Need some suggestions on what to build.
Hello, everyone. Very long n00b question incoming!
I wanted to ask the forum's opinion on whether I should build my own speakers and if so, which ones.
Here's my situation:
I have some older speakers I'm using that I bought 12 years ago. They are 3-way Technics bass-reflex boxes that have never had really good highs (tiny paper cone) and now their 10" woofers are looking aged (one has some indents in it).
I'd like to replace them, but I am on a tight monthly budget. I've searched around to see what was available for a relatively low price and so far have been disappointed. I found you guys by randomly going to frugal-horn.com and looking through their plans. I've done a bit of reading for some of the more lengthy threads in here and am starting to think that the DIY full-range thing is for me. I am drawn to the pretty amazing flat response curves that some of these enclosures have. But I like to get second opinions, so I thought I'd ask in here if a single-driver solution would be good for the music I listen to.
Here are my constraints:
1. WAF is very generous. We have a dedicated HT/Listening room in the house. I can get speakers of any size and place them anywhere within reason. They just have to look "finished" and not have things like visible screws, tape, or rough edges.
2. I have a sub that I like and that has a reasonably easy setup. I am not a purist so I will probably employ it for the range from 40hz to wherever the speakers take over no matter what I go with. Having a specialist speaker for those difficult bottom notes is too useful to pass up.
3. The room is 18' wide and 14' deep with an 8' ceiling. There is a large picture window at the back of the room (behind the listening area) that is recessed 18 inches, but has heavy drapes in front of it (which I usually pull closed while listening). The room has doors on both sides, but they can be opened or closed. I usually listen to music with them open. Generally speaking, we listen roughly 10 feet from the speakers with three feet (and heavy drapes) behind us.
4. I listen to almost everything, and different kinds of music have different challenges. For classical, my speakers struggle with the combination of piano and orchestra (Chopin piano concertos, for example), often making the piano sound recessed and muffled, though piano by itself is fine. The soundstage is decidedly behind the speakers, and I'd like to bring it out front a bit more. Also, I listen to a good bit of modern heavy metal, and I've noticed that the double-pedal drums (ye olde 16th and 32nd note pulses) will run together and get boomy on my current speakers. I wish to avoid this at all costs. I'd also like to retain the ability to believably reproduce jazz trios.
5. My music system doubles as home theater. It has to be able to get fairly loud without audible strain.
6. This will be my first DiY project, so I don't have particularly high-quality amplification. I use a 12 year old SONY receiver. It does 100wpc and sounds pretty good using the variety of speakers I've used with it. The shortcomings of my current speakers were not as readily apparent until I auditioned higher-quality speakers using my amplifier, so it delivers enough clarity for my taste. However, if my first DiY project gives me a taste of success, I'll probably build a SET amp in a year or two. I mention the amp only to point out that I need a speaker that won't sound awesome with one amp and unlistenable on another. It needs to be at least somewhat forgiving.
7. Oh, this will be one of my first woodworking projects. I need something that will be easy to build with standard hand-tools. I prefer 90-degree cuts, naturally, but if consensus says that I just described something like the Metronome or Zigmahornet, then I'll cut those angles carefully. :-) I'm a mechanic, so I feel handy around power tools, but my lack of experience will probably be a big liability if I choose a too-complicated enclosure.
Well, thanks for whatever advice you all can provide, even if its just a partial answer or testimonial here or there, or even a recommendation to stay away from a particular type of cabinet. Also, if you think a full-range is a dead end for what I need, then that would be VERY valuable information as well.
You said your on a tight monthly budget, how much do you want to spend?, and materials can also add significantly to the overall cost of your project..
I'd say go for the fe208esigma and tweet combo for what you want, and your good for lots of different music and HT, plus you'd have something that would be hard to better for the $$$... Not sure on the cab, maybe ask Scott, Gm etc... Dave:)
I'll just touch on a few things real quick here for you, and in no particular order...
1) I feel with the right single driver, you can listen to any music you desire, especially if you're going to be using a subwoofer from say 80Hz on down.
2) Want a really simple, functional design that will get loud and sound good all at the same time? Might want to look into Audio Nirvana's 8" drivers and the matching 2.8 enclosure. Very simple vented box.
Be sure to check out these links...
3) I have been playing around with a pair of tiny Fostex FE103E 4" drivers for the past week or so in ported cardboard boxes. Just last night and this evening I have been playing around with various values of resistors inline with the drivers to help tame a slight midrange "hump". It has proven to be a major improvement.
I too listen to a lot of different music, and so far I haven't come across anything that these little guys can't complement in some way or another. Then again, I'm also using a subwoofer with them, although they are still playing fullrange. However, the sub still helps out a lot with the overall sound.
These particular drivers are rated at 89dB @ 1W/1M. I'm powering them with an original Sonic Impact T-amp that puts out roughly 9 watts @ 8 ohms. In my 10 x 12 x 8 spare room, they get pretty darn loud. I have measured them at almost 90dB by themselves at 10' away!
Since you also need them to run double duty as part of your home theater system, I believe the Audio Nirvana option would be a great choice since they are rated at 96-97dB @ 1W/1M. And in your size room (14 x 18 x 8), they should get plenty loud enough, especially when they are backed up and crossed over with a subwoofer. The drivers are cheap enough, the enclosures are simple enough to build, and the reported sound quality vs price ratio is more than great, I really don't think you can go wrong with this kind of setup.
I honestly think I am going to buy a pair of those Audio Nirvana drivers myself to try out. And if they are as good as the reviews claim, I'll possibly redo my entire home theater/2-ch audio system in the main room with them, and I don't exactly have cheap, outdated equipment either. In fact, I just bought the front 3 speakers towards the beginning of the year, about $2000 worth!
Anyway, I hope some of this has helped out a little.
My two cents...
Tight budget, simple build, solid state receiver? Sounds like a good fit for the Pioneer B20FU20-51FW, or BOFU as it's known around here.
The price has gone up some, but it's still pretty cheap. Many choices of cabinets are possible, from a simple sealed box (a good place to start as you're using a sub anyway), or a larger vented box, to an MLTL, to the half-Chang, G. Chang, Curvy Chang family, or a really big BIB. Add a cheaptweeter for a little sparkle, with a 2 uF cap in series, and you're in business.
The Pioneer gives you a nice upgrade path. You could start with a sealed box to get up and running, build a set from the Chang family for a little more woodworking challenge and more bass from the BOFU, and swap a Fostex into the Chang cabinet later on to get more efficiency (better match for an SET amp) and more detail.
The BOFU isn't as detailed as something like a Fostex driver, but it's less expensive, works well with solid state amplification, plays reasonably (though not insanely) loudly, and sounds pretty good without a lot of fuss. You could do worse for a first project.
Hard to go wrong with the BuFu's. It's official designation is BU20Fu20
but I think Variac decided that BoFu was less risque.
They do a really good job for the 20 bucks in a number of enclosures,
and they are pretty neutral, have a decent bottom end, are pretty
flat and take abuse. Their weakness is that they don't offer the
last iota of detail and efficiency. You will probably want to consider a
tweeter above 10K - something nice with about 89 dB sensitivity and
crossed over with a 1 uF cap.
i think only a BL horn with helper bass mid driver
is a choice for the AN8", but not easy to built but cheap.
The SAXOPHON, 100 dB with 1 mm stroke
Or like it says in that article, find some old Lowther enclosures and use them. The AN drivers should drop right in and sound just about as good as the Lowther drivers. At least that's what they say.
...and they're wrong.
Considering your room size and wide variety of music (and based upon my admittedly limited experience of completing 3 pairs of single driver speakers,) I might suggest Scott's Half Chang with a Fostex FE206e driver. I built a pair of these for our daughter and son-in-law after hearing the pair built by Bob Trancho (search for his thread.) They sound great when playing softly (a characteristic which eludes many commercial speakers,) but can also do very loud. Note that I am one of the heretics who uses BSC (baffle step correction) and SS receivers. :devilr: The HC was designed for the FE207, but I was concerned that it might need a helper tweeter. The FE206 has enough high freq to satisfy me, but then required BSC consisting of a 1 mH air core inductor in parallel w/ a 5 ohm 10 w Mills resistor.
My others builds used FE127e and FE108eSigma drivers. I don't think I would use them for playing heavy metal, but YMMV.
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