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jweb09
02-10-2010, 11:06 PM
Gentleman,

I understand that most folks get into DIY speakers since they represent value for money (Now of course there are others who do it as a passion & hobby)

I am looking for some ideas on speaker design that satisfies following requirements:
a) Has very high levels of transparency
b) Size is not more than 40 liters
c) Has lowest possible bass extension in the size limit

Now I am aware of iron's law (pick two of 3; sensitivity, size and bass extension). As you can see two I have picked are size and bass extension. I also understand that considering the size restriction I have, there is only so much bass you can get

As for value for money, Orion speakers can cost anywhere from 3K to 8K but considering what you get for that price, it is great value for money. My point here being I am looking for the best out there and that is not going to come cheap.

Look forward to getting few rich ideas. I am very ok with even just the drivers for two speakers costing as much as $2K - $3K

Jim

cjd
02-10-2010, 11:15 PM
40L? You may be interested in the Ansonica. Though I don't remember the actual volume that'll end up being. :) 9.5"x15x34" box, tuned to 24Hz on the port...

C

Silversmoky
02-10-2010, 11:20 PM
Check out some of Jed's designs. He has lots of options & will customize for you as well.
http://www.clearwaveloudspeaker.com/products.html
The Minuet5B or C52 might be of interest to you.

cjd
02-10-2010, 11:38 PM
Basically...

Pick a design. If it meets your size/output requirements, it'll meet your fidelity needs.

jweb09
02-10-2010, 11:54 PM
Jed seems to have some really good design. The one that I was most interested was Duet 10. While Aria sounds really cool too, my wife will not approve open waffle speaker. However Duet 10 was slightly on the larger size. But I guess if one goes with a 10" driver, that is probably the smallest size one is looking at.

Any other recommendations?

Rick Craig
02-11-2010, 10:49 AM
You might consider running the woofer with a plate amp that can provide some equalization. This can give you a compact sealed box and a -3db point in the 30-40hz range depending on the woofer.

Jonasz
02-11-2010, 11:12 AM
So why not build the Orion? They do sound great! :T

If you want something smaller and you like the Seas Excel sound you can always ask Jed to design a MTM with either the SS 6600 or D2608/913000 and the Seas Excel W16NX. Should be a great sounding speaker! :P

http://www.seas.no/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=67&Itemid=91

http://shop.speakerenco.nl/images/E0049-04_W16NX0_1.jpg

Jonasz
02-11-2010, 11:15 AM
Oh, almost forgot, the Seas Thor/Odin design with Jimangies modified crossover should also be a great sounding speaker for their size. :)

http://www.htguide.com/forum/showthread.php4?t=26754

JonMarsh
02-11-2010, 11:34 AM
Going with one of Jed's designs is a good idea, as he is geared up with his Clearwave Loudspeaker Design to develop and support client projects.

What are your woodworking and assembly skills like? What sort of a challenge do you want? Maybe you'd find something like this interesting...

http://www.htguide.com/forum/attachment.php4?attachmentid=16253&stc=1

If so, search for Ardent on the forum.

Warning: they're a lot of physical work and do require a saw a bit beyond a standard contractors saw (i.e., more cutting depth). Completed and assembled, about 125 lb, 40 liter volume for the woofers.

tktran
02-11-2010, 11:37 AM
IMHO the Thor/Odin is not a reference speaker.

I had the Thor (with the premium crossovers) but could never like the way they sounded. After I built Jim Mitchell's crossover and installed it in the Thor cabinet the sound was better, but of course if could not fix what was going on below 100Hz. Which is not very much at all. It measures down to about 60Hz (in-room) and sounds as deep as a good 5" two way standmount speaker. Which is dumbfounding, given that it is a large floorstander with a dual 6.5" woofers.

My conclusion is that the Thor's crossover is broken, and the cabinet/bass tuning is misaligned. If I had the energy to rebuild the cabinets I would experiment with around 48L bass reflex, tuned to around 24Hz.

Or save yourself the trouble, and buy Jim Salk's HT2-TL. (Thor Done Right)

If you really want to stick under 40L, my vote would be the Zaph Revelator Tower.

Bear
02-11-2010, 11:59 AM
Jed seems to have some really good design. The one that I was most interested was Duet 10. While Aria sounds really cool too, my wife will not approve open waffle speaker. However Duet 10 was slightly on the larger size. But I guess if one goes with a 10" driver, that is probably the smallest size one is looking at.

Any other recommendations?
I second Rick's suggestion. Consider whether you want a "full range" speaker or whether you are going to want/need a subwoofer. If the latter, then you may want to go with a slightly smaller cabinet and focus the design on integrating well with a sub of some sort. For me, I am in the process of breaking-in Jed's Minuet5B design (MTM with ScanSpeak 15cm woofers and Air Circ tweeter). Jed is good to work with, especially for first-time builders.

Other options to consider run the gamut of price and level of involvement. Figure out not only your dollar budget but also your time budget. Then triple both. :)

Another similar recent thread is here:
http://www.htguide.com/forum/showthread.php4?t=35916

jweb09
02-11-2010, 08:13 PM
John, Ardent premium sounds very interesting. However it seems design instructions are scattered in a long post with 1000+ messages. Is there any one place where the whole design is documented?

jweb09
02-11-2010, 08:15 PM
Rick and others,

This is just for my music and I do not plan ti buy a subwoofer. Size is a restriction as well. That doesn't leave me with very many options, unless some were to bend laws of physics.

Jed
02-11-2010, 08:57 PM
Jed seems to have some really good design. The one that I was most interested was Duet 10. While Aria sounds really cool too, my wife will not approve open waffle speaker. However Duet 10 was slightly on the larger size. But I guess if one goes with a 10" driver, that is probably the smallest size one is looking at.

Any other recommendations?

I have a new smaller version with dual Accuton C95s in TMM format. I haven't put it in the website yet, but it is documented in my forum if you want to take a peak at it. I've been pretty busy with various designs lately, so feel free to shoot me a PM if you want more info. I do feel that Accutons do bass REALLY well.

Jed

cjd
02-11-2010, 09:50 PM
John, Ardent premium sounds very interesting. However it seems design instructions are scattered in a long post with 1000+ messages. Is there any one place where the whole design is documented?

I believe he's working on a PDF version...

numberoneoppa
02-11-2010, 10:35 PM
I believe he's working on a PDF version...
Slowly, but surely. :3

Hdale85
02-11-2010, 10:51 PM
Yeah was going to say, Jon finished that design not to long ago and believe he's building a nice PDF guide. You'll be amazed at the instruction booklet when it comes about I'm sure :)

Can't go wrong with Jed's designs though, I've built 2 of them now and they were both fantastic. But this can be said about most of the designers here.

Rick Craig
02-12-2010, 01:53 AM
Rick and others,

This is just for my music and I do not plan ti buy a subwoofer. Size is a restriction as well. That doesn't leave me with very many options, unless some were to bend laws of physics.

Is your total cabinet maximum 40L? If so, after bracing and a possible subenclosure for a mid you may be looking at a single 7" or 8" driver. The Dayton RSS210 8" with an Accuton dome mid and RAAL tweeter would be a possibility. I'm working on the same combination now with the Scan-Speak 7" Illuminator (aluminum cone). Feel free to contact me if you're interested in a kit design.

Bastek
02-12-2010, 04:51 AM
For a relatively small tower (about 32L) Its hard to top this:
http://www.troelsgravesen.dk/SP44.htm
Or for a little larger 44L tower this looks great:
http://www.troelsgravesen.dk/jazzman.htm
I've built his "super mini" stand mount and it sounds great.

synthguy
02-12-2010, 02:11 PM
Basically...

Pick a design. If it meets your size/output requirements, it'll meet your fidelity needs.
Well... while that might work for most people, some of us are after a Holy Grail speaker, something that can compare to a high end Dayton, JM Lab, B&W or Wilson. Something which captures the magical axis of detail, accuracy, soundstaging and musicality. I made the mistake of going to one of our local audiophile shops called Audioport, and listened to one of the best live recordings I've ever come across, UK Live. As the fourth track decayed to silence with the crowd clapping, I was there, above the crowd in the recording station. It was an unfortunate revelation, because I was determined to have that in my music room one day, even though the system I heard it on used $40,000 Wilson speakers.

I did come across a pair of exceptional speakers, some TDL studio monititors, and a pair of AER Pisces bookshelves which are a Chinese knockoff of the B&W 705s, and the similarity is amazing! For the price I paid for them, $330 for the pair, they clobber just about anything under a grand. I'm listening to them right now, playing one of my mood music tracks I write to. They seem to use some HiVi drivers, but I can't be sure. The midwoofer is a gold kevlar cone, much like B&W's. The audio quality is amazing, with great imaging and soundstaging, and a load of detail, though being voiced more for acoustic and classical music, the midrange is a little too prominent for me. And being a budget audiophile design, it can be harsh and fatiguing with rock.

The one thing that bugs me is the ability of all the speakers I've been able to afford, is that they come just a bit short in the ability to retrieve all the detail in my music. I have a torture track I use from a videogame called Panzer Dragoon, an amazing electronic soundtrack of album quality. There is an odd sound the composer uses as a signature of a game melding technology and living things, and this sound has only popped out on a very few speakers.

evilskillit is going to build me a pair of Statement Monitors when I get the cost of a hit n run car wreck dealt with, but I've decided to relegate those to sudio monitor duties. Before the morons in control of our government completely wreck the dollar, I want some truly high end speakers myself, something with a magical, musical, spacious midrange and tweeter combo. If not for the rather narrow music area, I'd have settled on the full Statements. Like jweb, I'm looking for that magic speaker, and I'm determined to have it, whatever it might be.

villastrangiato
02-12-2010, 02:48 PM
Echoing other's on here, I'd definitely stay away from the Thor design - the Offset Transmission Line is not an optimal transmission line loading to begin with despite its popularity with many who claim to be TL "experts". The configuration it uses is fine for minimizing resonances in heating and cooling ducts - not speakers. Moreover, as an offset - it was poorly implemented with two drivers in the same TL cavity - which based on user's experience appears to have caused negative interaction between them.

If you want to get to a "high end place" without being too overwhelmed, I'd look at some of these for inspiration:

http://www.newformresearch.com/r645v3.htm

Also, ThomasW has posted a good deal of information on line source designs using readily available BG Radia ribbon drivers - pay particular attention to his suggestions as to crossing the ribbons to woofer and tweeter drivers - very valuable insights. I'm sure if you elected to head in this design direction, both he and Jon would be very helpful in steering you past any potential pitfalls. Plus, with their help, you'd probably end up with a system that surpasses those you mentioned above in several respects.

Bear
02-12-2010, 03:22 PM
Also, ThomasW has posted a good deal of information on line source designs using readily available BG Radia ribbon drivers - pay particular attention to his suggestions as to crossing the ribbons to woofer and tweeter drivers - very valuable insights. I'm sure if you elected to head in this design direction, both he and Jon would be very helpful in steering you past any potential pitfalls. Plus, with their help, you'd probably end up with a system that surpasses those you mentioned above in several respects.
While I drool over several of Thomas' projects, "compact" is not usually a word that comes to mind. ;)

cjd
02-12-2010, 03:36 PM
Well... while that might work for most people, some of us are after a Holy Grail speaker, something that can compare to a high end Dayton, JM Lab, B&W or Wilson.

I'll reiterate. Pick a design from here. It will very probably meet these requirements, as long as you don't pick it randomly. Taking this as "oh, I can take this budget design and expect big monster Wilson performance out of it" is beyond what I consider something the OP would do. But take a budget design (~$300 today) and put it up against some nice Paradigm Studio's (~$1200 I think they were) ... the budget design as posted here wins (or, did, when that happened)

The Statements aren't a holy grail speaker for everyone - they definitely deliver an exceptional sound experience, but it's colored a specific way.

The work you find published here is generally very high on the value scale (if not simply high on ANY scale) and can compete exceptionally well with the few commercial systems that build within a fairly neutral range, so it comes down to finding one with the voicing you prefer (some want "BBC dip" and others, like me, find it colors the sound to innacuracy), or some trick to tweak the ear's perception like the Statements, etc. It's still a very personal choice.

C

villastrangiato
02-12-2010, 03:44 PM
While I drool over several of Thomas' projects, "compact" is not usually a word that comes to mind. ;)

If you click on the NewForm link I posted, it will take you to a page that describes a very modestly sized speaker. While the BG ribbons are tall, they do come in various lengths and their footprint is minuscule.

Jim Holtz
02-12-2010, 04:39 PM
The Statements aren't a holy grail speaker for everyone - they definitely deliver an exceptional sound experience, but it's colored a specific way.

The work you find published here is generally very high on the value scale (if not simply high on ANY scale) and can compete exceptionally well with the few commercial systems that build within a fairly neutral range, so it comes down to finding one with the voicing you prefer (some want "BBC dip" and others, like me, find it colors the sound to innacuracy), or some trick to tweak the ear's perception like the Statements, etc. It's still a very personal choice.

C

Hi Chris,

I wasn't aware that you'd ever heard any of the Statement series speakers. Whose pair did you listen to? :D

Jim

villastrangiato
02-12-2010, 04:44 PM
Hi Chris,

I wasn't aware that you'd ever heard any of the Statement series speakers. Whose pair did you listen to? :D

Jim

Hey Jim,

I haven't heard your Statements yet - you could certainly donate a pair to me to rectify that situation. I'd be happy to perform a thorough evaluation and publish my findings here for posterity......So don't donate them just for me....Think of the children!!! You wouldn't want them to miss out on a detailed review of your design, would you? :B

Jim Holtz
02-12-2010, 04:59 PM
Hey Jim,

I haven't heard your Statements yet - you could certainly donate a pair to me to rectify that situation. I'd be happy to perform a thorough evaluation and publish my findings here for posterity......So don't donate them just for me....Think of the children!!! You wouldn't want them to miss out on a detailed review of your design, would you? :B

CJ,

You're in luck! Curt and I published the Statements designs for anyone to build without charge. I'd call that a "donation". :rofl:

Jim

cjd
02-12-2010, 05:48 PM
Hi Chris,

I wasn't aware that you'd ever heard any of the Statement series speakers. Whose pair did you listen to? :D

Jim

I haven't, as I am sure you know. I am basing my statement on the comments made by people that HAVE heard them. I speak of the designs I have heard (and the ones I've designed) in the same way, except that I don't give my own work as much credit, perhaps.

Once I hear them I'm sure I'll realize they're not exceptional, merely run-of-the-mill. :B

JonMarsh
02-12-2010, 06:05 PM
I believe he's working on a PDF version...


Not paying enough attention to some of these threads.

I have a web site in prep for the Ardent, but lately am thinking I'll just do a PDF like I'm preparing for the Modula MT right now (actually just took a break from drawing the final schematic for the Modula MT)

I'm fine tuning the Ardent crossover levels, expect to have that wrapped up, then will work on a document/PDF for download. That's really easier than posting a huge thread summary or putting up a web site, and it will print easily, too. You know, print, that stuff we used to do on paper? I hear that in spite of all this web stuff you can still buy printers... ;)

JonMarsh
02-12-2010, 06:10 PM
John, Ardent premium sounds very interesting. However it seems design instructions are scattered in a long post with 1000+ messages. Is there any one place where the whole design is documented?

As per my recent post, fine tuning and PDF in process. Gotta pop the new tweeters in, and do final level tweaking and checks with measurement and a variety of program material. BTW, all the detail CAD drawings are in PDF already. That's how I built them- kind of hard to refer to a computer screen in the workshop! Probably will just setup a big zip file for folks to download.

CraigJ
02-12-2010, 06:15 PM
I hear that in spite of all this web stuff you can still buy printers... ;)Aren't you the guy that purchased an extra wide printer in order to print "life sized" drawings? ;) Hope you feel better this weekend, enjoy your four days, and relax and take time to watch some of the Olympics.

Oh, and is ET secretly working on a Raal Omni design?

Craig

p.s. and whatever you do, no, I repeat, no heavy lifting, only heavy listening.

JonMarsh
02-12-2010, 06:32 PM
p.s. and whatever you do, no, I repeat, no heavy lifting, only heavy listening.

Heavy listening? Is there something wrong with the earth's gravitational field this weekend?

Rumor and scuttle butt at the local cantina where all the droids and off duty troopers hang out is that the Chancellor sent ET to the wood shed with instructions to bring back a Nascent design with a waveguide, and BEFORE any foray's into further stealing technology from Eastern Europe (however, the last one was so successful that the Chancellor did give ET a new planer, a gift card for LBL at Rockler's and some exotic recordings as a reward, to add to his library).

Only problem for ET is that I've got the time in the workshop booked all weekend, virus or no virus, so it will be Modula Madness on Fast Eddie's DIY Speaker Lot next month! :B

Or, to quote/paraphrase that famous thespian,

"Don't try to sell bamboo here, we're all stocked up!!" :rofl:

Have a good weekend, too, Craig!

CraigJ
02-12-2010, 07:27 PM
Nothing wrong with the Earth's gravitational field this weekend, that I know of. Just thinking about discectomies and M8tas, and hasn't it been seven years to the week since your surgery? Don't want you catching up to my wife.

Glad to hear that the Chancellor gave ET a new toy. Wonder how the planer works with aluminum cylinders.

http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa75/manteone/raal1-thumb-530x398-25253.jpg

Paul K.
02-12-2010, 08:11 PM
There is nothing inherently wrong with either an Offset TL or in having two woofers share an Offset TL. When properly designed and implemented, the offset driver location does very well in suppressing unwanted ripples in the response, and both woofers will work just fine, thank you, not sufferring in the least from negative interaction. I've never heard a Thor and, therefore, cannot offer an opinion on its sound, but I do recognize some "compromises" were made in its design. Oh, I don't claim to be a TL "expert", but I do okay.
Paul

[QUOTE=villastrangiato]Echoing other's on here, I'd definitely stay away from the Thor design - the Offset Transmission Line is not an optimal transmission line loading to begin with despite its popularity with many who claim to be TL "experts". The configuration it uses is fine for minimizing resonances in heating and cooling ducts - not speakers. Moreover, as an offset - it was poorly implemented with two drivers in the same TL cavity - which based on user's experience appears to have caused negative interaction between them.

JonMarsh
02-12-2010, 08:20 PM
Nothing wrong with the Earth's gravitational field this weekend, that I know of. Just thinking about discectomies and M8tas, and hasn't it been seven years to the week since your surgery? Don't want you catching up to my wife.

Glad to hear that the Chancellor gave ET a new toy. Wonder how the planer works with aluminum cylinders.

http://i196.photobucket.com/albums/aa75/manteone/raal1-thumb-530x398-25253.jpg

Not real well with the aluminum, though we got him a new aluminum cutting carbide blade and lubricating wax tube, too. It's more for shaping hardwood and shimming the pieces in the front panel build up for some of these new projects. Other rumors point to the Chancellor putting ET on his favorite and long delayed "Death Star Dipole", something about a concentration of neodymium magnets so dense that it's just this side of pure neutronium. And I've heard there's lot of tropical hardwoods waiting to be planed, you know, the kind that make carbonite look like breakfast food because the dust is so toxic in comparison.

Well, I guess that's an anniversary I should celebrate, as I've been doing more heavy lifting and other activities without repercussions the last year and a half than I could get away with since the year 2000! The exercise bike and some other physical stuff has certainly helped. Yes, APEC conference is coming up again shortly, and this time I wont be flying out a few days after back surgery!

What's kind of weird about that time years ago, (shows what a stubborn cuss I can be) was that by May I'd bought a new table saw and was building the M8ta's. There's an artist friend of mine up in the NE that says I have "fire in my belly", I thought she just meant indigestion when I eat too much pizza...

So, hey, I'm working on improving things... the Ardents are physically smaller than the M8ta, though they actually seem to, ahem, weigh more. Fortunately I don't. :W

So I will endeavor not to catch up to your wife- actually I'm pretty dang happy how those things have been going, as ThomasW is in a world of hurt these days with those problems.

Again, have a good weekend- finished the Modula MT schematic, gotta get back to the Ardent.

---k---
02-12-2010, 09:35 PM
Nothing wrong with the Earth's gravitational field this weekend, that I know of.

I think that statement may be premature. We did have an Earthquake here in northern Illinois this week. ;)

villastrangiato
02-12-2010, 11:22 PM
There is nothing inherently wrong with either an Offset TL or in having two woofers share an Offset TL. When properly designed and implemented, the offset driver location does very well in suppressing unwanted ripples in the response, and both woofers will work just fine, thank you, not sufferring in the least from negative interaction. I've never heard a Thor and, therefore, cannot offer an opinion on its sound, but I do recognize some "compromises" were made in its design. Oh, I don't claim to be a TL "expert", but I do okay
Paul

You're misquoting me. I said the Offset TL is not optimal. If you have sufficient experience with TL's, you'd know that the ripples at the port exit of a properly executed standard design are no greater in magnitude than the ripples that typcially exist in any woofer's response plot - regardless of the loading. Look at Augspurger's papers again where the responses of all TL types are compared - you will see a significant reduction in low bass output with the Offset design. While the ripple reduction at the output is noticeable in a TL that has no damping, when standard damping methods are employed, there is no real difference between Offset and Standard Taper with respect to ripple at the output. There is a noticeable difference in low bass output however - which has been documented time and again in measurements. For this reason, Offset TLs are not optimal.

Additionally, placing two identical woofers 1/20th the pipe frequency wavelength away from each other at the beginning of an offset TL will most definitely result in undesireable loading of the drivers - particularly the driver closer to the closed end of an offset line. This is so fundamentally obvious, it barely merits mentioning.

ThomasW
02-13-2010, 12:41 AM
This is a DIY forum for people building loudspeakers, not the loudspeaker design theory debate club.

The next pissing contest that develops will result in permanent bans.

villastrangiato
02-13-2010, 10:21 AM
This is a DIY forum for people building loudspeakers, not the loudspeaker design theory debate club.

The next pissing contest that develops will result in permanent bans.


Yup. Too much yapping and squabbling about design - not enough building and pictures.

jweb09
02-13-2010, 11:20 AM
Jed, will drop you a PM regarding speakers with pair of accutons

Rick, do you have any more info on 3 way speaker you were referring to (Scanspeak 7", accuton mid and RAAL tweeter). I couldnt find this design on your website

I know size of the driver is a wrong way to look at the driver but I wonder what kind of difference there might be between 7" vs 8" bass-mid driver. Is there any great 8" driver that only needs 35 - 40 liters of volume

Paul K.
02-13-2010, 11:30 AM
While I still disagree with you on all counts and I respect your right to disagree with me, I don't particularly want to be banned, and the best thing I can do is to display my next project here when it's finished (less yapping and more building discussions); it is a 3-way using a tapered TL for the woofer with the woofer's location offset at ~20% from the closed end. I'll let you and everyone else that's interested see the results and form opinions. I do intend to go take a look again at Augspurger's documentation to refresh my memory.
Paul


You're misquoting me. I said the Offset TL is not optimal. If you have sufficient experience with TL's, you'd know that the ripples at the port exit of a properly executed standard design are no greater in magnitude than the ripples that typcially exist in any woofer's response plot - regardless of the loading. Look at Augspurger's papers again where the responses of all TL types are compared - you will see a significant reduction in low bass output with the Offset design. While the ripple reduction at the output is noticeable in a TL that has no damping, when standard damping methods are employed, there is no real difference between Offset and Standard Taper with respect to ripple at the output. There is a noticeable difference in low bass output however - which has been documented time and again in measurements. For this reason, Offset TLs are not optimal.

Additionally, placing two identical woofers 1/20th the pipe frequency wavelength away from each other at the beginning of an offset TL will most definitely result in undesireable loading of the drivers - particularly the driver closer to the closed end of an offset line. This is so fundamentally obvious, it barely merits mentioning.

Rick Craig
02-13-2010, 02:15 PM
Jed, will drop you a PM regarding speakers with pair of accutons

Rick, do you have any more info on 3 way speaker you were referring to (Scanspeak 7", accuton mid and RAAL tweeter). I couldnt find this design on your website

I know size of the driver is a wrong way to look at the driver but I wonder what kind of difference there might be between 7" vs 8" bass-mid driver. Is there any great 8" driver that only needs 35 - 40 liters of volume

I'm working on it right now. I've built a very similar design using the Accuton 7" and this will be even better. Most 7" woofers are going to be in the 20L range. This would allow you to do a MTM or MMT but given your budget I would go with a 3-way. The Scan-Speak 22W8857 is my favorite 8" woofer and would work well in the volume you need.

synthguy
02-13-2010, 03:47 PM
I'll reiterate. Pick a design from here. It will very probably meet these requirements, as long as you don't pick it randomly. Taking this as "oh, I can take this budget design and expect big monster Wilson performance out of it" is beyond what I consider something the OP would do. But take a budget design (~$300 today) and put it up against some nice Paradigm Studio's (~$1200 I think they were) ... the budget design as posted here wins (or, did, when that happened)

The Statements aren't a holy grail speaker for everyone - they definitely deliver an exceptional sound experience, but it's colored a specific way.

The work you find published here is generally very high on the value scale (if not simply high on ANY scale) and can compete exceptionally well with the few commercial systems that build within a fairly neutral range, so it comes down to finding one with the voicing you prefer (some want "BBC dip" and others, like me, find it colors the sound to innacuracy), or some trick to tweak the ear's perception like the Statements, etc. It's still a very personal choice.

C
I don't disagree with you, save on one small aspect. I do know that many of you could be making money designing speakers for The Big Guys, and most of the designs here could easily replace just about everything in a store, even in a boutique audiophile shop. Some like Mr Zaph are already on a payroll of some kind.

I have no doubt that half or most of the designs here sound very good to fantastic, but I'm not just after a certain frequency response. I want a speaker that's like a high definition TV. I want to "see" the music, where the players are, how the drums are arranged, where the Leslie cabinet is. How big the space is they recorded it at, or how big the studio is trying to make it with digital effects. This kind of imaging is dependent on not just good drivers but exceptional high end drivers. And I would argue, high quality components in the crossover.

The reason that there are hundreds of designs kicking around in this place, each with their adherents, is because they're like musical instruments. Each design does something cool to make the speaker desirable, even if it's costing very little to make. But the better designs with the more costly drivers do something to push the envelope even further towards something tantalizing and breathtaking. If $40 tweets and mids did it all, why bother with the Fountek ribbons, Accutons, Revelators or Milleniums? There would be no reason to ever build the Statements or the Zaph Revelators, and Jed would be laughed off the board. Just build the Microbes or Waveguides (without the waveguides) and call it good. Of course, they don't. ;)

I have a feeling you're agreeing with me, but it's not a simple matter of getting the specs for one of your Khanspires, which do interest me. But I really want something a bit more stratospheric and Wilsonesque, if you will, and I know that if you put something on the level of Zaph's 3.5 tower next to the ZRTs, the Ardents or Jed's Duet 10s, something will get shown up in Zaph's otherwise great design.

Yeah, I have chronic audiophilia, and I live by my sig, but it never killed anyone to my knowledge. :W

Paul K.
02-13-2010, 04:17 PM
So as not to cause any problems on this forum or risk getting banned, I've sent you a private email with further discussion on these two design issues. I do hope you will read it with an open mind.
Paul


You're misquoting me. I said the Offset TL is not optimal. If you have sufficient experience with TL's, you'd know that the ripples at the port exit of a properly executed standard design are no greater in magnitude than the ripples that typcially exist in any woofer's response plot - regardless of the loading. Look at Augspurger's papers again where the responses of all TL types are compared - you will see a significant reduction in low bass output with the Offset design. While the ripple reduction at the output is noticeable in a TL that has no damping, when standard damping methods are employed, there is no real difference between Offset and Standard Taper with respect to ripple at the output. There is a noticeable difference in low bass output however - which has been documented time and again in measurements. For this reason, Offset TLs are not optimal.

Additionally, placing two identical woofers 1/20th the pipe frequency wavelength away from each other at the beginning of an offset TL will most definitely result in undesireable loading of the drivers - particularly the driver closer to the closed end of an offset line. This is so fundamentally obvious, it barely merits mentioning.

JonMarsh
02-13-2010, 04:41 PM
I have no doubt that half or most of the designs here sound very good to fantastic, but I'm not just after a certain frequency response. I want a speaker that's like a high definition TV. I want to "see" the music, where the players are, how the drums are arranged, where the Leslie cabinet is. How big the space is they recorded it at, or how big the studio is trying to make it with digital effects. This kind of imaging is dependent on not just good drivers but exceptional high end drivers. And I would argue, high quality components in the crossover.


Yeah, I have chronic audiophilia, and I live by my sig, but it never killed anyone to my knowledge. :W


This better defines your goals. I understand them and am quite familiar with them... however, speakers of any kind alone won't get you there.

Source equipment is critical, as well as pretty much everything else in the chain. You can get closer with the right source equipment and a basically accurate low distortion set of speakers like the Neo D CC than you can building the top DIY design on this or any other site I know of (Troel's and Tony Gee's included) and driving them with the typical midrange equipment that DIY guys are fond of for the value proposition, much less with HT gear.

That undoubtedly sounds haughty and arrogant on my part, but I've sufficiently demonstrated that in person for some of the other members, who hearing the Neo D CC's at ThomasW's last October, thought they have been extensively updated and redesigned. Not the case- the speakers were not changed at all, just ThomasW's system.

So, as part of this discussion, it may be helpful to discuss what you use for source and your complete system chain at present, and what updates you're considering, as well as your budget.

New speakers alone are not likely to do it. There is alway valid discussion regarding what source gear YOU prefer and why, and how you like to flesh out the discussion with your experience, preferences, and current working setup.

I get dirty looks and dirtier comments when I mention that speakers that cost under 1K a pair to build can easily reveal important differences in balance and neutrality between a $1500 set of speaker cables and a $2700 set from the same company, and clearly benefit from the more expensive ones. Most DIY sites and the majority of constructors deride that there is any difference in the sound of film capacitors, but in the real world, in a good system, that is just not the case. Clarity's cooperative work with sponsoring independent research at a UK university and the product development resulting from that is an example of well documented support to the contention that capacitor materials and construction matter a lot.

One of the "benefits" of an all active design like the Orion is the lack of passive crossover components in the signal path. OTOH, it has a bazillion op amps in the crossover, which doesn't thrill me particularly, but SL understands crossover topologies and filter design and at least has them arranged correctly, unlike most commercial products I've come across.

As DIY constructors go, Tony Gee "gets" the whole passive component quality issue. I guess that's why he's pretty big on Duelund caps these days- can't blame him, but again, balancing cost/performance is an issue at any price point.

Even my own daughter wonders why the speakers she has sound so so much better at my house than at hers- she asks what makes the difference- of course, my response is "everything".

Probably my recommendation to you would be to listen to a number of commercial true high end SYSTEMs, not just speakers, and narrow in on what you think you're looking for in reproduction. In that process you'll figure out what you need to have in source and system components as well as what's possible with speakers at various price points.

You'll get what you're describing in source component sound for less money with vinyl than with digital- the cheapest DAC I've found that images well is the Berkely Alpha DAC- (which I own now), and the only digital rivals I found delivering similar, but in some cases inferior sonics, were all over $10K.

There are a lot of options in good vinyl reproduction under $5K.

Keep in mind you have to have a source transport or computer server to use with the Berkeley or any other DAC, and I also use an Antelope DA reclocker with it as an SPIDF and AES/EBU buffer. It sounds better that way, in a rather obvious manner, in that you can get results with a good $600 transport that otherwise you may only equal with a $5000 transport, and since I only paid $1100 for it, that is good value for less than the price of a good set of cables.

With regards to speaker cables, for what you're looking for in reproduction, the baseline would be Cardas Golden Reference, IMO, though if you can pony up the money, Cardas Clear is what I prefer; or demo some Nordost if you've won the lottery. I like Cardas because George is a real engineer, and puts real specs behind his cables. How many manufactuers will even spec the loop back inductance per foot of their cable? (o.o176 uH for Cardas Clear, 0.03 uH/ft for Golden Reference). Now, I doubt that the reason his top cables sound the way they do is just because of the geometry and low inductance, but being an engineer, maybe I just feel comfortable knowing what he's accomplished. Of course, you don't listen to the specs, you listen to the system and the cable.

I see many, many pronouncements on DIY sites that cables don't really matter beyond a certain basic minimum (AWG 12 zip cord?), caps don't matter beyond mylar film construction, solid state amps of a given output impedance sound pretty much alike, and all DACs measure better than speakers so their sound is besides the point and not a limitation for the system. Life would be very much simpler if all of that was true... and a $5K system could rival the $180K one that the Avalon Isis were demo'd with at RMAF back in 2006.

For anyone who has made those comparisons in person between the "practical" stuff and the "good" stuff, and found those judgements of equivalence for you to be true, well, congratulations- you've just saved yourself a big pile of money. Keep it for your next house or your retirement.

If you haven't made those comparisons personally, then making judgements and declarations in abstentia based on supposition might be unwarranted.

Me, I've only just in the last year gotten digital that rivals what I had in vinyl in the late 70's. And while I'm more pleased with my system than ever before, and done everything possible to limit my expenditures, I don't find any of the above to be true, having made my own comparisons and evaluations the hard way- piece by piece, one step at a time, over many years.

The same way you'll need to do them.

Jed
02-13-2010, 05:17 PM
Well said, Jon. I might add that there certainly is a point of diminishing returns when upgrading one's own system and many will pay big dollars to get that last bit of detail. The thing that I like so much about this forum, including contributors like yourself, is that the more costly components (whether they are drivers, cables, or source components) are evaluated with ACTUAL data and listening not just hype. For example, not all Accuton drivers are created equal and the testing shows that clearly. So while a driver might cost $500, if there is no supporting evidence that effective technology was put into the driver to improve the driver's performance over one that costs $100, then the test results more than likely will show the truth.

Some like to think that because it is expensive then it must be appropriately engineered, but what I and most others on this forum have found, is that in order for a system to have synergy, the sum of the parts need to be considered, and the task of evaluating that is much easier than one might expect if he/she knows what to look for in the specs and testing. I do believe in a certain magical synergy when experiencing something new in a given combination of drivers and source components, but when it really comes down to it, there are a several scientific reasons why it works, and the subjective component is often connected to tangible data. In the end it sounds good too. :)

Just my 2 cents.

Jed

jweb09
02-13-2010, 07:21 PM
I was looking at Tony Gee's design and some of them look wilsonesque...needless to say very impressive to look at and read...

has anyone tried any of his simpler designs with high-end drivers...by simple I mean a straight boxy cabinet :)

dlneubec
02-13-2010, 08:16 PM
Well said, Jon. I might add that there certainly is a point of diminishing returns when upgrading one's own system and many will pay big dollars to get that last bit of detail. The thing that I like so much about this forum, including contributors like yourself, is that the more costly components (whether they are drivers, cables, or source components) are evaluated with ACTUAL data and listening not just hype. For example, not all Accuton drivers are created equal and the testing shows that clearly. So while a driver might cost $500, if there is no supporting evidence that effective technology was put into the driver to improve the driver's performance over one that costs $100, then the test results more than likely will show the truth.

Some like to think that because it is expensive then it must be appropriately engineered, but what I and most others on this forum have found, is that in order for a system to have synergy, the sum of the parts need to be considered, and the task of evaluating that is much easier than one might expect if he/she knows what to look for in the specs and testing. I do believe in a certain magical synergy when experiencing something new in a given combination of drivers and source components, but when it really comes down to it, there are a several scientific reasons why it works, and the subjective component is often connected to tangible data. In the end it sounds good too. :)

Just my 2 cents.

Jed

Here is an example of where you don't get what you pay for. This kind of activity really gives one cause to doubt many of the high end claims.
Oppo on the Inside, Lexicon on the Outside (http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/transports/high-definition-dvd-players-hd-dvd-blu-ray/lexicon-bd-30-blu-ray-oppo-clone/oppo-inside-lexicon-outside-1)

Then there is this article by Jim Salk, who certainly has no reason not to support higher cost components:http://www.salksound.com/wp/?p=14

villastrangiato
02-13-2010, 08:50 PM
Here is an example of where you don't get what you pay for. This kind of activity really gives one cause to doubt many of the high end claims.
Oppo on the Inside, Lexicon on the Outside (http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/transports/high-definition-dvd-players-hd-dvd-blu-ray/lexicon-bd-30-blu-ray-oppo-clone/oppo-inside-lexicon-outside-1)

Then there is this article by Jim Salk, who certainly has no reason not to support higher cost components:http://www.salksound.com/wp/?p=14

Excellent post Dan. I think we should not neglect to mention that room acoustics is the big white elephant in the room. Right now, I have a pair of speakers and electronics sitting in a spare room that collectively cost in excess of 15K. And I refuse to listen to them in that room versus the much less expensive Yamaha 900 watt 7.1 system with a menial Def Tech sub and Mirage satellites in my living room. Why - because the room with the big expensive speakers and electronics consists of hardwood floors and sheet rock sidewalls close to both speakers. The expensive CD transport, turntable, speakers, preamp, and amp can't make up for the echo chamber. So before anyone looks too deeply at acquiring their target reference system, they should be encouraged to closely examine the acoustics of the room in which said expensive equipment will be used. A few dollars spent improving a room's acoustics can do actually more to improve what one hears than a pair of one hundred thousand dollar speaker cables.

JonMarsh
02-13-2010, 09:04 PM
Here is an example of where you don't get what you pay for. This kind of activity really gives one cause to doubt many of the high end claims.
Oppo on the Inside, Lexicon on the Outside (http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/transports/high-definition-dvd-players-hd-dvd-blu-ray/lexicon-bd-30-blu-ray-oppo-clone/oppo-inside-lexicon-outside-1)

Then there is this article by Jim Salk, who certainly has no reason not to support higher cost components:http://www.salksound.com/wp/?p=14


Dan, this is one case where I really have to ask, what does a re-badged Oppo Blu ray player have to do with the discussion above? Lexicon has a long and checkered history of OEM'ing other peoples products. slapping their own front panel and logo on it, and charging double. And they're not the first in the industry to do that.

Now, if you want to discuss a real high end modification of the Oppo player, something that goes beyond just the label on the front panel, you might look at what Ayre Acoustics does with an Oppo player- cite that as a "high end excess" instead of a BS company like Lexicon.


To make it an Ayre, we dismantle it completely and recycle everything except the main PCB (with the video decoder, ABT scaler chip, and HDMI transmitter), the transport mechanism, the VFD display, and the remote control handset.

Next we re-build the main PCB. The big switching power supply only provides 5 VDC, then there are little mini-switching power supplies (called DC-DC converters) on the main PCB that turn the 5 VDC into 1.0 VDC, 1.1 VDC, 1.8 VDC, and 3.3 VDC. All of those are removed. There are also USB power switches that allow hot-plugging of USB devices. These are removed as they have another kind of DC-DC converter called a "charge pump".

All of the supplies are replaced with pure linear supplies with analog regulators. The USB power switches are replaced with devices without the charge pumps. Now we have gotten rid of seven noise sources that create high-frequency square waves with harmonics well out into the MHz region. Getting rid of all of that noise creates a visibly cleaner picture.

Next, we replace the low-quality master video clock with a VCXO. This becomes more important later on, as you will see.

Now we start adding things back in. First is our AyreLink communication system. It allows AyreLink equipped components to act as one big system. For example, turning on the player will turn on all of the downstream components as well as automatically select the correct input on the preamp. We also make an external RS-232 to AyreLink converter box for system controllers like Crestrons. The AyreLink system has opto-isolators between each component to avoid unwanted ground loops, which is why we don't use RS-232 inputs on any of our equipment.

Then we add a custom programmed FPGA on the front panel PCB to do some housekeeping. It intercepts the appropriate commands and translates them to operate the AyreLink system. It disables the internal volume control (which operates in the digital domain and degrades the sound) and instead routes the volume changes to an AyreLink equipped preamp. It also allows us to send custom messages to the front panel VFD display. So when the USB audio input is activated, it will report that on the front panel along with the sample rate of the received signal.

There are a bunch of boards added on the audio side. I say "side" because we literally split the player into two parts. There is a separate power transformer that runs all of the audio circuitry, which is separated from the video side by a bank of opto-isolators. So the audio and video "sides" have separate grounds that are completely galvanically isolated. This is the only way to get the best performance from either your audio system or your video system.

All video displays have switching power supplies that dump noise into your system in the absence of such isolation. There are also ground loops that are inevitably formed as there is no such thing as a balanced video connection. All of those problems go away with our isolation system.

The ten-channel audio board is replaced by a two-channel audio board. Everything on this board is top-quality, with discrete, fully balanced, zero-feedback audio circuitry and discrete, zero-feedback power supply regulators. There are improvements in both the parts quality and circuit design that give it even higher performance than the QB-9 USB DAC that was recently rated "Class A+" in Stereophile's recommended components issue. For two-channel disc playback (CD, SACD, DVD-Audio), the performance exceeds our $6,000 audio-only disc player.

We also add the USB audio input that allows you to connect your personal computer and turn your system into a music server. Your entire digital library (except SACD's, thank you very much Sony -- not!) can be stored on a hard drive and played back with the click of a mouse. So this one component can be the only source component that you need. This input is also connected via a bank of opto-isolators, so there is actually a *third* "side" to the system -- the video, the audio, and the computer. The noise from your computer and its switching power supply will not be connected to either your video or audio systems.

We also add a second audio-only HDMI connector. This is fed by the isolated signals on the audio "side" so that it won't contaminate your surround-sound system if you choose to connect one. It also supports the new "Audio Rate Control" (ARC) feature that is part of the HDMI 1.3a specifcation. This is a breakthrough for the surround-sound enthusiast, as HDMI is normally the worst way in the world to send audio data -- the jitter is even worse than the lowly S/PDIF connection.

But with ARC, the surround-sound processor uses a local crystal oscillator to provide a low-jitter clock to the DAC chips. Then there is a buffer that stores the incoming audio data. When the buffer is too full it sends a signal back upstream to the Blu-Ray player telling it to slow down the disc slightly. When the buffer is too empty, it asks the disc to speed up slightly. Now the audio clock is in charge, the way that it should be. (When the unit is running in two-channel mode, the local low-jitter, fixed-frequency crystal oscillator provides the master audio clock.)

With a modern digital display (plasma, LCD, LCOS, DLP, et cetera) jitter on the video signal does not matter. Since there is no conversion to analog, the digital signal values are simply stored in a frame buffer until needed.

Then the whole thing is put into a custom chassis made entirely from anodized aluminum and stainless steel. We want our products to look just as good 50 years from now as they do today. There are other people making Oppo "clones". One of them only replaces the chassis. Another replaces the power supply also. Nobody is rebuilding the complete player and adding the extra features and advanced technology that Ayre is.

As far as the value, it is up to you to determine that. I can't tell you how much an improved picture is worth. I can't tell you how much better sound is worth. I can't tell you how much the features we add are worth. You will have to decide that for yourself.

What I can tell you is that, just like all of our other products, they offer engineering and performance beyond what anyone else is offering, at a fair price that reflects our cost of manufacturing, and that we back up our products with both a strong network of the finest dealers on the planet and an incredible service policy.

Unlike other manufacturers that try to sell you a "new and improved" product every year or two, when we figure out a way to genuinely improve the performance of our existing products, we offer upgrades to current owners at very reasonable prices. Go to the Audio Asylum and check out some comments regarding our recent "MP" upgrades to the C-5xe and CX-7e disc players, for example.

If you want a great Blu-Ray player for an incredible price, buy the Oppo. If you want the best picture and sound quality in the world for your home theater and price is not a concern, check out the Ayre. And no, it will not be available in November, sorry. Early next year will be a better guess.

I've quoted Charles once before on HT Guide when this discussion came up.

In the interests of full disclosure, I must reveal that I do have a relationship of sorts with Ayre, as the founder Charles Hansen used to work for me when he was a physics student in Boulder, and I was director of engineering for a small pro sound outfit. Since then we've had a number of discussions and consultations on design topics, and at one point I almost quit my job with my still current company to go back to Boulder to join them. With what the economy did the following year, it was all for the better than I didn't! I do have some of their products, bought and paid like everyone else does. They have a good reputation in the business for both the performance of the products and their customer service.

With regards to Jim Salk, I admire the way he runs his business and his personal integrity, and always drop by their room every visit to RMAF, but I was especially disappointed in the sound at their room this year compared with years past and with competitors. I'd suggest he go listen to the Bamberg audio speakers, another guy coming up from the ranks of DIY, demo'd with Modwright Electronics. It might be an eye opener.

The thing is, Dan, this isn't religion. I'm not an Islamic fanatic, I don't care what you listen to at home, or anyone else on the forum. On some forums, there are a lot of strong statements made by people who obviously do enjoy putting down things they possibly mistrust, and also have no direct experience of. If I suggest something is good and worth listening to if a person has certain performance targets in mind, it's because I've got some substantial experience with the product and probably own it, too, or have listened to it for tens of hours at the very least.

For example, someone can say Accuton diamond tweeters are over priced, and I'll agree. Someone can say Accuton diamond tweeters don't sound any better than the ones usually used in DIY projects, and then I'll have to disagree, based on having listened to well engineered systems with them, as well as a lot of different systems using the "popular" DIY tweeters.

I hope you see my point- criticize fairly that which you have experience of. Jim Salk may conclude in his own mind that there's no point to higher priced caps in a speaker crossover- and given the performance of many higher priced caps, I can certainly understand why. High price is no guarantee of good engineering or performance.

But independent university research using sound experimental practices has not only proven their are clear subjective issues with standard film caps, but also developed a testing methodology to identify the issues and correlate them with manufacturing techniques and materials. Now, that may not be science in some quarters, but it certainly is engineering. Regardless, there are products of that nature which may be too expensive for DIY constructors to consider, and that's a valid value judgement- for EACH constructor to make for themselves- but not a valid statement to make for others necessarily, especially if they haven't evaluated the components being discussed.

If I diss Audioquest cables, and recommend Cardas, it's because I've listened hundreds or thousands of hours to both, and have owned or do own both, for example. And my subjective value judgements about their performance relative to Monster cable or to Radio Shack cables is just that- my subjective opinion based on listening. Usually very long term listening.

So when someone comes on the board and describes what they're looking for in the subjective listening experience, and I have some knowledge of some of the issues it takes to get there, particularly when those issues are not usually discussed on DIY sites and rarely addressed in DIY designs, well, I think it's just good manners to try to steer him in the right direction- at least, the closes thing to the right direction that I know of from my 40 years of experience in this area.

By all means, if you have suggestions for a total system and speakers that you think will address his desires and requirements, I'm sure he would welcome any specific suggestions you want to make, and would enjoy discussing them with you and your perceptions, and how you came about those judgements based on your personal experience.

We would like to think this is all a science of sorts, what we do, and perhaps it is more of one than say, psychology (where my formal education lies), but without doubt, there is art and artifice involved in the practice of music reproduction in the industry, as well as by the individuals participating on the various forums.

On these forums, we should be able to agree to disagree and develop our skills and designs individually and in concert with each other to the best of our ability. That's what we'd like to be dedicated to here at HT Guide, rather than hosting pages of derogatory comments about audio magazines written about people you've never met or had a conversation with.

jweb09
02-13-2010, 10:58 PM
I am probably the junior most guy on the forum and do not want to interject in the middle of a conversation but I would appreciate if we can leave the subject of electronics out of this and come back to speakers :)

As I was asking earlier, I was looking at Tony Gee's design and some of them look wilsonesque...has anyone tried any of his simpler designs with high-end drivers...

JonMarsh
02-13-2010, 11:12 PM
With your stated objective, as I quoted above, you really can't leave out the subject of electronics if that's what you want to achieve. But no problem if you don't want to discuss it here.

For example, even a recent small two way system I designed has much different properties with regards to the qualities you say you seek played on my electronics at home, compared with the recipient's Technics Receiver and CD player. Much different results.

The same is true even when raising the speaker bar much further.

That said, I'm not here to hound you or anyone else on that topic, so I'll just wish you the best in your search, and bow out of this thread.

villastrangiato
02-13-2010, 11:24 PM
Just curious, do you have enough space to handle a tall ribbon driver? Granted, they can range in height from a foot or so to five feet - but they are not very wide or deep. The Accuton drivers you're looking at are quite expensive and given the midrange driver's breakup - for the money, if you can deal with the dimensions, the BG Radia ribbons would seem to offer more flexibility and value. If you can accommodate them in your environment, they are definitely worth checking out. My only reservation about the Avalon clones you mention is the limitation in bass dynamics if you're sticking with their C220 -t6 woofer. For the money, a couple of Seas or ScanSpeak units might offer more dynamic capability and potentially cleaner output down low. I think Jon's Avalon clone doesn't use the Accuton bass unit - that should tell you something.

If the speaker you're referring to is the one I'm thinking of, looks aside, I don't think it has Wilsonesque performance. Wilson speakers are known for being "forward' and having very robust dynamics at all frequencies - particularly the low ones.

ThomasW
02-13-2010, 11:24 PM
I don't recall anyone posting here having built any of Tony's designs.

I do recall a couple posts from people having heard one or two of the designs. Problem was they were not impressed with the sound quality

jweb09
02-13-2010, 11:27 PM
Jon,
It will be sad if you bow out of this thread. I by no mean wanted to suggest that electronics are not important. I just Ayre QB9 and it was one of the biggest upgrades I made to my system. Similarly I have Ayre V5X and I love every bit of it.

All I was suggesting was debate on how important electronics are can be so lengthy, that it is better handled else where. But I agree with you if there was a thread on how to get the best sound, you have to bring electronics into the picture.

Right now I am only trying to figure out how to get the best speakers within the size constraints that I have.

jweb09
02-13-2010, 11:30 PM
I am so intrigued by Jon's Avalon clone aka Ardent that I can't wait for PDF to come up.

Jon, any ETA on this?

jweb09
02-14-2010, 12:51 AM
any idea why this thread got moved?

ThomasW
02-14-2010, 03:10 AM
I am so intrigued by Jon's Avalon clone aka Ardent that I can't wait for PDF to come up.

Jon, any ETA on this?Given Jon's workload, travel schedule, and the number of DIY projects under development, I doubt that a pdf will be available before late March.

any idea why this thread got moved?I moved it to where threads belong that aren't directly involved with the actual construction of a specific project.

dlneubec
02-14-2010, 12:08 PM
Dan, this is one case where I really have to ask, what does a re-badged Oppo Blu ray player have to do with the discussion above? Lexicon has a long and checkered history of OEM'ing other peoples products. slapping their own front panel and logo on it, and charging double. And they're not the first in the industry to do that.

Now, if you want to discuss a real high end modification of the Oppo player, something that goes beyond just the label on the front panel, you might look at what Ayre Acoustics does with an Oppo player- cite that as a "high end excess" instead of a BS company like Lexicon.



I've quoted Charles once before on HT Guide when this discussion came up.

In the interests of full disclosure, I must reveal that I do have a relationship of sorts with Ayre, as the founder Charles Hansen used to work for me when he was a physics student in Boulder, and I was director of engineering for a small pro sound outfit. Since then we've had a number of discussions and consultations on design topics, and at one point I almost quit my job with my still current company to go back to Boulder to join them. With what the economy did the following year, it was all for the better than I didn't! I do have some of their products, bought and paid like everyone else does. They have a good reputation in the business for both the performance of the products and their customer service.

With regards to Jim Salk, I admire the way he runs his business and his personal integrity, and always drop by their room every visit to RMAF, but I was especially disappointed in the sound at their room this year compared with years past and with competitors. I'd suggest he go listen to the Bamberg audio speakers, another guy coming up from the ranks of DIY, demo'd with Modwright Electronics. It might be an eye opener.

The thing is, Dan, this isn't religion. I'm not an Islamic fanatic, I don't care what you listen to at home, or anyone else on the forum. On some forums, there are a lot of strong statements made by people who obviously do enjoy putting down things they possibly mistrust, and also have no direct experience of. If I suggest something is good and worth listening to if a person has certain performance targets in mind, it's because I've got some substantial experience with the product and probably own it, too, or have listened to it for tens of hours at the very least.

For example, someone can say Accuton diamond tweeters are over priced, and I'll agree. Someone can say Accuton diamond tweeters don't sound any better than the ones usually used in DIY projects, and then I'll have to disagree, based on having listened to well engineered systems with them, as well as a lot of different systems using the "popular" DIY tweeters.

I hope you see my point- criticize fairly that which you have experience of. Jim Salk may conclude in his own mind that there's no point to higher priced caps in a speaker crossover- and given the performance of many higher priced caps, I can certainly understand why. High price is no guarantee of good engineering or performance.

But independent university research using sound experimental practices has not only proven their are clear subjective issues with standard film caps, but also developed a testing methodology to identify the issues and correlate them with manufacturing techniques and materials. Now, that may not be science in some quarters, but it certainly is engineering. Regardless, there are products of that nature which may be too expensive for DIY constructors to consider, and that's a valid value judgement- for EACH constructor to make for themselves- but not a valid statement to make for others necessarily, especially if they haven't evaluated the components being discussed.

If I diss Audioquest cables, and recommend Cardas, it's because I've listened hundreds or thousands of hours to both, and have owned or do own both, for example. And my subjective value judgements about their performance relative to Monster cable or to Radio Shack cables is just that- my subjective opinion based on listening. Usually very long term listening.

So when someone comes on the board and describes what they're looking for in the subjective listening experience, and I have some knowledge of some of the issues it takes to get there, particularly when those issues are not usually discussed on DIY sites and rarely addressed in DIY designs, well, I think it's just good manners to try to steer him in the right direction- at least, the closes thing to the right direction that I know of from my 40 years of experience in this area.

By all means, if you have suggestions for a total system and speakers that you think will address his desires and requirements, I'm sure he would welcome any specific suggestions you want to make, and would enjoy discussing them with you and your perceptions, and how you came about those judgements based on your personal experience.

We would like to think this is all a science of sorts, what we do, and perhaps it is more of one than say, psychology (where my formal education lies), but without doubt, there is art and artifice involved in the practice of music reproduction in the industry, as well as by the individuals participating on the various forums.

On these forums, we should be able to agree to disagree and develop our skills and designs individually and in concert with each other to the best of our ability. That's what we'd like to be dedicated to here at HT Guide, rather than hosting pages of derogatory comments about audio magazines written about people you've never met or had a conversation with.

Jon,

If this was all pointed at me, I have to say I'm a bit confused. I made no derogatory comments about anyone or audio magazines, etc., I simply pointed out one example of not getting what you pay for and pointed to the opinion of someone I respect, who probably has every reason to support high end components. There is certainly a lot of excellent high end equipment available, but unfortunately, there are also a lot of "Lexicon's" out there. There was a thread on this over at PE and several folks actually defended Lexicon's activity with this OPPO rebadge and felt they were a very good high end company. Lexicon's activity here simply adds fuel to the fire that some folks have with regard to overpriced high end gear and I'd say rightly so, in this case.

For example, I agree with CJD's opinion and I think you might agree aslo, that many of the speaker designs on this forum could hold up very well against commercial offerings many, many times the $ invested. I would also add that I don't personally believe that you have to use $200 plus drivers to get there. I think your recent experience with the Scanspeak D2608/9130 is a case in point, an $80 tweeter that competes at just about any price level. I have been to probably 15+ DIY events in the last 4 years and I have not found that higher end drivers, or crossover parts, for that matter, have necessarily yeilded a better "system". I do think they offer the potential to do so, but often other things, such as signal chain, like you suggest, or room acoustics, driver-crossover implementation, power response, etc., have a lot more to do with it.

You do have some pretty strong opinions on high end gear, one that is not always shared in the DIY world, as you pointed out yourself. There are some very respected, knowlegable and experienced DIYers out there that would probably differ with you and their experience is valuable as well. You have formed your opinion, quite obviously based on your many years of audio experience, which I do respect greatly. Others have fornmed theirs and I respect that as well. I believe one should weigh a variety of opinions and make up their own mind. I provided a counterpoint opinion to yours, which I believe is always important in any discussion. No harm or insult was intended.

villastrangiato
02-14-2010, 12:26 PM
Passion and Disdain

As I've gotten older, music - something that was very central to my life when I was 14 is now at 45 once again taking on central importance to my being. Because the magic of music in all its forms is so important to most of us, we naturally get passionate about how we individually choose to pursue that magic. In looking at the above discourse, I really don't see any reason for folks to feel insulted or "challenged" - let's not confuse our passion for anger or frustration. Everyone here has made some valid points about how the thread starter might be best served in his own quest. Above all, no one should walk away with hard feelings. Life is too short and you're dead a long, long time.

And now, back to speaker building. I am in the process of assembling a multi TL slimline cabinet. If anyone wants to see pics. I'll post some at some point over the next couple of weeks.

Paul K.
02-14-2010, 12:27 PM
A couple of days ago I received my March issue of Stereophile and in it Kalman Rubinson ("Music in the Round") reviews and compares the Oppo BDP-83SE and Lexicon BD-30. Kalman quoted a number of statements by Lexicon that described the "differences" between the two plus a rather defensive set of claims from Lexicon on why paying so much more for their version of the Oppo was worth it, many of which had nothing to do with any actual hardware or software change that were made or with the actual performance or sound. Kalman didn't think that most buyers would find the minor improvements cost-effective.
Paul

synthguy
02-14-2010, 05:28 PM
This better defines your goals. I understand them and am quite familiar with them... however, speakers of any kind alone won't get you there.

Source equipment is critical, as well as pretty much everything else in the chain.

So, as part of this discussion, it may be helpful to discuss what you use for source and your complete system chain at present, and what updates you're considering, as well as your budget.
I agree with you and Jed wholeheartedly. ;) Now forgive me, guys, while I discuss signal chain for a bit.

I know the whole chain of components matter. I discovered that at Audioport. I had gone on a musical safari in the late 90s to find that "ideal for me" system, and had listened to a number of complete systems running to the cost of a small house. I had to listen critically, because I couldn't afford a Mark Levinson or Krell, but I discovered that you could get a good detailed musical experience with the right stuff at a number of price levels.

I initially settled on an Arcam Delta 290 integrated with its superb turntable preamp, and later on added a Rotel 980BX pre and amp, because with cable the poor Arcam had hum issues. Both of these are amazing values in audiophile gear and are very musical and detailed. At first I used a 16 bit Mission CD player, but eventually came across a used Proceed PDP-11 transport and 18 bit DAC, which amazingly is very hard to better in the ability to make CDs sound analog.

Okay, you diss on Audioquest, but I connect the system with King Cobra interconnects and Granite biwire speaker cable. I considered Cardas - briefly - but the price was just flat out prohibitive. And really, in the $100-200 range, there aren't that many differences among the boutique cables, so between AQ and Tara Labs and others, any of them will pass a very good signal through the system. The other doodads like the cable box, VCR and computer are connected with some Acoustic Research Master Reference stuff which sounds very expensive.

As I say, right now I'm using some $300 AER Pisces II bookshelf monitors as speakers mated with a good HT sub, and they do a very good imitation of $1500 B&W 705s. The living room sounds very good as a music room, which surprises everyone. It almost sounds as good as a dedicated listening room, with just a few low frequency nodes to vex me. Sound comes smack from the center of my TV. As it stands now, my Rotel centered system sounds fantastic. Yes, a Mark Levinson would show its shortcomings, but it really compares well to any other midrange system, and gives me the shivers I experience at a serious boutique music shop.

And this is where Jed's "diminishing returns" remarks are apropos. My TDL monitors are just too darn bright and trebly for rock, which is what I listen to most. They're also a bit more clinical and less musical than the Pisces, which I chalk up to the studio monitor lineage. The Pisces are very musical guys, just showing a bit of fuzz and grit here and there due to the Chinese knock-off heritage, and the midrange is just too forward for rock music. As studio monitors with a bit of EQ taming, they should be excellent. And I did borrow a couple of pricey loaner speakers by Dynaudio and others, and wow, did the system open up! I borrowed some costly cable too, running up to a grand, and while it did make some difference, the biggest improvements were with the speakers.

Maybe the Statement Monitors will give me all I need, but I would like to aim a bit higher. I think the system as it is now should be a solid foundation for a serious speaker. Maybe Zaph's ZRT. Maybe Jed's Minuets or Duets, or your Ardents. And definitely, absolutely with the best components in the crossovers. I'm with you on using Mundorf resistors, and caps by Clarity, Jentzen or even Mundorf's pricey silver caps on tweeters and mids. I went out of my way to buy some Mundorf silver alloy hookup wire. Will it make a diifference? It cooould, and I'd rather aim too high than too low in component quality. ;)

Oh yeah, budget, budget... well, I'll consider Jed's Duet 10s and your Ardents as the high water mark. If anyone thinks the ZRTs or Jed's Minuets will do the job with the ScanSpeak Revelators, just give the word.

After the speakers, if I still feel something lacks, I'll consider going after that $2000 plus Cardas cable. Component wise, what I'd really like to have is a Proceed system, as the baby Levinson stuff performs way beyond its cost. But is it hard to come by, now that it's out of production. Hardly anyone wants to sell theirs, and you have to fight for it.

Just to bolster what you have to say about electronics and even caps, I keep a little tale on hand. ;)

Back in the 70s when the synthesizer market was beginning to take off, everyone loved the Moog instruments. Many players settled on Arp, Oberheim and other synths, but just about everyone wanted some kind of Moog in their arsenal. The synth makers were baffled as to why Moogs sounded like they did, and some like Arp even got in trouble by trying to copy Bob Moog's filter designs. Somehow, they always sounded a little thinner, just a tad bass shy. Well, Bob had a couple of secrets. One was that his oscillators distorted just a bit, I believe from a high signal level, making them sound a little richer in harmonics. But the other is that he insisted on using the best components available, and these resistors and caps ended up being equivalent to what are used in high end stereos today. While other synthesizers had an internal frequency response running between 17-21khz, a Moog went to 40khz and beyond, depending on the instrument.

This is why I insist on the highest grade stuff for my upcoming crossovers, because you're making a filter inside a speaker cabinet. It's also why I sprung for some Clarity ESAs for evilskillit's Waveguides. Will it make a difference? Well, I know it's gonna sound darn good, and I know Bob Moog, God rest his soul, would approve. ;)

Face
02-14-2010, 08:38 PM
This is why I insist on the highest grade stuff for my upcoming crossovers, because you're making a filter inside a speaker cabinet. It's also why I sprung for some Clarity ESAs for evilskillit's Waveguides. Will it make a difference? Well, I know it's gonna sound darn good, and I know Bob Moog, God rest his soul, would approve. ;)
Clarity's ESA's are a great bang for the buck. 90% of the quality of TOTL caps for much less.

jim1274
02-14-2010, 09:36 PM
This is my first post on this forum, and came across this thread just looking for some info on others feedback on Jed's Clearwave speakers. I recently decided to go with some kits from him, and just want to add that he has provided the most exceptional customer service and responsiveness I have ever experienced. I'm sure there are others offering the same, but I can unreservedly recommend Clearwave from that perspective. I could not be more pleased in my choice of going with him for my first build in 25 years, but do admit the speakers are not built and listened to yet, so can't comment on the performance relative to competitors' offerings. If one is not an experienced speaker designer/builder (like me), Jed offers first class support that is invaluable for the less experienced (me).

jweb09
02-15-2010, 10:46 AM
Jim, I agree with you on Jed's responsiveness. I have had few email exchanges with him as well. He is patient, detailed and quick. Wonderful guy to talk to.

While we have had bit of discussion on importance of electronics (or for that matter of fact whole signal chain), what we are really trying to get to is that superlative speaker within a size constraint. We all know last thing this speaker will be is value for money.

Coming to speakers, I want to go with something that has already been built, listened to and has received a legitimate 'wow' feedback. So far primary design I have come across is Jed's symphonic (Accuton 2.5 way). Rick also works regularly with high end parts and his 3 way sounds promising too (a 7 or 8" woofer, accuton mid and RAAL tweeter). I was wondering if anyone has heard a similar 3 way from Rick

Part of me says maybe I should stop chasing the ghost i.e an under 40 liter speaker that has tight and clean bass that goes down to high 30s/low 40s and superlative in every other form (flat FR curve, lowest non-linear distortion etc) In that case Zaph's 2.5 way sealed revelator would be an option as well.

Any other ideas?