Home on the (full) range

Voxativ AC-4X 8" Full Range Drivers

The "Bigger Is Better" (BIB) horn

I still remember the day I found the Single Driver Website, which was compiled by James Melhuish a while ago, and of which a remnant still exists on Geocities, here.

I was like a pig discovering shit. Something about the science really spoke to me — the lack of crossover and the simplification of design variables combined with geometrically-cool-looking boxes had me transfixed like the Millennium Falcon in a tractor beam.

Among the things I learned in my voyage through many styles of DIY full range speaker design is that Zoebel networks shouldn’t be feared — great passive ingredients really do deliver great results — and that raw driver quality plays a huge role in the eventual sound.

In all things audio, the less you have to fix, or the less you ask any circuit to try to fix, the better. The less any piece of gear has to “work,” the better. Often when components — especially drivers — are “loafing along,” their transient response is better and performance is greatly improved.

These fascinating Voxativ 8” full range drivers are of a different league than anything I’ve messed around with, and the build quality is insane. The magnet appearance and — my God — the strength of that magnet... insane.

And since I use Roon to test all equipment I could use its DSP engine to make a quick Zoebel network correction in the software domain (a benefit of which is that it’s much more phase-coherent), and I could tell even with no enclosure that there is something very special about them.

Fast is the word. In DIY full range driver design, fast is a Very Good Thing. Usually fast is accomplished while sacrificing X-Max (the absolute distance a cone can move back and forth), resulting in drivers that have wonderful midrange but little in the way of dynamics or bass heft or slam, even in the largest of back-loaded-horn cabinets.

Not so with these beautiful Voxativ AC-4X drivers - a healthy half-roll surround and deep, linear cone movement makes these more capable of bass extension and dynamics than most other full range drivers I can remember.

I would bet good money that if you put these in a giant “Bigger is Better” horn cabinet, or in a tall Voigt Pipe or on an open baffle of sufficient size (or a small baffle, mated to a “fast” subwoofer like a Ripole) they are one of these magic audiophile keys that unlocks the door to Nirvana.

Really. I listen at home to a pair of full range drivers in 6-foot tall horn cabinets and I feel like I am getting away with murder when they’re more musical and enjoyable than some very high dollar speakers I test here at The Music Room.

The sound qualities of the unmolested transients and accurate phase of single drivers has to be experienced. I don’t think you can really convey it with words — you really have to try it and listen. These days, DSP can smooth even the most pernicious of peaks and valleys, so right now might be a better time to try to DIY than ever before.

If you have questions about these and how to potentially use them, feel free to comment below or send an email to duncan@tmraudio.com.

Prost zu DIY!


  1. Such a tasty looking speaker. Tough Diy start at $2k a pop though.

  2. Agreed! Not for the novice. The thing with excellent drivers is less skill is needed to coax out the magic. I've made an open baffle or two, a voigt pipe or two and a couple back-loaded horns to boot. These would be right up my alley if I won the lottery! ;)


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