Yikes, my DIY speakers sound far more similar than I thought!

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  • fjhuerta
    Super Senior Member
    • Jun 2006
    • 1140

    Yikes, my DIY speakers sound far more similar than I thought!

    Allow me to explain...

    I built a couple of stands for a modified Energy C-50 speaker I made. Basically, the drivers are the same, but the box is reinforced, and the crossover is completely redesigned.

    Just for kicks, I decided to try them on my living room, where my Seas P21 / Neo8 / Neo3 speaker is. I placed them side by side and fired them up.


    I went back and forth a couple of times, with different types of music.

    Yep, it's true. The speakers sound pretty, pretty close! Which is absolutely surprising, since the Energys have a 3 1/2" woofer (not a typo) and an aluminum dome 1" tweeter.

    Actually, when listening to a guitar ensemble, they were so close I couldn't decide which ones I liked more.

    They had their differences, of course. The Seas (with its 8" woofer!) were fuller, had far more bass, and was smoother. The Energys had pinpoint imaging, a more "engaging" treble (since there's a bit more top-end energy) and could handle less power.

    But their tonality was basically identical. The differences only showed up by extended listening (extra treble here, vocals a bit off, a bit of a recessed midrange etc.)

    That made me think - when you go out and audition commercial speakers, are the differences you listen to due to the coloration "built in" by the designer more than anything else? "Neutral" speakers should sound very, very similar (from my limited experience) - after all, you are simply trying to take the signal and convert it to sound waves. In my experience, commercial speakers sound more different than equal.

    Am I correct in thinking this? Do you find your DIY designs to sound similar all around, and that their differences are more subtle than obvious?
    Javier Huerta
  • Face
    Senior Member
    • Mar 2007
    • 995

    The a good portion of the similarities are from using the same associated gear and listening room.
    SEOS 12/AE TD10M Front Stage in Progress


    • JonMarsh
      Mad Max Moderator
      • Aug 2000
      • 15209

      If one's DIY designs have similar forward radiating profiles, and one uses the same equipment to measure and design, and the same playback equipment and room is used, then other than matters of distortion, frequency extension, and SPL capability I'd expect them to sound similar...

      But, for example, my Ardent's and NeoD's sounded much more different than I expected- the Ardents have much more resolution and visceral impact from the lower bass to lower midrange, but as first assembled, they also have more coloration in the top end, though more impact.

      I'm working on remedying that. :W And improving the NeoD further even though the MkII will still be in a small cabinet.

      Now, if you did a standard box, versus a full omni, or a dipole, I think you'd hear bigger differences because of the differences in power response. As long as you're dealing with conventional baffles and forward radiating characteristics, the sound should be pretty similar- other wise there's something broken in the design process.
      the AudioWorx
      Natalie P
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      • fjhuerta
        Super Senior Member
        • Jun 2006
        • 1140

        Thanks Jon, that was what I suspected.

        And the reason why commercial speakers often have strange looking FR plots, I suppose - what could be worse for manufacturers than listening to a B&W vs. a Monitor Audio and end up thinking "darn, both sound pretty much the same?!?"
        Javier Huerta


        • villastrangiato
          Senior Member
          • Jan 2010
          • 231

          A great mind thinks alike.... :rofl:

          Anyways, I have to say Javier, your threads and projects are always something I look forward to reading. Your humble attitude is definitely refreshing in an atmosphere that is all too often swamped with folks who suddenly become PHD's in Acoustical/Electrical Engineering after downloading a cheesy simulation program to their laptops :roll: . Thanks for your generous contributions to this forum. I look forward to your next project! :T


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