Midrange Speaker Drivers for the Speaker Building Enthusiast or Novice

Included here are our picks for the best midrange speaker drivers currently available. Of course there are more options than these, but the drivers listed here are notably of exceptionally high performance.

The prices here range from affordable ($50.00 per unit) to over $500.00 per unit.

Don’t assume the most expensive drivers are always the best as you will soon find out.

You will also notice that you may have seen some of these more popular units on high end production speakers.

That’s no mistake, these midrange speaker drivers are well known to excel in performance, both measured and in listening tests.

Usher 8945P midrange speaker drivers

Usher 8945P: (7 inch driver) A real no brainer when choosing the best drivers and speaker components. High quality both in terms of build quality and measured performance. This driver competes with anything at any price regarding mid drivers. There is a response dip around 1200Hz.

If using active filters or digital speaker crossovers and filters, this is a non-issue as you can just boost a notch at this frequency. (This is how we use them on the Instrument 2 speakers) The cone has a rough bubbly look, which I personally like, but some don’t prefer it…

Usher 8945A midrange Speaker Drivers

Usher 8945A: (7 inch driver)the motor on this one is not quite as advanced as the 8945P version. Still, distortion is excellent and a fine alternative if you don’t like the silver phase plug of the 8945P version. Same bubbly rough looking cone as the 8945P version but with a dust cover instead of phase plug.

These midrange speaker drivers have a utilitarian look to them that in my opinion offers a ‘performance over visuals’ appeal about them. They were obviously designed that way, by using carbon fiber as a reinforcement of the paper cone. (which is what gives the rough appearance; same for the 8945P version) Also offers a simpler speaker crossover as no boost is needed at 1200Hz from the ‘dip’ present on the 8945P. Should be crossed over no higher than 2400Hz for even response above the crossover point.

ScanSpeak 18w slit cont midrange speaker driver

Scan Speak 18W8531G: (7 inch driver)distortion and measurements cannot be faulted on this driver, similar to the Usher 8945P model above. Its nicer looking too, has a slightly smoother response curve, but about twice the price as the Usher also, if that matters to you.

The basket and driver cone do look a touch nicer overall than any other driver save for the Audiotechnology units, and I think the price difference is probably reflective of the design choices that ScanSpeak made. Higher speaker impedance than the 8945’s and needs more cabinet volume too. (a lot more volume)

ScanSpeak revelator 15w slit cone woofer

Scan Speak Revelator 15W8530-K00: (5.5 inch driver) very similar motor as the 18W8531G with similar performance but in a 5.5 speaker driver woofer size. Works very well if needing to place closer to a tweeter and for higher crossover points than the 18W SS units.

18 Sound 6ND430 16

18Sound 6ND430-16: (6.5 inch driver) very nice driver with both low distortion and very high sensitive. As a result this driver offers many speaker building options including driving these with tube amps.

Low distortion motor design. Nice even frequency response. Could be used for a fairly high crossover point especially if you can use a small tweeter and place them close on the baffle.

Surround has a unique look that is wrapped or cut into. Lightweight driver.

18 Sound 6ND430 8

18Sound 6ND430-8: (6.5 inch driver) even higher sensitivity than the above 16ohm version. Look identical to the 16ohm version. Measures very similar also.

Seas Excell W18 midrange paper woofer

Seas Excel W18NX: (7 inch driver) this paper cone woofer actually performs better than the popular magnesium cones from SEAS that are so popular.

This is the better driver if you want to go with SEAS units.

The magnesium cones might be chosen if only for the appearance, they don’t perform better.

AudioTechnology C Quenze 18 midrange driver

Audio Technology 18H520613SD: (7 inch driver) insanely expensive and does not outperform the ScanSpeak 18W, nor the Usher 8945A or Usher 8945P drivers.

All told though, it’s a very good woofer just at a high price. Motor design is excellent but harmonic distortion is not what it should be at this price in my opinion.

If you want the most advanced motor design on the planet though, this driver will give you bragging rights; it’s too bad its numbers don’t support the cost of the units or the complexity of the motors of these midrange speaker drivers.

I think this one could be improved upon by the speaker manufacturers designers and engineers at AudioTechnology if they gave these drivers some additional design time.

Dayton RS180 Midrange Speaker Drivers: (7 inch driver)

Bargain basement priced mid driver with high performance to boot from (Dayton Audio speaker manufacturer). .

Cannot be crossed over to the tweeter too high though, use crossover of LR4 at 2200Hz or LR4 2400Hz max, or even lower than this to utilize its low distortion numbers below that point.

Very nice driver for the price if you correct the ragged response up top, or can use DSP to filter it out. Otherwise, it looks and performs like a driver twice its price.

SB Acoustics SB17NRX35

SB Acoustics SB17NRX35: (6.5 inch driver) pretty crazy performance for the price on tap here. Looks like one of the high end drivers mentioned above if going on appearance alone.

The cone exhibits some break up and will need steep crossover LR4 at 2500Hz (or lower) or a lower crossover point of LR2 to keep the breakup out of audible range.

There’s a 6db peak at 4500Hz and an 8db peak at 7kHz, so use your crossover points carefully here. Still, this is a nice woofer especially for the price.

ScanSpeak Illuminator 18WU-8741T-00

Scan-Speak 18WU8741T00: (7 inch driver)these drivers are begging to be installed in a dipole speaker. Neo magnet and the back of the speaker is as beautiful as the front, the back might be even better looking actually.

Distortion performance is not up to the high standards of the ScanSpeak 18W8531G or the Usher 8945P midrange speaker drivers listed above though. Very expensive too, but if you need a high excursion, high quality driver for a dipole, few will fare better than this one… Especially if price is not an issue.

Summary

All of these drivers are good to be honest…

For the most part, you get what you are willing to pay for. And if you plan to spend around $250.00 dollars per midrange, there doesn’t seem to be an arguable reason to spend any more than that because…

The performance of the ScanSpeak 18W, 15W, and Usher 8945 units there aren’t really any drivers that can do better. Maybe this is why most – true high end speakers use one of these driver units. I can only imagine that ScanSpeak and Usher are selling too many of these drivers to stop production any time soon either, which should also be a determining factor in choosing your purchase.

See the Tweeter Speaker-drivers>>> we like to go with these woofers

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