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  • Helios Build Thread

    Time for a Helios project. Between the sad news of Jeff Bagby's passing and having built his Quarks years ago and really enjoying them I was intrigued by the Helios. I have been wanting to try something with a waveguide and higher end drivers for a long time so this seemed like a great option. I want to give a nod to Bear's Helios build, his look fantastic and there are some similarities here.

    For the construction I knew I wanted a small tower, need to downsize from Statements, that choice was easy. For the look & materials I was intending to do an inner MDF box, clad it with pine and a shou sugi ban finish, after a few test pieces I was less enthusiastic and moved on from that idea (at least for these). I then saw some 1.5" thick laminated bamboo on clearance at the local Lowes, remembering the Ardent cabinets I picked it up. Then seeing Bear's build made me know this was going to work out.

    A few major deviations from the spec build, I am going with a sealed cabinet and a narrower baffle. I will have the option to add a port or passive radiator later, but given my room and placement concerns I think sealed will work out better for me.

    One of my goals was to make the speaker as small as practical, My final dimensions are going to be about 10.75"x12.75"x36.5", narrower than the spec cabinet by about .75". Broke the panels down into rough pieces.
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    Going this narrow with 1.5" thick material will make a challenge with mounting the woofer, it needs an 8 or 8.5" cutout and my box ID will be about 7.75". Resolved that by carving out the sidewalls with a dado blade.
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    I am doing rabbet joints to make the box a cohesive looking piece. A quick test fit to check all my measurements worked.
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    This weekend I will finish frames for speaker grills and set hidden magnets in the cabinet before I glue everything up.
    I will be lining the cabinet will be constrained layer damping (automotive dynamat) and blue jeans insulation.
    There are a couple of void spaces in the bamboo that I may fill with PL premium when I do the glue up, but I am not sure if this will really matter at the end.

  • #2
    Originally posted by RookieBuilder View Post
    For the construction I knew I wanted a small tower, need to downsize from Statements, that choice was easy. For the look & materials I was intending to do an inner MDF box, clad it with pine and a shou sugi ban finish, after a few test pieces I was less enthusiastic and moved on from that idea (at least for these). I then saw some 1.5" thick laminated bamboo on clearance at the local Lowes, remembering the Ardent cabinets I picked it up. Then seeing Bear's build made me know this was going to work out.
    Happy to help! I had no idea that Lowe's even carried LBL, let alone the 1.5" stuff. Having built both the monitor-style and tower-style cabinets, I much prefer the tower.

    I am doing rabbet joints to make the box a cohesive looking piece. A quick test fit to check all my measurements worked.
    [ATTACH=CONFIG]30819[/ATTACH]
    Good choice. I used the 3-play in several applications. I very much prefer The more uniform look of the face veneers, which is why I used the single-ply material for all of my outer baffles.

    There are a couple of void spaces in the bamboo that I may fill with PL premium when I do the glue up, but I am not sure if this will really matter at the end.
    My first LBL build used material with extensive voids, and I also used mitered corners. It still had plenty of surface area for glue-up, and enough thickness in the face veneers to support a 3/4" roundover. It would not support the 1" roundover that is now my preferred final edge treatment.

    Do note that the WO24P generally needs a 10" PR, or larger, if you are going with a singleton. Given your inner measurements, you may want to look at doubling-up on an 8" PR if that's how you go. Realistically, just get a subwoofer to supplement the Helios and skip the PR.
    Welcome to Rivendell, Mr. Anderson.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Bear View Post
      Happy to help! I had no idea that Lowe's even carried LBL, let alone the 1.5" stuff. Having built both the monitor-style and tower-style cabinets, I much prefer the tower.


      Good choice. I used the 3-play in several applications. I very much prefer The more uniform look of the face veneers, which is why I used the single-ply material for all of my outer baffles.


      My first LBL build used material with extensive voids, and I also used mitered corners. It still had plenty of surface area for glue-up, and enough thickness in the face veneers to support a 3/4" roundover. It would not support the 1" roundover that is now my preferred final edge treatment.

      Do note that the WO24P generally needs a 10" PR, or larger, if you are going with a singleton. Given your inner measurements, you may want to look at doubling-up on an 8" PR if that's how you go. Realistically, just get a subwoofer to supplement the Helios and skip the PR.
      We will see how it shakes out with the sealed cabinets, I am going to try and push these towards the wall a little bit and I think the boundary gain will help. That said I do run subs, so hopefully there will be no issue.
      The Bamboo LBL was being sold as an island countertop, they were on clearance so not sure if it was a regularly stocked item or not.

      Comment


      • #4
        Weekend progress

        I had two pieces with larger voids that I filled with PL Premium. Set the shop vac on one side, pumped glue in and sucked it through, should be a nice fill.
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        Cut the rough frames for the grills. These need work, but they will do for the markup to set the magnets.
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        Magnets set on the inside of the front baffle rabbet.
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        Box lined with the damping layer.
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        First box is glued up.
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        • #5
          Holes about done and a quick test fit
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          Drivers sitting a touch tall, would be perfect if I was doing a veneer.
          Id imagine this will be about 1/2 a mm once they are bolted in, I am tempted to not worry, however if good advise says fix it...
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          • #6
            Originally posted by RookieBuilder View Post
            Drivers sitting a touch tall, would be perfect if I was doing a veneer.
            Id imagine this will be about 1/2 a mm once they are bolted in, I am tempted to not worry, however if good advise says fix it...
            If you've got a rabbeting bit and a good depth gauge, then it's a quick fix. Otherwise, don't sweat it. The difference may be measurable (barely), but it is extremely unlikely that it will be audible. I believe that Zaph may have done a comparison between surface mounting and fully-recessed. If you were surface-mounting, then you're probably into something audible, especially when the frequencies go up and the wavelengths come down. In practical terms, surface mounting a tweeter is a Bad Idea. The diffraction increases substantially. For a woofer with a relatively low crossover point or a big waveguide tweeter, this shouldn't matter.
            Welcome to Rivendell, Mr. Anderson.

            Comment


            • #7
              You could cut a template the same size as the drive hole out of mdf, double stick tape and a flush trim router bit with a top bearing. Then remove the required material.
              Hold on to your butts - It's about to get Musical!



              WEBSITE: http://www.smjaudio.com/

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              • #8
                Thanks guys, going to leave the woofers alone. For the tweeters, I have a rabbet bit that will get my 90% of the way there, after that a few minutes with a chisel and utility knife to clean things up.

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                • #9
                  I was able to fix the tweeter recess fairly easily. Set the depth on the straight cut but and did a free hand job leaving a few mm of material to the outside edge, went really slow and easy here as a little slip would have been a bad day. I scored the outside edge with a utility knife, then lifting out the last of the material with a chisel was simple. Now the tweeters have a perfect fit.

                  Cleaned up the holes, used a dovetail bit to add a taper to the holes, and then cut/file/sand the inside to clean up the edge. I did this on the tweeter as well, but with less effort as it shouldnt make any difference. I have never had to do this step with the baffle attached before, and while not that bad its far nicer to do this from the back with a router.
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                  A couple shots of the base, I am making it removeable for access to the crossovers. If I choose to port it in the future I will make up a second bottom with a down firing port built in.
                  Double gasket and more screws than necessary should make for a good seal.
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                  Milled out about 1/2 the thickness for the binding posts.
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                  Quickly made up some feet. These are now ready for sanding and finishing. Going with Danish oil. I have a few seams that need to be filled, going to try making a paste with sawdust and danish oil, same idea as glue and sawdust filler, but the goal is to have a seam that takes the oil the same as the rest of the cabinet.
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                  • #10
                    Nice looking cabinets! Great job!

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                    • #11
                      Very nice job!
                      Those damping sheets with the aluminum foil surface, are they suitable for the job? I have some left from a car damping project, but I feel that it does not damp the sound when used like this, inside the speaker boxes.

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                      • #12
                        Nice job and nice result!

                        Vassilis-7 - I've used similar kind of bitumen pads on all my latest project with good success. Even the boxes knocked with a back of a finger before and after reveals that they do dampen the panels well. And when I've looked into my speaker year or two later the pads with their glue have been tight on panels still, so I do like this method.

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                        • #13
                          Less progress this week than I would have liked, the oil finish is taking longer to cure than I expected. However everything is ready for final assembly once the oil is cured.

                          Crossovers are done, no photos...
                          Grills are done, set the magnets, dab of PL on each magnet, aligned the grill, and let it dry overnight
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                          Then the fabric, first time doing anything like this, I think it turned out OK, but a few things I would do different next time.
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                          • #14
                            Boxes lined with 2" denim insulation
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                            Binding post installed
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                            Crossovers mounted behind the drivers
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                            New and Old. The Statements will find a new home in my basement where they will have more room to breathe
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                            With the grill on
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                            A few things left to do, but I got ahead of myself and wanted to listen to these. Sound comes out and they sound good!

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                            • #15
                              Have any more impressions about the sound? Real curious about this design, considering it for my next build.

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