Lii Audio Fast 8 Full Range Driver

A relative newcomer to the narrow field of full range drivers, Lii Audio of Hangzhou China has caused quite a stir online with the introduction of a line of very fine looking drivers in sizes from 5 inches up to 15 inch full range monsters. Of good apparent quality, the line-up as of 2020 seems to have culminated with the flagship “Crystal 10”, a driver that looks quite a lot like the old Coral Beta and Flat series of the 1970s and 80s, ribbed cone and all. Not a bad speaker to look like! The Crystal 10 has been getting some good feedback in the online forums, including at Decware, and this driver also comes in an extremely elegant cabinet built by Lii Audio that optimize the Crystal 10, apparently making some prodigious bass, and all at 99 db/wm.

Although the Crystal driver is indeed quite interesting, the Fast 8, the newest in Lii Audio’s lineup is the focus of this adventure. With a QT factor of .6 this driver is optimized for a very large cabinet or an open baffle. Right up my alley! I picked up a pair via Amazon Prime and promptly loaded them into my open backed Telefunken cabinets.

Right away these drivers are performers. Wide Band drivers all need some break-in time, and that is no different here, but it was immediately apparent nevertheless that these were winners. You know in the first 30 seconds. As I had hoped, bass is big and powerful, the overall sound is bold and forward, very much a live feeling. Pulling up a track like Anoushka Shankar’s Lasya, a small ensemble that is nevertheless a challenging one to reproduce well, the Fast 8 have depth and width, and an overall ambience that is a treat to listen to. The Sitar soars above, all zippy twangs, while the other two players stand out on their own, fully occupying their own space and giving the listener a look inside the room. Not all speakers do Indian music well, it’s challenging.

Being a whizzer cone design, the Fast 8 do exhibit the somewhat paradoxical over-pronounced treble energy with slightly recessed voice that I have come to disdain, but in this driver it is actually very minimal and I have a feeling it will even out further as things settle in. The Fast 8 are not overly bright, and not shouty in any way as Lowther and some of the Fostex drivers tend to be, so we shall see. These drivers are HIGHLY detailed though, so be prepared to hear all of the artifacts and unintended background junk on your recordings. I’ve been living with whizzerless drivers for so long at this point that the added energy is somewhat appealing, and on the right music it is toe tapping good.

The Lii Audio Fast 8 are well built drivers and represent an extraordinary value. At this price point it is hard to imagine getting this much value. The frames are beefy and the smooth cones and surrounds seem to be of very high quality. Little details like the bell housing, the rolled edge of the whizzer cone, the phase plug and the connectors are well executed. I don't particularly care for the dull greyish matte finish but that is strictly an aesthetic choice. At 94 db/wm the Fast 8 are efficient enough for most of the flea watt crowd, and in fact my 1.5 watt single ended 45 amplifier has no problem at all pushing these to clean ear splitting levels fed through a passive preamplifer.

In memory-comparison to some of the other similar drivers I’ve had through my room, the Fast 8 absolutely trounce the Lowthers and the Fostex Fe206. The Visaton B200 would be an interesting matchup; the Visaton is also a very fine sounding driver with a high Qt factor. The Supravox is a bit smoother overall I think, but some will prefer the higher energy feeling of the Fast 8, and the Supras needed a tweeter, which is definitely not the case with the Fast 8. The Coral Flat 10 are a closer call, and if Coral drivers were available new today it would be a very interesting comparison. I’m comfortable saying the Fast 10 would hold their own overall (and in fairness the Corals are at least 40 years old). I do think these drivers, and Lii Audio in general, feel like what Coral would be doing if they still existed. And that is high praise indeed.

After so many years of trying this and that wideband driver, vintage and modern, I eventually reached a point of exhaustion, both aurally and financially. With the big Zeniths doing everything right for me, and the Coral Flat 5 or the Holey Baskets making me smile every day, I kind of figured I was done with the driver search and had turned my attention elsewhere. Lii Audio has pulled me right back in, and I love it. Hats off to Lii Audio! If the rest of their lineup is of equal or better quality, these drivers are a god-send to the audio world. One day I hope to give the Crystal 10 a whirl, but more than that, the one that really peaks my interest the most if their 6.5 inch dual cone M6, which looks like a reinvented Altec 755. I hope to get my hands on a pair sometime soon. For now, the Fast 8 is highly recommended in a single driver open baffle configuration. I cant imagine anyone not being happy with the performance of this gem.

Nicely crafted modern wide band drivers.

Clean lines, very solid construction on the Lii Audio Fast 8.

With fabric surrounds, these should last a very long time indeed. The cone and rolled whizzer seem very nice, and I’m not sure exactly what they are made from. The wooden phase plug is also well done. I like the Lii Audio logo, a throwback to the earliest hifi of them all!

Here they are mounted into my antique Telefunken open backed cabinets. These old veterans have seen a lot of drivers in and out, and the Lii Audio Fast 8 pushed out (at least for the time being) the exquisite Coral Flat 5 v2. Of all of the drivers I’ve had in these, the Fast 8’s bass response is right up there with the Rullit field coils and the Zenith 49CZ1064.

The Fast 8 making music appear live in my room. If only my camera could capture the players spanned out in front of me as presented by Lii Audio!