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Old 11th April 2014, 01:02 AM   #1
colin86325 is offline colin86325  United States
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Unhappy new guy needs help choosing a kit

Hi, I just joined the forum after deciding that I want to try building a full range speaker. I am looking at flat-pack kits because I don't have the means to do any cabinet construction.

They will be powered by a Dynaco ST70 tube amp. Listening preferences are classic rock and jazz. I don't listen to music particularly loud. I'm more interested in clarity vs overall volume. If need be, I can always add a sub to the system, but I don't think that's really a big concern.

My budget is $500-700ish.

Anyway, I've been looking at the following kits. Can people describe their experiences when these models are compared against each other?

Fostex BK-12m
Frugel-Horn Mk3
Tang Band D4-1

Within the budget constraints, what would give the best sound? I am curious about upgrading the drivers within each cabinet type to give the best sound within the budget parameters. I imagine at some point cabinet X is no longer "worthy" of a driver choice.

Thanks for any help!

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Old 11th April 2014, 02:39 AM   #2
chrisb is offline chrisb
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I should open this with full disclosure: see commercial link listed in sig line below.


I'm quite familiar with the first two on your list , and over the years have developed a short list of questions for such cases as presented here.

You've already answered several, and have plenty of power for the most likely driver candidates, so the next pertinent one I think would be - does the room in which this system will be situated present any constraints as to enclosure size and placement vis a vis side & rear walls?

Sonically, my recommendation between the first 2 enclosure types would be for the FH3. The BK12 was designed by the same chap, and I've heard both it and the Frugals with FE126E. As the ST70 has quite sufficient power, the driver I'd suggest would be the Alpair 7.3. At the premium of lower sensitivity, I find this pairing has far more robust bottom end, does not require boundary reinforcement to achieve same as does the FE126, and is more finely resolved in lower level detail and sense of depth than the Fostex.

The kits for both were designed to be not particularly difficult builds - if you don't mind cheating with an air powered brad nailer, have half a dozen or so 8" F clamps and will be painting or post veneering, the FH3 kit can be snapped together in a single afternoon. I've timed myself more than once- a furniture grade veneer & clear coat finish takes several times longer than assembly.

Time for others to pipe in on the subject
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Old 11th April 2014, 02:56 AM   #3
colin86325 is offline colin86325  United States
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Thanks for the helpful response, Chris! The room doesn't really present any size constraints--no funny stuff anyway.

You make a good case for the FH3 with the Alpair 7.3.

Does anybody have experience with the Tang Band D4-1?
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Old 11th April 2014, 03:46 AM   #4
type is offline type  United States
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Where would you get the Tang Band D4-1 in the US?
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Old 11th April 2014, 11:41 AM   #5
colin86325 is offline colin86325  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by type View Post
Where would you get the Tang Band D4-1 in the US?

There's a contact e-mail at the very bottom of this article. Looks like it ships from California. There are also some frequency response graphs but unfortunately I'm not literate enough to compare them on paper with the other contenders...

Tang Band D4-1 DIY Back Horn Speaker Kit
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Old 11th April 2014, 12:32 PM   #6
xrk971 is offline xrk971  United States
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new guy needs help choosing a kit
If you are getting a kit primarily because you don't have a shop to cut wood - like me, and you want to explore different designs before committing to a large wood construction kit you might try building the speakers out foam core for testing. The designs you have above as an initial list are good although I have not heard of anyone else in this forum building the TB kit. You might want to check out the mini Karlsonator - which is sort of a back loaded horn/TL that achieves some very surprising bass extension and sounds big for its size. There have been very positive reviews by all who have built it. The 0.53x scale version uses dual full range drivers.

Mini Karlsonator (0.53X) with Dual TC9FD's

If you are not set on a design check it out - it can also be adapted to a driver of your choice is you have one in mind I can run a sim to get the proper scaling.

Here is the latest build of this speaker by Francisco Perez in wood:

Click the image to open in full size.

These are not kits obviously but very easy to build without a wood shop.
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Old 11th April 2014, 01:10 PM   #7
Scottmoose is offline Scottmoose  United Kingdom
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Per Chris, I should state full disclosure: I designed the BK12m for Madisound, and was co-designer of FH3. So I'm not unbiased. With that said, I have no commercial 'interest' in either -I get nothing tangible out of them, so am relatively neutral.

BK12m is basically a scoop style horn for the Fostex 126, although other units like the 125 et al can be used. It does what it was designed to do & is a nice little compact back-horn. FH3 is a bit larger; it was designed to tolerate a reasonable range of different drive units. The baseline ones were the 4in Mark Audio models, but the 4 1/2in Fostex drivers (FF125wk, FE126En, FX120, F120a) go straight in. Likewise some of the 4in Tang Bands & various other drivers, so plenty of options. Gets a bit lower, more linear response. I have no experience with the TB D4-1, but is smaller & is slightly mass-loaded. Frankly, as a design, I'm unconvinced on a technical level -if you want TB drivers (and they do make some pretty good ones) you'd probably get more out of them in a somewhat larger, less compromised cabinet.
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Old 11th April 2014, 05:50 PM   #8
chrisb is offline chrisb
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As for the TangBand kit - no reflection on several TB drivers I've heard in different enclosure designs - some very nice indeed - but aside from the likelihood that performance would not equal that of any larger BLH style, and my admitted disdain for MDF in general, there are 2 things about the specific kit that would dissuade me;

- the very wasteful use of material in the stacked lamination method of any design
- smooth, pretty curves on a BLH, particularly of such short length, are not necessarily desirable sonically

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Old 11th April 2014, 10:14 PM   #9
colin86325 is offline colin86325  United States
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xkr971, thanks for the kind offer. I think I am leaning towards one of the other designs. That one does look unusual though.

Scottmoose, it is a pleasure to be able to hear an opinion for the designer of two of the models in question. I think you'd know better than most!

Chrisb, I think I will avoid the TBs for now as you make some good points. Also i think I'd like to buy a cabinet from North America. haha
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Old 11th April 2014, 11:28 PM   #10
Apogee is offline Apogee  United States
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new guy needs help choosing a kit
Default North Creek

You might take a look at North Creek. You will be stunned at how good George's stuff is. He also has a supplier who builds furniture grade cabinets so you can do the final assembly without needing to do any woodworking:

North Creek Full Range Loudspeaker Kits

Welcome to the forum!

Kind regards,

Steve
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Last edited by Apogee; 11th April 2014 at 11:31 PM.
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