Lii Audio Crystal 10

Lii Audio’s Crystal 10 is a driver that really captures the imagination. Looking for all the world like a reinvented Coral Beta 10, this beauty promises high efficiency and wide bandwidth, and comes with a price tag that, while not uber-expensive, is in the upper range of modern wide band drivers. Especially paired with Lii’s proprietary cabinet, a design of understated elegance, the Crystal 10 seems like it might be a final solution for a high efficiency single driver setup. After reading reports about the driver, and even receiving favorable feedback directly comparing these to the illustrious Feastrex drivers, its safe to say that I’ve been very curious about the Crystal 10 from the moment I first saw them.

I was fortunate to pick up a used pair with very low hours, and in perfect new condition. In the hand, these are well made drivers with a substantial feel. No corners seem to have been cut in building these, and other than the somewhat tacky plastic “crystal like” phase plugs, they appear to be first class builds. They look like a race car, and the promise of fast transients and speed just oozes from these drivers.

In practice, set up in my open backed Telefunken cabinets, the Crystal 10 deliver that speed, and a clarity that is very pleasing without being too harsh. After just 20-30 hours of run time, the drivers settled in and began to sound quite good. Bass was surprisingly good for a driver like this, one that is not really optimized for open baffles. While not room shaking, bass was clean and with quite good response. But it is the midrange that reveals the strength of these drivers; they have a pleasing sound that is clearly better than their more affordable cousin, the Fast 8 and also trounces all of the Fostex or Lowther drivers I have heard. For a whizzer cone design, the Crystal drivers sound nicely seamless and lack most of the harshness that many whizzer drivers exhibit.

In comparison to the Coral Flat 10, things get a little more interesting. The Corals are more relaxed while the Crystal drivers have a good bit more clarity. Efficiency is similar, with perhaps a slight nod to the Lii drivers, and the Lii do have a bit more evident low-end response. For those who favor the laid back sound, the Corals may be more suitable for the long run, but I think overall the Crystal 10 are a step up.

The one similar sized full range driver that, for me, eclipse the Crystal in pretty much every way on open baffle are the Visaton B200. The Visaton are optimized for OB, and offer more bass, almost the same mid range clarity but without any hint of sharpness or fatigue in the upper range. Slightly less efficient, the Visaton on open baffle nevertheless won the battle for me, and at 1/3 the price.

I also chose the Lii F-15 over the Crystal 10 in direct back-to-back comparison. Although the Crystal 10 do have a bit more clarity than the F-15, for me it was no contest. The F-15 are more pleasing sounding in my space, and their huge soundscape and overall tonal presence is hard for any driver to match.

So, although the Crystal 10 were not my first choice, they do offer a level of performance that is absolutely top-tier and are capable of satisfying even the pickiest listener. Keep in mind that my implementation of the drivers was not ideal; these will shine in a cabinet. I would love to hear these drivers in Lii’s elegant curved cabinet, and expect that it would be a tough act to follow presented in a design specifically optimized for the driver. These are great drivers and hats off to Lii Audio for stepping up to the plate and producing such wonderful, carefully crafted drivers. The wide band market is more certainly interesting with Lii in the game!

Nicely crafted high-end drivers. I love the greenish hue to the surrounds. These are very classic looking drivers.