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Newbie and Driver Material (1 Viewer)

Jim DeSisto

Mar 5, 2002
Ok, I've been doing some research and want to dive into the DIY world of speaker building. However, I do have a question regarding different drivers. Is there a consensus out there on what is the best material for tweeters, mids, and woofers to be manufactured from? What material will yield the best sound and performance? I understand there are many more factors(cabinet,crossover, etc.)that will influence sound, but I need to start somewhere. There are so many different drivers, made from a seemingly endless list of materials. For someone testing the water, my head is spinning. Any assistance would be appreciated.

Dave Poehlman

Senior HTF Member
Mar 8, 2000
The answer: it depends.

You can have a really crappy kevlar coned driver or a really good one. It all depends on the manufacturer.

Generally, you get what you pay for... but, occasionally you can find good value drivers out there.

Here's what I prefer:

Woofer/Mids: Polypropylene cones with rubber surrounds.. preferrably with a soft dust cap. Mostly because I like the look of the poly cones and the durability of the rubber surrounds. There are many nice treated paper cones out there as well. Kevlar or aerogel are just too pricey for me.

Tweeters: Metal or silk domed 1". Preferrably with ferrofluid. I look for these mostly because I think you get a good bang for the buck. They may not be the best out there, but they can be had pretty cheaply... sometimes dirt-cheaply. :)

Subwoofers (10" or more): I'll go with treated paper, mostly because at that size, poly cones start not performing well (cone cry) and they're also cost-prohibitive.

Those are my preferences and I'm sure there will be other members who will see things differently.

Check out the Loudspeaker Designer's Selection Guide. I think they go into driver material somewhere in there.

Joe Ku

Stunt Coordinator
Apr 1, 2003
The best cone material is that new diamond/carbon nanofiber composite that is supposed to be comming out, compaired to that all others are crap;) anybody know where to buy em yet... well maby another 20 years I guess:angry:

If you want to build speakers start with a kit, All the testing equiptment you need to design speaker system properly is somewhat cost prohibitive. Look at all the reviews of kits people on the board have built, that is where I started. A couple kits that come highly recommended are the GR research AV-1 and the audax center channel(not together though, although I guess they could be)

I would agree with dave for the most part, especially if you are budget minded. Aluminum can also work well for subs, but avoid the cheaper metal coned mids, they look cool but I understand they can be difficult to tame.

Whatever you do, do not buy random drivers for use with a generic cross. You will have a poor sounding speaker almost every time, while I am sure there are exceptions the odds are against you.

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