After some urging from my other half, I decided it was high time I finished off the speaker and tested the Coral 8A-40s that Yeo was gracious enough to loan to me. So I installed a pair of binding posts to clean up the wire mess. And I installed rubber gaskets so that I could create an air tight seal for the drivers and the cabinet.
The first order of business was to test the Coral 8A-40s. Being new old stock, I was conscious of the fact that the drivers would not sound their best initially. And as I had already surmised they did not sound good at all initially. I left them playing off and on for about 2 weeks. I estimate that the drivers must have played about 50-60hours. I could tell that they were improving. Even my other half commented that the speakers sounded good. With this affirmation I thought it was time for me to sit down for a listen.
The Coral 8A-40s sounded very similar to the Coral Beta 6s. Guess there is a family resemblance. These drivers can rock, put in some classic rock and you are good to go. Put on some slower Jazz numbers and I discovered that the vocals were good too. Music was "fast" and "tight". However, the drivers exhibited the same high frequency roll off, just like its more sort after brethren, the Coral Beta 6. And like I said earlier, the music was missing some ambiance. I could not get used to this especially when I had an pair of ESLs that excelled in this department. I know that there are many who will not agree with my evaluation of the Coral 8A-40's high frequency roll off. But these are what my ears are telling me. To all Coral owners, you have a gem of a driver, and for the price there is no speaker thant can compare.
As soon as I had the Fostex FE206Es installed, and had music playing through them, I realised that they were a whole order more musical and also clearer compared to the Coral 8A-40s. It was like a veil was lifted. Just the clarity of the music was astounding. To make sure this was not a figment of my imagination, I swapped between the Corals 8A-40s and Fostex FE206Es a couple of times and even asked my other half to have a listen. And both of us preferred the Fostex FE206Es. However I noticed that the Coral 8A-40s had a slightly fuller mid bass, which made male voices and rock music sound forward. Both drivers played quite low, Corals 8A-40s till about 49hz and the Fostex FE206E till about 43Hz before dropping off. Here is another view of the Fostex and Coral Full Range Drivers. Not all 8" FR drivers are made equal... the massive magnets does make a difference....