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Old 14th March 2014, 05:12 AM   #1
TerryO is offline TerryO  United States
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Default "The Puget Sound!" DIY Speaker Contest for 2014

I'm pleased to announch that The Pacific Northwest Audio Society ("PNWAS" or "the Club") will once again be sponsoring "The Puget Sound!" DIY Speaker Contest this year.

The Contest is scheduled for Saturday, August 23, 2014 with the doors opening for entries at about 9:00 AM and the general public at approximately 9:30 to 9:45. We will attempt to start the judging at 10:00.

I will be filling in more information in the coming days, weeks and months, so be sure to check back from time to time as additional information is published.
I should have more information up by the end of this next weekend!

Best Regards,
TerryO
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Old 22nd March 2014, 02:12 AM   #2
Dave R is offline Dave R  United States
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It's on my calendar.
Only 22 more weekends to go!
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Old 22nd March 2014, 03:48 AM   #3
TerryO is offline TerryO  United States
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Default Speaker Contest: "The Puget Sound!" DIY Speaker Contest

Speaker Contest: "The Puget Sound!" DIY Speaker Contest

The contest will be held at the Mercer Island Congregational Church, 4545 Island Crest Way, Mercer Island, WA

Doors open at 9:00 a.m., and judging begins between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m.. We may be flexible on start time if a contestant is traveling some distance and may be arriving later than the start time; please let us know in advance so we can schedule accordingly.

Entries
This year there will be two "classes" of entries: original DIY designs and kits. We realize that a lot of effort, experience, skill and sometimes luck are needed to come up with a successful design. Many accomplished designers learned their craft by starting with kits of one sort or another and subsequently progressed toward original designs. For others, the lack of time or experience makes a kit a means towards better, affordable sound.

A Kit is defined as...
...Any pre-designed or published design (publication includes the Internet) that is the product of another person. This may be plans, parts, kit, or both plus cabinets, etc. Any major deviation from the plans may at some point constitute an original design -- however, a club appointed technical committee will have the final determination if this problem presents itself. All kits must have been offered to and available to the general public at some time. We rely on the integrity of the contestant!

The kit class is broken by cost per pair, and excludes the cost of the cabinet and finish. The breakdown for kits is as follows:

$0-$175/pair
$176-$325/pair
$326+/pair

Original Designs:

The breakdown is as follows:

One way ----under $75/over $75
Two way ----under $200/over $200
Three way -- under $300/over $300
Unlimited ---- no limit

NOTE: This is for drivers and crossover parts only; cabinet material and finish are not included. We again rely on the contestants' integrity. Your uncle who owns the HiFi Emporium cannot give you a special deal that isn't or hasn't been available to the general public. Nuff Said!

The speakers will be driven by the system the club supplies. Don't bring your own MegaWatt Hyper Triode Amp -- we're not going to use it. To keep it simple, we are not going to allow biamping or plate amps for a bass module.

The entry fee is $5 if you pre-register (postmarked by August 25th) or $10 if you register at the door. If you have any questions please post on one of the forums with an official thread on the contest, like this one. Also, it would help us a great deal if you'd let us know or think you're coming. A downloadable format entry form and the address to send it and your entry fee will be provided at a later date.

Judging

The judging will be by a panel of judges in a special room set aside for this. We will have three judges, which in turn plays his personal pre-selected musical selections (2-3 minutes max.) while sitting in the "sweet spot." Each contestant is allowed to specify general guidelines to set-up, that is, distance apart, toe-in, although corner loaded speakers will need to provide their own artificial corners. Remember that the judges will be sitting side by side so that should be taken into consideration.

We intend that judging will be totally blind -- this means that a curtain is utilized to ensure that sound, and not appearance, will be the sole criteria. All speakers will have the loudness adjusted to the same level before judging begins. Set-up of speakers will be by a club crew using notes taken at time of entry. Each judge will be issued a standard evaluation form prior to each session, and will rate each entry by assigning points, after which the form is collected by the Technical Committee member assigned to monitoring the judging (and setting SPL levels prior to each evaluation of an entry, etc). The forms are then scored by the Contest Director, or his designee for total points. After the final entry is judged, the points earned are assigned within each category to determine ranking within that class. The total overall points regardless of category or class will determine Best Sound of Show.

Other Stuff:

General admission of the public is free. We hope to have a garage sale/swap meet type offering for those who wish to sell or buy audio gear for free. However, the owners are responsible for their gear, etc. Don't expect to drop off stuff and return at the end of the day to pick up the money. (Please advise in advance if you wish to sell items).

We are going to let the attendees help out by voting for the Best Craftsmanship, Most Unusual, Most Creative Use of Material (Bondo, duct tape, silly putty, etc.).

Awards:

Each entry will receive a certificate of participation and a print out of his entry's frequency response measured by a qualified expert designated by the Contest Director or head of the Technical Committee. Additional certificates will be awarded to class winners, as well as 2nd place .

Finally a "Best Sound of Show" certificate will be presented to the overall winner. All winners of their respective DIY class are eligible for this. Please note that "kit" speakers aren't eligible for the Best Sound of Show.

Unless overruled by the Technical Committee for violation of the rules, the decision (total points) of the judges is final.

Best Regards,
TerryO
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Old 31st March 2014, 03:57 AM   #4
rolloft is offline rolloft  United States
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Can I complicate things? What if I have active speakers? Your system won't power them without my minidsp XML. Can there be an active category?
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Old 1st April 2014, 01:03 AM   #5
TerryO is offline TerryO  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rolloft View Post
Can I complicate things? What if I have active speakers? Your system won't power them without my minidsp XML. Can there be an active category?
Hi

This question comes up quite often when we have the Contest. Since it's nearly impossible to have a level playing field when multiple variables are added to the mix, we simply don't allow active speakers. The most extreme example was a few years ago when an American and his Canadian buddy wanted to enter their full DSP Tri-amped speaker. When they were told the rules, they disconnected the DSP and triamp gear and designed a passive 3 way 4th order L/R crossover to use for the contest. While it didn't win 1st place, it did quite well and sounded very nice. The Audio Club later asked them to demo their speaker to the members at a regular meeting of the Pacific Northwest Audio Society.

Best Regards,
TerryO
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Old 1st April 2014, 02:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TerryO View Post
Hi

This question comes up quite often when we have the Contest. Since it's nearly impossible to have a level playing field when multiple variables are added to the mix, we simply don't allow active speakers. The most extreme example was a few years ago when an American and his Canadian buddy wanted to enter their full DSP Tri-amped speaker. When they were told the rules, they disconnected the DSP and triamp gear and designed a passive 3 way 4th order L/R crossover to use for the contest. While it didn't win 1st place, it did quite well and sounded very nice. The Audio Club later asked them to demo their speaker to the members at a regular meeting of the Pacific Northwest Audio Society.

Best Regards,
TerryO
Booo!

This is just evidence of the preconceived notion that speakers using active crossovers, or even DSP, are "unfair" competition for speakers using passive crossovers, or imply something overly complicated. Hey, I can make a very simple yet crappy active speaker and use some really low quality amplification. Shouldn't I be able to enter my crappy design in your competition, too?

Let's be fair and balanced here:

For active speakers:
you can control the playback volume level just like with passive speakers
it's a simple matter to provide source material to them via your preamp outputs
you can play back the exact same tracks

Maybe in the future you could consider:
having a little broader mindset, instead of just excluding active speakers based on some very thin arguments
making up requirements for active systems, e.g.
* must have internal amplification and crossovers
* must accept a single unbalanced (and or balanced) line level input
Or just create a separate category just for active speakers! Duh.

In the meantime, by the wrath of Beranek I curse your passive crossover cult!

Amen,

-Charlie
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Old 1st April 2014, 05:18 AM   #7
rolloft is offline rolloft  United States
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Default Bummer

That's a bummer Terry. I used to do passive designs but have moved on to active as it provides more design freedom and improved ability to XO and EQ your speakers to the environment and even the components you use (as Charlie pointed out).
I'm not trying to stir the pot, I'd just like to participate and have some fun and checkout what other people are doing, actively, passively or a combination thereof.
I respect good passive systems as much as the next guy (huge fan of Troels G) but it would be cool to figure out a way to include active systems.
I also respect the fact that it's your club and your contest and rules, and if you're only interested in passive designs, that's you're prerogative. But you should also consider with the rise of miniDSP and hypex and great active speakers like grimm's and linkwitz's, it would be a shame to exclude a new generation of DIYers.
Just sayin. Let me know if you change your mind.
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Old 1st April 2014, 02:06 PM   #8
Dave R is offline Dave R  United States
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Charlie,
Your input is appreciated, but I don't think it's necessarily the pre-conceived notion that active crossovers are "unfair" competition. The thought behind it is that each speaker is driven by the same single source of power to make a fair, level playing field. There is no conception that passive or active is better or worse (obviously there can be good and bad executions for either). What has been decided is that only passive crossovers are allowed for this competition.

Rolloft,
I'm sure Terry and all the club memebers appreciate your understanding. As you said, those are the contest rules.

The contest runs every other year (even years), and usually a speaker building (or diy in general) gathering event in odd years. At the diy gathering in odd years, anyone can bring anything they've made or even a (non-diy) system they've put together. We've had headphone setups, FM antenna builds, powered speakers, tube amps, and lots of other stuff at those events.

And don't forget, the contest is open to the public, no charge. We're glad to have fellow diy'ers attend. It is a fun day . . . enjoy what others have created . . . enjoy some grilled burgers or hot dogs . . . and maybe solve some world problems.

Hope to see both of you.
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Last edited by Dave R; 1st April 2014 at 02:11 PM.
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