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Thread: Hybrid Audio L4 and L4SE

  1. #1
    Tester Extraordinaire ErinH's Avatar
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    Hybrid Audio L4 and L4SE

    Note:
    I put these drivers up together because they are different versions of the same driver and from a comparison standpoint I thought it might be nice to have the FR at 0deg plotted together.

    Thanks to the folks who donated them.

    For test setup, procedures, and information on how the data was obtained see sticky here:
    Driver Testing Methods and Setup: Frequency Response and Harmonic Distortion Only - DIYMA.com
    Do not ask setup questions in this thread. This thread is only for driver discussion.

    To understand how to read the data, try here:
    How to read Frequency Response and Harmonic Distortion Plots - DIYMA.com



    Drivers Tested:
    Hybrid Audio L4
    Hybrid Audio L4SE

    L4:


    L4SE:


    Impedance and T/S Parameters:

    L4:


    L4SE:




    Frequency Response of both drivers at 0 degrees, 3dB scale:


    Frequency Response at 0, 30, and 60 degrees, 5dB scale:

    L4:


    L4SE:


    Harmonic Distortion at 95dB:

    L4:


    L4SE:
    Your ears: The best tools you have... and they're free, too!

  2. #2
    Tester Extraordinaire ErinH's Avatar
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    I posted the following up on DIY and will post it here, too. If you disagree, that's fine. This is really my opinion on things subjectively between the two...

    Since this is my last test, I'll break my own "no subjective opion" rule. Besides, I'm comparing the two drivers so there's less issue personally with doing that.

    Here's a brief subjective review between these two drivers... it ain't much but I didn't plan on giving anything anyway. However, since the two measure so similarly I had to listen myself and will share some impressions.

    20 minute listening session, swapping drivers on the baffle with no crossover or EQ. Playing straight off iTunes which is wirelessly streaming music from my mac downstairs. No level matching so take it with a grain of salt...

    First off, there's no way I would personally use either driver by itself further off axis than 15*. They didn't sound bad, but they certainly need a tweeter to me to help cover on the top end what is lost though both drivers play well up to 8khz up to 30 degrees off axis as evidenced by the graphs above. Some people will differ in opinion on needing a tweeter to supplement off axis response (ie: wideband driver fans) but that's my honest opinion.
    The difference in lower frequency content (vocals, mainly) were immediately noticeable between the two with the nod going to the SE. Which, if you look above, is contradictory since the L4 has lower distortion by a small margin. So, maybe I prefer a bit of distortion? Good to know.

    The L4's didn't sound bad, per se, but they seemed to lack what I can only term as "life" compared to the L4SE. What I mean is that on the upper end, the L4SE was more geared toward what I like or am used to hearing which is a more vibrant top end. Right... who wouldn't want a vibrant response?... (see why I'm not a fan of subjectivity?). Okay, let me see if I can clarify:
    Toms had a nice attack down low but the harmonics up top seemed to render more dynamically. Sax was like it would be if I heard my buddy let loose at work (and I have heard this), whereas the L4 didn't seem to have the body on the top end... maybe attack or detail could fit here but I digress....
    Does that mean the L4 original is bad? Nope. It could simply mean I hadn't been accustomed to its sound and I might even prefer that driver in longer listening tests. ;)

    Both drivers had really nice low end response. Remember, again, I was using these on the test baffle with no crossover. At moderate volumes the LFE was quite nice. Not overdone while still being 'there'. I give these drivers props in this regard. Though, it truly did seem the L4SE had a bit more bottom to it since I was able to listen a bit louder without hearing the artifacts of distortion, at least to my untrained ears.

    So, is the difference enough to warrant the price upgrade?
    Can't tell you. Same as the L6 vs L6SE. It's up to you and your install.
    Would I do it? I honestly do think so, yes.. I felt the audible differences were enough to lean toward the SE. But, I'm also a nut who loves going through gear. Additionally, the user, install and tune will really effect the outcome so if you're considering either of these, try to look at the data given and draw some conclusions based on the bandpass which you intend to use them. You may find the upgrade to the SE isn't worth the additional cost to you.

    Bottom line: I like the L4SE.

    Again, this is only my quick impressions. 20 minutes tops. Take it for what it is.

    Compare these drivers to others? NOPE!
    I won't lie and say my hearing memory is good enough and furthermore, I've not had another set of 4" drivers on this test baffle to even begin to compare against. Compare these against the scan 12m's in my car? HELL NO! Think of what you're asking... two totally different environments. It's too misleading to give opinions based on anything other than the same setup within as near exact same constraints as I have.
    *Preaching to the choir, I hope ;)*

    - Erin
    Your ears: The best tools you have... and they're free, too!

  3. #3
    Tester Extraordinaire ErinH's Avatar
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    The following are things I see...

    Impedance and T/S:
    Both drivers have similar Fs and overall magnitudes, though the SE has higher Qts. The SE and V1 both have nearly the same magnitude in impedance on the high end, indicating both would be useful for wideband projects. Both have a swing of about 3dB from Re to Remax (what I'm calling the highest frequency impedance). The V1 has higher motor force (Bl = 4.0) vs the SE (Bl = 3.6). This should translate to lower end response but I honestly didn't seem to notice this much. These values are pretty close, though, too so I don't think I'd spend a day pouring over this difference. To me, this is where the enclosure comes in to play and why I personally don't put much weight into these small differences.
    Overall, these drivers look really, really identical in this set of data.

    FR:
    With the overlain graph given in the OP, you can see both drivers have the same output until about 1.5khz. Above this point, the SE stays about 1.5dB higher in output.
    Linear response for both drivers is pretty good when you compare to other well known drivers (scan 12m, Fountek FR-88, TB W3-1364, etc).
    The scan 12m measured the best out of the above, and many people like to use this as a reference so feel free. Note, however, the scale given is 5dB increments.
    Now, moving on the HAT drivers, you'll notice the linearity on-axis isn't quite as flat. There's a rising top end. However, if you look at both drivers' response at 30* you'll notice a pretty flat response, on par with the Scan 12m on-axis measurement. This, to me, says the HAT drivers could be mounted off axis and perform well up to at least 6-7khz for both drivers (the L4V1 going a bit higher than the SE).

    Additionally, it could very well be that the rising top end response on-axis is what lends to the off-axis flat response. Now, which one will you prefer???... on-axis or off-axis???? That's up to you. Personally, I found these at on-axis position were great and the rising response actually sounded nice. But, your opinion may differ and the results in car could change things as well.


    Distortion:*
    Not really much I want to comment on here because I think the subjective post above might really give an inkling moreso than the bare results themselves.
    The only real difference I notice, other than levels skipping between the two, is that the SE has a more smooth transition in 3rd order distortion between 50-500hz. This is where most people say you can hear differences (3rd order distortion) and to me is a primary area because much of what you hear is pretty much based off this range.
    One thing I always take away from distortion measurements is "where will these sound best crossed over". If I'm going on distortion alone (which I don't necessarily advise; listening tests should always supplement data when possible) it looks like a good starting point for high volume listening and crossover point would be about 300hz. At more moderate volumes you could probably get down to 200hz safely. Yes, I know people will cross 4" drivers down to 160hz or whatever other random number. Personally, I see a rising distortion below 300hz and know that anything much below 200hz is starting to look a bit scary. If you listen at loud volumes (LOUD... 95dB testing is strenuous) then I'd say 300hz would likely be a good place to cross to beat out distortion artifacts. If you listen to reasonable volume levels then 200hz, again, would be doable. Again, you'll have to do your own listening tests here. I can't guarantee what I see and hear is what you'll hear. Different strokes for different folks.

    *as a point of reference, I cross my 12m's at 300hz in my car. I can cross them down to 200hz and they sound nice. If you look at the 12m distortion results from Zaph @ 96dB (~ 1dB higher than my results), you'll see a similar trend with the 12m as with the HATs. So, this plays in to what I just said regarding crossing the HAT drivers. I've crossed the 12m's as low as 200hz and it's been fine, but it's not an everyday thing. That could prove to more backup my claim of 200hz crossing at more moderate volumes but it really has more to do with the install. Keep in mind that in my car the 12m's are in a 1L enclosure. The enclosure affects distortion, too. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa. So, again, TEST YOURSELF and don't go solely off what I'm saying here.


    Overall:
    Overall the results look pretty good. I won't say they're the greatest thing ever, but the big thing to me is the FR and these drivers' usefulness off-axis as most people will be installing car audio drivers at least somewhat off-axis. The smoother response looks to be an indicator for off-axis placement without sacrificing much output up top. Though, I still would recommend using a tweeter up high (ie: 7khz+) if you're using these drivers off axis. I'm probably a bit biased because I've always felt the need for more when listening to any 3-4" driver playing wide open. Again, it's not bad, per se, but the tweeter just adds something that I feel the system needs.
    Last edited by ErinH; 05-27-2011 at 02:30 PM.
    Your ears: The best tools you have... and they're free, too!

  4. #4
    Senior Member cvjoint's Avatar
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    I see you are trying to correlate the testing with your listening session. What was the output level at which you performed your listening test? Was it at 95db 1/2 meter? I don't mean to beat a dead horse here, but it is relevant, it always is. HD might look very different at higher or lower output levels.

    If you think about Zaph's ideology, picking up nonlinear distortion is possible mostly though long term exposure. 20 min. is very short term. Some believe you have to have the speaker belt out very high % of THD before it's even audible. Unlike Zaph who claims he always hears the HD, even under 1% these guys would tell you the bass performance is the only audible distortion for these HATs, again given you listened to them only at 95db.

    Then you have to think, what is 95db? Music is dynamic. Did you compare them using tones? If you used music, do you have a brick filter at 50hz so you can equivalate the testing with listening? We are of course much more able to pick up nonlinear distortion with test tones than with music where masking is prevalent.

    I'm curious as to how much THD you think you can hear because it's a heated topic. Then of course there is the issue if your test and listening session can be correlated.
    Last edited by cvjoint; 05-27-2011 at 05:14 PM.

  5. #5
    Founding Member Subwoofery's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ErinH View Post
    The following are things I see...

    Impedance and T/S:
    Both drivers have similar Fs and overall magnitudes, though the SE has higher Qts. The SE and V1 both have nearly the same magnitude in impedance on the high end, indicating both would be useful for wideband projects. Both have a swing of about 3dB from Re to Remax (what I'm calling the highest frequency impedance). The V1 has higher motor force (Bl = 4.0) vs the SE (Bl = 3.6). This should translate to lower end response but I honestly didn't seem to notice this much. These values are pretty close, though, too so I don't think I'd spend a day pouring over this difference. To me, this is where the enclosure comes in to play and why I personally don't put much weight into these small differences.
    Overall, these drivers look really, really identical in this set of data.

    FR:
    With the overlain graph given in the OP, you can see both drivers have the same output until about 1.5khz. Above this point, the SE stays about 1.5dB higher in output.
    Linear response for both drivers is pretty good when you compare to other well known drivers (scan 12m, Fountek FR-88, TB W3-1364, etc).
    The scan 12m measured the best out of the above, and many people like to use this as a reference so feel free. Note, however, the scale given is 5dB increments.
    Now, moving on the HAT drivers, you'll notice the linearity on-axis isn't quite as flat. There's a rising top end. However, if you look at both drivers' response at 30* you'll notice a pretty flat response, on par with the Scan 12m on-axis measurement. This, to me, says the HAT drivers could be mounted off axis and perform well up to at least 6-7khz for both drivers (the L4V1 going a bit higher than the SE).

    Additionally, it could very well be that the rising top end response on-axis is what lends to the off-axis flat response. Now, which one will you prefer???... on-axis or off-axis???? That's up to you. Personally, I found these at on-axis position were great and the rising response actually sounded nice. But, your opinion may differ and the results in car could change things as well.


    Distortion:*
    Not really much I want to comment on here because I think the subjective post above might really give an inkling moreso than the bare results themselves.
    The only real difference I notice, other than levels skipping between the two, is that the SE has a more smooth transition in 3rd order distortion between 50-500hz. This is where most people say you can hear differences (3rd order distortion) and to me is a primary area because much of what you hear is pretty much based off this range.
    One thing I always take away from distortion measurements is "where will these sound best crossed over". If I'm going on distortion alone (which I don't necessarily advise; listening tests should always supplement data when possible) it looks like a good starting point for high volume listening and crossover point would be about 300hz. At more moderate volumes you could probably get down to 200hz safely. Yes, I know people will cross 4" drivers down to 160hz or whatever other random number. Personally, I see a rising distortion below 300hz and know that anything much below 200hz is starting to look a bit scary. If you listen at loud volumes (LOUD... 95dB testing is strenuous) then I'd say 300hz would likely be a good place to cross to beat out distortion artifacts. If you listen to reasonable volume levels then 200hz, again, would be doable. Again, you'll have to do your own listening tests here. I can't guarantee what I see and hear is what you'll hear. Different strokes for different folks.

    *as a point of reference, I cross my 12m's at 300hz in my car. I can cross them down to 200hz and they sound nice. If you look at the 12m distortion results from Zaph @ 96dB (~ 1dB higher than my results), you'll see a similar trend with the 12m as with the HATs. So, this plays in to what I just said regarding crossing the HAT drivers. I've crossed the 12m's as low as 200hz and it's been fine, but it's not an everyday thing. That could prove to more backup my claim of 200hz crossing at more moderate volumes but it really has more to do with the install. Keep in mind that in my car the 12m's are in a 1L enclosure. The enclosure affects distortion, too. What works for me may not work for you and vice versa. So, again, TEST YOURSELF and don't go solely off what I'm saying here.


    Overall:
    Overall the results look pretty good. I won't say they're the greatest thing ever, but the big thing to me is the FR and these drivers' usefulness off-axis as most people will be installing car audio drivers at least somewhat off-axis. The smoother response looks to be an indicator for off-axis placement without sacrificing much output up top. Though, I still would recommend using a tweeter up high (ie: 7khz+) if you're using these drivers off axis. I'm probably a bit biased because I've always felt the need for more when listening to any 3-4" driver playing wide open. Again, it's not bad, per se, but the tweeter just adds something that I feel the system needs.
    I like what you've done ^ here. Help us, newbies, understand graphs and numbers a bit better.
    I keep getting a bit better everyday in reading your tests.

    Keep up the good work,
    Kelvin

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by ErinH View Post
    Since this is my last test, I'll break my own "no subjective opion" rule. Besides, I'm comparing the two drivers so there's less issue personally with doing that.
    Whaaaaat?


    Quote Originally Posted by ErinH View Post
    First off, there's no way I would personally use either driver by itself further off axis than 15*. They didn't sound bad, but they certainly need a tweeter to me to help cover on the top end what is lost though both drivers play well up to 8khz up to 30 degrees off axis as evidenced by the graphs above. Some people will differ in opinion on needing a tweeter to supplement off axis response (ie: wideband driver fans) but that's my honest opinion.
    A knowledgeable wideband driver fan would NEVER disagree with you about needing a tweeter off-axis.
    Just because you don't understand the data doesn't mean it's not relevant.

  7. #7
    Tester Extraordinaire ErinH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MiniVanMan View Post
    Whaaaaat?
    yea, man. Putting the house up on the market. I think I mentioned this to you when we spoke a couple weeks back. In order to do so and get the appraisal and make the house presentable, the testing rig is coming down. It's bittersweet.

    Next house is going to have an extra room upstairs next to the HT room. Guess what's going up there? ;)
    Your ears: The best tools you have... and they're free, too!

  8. #8
    Tester Extraordinaire ErinH's Avatar
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    Klippel data for L4 is up!
    DIYMA.com


    L4SE klippel data will be up this weekend.
    Your ears: The best tools you have... and they're free, too!

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