Review of the Audible Physics NZ3ALBe 3" drivers - Car Audio | DiyMobileAudio.com | Car Stereo Forum

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Old 02-20-2015   #1
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Default Review of the Audible Physics NZ3ALBe 3" drivers

Preamble

Most members on this forum know about Audible Physics. I won't go through the history of the company here, just my history with the product. This isn't a review to 'drum up business' for Rishi. I'm just trying to provide some information and impressions for anyone that is interested. If upon reading this review, a member is curious about pricing, etc. - you can send an email to audiblephysics1 at gmail dot com instead of posting 'How much are they?' in this thread.

Concerning cost – as Steve (Winno) mentioned in his review – some of the changes / improvements over the previous models included much more expensive parts, and the sources of these parts (Denmark and UK) may influence the cost. From what I hear when I listen to these drivers, the investment has certainly paid off.

My history with the brand

I have had a few drivers from Audible Physics, and I have heard many cars that utilize these drivers. I experienced many hours of listening pleasure with the XR3M’s, the RAM3A’s, and now the NZ3ALBe’s.

I bought my first set of Audible Physics XRs in late 2010 and installed them in my BMW. At the time, I was a devotee to the wideband/noneedfortweeters group. I ran that way for several months and was quite happy with the sound. I had a set of Morel MT23 tweeters in my sails from my previous set up. One day…..I hooked them up and discovered that I ‘needed’ tweeters. Regarding the midrange sound, I loved the XRs – a ton of beautiful sound from small, but tankish 3” drivers.

When I purchased my Subaru BRZ, I mounted the XRs in the factory dash locations firing against the glass. This set up worked well – again with the Morel tweeters in pillars. I developed a problem with one of the XRs (I believe a piece of debris fell between the phase plug and the cone due to the orientation of the driver – cone facing up), so I switched to another 3” driver in the car.

Later, I had the opportunity to utilize the RAM3A in desktop speakers that my Father-In-Law and I built. The design came roughly from Zaphaudio.com Zaphaudio - Speaker 18

The RAM with the AT was brilliant in this set up on my desk. At times I would place my B&W bookshelf (2-way 6.5” and tweeter

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on my desk, and I preferred the sound of the RAMs every time. I am using a powered sub – 10” Sunfire Dominator by Bob Carver (similar to this:

+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


to mate with the 3” drivers. The speaker boxes have a simple crossover from PE in each box that provides a high pass at 300 hertz at a 12db slope. With the RAMs, I was using the AT ‘drivers’ that came with them to provide a bit of ‘air’.





I have the privilege to install the new NZ3ALBe 3” drivers in the speaker boxes on my desk.

I asked Rishi if I could give some impressions of the drivers. Forum member Steve (Winno) provided a very insightful review of the drivers here:

Steve's Review Thread





Aesthetics and driver photos

These are very attractive drivers. I feel that I’m the type of consumer that Rishi has in mind when he is developing drivers. In my opinion, his designs combine a strong mix of aesthetic and performance. All of his designs are visually pleasing to me (XRs with the Rosewood / Ironwood phase plugs and alloy cone, phase plug in the Arians, cone materials of the RAMs, etc). From my perspective, the audible performance pleases my ears in the same way as the aesthetic pleases my eyes. For a consumer like me…….that is important – when I see the new driver, I’m hooked with my eyes…..and I want to experience with my ears. (please excuse the blurry pics - I didn't have time to break out the tripod).

RAM3A







NZ3ALBe











As Steve mentioned – the flange on the drivers are 3mm larger than the previous drivers (OD is slightly over 90mm), but they dropped straight in to my speaker boxes. There is a huge difference in the magnet / motor structure from the XR to the NZ/RAM to the new drivers. The dual neo magnet on the XRs took some real planning when mounting in pillars (and good rings cut on a CNC ). The RAMs had a fairly large ferrite magnet structure, and these drivers have a svelte new structure. I for one am really impressed with the look of the incorporated grill. I’m sure there will be folks who would rather have this as optional as it relates to their particular install, but for everyone else, this is a fantastic feature.

Since this is a home audio / desk reference set up, I was able to install one driver to compare against the previous RAM driver. This review of the NZ3ALBe is not intended to be a comparison review, but it was easy to do, and I was intrigued to hear the difference between the drivers. I allowed several days of desktop playing to get the new driver worked in before doing any critical listening. Just moving back and forth in front of the two drivers made the side-by-side comparison extremely evident. There were some serious differences! As Steve mentioned in his review, it was obvious that the upper midrange and treble was significantly present compared to the RAM. I noticed improvement in lower midrange and bass as well.



I’m not extremely versed in the measurement world, but I was intrigued by what I was hearing – enough to break out the microphone and the REW program. I did some simple uncorrelated pink noise measurements with the mic about 0.5 meters away from the cone of the driver – directly on axis (1/6 octave mode with no smoothing). Hopefully you can read the items below the graph - Maroon=NZ3ALBe at 90db; Blue=RAM3A at 90db; Yellow=NZ3ALBe at 65db; Green=RAM3A at 65db.



As mentioned earlier, this is a home audio application, so the following components are the only items influencing the sound out of the drivers: source (CD player or JRiver Media Center through Wavelength USB/SPIDF converter), Peachtree Audio Nova DAC (Sabre chip), Naim NAP 100 amplifier, Naim NAC A5 speaker wire, 300 hertz crossovers, and the speaker enclosures themselves. There is no EQ and the speakers are directly on-axis to the listener. I have the speakers 30” from me and 30” apart. When I listen critically (for this review), I remove the computer monitor so there is a space 30” behind the speakers to the corner of the room.

I believe the hump at 200hz is a node from the speaker box, and I attempted to verify that with some tones. I don't know how useful this graph is, but you can see that the higher peak at 200hz correlates with the bump that you see with the overall response graph.



During all of the listening for this review, I did not connect the AT ‘drivers’, and I did not connect the Sunfire subwoofer. I wanted to hear what these drivers were doing from 300hz and up.

Comparison between the RAM3A and the NZ3ALBe

I won’t go into great detail here, but I wanted to mention a few items that caught my attention. I set the two speakers directly in front of me, unplug one speaker – listen to part of the track / pause / play it again after changing plugging / unplugging. I used a meet disc from Mrs. Papasin that had a great deal of upper midrange and treble.

To my ears, I hear the following differences between the RAM and the NZ3ALBe:

• Much more energy and a smoother response in the upper midrange
• The above probably contributes to my impression that the NZs have better resolution / detail
• More defined lower midrange / bass – I got this with bass guitar, cello, percussion, and male vocals (Gregory Porter’s Hey Laura, Aaron Lewis’ Lessons Learned)
• I perceive a better sense of the room when listening to vocals – could be simply the increased response in the upper midrange

NZ3ALBe Stereo

Once I was through with that, I installed the other NZ. Unbelievable!!! To hear these drivers in stereo – close stage – with a center image that is about 5’ from me – wonderfully wide – voice at eye level – just spectacular!



I listened to several tracks with the pair playing at bout 85db (according to my handy SPL meter on the iPhone). The imaging is precise – wonderful staging and sense of the space. Those characteristics are likely more about the placement of the drivers, source / amplifier driven versus the speakers themselves. I’m amazed at the layering, the precision of timbre of the various instruments.

I am finding it very difficult to write this. I’m listening to The Wailin’ Jennys, Bold Riley, and it is hard to type with my eyes closed.

+ YouTube Video
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You are either listening to a gripping, soul level performance or you are intolerably bored if your eyes close involuntarily while listening………I know which this is……..These drivers are handling the harmonization of 3 female folk singers, violin, and stand up bass with aplomb. Such a purity of voice with the lead singer of the Jennys – full bodied – not in the least bit thin – perfectly life-like.

Listening to The Wailin’ Jennys singing Long Time Traveler – the separation and placement of all three voices in a huge soundstage – hearing all three parts of the harmony in absolute perfection.

+ YouTube Video
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Bravo! Rishi…..I wish you could hear this! Thoughts of replacing my Audisons in the car keep going through my head……..these drivers are that good! I would love to hear them on the Class A with the current tune……..

Concerning the high treble of these drivers – this is the best implementation that I have heard. Of course this set up is different than what most will have in their car. I have two drivers directly in front of me in enclosures – I’m centered on them – minimal reflections – no windshield. I have absolutely no desire for anything more in the highs department, and I absolutely don’t feel that I’m missing anything. And that is coming from someone who has inch and a half tweeters in the car with a fairly low crossover point. I am interested to hear what these will sound like if I get a new DAC in the coming months. I have read that the Sabre DAC in the Peachtree units can be a bit glary, a bit brittle on the top end. Of all the ‘wideband’ drivers that I have heard in various car applications, this set is the one that I feel could be run without tweeters with great results. It would be really interested if these were mounted in pillars – mostly on axis – with decoy tweeters in the sails / pillars to see how many listeners would assume the tweeters were playing.

This morning I connected the Sunfire subwoofer to the system. I listened to an album from Glass Animals and from Amon Tobin.

+ YouTube Video
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+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


The 10” sub compliments these 3” drivers perfectly, and I feel that I have a complete system – especially with this type of music. The subwoofer has controls for Level, Phase, and crossover point so it isn’t a difficult thing to adjust the sub to blend with the lower end that the 3’s are providing.

Rock is a little different – great to have the midbass presence of 6.5’s or 8’s, but the beginning bass / percussion of Simplified’s Long Time Ago was simply amazing – it truly sounded like all of that was coming from the 3’s!

+ YouTube Video
ERROR: If you can see this, then YouTube is down or you don't have Flash installed.


Well, I’m not going to go through dozens of tracks to point out what I heard – you get the picture. Hopefully, some who are reading this will get the chance to hear this at my Spring Meet in April. I’ll have it set up for those who attend to experience this sound.

NCSQ Spring Meet

System Context:




Source:

PC – Jriver Media Center – Wave 1411kbs rips
Wavelength USB/SPIDF converter
Cambridge Audio azur 540D DVD player
Peachtree Audio Nova (just using the pre-amp/DAC)
Audioquest RCA from Peachtree to amplifier

Amplification:

Naim audio NAP100 (75 watts x 2 in 4 ohm)
https://www.naimaudio.com/product/nap-100
NAC A5 speaker wire 11’ per side

Thank you for reading through this review. Please feel free to ask follow up questions, and I'll do my best to answer them.

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Old 02-20-2015   #2
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Default Re: Review of the Audible Physics NZ3ALBe 3" drivers

Awesome!
I wish these would have came out when i started my build!
I can't wait to hear them in person.

Thank you for the awesome and detailed review - Makes me want to build some!



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Old 02-20-2015   #3
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Default Re: Review of the Audible Physics NZ3ALBe 3" drivers

How would you... Jason...... Compare these to the ar3m-le?

Feel free to pm me if needed as well....
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Old 02-20-2015   #4
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Default Re: Review of the Audible Physics NZ3ALBe 3" drivers

Sorry xr3m-le Jason, has been a long week.
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Old 02-20-2015   #5
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Default Re: Review of the Audible Physics NZ3ALBe 3" drivers

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Originally Posted by DBlevel View Post
Sorry xr3m-le Jason, has been a long week.
No worries Russ.....I know it has been a long week for you.

It has been a LONG time since I've listened to the XRs - especially in these speaker boxes. I feel the NZ's just has so much more of everything - especially on the top end. They seem to have a fuller sound to me - just more expansive - certainly smoother at the top end - with much more extension. I have a suspicion that a few seconds/minutes of listening - you would think the same thing.

Right now I'm listening to Kenny Chesney's When I think about leaving - hearing little details that have escaped me in the past - these are remarkable drivers!

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Old 02-20-2015   #6
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Default Re: Review of the Audible Physics NZ3ALBe 3" drivers

How is the lower end on the mids?

I've noticed the AP and Melodic stuff is geared more towards the better higher end sound to eliminate the tweeter or replace with the AMT's on most of the products released.......

As someone that'll not move from a dedicated tweeter how do they new nz3albe perform on the lower end by ear? If you want a pair of the xr3's for comparison just lmk I'll lend you a pair

Thanks Jason, it's been tough. Very different...... A sudden change from support and a friend to nothing........
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Old 02-20-2015   #7
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Default Re: Review of the Audible Physics NZ3ALBe 3" drivers

Quote:
Originally Posted by DBlevel View Post
How is the lower end on the mids?

I've noticed the AP and Melodic stuff is geared more towards the better higher end sound to eliminate the tweeter or replace with the AMT's on most of the products released.......

As someone that'll not move from a dedicated tweeter how do they new nz3albe perform on the lower end by ear? If you want a pair of the xr3's for comparison just lmk I'll lend you a pair

Thanks Jason, it's been tough. Very different...... A sudden change from support and a friend to nothing........
With a side by side comparison with the RAM3A - the lower end of the NZ3ALBe has more output and more clarity....with exactly the same source, same crossover, same enclosure, same volume level. I spent several hours listening with no sub - just the 3" drivers in the enclosures, and I was very impressed with the low end extension from such small drivers. Again, not to sound like a Bose commercial, but I think folks would be very satisfied.

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Old 02-20-2015   #8
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Default Re: Review of the Audible Physics NZ3ALBe 3" drivers

Nice review Jason. I wanted to open the plastic and look at the pretty bad at the mini meet. They are great looking drivers and I want to hear them at the spring meet for sure. Not sure if you can get the brz any better but swap them and give it a shot.

Russ just go ahead and get them. We know you will get something if you really want it so why wait?:P

I love to overthink things.
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Old 02-20-2015   #9
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Default Re: Review of the Audible Physics NZ3ALBe 3" drivers

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Nice review Jason. I wanted to open the plastic and look at the pretty bad at the mini meet. They are great looking drivers and I want to hear them at the spring meet for sure. Not sure if you can get the brz any better but swap them and give it a shot.

Russ just go ahead and get them. We know you will get something if you really want it so why wait?:P

I'm in line for a set of them anyways lol...........
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Old 02-20-2015   #10
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Default

Great write-up Jason! Nice choice of music too.
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Old 02-20-2015   #11
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Default Re: Review of the Audible Physics NZ3ALBe 3" drivers

Speechless
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Old 02-20-2015   #12
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Default Re: Review of the Audible Physics NZ3ALBe 3" drivers

need a grill alignment tool at the factory.

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Old 02-20-2015   #13
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Default Re: Review of the Audible Physics NZ3ALBe 3" drivers

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need a grill alignment tool at the factory.
again speechless lol
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Old 02-20-2015   #14
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Default Re: Review of the Audible Physics NZ3ALBe 3" drivers

Nice review. These sound like some pretty awesome drivers.


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Default Review of the Audible Physics NZ3ALBe 3" drivers

What a great review Jason.

I've had my set of NZ3AlBe's since Rishi first released them for general sale.
I know that over time, we can become too familiar with the sound from our systems to the point of almost being blazé about their performance and even wanting to try something new.

I've always believed though, that a truly wonderful system wows you every time you sit down in front of it.

Every time I sit in the Honda and turn the system on, I am amazed at the treble extension, airiness, along with the detail and microdynamics in the music, the sweet, lush sound that lacks any hint of glare or harshness, the three dimensionality and width of the stage, and the sheer musicality of the system. Sure, this is the sum of all parts and design of the system and installation however, replacing even the highly regarded RAM3As with the new NZ3AlBe's, has drastically improved my enjoyment of music. And this still happens every time I get into the car. No other car audio system has done that for me.

Sure, these are not an inexpensive driver from a pure dollar figure perspective but their value, I firmly believe, is unsurpassed! In other words, they're an absolute bargain for what you get.

My older AU$2000+ Morel Elate active 3 way speaker system never stood a chance against my current circa $850 two way AP/CSS arrangement.

I told Rishi I wouldn't show this pic but modders are gunna mod. Sorry Rishi but the improvement in sound was too much to ignore.



Don't come crying if you've done this and then suffer damage to your cone(s). You accept full responsibility if you go grill-less.

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Last edited by Winno; 02-20-2015 at 11:55 PM..
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Old 02-21-2015   #16
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Default Re: Review of the Audible Physics NZ3ALBe 3" drivers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Winno View Post
What a great review Jason.

I've had my set of NZ3AlBe's since Rishi first released them for general sale.
I know that over time, we can become too familiar with the sound from our systems to the point of almost being blazé about their performance and even wanting to try something new.

I've always believed though, that a truly wonderful system wows you every time you sit down in front of it.

Every time I sit in the Honda and turn the system on, I am amazed at the treble extension, airiness, along with the detail and microdynamics in the music, the sweet, lush sound that lacks any hint of glare or harshness, the three dimensionality and width of the stage, and the sheer musicality of the system. Sure, this is the sum of all parts and design of the system and installation however, replacing even the highly regarded RAM3As with the new NZ3AlBe's, has drastically improved my enjoyment of music. And this still happens every time I get into the car. No other car audio system has done that for me.

Sure, these are not an inexpensive driver from a pure dollar figure perspective but their value, I firmly believe, is unsurpassed! In other words, they're an absolute bargain for what you get.

My older AU$2000+ Morel Elate active 3 way speaker system never stood a chance against my current circa $850 two way AP/CSS arrangement.

I told Rishi I wouldn't show this pic but modders are gunna mod. Sorry Rishi but the improvement in sound was too much to ignore.



Don't come crying if you've done this and then suffer damage to your cone(s). You accept full responsibility if you go grill-less.

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Old 02-21-2015   #17
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Default Re: Review of the Audible Physics NZ3ALBe 3" drivers

^lol

Great write-up Jason. Thanks for the detailed info and impressions.

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Old 02-21-2015   #18
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Default Re: Review of the Audible Physics NZ3ALBe 3" drivers

Great reviews guys. I've had them for a hair over a week and I feel generally the same way but I haven't gotten a few things set yet to do a fair review. I can't say with full confidence that I don't miss tweeters (mmm ribbons) but currently I have to sit upright like John to even get center image Once I can get my tablet / DSP software working I can start to tweak it and give an actual review.

The 2 things that stood out to me were (as Jason put it):
Quote:
• Much more energy and a smoother response in the upper midrange
• More defined lower midrange / bass
In the FRS I have a sub up front with the RAM's. In the Prius w/the NZ3's the sub is in the trunk and the up front presence is very good even w/my lack of mids. JT turned it down and I plan on putting a hair more impact back in, but it blends very well as is.

I also feel similar to how Winno/Steve described it .. first time I heard it I actually said wow to my wife who was in the car with me. I've actually sat in the car for hours listening already in the past couple weeks, even with my tuning issues. Can't wait to get that out of the way.

Now .. about this grill-less mod .. lol I'm not sure I'm that brave.
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Old 02-21-2015   #19
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Default Re: Review of the Audible Physics NZ3ALBe 3" drivers

Quote:
Originally Posted by papasin View Post
Great write-up Jason! Nice choice of music too.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rishi S View Post
Speechless
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Originally Posted by rton20s View Post
Nice review. These sound like some pretty awesome drivers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golden Ear View Post
^lol

Great write-up Jason. Thanks for the detailed info and impressions.
Thank you very much! It was a pleasure to put together.....just hard because all I wanted to do was listen!

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Old 02-21-2015   #20
 
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Default Re: Review of the Audible Physics NZ3ALBe 3" drivers

I feel the NZ's just has so much more of everything
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Old 02-21-2015   #21
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Default Re: Review of the Audible Physics NZ3ALBe 3" drivers

Quote:
Originally Posted by Winno View Post
What a great review Jason.

I've had my set of NZ3AlBe's since Rishi first released them for general sale.
I know that over time, we can become too familiar with the sound from our systems to the point of almost being blazé about their performance and even wanting to try something new.

I've always believed though, that a truly wonderful system wows you every time you sit down in front of it.

Every time I sit in the Honda and turn the system on, I am amazed at the treble extension, airiness, along with the detail and microdynamics in the music, the sweet, lush sound that lacks any hint of glare or harshness, the three dimensionality and width of the stage, and the sheer musicality of the system. Sure, this is the sum of all parts and design of the system and installation however, replacing even the highly regarded RAM3As with the new NZ3AlBe's, has drastically improved my enjoyment of music. And this still happens every time I get into the car. No other car audio system has done that for me.

Sure, these are not an inexpensive driver from a pure dollar figure perspective but their value, I firmly believe, is unsurpassed! In other words, they're an absolute bargain for what you get.

My older AU$2000+ Morel Elate active 3 way speaker system never stood a chance against my current circa $850 two way AP/CSS arrangement.

I told Rishi I wouldn't show this pic but modders are gunna mod. Sorry Rishi but the improvement in sound was too much to ignore.

Don't come crying if you've done this and then suffer damage to your cone(s). You accept full responsibility if you go grill-less.
I feel the exact same about the items you mentioned above about the high end extension and especially the micro-detail - a bit easier for me than many might experience in their cars because I have both speakers 30" in front of me - but I'm still hearing things that catch my attention in tracks I have spent a lot of time with.

Value - again, I have to agree here.....find something that just 'does it' for you.....and get off of the treadmill. Many in the hobby have the 7 month itch to change things up, but others get something very good, get it installed / tuned correctly, and then just sit back and enjoy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OgreDave View Post
Great reviews guys. I've had them for a hair over a week and I feel generally the same way but I haven't gotten a few things set yet to do a fair review. I can't say with full confidence that I don't miss tweeters (mmm ribbons) but currently I have to sit upright like John to even get center image Once I can get my tablet / DSP software working I can start to tweak it and give an actual review.

The 2 things that stood out to me were (as Jason put it):


In the FRS I have a sub up front with the RAM's. In the Prius w/the NZ3's the sub is in the trunk and the up front presence is very good even w/my lack of mids. JT turned it down and I plan on putting a hair more impact back in, but it blends very well as is.

I also feel similar to how Winno/Steve described it .. first time I heard it I actually said wow to my wife who was in the car with me. I've actually sat in the car for hours listening already in the past couple weeks, even with my tuning issues. Can't wait to get that out of the way.

Now .. about this grill-less mod .. lol I'm not sure I'm that brave.
Awesome! I'm looking forward to reading further impressions after you have them dialed in.

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Old 02-21-2015   #22
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Default Re: Review of the Audible Physics NZ3ALBe 3" drivers

A question popped up as to whether there are any advantages or disadvantages for sound quality regarding the number of screws holding the drivers to the speaker boxes. Well, I was using 4 screws per driver for the RAMs, and I haven't rummaged around to see if I have 4 more of these identical screws to add to the Be drivers.

I'm not willing to make a claim right now concerning the pluses or minuses of 4 screws versus 6 screws - someone would probably want measurements (thinking of the SQ amp thread) to substantiate any claims

But.....I'll be adding 2 more to each driver as soon as I locate them in my stash or at my local HD/Lowes.

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Old 02-21-2015   #23
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Default Re: Review of the Audible Physics NZ3ALBe 3" drivers

What are the odds we can get a Beryllium tweeter, Rishi?

Time Delay Calculator:
http://tracerite.com/calc.html
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Old 02-21-2015   #24
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Default Re: Review of the Audible Physics NZ3ALBe 3" drivers

Jason's first post is one of the most all-inclusive and useful reviews I've seen on this site aside from Erin's. Good job sir! Take care of my drivers Lol.

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Old 02-21-2015   #25
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Default Re: Review of the Audible Physics NZ3ALBe 3" drivers

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Originally Posted by papasin View Post
Great write-up Jason! Nice choice of music too.
x2
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