Honeycreeper – Vifa P17WJ-00-08 with PL27TG35-06

Honeycreeper

The Honeycreeper is based on a vintage Vifa woofer, a PL17WJ-00-08. This midwoofer is one of the classics by Vifa. It’s blessed with a smooth frequency response, an extended bandwidth and finally a friendly roll-off. Perfect for 2-way designs.

For the treble, I used another vintage Vifa, a PL27TG35-06. This tweeter was Vifa’s top of the line tweeter then. Unfortunately, it is no longer manufactured. The P17 on the other hand, survived after the demise of Vifa. It was so well regarded that Scanspeak decided to continue making this wonderful midwoofer.

Fig 1 –  Frequency Response of P17WJ-00-08  •  Baffle Width=10″

The Black plot in Fig 1 is the RAW response of the P17 in a box with a baffle width of 10″. Due to limitations in my lab, frequencies below 500Hz are in nearfield. The Blue plot is with a 12dB/oct low pass filter.

Fig 2 – Vifa PL27TG35-06 Frequency Response

The Black plot in Fig 2 is the RAW response of the Vifa PL25TG35-06 tweeter. This is with the tweeter flush mounted. The Red plot is with a 12dB/oct high pass filter in place.

Fig 3 – P17 with LPF  •  PL27 with HPF

The plots in Fig 3 show the two drivers with their respective crossover networks. Acoustically, they are crossing at 3kHz. 

Fig 4 – Crossover Passband

The Black plot in Fig 4 is the summation of the two drivers. No cancellations are recorded in the passband, indicating that the drivers are crossing properly.

Fig 5 – Honeycreeper Frequency Response

The Honeycreeper response is in Fig 5. It is incredibly flat, save for a slight dip at about 4.2kHz. That notch is from the PL27 tweeter as it’s visible in Fig 2. The tweeter extends to 15kHz after which it rolls off gently.

Fig 6 – Null Response

To check on the crossover, I flipped the tweeter wires around. The Violet plot in Fig 6 shows a notch at 3kHz, exactly where the two drivers are crossing (Fig 4). This confirms that the P17 and the PL27 are crossing at the correct frequency.

Fig 7 – RAW and Nearfield Responses

The Black plot below 500Hz in Fig 7 is the response that includes my room reflections. Disregard the chunk of frequencies missing from 100Hz~200Hz. It’s an anomaly caused by a floor bounce.

My area of interest is from 100Hz~50Hz. As can be seen, the spl of the bass is quite close to the midrange. This response is in Full Space (4 pi). When the Honeycreeper is used in a smaller room or against a back wall (2 pi), the bass will sound louder.

Fig 8 – Step Response

The Step Response of the Honeycreeper shows clean transients in both the tweeter and the woofer. The woofer in particular caught my attention. The attack is a straight line, ending with a single peak. This indicates it’s a very responsive woofer with excellent control over the cone. 

Fig 9 – Waterfall

The Waterfall plot doesn’t show anything serious in the response. Though some artifacts are recorded in the treble, they are not audible. 

Fig 10 – Spectrogram

This Spectrogram in Fig 10 gives a better view of the treble. From 3kHz upwards, there are no signs of smearing. Below 3kHz, some ripples from the woofer cone are visible. The strongest is at about 1.2kHz but it is fully dissipated by 6 msec. During auditioning, I couldn’t pick up any smearing from these ripples.

Fig 11 – Impedance

The Honeycreeper is a friendly load. Generally, it’s above 7Ω except in the high treble where it drops to 5Ω. Interestingly, the electrical phase is also well behaved. The bass reflex tuning is just below 50Hz, approximately at 47Hz.

Sound of the Honeycreeper

This speaker is for listeners that value vocals. The midrange is crystal clear. No veil, no shrieking, no harshness. It is so accurate that it can be used for Nearfield Monitoring in recording studios.

In California Dreaming (The Mamas and The Papas), their vocal harmony was in full display. I could make out their individual voices clearly. Though everyone of them was excellent on their own, they blended into one when all four members sang together (Dedicated to the One I Love). That’s where the invisible fifth member appears. It is this uniqueness that separates them from the rest. They are that good.

Next up is the legendary Nana Mouskouri. Her singing will kill badly designed speakers. I’m relieved the Honeycreeper passed with flying colors. In Amazing Grace, there was absolutely no shrillness. And man, that vibrato of hers. Keeps you hanging for more.

Another great that I couldn’t resist listening to is Roy Obison. In A Love So Beautiful: Roy Obison and The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra album, In Dreams was out of this world. I think he must have soared through three octaves.

The Honeycreeper is no slouch in the bass too. It’s tight and fast. No bloom in the notes. Listening to UFO Tofu (Bela Fleck and the Flecktones) was an absolute delight. I particularly enjoyed the track Magic Fingers. The bass came across clearly, even having some textures at times. Throughout the audition, never once did the bass overwhelmed the midrange. The midrange is always slightly forward in the soundstage. Just the way I like my music to sound like.

All things considered, the Honeycreeper sounds like an expensive speaker but in reality, the cost is not exorbitant like high-end speakers are. The only drawback is the PL27 tweeter. It performs fabulously but sadly, it’s no longer in production. Perhaps at a later date, I’ll design another version with a Seas or Scanspeak tweeter that is easily available. Till then, I intend to enjoy the Honeycreeper as it is now.

Crossover is available on request. Free for DIY. Not for Commercial use.
Unless otherwise stated, all measurements were made with the mic at 36 ins, tweeter axis. Impulse Window=5ms. No smoothing applied.