Flamingo – a Full Range Tang Band W6-789E


Flamingo – Full Range W6-789E

Before I work on a new woofer, I always listen to it without any crossover. This is the most important step because it offers me the opportunity to determine whether there’s anything outstanding with the driver. 

When I heard the W6-789E the first time, I was dumbfounded. This Tang Band has the most marvelous midrange I’ve ever heard. It’s clear, no veil. Vocals cut right through the mix. This is the kind of midrange quality I strive for in all my designs. It’s there, without me having to do anything.

If having a midrange to die for is not enough, there are highs as well and they are smooth. No harshness exhibited by the Fountek FE85. Nor does it sound “dark” which the the over-priced Tang Band W3-1364SA is guilty of.

The bass is not as deep and loud as in some bass reflexes but it’s tight and not boomy. It is at about the right loudness for listeners that like vocals.

I believe I’ve uncovered a gem of a driver. Now for some measurements to see what I’m hearing.

Tang Band W6-789E Frequency ResponseTANG BAND W6-789E FREQUENCY RESPONSE

Fig 1 – Ported Box=13L. Fb=60Hz. Baffle Width=8.5″

The Black plot in Fig 1 is the RAW response of the W6-789E loaded in a bass reflex of 13 liters. Box tuning is at 60Hz. Measurements below 500Hz are in Nearfield.

Most notable from the plot is the cone breakup from 3kHz~7kHz. It looks very much like a low-Q, wide band treble boost done with a paramatric equalizer. The beauty of this is it doesn’t sound harsh. The PPE cone is extremely well behaved when it breaks up. There are no sharp spikes anywhere above 3kHz. If there were, I would have recorded it as the plot was made with no smoothing applied.

The W6-789E even extends to the super tweeter region. At 10kHz, it’s only -3dB, rolling off sharply after that. This is quite remarkable for a 6.5″ woofer.

Cumulative Spectral Decay of W6-789ETANG BAND W6-789E WATERFALL PLOT

Fig 2 – Waterfall plot of W6-789E

The waterfall plot in Fig 2 is a 3-dimensional view of the W6-789E response. As indicated in Fig 1, the hump from 3kHz~7kHz is the hottest (Red). What is not shown in a 2-dimensional Frequency response sweep (Fig 1) is the artifact at 5kHz.

ToneBurst Energy Storage of W6-789ETANG BAND W6-789E TONEBURST ENERGY STORAGE

Fig 3 – Light Blue slices are Excess Energy

Fig 3 is another 3-dimensional view of the frequency response of the W6-789E. The Light Blue slices are excess energy of the driver. In a perfect driver, the light blue slices should not be there.

As can be seen, there are some minor excess energy from 600Hz~2kHz. However, from 4kHz~7kHz, the amount is much more. That’s exactly where the treble boost is.

Spectrogram of W6-789ETANG BAND W6-789E SPECTROGRAM

Fig 4 – Wavelet of W6-789E

The Red patch in Fig 4 shows frequencies from 3kHz~7kHz are the hottest. Below 3kHz, it’s dark yellow, which is about -6dB. This correspond with the response in Fig 1. 

Note the hot spot (treble boost) dies off very quickly. By 1.5ms, it’s gone. So the treble boost does not smear the highs. 

Harmonic Distortion of W6-789ETANG BAND W6-789E HARMONIC DISTORTION

Fig 5 –  Red plot=2nd harmonic. Violet plot=3rd harmonic.

Fig 5 is the Harmonic Distortion of the W6-789E. The highest is a 3rd harmonic at about 1.5kHz. It’s -40dB below the fundamental. It’s nothing to worry about. During playback, I couldn’t detect anything offensive.

At the treble boost region, distortion is at -55dB. No wonder the treble sounds smooth. Distortion is low and dominated by the 2nd harmonic. 

the sound of a Full Range W6-789E

As I’m writing this, Diane Schuur is tugging my heartstrings with the W6-789E. It’s as though she’s singing to me and me only. Another track that performs well is Girl in the Other Room by Diana Krall. The sibilance is well controlled, not like some speakers with badly designed crossovers. I even listened to some Baroque Concertos. The recordings sounded very “lively”. 

Having auditioned the W6-789E, I can hardly find any fault with it. I don’t think the treble can make a significant difference if I use a tweeter. It sounds perfect as it is. Some readers will take issue that the W6-789E is not strictly a full range driver. My advice is to listen to it without any crossover then judge for yourself. Specs and measurements can only mean so much. Ultimately, it must please our ears.

I would like to thank a dear friend Mark Nash, for donating these Tang Band W6-789E for evaluation.

Note: All measurements were made with the mic at 1m, tweeter axis. Impulse Window=5ms. No smoothing applied.