Paper cone drivers/natural materials

I’ve been think recently about some post I read somewhere in which the OP complains about Wilson Audio’s use of doped paper pulp drivers for the cone material, saying that that’s not an acceptable material by today’s standards. Thinking about how meticulous is the design and execution of this company’s  offerings, this criticism just doesn’t seem valid. I’m sure if they found a better material, they’d use it. I’m sure they are designing for linear excursion within the pass band. I remember visiting an ex audio dealer’s house near Binghamton, NY, back in the early 80s when I was just a teenager. I remember him extolling the virtues of paper cones, and that way back then many manufacturers had experimented with others but kept coming back to paper. My opinion now is that many materials can be good candidates if executed well. Wilson is also using silk dome tweeters. My dad had very smooth and detailed sounding Philips silk dome tweeters back in the ‘70s in his homemade speakers. I say natural materials tend to hold their own and often prove superior. I have a cactus spine for my cartridge cantilever- my excellent Soundsmith Hyperion. Vandersteen uses extremely stiff and light balsa wood and carbon fiber in its top offerings. I can vouch for the excellent midrange in my 5A Carbon.

How much does driver material influence you purchasing decisions?



No complaints on my Fritz Monitors with the ScanSpeak Revelator Drivers.  Paper seems very very good to me.


I have a few Rolexes, Submariner types.  They all keep good time.  The best at 2s/day and not serviced for 15 years.

My dad's old Rolex has outlasted many other timepieces and keeps excellent time, and the crystal hasn't scratch despite daily wear and abuse (on building sites). Only downside service costs every 5 years when it occasionally needs a gentle tap to start then good as new.

If precision in time keeping is the foremost goal one might as well buy a cheap quartz watch. Mechanical watches are imprecise by nature, so buying them for thousands of $$ is about something else.

Re: cone material in woofer/mids and its sonic influence, I tend to prefer paper variants. They’re just slightly more vibrant and naturally(?)/texturally warm sounding to my ears - very generally speaking. Never quite warmed to plastic cones like polypropylene, nor metal or ceramic variants, but there are exceptions, so whether it’s really more due to the overall nature of implementation of the design, I couldn’t say. For large diameter, not least high efficiency woofer/mids and sub-woofer cones (typically 12" on up) there’s no doubt in my mind: paper variants all day long.

Wrt. cone material of compression drivers, I’ve heard and owned polyamide, paper composite and metal variants, and largely I believe it comes down to implementation vs. the specific cone material used here. More important is the size of the diaphragms where I prefer them at 3," or - depending on the specific design parameters - bigger. This has to do with lowering distortion at their lower usage range and bettering overall physicality here crossing over to the woofer/mids (at an effectively lower XO point). If however a 2-way design with a large horn coupled to large woofer/mids is intended (like my own main speakers), both polyamide and paper composite diaphragms are moot - certainly at 3" on up - being they don’t extend high enough into HF-territory. Here metal variants like titanium, aluminum, magnesium and beryllium as stiffer materials are the obvious choice.

I saw that paper cone video. It was distorting really bad. Made me skeptical of paper cones even if they do sound good.