Zigmahornet Family Project (If you can't beat'em, join'em!) - diyAudio
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Old 28th February 2009, 01:32 PM   #1
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Talking Zigmahornet Family Project (If you can't beat'em, join'em!)

Hello guys,

Just wanted to share with you my latest loudspeaker building experience, which was amazing.

Background:
My immense interest in speaker building has put me at odds with my wife many times in the past, be it the cost of drivers, the size of the end product, the un-professional (i.e. ugly) finish, or just the sheer time spent in reading and re-reading diyaudio forum posts (which means less time spent with family). I guess some of you may have the similar experiences...

The light bulb that went on...
When I got my Dave Merrill DCA4 drivers (as favourably reviewed in 6moons by Jeff Day in Zigmahornet enclosure), my wife was again noticably disturbed. Then it suddenly dawned on me that, if I can't beat them, join'em! (or ask them to join you!) My wife is a graphic designer, and my daughter really showed talent in drawing (I have always felt bad to be constantly throwing away her drawings). Why not get the whole family involved in this speaker building project?

Project:
I decided to build the exact system outlined in the 6moons Merrill Zigmahornet review. I already have the Super T-amp, and over the past half a year I have bought the other components (Playstation SCPH1001, DCA4 drivers, even the walmart extension cords). It cost me more than the $284.44 as stated in the review (more like $450), but if the system is anything near what's claimed in the review it will be more than worth it.

Build process:
It did not take long to build the Ziggies, even with my inept woodworking skills. The unfinshed product looked terrible, but here is where the fun comes in. I asked my daughter to draw me pictures in 8.5 inches by 11 inches papers. It took her about 3 days to fill up ~50 sheets, which is enough to cover the 2 speakers. These sheets were then glued on the speaker surface. Additional family photos were glued there as well. After the glue dried, I asked my wife to draw whatever she wanted on it to decorate the speakers. She choose to draw a Minnie mouse on it, which looked great! The speakers are not finished yet (my wife still has to draw Mickey mouse on the other speakers) but I couldn't wait, so I screwed on the drivers and the terminals. (The drivers and terminals can be easily removed for the addition of the drawing whenever my wife is ready to draw again). Then the most important part: turning on the system and hearing how it sounds. So far it had been a most exciting experience, our whole family really enjoyed the process, we all loved the look of the speakers. But if the speakers sounds like crap, then all will be for naught...

Sound:
Wow. Amazement and relief was my initial reaction. I was overjoyed to hear the sound from these Ziggies! It is really good! For the first time in a long time I was able to relax, just enjoy the music and forget about tweaking. The bass was weak but was acceptible (I briefly tried using my computer as my source and added DSP programs (e.g. maxxbass, SRS hyperbass) but it did not work out). But the overall sound was so coherent and natural that it is easy to overlook this deficiency. They were really good at small group ensembles (images really well), but even with large orchestral work they are enjoyable as long as the volume is not very high (which I can't do anyways, because it will wake my kids up and that will mean the end of the listening session anyways).

Conclusion:
...so...what an amazing experience. My wife loved these speakers for their looks, I loved these speakers for their sound, we get to preserve my daughter's artwork for years to come...Downside? The only downside perhaps is that I can't sell these. The pictures will not have the same meaning to another family. But there is no intention to sell these anyways because they have really became, in their brief time of existance, a priceless treasure to our family.

Future plans:
The speakers are not finished yet. As soon as my wife draws the Mickey mouse on the other side, I am going to coat them with multiple coats of water based polyurathane (all the drawings are done via oil based paints / permenant whiteboard markers).

Pictures to follow...
Attached Images
File Type: jpg ziggie pictures.jpg (58.6 KB, 575 views)
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Old 28th February 2009, 02:13 PM   #2
fwater is offline fwater  United States
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...how could you possibly get any more DIY?

Involving the family is absolute bliss with speaker building. My five year old daughter has chosen color schemes and decorative papers from the craft store. My wife gives input that gets her excited about yet another pair of speakers to take up space in her living room. Win / win.

Good work, I find your collaberative project to be beautiful!
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Old 28th February 2009, 03:04 PM   #3
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I gather that's the way forward -pick the speaker & allow any feminine member of the household who may have aesthetic objections to choose the finish. Then complaints etc. are kept to a minimum. Taken to the next level, get her to listen & help pick the speaker (based purely on sound, with the understanding she will select the finish) -she'll probably have better hearing than us blokes anyway. Not tried it myself -never been in a position that would require it. But I hear it can help maintain domestic harmony.
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Old 1st March 2009, 05:41 PM   #4
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fwater:

"My wife gives input that gets her excited about YET ANOTHER PAIR of speakers to take up space in HER living room."

Simply brilliant! Don't think there are many situations where spouses will get excited about big things occupying spaces in their living rooms.

Thanks for your kind words...

Scottmoose:
Thanks for your input. Excellent next step you suggested. I am trying to get my wife listen to my hi fi systems. She even went to hifi stores with me once. I agree that she probably has way better hearing than me. That will give her an advantage in terms of distinguishing differences between speakers.

On the other hand, I think the challenge is to show her 1) what to listen for (highs/lows, imaging...etc.) and 2)get her to a point where she cares about these differences. It is one thing for the ear to be capable to hear a difference, and it may take some brief training to know what to listen for. But it is a whole different matter in thinking about these differences as significant / crucial to enjoying audio. Sometimes I wonder if she is the sane one and I am the one who needs therapy or "brain reprogramming" in this regard.

Cheers!

Roger
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Old 1st March 2009, 09:18 PM   #5
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Not actually my idea -GM, who posts here, sometimes suggests it.

Probably the ideal in hearing terms for voicing a speaker is a teenage girl. If there's anything wrong with the HF, they'll hear it, and complain. Interestingly, I gather many favour a rolled off extreme top end, to keep things nice & smooth, without sacrificing any detail (it's all harmonics up above ~16 - 17KHz) which is also what the pioneers of audio prefered. Count me in too. I hate bright systems. They just give me a screaming headache. As for the hifi fripperies you can sort that out yourself easily enough -for e.g., WRT stereo imaging, just make sure you haul along a recording you know well, with reasonable channel separation. Remember, you should shortlist a few possibilities in advance that you could live with, and these are the ones you present.
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