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Replacing Tweeters - Official vs 3rd Party

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Replacing Tweeters - Official vs 3rd Party

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 7:51 pm
by Jez Corbett
I have a pair of moderately expensive studio speakers that are overdue tweeter replacement.

Looking online for replacements has come up with some ... interesting information. Apparently the drivers themselves are not made by the speaker manufactuers themselves, but bought in by them. Is this fairly common? Just that replacement drivers claiming to be the same are a quarter of the price that I am being quoted by the speaker manufacturer themselves.

Re: Replacing Tweeters - Official vs 3rd Party

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:08 pm
by Sam Spoons
The ones the manufacturer sells will, for decent monitors at least, have been matched and fall within a tighter tolerance than the generics. Say impedances matched and to spec to within a couple of percent. That takes time and effort so they can justify a higher price for that reason.

Curious what you are hearing that suggests the tweeters are shot? My limited experience is that either they are working fine or are dead or making noises that render them unusable.

Re: Replacing Tweeters - Official vs 3rd Party

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:11 pm
by Martin Walker
Hi Jez!

It could be that the parameter spread on the tweeters from manufacturers is too wide, so loudspeaker manufacturers buy a load in and then match up closely into pairs, so their products have tighter performance.

So, you COULD buy a couple of drivers and hope for the best which could be quite adequate, especially if you're replacing tweeters that NEED replacing anyway).

On the other hand, you might save some money but end up with slightly degraded stereo imaging.

EDIT: Sam Spoons is good, and types faster than me!! :madas: :mrgreen:


Martin

Re: Replacing Tweeters - Official vs 3rd Party

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 8:12 pm
by Sam Spoons
Possibly a first :thumbup:

Re: Replacing Tweeters - Official vs 3rd Party

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 9:03 pm
by Wonks
Sam just employs a larger infinite number of monkeys to type for him. :D

Re: Replacing Tweeters - Official vs 3rd Party

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 9:15 pm
by Hugh Robjohns
Jez Corbett wrote:Apparently the drivers themselves are not made by the speaker manufactuers themselves, but bought in by them. Is this fairly common?

Yes. Very few finished loudspeaker makers build their own tweeters. It's very difficult to do well, and there are plenty of very good tweeters available from reputable and reliable specialist manufacturers.

Just that replacement drivers claiming to be the same are a quarter of the price that I am being quoted by the speaker manufacturer themselves.

That's a big difference, and I can see why you're asking questions! Obviously there'll be some markup and extra carriage costs involved if buying from the end box maker, but also -- if we're talking about high quality speakers -- some costs associated with testing and matching new units and record-keeping of the original components to ensure the new tweeter has the same sensitivity and response as the original, and thus maintains the overall speaker's accuracy.

The fact is that any electro acoustic device will have a spread of parameter tolerances, and so the better speaker-makers test and match bought-in drivers into pairs, and then tweak the crossovers to suit those specific tweeters in order to achieve tight tolerances across all speakers of the same type. The better the speaker box maker, the tighter the tolerances they work to.

As Martin says, the most obvious effect of unmatched tweeters will be degraded stereo imaging, a possibly overly bright or dull high end, and perhaps some unevenness through the crossover region.y

Re: Replacing Tweeters - Official vs 3rd Party

PostPosted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 10:21 pm
by James Perrett
Jez Corbett wrote:I have a pair of moderately expensive studio speakers that are overdue tweeter replacement.

Are you sure about the need to replace them? Most tweeters that I've used don't seem to degrade over time unless abused.

Re: Replacing Tweeters - Official vs 3rd Party

PostPosted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 9:29 am
by ef37a
I also agree that tweeters do not need periodic replacement, in fact speakers as a whole do not degrade over decades unless abused (yes, I know about foam surrounds but that was just poor materials choice) .

If one or both tweeters are shot, open circuit or making nasty noises, find out why! You might have a pulse of HF coming out of the AI, if you have an OR machine could be "tape screech". Could be a leaky or short capacitor in the speaker. They do NOT last forever!

My thought would be that monitors are there to tell you the truth and if it is going to cost you extra to have the exact replacement drivers pay it. Otherwise you will forever think, "is that the "mix" or those unmatched tweeters?"

Dave.

Re: Replacing Tweeters - Official vs 3rd Party

PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 4:42 pm
by Jez Corbett
Thanks for the replies all, perhaps it was salesmanship on the part of the speaker manufacturer about replacing them.

I called them as one of the tweeters was cutting in and out and wanted advice, and they said if I've had them for 13 years they are long overdue a replacement. I don't want to name names right now but I was under the impression this manufacturer was a highly trusted name in the field of speakers, I'm a little concerned that when calling asking for technical support I may have in fact got a pushy salesman.

I actually just want to check the wiring in them, but even after removing the screws, still can't work out how to take the damn things out.

Re: Replacing Tweeters - Official vs 3rd Party

PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:20 pm
by Hugh Robjohns
The tweeters may be bedded on some sealing compound. A little gentle leverage might reveal whether or not.

H

Re: Replacing Tweeters - Official vs 3rd Party

PostPosted: Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:38 pm
by blinddrew
Or, if you can get access from the rear, a gentle drift from behind with a soft-ended rod of some kind (if you're worried about damaging the surrounds with a lever).


Wow. Full on Blue Screen of Death (TM) crash whilst typing this note. Not had one of them in years.

Re: Replacing Tweeters - Official vs 3rd Party

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:18 am
by ef37a
There is often only one way into a speaker, through the drive units so you might have to remove the woofer as well to get behind the tweeter.

I can understand you wanting to keep the maker's name out of things but it does make it hard to visualize your problems!

Manufactures seem to fall into two camps these days. "Old School" will give you schematics and make spares readily available and be ready with help and advice. They also assume their customers have a few brain cellls!

The other group, sadly the vast majority, tend to have customer service run by a chit of a girl(or boy!! PC see!) who will just toe the party line and tell you nothing. These companies are also scared witless of Uli Behringer cloning their kit. The fact that Bh's are SO rich they can just buy anything and reverse engineer it does not seem to occur to them so, as usual it is we, the customer that gets the hassle.

Dave.

Re: Replacing Tweeters - Official vs 3rd Party

PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:38 pm
by James Perrett
James Perrett wrote:
Jez Corbett wrote:I have a pair of moderately expensive studio speakers that are overdue tweeter replacement.

Are you sure about the need to replace them? Most tweeters that I've used don't seem to degrade over time unless abused.

As a followup, I realise that the speakers that I use are fairly old and designed before the days of Ferrofluid. If your tweeters use Ferrofluid then there is a chance that the fluid could have dried up although the only lifetime figure I've found so far is from KEF who suggest that the fluid should last 20-25 years so 13 years seems unusually short.

Re: Replacing Tweeters - Official vs 3rd Party

PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2018 2:23 pm
by Jez Corbett
Hey, Merry Post Christmas everyone!

I didn't want to name names too much as I didn't want to shame a brand I believe to be respected, but I shall give a subtle clue that their name begins with 'P', has a 'M' in the middle, and a 'C' at the end. The model name has a 'T' at the start, a 'B' in the middle, and a '2' at the end ;)