The Living Voice Auditorium range (Auditorium,
Avatar, OBX-R) was designed referencing the speed and transients of the
higher horn-design models. Rubber surround woofers were
experimented with, but these failed to come close to the horn speed,
transients, and dynamics. Only the currently used Scanspeak foam
surround drivers could approach these traits of the higher model horns.
Rather than compromise on this, the foam surround drivers were
used. Performance comes first. In fact, when Scanspeak-Vifa
started manufacturing in China, the parameters of the drivers were
changed. Scanspeak now manufactures all LV drivers in Denmark, as
per LV specs. One visitor actually called them "horny", in
reference to their transient response.
This was the case with Proac, where the Proac
Response 3 Scanspeak foam drivers were replaced with rubber ones which led to
the Response 3.5 and 3.8. But ask the veterans, and they will tell you
that the Response 3 was the best of all the three iterations, and is the model
more sought after. Wilson Audio also once used foam in
their extremely popular Watt
Puppies, and Naim Audio also use it in their top model DBL speakers, as
well as Lowther. Moreover, planar speaker ribbons also wear out in time,
and even some rubber will also harden
The foam surrounds will wear out, but during their lifetime,
which can be up to 5 to 6 years or more in a humid climate (even up to 10 years
in some cases), they will provide the Living Voice owner sheer delight,
especially in the mentioned areas of speed, transient handling, and dynamics -
which is among the best in the industry right now in their medium-sized speakers
Consider people who use
tube/valve gear. Valves definitely will not last, but that does not
deter valve gear users from enjoying the beguiling sound of valves. The cost
of valves can be so much more than USD 350 within 4 years, especially NOS tubes.
So what does one do when the foam surrounds wear out
? Read on below ...