Audio Nirvana full range drivers

Audio Nirvana makes a number of very interesting full range speaker drivers, and I've played around with more of their drivers than any other manufacturer. I like Audio Nirvana very much; they are supremely well made speaker drivers, very efficient and with a lot of choices in magnet and cone variations, and are quite affordable for the level of quality they offer. As of this writing, I've owned the 15 ferrite, the 15 alnico (both from the “Super series”), the Super 8 and the 10 Classic. They are all great drivers, with different applications.

The 15 inch Audio Nirvana drivers really are the only one of their kind out there, and I think we should all be grateful that someone is even making a full range driver like the AN 15, so thank you David Dicks! 15 inches of efficient full range means BIG sound in an OB panel. I never put my drivers in a ported box while I owned them, but I wish I had done so. I'd be willing to bet that a huge ported cabinet and the 15 inch AN driver would be a powerful force! Having owned the ferrite and alnico versions of this driver, I can say that they do sound different, but the difference was slight in my application. The ferrite driver sounded slightly more open for me, while the alnico produced a bit more bass. Think Häagen-Dazs vanilla versus Ben and Jerry’s vanilla. I found the ferrite version to be noticeably more efficient though, making it a better match overall for my flea power amplification. With the large difference in price between the magnets, if I were to buy another pair it would be the ferrite magnet. Although these days there is another model to consider, the “Classic” line which loses the whizzer cone. I’d be very interested in the 15 inch version of that driver, as the whizzer cone really is something that is hard to live with in the long run. No matter how you look at it though, these drivers are a great buy and perform superbly.

The 15 inch models are wonderfully imposing drivers that can reveal all of the program material with such cohesion and punch that it is really something. Neither of the 15 inch drivers are really suitable to OB panels, but that is how I used them none-the-less. As expected, the bass was not powerful, but it is adequate for music. Adding in helper woofers solved the bass issue but never sounded natural to me, and I preferred the big drivers all on their own. The ported cabinet probably gives the driver the support it needs to really shine. It's a Ferrari, and putting it in the OB panels is sort of like making that Ferrari drive 55.

Going down the model ladder I have long-term experience with both the Super 8 and the Classic 10. I placed the Super 8 in a ported box of similar dimension to David Dick’s “Monitor” cabinet and used them as bookshelf speakers in my living room system for about a year. They were updated a year or so ago with the Classic 10, placed in the same ported box, and they are a clear step up in fidelity in pretty much every way. The Classic 10 is a very good sounding speaker both in my ported boxes and in the open backed Telefunken cabinets, and I think it will be a long-term solution for me in my living room space. Many people not otherwise interested in audio who hear them have commented on the clarity and tone.

Having owned Lowther, Fostex, Coral, etc. I can say without reservation that Audio Nirvana is as good as any of them, and are a clear winner for me over Lowther and Fostex. Coral has some magic that is hard to quantify, but Coral is long gone and we are left to find those hidden gems only on the used market. Audio Nirvana’s speaker drivers are built to a very high standard, many choices are available, they are affordable and sound great. In the full range driver market, they are a clear winner. Highly recommended.

I used Eminence Alpha bass drivers with a passive crossover for a while with mixed results. Someone who really knows crossovers could probably make this sound better than my simple passive did. With proper bass support, the big full range driver on open baffle could be amazing.

Here is a rear view of the Ferrite driver in a 24 inch wide open panel.

And here is a rear view of the Alnico driver in a narrower 16 inch open panel.

The Super 8 and Classic 10 side by side.

The Super 8 in a ported box made from old Kenwood cabinets found at Goodwill, in dimensions similar to David Dick's "Monitor" plans. This cabinet now holds the Classic 10 driver.