about the foam in here and you can run a search in the search box (top right) for "foam mod." Col on his Minirig site has commented that the foam was a big improvement for him as well, he uses the D220 Ti as well as another Selenium which is apparently a bit better.

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