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Snell Type D tower speakers
Snell Type D – Considered by many to be an audio classic!
Although it is not Snell’s most expensive speaker, the Type D has been designed and manufactured to the same exacting standards as the company’s most costly models. For example, the response of each driver is matched-by adjusting the crossover-circuit parts values-to that of a master reference speaker to within 1 dB.
Part of the Type D’s low cost and small size compared to other Snell speakers comes from its using “only” an 8-inch woofer in a bass-reflex enclosure. The woofer is located at the midpoint of the front panel, with its vent opening near the bottom of the rear panel. At 350 Hz there is a crossover to a 5-inch midrange driver located just above the woofer. Both drivers have powerful magnetic systems and polypropylene cones. The second crossover, to a 1-inch titanium-dome tweeter near the top of the speaker panel, is at 2.8 kHz.
For all practical purposes the Snell Type D is a three-way system, but there is a fourth driver. Located near the top of the back panel is a 1-inch rear-facing soft-dome “supertweeter” that helps to maintain a uniform acoustic power response throughout the listening room. Such rear-radiating tweeters are something of a trademark of Snell speakers.
Near the bottom of the rear panel are two pairs-separate for the woofer and tweeter sections-of recessed, insulated, five-way binding-post input connectors. The binding posts are normally parallel-connected by gold-plated jumpers. Removing the jumpers enables the system to be operated in a bi-wired or bi-amplified mode. Near the input connectors are a tweeter-protection fuse, a level adjustment for the front tweeter (with an indicated flat setting), and a switch to turn the rear tweeter on or off.
Snell rates the system’s impedance as 5 ohms and its frequency response as 36 Hz to 20 kHz ±1.75 dB, an unusually narrow deviation spec. The rated sensitivity is 87 dB SPL (sound-pressure level) at 1 meter with a 2.83-volt input.
The Type D’s cabinet is finished on the top and sides in matched-grain, hand-sanded and hand-oiled wood veneer or plain black. The front and rear panels are finished in flat black, and a removable black cloth grille covers the entire front of the system. The panel section containing the midrange and high-frequency drivers is surrounded by 3/8-inch-thick felt to minimize edge diffraction that could degrade the uniformity of sound distribution in the room. The Snell Type D comes with optional spiked feet to form a positive contact with the floor. Each speaker weighs 65 pounds.
Averaged for the two speakers, the room response was exceptionally uniform over most of the audio range, within +3 dB from 100 Hz to 20 kHz (and better than ±1.5 dB from 100 Hz to 6.5 kHz). The close-miked woofer response spliced easily to the room curve, resulting in a composite frequency response of +3.5 dB from 20 Hz to 20 kHz (including a slight rise at about 15 kHz, perhaps due to the rear-firing supertweeter).
The quasi-anechoic MLS frequency response confirmed the system’s extraordinarily uniform output, with only a ±1-dB variation from 550 Hz to 11.5 kHz. The rear-mounted tweeter’s output was limited to the uppermost octave, between 10 and 20 kHz, with its maximum at about 12 kHz.
The speaker’s impedance reached its minimum of about 3.7 ohms at 90 Hz and 10 kHz, with peaks of 14 ohms at 50 Hz and 13 ohms at 5 kHz. The measured sensitivity of 88 dB closely matched the 87-dB rating. At a constant input of 3.5 volts, corresponding to a 90-dB reference-output SPL, the woofer’s distortion was a minimum of 0.4 percent at 250 Hz, under 1 percent from 90 to 370 Hz, and only 7 percent at 20 Hz. The midrange driver’s distortion at the same input level was about 0.5 percent over most of its operating range, reaching 1 percent at 200 Hz and 3 kHz.
Horizontal dispersion over a ±45-degree angle off the speaker’s forward axis was exceptional: Off-axis output was down less than 1 dB up to 6 kHz, 2.5 dB at 10 kHz, and only 5 dB at 20 kHz. Phase linearity was notable, too, with a group-delay variation of only +100 microseconds from 2 to 20 kHz.
Power Rating in Watts: 15-150
Frequency Response: 39Hz-22kHz
Impedance: 8 ohm
Sensitivity: 90 dB
Rear Tweeter: 1″