My sincere apologies to Walt for not following through until now to post a review of the 4" PRS Mids. Walt sent me these with the intention of me writing a review right after, and I've just not gotten around to writing a review until now. So no excuses; here it is....
npdang's Klippel test data and subjective impressions
Walt's (WLDock) PRS 3-Way Review
Link to European web page for this product
There's plenty of info in the above mentioned threads on both technical aspects of performance, and how this driver might perform in a particular system setup (Walt's). I'm hoping I can also provide my subjective impressions of the driver based on my personal biases and values, and provide some insight into my thought process on driver selection.
Setup, Methods, Source Material, Specs....
Having done many reviews now here (but none recently), I'll say again that this is very subjective and by no means an authoritative or conclusive review/comparison of drivers. Do your own research, and understand that my methodology is flawed with many confounding variables. I draw my own conclusions, but your situation may be very different, and your application has more to do with the sound you get out of these or any drivers than anything else.
- at home with the same setup/gear used for my tweeter reviews, driver wrapped in a blanket, running (essentially) free-air, and sitting on my carpet floor. I sat myself on the floor just a few feet away from the speaker, similar to if I had them installed in the kick panel of my car.
- in my car with the drivers mounted in my custom kicks, in place of my Scan 12Ms. I sat drivers side to evaluate the pair, and then ran one Scan (left side) and one Pioneer (right side) to do a side by side comparison.
- usual test material
- at home I calibrated myself to my full range system first (one speaker, mono), and then listened to a single driver near field.
- in the car, I first calibrated my ears to my system as it stands, then replaced the mids; retuned and listened to the pair, and then replaced one of my original mids, retuned, and listened again.
- no measurements were taken (sorry gang!)
Important Specs/Info in the Accompanying Product Literature:
Frequency Response (as published by Pioneer):
(click here for full res)
Pictures, Pictures, Pictures:
View a bunch more pics of the Pioneer and Scan here.
Let me just come out and say that I really enjoyed listening to these speakers! Great drivers for SQ use in the car environment.
I would characterize them as being the most detailed composite coned midranges I've had the pleasure to listen to. They compare quite favorably to my Scans, but slightly less warm in character. If you are after extremely tidy (clean) sound with a level of warmth somewhere between metal cones and paper cones, this driver would probably be the ideal choice.
Probably the most surprising thing I found about them is their ability to play high. Look at the frequency response, as published by Pioneer and measured by npdang, and you'll see why. Playing them initially without a low pass filer was quite eye opening: they were exceptionally clear to 10+KHz. This, with the controlled roll off and lack of harsh breakups gives the installer/tuner lots of flexibility for tweeter matching. And bear in mind this comment is coming from a guy currently using the Scan 12M, which is probably one of the most usable drivers in this regard too.
Moving on to low end performance, with their high Qts, these speakers are ideal for IB use. In my sealed kicks, the drivers sounded just a tiny bit "boxy" or congested and I wouldn't recommend use in a sealed enclosure. Vent your kick or find a way to get them basically IB. If you must go small sealed, then the Scan 12M (IMO) is a much better choice.
I think that most people will find the low end performance of the Pioneer very favorable, out of the box. They have a characteristically "tight" or "punchy" character, and did well down to about 300Hz in my system. Much easier to tune on the low end than my Scans, which are just WAY too hot from 200-400Hz in my system config. I personally didn't have to EQ the Pioneers too much, except to compensate a little for the too small enclosure I had them in. Free air in my home, the speakers sounded really smooth.
In as far as dynamic capability, the Pioneers were plenty satisfying for me, but then again, I don't place alot of value on playing very loud. If you are the type of person who needs higher SPL, I don't think the lower efficiency of these drivers would suit. The paper Scans were noticeably more efficient, but they aren't super screamers either. And of course, don't run them ultra low, even though they give the impression they can with their "tight" (high Q) sound characteristic.
vs. Scan 12M
• closer to this speaker than any other composite cone driver I've heard
• distortion performance (perceived) easily on par
• better extension on the top end (surprising)
• lacking some of the warmth and richness of the Scan
• a bit easier to tune
vs. Seas Excel (metal cone mid)
• reminiscently clean sound of a metal cone (great sharpness)
• way better usability on the upper end
• more forgiving; will never scream at you
• way easier to tune
+ awesome distortion performance
+ incredible upper end extension
+ smooth, flat frequency response
+ very high ease of use factor; good "out of the box" performance
+/- high Q ideal for car use; not good for sealed
- relatively low efficiency
- can't get them in the US
I loved these speakers, and if they were widely available, I'd definitely consider using them in the future. Not much really to complain about, seriously. Pioneer did a great job on these!
Having said that, I gotta say that I'm still a bit partial to the warmth that the Scan 12Ms give me, but it's pretty close race. I myself am not going to be replacing my midranges anytime soon.
What speaker is best for you depends on what your install constraints, budget, and personal preferences lead you to. And although I've listened to several systems with Hybrid mids in them, I've never used them personally, so really can't compare them.
Enjoy, and thanks again for the opportunity, Walt!