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Alpine DDL-RT17S Component Speakers

Product Details
Manufacturer: Alpine
Website: http://www.alpine-electronics.co.uk/
Import: ¥32,550, Aus $399.99 (= £257.26 @ 28/8/11)

Six and a half inch component speakers from the DDLinear series, made especially to fit into stock locations in many Japanese cars as well as custom fitment. No grilles are supplied as they are for stock locations, but the exotic tweeters reach up to bat frequencies, (90kHz) while the DDLinear magnet drive system is all about, as described, linearity and accuracy. The midband speakers bear a solid aluminium phase plug and the surround is an exotic corrugated affair.

The tweeter mounting options are extensive and allow for use of external pods on swivel mounts to get the tweeters on-axis to your ears. The system also allows a wide selection of increasing HF attenuation via adding resistors within the simple sliding-top inline passives, by moving a jumper section. Another pair of jumpers allows you to change the phase of the tweeter after installation. Very small and fine and high end style looking.

You get a lot of tweeter furniture. Foam gasketing and fully three sets of adaptor lead-plug assemblies, to fit with the main shapes of Japanese cars’ factory speaker loom plugs.

- Impedance: 4 Ohms
- Power Handling: 40W RMS/160W peak
- Ring-radiator Tweeter
- Passband: 28Hz to 90kHz
- Injection moulded polymer chassis, no grilles supplied
- Sensitivity (1w/1m): 91dB
- Two-way, swivel-pod mount tweeter as optional and pre-wired passive crossovers with 5-way HF attenuation
- Mounting Depth:57mm
- C/W, wires, gasketing, fixings, tweeter mounting hardware options including pods-on-swivels, manual, warranty card, selection of adaptor leads for Japanese car looms

Thiele/Small Parameters
ReDC 3.5 Ohms (resistance in Ohms)
Fs 65Hz (frequency it ‘wants’ to wobble at)
Qts 0.53 (Total ‘Q’)
Qms 6.5 (Mechanical ‘Q’)
Vas 11 Litres (Equivalent volume of air in ‘bounciness’)
Sd 129 sq. cm (area of cone)
Le 0.23mH (Inductance of coil in milliHenries)
Cms 0.48mm/N (mechanical compliance, or stiffness)
Mms 12g (moving mass in grammes)
Bl 5.5Tm (‘shove’ in Tesla-metres)

Editor Review : Alpine DDL-RT17S Two-Way component Speakers

Reviewed upon an Alpine MRX-F30 amplifier, these speaker are designed at huge efficiency to sound way better upon even stock radio outputs. But I did find they were a true 40w RMS set and were only too able to use all that the F30 gave out, despite the amp being rated at 4x50w rms. The F30 amp was noticeably sweeter than the Fusion one I had in the rig first but that is a much more affordable product.

I was told that UK ears ‘would not appreciate’ the sound of the DDLinears and was presented with them by way of entertaining diversion by the chap at Alpine -piquing my curiosity in the process, as he knew darn well it would!

So what was so strange about these speakers? The passives are prat-proofed with polarity really hard to cock up as the sizes and sexes of the snap-together gold plated crimps on the wires, under their clear plastic armour were such that as long as like was mated to like, there was only one way it could be done. The passives are very shiny and are filled with tiny jumpers and yet minimal componentry for the crossover function itself. The box shows two ways of mounting the tweeters and gives a lovely diagram regarding path length to your head from woofer versus tweeter and thus whether you should reverse the HF’s polarity or not and also, which of five tweeter attenuation settings were best.

I left it all on unattenuated HF, in correct phase and tweeters mounted in the pods. I was looking forward to this as these go up to a mighty 90kHz, meaning that at human audible frequencies, they haven’t even begun to think about stress, like a Veyron at a mere one hundred miles an hour – hardly started.

I recently caused pain and illness to the resident reference headunit – a Pioneer DEH-P88RSII, so was using a shiny Kenwood KDC-9537U instead. Top of the line from 2010, it has a lovely Organic Electro-Luminescent panel on the front, unlike any 2011 model. Anyway, I spun up an old recording made back when a producer had made a mint before easy CD copying and was able to spend all he liked on his lads’ album. It was called “Welcome to the Pleasuredome” as was thoroughly overproduced and bears playing on real, pukka HiFi, and was, all through the Eighties at audio shows.

The set up revealed a lovely technical ability of the speakers, with the most astonishing and truly high-end feeling to the sheer retrieval of information. They played the music but also the subtle feel and odd edges that disappear when the equipment isn’t proper posh. It’s oddly hard to describe but the fans of F#1 Status and Clarion HXD2 and Pioneer P99 and ODR all know…

It’s about Nipponese audio-as-art with absolute precision. I can understand that the Japanese taste is different to European. German high end audio is similarly top-crisp and could be said to be lacking the warmth the UK ear seems to prefer. Yet the speakers did make good bass, excellent in fact and were easy to blend on in with first some bigger speakers and then a subwoofer. The resultant system was such fun, I just played it for pleasure when I should have been working. So, if you fancy a mad importado-punt on EBay from Oz, then go for it, I happily offer a Talk Audio Recommended flag as they score so well in so many directions, even that of price for what they do for the money is only equalled at similar and higher prices with such exotica as Focal and JL Audio.

In a Nutshell

Posher in a whole-class kind of a way than the sort of ‘replacement speakers’ that we get sold in Europe and Nipponese in particular with those cute tweeter pods that we would worry about theft-attracting in Europe, were they upon our dash tops. Sounding crisp, clean, analytical and incredibly detailed and beautiful. These are serious speakers in a flavour many UK Alpine fans would love, but not enough would buy to have them stocked in Blighty. They are available on English language sites in Australia, of course, being much closer to Japan but you’d be on a serious long range deal for warranty!

Overall 8.8
Sound Quality 9
Build Quality 9
Power Handling 9
Efficiency 9
Value For Money 8

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