It is a definite norm for a speaker driver to be made in a round shape, but how about oval shaped speaker drivers? What’s your first impression when you see an oval shaped speaker? Weird? Cool? I will be honest, I will find it strange as I am too used to the round shape design. Heck, I have never seen a studio monitor having an oval shape speaker driver, so round shape wins indefinitely in terms of sound quality?
Then I start to recall all the different shapes of tweeters such as ribbon, teardrops, etc. All of them, proudly announce that they are better in sound quality at high frequency and will walk over their competitors anytime. Round vs oval speakers, who will stand victorious? The answer is there are no clear winners which also means neither one is completely better than the other one.
Supporting the result
If oval shape speakers will always be inferior to round speakers then why are reputable brands still using them. We are not just talking about car speakers that usually make oval shape speaker drivers due to reasons like space constraints inside a car. I am talking about highly rated home audio speakers, such as Polk Audio flagship model LSiM705, which have oval shape drivers in the mix whereas their lower-end models are mainly round speaker drivers.
Then there’s KEF, another famous brand in the HiFi industry, which also uses the oval drivers for some of their speaker models.
Another brand which I can think of, not as famous, will be Linn Keltik floorstanding speakers that can produce exceptional lower frequency performance and also thrive on its musicality which is also why they are mainly used in a stereo setup (2.0) purely for music listening.
Of course, both shapes have its’ pros and cons, for instance, round speakers have lesser distortion and oval speakers have better bass responses due to their larger surface area. Also, another advantage of oval or oddly shaped speakers, is that they could offer more cone area in a tight area where round shape speaker driver couldn’t fit.
Still, in the end, it will really depend on who is building these drivers and how they are been implemented, the skill level of the engineer really makes a big difference. Take an example there are ribbon tweeters with their odd rectangular shape that can produce less harmonic distortion than conventional round shape soft dome tweeters.
Final Conclusion on Round vs Oval Speakers
If we look at the number of speaker models in the world that are using round speakers instead of oval, the winner is clearly the round-shaped driver. But we can’t count out oval shape speaker driver just yet. Our living spaces are getting smaller, and we hardly have space for bulky speakers, this is the reason why more and more consumers are choosing soundbars or satellites over boxy or bulky speakers.
There’s a potential that more brands will choose oval shape drivers since they can make their speakers more compact and allowing them to fit into modern homes. Maybe that’s when oval speakers will reign supreme and be the number 1 choice when it comes to building a loudspeaker. For the do-it-yourself loudspeakers designing, it will still be difficult since it is a lot easier to cut a round shape into the speaker cabinet than an oval/odd shape, so I guess it may never be popular among the DIYers.