Mitsubishi Diatone P-610 and its reinvented Chinese clone

The original Diatone P-610 is an unimposing little 6-inch industrial driver first made in the 1950s. It has a reputation in the hifi world as being one of the smoothest speaker drivers ever built, and prices for original pairs have really gone up in recent years. I’ve owned the new Chinese version for 5 or 6 years now, and have found them to be quite good performers, but I have always been curious to see what they sound like compared to the original. So, after some back and forth I found a comparable pair of Mitsubishi made Alnico Diatones and sat down for a long weekend of comparison.

Below we have both an original late-issue Mitsubishi P-610MB and a current Chinese-made re-invention of the classic driver, in this case by David Louis Audio. Both feature leather surrounds, ribbed cones, and baskets that appear to be almost identical in shape and fit the same baffle cutout precisely. The build quality of both drivers is very high. The Mitsubishi driver has the classic huge Alnico horseshoe magnet while the new driver has a large ceramic magnet.

I ran both drivers in a ported cabinet and on my open backed Telefunken baffles. In both cases the drivers sounded far better in the large open backed cabinets. These drivers are great for open baffles! The sound in the big cabinets is very engaging, with lots of space and energy, very lively. These are sure to please almost any listener, and both are definitely full range drivers, with nothing lacking at either extreme and both making a midrange that is out of this world good.

At almost 3 times the price of the Chinese re-inventions, the classic Mitsubishi drivers do have a little bit of “something” that the newer drivers lack. It's a thickness in the low and mid band, a little more density and umph. The Mitsubishi drivers have a very solid bass response and this extends into the midrange. The newer drivers sound just a little bit thinner in the low and mid bands, but this also makes them feel slightly more open sounding. I think the newer drivers are a little more efficient as well, giving them a little bit more perceived volume. In direct comparison, I think the Mitsubishi pair get the nod, but it is a close enough call to say that the clones are also excellent drivers in their own right. I want to emphasize that these are both superb sounding speakers, and more similar sounding than not. In fact, these are both among the best sounding smaller drivers I have owned. The Coral Flat 5 V2 does a few things better, and has not been unseated from its throne, but its a close call. And that is high praise indeed! I don't think you can go wrong here. If you are looking for a 6 inch full ranger for your project both the original and the re-invented Diatones deserve your consideration. You will be pleased with either of these!

These sound incredible in the big Telefunkens!