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Old 2nd April 2009, 07:31 PM   #1
juswyq is offline juswyq  Singapore
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Default Need help on speakers, I'm a total newbie

Hi guys, I need help on making a decision about which speaker to get.

I own many headphones and recently took great interest in speakers (Headphones are kinda anti-social when friends come over to visit)

After days of searching online for a good pair of budget (I'm willing to spend around 300, maybe more or less) speakers, I stumbled across the tekton model 4.5. You could look at www.tektondesign.com for more information.

They go for around USD300 excluding shipping.. I'd already have a pair sitting beside me if the shipping to my location didn't cost USD127. With taxes, all-in, the total cost would come to around SGD700 (singapore dollars). It seems like they're simple fostex FE127E drivers within high-quality MDF cabinets which are built according to specification.

Quote from their website:
Quote:
Main Features: Superior quality Fostex FE127E 4.5 (114.3mm) full-range drivers to provide an unsurpassed level of output, fidelity, and detail all the way up to 20kHz

Warm and rich bass response that is produced by a textbook Quasi third-order ported Butterworth alignment, and at the foundation is the top-quality MDF cabinet, with fiberglass damping

An oversized port that eliminates all possible vent noises

Gold plated 5-way binding terminal posts

Completely designed, critically voiced, and hand built by a master craftsman.


I'm not sure whether all these means anything.. Sometimes companies market their products with fancy words, but with my lack of knowledge I can't make out whether this is reliable.

After some searching I discovered a local DIY store that has the fostex FE127Es in their inventory. I asked for a quote for these drivers in a wooden cabinet, with whatever's needed to make it useable out of an amp (I'm not sure what components are needed myself! Inductors and capacitors.. Don't know what they're for, lol)

And.. they gave me a quote of SGD400 (roughly USD280), around 60% of what the tekton speakers would be shipped. Would the difference in the cabinets really make a big impact on the sound? And with that difference, is it worth the extra SGD300?

Of course I could buy a pair of drivers and DIY my own cabinet, but I have totally no experience with woodwork, and don't have the tools required. Even if I do manage to build one, I have no idea where my speaker stands with my limited experience! Some pointers would be much appreciated.

Of course I could go for the more consumer-aimed powered speakers, the audioengine A5s, for more convenience, but I'd prefer the most bang-for-buck option I can find (the best sound quality of course) at this price point. Most of the time that would point to DIY, but of course there are exceptions.

If I do get one of these passive speakers I'd be running them out of a budget T-amp or gainclone (by the way, which is better? I'm only getting one and I'd want the better one).
The best opinion for me would be if someone could give a comparison on the audioengine A5, and the fostex FE127E bookshelf speakers running out of a T-amp/Gainclone, so I can decide which to buy. But that might be asking for too much. >.>

Thanks for the patience to read all this crap. I'm at a loss on what to do.. Still a student so money is scarce, gotta spend wisely. Thanks!
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Old 2nd April 2009, 08:03 PM   #2
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It depends what your going for. Keep in mind I haven't heard the either.

The audioengine A5 will have more bass and play louder than the Fostex due to the limited excursion and resonant frequency (fs) of the Fostex. The Fostex fe127e with a t-amp would probably have better sounding midrange and no lobing artifacts since it is a single driver system.

I wouldn't pay for shipping the Tekton. That adds quite a bit to the price. Their are loads of good diy projects for fe127e. If need be you could probably find a home supply store with a decent table saw to cut mdf for you. You might see if the local diy has something you can listen to. After you hear them you might be able to decide whether they are for you or not. Be sure to take your own demo material.

Regards,
Roger
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Old 2nd April 2009, 08:56 PM   #3
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Default Re: Need help on speakers, I'm a total newbie

Quote:
Originally posted by juswyq
And.. they gave me a quote of SGD400 (roughly USD280), around 60% of what the tekton speakers would be shipped. Would the difference in the cabinets really make a big impact on the sound? And with that difference, is it worth the extra SGD300?

Of course I could buy a pair of drivers and DIY my own cabinet, but I have totally no experience with woodwork, and don't have the tools required. Even if I do manage to build one, I have no idea where my speaker stands with my limited experience! Some pointers would be much appreciated.
I think your approach of having the cabinets built locally is a very wise one. I'm certain you could find a furniture or cabinet maker who could follow a set of plans very well. I think you'll find a number of very positive things said about the 127 on this forum. By the same token, there are some very realistic assessments of it's limitations. It can be implemented without any crossover, and there are numerous enclosures documented herein that address some of those limitations.

You find out what else your local supplier has in stock regarding other full-range drivers. There's no sense in limiting yourself. If you've already done that and the 127 is choice, it's a good choice. As this is going to be used without a subwoofer, you could consider the Fonken (planet10-hifi.com) enclosure. It's reported to have very nice bass output for the 127. Not quite as good as a BVR (frugal-horn.com) but definitely smaller.

And just for an alternative, check-out markaudio.com. As he's based in HK, shipping would be less, and his Alpair 10 has gotten some very favorable reviews. Jim Griffin posted a ML-TL that would be very nice, or someone here could design a simple bass-reflex for you.

John
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Old 2nd April 2009, 09:19 PM   #4
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http://www.zillaaudio.com/fostex-127e-slotted-box.htm

Maybe you can consider the project above? I recently swapped out the Sonic Impact amp for an Onkyo receiver and it sounds worse. Never heard the gainclone but apparently it's great. The SI amp is also great especially with the Fostex 127e.



Good luck and enjoy!
Godzilla
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Old 3rd April 2009, 04:39 AM   #5
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Location: Appleton, WI
If you can build then build.

An inch is an inch and a centimeter is a centimeter. The rest is packaging and branding-- if indeed the tekton box is an unmodified design with no crossover or filtering to give it an identifiable
signature.

All of my 127e builds are unmodified. I've used the 127e in big cabinets and little ones.

You have to learn to trust your ears rather than the copy writer on these things.
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Old 3rd April 2009, 06:41 AM   #6
juswyq is offline juswyq  Singapore
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As with anything audio, trusting your own ears is the way to go.

Unfortunately I don't have any references, and the speaker that I will build will be the only one I can listen to, so I only have one shot at it until I save up enough for another speaker.

I was initially considering the FE127Es because I first discovered the tekton speakers which uses them.. (And probably got attracted by their marketing strategies, i.e. the unconditional guarantee that their speakers are the best at that price point)

Are there any other 2-way or fullrange drivers at the same price point that has the same / better performance?

With the SGD400 + SGD120 spent on the DIY fostex and the T-amp, I could get an Audioengine A5. At this price point it seems like the A5 is the better choice because of the stronger bass ( i listen to more rock than vocals)

Thanks very much for the responses, they've been really helpful!
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Old 3rd April 2009, 10:48 AM   #7
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The normal reason an ordinary woodworker builds less good cabinets than a professional is lack of glue. Furniture makers use a gob of glue every couple of inches, while joints in speaker cabinets have to be sealed completely, otherwise they rattle and buzz. When I was in that side of the business (a very long time ago) I would sine wave sweep the cabinets, and inject glue into interstices until I couldn't make them vibrate at resonant frequencies; a far bigger improvement in clarity and precision than improved frequency response, or even impulse response, up there with damping out cabinet resonances. Occasionally grill cloths would flap, and need equivalent treatment.

Time consuming, but apart from that, cheap. Since you probably won't have a sine wave generator available, slather on the glue with enthusiasm, then scrape/sand off the excess.
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