CPI vs. Federal or something else?

JimRockford

Member
Dec 1, 2023
15
3
Texas
I have an application where we need to install speakers on a UC Tahoe. The speakers cannot show at all, and space on this truck is highly limited. The one spot I can find is to drop the splash guard behind the front bumper and I have room to mount two speakers on top of the cross member where the rear end of the splash guard bolts.

I was leaning toward two Federal AS124 speakers, but after reading another post here began looking at CPI. That said, I have used a lot of Federal, but never had a CPI speaker to my recollection. At one time, they made a dual speaker, but it has been discontinued. Sales suggested the CPI SA4206 Compact Speaker with L Bracket. See attached.

I'm very old school and grew up on Federal lights, sirens, and Motorola radios, so I have to check my bias at times. For those who have experience with with CPI, I would greatly appreciate your insight and wisdom.

, I believe I can make either fit in the designated location, but I think the CPI will mount easier.

Thanks in advance.
 

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CPI stands for cast products incorporated. They make cast metal speaker housings, generally they use Atlas or other existing speaker drivers. CPI speakers are absolutely perfect for some applications. I'm not sure the additional cost is justified in some applications. But if they're the only thing that fits or the only way to properly mount them, they are a fine option. Like most modern warning equipment all the major brands are absolutely acceptable and there's not a great amount of variation in actual performance. The bigger variation is between speaker types versus brands. For example, a slimline speaker from federal signal and a slim line from Whelen are going to be very similar. In fact, they will be more similar than a full-size speaker from either company when compared to that company's slim line. I would figure out exactly the size constraints and the mounting method and simply buy whatever major brand is currently least expensive as long as it fits.
 
Thanks, John. The Cast Products speakers are actually cheaper then the Federal--no surprise there, and the fact that they're made from metal isn't a bad thing when mounting low on a 4WD Tahoe with rocks, etc.

"EMT-P" is the designation here in Texas as well. Got my "red patch" as a teenager. 18 at the fire department, and turned 21 while in the police academy. The joke was that I had to have my mom buy my bullets for for the first few weeks in academy. :p
 
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Thanks, John. The Cast Products speakers are actually cheaper then the Federal--no surprise there, and the fact that they're made from metal isn't a bad thing when mounting low on a 4WD Tahoe with rocks, etc.

"EMT-P" is the designation here in Texas as well. Got my "red patch" as a teenager. 18 at the fire department, and turned 21 while in the police academy. The joke was that I had to have my mom buy my bullets for for the first few weeks in academy. :p
I use CPI housings on all the ambulances I spec. I just make sure that they use standard drivers I can get replacements for. Sounds like a good choice for this application.
 
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Sorry to keep beating this horse gentlemen, but I'm now hearing that a particular solution pairs well with a Feniex Triton speaker. Over the years I've driven fire engines, ambulances, and police cars, but to my knowledge I have never encountered a Feniex speaker. I guess I'm just too old school.

Any insight on these speakers would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.
 
Sorry to keep beating this horse gentlemen, but I'm now hearing that a particular solution pairs well with a Feniex Triton speaker. Over the years I've driven fire engines, ambulances, and police cars, but to my knowledge I have never encountered a Feniex speaker. I guess I'm just too old school.

Any insight on these speakers would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Siren speakers are generally "slim line" or "full bell". Slim line are not much thicker than the driver and generally the driver mounts backwards and the body of the speaker is the "cone", or there is a specific integral driver built into the body. Basically every company has a slim line speaker, many have one of each type (reversed standard driver and integral).I don't think any one is necessarily better, but all slim lines will be debatably less effective than a full speaker. Does it matter in real life? What matters is mounting. The more forward and unobstructed the better. If a slim speaker fits behind your grill and the full size would be buried in the engine compartment, the slim line wins. Next to each other all other things equal, the bigger bell should be louder and less distorted. That said the difference is negligible with modern sirens and speakers.

I don't think anything pairs with anything else necessarily, aside from maybe a 200 watt bp200 and an eq2b. I don't know why Feniex's slim speaker would be any better than another, and certainly not siren specific. The caveat might be if the speaker driver is not 11 ohms (standard), in which case it would need to be paired with the specific siren it was meant for. The Feniex speaker is 11 ohms and 100watts, so that doesn't apply, it is a standard slim line speaker, I have not seen anything saying it is better or worse than any other.. In the early 2000s Whelen built a 100w speaker (xecutor) that came close to 200w performance. It weighed 20 some pounds and was a square foot in size. That's the level of design change you need to start having a brand based pairing matter. While I love the Xecutor, it's a cinder block. Don't believe the hype, no one single company found a magic combination of slim speaker and siren that is worlds apart. I would say if anything, speakers are getting more similar, not less.


You can compare speakers pretty easily on the strobed n more site. There are slim line "reversed driver", slim "integral driver", and full size from most companies. The designs are all pretty close within each type.

So...... If a speaker is 11ohms and 100watts the only other speaker specific factor is cone design, which does not vary that much IMHO.

---Simple answer; Mounting is what matters.The less obstructed and forward the better. Whatever brand accomplishes that is the best choice.
 
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Thanks John,

I think as far as paring, perhaps they were referencing frequency range for the horn which is what this product is all about; or the cost. Always, follow the money. I had just read about issues with bad solder joints in the Feniex. I do find it interesting that Feniex claims the Tritan is a "Roaring 124 Decibel Speaker," and then boasts the Vanguard has "127 db" of output. Both are low profile speakers, but if the same manufacturer is running their tests in the same manner, that's a very significant difference in volume that I have to doubt. Especially in light of your comment above.

That CPI I mentioned in the OP has a bit of a bell. I can't find any specs on it, but guessing two of those are going to offer the best blast for this particular project.

Thanks again.
 
Thanks John,

I think as far as paring, perhaps they were referencing frequency range for the horn which is what this product is all about; or the cost. Always, follow the money. I had just read about issues with bad solder joints in the Feniex. I do find it interesting that Feniex claims the Tritan is a "Roaring 124 Decibel Speaker," and then boasts the Vanguard has "127 db" of output. Both are low profile speakers, but if the same manufacturer is running their tests in the same manner, that's a very significant difference in volume that I have to doubt. Especially in light of your comment above.

That CPI I mentioned in the OP has a bit of a bell. I can't find any specs on it, but guessing two of those are going to offer the best blast for this particular project.

Thanks again.
Everyone fudges their db ratings a bit, there is no standard for testing at least as far as ads are concerned. I wouldn't really put much stock in db ratings, they were obtained under circumstances ideal for testing that product. 100w 11ohms isn't going to be that much different from speaker to speaker, so like you said I would have some doubts about how that compares in real circumstances. I don't think larger companies like CPI worry about bragging about their db levels since they tend to sell to builders and agencies who want a solid 100w speaker based on size and build specs.

I agree that original CPI is going to be the best. Nice large bell for the depth, solid construction, easy to exchange drivers. Good value for the reputation and construction, good size for having a bell.

I put two Whelen SA series slim speakers on the brush guard (out in front unobstructed) on some vehicles and tested them next to some ambulances with "through bumper" CPI full sized speakers. They were very close, the CPI ones were spread out about twice as far, and that seemed to be more of a factor as the Whelen ones at same spread (on saw horses) sounded similar. I do think the bumper mount CPI were less "raspy" at the low end, but they are also bolted through a bumper. The real difference was between speakers mounted behind the grill and on the push bumper. Same speakers, huge difference in perceived volume and tone.

So yeah, I still like your CPI option.
 

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