Audio Note Drivers and Speaker kits
Hificollective are offering the speaker drivers that are used in Audio Note loudspeaker range. You can purchase the individual drive units to use in your own designs. Or benefit from the extensive research and development carried out by Audio Note and buy one of their kits.
Audio Note have spent far more time looking at the efficiency/speaker load issues in relationship to the low powered valve amplifiers than anyone else, and I believe their solutions are both original and effective, these kits have been created to be used with tube amps in mind.
Loudspeaker Kit News
The most important development is the introduction of the hemp cone, which has started to replace the paper cone in all our speakers except the AN-K, the hemp cones will be introduced across the range as parts come in and is offered side by side with the paper cone for now. The second important development is the new AlNiCo magnets which are now available for both the woofer and the tweeter.
We shall be offering the speaker drivers that we use in our own loudspeakers for general sale from now on, you can buy the drivers individually or together with a package that shows the crossover configuration and cabinet drawings, together with a pair of ports.
For the time being we will be offering both our drive units and kits with either copper or silver voice coils, whilst the measured difference is negligible, the difference in sound between the two is very great indeed, which again begs the question what it is we measure in relation to what we hear.
All the speaker cabinets used to be made from different materials, front baffle is either plywood or soft chipboard, the wrap is dense MDF and the back is again either plywood or medium chipboard, they are now made entirely from Baltic birch plywood with no damping materials applied to any part of the cabinet, although we do use some bracing to raise and shorten or redistribute the cabinet resonances.
Do I hear cries of "cabinet colouration"??
Despite what you might think the guitar like structure of the cabinets greatly enhances efficiency, dynamics and sparkle and sounds less coloured than the alternative methods, which generally just move the resonant frequency and amplitude of the energy lower down in the spectrum, which in most cases is more audible, mainly because this also increases the duration of the resonance, our belief is that the shorter the duration of the energy is the less likely it is to interfere with the immediacy of the original transient.
For this reason, we also use only a minimal amount of wadding, positioning is critical, and here experimentation is recommended, if you build the speakers yourself.
We will sell you a basic kit of crossover parts, a cabinet drawing and a port tube, and then you can experiment with the cabinet itself to your hearts delight, alternatively we offer a complete tested kit of drivers and crossover, a cabinet drawing and the port tube, which, if you follow the directions carefully will make a speaker with is reasonably close to a genuine AudioNote™
SPKR-KIT-02 comprises of a built, tested and calibrated cross-over, fitted on the cross-over board with Bi-wireable silver plated speaker posts wired in. Matched copper coil drivers, namely the SPKR-031 tweeter and the SPKR-002 woofer. Complete with full build instructions, cabinet plans and the ports. If you follow the directions carefully you will make a genuine Audio Note™ AN-E/D speaker. The sensitivity is close to 94 dB efficient with a very wide bandwidth (at -6dB 17Hz to 23KHz provided it is placed correctly in a corner) all in a cabinet of modest dimensions, 80x36x28 centimetres, and are designed to stand close to rear and side walls. An ideal partner for low power single-ended amplifiers, except the ultra-low power variety, the AN-E/D kits load behaviour has been designed for maximise the power bandwidth and dynamic energy transfer from a wideband 300B SE amplifier.
SPKR-KIT-02/H The same as the SPKR-KIT-02, but with hemp coned woofers.
SPKR-KIT-03 comprises of a built, tested and calibrated cross-over, fitted on the cross-over board with bi-wireable silver plated speaker posts wired in. With matched silver voice coil tweeters, SKPR-032 and a matched pair of the new efficient woofer, SPKR-004/H, also with silver voice coil. Complete with full build instructions, cabinet plans, the ports. Please note the SPKR-KIT-02 and SPKR-KIT-03 have different crossovers. SPKR-KIT-03 use the brand new hemp coned woofer which allows for an efficiency of just shy of 98dB, ideal for single ended 2A3, PX4/PX25 and 300B amplifiers. This kit is equivalent to the AN-E/LX HE in the Audio Note manufactured range.
SPKR-004/H The same as the SPKR-KIT-03 but with ALNICo magnet silver voice coil hemp woofer and ALNICo silver voice coil tweeter.
Calibration of crossovers and matching of drive units:
With all Audio Note`s range of manufactured loudspeakers, the assembled crossovers are individually calibrated into matched pairs and the drive units are matched in a highly sophisticated test rig. The benefits of matching are enormous as compared to an unmatched equivalent. Imaging is far improved, as both speakers are as near enough equal in all characteristics and will give you a highly detail reproduction with a big sound stage. Obviously, this adds to the costs as several factory hours are taken up in matching all these units together. An expense that I feel is well worth it.
Some Frequently Asked Questions Answered... Will my kit be an exact equivalent of the finished AN-E/LX?
No, it will be close provided the cabinet is made with fine tolerances and from the right grade of Baltic birch plywood, BUT it is important to appreciate that a finished AN-E is always likely to be better that any equivalent kit version, no matter which one, as the drivers we use in the kits have a slightly wider "spread" in performance than the ones used in the finished products, basically the kits get the drivers which cannot be matched within the very tight criteria used in our finished products.
Also we do not spend anywhere near the amount of time setting up the Kit speaker's driver - crossover matching, we allow a tolerance on the finished products of 0.2dB plus or minus, in the kits this is increased to 0.6dB plus or minus, mind you this is still several dB better than anything done by other manufacturers, but it is audible in the overall performance of the speakers, if you do a direct comparison on very good equipment.
This and the fact that it is necessary to rematch the driver - crossovers to the actual cabinets when assembled to maintain the tightest possible match, this is not possible for any hobbyist building a kit and means that a kit can never get close to the consistency of a finished product.
Again this does not necessarily mean that a Kit 03 would not be as good as or even better than a standard AN-E/SPe provided you can make a cabinet that is on par with ours, which I doubt you can, as the production methods used have taken years to develop and there is much we do not disclose, but is it possible to get quite close if close tolerances are achieved.
What if I put Audio Note silver speaker wire in my Kit?
Upgrading the wiring in any of our kits always improve the sound, so if you change the internal wiring in a Kit 03 for example to SPe it will raise the level of the Kit 03 closer to that of the finished SPe model.
Can I upgrade my standard Kit 02 to a Kit 03 by changing the woofer?
No, it is NOT possible to upgrade a standard kit to the high efficiency version later as both the drivers and the crossover are different.
Can I order a fully silver wired kit, similar to the AN-E/SE Silver for example?
No, we will not be offering all-silver versions of the kits, as the cost of all the silver inductors, Black Gate or copper foil capacitors plus the time it takes to test, match and calibrate the crossover to the drivers is so great that there would be a percentage wise small saving and in addition to maintain the tight specification the final testing must be done in situ in the cabinet, all of which makes it impossible to offer a comparable quality kit version to the justly famous AN-E/SE Signature or AN-E/SEC Signature speakers we sell finished, so please do not ask!!
I think it is important to make the point here, that the whilst "AN-E kits" are exceptional quality for the money, they are generally not as good or as consistent as our finished products, in the final equation one always gets what one pays for in our products.