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Given two speakers and their datasheets what should I be looking at to determine if one is better for me than the other? I realize this could be a broad question, but I'll frame it in my context. I'm mainly interested in the 100Hz to 400Hz range, I don't care too much to go higher, lower might be nice but not a requirement. Currently I'm using this 4" speaker from Dayton, here's it's datasheet.

My problem is now I want to get a little more volume for my signal without the speaker distorting. I have plenty of output power left in my amp, but my louder signal peaks seem to be physically pushing the speaker out and making an odd distorted sound. I did achieve more volume by using a compressor the other day although I'm still learning how to adjust it.

Back to the speaker though this one has a fairly flat response in my frequency range, should I be looking for a speaker that can give more spl in the frequency response chart? Is something like Xmax (I think the maximum excursion) going to let me drive the speaker louder since it has more room to move?

I spent some time trying to learn about the values in the datasheet to craft a box using some speaker software, but I'm still not clear how to evaluate two speakers against each other for my application. For instance I'm looking at this speaker which looks like it has more SPL and more excursion, plus more power handling, but is it really going to be better?

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It might be slightly less bad but the ratio between maximum excursions is only 1.6, giving you 4dB more (potential) volume - barely perceptible.

You'd be better off either moving to a larger radiating area - a bigger driver (a 4 inch woofer is an oxymoron!) - look for one whose output doesn't roll off before the bottom of the band of interest.

Or if you can't afford the space, perhaps a tuned port to augment the output around 100Hz. Port tuning can be tricky, but there are loudspeaker enclosure design programs that will help. You're probably looking at an esclosure volume of about 4 litres with a fairly small diameter (25 or 30mm) port as a starting point.

Alternatively : is the speaker being driven outside its linear range by frequencies below the band of interest? Perhaps a high pass filter set to 80Hz will pass all frequencies of interest but protect the speaker from high amplitude 20-50Hz signals that can only drive the cone out of its linear range and potentially cause damage.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks Brian, the highpass filter did help, don't know why I didn't think of that. I used something, basspeaker pro maybe, to make a little ported box design out of plywood. I didn't realize I could choose the frequency to tune the port to. I'll have to go back and look at that. \$\endgroup\$ – confused Mar 12 '15 at 2:08

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