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Old 11th January 2013, 04:10 PM   #1
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Default Need suggestions for build under $300

I would like to build a set of full range speakers with some very specific limitations.

Less than $300 finished.
Bookshelf or floor standing but no more then 8 inches wide and 12 inches deep.
My right speaker is about 16 inches from the back wall and 3 feet from the side wall.
My left speaker is about 3 inches from the back wall and 4 feet from the side wall.
Will be powered by a NAD 60wpc amp.

Suggestions?
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Old 11th January 2013, 06:27 PM   #2
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Many, many projects conform to these limitations. $300 is actually a considerable budget for DIY audio speakers, IMHO. Consider that there are many very nice full range drivers at around $50 bucks each or less. This leaves $200, which is more than enough for some nice Baltic Birch ply and a few other bits and pieces.

Tell us more about your room and your overall listening preferences (types of music, tonal preferences (do you like a really clear or "hot" high end, or are you a bass head, or both, etc.)).

Some designs to consider, in the meantime: Frugal-phile DIY Audio Community Site
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Old 11th January 2013, 06:42 PM   #3
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I currently have a pair of Paradigm Atoms that whatever I build will be replacing.
As compared to the Atoms I would like something with similar range (at least down to 120hz), similar power handling/volume capability, slightly less bright, and overall just a more lifelike sound. More clarity, sound stage, imaging, etc.
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Old 11th January 2013, 06:58 PM   #4
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My gut reaction, based on what you have said so far, is the Pensil 7.3, which uses the Mark Audio Alpair 7.3 (around 80 bucks each).

However, I have reservations about your SPL requirements. The Atoms are rated for 50 watts. Are you pushing them that hard on a regular basis?

The Alpair 7.3 are 20 watts each, which is more than enough for most people. However if you really like to listen at painful SPL, then a dual-driver full range solution might be better bet. Something slightly less graceful (and less expensive) but twice as much power handling.
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Old 11th January 2013, 07:06 PM   #5
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On a regular basis? No. But I have before and having that option in the future is preferable, but not a requirement if it means I would have to trade off the other items on my list. If there is a multi-driver option that I can have ALL items on my list for the same money, I would take that option as well. I just assumed the best fidelity per dollar solution was in full range drivers

FYI, my atoms are the older version 3. Plastic back, non-removable grill, lower quality drivers than the current version.

Last edited by CoolbeaN; 11th January 2013 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 11th January 2013, 07:13 PM   #6
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By dual-driver, I did not mean multi-way, but "multiple full range drivers".

There are several suitable designs that use 2 of the same driver in each enclosure, such as some variations of the Planet-10 microTower series and the "Lake District" series, which you will find on the site I linked to earlier.

You get double the power handling, more dynamic headroom, and better efficiency with double FRs. The downside is it doubles the expenditure on drivers unless you choose a more value-oriented driver, such as the CHR-70.

2 x Alpair 7.3 = ~$165

4 x CHR-70 = ~$150
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Old 11th January 2013, 07:22 PM   #7
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If you are looking at the dual FR driver designs, I would think that two front-firing drivers might be the best choice, or perhaps one front-firing and one side-firing.

The problem with one front-firing and one rear-firing (bipole) is that your speakers are too close to the back wall (especially one of them) and since one is closer to the back wall, the sound would be unbalanced.

The problem with the "castle" configuration (one front, one top-firing) is again the back wall distance. The difference in proximity would leave the sound unbalanced...

By the way, all of these designs will dig way deeper than 120Hz. Are you currently using a sub to fill the bottom end?

Last edited by cogitech; 11th January 2013 at 07:26 PM.
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Old 11th January 2013, 07:24 PM   #8
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Note: the Lake District series are all for the CSS EL70 drivers, which are discontinued and relatively difficult to find.

The Lotus^2 (2x CHR-70) might be a good one for you to consider. http://www.frugal-horn.com/spawn-plans.html#BAS

Last edited by cogitech; 11th January 2013 at 07:36 PM.
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Old 11th January 2013, 07:47 PM   #9
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But would dropping back to the CHR or CHP really be a big step up from what I have now?
And the lotus^2 is not dual front firing... and it is a pretty complex build for what will essentially be my first attempt at making GOOD looking speakers.. And they arn't very wife friendly... I can get buy with some slim towers.. but a DBLH is out of the question.

Last edited by CoolbeaN; 11th January 2013 at 07:52 PM.
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Old 11th January 2013, 08:42 PM   #10
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CHR is a pretty good little driver according to most around here, but "big step up"? That's a bit of a stretch. Certainly they would offer more bass than what you have now (depeding on enclosure, of course), and probably pretty damned close in the mids and highs, but I am partly guessing here. Others will hopefully chime in with some opinions.

That brings us back to Pensil 7.3. I would say that this would be a significant step up from what you are used to, even at 20 watts per channel. It is a (relatively) simple build, has high WAF, easy for your amp to drive, and remember that much of the benefit of full rangers is that there is no crossover to get in the way of the sound. Overall listenability and "naturalness" will be better than what you are used to.

Regarding Lotus^2, you could probably do a dual front-firing configuration without much issue, but the one with a side-firing driver might work too. The build looks more complex than it is, but I know what you mean about trying to keep the first build simple. I did the same thing (ended up doing dual-EL70 microTowers with one front, one top-firing). The thing is, nearly all the designs I have seen benefit greatly from the "holey braces", which are by far the most work to cut and fit properly. The Pensil looks simple in comparison, but add in the holey braces and you are still looking at quite a lot of work.

Last edited by cogitech; 11th January 2013 at 08:51 PM.
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