I picked up a Behringer B215A Powered Speaker and it served me well for just under a year. I somehow blew the tweeter during a Xome performance! Imagine that!
By the time I thought about it again and went to dig out the warranty information, the one-year warranty period had expired. Pretty typical thing for me to do. So I figured that I’d crack ‘er open and see what going on in there.
Opening up the cabinet was easy enough except some of the screws holding the thing together were recessed so far down in the back of the cabinet that my trusty screwdriver would not reach. Actually, most of the screws were that way. I went to the hardware store and picked up an extra long Philips screwdriver — a 20 inch long one to be exact. I measured things up and you would need at least a 9 inch long shaft on the screwdriver to get these screws out. Most of the screws were the same but there were two that were shorter than the others and the screws used for the handles were different.
So, after all the screws were out, the front and the back of the speaker came right apart. If you are doing this yourself, be extra careful as both the front and the back are big and heavy and could fall over. Prop up one side on a wall, chair, table, etc. You don’t want one side falling over and yanking too hard on the wires.
When I got to the point where I could reach inside the speaker, I marked a + and – on the respective connectors with a Sharpie for both the compression driver (tweeter) and the woofer. I also marked each of the wires themselves as “woofer” and “tweeter” so I wouldn’t get those mixed up. Then I removed the quick disconnects on each set of speaker terminals. Now the cabinet is in two pieces!
The compression driver on these speakers screw right in to the back of the horn. Simple enough to remove, right? I twisted and turned it but it would not budge. I expended all my vast muscular energy on it and could not get it to twist off. I noticed that the diameter of the compression driver was about the same as an oil filter on a car. A quick measure told me it was 3.5″ in diameter. So I went and picked up a cheap oil filter wrench. The oil filter wrench worked flawlessly. The magnet in the compression driver did attract the metal on the wrench a bit though. A couple of light taps and some twisting and the driver was off!
Behringer uses some sort of loc-tite material on the threads to secure everything in place making it difficult to remove.
I did a little research online and found that the threaded opening on the Behringer compression driver is actually a pretty standard size — 1 3/8″ in diameter with 18 TPI (threads per inch). For a replacement, I wound up going with a Selenium D220TI (8 ohm) available at Parts Express. It cost me $45.84. There was another one available in the $30 – $40 range but I decided to go wit the D220TI because of the rated power handling. Supposedly the original Behringer HF compression drivers replacements run in the $70 – $80 range. The few places that I found online indicated that they are “special order” items and it would take a while to get them to me. The specs on the Selenium are better, it was around half the price and I could get it in a few days so the decision was pretty much a no-brainer. There was also another consideration in the decision process… the Selenium has a titanium diaphragm and the original Behringer 34T30D8 has an aluminum diaphragm according to the markings on the driver.
Now, when I purchased this speaker, I was under the impression that it had a titanium diaphragm driver… the box it came in says it has a titanium diaphragm driver… Behringer’s Web site says it has an aluminum diaphragm driver and some retail Web sites say it has a titanium, others say it has an aluminum.
I feel that there’s something weird going on so I’m probably going to write a nice letter to Behringer to see what they have to say… but I digress…!
So, I popped in the new Selenium driver, reconnected the wires and put everything back together. The Selenium is a lot bigger and heavier that the Behringer counterpart but it screws on to the back of the horn and fits inside the cabinet just fine. The oil filter wrench won’t strap around the new driver — it was just way too big. I just screwed it in as tight as I could by hand.
As for the sound, I have only done a brief test bit it sounds excellent. I hope that the new Selenium driver will hold up to the abuse I sometimes put it through.
By the way, the Behringer B212A supposedly uses the same setup except the woofer is a 12″ as opposed to the 15″ in the B215A. You should be able to replace the stock Behringer compression driver with a new one like I did.
Important news: I have heard from a few folks that the there isn’t enough room inside of the B212 series (specifically the B212A and B212D) powered speakers to accommodate the Selenium driver. It’s just too big. If you really want to try though, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Here are some extra photos: