View Full Version : Pro/cons to paper & aluminum cones?

05-19-2007, 01:00 PM
Looking at some component sets what are the performance differences with paper or paper laminates vs. aluminum and the other stuff like kevlar?

Skool me please.

Gary S
05-19-2007, 01:18 PM
First thing you have to understand is that picking good speakers is not as easy as cone material... there are so many variables that go into the design of a speaker it's almost impossible to tell the good from the bad by just looking at them, and I have tried.

With that said, poly is the most popular, probably because it is waterproof and tough... I think the manufacturer's get less returns. Has great damping but little detail... yet i have even heard poly cone Quarts surprise me, i did not know a poly cone could sound that good.

Paper has good damping for punchy bass but very few have much detail.

Metal cones have detail galore but poor damping... leads to snappy bass and a peak that some say you can hear even with the crossover.

Woven carbon has detail but little damping, may not ring as much as metal cones.

The best seem to be the man-made insulation and cloths, such as sandwich cones, kevlar, Arimid, any kind of cloth, Fiberglass, honeycomb, foam, and pressed fibers... they tend to have the detail and the damping without adding anything extra/ringing.

05-20-2007, 04:02 AM
The last guy hit everything on the money, I learned some stuff from reading it. Just a sidenote, aluminum cones can lead to higher power handling because they draw away heat from the voice coil. They can be dented, where other speakers could bounce back. I heard poly cones are suseptible to temperature and the sound is different when they get hot and the cone becomes less stiff. I have seen broken poly cones and paper cones from overdriving, but never an aluminum or any of the kevlar, fiber exotic types. I would say take the last guys last paragraph to heart and save aluminum cones for subs with a low crossover point, mounted inside stuffed enclosures were cone resonance and ringing can be negated.

05-20-2007, 04:24 AM
as far as component sets are concerned...

silk tweeters have always sounded the best to me...

aluminum has always sounded kinda harsh from the comps I have heard....


05-20-2007, 12:19 PM
The biggest con to a hard cone material like aluminum are the nasty breakup resonances that you have to tame on the upper end. The stiff cone brings detail that paper can't have but at the expense of all sorts of ringing and nastiness on the top end.

05-20-2007, 01:48 PM
Thanks guys, I'm trying to make an educated decision before buying my comps!

05-20-2007, 02:46 PM
i wouldnt suggest you to buy component with aluminium cone... they just sound wrong IMHO... but then again you might like it.. anything else is good enough... (paper, kevlar, carbn fiber etc) you have any component in mind?

05-20-2007, 02:49 PM
i heard that paper cone components have a richer sound? is that true

05-20-2007, 02:49 PM
while everything said about aluminum cones are true, they can sound extremly detailed and get purdy loud at the same time...

dayton rs-180 for example... extremly cheap budget midwoofer that ranks up there with midlevel component middrivers while having a extremly low-end cost

05-20-2007, 04:15 PM
i wouldnt suggest you to buy component with aluminium cone... they just sound wrong IMHO... but then again you might like it.. anything else is good enough... (paper, kevlar, carbn fiber etc) you have any component in mind?

I originally wanted to go with the Lanzar Optidrive 6.5 Comps. I am just getting into car audio again. Lanzar was pretty good back in the day. I have two of their old Optidrive amps. Opti2200 (400+rms bridged actually about 600 I've heard) and a 4150 (4ch 75 rms@4 or more @2ohm and 300 rms x2 bridged)
Can't seem to find a review on the Lanzar Optidrive comps?
PG RSD, Orion HCCA, CDT, Pioneer prs720?

05-20-2007, 06:42 PM
Let me see if I can shed a little more light on the issue.

I'll take two drivers with the exact same makeup except for their cone material.

First will be the CA18RNX, and the second will be the L18RNX. The CA is a paper cone, and the L18 is an aluminum cone.

Hit the following link and take a look at the response graph.


If you notice the response on this driver is pretty flat. It's a paper cone driver so we can assume as much. It has a pretty smooth roll off starting at about 4 khz. That makes this driver very suitable for a wide range of car audio tweeters that require high crossover points (3500 hz and above). Since the roll off on this driver is pretty smooth, building a crossover network can be much simpler.

Free air resonance (Fs) is about 3 hz higher than the L18 which will be illustrated next. So, bottom end capability won't be as much, though, the difference is negligible. Since it is a paper cone, though, your bottom end will have a bit more distortion due to cone flex in the bottom end.

Next is the L18. Again hit the link.


GaryS nailed it on the head when he stated what you can expect sonically, from the different cone materials. Now when looking at this drivers response graph, look at about 6 khz. Those peaks are cone breakup, or ringing as has been stated. It doesn't sound good, and you want to avoid it at just about all costs. So, this driver needs a lot more crossover work than the CA18. You don't want to cross this driver over any higher than 2.0 - 2.5 khz. You'll need a steep slope, and a low crossover point. That makes the overall crossover (if you go passive) much more expensive than a crossover for the CA18. What does the L18 provide. Well, as GaryS stated, you could expect a much snappier, lower distortion driver (if ran within a reasonable bandwidth), due to the more rigid cone material. There is less flex, so your bottom end will be cleaner, and you'll probably be able to cross a little lower, getting a little more bottom end.

I'll throw one more out there. Once again, it's a Seas RNX series driver, but this one has a poly cone.


Some things to note. Fs on this driver is about 10 hz higher than the CA18, so it won't dig as deep. However, look at midrange response. There's a mild bump starting at around 600 hz. This can be a good thing, and you'd definitely notice a difference in midrange response between the CA18 and the P18. The P18 will be a bit more pronounced, and to most people sound cleaner (as louder generally equates to cleaner to most people). Roll off is still pretty flat, but you probably don't want to negate a low pass crossover on this driver like you could the CA18. It might be doable, but you will want to control the midrange of this driver as it starts to beam (at about 2000 hz). It can effect your overall staging and pull your stage down due to an overly aggressive midrange that's beaming on-axis.

Hope this helps.

05-20-2007, 06:47 PM
Oh, and I want to note, that in my post I'm defining "distortion" of where the driver starts to react to the stresses of either top end, or bottom end extension. I'm not saying there are differences in the motor. I'm talking purely from a cone material standpoint. So, it's not distortion, per se, but the word will work for the point I'm trying to get across.

(If I don't mention this, I know somebody will jump on it.)

05-20-2007, 07:57 PM
Holy Cow! You know your stuff. Thanks for the info...

05-20-2007, 10:36 PM
You can always get the Seas G18s from Solen.ca as well. They're the same as the ones MiniVanMan listed, but with a fiberglass cone. They've been discontinued, but you can still get them from Solen for about $175 shipped. The G18s are supposed to offer the best mix of usability and detail out of all the RNX series drivers.

MiniVanMan can attest to the perfomance of the G18s. Up until last week, he had a set (I just bought them from him:) ).