HiVi C3N-III 3″ Full-Range Driver Review

HiVi C3N-III Review

HiVi C3N-III Frequency Response (manufacturer)

The Frequency Response plot of the C3N-III above is by HiVi.This is with the driver mounted onto an IEC baffle. Note the absence of a baffle step.

Fig 1 – C3N-III RAW Frq Response • Baffle Width = 5″

Fig 1 is the response of the C3N-III in a 1.5 liters sealed box that I used in the Super-Micro. The baffle step is now clearly visible when the baffle is 5″ wide. The step is quite strong, about  -6dB less from 2kHz. I didn’t find this objectionable during auditioning but if need be, a simple inductor and a resistor can easily tame the step.

Fig 2 – C3N-III Waterfall

Fig 2 is the Waterfall plot of the C3N-III. There are two main artifacts, first one at 2.5kHz and the second at 12kHz. Again, during auditioning, they are inaudible.

Fig 3 – C3N-III Toneburst Energy Storage

The Toneburst plot (Fig 3) recorded the unwanted energy (light blue slices) at 2.5kHz and those from 7kHz onwards.

Fig 4 – C3N-III Spectrogram

The Spectrogram (Fig 4) is a 2D view of the above. The blobs of green at 1.5kHz do not last more than 6msec. I didn’t pick out any smearing when playing music.

Fig 5 – C3N-III Step Response

Fig 5 is the Step response. It is interesting to find there are two peaks. The first is obviously the main step. A fraction later, there is another peak, followed by a decay and wriggles. I’m speculating that the second peak is the one that is responsible for extending the bandwidth by way of vibrating the cone, hence the wriggles.

Fig 6 – C3N-III Distortion

Surprisingly, the C3N Harmonic Distortion (Fig 6) is quite impressive. 2nd Harmonic is at 0.261% while 3rd is 0.316%. THD (H2~H9) is 0.773%.


The HiVi C3N-III doesn’t measure as well as the Fountek FE85 but in use, I can’t hear any difference. Sound wise, the C3N-III is actually better. The treble is smooth unlike the brittleness in the Fountek FE85. It’s probably due to the paper cone used in the C3N-III whereas the Fountek FE85 cone is made of metal.

The C3N-III is quite enjoyable to listen to. From pop to instruments, there wasn’t any harshness. Midrange is clear, no veil and boxiness in voices. Even with the baffle step, the vocals are not shouty.

This HiVi C3N-III qualifies for the column in my Evolve clone. The price is right and the sound is great. The next step is to test out eight of them in a column and see how she performs.

Unless otherwise stated, all measurements were made in Full Space (4 pi) with the mic at 36 ins, tweeter axis. Impulse Window=5ms. No smoothing applied.