Blast from the past: Moth Cicada Speakers

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by purr1n, May 4, 2016.

  1. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I've sort of been secretly keeping this to myself for a while (I've been sick for about a month), but a picked up some almost brand new Moth Cicada speakers a few weeks ago. I know only a select few of you have heard my OB speakers based on the Cicada drivers and know how good they can sound. The drivers in this pair are in superb condition. The old Cicada drivers I had before were questionable (one eventually developed some distortion - probably the voice coil started to come off) because they had been stored in an outdoor storage unit in SoCal heat for perhaps a decade or so.

    As you can see, they have replaced the Fostex BLHs. Compared to the Fostex Sigmas, the Moth Cicada speakers are significantly more resolving, smoother sounding, and have more body and realistic timbre. The Lowthers might be a tiny bit more resolving, but they are not as extended, and have a nasty narrow peak around 8kHz which is impossible to correct. The downside to the Cicadas is that they are not quite as efficient and the cabinets are not up to 2016 heroic implementations with massive internal bracing. Still, the box design is solid with a double-walled baffle.

    DSC_2279 (Medium).JPG

    The Qts of the drivers is bit on the high side, but that was an intentional trade-off for the sake of bass and efficiency. The Cicadas would do well in a two way with 300Hz and below augmented by a large woofer. But that's a design for another day. For now, I will just enjoy. BTW, there is a possibility of the return of a Cicada driver. It would be slightly different, this time around with a neodymium magnet.

    DSC_2280 (Medium).JPG

    Here is an example of Joel's exquisite artwork. The original owner never attached the Moth thingies to the speaker.

    DSC_2281.JPG

    img002 (Custom).jpg
    img001 (Custom).jpg
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2016
    bxh, Wfojas, jafnvaegi and 16 others like this.
  2. songmic

    songmic Gear cycler East Asia edition

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    Looks gorgeously delicious. But are they as efficient as the Fostex BLH? Have you tried your Studio amp with them?
     
  3. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    I remember when you wrote about that, picking up almost brand new Moth Cicadas, but then you never said anything after that and I thought that you didn't get them. Glad to see that you did.

    Wow, makes the Sigmas look not that great after all.

    BTW: I wanted to post this here, for those that haven't seen it yet. I'm sure most people on this site have read it already.
    Moth Cicada Stereophile review
    Like the other two speakers reviewed this month by Art Dudley, the Moth Audio Cicada manages to sound acceptable—even good—despite its measured performance, not because of it. But against that must be placed its high sensitivity and efficiency, which will allow it to work synergistically with the flea-powered amplifiers loved by so many.—John Atkinson
    EDIT: Moth Cicada drivers for sale:
    http://www.usaudiomart.com/details/...s-new-in-box-unused-stored-for-over-10-years/
     
  4. recarcar

    recarcar Friend

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    They look wonderful. I passed up buying some of the moth drivers that were in good shape a few months ago. Kicking myself now.
     
  5. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Didn't try Studio, but I am trying my personal amp which is similar topology to Studio but with different transformers, 45 tubes, and power supply.

    Not really an apples to apples comparison because the Fostex Sigma I am using is a 6". I would be more interesting to compare the Fostex 8". Believe it or not, 8" wide band drivers typically tend to sound "faster" than the smaller drivers, probably because of their slightly rising responses. The downside is less treble extension and rougher response. I am positive the Fostex 8" will need a supertweeter up top. The Lowther don't quite need help. The Cicadas have the best treble extension of the bunch. Both the Lowther and Cicada use a similar type of paper, which seems to be lighter than the woven fabric and pulp of the Fostex. The Fostex do sound slower.
     
  6. Jeb

    Jeb Friend

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    @purrin - do you feel this kind of set-up can perform well with whatever genre of music you throw at it?
     
  7. Rex Aeterna

    Rex Aeterna Friend

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    they look really cool. there free resonance of 50hz is not bad at all really and i bet they get low enough for basically all types of music with satisfying authority and cleanness. you'll only need a sub if feel like you do or plan on achieving the last couple octaves which really isn't big deal.

    i never heard of them personally but, they look very nice and glad they're performing to your expectations.
     
  8. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Augmented with a sub, yes. The 8" driver certainly has an easier time playing loud than the 6" Fostex Sigmas I was running before.
     
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  9. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Figured I'd post measurements.

    Moth Cicada Frequency Response at Listening Position - No Subwoofer
    Speakers are slightly toed in, otherwise too bright. The 60Hz dip is likely a room null. The Fostex BLH's also had this dip. The roll-off in the last octave isn't as severe as it seems. I am also pretty sure these speakers may have had the inductor to control the 10kHz peak (seen in Stereophile measurements). This would have caused a 6db octave rolloff in the top octave. Might be interesting to add a cap to restore the last octave (thus creating a notch filter). I am betting this probably wasn't done because subjectively, I don't hear an issue with lack of air despite measurements. I'll take a near field measurement to confirm when I get the chance.
    Cicada LP.png

    Moth Cicada FR at Listening Position - With Subwoofer
    Cicada SUB.png

    The sub fills in the bottom octave quite nicely and accurately. Unfortunately, it does not appear the room null at 60Hz can be fixed with a single sub. The frequency response measurements are spectacular for a single driver wide bander. The midrange on these is absolutely fantastic.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2016
  10. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    Midrange looks very smooth, but otherwise looks bright/forward. Also the bass extension looks to be fantastic for a wide band speaker. This is where the 8" driver is just so much better. Looks like I wouldn't even need a sub.
    Can we get these graphs on a 5db/division scale or compensated with the B&K target? The area between 7 and 10 kHz looks too forward and the general slope too slight.
     
  11. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    You are correct, a sub really isn't necessary for most music. On the other hand, since the speaker already extends well down low, the integration of the sub is seamless (assuming one does not abuse the use of the sub.) The crossover point is around 33Hz, a good 12Hz lower than what was used with the Fostex.

    For comparison, BK-16 with Fostex FE168 Sigma (with EQ circuit in place).
    Same vertical scale as the graph above for the Cicada.
    [​IMG]

    The Moth Cicada is brighter, which I don't usually like, but this is more than made up for by the much smoother response. Also the larger driver is so much more cleaner and transparent sounding. Not to even mention the better transient response and speed. The Fostex FE168 doesn't take advantage of what an MC cart can do as much as the Cicada driver can.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2016
  12. Serious

    Serious Inquisitive Frequency Response Plot

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    I just did a quick overlay of the B&K target on the Cicada curve:
    overlay Cicada BK 3.png
    This is probably not 100% perfect but I think the vertical scale should be nearly the same. Tell me if you think it looks off.

    Midrange does indeed look fantastic, but the 7-11kHz region looks forward. Regardless this is really good behaviour for a wide band speaker, with no anomalies between 500Hz and 4kHz. The stereophile on-axis measurements showed a peak and some ringing at 2kHz but I think he said that it went away off-axis.

    EDIT: The overlay was off by about 1 pixel I believe. This should be better but I will leave the other one attached.
    Made a 3rd overlay because it just had to be perfect.
     

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    Last edited: May 9, 2016
  13. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    That's pretty much how I hear it. Some mid-treble excess and lacking a tiny bit of the upper bass. On-axis, it's more problematic. I'll get those measurements later. It's rather late night now and I am falling asleep. Craig told me that he knew someone who used the Cicada as a mid, and added a ribbon up top. I might do something like this, but also add a woofer below.
     
  14. Poleepkwa

    Poleepkwa Friend

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    Have you tried to toeing them in more? Around 45 degrees off axis should get rid of that mid treble excess.
     
  15. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    I did, upper mids take a dump when toed in too much.
     
  16. Priidik

    Priidik Friend

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    How's imaging and soundstage on those?
     
  17. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Not as good as the Fostex 6". These 8" drivers with the whizzer cones beam like mad with major frequency response shifts depending on listening position. Center image and instrument localisation isn't as solid, and the speakers' height in respect to the room makes first reflections worse. I added four cushions / pillows in the room. Two on top of the corner sub, and two more on top of the seat at the left wall to better control reflections. Otherwise the center image would shift to the left because of reflections from the wall and corner. I will definitely need to resort to room treatments here. The Fostex being much less tall and also angled slightly upward did not pose as much as a problem. 8" cones just don't image well. I didn't fare any better with the 8" Lowthers when I had them.
     
  18. Xen

    Xen Friend

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    So Marv, is that some secret Schiit under the table or just a Gungnir Multibit?
     
  19. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    LOLOLOL! Just Gungnir Multibit. No easter eggs in that photo!
     
  20. JoshMorr

    JoshMorr Friend

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    I was lucky enough to find a "new" pair of these drivers for a reasonable amount, but will need to build a cabinet. I really like the design of the original cabinet, and lucky enough, it looks like Craig posted plans online (on what looks like an odd moth / EC hybrid site, but that's another set of questions for another time).

    What not shown is if there are any internal baffles. Anyone (cough, Marv, cough) know about the cabinet design or have any tips? Thanks!
     
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