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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry this is so long but I am a blowhard at heart.

Some thoughts on tweeters that have recently passed through my test rig in my basement.
Head Unit – Pioneer DEX-P9
Processor – DEQP9
Amps - PDX 4.150 (most often), ESX 120.4, McIntosh MC440M, JL 300/4
Midrange - Scan 12M Alpine F1 (almost exclusively), 8-inch planar (similar to BG-Neo8), Morel MR-55
Midbass - JL IB4-8, IB4-10, Scan W18 Alpine F1 version
Sub - JL Stealthbox 2 x 10W3V2 (only used sparingly)

Crossover Freq Mid-Tweeter varied from 3.15 to 6K. usually ~4K.
No Equalization
All listened to free air except the Scans. On top of an entertainment center about chest height, centered seated listening position about 30 inches from my head.

Tweeters auditioned – Scan Alpine F1 Ring Radiator, Seas RT25F, LPG 25NFA, BG Neo3, Morel CR-103, Vifa X19, Vifa ND25, Infinity EMIT-R

Music sampled included Mad Season, Shawn Colvin, Alice in Chains, Tupac, O Brother Where Art Thou, Disturbed, NIN, Tool, Cranberries, Neil Young, Coors, Led Zepplin, Sheryl Crow, I am not much for Classical but did throw in some Readers Digest Mozart and even a little Sinatra for good measure. No jazz although I have a few CDs. My tastes generally run towards rock but I am fairly eclectic.

Ranking them in Tiers

Tier 1 - Scan Ring Radiator
Tier 2 – Seas RT25F
Tier 3 – BG Neo3, Morel CR-103
Tier 4 –Vifa X19, LPG 25NFA, EMIT-R
Tier 5 – Vifa D26NC55

Observations about each for what it’s worth.

Scan Ring Radiator Alpine F1 version –
Hands down the best of the group in my opinion, as it should be for the price. These are installed in a small leaky enclosure along with the 12Ms. Most listening done on axis, as others have observed the performance falls off pretty steeply off axis more than 15 deg or so.

Very detailed and airy, sounds WAY more extended than any of this group with the possible exception of the EMIT-R. Image like crazy. I was listening very near field to try and mimic the car environment. However I did not find myself getting fatigued even after listening for hours. I did try a 2.5K X-over and it performed well. Not as full body sound as some of the others like the Morel for instance. Probably best at 3K+. Very efficient even outpacing the 12M. Sounded effortless even at loud levels. But I did not push it near its limits I am sure. Soundstage seemed much deeper than any other, but width was no better than the rest. A wee bit of sibilance sometimes especially at lower x-over. Poor to average off axis.

Outstanding performer but prohibitive price. Those that think a tweeter in a 3-way doesn’t make a difference should hear this tweeter.

Seas RT25F –
My second favorite of the group. When I first hooked this up I thought it sounded good, but I was not woowed by them. Not as detailed as the RR for sure. I was kind of disappointed in a way as it did not call attention to itself or seemed to stand out in any way. It kind of faded into the background.

But the more I listened the more I appreciated the fact that it was doing almost everything well. It was detailed but not overly so. It did not have the high end extension of the RR, but it sounded very natural. I can not explain it well, but it has a more rounded sound that the RR. If the RR is the effervescence of Crystal Champaign the RTF25 would be like the smooth finish of a nice Merlot. I did try this crossed over at 2.5K and it sounded good, but a little strained at higher listening levels. 3.15K and up is probably best and no strain was evident with this crossover. Not bad off axis, better than the RR, not as good as the Morels.

Morel CR-103 –
This is a 1” double magnet tweeter I inherited from a friend. I tested it with the matching MR-55 2” Dome mid. I enjoyed this combo very much. It is not as detailed as the RT25F but has an even more full bodied sound. SMOOTH is the word that comes to mind. It tends to be a little darker sound than the Seas or Scans, but not as much as I expected. To extend the metaphor (or is it a simile?) I would say these were like Makers Mark Whisky, slightly smoky but very smooth with a hint of sweetness.

I was really expecting an almost thick overly warm sound, but it was not the case. The mid is a little hot on axis so I listened to these about 30 deg or so off axis at ear level, and at about 60 deg near my feet to simulate kick panel install. Soundstage was deep but not as deep as RR, but wider. These were the most forgiving of all the tweeters for poor recordings. Not a ton of detail. These seemed to be the most capable at 2.5K X-over of the group. I did not try them any lower but got the feeling they would be fine at 2K. I could live with this combo easily although it runs a little smoother and darker than my usual tastes.

BG Neo3 –
This was probably the biggest surprise of the group. I did listen with the 12M but mostly with the planar mid. Crossed over 3.15K sounded OK, better at 4-5K. Did not try lower than 3.15K. Sounds like it has a lot of air round the instruments. Very detailed probably second to the RR in this air and detail (except for the EMIT-R which is overly detailed). Probably the widest sound stage. Nice depth also.

Sounded pretty good off axis as I tried it at ~ 30 deg by my feet. This planar combo gave the RR and 12M a run for their money. Not quite the depth or detail of the RR. My biggest complaint was the lack of dynamics. Sounded strained at levels well before the other tweeters above, but still has enough output for most listening levels, especially in a quiet car such as Lexus or Mercedes. Great bang for the buck in my opinion. I plan to give this or a PDR version try in the future.

Vifa X19
Bought these with an eye on teaming them up with 12Ms and 18Ws in a three way home tower using F1 crossovers. I only listened to these briefly so I am probably not giving them a fair shake. Smooth with better off axis that the Scan RRs. Pretty airy. Somewhat similar sound to the Seas, but with less body to the sound. But they sounded a little thin to me compared to the larger tweeters (psycho acoustics?). I was hoping for a similar sound to the Scan RRs with better off axis. I just don’t know if these will keep up with the 12Ms. Less detail than I expected but smoother. I did not attempt any crossover under 3.15K. I will probably test these further in the future. I suspect I did not match the level of these well with the 12Ms and they are probably better performers than I give them credit for.

LPG 25NFA–
I used these for years in an old Diamond Eton Hex set in a previous install so I am very familiar with these. I crossed these at 3.15K but they sounded even better at 4K or even 5K. Nice sounding tweeter with good extension and off axis for a 1”. Kind of bright for soft domes with detailed sound. Tends to get a little spitty and sibilant when driven hard. I do not have any measurements to base this on but sounds like the distortion levels are higher than most of the other tweeters. Doesn’t sound as natural as the other tweeters, but the standard is pretty high with this group. Still very usable crossed high. I would not recommend using them under 3K.

EMIT-R -
Circular planar tweeter from Infinity EMIT collection. Started the Xover at 5K and went up from there. Great extension rivaling the Scan RRs. Very detailed to a fault. May be distortion I am hearing. This tweeter sounded VERY bright near field. I could not get these to blend well with the 12Ms nor the planar mids. Which is funny since they came from a very well reviewed speaker with those same planar mids. I think it was about 8K which sounded best. Did not seem to have much off axis response at all. I suspect these would shine as a super tweeter or with an extended range mid like the planars, but you need to get back at least 8 feet or more. Up close these will etch your teeth enamel.

Vifa D26NC55
I bought a pair off ebay for $11 shipped. I listened to these VERY briefly. At first impressions sounds fine but I guess I was expecting more after reading about them on Zaph. Sounded a little flat compared to the rest of the group and the 12Ms. Did not really try off axis. Not a lot of detail or air. Similar to the Morels but not as good in any respect IMHO. But what the hey they were $11 bucks right? May pair them with a cheap mid for the garage or workout room.
 
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