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Old 20th August 2013, 01:29 AM   #1
atnaat is offline atnaat  Wales
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Default Looking to buld first speaker, advice needed!

I'm looking to build an existing design to hone my woodworking skills and my space is very limited, the speaker can't be bigger than 35x35cm, height obviously isn't an issue. Because of the limited size should I be steering away from FR and looking more to making a multi-way? From what I've seen it looks as if my best bet would be a bass reflex FR with a helper subwoofer. The Jordan based drivers or a Fostex FE166En looks promising. I might be able to get away with a Frugel horn.
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Old 20th August 2013, 04:54 AM   #2
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Location: Mar del Plata, a BIG seasonal getaway city, can see the Ocean from our residence.
I'll assume you are talking about a "footprint" size with the 35cm by 35 cm size.........and the Height is of no issue. By this description you seem to be describing the common "tower speaker". This design is popular now for its small area consumed (No big box troubles here)....the height is good for imaging as one can locate the drivers up high near to the "ear height".
Now one must ask, how big is the room & what shape. Next, how much power do you have at your disposal, and further, what type of music and how loud do you expect?
My impression of the FR crowd seems to be intense listening, trying to hear what one might described as "micro-detail"......being that FR drivers are derived from what might be thought of as "mid-range" drivers. Now that most all music is concentrated in a very narrow range....of which the FR driver exceeds in quality. Some music falls well outside the capabilities of the 'smallish' FR drivers.....the pounding picture frame falling Bass, the chest thumping hits of the small drums.
These pronounced effects much easier to accomplish with the multi-way approach (assuming you have the wattage source capacity).
As a first-hand account, I have a DIY pair of "tower" speakers I built a dozen years ago now....they are 21cmm wide by 31cm deep by 1.25M high, they are loaded by a pair of 6.5 inch woofers with a tweeter between the two in the MTM configuration, the De Appolito configuration. In this configuration imaging is outstanding. It is driven by a Carver TFM-15CB amp rated at 100 WPC RMS per channel. In its sealed set-up it has a Qtc of .933...a little underdamped. They play very loud & clean but won't rattle plates on the table...just too small with small drivers.
Sorry about the long-winded reply...


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Old 20th August 2013, 10:48 AM   #3
xrk971 is offline xrk971  United States
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Are wall mount flat speakers out of the question? The Cornu BLH takes no floor space, is easy to make and sounds great - but is not everyone's cup of tea. I personally find that it can work very well with jazz, small ensembles classical, girl and guitar stuff, most classic rock, and can really fill a room with sound. Check out either the Foam Core or Cornu threads. As far as tower speakers that fit in your footprint, many full range designs that are mass loaded transmission lines (MLTL) work. Look at the WIBAQ thread for one that uses the Betsy K driver.
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Old 20th August 2013, 10:57 AM   #4
atnaat is offline atnaat  Wales
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The room is 3x5m and the speakers are located along the wider wall of the room. I have the usual assortment of DIY amps, a TA2020 tripath amp, a Gainclone and two PP tube amps that are 20w each.

I should have said the I'm currently running a pair of PM6A loaded Lowther Acoustas that I adore and don't want to replace, but I have to get rid of and I really want to stay within FR.

As for music metal, classical, industrial, soul, etc. I find that I generally only listen to music that my Lowthers can reproduce without sounding muddled. I leave the rest for my headphones. I'm really looking for a horn design that can fit into that space, can't seem to find one they all seem to be 40cm minimum depth.

I've run some plots of common FR drivers in reflex cabinets, they don't look awful.
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Old 20th August 2013, 11:12 AM   #5
xrk971 is offline xrk971  United States
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If it is a back horn sound with a Lowther that you like, and wall mounting is an option, the Cornu with a high sensitivity Fostex like a FE126eN might work for you. There is also a very compact hybrid BLH called the Decware DNA that may fit (14 in deep) and bass down to 30 Hz w 5 inch driver.
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Old 20th August 2013, 11:13 AM   #6
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If you like it loud, then FR aren't really suitable. If you are used to FR, probably OK but this is a new build so why restrict yourself? I doubt FR can do justice to "smells like Teen Spirit". :0
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Old 20th August 2013, 11:48 AM   #7
atnaat is offline atnaat  Wales
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Can't fit a Cornu, however the DNA looks great! Also I've seen the Jordan VTL which looks like it fits the bill.
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Old 20th August 2013, 09:05 PM   #8
chrisb is offline chrisb  Canada
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the DNA is certainly a tiny little thing, but even it has a rear mouth, so some extra space behind is required

XRK - have you actually heard these little puppies output at 30Hz? I built a pair a few weeks back, and haven't yet got around to nominating candidate driver from our stock.

For a compact front mouth exit horn that works well with the FE126, the Madisound BK12 is also worth a look.

Now, if 35x35cm is the footprint only, and height is possible up to 90 / 100cm, that's plenty of room for an MLTL using a variety of drivers in the 4-8" range. In the higher end of this range, there are numerous "full-range" drivers that can be quite satisfying on a range of musical program and at "reasonable" SPLs, but if your tastes and levels indicate multi-ways, the MLTL would still lend itself to the mid-bass section. They are generally fairly easy enclosures to construct, and can be fairly flexible in terms of placement compared to rear mouth exit horns of any size.


I heard a couple of pairs of Cornus over this past weekend, and while they are quite the cunning little stunt, speaking from personal experience, even an excellent wall mounted system is not for everyone.

atnaat: have you finalized the decision on driver? The FE166 would certainly benefit from a horn / BIB etc, many of which might exceed the depth constraint you indicated.

Since you mentioned Jordans, another brand which you might want to investigate are the Mark Audio Alpairs - of which there is a dedicated commercial forum herein, featuring many of the usual suspect posting members.
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Old 20th August 2013, 09:21 PM   #9
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For a small foot print, you might look at a 6.5" driver in a Bib or a Metronome.

Cheers, Jim
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Old 20th August 2013, 11:50 PM   #10
xrk971 is offline xrk971  United States
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XRK - have you actually heard these little puppies output at 30Hz? I built a pair a few weeks back, and haven't yet got around to nominating candidate driver from our stock
I have not personally heard them but Bcmbob who built them said he had output down to 30 Hz. Use the cheap aura NS525 drivers - they actually work well.
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