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Tweeters - Hard Dome Vs Soft Dome + Ambient’s 

 

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 Post subject: Tweeters - Hard Dome Vs Soft Dome + Ambient’s
Posted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 12:36 pm 
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Just thought I’d start a discussion on people preference on Hard Vs Soft dome tweeters.

My preference is soft dome. I have owned Focal Utopia (and MB Quart’s) hard domes and found them to be quite nice to listen to but at moderate to loud volumes they get too harsh for my liking. I also find hard domes aren’t as smooth / mellow sounding. On the Up side I am a drummer and find that cymbals have better realism sue to increased high frequency extension. Also some instruments such as piano or flute can tend to have more “silabenceâ€￾ and a more open airy feel.

I have heard quite a few sets of soft dome’s including owning Supermo’s and Dynaudio MD100’s, and find the sound more detailed, especially in the lower frequency’s and a smoother blend with midrange drivers especially in 2 way splits, without a dedicated midbass driver

The drawback I have found is high frequency roll off above 16k there is significant roll off and by 20k they are quite a few db down, which can be EQ’ed to an extent but not fully.


What are your thoughts?
.

Are ambient's the solution, with soft dome tweeters in the main set-up then hard dome tweeters as ambient’s on a gentle slope crossover to provide the greater high frequency extension and assist in raising soundstage height?

 

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Posted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 12:43 pm 
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Aaron, just for a car audio newb such as myself - would you mind explaining the difference between the two in terms of construction? Thanks...

 

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Posted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 1:05 pm 
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Ok sorry.

Background :
Tweeters are designed to reproduce high frequency audio signals, typically from 3,000htz to 20,000htz (the highest frequency a normal human can hear). They are small in size normally from 2cm – 5-6cm.

Detail :
Because sound is made up of waves and high frequencies are small waves, tweeters must be constructed out of very light material that is able to move rapidly to produce the small waves. There are a range of materials that are used by different manufacturers each with its own benefits and restrictions but they are categorized in two main groups.

Hard Dome – Are tweeters that utilize a hard material such as the metals, some use plain materials while others are quite exotic such as Titanium or Beryllium (Focal Utopia Beryllium). Hard domes tend to exhibit the characteristics I outlined above such as very good frequency response all the way up to and often well beyond 20,000hzt. However the drawback is they can sound tinny or metallic and harsh especially if they are mounted high in a car.

Soft Dome – Are tweeters that utilize soft materials such as silk or coated fabrics. Typically they have a more mellow sound and are often not as bright but tend to have trouble reproducing the higher frequencies because of the characteristics of the material. Also the smooth mellow sound can sometimes sound dull and not lively enough especially if you like loud, in your face sort of music such as metal or even bright techno….


There are very high end companies that swear by both of the materials and good results can be obtained with either (in fact some companies use both in different ranges such as focal who use soft dome in their lower end and hard dome in their high end splits) . I just thought I’d get discussion happening on which people prefer.

 

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Posted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 3:20 pm 
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I think I saw some pheonix gold splits that were all available with the choice of Silk or Aluminium Tweeters. I'm keen to try a set of silk dome purely because of what you stated.( metal sounding tinny or harsh). While on the topic of tweeters, is it worth running them off their own channels to take advantage of active crossovers?
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Posted: Tue Jul 26, 2005 3:37 pm 
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raabz wrote:
I think I saw some pheonix gold splits that were all available with the choice of Silk or Aluminium Tweeters. I'm keen to try a set of silk dome purely because of what you stated.( metal sounding tinny or harsh). While on the topic of tweeters, is it worth running them off their own channels to take advantage of active crossovers?

Quite possibly, there are a couple of companies now that are offering a mid/woofer with a choice of tweeter type, ETON & PHASS also offer what you have described that Phoenix Gold are offering.

You can run tweeters active but be VERY careful. If you have no passive crossover then you have no backup protection so if you get it wrong then they will be instantly destroyed.
The advantages of running actively are:
- Separate time alignment for each component
- Custom crossover points / slopes
- Adjustments can be easily made from the drivers seat (i.e. crossover frequency, slope, time alignment etc…)
- Attenuation can be adjusted to a much greater and precise degree than a simple -3db, 0 or + 3db that is found on most passive crossovers.

 

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Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 2:21 am 
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i've got 3-way speakers in the front with hard tweeters and 2 ways in the back with soft tweeters. i'm not sure if its the speakers or not but the rear speakers sound a lot better at loud volumes. not as harsh on the ears.
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Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 3:54 pm 
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Ok so you prefer soft dome's anyone else?

Not many interested in talking?
Theres no right or wrong peple I'm just trying to stimulate some discussion....

 

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Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 4:29 pm 
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I'm very keen on buying a pair of soft domes just to try them out.

How much difference do you think a better set of tweeters would make to my sony splits? These only have a filter on the tweeter, nothing on the Driver (only high-passed from the amp) Can a proper two-way crossover make a difference to the way these perform?

And while we-re on the topic of tweeters: What's the idea of Rockford Fosgate having two sets of tweeters with their splits? Or was I dreaming when I saw this?
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Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 8:08 pm 
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Yeah i definately prefer soft dome tweeters, i have always wanted a decent set of them. Alpine do a sweet soft dome tweeter setup. Thier Type R and Type X splits are very nice :)

 

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Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 8:23 pm 
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I'm a fan of the soft domes but I did once use metal domes in some home speakers I made a long time ago... the metals did sound nice but only through the old Quad valve amp I had at the time ( not really car audio though ).

True, metal domes do give the best cymbal sounds but the ones that Ive used have always been a bit fussy with xover points and slopes, usually ending up with a 5k 18db xover to avoid spitty female vocals.

In my opinion, MB Quarts have always been let down by the tweeters, but Ive only ever heard them in other poeples cars... Though I did hear MB quart tweeters sounding nice through an active set up.

My all time fave dome tweeter is the early model Stillwater Designs ( early Kicker ) 25mm silk domed tweeter and though not a dome tweeter, Infinity's EMIT tweeter are my pick of all comercial tweeters
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Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 8:51 pm 
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much prefer hard dome, bcuz they do manage to get into the higher frequencies, when i have the 6inches (on the other end of the splits) for midrange, 6inches in the rear for mid to low and then a sub in the boot, that was my old car, i plan on using the same splits, sub and amp, and buying some 5x8's for the rear, yes i know, im cheap, but i would rather spend my muny on performance mods :P
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Posted: Thu Jul 28, 2005 9:23 pm 
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i have vdo hpc 1700 and they are hard dome in the tweeters and i do find they are a little to sharp i think there should be some sort of adjustment on the crossover to filter out some of the sharp frequencies because the higher pitch tends to over ride the mid from the 6.5 inch speaker

my thoughts

 

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Posted: Thu Aug 11, 2005 8:25 pm 
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I had some hard dome tweeters in the front, but recently switched over to soft domes with some alpine speakers. The soft domes do sound nicer in my opinion, no where near as harsh at loud volumes. The hard domes did sound quite tinny. I had them set on -3dB just because they were so harsh.

I now have hard dome in the rear and soft in the front, which seems to be a good mix from the driver's seat.

 

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Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 10:14 am 
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Pyroay, quick question...

I've heard that the reason a soft dome tweeter sounds smoother/mellower is because their resonant frequency is actually out of our hearing range, likewise hard dome tweeters resonant frequency is still WITHIN our hearing range and therefore sound brighter/sharper.

Anyone ever heard this???
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Posted: Sun Aug 14, 2005 8:57 pm 
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Usually metal domes are more efficient at around 10kHz, therefor require less power at those frequencys and tend to exagerate up high
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