Friday, December 10, 2010

Convertible Car Component Speaker System Review Part Two: The Vibe Audio Space 6 3D 3-way System

As discussed in part one of the convertible speaker review, a convertible speaker allows you to mount the tweeter over the midrange for a coaxial design. Up for review today is what I will call a convertible 3-way design, and is to my knowledge the only one of it’s kind. It is the Vibe Audio Space 6 3D component system, which has an MSRP of $499.95.

It is a 3-way system with a super tweeter, midrange, and midbass driver. The midbass is a 6 ½ inch driver. While the housing for both the midrange and tweeter are around 3 inches wide, the midrange driver is nearly 2 inches wide (45mm) and the super tweeter is nearly 1.5 inches wide (38mm). The system is rated at 130 watts RMS, and 390 watts peak. Frequency response is rated from 50Hz – 35kHz, with a sensitivity of 88db.

The midrange and tweeter housing are the same width for the convertible mounting which Vibe calls 3D. Here with the use of small spacers, the tweeter mounts directly over the midrange. So, with the midrange mounted flush, the tweeter sticks out slightly for a 3D look. The bottom of the tweeter is designed with a peak in the middle and sloped to the edges. This directs the sound from the midrange out from all sides for all unblocked sounds, radiating in all directions for a 3Dish sound. So when opting for this mounting option, you only need two cut-outs for your three drivers.

Construction, design, and quality are all very good, as I have come to expect from Vibe Audio. The 6.5 inch midbass and 2 inch midrange both use aluminum drivers. The super tweeter uses a silk dome. The super tweeter and midrange also appear to feature their own tuning chambers. The magnet material used for the midbass is standard Ferrite, with Neodymium magnets in the tweeter and midrange. All three drivers came with steel mesh grills for protection when mounting as separate components. The grill in the tweeter is built-in. The midrange and super tweeter come with Oxygen Free Copper cabling already attached.

The 6.5 inch midbass is also a well designed component. The cast aluminum basket gives it a solid feel. The aluminum cone also helps with cooling. The voice coil is actually attached to the aluminum cone, which helps cool the voice coil thanks to its mechanical thermal unity. The PU Dualroll surround is ribbed for improved bass response. The wiring terminals on the midbass are also very sturdy and clearly labeled red for positive and black for negative.

The construction and design of the crossover network is also very good. There is a cast aluminum baseplate for the crossover. The passive crossover network also features high quality resisters and air coils. The crossover network also features tweeter attenuation. The smoked plexiglass cover over the crossovers is a nice touch. The plexiglass cover is also framed around the same thick cast aluminum found on the super tweeter, midrange, and midbass drivers.

Calling the construction as solid for all of the included components would be an understatement. They were obviously designed for years of hard use. I also really like the 3-way design, and use of aluminum drivers. They were well designed, but now let’s hear how it all comes together.

Next is the listening test. I started with The Very Best of Eric Kunzel: Puccini: Turandot – Nessun Dorma! The imaging was great with a nice soundstage. You could hear the tenor’s movement as he moves and changes singing directions on stage. Pitch definition was also excellent. Sing, Sing, Sing, on the same album had great low level dynamics in the tympanis and bass drums. The clarinet sounded natural.

For vocals I turned to Boys to Men II: Yesterday. The vocal harmonies sounded not only natural, but were silky smooth like a Dove chocolate. To get the beat going I turned to Justin Timberlake: SexyBack. The dynamics were excellent as I would expect from a 3-way system. The low end extension and midbass beats came out with lots of authority! I could hear that they benefited from the 3-way system. The crossover network sent the midrange signals to the midrange driver, so all the midbass had to worry about was just that- midbass.

With it being the Christmas time of year, I thought it only appropriate to also use some Christmas music. Mannheim Steamroller’s Christmas: God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman yielded some excellent resolution, and a big soundstage. The pitch definition and resolution from the bass drum was astounding. The soundstage seemed to extend beyond my car. I heard details not heard before.

Last but not least was Christmas in the Aire: Pat a Pan. The flute had a lot of air. The wood block and other percussion instruments were really crisp sounding with a lot of resolution. The violin also sounded very natural.

Overall the sound was nothing short of stellar. The 3-way system helped each driver specialize in producing what they were designed for, and gave a nice full sound. I am a big fan of strong midbass upfront in the soundstage, and the 6 ½ midbass delivered in spades. And you can do so without the expense of midrange performance as they are handled by separate drivers. The Vibe Audio Space 6 3D component system is great for those wanting a competition sound system, or just want audiophile quality sound. The aluminum drivers provided crisp and clear sound full of resolution and controlled bass response.

One of the best parts is at only $499.95 for a 3-way component system with this quality of sound, they are a bargain. Other manufacturers may want to take notice, because this is another great product from Vibe Audio, and it appears the gloves are off! There are truly few downsides to this system. Except for maybe after purchasing this set, you may want to upgrade your receiver, and add other gear such as a trunk mounted electronic equilizer. But then again, is that really a bad thing?? We are happy to announce that the Vibe Audio Space 6 3D component system has earned our Editor’s Choice award. For more info and complete specs, check out their website at:

Reference gear used was a Kenwood Excelon KDC-X991 Receiver, and Vibe Audio LiteBox Stereo 4 Class GH Hybrid 4 Channel digital amp.