15 in full range drivers

I built a pair speakers with 15 in full range drivers that drive easily with a 300B set amp.  With certain music, (vocals) they are beautiful, but other music can be fatiguing.  Wife can only take them at lower volumes.  Added great subs to support the base and the 300 B Set tubes, but I am grappling with just investing in a new pair of speakers that are more well rounded or trying to different DAC's and a Equalizer to help the speakers I have.  I am thinking like one of the speakers from the Klipsch heritage line would be a great way to go.  But getting rid of the ones I made is like putting down a dog that doesn't walk as far as he used to and fells like I am giving up on them.   Do I go with new speakers or keep suffering? LOL.


Have you measured them? Could be a simple frequency spike somewhere. Though being full range could be cone breakup and that is not so easy to fix without adding another driver.

Not sure I would buy the Klipsch heritage speakers looking for low fatigue speakers. I found them a touch harsh at high volumes but I know others on here disagree. 

not sure your budget but these tannoys looks nice. 


I've had fatiguing issues and never was it my speakers.  Not saying it can't be but usually it is a component.  

That said, some speakers are a bit heavy on the high end because older audiophiles, the ones with money, tend to have hearing loss at higher frequencies.


List your complete system (including room size and listening habits) for informed advice.

I have been using wide-band drivers for 20+ years and they are not for everyone/most.



Was just looking at the Lil 15 inch drivers one click before this. Saw a rather favorable review.

As noted above, need more detailed info if you want a helpful response.

Some things need more help than they’re worth, but you’re really the only one that can decide whether to keep working on them or get rid of them. How optimized is the rest of your system, and how much experimenting with placement have you done?

The fact that you used the word "suffering" is a pretty strong hint....so is the fact that your wife doesn’t like them.

your experiences with low-powered amps are very common. you can only use SET for vocals and other music is literally disaster to listen to.

Great responses, thank you.  The Tannoy's are what I tried to build myself.  Definitely an option with either the Super Gold 10 or 12's.  I am afraid to go listen to them as it may end up being an expensive day.  I have the Western Electric 300B sets and just last night hooked up my Parasound A21 with a Parasound pre amp from a Bluesound Node streaming HD music. The Parasound was driving some Sonus Fabers in another room.  The Solid state is overall a better sound for most.  But for certain music, the 300B's are magical, however in general are to "smoothed out" as my wife says.   

Room is 15 x 15 ft, and10 ft ceiling, area rug, no room treatment with back wall having large walk through opening.  When we sit off center it is less fatiguing, but also loses its sparkle.  Most likely will keep the Parasound driving them and just connect the 300B when appropriate.  Most likely the tubes will just sit there and look cool. LOL.

Go with new speakers. Full range drivers suck at reproducing multiple frequencies at the same time.  That’s what’s causing the fatigue. Of course they sound beautiful with voices,  but add some drums, a guitar or two and it’s a total mess.  That dog don’t hunt. A Heritage speaker would be a much better choice. 

To suggest that a full range driver coupled with an SET amp is limited to vocals or a small segment of music is just not true for many of us. In fact, quite the opposite.  I have two systems that could be not more different.  One has Tekton DI's coupled to a pair of HSU 15 inch subs powered by Marantz Ruby electronics.  Very little that system can't handle.  My second system has a pair of Omega monitors driven by an Erhard Ray 6L6 SE integrated.  I can listen to a large part of my music collection on this system all day long.  No fatigue.  I dare say I might listen to this system more than my other--but I love them both.  

You might find this site interesting--check out glowinthedarkaudio.com especially if you are into DIY full range drivers.  

@zagorskia  what 15" driver are you using?

@corelli  At volume does your Tekton system start to outperform your Omega system, playing something like rock or orchestral?  70db?  75?  In OPs own words he describes his system as fatiguing.  And your suggestion is what, grin and bear it?  Maybe read more "expert" opinions on the virtues of single drivers and low watts?  There is nothing more audiophile I guess then building a system that mandates a ton of excuses that only a handful of people would appreciate.  

Just a FYI. When a speaker is considered bright or fatiguing, it is hardly ever high frequencies that are the culprit. More often than not it is the upper midrange.


Pretty stupid statement. My 300B amp sees a regular diet of metal, hard rock, big band, Latin jazz, and a whole host of stuff that requires some grunt. Never breaks a sweat. 

Not really @ozzy62 

I hate increased upper mids and all 300b or 2A3 amps are notorious for that. In fact all they amplify is 1000 Hz. The rest is not so much.

@perkadin   It is a bit hard to respond to your question. This has nothing to do with decibels.  It has everything to do with the virtues of different approaches in reproducing the music we love. It has everything to do with component matching.  I never told the OP to "grin and bear it."  I questioned his choice of components and how well matched they are.  You clearly have your preference and I have no interest in trying to lure you away from what you prefer.  But for others out there who are more open minded, we should not write off different approaches to music reproduction.  There is no one perfect answer.  Most everything in life has a pro and con.


5,489 posts


Not really @ozzy62 

I hate increased upper mids and all 300b or 2A3 amps are notorious for that. In fact all they amplify is 1000 Hz. The rest is not so much.


Seems to me that a single 15” driver would have a hard time reproducing the upper treble range. 

And I agree with others that SET amps are quite capable of beautiful full range music reproduction with the right speakers. Devore as one example. 

@corelli as James alluded to in the first post, I suspect the fatigue OP is experiencing is from cone breakup.  His 15in full range driver is literally bending as it tries to vibrate at higher frequencies in the middle and lower frequencies at the outer edges creating phase issues and distortion.  The distortion becomes much more noticeable as you turn up the volume leading to a harsh sound.  The driver is probably made out of paper to keep weight low to improve efficiency, but that comes at the expense of rigidity.  This isn't solvable with component matching, he's already using a low power amp, it's about song or music matching.  Pick stuff lacking in complexity, like slower tempo vocals with maybe a single instrument backing so it's mostly midrange and you get an excellent result.  When stuff gets complex it will fall apart, especially at higher volumes. 

Seems to be spot on will all the posts.  Thankyou.  When things get complex at higher volumes it is a mess. They are 15 in anilco's from Common Sense AKA Audio Nirvana. Unbelievable with solo's and slower tempo vocals and a great speaker, Old Aretha Franklin sounds great.  But I do like my 70's rock too Pink Floydcan be harsh. I am sure the upper midrange is the problem and why I think a simple EQ will help - which I will probably do just because.  I'll let you know how it goes.  But most likely just a step before I switch the speaker out...

complex music at high volumes can be fatiguing, even at the symphony. But maybe it varies greatly by the individual. 

From what I'm hearing (from my sealed box TangBand W8-1808 single drivers with dual SVS SB1000 pro subs), full range single drivers have opened my eyes/ears to a more liquid sound stage and depth i haven't heard before. Truly unbelievable for just one driver, but to only 70 db. More volume than that and, ya, they start braking up. I don't want louder than that anymore so, happy camper here.

Any full ranger will have limitations and all are subject to cone break up.  The problem is when you generalize and assume all drivers sound the same when pushed to their limits. They don't. Cone break up is easily measured and looks quite different from driver to driver. I would be willing to bet that if the OP swapped out his AN driver for a 15 inch Lil driver his "suffering" would be largely mitigated.  

Every example limps as the saying goes. But anyway, below is Paul Miller's measurements of the Lowther Almira which uses an eight inch DX3 driver supplemented by a supertweeter. I've never hear a "full range" driver which uses a whizzer cone to extend frequency response that didn't sound ragged. A 15in driver is going to be very compromised in the midrange - more than the Lowther driver.

The best sounding efficient loudspeaker I've personally heard is the Devore Fidelity 096. Expensive, but properly engineered to perform with low powered amplifiers.


Bass reflect single port 43 in tall by 20 wide and 18 deep. 1-1/2 in thick walls.  Solid and heavy..



I see this is a paper cone. Is there any coating on it? C37 lacquer

Used this on my untreated paper cone F-R. Figured I had nothing to loose as the breakups made it un-listenable. Had it shipped from Austria.

Put on 1 coat and still harsh. So took a chance and put on a second coat as Dieter recommended and sound was good. Subjectively, I think prefer it over Nextel as it is lighter in weight and more beautiful tone to it. Although I would had to hear side by side, before and after, to say for sure.

You can coat most anything with it. Except for tubes. Haven’t tried the C37 lacquer ear drops yet, haha. (that is a joke)

Evaporation is a problem and even though I stored it in its original container in the refrigerator, it still evaporated.

With certain music, (vocals) they are beautiful, but other music can be fatiguing.  Wife can only take them at lower volumes.

@zagorskia This is unavoidable if you do not have a crossover.

I know that a crossover is anathema to 'full range driver' users but its a fact due to something called Doppler Effect Distortion. In a nutshell, this is caused by bass notes on the diaphragm, so as the driver reproduces higher frequencies, they are being moving back and forth as the driver attempts to play the lows.

That is why woofers are used.

If you cross the driver over at 500Hz and use a woofer for 500Hz and down, you'll notice that at higher volume levels the 'full range driver' is considerably smoother and easier to listen to.

You may have noticed how beamy the speaker is at high frequencies- such that only one person can sit in the sweet spot to really hear the soundstage right. To get away from that you need a tweeter- and a crossover for it, keeping the highs for it out of the 'full range driver' so as to prevent combing effects (which come off as harshness).

IOW, 'full range drivers' are really extended range midrange drivers.

Do I go with new speakers or keep suffering?

If you continue to try to operate without crossovers, you will continue to suffer... you may have noticed I use quotes around 'full range driver' because there really is no such thing. To make them work right you need a woofer and a tweeter.

That is simply not true.  Blanket statements should always raise a red flag.

’full range drivers"

It means the driver is run full range without FR limit by crossover or hi/low pass filters.