Open Baffle Speakers

My friend sent me an email re: this design and it certainly sounds interesting.
Does anyone have any experience with this design?
Strenghths and weakness?
Can they do bass?
In general, how do they work?
They sound wonderfull very open and balanced, Imaging is not that good IMHO, (I had Lowther on Open Bafle with a sealed Altec 416 woofer on the bottom a supertweeter) some detail is lost, I could never tell really how many guitars there were, not really becuase detail was lost sometimes you can tell the guitars apart because each one (lets say) is fixed to a speaker, with my OB they where all floating somewhere around the I could not tell which ones were which...etc.
Open baffles are great. If more guys tried them they would never go back to boxes, IMHO. And they image great in my room. (PHY KM 30 SAG's with a Velodyne DD12)
I'm currently enjoying the PHY drivers in a modified, or folded open baffle. I'm never looking back. I have not enjoyed my system like this in a great many years.
There are quite a few variations that one can run into when discussing "open baffle" designs. Most all of them will lack bass extension and impact due to the cancellation that takes place, especially at low frequencies. This is a generalization, but is pretty much an accepted fact when working with this type of design.

In order to get around some of this, it is possible to use a very large acoustically treated baffle and / or some tyhpe of a "box" / extended baffle that has no back on it. While this is typically referred to as an "open back" design, it is quite similar to an open baffle ( driver mounted to a flat board ) approach with similar, albeit slightly different, results.

Having experimented with various box alignments, box configurations and driver designs, i think that most people that like open baffles would love something along the lines of a Walsh driver. They share many of the same traits, but the Walsh does SOOOOO much more in terms of added dimensionality without the loss of bass. It is also a crossover-less design, which a lot of the "single driver open baffle" fans come to love.

With that in mind, i also think that most of the people that prefer open baffles are more "fed up" with the poor design of the box, the poor choice of drivers and shoddy crossover networks found in most "monkee coffins". A well designed cabinet, crossover and properly integrated drivers can sound quite quick and open, but there really are very few of these around. This is why the simplicity of one ( or very few ) drivers can sound so "refreshing". There's simply less to go wrong due to the shorter and FAR less complex circuit path.

Most of these types of designs will utilize a very specific type of driver with very specific electrical characteristics. Like anything else, picking and choosing what trade-off's are acceptable boils down to the individual designing the circuit / speaker. As such, some are better than others, some are worse. Most of that boils down to the parts chosen and how they are implimented.

There is something to be said for this design approach though, and it is good to see others "tinkering" with it. Experimenting can be great fun and very educational too, if one pays attention and "experiments" in an orderly fashion. Sean
The original Alon designs used the tweeters and mids on an open baffle mounted on an infinite baffle bass module. Most of the current Nola (formerly Alon) models also use a variation of this configuration to good effect.

With these speakers you get a fast, open, airy and transparent sound signature along with mostly excellent bass and a huge soundstage. They are also quite dynamic. To my ears, these Alon speakers (including my Alon Vs fed by the Cary 303/300 and Herron Electronics) produce a very dimensional and natural sound. Of course, with the bass in a box you have crossovers.

I'm not into DIY. I like to buy what sounds good already. It strikes me that the open baffle designs - even hybrids like Alons - are hard to get right.