SEAS Unveils New W18NX003 Excel Nextel Woofer

December 18 2020, 09:10
SEAS had a busy 2020, signaling the company's 70th Anniversary  and fulfilling on its anticipated plan of updating the existing product line with new improved models, as well as refreshing old  industry favorites carefully crafted by its Norwegian engineering team. The new W18NX003 (E0096-08) continues SEAS' high-end paper cone heritage with the 2-layer Nextel coating technology, combined with an improved magnet system design and titanium voice coil formers.
The new W18NX003 woofer is a successor to the famous W18NX001 (E0042-08) from SEAS, and it was developed in cooperation with the famous Danish loudspeaker designer, Troels Gravesen. Not surprisingly, Gravesen built another one of its stunning loudspeaker kits using the SEAS W18NX003, and the project was announced in parallel with the driver itself (see below).
As SEAS details, the W18NX003 (E0096-08) brings a newly updated linear low-distortion magnet system design for maximum sound quality into its range of paper cone woofers. The new FEA optimized magnet system applies precisely fitted copper parts and, according to SEAS, represents "the state-of-the-art regarding linearity and low distortion."

In this case, the paper cone is top coated with a unique Nextel treatment combined with a back coating for extra damping and giving an unparalleled smooth and detailed paper cone sound. For those not familiar, Nextel is a trademarked range of coatings from German company Mankiewicz Gebr. & Co., famous for its matt, suede-like results, extremely popular in electronics and speaker cabinet finishes used by many European brands.

The Nextel coating was first introduced by SEAS in the W15LY001 and W18NX001 drivers, introduced at the CES Show in 2005, and instantly received appraisal for its natural and pleasant sound quality. As SEAS explains, "The two layers are completely different, with a base-layer underneath and a topcoat applied in a second operation. The result is a cone which is a bit heavier than a classical paper cone, but the damping properties are unparalleled."

The color of the new coating is also a bit lighter than previous designs and it now matches the color of the latest SEAS Excel Graphene products, allowing designers to combine paper and magnesium cone drivers in one loudspeaker.

The titanium voice coil former in the W18NX003 is another refined detail, applied with a long copper clad aluminum winding for excellent force transfer, and resulting in improved transient sound reproduction and large linear excursion. The construction of the former and its connection to the cone allows for very high power-handling, suitable for modern amplifiers (e.g. Class-D).

A unique adaptive rubber surround reduces radial resonances and prevents surround break up at large excursions, while a low mechanical and electromagnetic damping ensure high quality reproduction of even the finest micro details in music. The extremely stiff and stable injection moulded metal basket keeps the critical components in perfect alignment. Large windows in the basket, both above and below the spider, contribute to reduce sound reflection, air flow noise and keep cavity resonance to a minimum.

Like its W18NX001 predecessor, the new W18NX003 maintains a smooth response with no disturbances in the critical midrange and a roll-off profile allowing simple crossover networks to be used. As a result of the improved design, the W18NX003 offers noticeably improved dynamic headroom, with the ability to keep focus in loud passages. Overall, SEAS states, "The W18NX003 provides a remarkable balance, with a synergy of resolution of details and a non-aggressive presentation."
Photo courtesy of Troels Gravesen - DIY Loudspeaker
As Troels Gravesen adds, "The W18NX001 has been one of my few favorite 6" drivers for many years and I have used it in more than ten constructions from 2-ways to 4-ways, and always liked the synergy of resolution and non-aggressive presentation. Thus, replacing the W18NX001 for a new version with unchanged cone and suspensions, but with improved magnet system, titanium voice coil former and increased Qm, my expectations were high. The sonic signature as such is the same, except I found myself playing louder than I used to do. I couldn't be more pleased than introducing these new drivers in my latest SEAS statement speaker, the CNO-4."

You can see all the details of this project in Troels Gravesen's website here.
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