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03-22-2007 Post mapped to one branch of Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-27-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 4044
Reply to: 4044
Dukane 5A540 Compression Drivers

A six year ago or so when I played with different compression drivers I bought a pair of Dukane 5A540 and at that time I was not able to find any information about them. Nowadays I was pointed out that an eBay sealer “ bayleafs” actions a pair of Dukanes and provided a very good description about them. Since the item description will be gone with time and the description I found is valuable (regardless agree I with it or not) I decided to re-post the bayleafs’ text at my site. I think it well worth it and it goen SOME intonation about the Dukane 5A540 drivers. 

So, here and down the bayleafs’ text:

Rather than designing and building their own sound drivers and horns, Dukane licensed production from recognized pro audio manufacurers. These 5A540 compression drivers, which are an excellent match for the Dukane/Vitavox 5A325 horns, are generally recognized as rebranded JBL's.

The Dukane 5A540's get excellent reviews. I've come across many favourable comparisons to the JBL 175/2410 drivers and the related Coral M-100. While most people have focused their attention on the JBL 2440/2441 these ones have gone relatively unnoticed.

I've also previously owned a pair of JBL 2441's. They're very nice compression drivers, but frankly the 5A540's beat them hands-down except in power handling. There's a sweetness and brilliance about the 5A540's that the 2441's just can't match on their own. Add in some EV ST350A tweeters, however, and it will be a different story -- but then it's also a 3-way system.

If you're looking for a 2-way system, the 5A540/175/2410 is an excellent choice for a mid-high driver. If you currently have SET amps, or are planning on getting them, the 5A540's are a perfect match for the efficiency requirements of SETs.

Physically the 5A540/175/2410 series of drivers have an additional advantage over the JBL 2440/2441. The throats in the 2440/2441's are plastic and can crack pretty easily allowing the magnet to go out of alignment. Although the magnetic gap is protected from a misaligned magnet most people do not value a driver with a cracked throat.

The 5A540/175/2410's have aluminum throats which have the strength to resist magnet shifting and will become a much better investment over the years. I fully expect this range of drivers to continue to increase in value and eventually surpass the value of the 2440/2441's. Original diaphragms already cost over $250 each.

Dukane didn't publish any specs on these drivers, at least from what I can find. Most people go to the JBL 2410 specs for information.

As you can tell the specs are pretty close. The Coral M-100 appears to have the flatter response over the JBL 2410. The flux density and weight are also greater. JBL claims a sensitivity of 117 dB over the Coral's 105 dB but that's into a plane wave tube, not a horn. Depending on the horn design you can expect about 18 dB greater output from a plane wave tube than a horn.

My curiosity got the better of me after I found these Coral M-100 specs on the web.

When I weighed the two Dukane 5A540 drivers to get an idea of shipping cost they were just under 19 lbs, where they should've come in at 16.3 lbs (if they were based on the JBL 2410). So I got out the ruler and measured these. They do measure larger than the JBL 2410's, which are 114mm x 98mm. The Dukanes measure 116mm x 103mm (104mm with the gasket). The Dukane 5A540's are definitely larger and heavier than the JBL 2410's and match almost exactly the Coral M-100's in weight and size.

So they're looking suspiciously like they have Coral M-100 specs, especially with the JAPAN label on the gasket. I wouldn't say the Dukane 5A540's have the Coral diaphragms because I can't say what the Coral diaphragms look like. I do know they'll take the same diapragm as the JBL 2410. They do however appear to have the Coral NKS-5DG Alnico magnet going by the weight and the driver size. If so, these are rare birds indeed. Google NKS-5DG and find out!

To that fella who suggested to me these Dukanes may have been made by Coral, it looks like you were likely right. But as I said in my email I can't make that claim, and I don't. What I can say is the Dukane 5A540 is heavier and larger than the JBL 2410. It is very efficient (which could be due to the higher gauss NKS-5DG Alnico magnet) and has a wonderfully sweet sound.

I've been experimenting with wide dispersion sound sources in smaller listening spaces. I used to think that 120 horizontal degrees of dispersion was overkill for a living room, but since installing 2 EV Sentry IV cabinets, and experimenting with the 5A325/5A540 Dukanes and the Altec 1505B/288, I've found a definite improvement in sound from wide dispersion speakers.

In comparison to professional studio monitors, the perception of depth and spaciousness opens up over most of the listening area. It's as if there are quadratic diffusors (panels which receive and reflect sound in all directions) on the walls. Even a friend who runs a recording studio was impressed.

The studio monitors had a definite zone where they sounded best. The room seemed to have well-defined points where the sound coverage wasn't quite right. With the wide dispersion horns sound coverage was virtually complete with a smooth, natural sound in all listening spots.

The EV Sentry IV's have a horizontal dispersion of 120 degrees and the Dukane 5A325's have about 100 degrees. In comparison the Altec 1003 has 90 degrees and the Altec 1505, 105 degrees.

It's still too early for me to say for sure, but I suspect the large horizontal dispersion horns sound much better mainly because they fill the listening room with sound much like quadratic diffusors do.

Think of it this way. A normal speaker system spreads out phase-coherent sound like a laser beam spreads out light coming through wide angle optics. The room will be filled with light (over the area the optics cover) but the light will still be mostly phase-coherent, meaning in-phase. Our eyes really have a problem with focusing on objects illuminated with this type of light source.

If you take this same light and diffuse it, the light no longer has phase-coherence. Photons arrive out of synch with each other and our eyes can focus clearly. With sound I believe our ears work the same way -- we have the ability to sound-focus with diffused sound sources.

It seems to me that multicellular and sectoral horns create better sound diffusion (phase incoherence) as well as better sound dispersion (sound width). Line arrays should also work the same way.

Once you get into larger listening spaces sound diffusors and absorption panels are absolutely necessary. Standard pro sound design practice is to keep the sound off walls and ceilings to reduce reverberant energy. Small rooms have a proportionately larger amount of sound absorption and benefit from larger amounts of room reverberation... if the reverberant energy is diffused throughout the room.

Why do I bother saying all this? I love the sound. Find someone who has a properly set up horn system and give it a good listen. I really think you'll like it.

My future sound system is slowly taking shape. I'm using the dimensions of the Dukane 5A325 to make myself two bentwood multicellular horns with phenolic drivers. These will be crossed over near 5-7 kHz to a wooden tweeter based on the EV ST350A (baby cheeks horn) for the high end. The low end crossover will be in the range of 300 Hz to an asymetrical folded horn cabinet. The amp will either be a matrix tube amp, or a SET, or both at various times.

In case you're wondering why I would ever part with these very nice little drivers... I've fallen in love with the sound of phenolic compression drivers and it makes more sense for me to move up to the 2" drivers so they can safely get down to the lower frequencies.




"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
03-22-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
drdna
San Francisco, California
Posts 498
Joined on 10-29-2005

Post #: 2
Post ID: 4047
Reply to: 4044
Similar to JBL 2441?
Romy,

Since you have had experience with this particular driver, I wondered about your opinion of the sound.  In my system I have the Edgarhorn Titans which use the JBL 2441 as the midrange horn driver.  While I am generally quite happy with the Edgarhorn Titans, over time I have come to find there is a certain lack of liveliness of the sound which I attribute to something going on in the upper midrange area.  Would it be possible that the 5A540 might be a simple replacement swap in my application to alleviate this problem?

Adrian
03-23-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,540
Joined on 05-27-2004

Post #: 3
Post ID: 4050
Reply to: 4047
A new Titans’ MF driver?

Adrian,

This it truly complicated question. The Titans’ upperbass (the better one, curved, with 12” driver) is not realty HF capable and it makes a MF driver need to go all the way down to probably 500Hz (I do not know what Bruce dies in the crossovers and how he arranges the Titans).

Before I discovered the S2 driver I ran over many-many drivers but I always looked at them from 800-1000Hz and up. It was too many of them, I was buying them, trying them and pretty much with a couple weeks I was selling them… I do not remember that the 5A540 impressed me a lot but so I did not like the 2441. I feel that 2440 was way more interesting driver. Still, all of those compressions drivers (including my S2) are pretty much junk and not just junk but 30-50 years old junk. In order to get any more or less civilized sound from then you need to have a bunch of those drivers, open them up and tune them in order to do what they might do. It is known that Bruce stick into Titans the most economical drivers but his drivers-man does tune the drivers up. This MAKES ALL DIFFERENCE from my point of view and I did heard the Titans’, even with 2441, to sound very well. Furthermore, Bruce used in Titans the Fane tweeter that I used and found it  absolutely horrible but I do admit that in Titans that I head 3 years ago at CES (before Bruce demoded hi straight upperbass horns) had no problems with Fane tweeter...

So, it is necessary to know how everything to organized in the Titans in order to see how it might be revised when you use another MF driver. I would defiantly try there 2440/375 or the large Altecs or something more exotic… You have to understand that Bruce never cared about better drivers for Titans as he looks for a steady flow of inexpensive and easily obtainable drivers. BTW, do not forget that different drivers might use different diaphragms that also change sound quite dramatically…

In the end I do not think that anyone would tell you how this or other compression driver will do. In my past buying and to selling the driver I was loosing $50-100 per driver and I figured out that it was a reasonable price to pay for the experience. I just wish I had at that time (2000) I had as much understanding and familiarity with compression drivers as I have now that would perhaps allowed me at that time to use the tried drivers in more sophisticated manner…

Rgs, Te caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
02-21-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
skushino
Seattle, WA
Posts 93
Joined on 07-07-2004

Post #: 4
Post ID: 19034
Reply to: 4050
Dukane 5A540 in Edgarhorn
fiogf49gjkf0d
Adrian, I had Edgarhorns that have evolved since I bought them in 2005.  In my current set-up, nothing remains of the original Edgarhorns as conceived by Bruce, other than the speaker system remains front loaded horns.  I noticed the same sense of heaviness and lack of life you mentioned, and decided to listen to Dukane 5a540s in place of the JBL 2441s.  Before sharing my comments on the Dukanes, I need to mention the Edgarhorns served as a fantastic laboratory for me to learn about horn loudspeakers.   Basically, I agree strongly with Romy's observations of evaluating changes within the context of the entire system.  Every change I tried seemed to be affected by or impact other facets of the entire loudspeaker system.  Everything's inter-related - crossover points, attenuation, dispersion, etc. 

Another note - my JBL 2441 compression drivers were, according to Bruce, NOS and calibrated by his driver guy before they were shipped to me.  They were mounted to the standard Edgarhorn 350 Hz tractrix wood horns.  So these were prepped prior to going in to my system.  Still, I always found the sound to be generally too polite for my taste, lacking a sense of lightness I wanted.

I don't have deep experience listening to a number of midrange drivers.  Other than the 2441 and Dukane 5A540, I had a pair of Vitavox S2s.  These never worked for me, even after having the units inspected and prepped by a local JBL tech and then again by Bruce and Rich Drysdale.  I believe the drivers may have been faulty - they didn't sound good at all to these ears. 

The Dukanes are mounted on 600Hz tractrix horns and cross at 1k:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/High-End-Tractrix-Horn-Pavillon-Tuba-600Hz-/170918015548?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_212&hash=item27cb81f23c



They cross to full-sized 142 Hz tractrix horns on the bottom, and Fostex T-500 II on top.  The improvement is easy to hear with a short, casual listen.  Over longer-term listening, they continue to sing.  I like these drivers.  They bring the sense of sweetness and lightness I wanted.

At the end of the day, I couldn't say if the benefits resulted from the Dukane drivers or the smaller horns.  If you're still seeking an alternate to your 2441s, you might consider auditioning the Dukanes.  You may like what you hear.
02-22-2013 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
ayebee
Posts 13
Joined on 06-03-2005

Post #: 5
Post ID: 19036
Reply to: 19034
Edgarhorn 350 as fundamentals-channel
fiogf49gjkf0d

Have you tried using the Edgar350/2441-combination between the upper bass- and midrange horns, like Romy’s fundamentals channel?

I use a very similar combination (140 Hz and 600 hz tractrix with Studio 8M and JBL 2420 drivers, respectively) together with a pair of 2440s on 250 Hz horns that fill in the range where the other two horns cross over (they are very band-pass limited). I have found this to give very positive results.

Don’t know if this could be applicable to the E-horn Titan as well…

Regards,
Anders

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