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Old 22nd September 2009, 02:12 PM   #1
al128 is offline al128  Chile
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Default FR audition and (sound) comparison thread

Hi there,

after hanging out here and on other FR-forums, I noticed there is a lot of info on building speakers (e.g. tons on ron-horns, frugal-horns, etc...) ... but there is dear little information on how they sound afterwards - especially once they are broken in ...


Lets remedy this by posting here aural impressins of FR speakers you have heard ... and how they compare to other commercial speakers or other DIY FR speakers ...

the good , the bad and the ugly of it ...

any takers?

thx in advance,
Al
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Old 22nd September 2009, 06:00 PM   #2
PJN is offline PJN  United States
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Ok, I'll bite,
I can only compare the fullrangers that I've built with multiways that I've owned or built, here goes.

Pioneer B20 fullrange in a MLTL - great bass extension, ok mids, not highly detailed, a bit of shout but as a first project a good starter. Ultimately had inadequate high end. Ended up making it into a two way - much better that way. It still resides in my Garage.

Large Advents - Ok bass, recessed mids, good speaker when it was released but technology has passed it by.

Marantz HD880 - One of Marantz's late 70's TOL speakers. Much better at everything than the Advent, very nice balance and imaging. Nice speaker. Todays modern drivers offer superior detail, but this one is still hard to beat.

Tangband bamboo fullrange 4" MLTL - nice little speaker, using it for TV speakers with a sub. Sounds small and not up to hifi standards set by older 70's multiways.

Jordan JX92 in a backloaded horn - Great speaker, addictive. The horn is pretty big at 5 ft high but curved not folded in a box. Great detail, bass, and imaging, basically great everything, but the most interesting thing is the detail in the bass, it sounds very live, very different/better than BR, MLTL, or sealed. I did add a supertweeter to add a bit more air which I like. This probably my favorite to date, but it's a tough call between it and the peerless 3ways.

DIY 10" sealed threeway - using low distortion Peerless drivers. Crossover designed by Rick Craig. Fullrange like integration of drivers, excellent balance, holographic imaging, great mids and highs, nice tight bass. I'd have to say that the mids and highs could be judged to be nicer than the Jordans but the bass is not as realistic or deep as Jordan horn. The difference is that the Jordans make my dogs bark because they think that someone is in the house, the three ways don't. Outperforms the Marantz 880's by a fair margin on dynamics, and detail. Very nice non fatiguing listening speaker, my wife's favorite.

Kliptch towers - Brother in law has a pair - lack of bass, unnatural/ edgy mids and highs, indifferent imaging, I didn't care for the way they sounded.

PJN
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Old 22nd September 2009, 06:20 PM   #3
Glowbug is offline Glowbug  United States
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I had a pair of Klipsch Forte IIs as my first high-efficiency speakers before I built the BIBs with Fostex Sigs...while the Klipschs were easier to place in the room and had better off-axis response, the BIBs clean up in other categories (at least with my 8W amps, if I had more power I'd be limited by the 30W Fostexes). I'm not going to lie, I'd be happier if I had supertweets with them, and I'm planning on doing that soon - but they're good as is

And there's no comparison to the JBL S38s I had before the Fortes...
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Old 22nd September 2009, 07:00 PM   #4
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Default Zigma Hornets

I've posted some comments elsewhere, after I finished them, but I've been living with these speakers a few months now, so at the expense of some repetition...

I'd lived happily with a pair of Linn Index IIs-- A 2 way bookshelf speaker that ran about $600. /pr back in 1991.

I commited myself to building the Zigma based on ease of construction and the 6moons rave review. After reading builder reports, I was less optimistic.

Compared with the Linn's, the Zigmas play louder, with greater dynamics. The imaging, I suppose, appears what it's cracked up to be. Sounds, instruments, are disentangled and separated from eachother. The sound is clear. Engaging. Alive.

What about the bass? More bass than the "wall-loaded" Linn's gave. My trouble is this is the best speaker I've spent any more than 30 seconds listening to, and the same goes for all my friends.

I can't tell to what extent some less positive builder reviews were the result of their experience with much better speakers (surely true for many), or whether design changes (MDF instead of birch ply, alternate speaker drivers than the recommended dca4) had an adverse impact.

In pursuit of my own enlightenment, and perhaps learning something to share back here at DIY, I'm intent, now, on building either the Saburo, Sachiko, or Mikasa.


Brenton
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Old 22nd September 2009, 08:46 PM   #5
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Default mFonken, Buschhorn Mk II

I've been listening to and really enjoying the mFonkens for about 18 months (beta issue cabinets, enabled Fe127 drivers, make that Fe127e I guess)
There's not much bass, I can set the subwoofer when I use it to crossover at 100hz. That said, I need a pair I can play in polite mode so as not to wake the neighbours and I don't miss the sub for late night listening. These sit either beside my computer monitor or on 24 inch stands in a 8 x 14 room.

I'm not an audio reviewer so I'll leave off the "like comfortable yet accurate mittens for my ears" type of comments. I have however listened to Klipsch RB-3's Minimus 7's & 77's, Philips single drivers from the 60's, Sansui bookshelves, Rogers monitors, Akai single drivers and a few other speakers on the same stands in the same room and the mFonkens remain.

I sometimes connect a olde foster horn tweeter on top of the mFonken with a dab of duct seal, but I need to fiddle with the capacitor in series a whole bunch and never seem to get it right. If you're still blessed to hear over 17,000hz you might want to spend time mixing in a quality tweeter, then again might not.

I also built a pair of Foster 103a Buschhorn MK II's out of 1/2 plywood, to get a feel for the process and really enjoyed them. The bass was decent from a 3 or 4 inch driver, depending on how you look at it. But being back firing meant to my ears there was a delay in the bass which was a bit odd. Imaging/soundstage? was impressive, but I had to sit in exactly the right place. If I had the space I wouldn't have got rid of them. Also, they were good enough that I'm going to build a Mikasa or similar out of proper 3/4 Birch or better if I can get my hands on it. (kept the drivers).

I am, after many family related delays, almost finished a flatpak of the Fonken floorstanders so I'll post back if this thread survives.

I suppose I should disclose that Planet10 lives sort of nearby, so it's possible I'm influenced by lotusland or the density of air here at sea level. (which reminds me to work on my sealed argon filled listening room)
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Old 22nd September 2009, 09:13 PM   #6
chrisb is online now chrisb  Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wha' DIYa know? View Post
In pursuit of my own enlightenment, and perhaps learning something to share back here at DIY, I'm intent, now, on building either the Saburo, Sachiko, or Mikasa.


Brenton
If it's not too presumptuous for me to speak on behalf of DIY speaker bashers who returned to the hobby after years (decades) owning a fairly wide range of commercial and home made gear, it would be helpful to revisit a few questions that could be helpful in planning your next step(s)

Some of these are a bit of a hobby-horse for me

- room and listening position(s); still probably the easiest factor to overlook is matching the speaker to the room - once you get the itch to "go to the next level", it's far easier than you might think to have too much speaker for the room

- listening habits / musical preferences; chamber music and "chix & geetarz" at conversational levels will require far less horsepower, bandwidth and headroom than Metallica at 103dB or Wagnerian opera / the 1812 Overture, or your favorite "Steam Engines and Thunderstorms" sound effects recordings (the former will also likely generate far less listening fatigue )

- choice of amplification; for a lot of folks the appeal upon initial exposure to single driver/full range systems can be in the synergy (seductive waltz) between low powered tube amps and a moderate to high efficiency driver. Changing out only the amplifier to something with multiples of the power level and vanishingly low distortion (that's another way of saying "solid state") can often result in an underwhelming experience, and seconding guessing of your earlier impressions. ("Damn, I don't get it, the Lowthers sounded so magical on the 45 Triode, why do they make my head hurt on the XXXX 200 Watt digital amp that sounded so good in the dealers showroom on the B&W Nautilus I can never afford?)

- aesthetics; for a lot of lucky folks, this is not an issue - but for those with wives / partners fed up with over 30yrs of pretty weird and wonderful gear, we can either be constrained by what will match the decor in the shared spaces, or will fit in the 200sq ft converted bedroom allotted for our man cave. Not all of us are as fortunate, talented or tonsorially endowed as Neslon Pass or Srajan Ebaen


All of which is to suggest that some shared information could help with guidance in suggesting which of your short list of nominees might best suit your current application.
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Last edited by chrisb; 22nd September 2009 at 09:17 PM.
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Old 22nd September 2009, 09:32 PM   #7
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Hi PJN,
Having a pair JX92 collecting dust, I`m a little curios about your horn.
Is it your own design or built after plans available on the internet ?

JB
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Old 22nd September 2009, 09:39 PM   #8
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>>> comparison thread...

I do not know how to set it up but maybe a Poll listing many FR drivers we use and have used along with categories like Dark, Neutral, Bright... Low Eff, Med Eff, Hi Eff... or something like that and we all check off what we think. Over time patterns will evolve and the overall character of each driver will be documented... and continue to be documented...

For example:
Pioneer B20 Dark, Med Eff
Fostex 127e Bright, Med Eff

etc... any takers? LOL.

Godzilla
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Old 22nd September 2009, 10:34 PM   #9
chrisb is online now chrisb  Canada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Godzilla View Post
>>> comparison thread...

I do not know how to set it up but maybe a Poll listing many FR drivers we use and have used along with categories like Dark, Neutral, Bright... Low Eff, Med Eff, Hi Eff... or something like that and we all check off what we think. Over time patterns will evolve and the overall character of each driver will be documented... and continue to be documented...

For example:
Pioneer B20 Dark, Med Eff
Fostex 127e Bright, Med Eff

etc... any takers? LOL.

Godzilla

FF165Ken - ??


Jeff, if the cited example is representative of your personal impression of the FE127E ( i.e. "bright"), what flavor would you ascribe to the FE126E?

dark Turkish?


FWIW, some quick impressions of my own, based on a variety of different enclosures - most should be familiar to regular readers

FF85K: mid low efficiency, no bass to speak of, lively well textured mid through upper mid-range, sparkling top end - fabulous imaging and soundstage dimension

FF165K: moderate efficiency - my listening experience is limited to one design ( Cain& Cain Abbys) - on which I'd assess best suited to near-field, moderate SP levels, well balanced tonally, but lacking the extension and dynamics of the FE drivers. Perhaps too "polite"? - but then it could have been the amplifier - Vaughn Audio Carina, sounds wonderful, but just not quite enough horsepower in triode mode

FE127E: moderate efficiency, smooth, articulate mid bass (to circa upper 50's? depending on enclosure) most musical midrange of the (non-sigma) FE series for my money, "comfortably soft" top end - probably still my overall favorite Fostex. Proven to work well in a very wide range of enclosure designs, and in multiples such as bipoles. I can definitely live without tweeters on these (well, actually I do)

FE167E: above moderate efficiency, firmly extended and more weighty bass, more recessed mid-range soundstage, benefits from phase plugs, some listeners will definitely want tweeters above 10K. Great for larger rooms and FR video systems, ( i.e. I run a single stereo pair in my TV system, and find it far less fatiguing on Kingrex amp than the FE127E or Mark Audio drivers)

FE108E Sigma; moderate efficiency, glorious midrange at the penalty of SPL and extension from lower mid-bass down (I won't try for lower than 80Hz with this driver - just let it do what it does best)

FE126E: above moderate efficiency: a killer driver in the right box (really wants a well executed "BLH") - a bit coarsely grained for me in the upper- end vocal range and octave or so beyond ( i.e. between 3000- 8000KHz), so be more judicious in your mating of associated gear.


Mark Audio CHR70: low efficiency, silly good overall extension, and particularly bass response and mid-range linearity, more recessed than Fostex FF85K - great bang for the buck

Mark Audio Alpair 6: low efficiency - very smooth and extended at both ends

Mark Audio Alpair 10: low efficiency - this one I didn't much care for, in either the MJK BLH, or resistively vented enclosure. sorry, 'bout that Mark

CSS EL70 (by Mark Audio): low efficiency; my favorite Mark Audio driver - more forward and dynamic presentation, nice texture on vocals and strings/stroked percussion instruments. Big sound stage and great lower mid-bass weight - love 'em in the Castle-top Microtowers

Hemp Acoustics FR4.5: moderate efficiency - too bad about its provenance, and reputed sample variations, but my pair of these are great driver- more weight/body in the lower midbass, and darker, smoother more recessed from upper midrange than FE127E - quite a delight in the Brynn
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Old 22nd September 2009, 10:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PJN View Post
Jordan JX92 in a backloaded horn - Great speaker, addictive. The horn is pretty big at 5 ft high but curved not folded in a box. ...The difference is that the Jordans make my dogs bark because they think that someone is in the house...
PJN, echoing Thinkbad, can you provide details on your interesting BLH?
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