Tang Band T1-1942S speakers

I bought these speaker modules from Parts Express for near-field use in an industrial post-and-wire shelving mobile standing desk.  I’ll talk more about the desk and why I would choose these speakers in a later post, but wanted to share some rough and ready measurements.

As described by the manufacturer:

Tang Band’s line of patented speaker modules are designed for modern audio applications such as sound bars, desktop multimedia speakers, flat panel tv speakers, and portable audio systems. Don’t let Tang Band’s diminutive driver modules fool you; each is built with a passive radiator that extends midbass frequency response, allowing these to mate to a subwoofer system quite easily.

The T1-1942S speaker module from Tang Band and is built around a passive radiator assisted, polypropylene-composite 46 mm dome driver. This allows for a very full frequency response from a single, small driver. Advantages of this type of speaker design include the elimination of crossover components in the critical midrange, superb off-axis response due to the use of a small driver (without hot spots), and perfect time-alignment.

The specs looked promising, claiming 78Hz through 20kHz.  The response graph looked like it would usefully reach down to 100Hz, at which point I’d cross over to a sub anyhow:

T1-1942S-spl

This is a pretty deep range for such a small package, achieved with the passive radiator.  Tang Band has a bunch of patents, some based on the illustrations clearly covering this unit, but nothing that a quick skim showed especially interesting to an unwashed end user.  They directly form parts via injection instead of gluing discrete pieces together, and so on.  I was curious to see them in person.

Here’s what the units look like in my hand, front and back:

They feel solid, but have no way to disassemble nondestructively.  I immediately hated the crappy, tiny connector which forced me to resolder the driver itself; no big deal, I’m clearly not using as the manufacturer intended, probably in a TV:

Tang Band incorporated mounting tabs and a two-pin wiring harness jack into the T1-1942S to facilitate mounting and amplifier connection to the optional KIT-0041 speaker module mounting kit with amplifier. For custom applications, two polarity-indicated solder points are built onto the driver PCB.

IMG_20130918_140146

I wired this up through an 80Hz high pass filter as the manufacturer recommends, and made five frequency sweeps with a cheap, generically calibrated ECM8000 microphone:

  1. 12 inches from center of module on axis
  2. 1 inch from tweeter on axis
  3. 1 inch from passive radiative on axis
  4. 24 inches from center of module on axis
  5. 12 inches from center of module on axis (desktop)

The first four had the module suspended from wire shelving with about a .25in gap.  The last had it lying face-up on a butcher block surface.

I’m in-between workshops right now so these were not careful tests.  Just to make sure you don’t get the impression that this was tightly controlled, here you can see it sitting right next to the acoustically reflective monitor for the desktop 12″ test, comb filter galore:

IMG_20130924_095316

Here is the suspension mount, and perspective from ear level.  The shelves are of wire of varying thicknesses all less than .25″ wire, well below a 1/4th wavelength for the frequencies of note.  I doubt diffraction is playing a big role.  The geometry of the desk is also such that there is no direct reflection off the monitor or rear wall when suspended.

Finally, here are the measured SPLs.  The first graph is unsmoothed and the second smoothed to 1/3 octave. The absolute numbers aren’t comparable, so I added offsets to set the single octave smoother curve equal at 1kHz.

There’s no way that the practical range goes down to 78Hz as claimed, but it’s as good as I was hoping for.  There’s no suprise that the manufacturer’s curve looks better – it’s their job to measure in a way that it will.  Maybe they aimed their microphone at the passive, but the way I measured wasn’t fair either.  Suspending in the air lost some bass extension.  Touching the modules with my fingertips while hanging indicated pendulous modes at lower frequencies, which may be one reason they performed better lying on the desk.  One might be able to get that back when suspended simply by attaching more mass.

I was much more disappointed by the high end.  My lame measurements can’t be blamed for the consistent fall off after about 5kHz, which doesn’t look anything like Tang Band’s graph.  You might be able to push this speaker to 10kHz at low volumes, but it can’t possibly reach 20kHz.

I have a sub on a lower shelf of the desk that handles the low end.  The midrange is very clean and I get good imaging.  My ears can only hear up to about 15kHz and I experimented with correcting the high end, pushing up gradually around 10k to get a little more high frequency extension, but AB testing showed me it just wasn’t significant.

Regardless of the curves, subjectively I’m finding myself quite satisfied.  I’ve been listening to them in the suspended position at ear level on either side of my monitor while working for the last two days.  In this fixed-position, near field application my impression is similar to wearing a good pair of headphones, without managing a cable or getting sweaty ears.   I will be using these.

12 responses to “Tang Band T1-1942S speakers

  1. Shayd

    if you still on the speaker can you please please make a video of how does it sound how long it is and does that passive radiator actually do something

    • Hi Shayd,

      I’m still using the speakers and very happy with them in the very specific way I’m using them at a standing desk. They have to be combined with a subwoofer, which I have under my desk facing the wall. It’s pretty hard to objectively judge sound quality through a video, however, I’ll make a video about the desk itself in a later post.

      The speakers are compact, 6.06″ H x 2.13″ W x 1.19″ D according to Parts Express. The passive radiator is an essential part of the acoustic design and allows much lower tuning of the tiny box than could be achieved with a sealed or ported enclosure – that’s the only reason these reach as low as they do. It also makes the speakers less sensitive, which is fine with me since I’m not trying to fill a room with sound – they are about two feet from my head in the sweet spot, a near field application.

      • Shayd

        Thanks a lot, I’m building small portable speaker and I though the passive radiator gives them much better sound compared to the standalone drivers. They are priced at 50$ after all and I just hoped to see how the heck 1 inch driver makes air move enough for the radiator to move, if any interested I’m trying to copy-cat Bose Link Mini

      • Shayd

        Still there? I had hoped you would record of how they sound or how loud they get, I can’t possibly find separate passive radiator small like this

      • Hi, still here. I haven’t posted a follow up because I’ve been travelling. I’ll consider making a video that demonstrates how they sound in my particular setup.

        Placement relative to walls and reinforcement of the low end with a subwoofer makes all the difference in both volume and spectral response.

        These speakers have relatively low sensitivity, so unless you are doing something near field don’t expect them to be loud and still sound good. I’m using them only a few feet from my head.

  2. Anonymous

    Do you by any chance know of similar speakers? The ones that have passive radiator?

  3. Shayd

    I don’t wanna be pushy but :/ It’s been 2 months

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