View Full Version : Long review of the L3's

06-20-2006, 01:03 AM
OK, well i've spent about the last two weeks fully testing these speakers out on a listening base only. Why listening base only, cause one the DIY forum already has the graphs and all, and two, specs and all can only go so far, they still don't actually tell you how the sound to the ear. The graphs shown did help me look for some things at certain areas but thats about it. I've moved the speaker from a few different things. I did do a sweep of them in a cheaply made box....I mean cheap, front baffle was particle board and it was enclosed with cardboard. Basically I got lazy and didn't want to build a box of MDF. And this was only for a sweep from 50hz-20khz. As the graph did point out, the speaker doesn't like too much under 150hz and doesn't like about 9khz. Does quite nice in the middle which I will get to right now. O my car is a frontstage only, ES-600 in the door with the braxial mounted tweets, L3s in the kicks and a Eclipse 8443/8454(sent off for repair in the middle) controlling the whole thing. Mag 15 in the trunk.

Ok, the listening tests! The listening tests were done in my car in the kick panels which were modded from 4in to the now 3in spacers so its unfinished. Here's a pic of them, driver and passenger


The driver side is slightly imaged down, doesn't effect the SQ much but something I will change when I finish these up as well as the doors as I am waiting on the specs of the L6 woofers so I can build my pods for them. But anyways, the imaging on the passenger side is spot on. The sound is still a little shifted to the right of the center of the dash but not by much and most of the IS because the drivers kick is aimed lower into my leg. O and as for how these are setup. The ES-600 plays from [email protected] slope, the L3 plays from [email protected] to where the CDT Satnet480 crosses over @ IIRC 3khz or so, the tweets play up from there. I did alot of testing with the slopes and frequencies and this seemed to give the best results. First test:

Sarah Brightman- you may or may not know her, she's an opera goddess. I listened to a few songs from "Time for say goodbye" and alot from Eden. "Who wants to live forever" and Time to say goodbye" were very lovely. Nice vocals throughout the entire range. Played "Eden" and "Deliver Me" from the other CD and the symphony was nice and composed at even some of the highest volumes I could take it too. The ES-600 and tweets seemed to give out as the midbass got muddy and the high vocals started to screech. The mid section played fine and didn't show signs of distortion.

2nd Test- The Postal Service- Played #1 ="the district Sleeps alone tonight" and #2="This place is a prison" and #3="Band New Colony". Really liked the L3's in this section and really my entire setup seemed to be right on. In songs 1 and 3 there is some good bass movement which the Mag always does well with but what I liked is that the rest of the music was never outdone by the sub which it could have in most other systems. I too raised the volume to some of the loudest I could (67/80) and the ES-600 went out before the tweets or L3 did. The mid section was especially sweet in song #2 and really loved it at the end where it goes to nice cymbal/drum section that really had nice impact with. The tweet and L3 really did well in this and the sub was time aligned just right that it gave the little impact on it to make it sound o so well.

3rd Test- Perfect Circle- Didn't play too much which this CD- "Like Sheep to the rhythm of the war drum" but thoroughly enjoyed it. Nice crashing cymbals and tight accurate midbass. The entire frequency range was played very well and once again the ES-600 showed signs of distortion much faster than the other speakers. I even stuck my head close to them and could tell that the 600's were losing their composure.

4th test- Craig Armstrong- if you don't know him, he does some classical type music with a dance/underground sound. There is always a symphony in there with a band or its been imxed so there's usually a huge frequency range. I listened to all of his CD's including the "Plunkett and Macleane" suondtrack. I think the speakers, all of them, probably did there best in test as the recording was good and true and didn't overemphasize certain frequency ranges. The symphonies were lovely to hear, very rich sounding, from little violin plucks to fast paced string sections. The brass was quite amazing and forceful and like most Craig Armstrong stuff there is a good amount of bass to be found in his songs. I really like "Finding Beauty" and "Ruthless Gravity", "This love" is a crazy song for some bass but the vocal did a nice job in there too keeping up with the barrage. From the Plunkett and Macleane CD "Business 1-3" were very nice as was "The Ball". These have some more dance type beats to it.

I did alot more testing but those are the ones that I really enjoyed. I did not do alot of rap or rock as, rap doesn't test out the midrange as much as these did, and old rock like Metallica have terrible recordings. I also did test out 311 Transistors just cause its on HDCD and man do I love it.

If you didn't notice in some of my tests, I've become aggrevated with my ES-600 as they have their sweet spot but after that it slowly declines, and now my sweet spot is past where the ES-600 like to go. The L3 have brought alot to my setup which impressed me alot. I had HD-5 in the kicks but the space was too small so I moved to HD-4 which for some reason I still had to have my ES-600 crossed over much higher than I wanted, like 800hz, to get a full sound. I moved these L3's in and everything changed. Crossover points were lowered to 314hz on the ES-600 and there wasn't a huge difference in overall sound and output. The soundstage is has a much better sound to it and shows no signs of distortion until the ES-600 give out. And even then the rest can sometimes mask it. These L3's do have alot of potential as small 3rd drivers for cars where not alot of mod needs to be done. A small opening on the door panel with a spacer to screw it onto and maybe a little dynamat around the trim area and you're good to go. Also they can be a very good center channel for a 5.1 setup, up on the dash or in the center console and don't require a whole lot of work. Options are almost endless.

My last thing on these is, i've seen and read alot of the bad stuff on these and for the most part, they're either lying or must have had a bad setup for it. Some of the distortion people have talked about is quite unnoticeable to the human ear and if it is there its not the bad kind that really sticks out to you. Installing these right will help you get the best out of these or any speaker so if getting these do take time and think of the install. But have fun with these they're a blast and I should find a second set of these in the kicks soon.

06-20-2006, 01:12 AM
Great review Dave!;)

06-20-2006, 10:26 AM
Thanks for that review man!! Looks like you will need something a bit better/capable than those CDT mids as you mentioned how they were the first to go in most instances??

06-20-2006, 12:53 PM
nice review...what car is the install in?

06-20-2006, 01:01 PM
the CDT's did well but the Hybrids are little higher end than the ES. I'll carry CDT still because they are good performers but for me and where my system is going I'll need something little more. The ES-600 did well for a long time and maybe its just hard finding a good crossover point for them but I really like the look and performance of the Hybrids.

03 Galant made for SQ at any volume.

06-20-2006, 01:55 PM
nice review.

i'm guessing you are running both passive and active?

Hebrew Hammer
06-20-2006, 03:17 PM
I don't lie nor do I have any hidden agenda's...I've listened to 2 cars..the red 240 and Cam's altima and hated both.....I do feel that the 3's leave alot to be desired...and IMO for a little more can get allot better...

06-20-2006, 04:45 PM
not sure of the cars but I know Scott spent alot of time with one car and the install was the downfall of the speakers. Also I know alot of people like the Scan 4in speakers but then again its not a 3in and the 4in does have some benefits that the 3in won't and vice versa. I find these much easier to install than many other drivers in the 4in range and give just as good or better results.