Are metal tweeters better than those made of other material?

tobr24uNovember 2, 2006

I just read an article that stated that any kind of metal tweeter is the best. As I have aluminum dome tweeters in my 1988 B&W 570s, I wonder if I am wasting time trying to improve on these without spending a fortune. Any thoughts?

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steve_o

I've heard two schools of thought. There are some who believe that a metallic alloy will be more rigid and, therefore, more accurate in broadcasting high frequencies. There are others who believe that metal tweeters are harsh and strident and not an accurate reproduction of high frequencies.

I've had speakers with both fabric tweeters (Polk, B&W, "tweaked" Radio Shack Minimus 7s) and alloy tweeters (my current Monitor Audio speakers). Both sound good. The MAs, to my ears, sound more musical than any of my other speakers. Maybe it's the alloy doing a superior job. Maybe it's that the MAs were twice the price of any other speakers I've owned. Hard to say.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 9:05AM
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tobr24u

Thanks for the input. MY B&Ws cost about $500 in 1988 and, if cost is the major factor, then I might have to go way up in cost (B&W 800s?) to get a better sound, and I am not sure that speaker technology has improved all that much to get a much better sound unless big money is spent. Any thoughts?

    Bookmark   November 3, 2006 at 10:03AM
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steve_o

I think you'll find that computer-aided design and materials science have made great contributions to the quality of most loudspeakers over the last couple of decades. Speaker designers can do a better job of handling cabinet and driver resonance; new combination materials are more uniform in their construction and their properties. There still are some fine-sounding older speakers out there, but generally (IMHO) speakers at a given price point now are significantly better than they were back in the day of your B&Ws.

You seem like a "buy-and-hold" kind of person: research carefully, spend the money necessary to get what makes you happy, and then keep it until it doesn't work anymore. I'm the same way (my first receiver from the late '70s is still in my basement for the times I want to listen to music while working down there). I can understand wanting to make a careful decision. But I cannot emphasize enough the need to just go out and listen.

Of necessity, speaker design is an evolving art. There are many paths to musical bliss, and it really doesn't matter how many drivers there are, or what they're made of, or what the cabinet is made of, or if the crossover is active or passive -- all of these are valid approaches to speaker design and all of them work fine in some speakers and not in others. On top of that, I could not presume to know how well someone else hears any more than I can know how well they can see. Friends of mine have marveled over speakers I'd rather use as plant stands. It's all very subjective and buying speakers by their specifications is like buying art by the pound. If you like it, you like it; if not, pass it by.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   November 4, 2006 at 10:57AM
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