The Gurus speak!

The questions are posted at the bottom of the page. If you think I have missed something insightful, let me know and I will try to post a follow up.

I would like to extend a special thanks to the professionals who took time to write for free for what they normally get paid. This shows how much they really care about our audio life. Thanks!

Vance Dickason answers driver questions - Mr. Dickason has been working as a professional in the loudspeaker industry since 1974, when he founded Speaker Research Associates (SRA). SRA published the first and second editions of the Loudspeaker Design Cookbook and exhibited its high-end loudspeaker products at CES in 1978. You can see information published in the Robb Report Home Theater interview, check out my books for some more retoric and pics.

Darren Kuzma answers driver questions- The main speaker guru over at Partsexpress, Darren has designed a number of kits and drivers for PE, runs the measurements area and hosts the Dayton DIY event every year.

Ken Kantor answers driver questions - Ken Kantor has enjoyed a celebrated career as an technologist, entrepreneur and designer for the consumer electronics and broadcast technology industries. Runs his arty site:

Gordon Waters answers BOTH sets of questions - Long time speaker builder with a lot of projects and work under his belt.

Questions for the driver designer:

A. What was the best part of working for a large speaker manufacturer? "
B. What was the worst part?
C. Without giving the standard "weakest link" answer, what are the most important speaker components on which to spend money?
D. What about crossover parts and specialty caps and the like?
E. Can a good speaker be made with low cost parts?
F. I mean really, there are like, ten parts in a woofer. How hard can this be?
G. So what are the three main differences between a $5 and $100 woofer?
H. A lot of speaker manufacturers say they use "custom designs" from Vifa or Seas. Are they really custom or just small changes made to stock drivers?
I. Other than the standard line about stiffness, what do you have to say about cone material?
J. What about tweeters, metal or fabric dome and why?
K. It seems like expensive woofers are harder to tame than cheap woofers. How come so many expensive woofers are so hard to tame in the crossover?
L. Are there any tip-off specs to know a driver is good or bad on paper?
M. What types of drivers are most popular?
N. What percentage of drivers sold are shielded and will all drivers be shielded in a few years?
O. Will we ever find the Holy Grail in sound reproduction?
P. So which is it, tubes or SS?
Q. What does the future hold for driver design?

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Copyright Peter Jay Smith 2005 Return to