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The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!! (Read 2872 times)
Randy in Caintuck
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The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
10/20/20 at 19:48:31
 


For the past couple of months, I have had two of the Lii Audio W-15 bass drivers sitting in the shipping carton and have been too busy to make a baffle for them.  Curiosity finally got the better of me and I mounted one in a baffle that wasn't in use.

Wow !!!

This driver is the real deal .....



Larger photo here.

It's certainly more expensive than the Eminence Alpha drivers I offer in my bass baffles ..... but there is a reason for that.
The thing is built like a brick outhouse.
It is heavy ..... and I mean HEAVY !!!

It has dual voice coils and binding posts which provides a lot of flexibility for amplification.
I am currently powering the one in my room with an inexpensive plate amplifier (connected to the SE84UFO via the high level inputs) and summing the left and right channels to mono.

The free air resonance is 28 HZ and the .QTS is very good for open baffle.
In addition to "digging deep", the detail and harmonics this driver produces adds a new dimension to the lower bass frequencies.

I have it paired with some Lii Audio Fast-8 baffles and the combo is absolutely wonderful sounding. It works equally well with the Betsy baffles.

The part that is really mind blowing is how much it adds to the Lii F-15 baffles, which roll off around 50 HZ or so.
The W-15 digs a lot deeper than the F-15 does .....

The "bad news" is that I don't think that shipping a baffle with the driver mounted would be a good idea. The weight of the driver would probably reduce the baffle to splinters and sawdust if the shipping carton was dropped .....

So ..... I will be offering a baffle without the driver and the buyer can order the driver directly from Lii Audio. The driver opening and pre-drilled screw holes will allow the driver to be mounted in five minutes or less.

Info can be found here.

I'm sure that there will be many more DIY folks who build their own baffles rather than purchase one from me ..... but that's OK.
If a person wants to add some seriously good bass to their system, this driver is a great option.
It's about the music .....

Happy listening,
Randy

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Geno
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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #1 - 10/20/20 at 21:58:03
 
Randy,

Your timing on this is perfect. I have two of these on the way, and should have them tomorrow. My baffles are ready and waiting for them to be mounted in. They will mate with my Crystal 10's.

I'll post some photos when I get them set up.

Very best,

Geno
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Lin
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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #2 - 10/20/20 at 22:33:49
 
Did you try it with power to just one coil?
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #3 - 10/21/20 at 15:13:49
 


Hi Lin,

That's how I am using it now ..... only connected to one set of the driver binding posts.

From what I understand, I could connect the plate amplifier to both sets of binding posts of the driver. If that is true and it would present a 4 ohm load to the plate amplifier, the power from the plate amp would increase from 75 watts to 100 watts.

I will try that later today and post my findings .....

Best wishes,
Randy

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Lin
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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #4 - 10/21/20 at 19:34:29
 
By connecting only one the QTS is doubled to 1.58.
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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #5 - 10/22/20 at 00:33:43
 
Looks great and very interesting Randy!
Any thoughts on having two of them stacked onto of each other and drive it with a larger plate amp, like 250w?
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #6 - 10/22/20 at 02:44:32
 


Hi Lin,

Wow !!!
That's pretty crazy .....
I was not aware of that, so thanks for the heads up.
I tried connecting the plate amp to both sets of binding posts today (in parallel).
The sound was "different" at the same volume setting and I am still trying to wrap my head around the differences.
I will do some more listening over the next few days to get a better grip on what I'm hearing.

Hi Stefan,

I won't be offering any baffles larger than the ones I am currently making because my packaging (for shipping) is set up for the one size of baffle.
I'm thinking that your suggestion would produce some serious bass.

If you decide to build something like this, I would suggest buying a hernia belt before trying to move it .....

As previously mentioned, these drivers are HEAVY .....

Best wishes,
Randy

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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #7 - 10/22/20 at 03:32:55
 
Thanks Randy,
I'll have a big living room to fill with music and open to 2nd floor...
Looks like a good project for next year Smiley

Cheers,
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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #8 - 10/22/20 at 16:36:42
 
how does the Open Baffle bass compare to the small parts express subwoofer you have been using - do you notice much difference in sound quality and ability to blend with various betsies.  Lii15s here and about to start blending with a Rel 7ti.
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #9 - 10/22/20 at 21:05:53
 


Hi Casey,

It's two totally different sounds ..... I'm partial to open baffle bass because it integrates better with open baffle main speakers than a powered box subwoofer.

However, very good results can be had with the box subwoofer with some experimentation with the crossover point and gain control.
Most subwoofers also have a phase reversal switch (or variable phase) which can make a huge difference in the sound.

I will continue to recommend the inexpensive Parts Express 8" and 10" subwoofers for use with the Betsy (and Lii Fast-8) baffles because they are extremely cost effective and provide a great foundation for the 8" drivers.  They are also easy to set up and can be tucked into a corner of the room.

Rel makes some very nice subwoofers and I think that you will be happy with the Lii 15 / 7ti combo.

Best wishes,
Randy

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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #10 - 10/23/20 at 03:15:36
 
Casey, if you can add another T7i I think you will be very happy.
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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #11 - 10/23/20 at 19:59:18
 
Thanks for the update Randy.  I need to visit your site again.  I wasn't aware you were building for the Fast 8.

Hopefully some day I can hear the W15 to compare it to the Acoustic Elegance LO15s which power the bottom end of my C10 OB setup.  They certainly look similar and both have the dual VC.  The AE are a little more efficient, but that probably doesn't make that much difference given the plate amplification.

But the difference is cost (and availability) is significant.  

I haven't been able to part with my Augies yet and still use my 15As in my cottage system.  Any thoughts on how they compare to the Augies?  I feel the AEs are significantly more musical and clear when compared to the Augies.
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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #12 - 10/24/20 at 03:20:00
 
How do they compare to the hawthorne augies Randy?

Might they be replacement considerations in trios with the sterlings?

Thanks John
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #13 - 10/25/20 at 13:44:10
 


Hi Tom ..... Hi John .....

It has been quite a while since I have had any Augie drivers on hand .....

Without having one to compare side by side, I don't think that it would be fair to either driver for me to comment from my flawed "sonic memory".

For what it's worth, the Lii Audio W-15 driver made my jaw drop when I first heard it ..... the ability to reproduce very low notes, the complexity of the bass harmonics and the ability to separate different low frequency instruments within a recording are superior to any bass that I have experienced in the past.

Last night, I played Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man by Eiji Oue and the Minnesota Orchestra and the hits on the big drums made me laugh out loud ..... pretty impressive.

If a person decides to replace the Augies with these drivers in their bass baffles, I would suggest having an audio buddy help with the project.

Did I mention that these drivers are rather HEAVY ? .....

Best wishes,
Randy

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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #14 - 10/25/20 at 19:03:34
 
Hey Randy,
I wonder, have you ever tried to use the closed box subwoofer together with the W-15 and just use the closed one for the really low frequencies? Or would the closed box sub not mix well with the open baffle one?
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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #15 - 10/25/20 at 22:29:53
 
Palomino, I have sent you a PM. Just trying to get in touch.  Greg
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #16 - 10/26/20 at 00:48:52
 


Hi Stefan,

No ..... I haven't tried that.
However, based on all of the music I have used to test the W-15 baffle (acoustic bass, electric bass, synthesized bass, pipe organ, Hammond B-3, kick drum and kettle drum), if there is bass below what the W-15 is producing, I can't tell that anything is missing.

There might be an issue with the "speed" of the bass at different frequencies with open baffle bass and box bass ..... but I can't say for sure .....

This is with the W-15 being powered by an inexpensive 100 watt plate amplifier. If a better amp is used, the potential results would probably be pretty frightening .....

Even more important to me is the quality of the bass ..... which is superb.

Best wishes,
Randy

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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #17 - 10/26/20 at 04:47:08
 
Thanks Randy!
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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #18 - 12/04/20 at 15:28:10
 
I just completed a set of F-15 OB's based on Steve's plans. I had extra wood and built a 3rd baffle for a W-15 woofer. So now I'm trying to determine the best option for connecting the W-15 woofer. I'm not at all opposed to a separate subwoofer amp, but could I connect(shared with the F15's connection) the W-15 directly to my ZMA using one set of the binding post on the W-15 for left channel and the other set of W-15 woofer binding posts for the right channel? Will it short? I'm unsure of what the dual binding post allow? In other words could I connect a pair of cables to each channel on my amp with one cable feeding the F-15's and the second cable feeding the W-15's without knocking the earth out of orbit?  Many thanks for your input.
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #19 - 12/05/20 at 17:32:46
 


Hello mperdue63,

You would not cause any damage by connecting the two sets of binding posts on the W-15 to your ZMA.
However, the W-15 would be running "full range" and since it has a frequency response out to 5000 HZ, you would have some serious overlap with the F-15 drivers.
In addition, the sensitivity / efficiency of the W-15 is 91 DB and the sensitivity / efficiency of the F-15 is 97 DB ..... so you would have no control over the crossover point and volume of the W-15.

A plate amplifier or subwoofer amplifier would allow you to control both.
In addition, you would have a phase reversal switch that can be handy for fine tuning the W-15 with your main speakers.

I hope that this helps .....

Best wishes and happy listening,
Randy

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mperdue63
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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #20 - 12/06/20 at 14:24:28
 
Randy,
Thank you for help. I have ordered a plate amp as you mentioned. I couldn't get my head around the two post speaker connections! I never got past it and didn't even think about the freq., phase etc. LOL
Merry Christmas and thanks for the help.
Malcolm
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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #21 - 12/06/20 at 15:13:52
 
For what it's worth, I had the same question for Randy when I ordered a new W15 OB to match a pair of his F15s I have, also run from a ZMA.  I bought a plate amp that is still sitting on the floor next to the W15.  I'll no doubt hook it up soon, but I haven't yet.  

As a quick test when I was setting up, I plugged the W15 into the same terminals as the F15s.  Since the W15 has dual coils, and the ZMA is effectively two mono amps in one box, I connected one set of W15 terminals to each side of the ZMA.  The W15 is 6db less efficient than the F15s, but I figured with the bi amping it would also be getting twice the power, which dropped the gap to 3db.  (I am a lawyer, not an engineer, and readily admit I have no idea how all this actually works.)  

In any event, the sound was amazing.  It had me hearing new things on virtually every album I tried--including deep organ notes on DSOTM that I never knew were there despite hearing the album a thousand times.  And while I'd fallen out of listening to hard rock in my listening room, the W15 brought early Van Halen to incredible life.  And added new atmosphere, hall dynamics and solidity to both classical guitar and female vocal albums.

So, the upshot is that I keep meaning to plug the plate amp in, but I haven't gotten around to it yet.  Because even without it, the pairing of Randy's OB F15s, the W15, and the ZMA is just...spectacular.
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #22 - 12/06/20 at 16:10:17
 


My main concern was the frequency "overlap" between the F-15 and W-15 drivers, since the W-15 goes out to 5000 HZ .....

Having said that, I have not tried it in my system.

Due to the fact that the W-15 is so much lower in efficiency / sensitivity, it's possible that the blend is more "friendly" than I would have expected ..... just guessing.

The plate amplifier will definitely provide more control ..... crossover point and volume, but if the connection directly to the main amplifier is already working well, you might end up preferring that setup .....

I learned a long time ago that it's best to "never say never" in the audio hobby and I learn something new every day .....

Happy listening,
Randy

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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #23 - 01/20/21 at 01:07:14
 
Randy where do you cut off the low pass on the W-15 ?  I have a pair on the way. I have been using the alpha 15 in h-Frames and I normally cut those of between 150 and 200

Thanks Joe
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #24 - 01/20/21 at 02:06:57
 


Hello joespride,

In my listening room, it depends on which drivers I'm using in the main speakers. Since I alternate the WBAL Betsy drivers, the Lii Audio Fast-8s, the Lii Audio F-12s and the Lii Audio F-15s ..... the crossover point is different for each of them.

The range is anywhere from 60 HZ (for the larger main drivers) to 150 HZ for the smaller main drivers.
In my experience, it will also depend on the room and the placement of the W-15 baffle(s) within the room.

When I'm "dialing in" a bass baffle or powered subwoofer, I sit in the primary listening seat and have an audio buddy adjust the crossover and volume of the bass until it sounds right to me.

After that ..... I usually back the volume off slightly and that sounds the most natural to me.  

Happy listening,
Randy

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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #25 - 01/26/21 at 19:33:08
 
Appreciate the response Randy. I am playing with a W-15 / Crystal 10 combo with the W-15 in the ZF15M baffle, I am really liking what I hear so far
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Re: The Lii Audio W-15 bass driver ..... amazing !!!
Reply #26 - 01/26/21 at 19:34:25
 
Clamps are of course temporary for testing  ;)
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