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Old 16th February 2015, 02:30 AM   #1
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Default Advice on a new (and my first) build

Hi folks,

I'd greatly appreciate your advice on a new (and my first) speaker build. I'm looking for recommendations on driver unit and cabinet type.

My sources are an Arcam Alpha 7SE CD player and a Raspberry Pi / HiFiBerry DAC+ / Volumio music player. I'm using a Tubelab SPP 12AT7/EL84 push-pull tube amp with Mission 761 speakers. The speakers are probably 25 years old and are showing their age - the foam surrounds of the bass drivers are perished.

I listen to a broad range of music, but mostly rock and pop.

The room is about 6m x 5m (20ft x 17ft) - see the photo attached. My system is on some bookshelves at one end of the long wall.

I would like to get better overall sound at lower volume levels. I'm pretty happy with the Missions at higher volume, but when the music's turned down, the bass goes away.

I've done a lot of reading of the various types of speakers out there. I'm gravitating towards building some full rangers, as I understand they can work well with tube amps, and the simplicity is attractive. I'm also thinking floor standers rather than bookshelf, for the bass extension afforded by the former, although the classic golden ratio and pensil designs both look easy to build. Would it matter that the driver would be much lower down with a floor stander, given that I'll have furniture in the way to some extent?

As far as drivers are concerned, I've been looking at the Mark Audio Alpair 7 and 10 series. Would the 10 be a better choice for this size room?

I'll by getting my ply cut to size. I need grill covers to protect from curious fingers and stray projectiles. I note that Madisound do some grills that presumably can fit the MA drivers. Also, the speakers will be placed against the wall.

Cheers,

Jon
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Old 16th February 2015, 03:07 AM   #2
chrisb is offline chrisb  Canada
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Of the two Alpair models named, it's been my experience that the 7 has an edge over the 10 in terms of low level resolution / detail at all SPLs below the inevitable excursion limit related compression.

OTOH, the 10s have several advantages of their own - higher sensitivity / dynamics, greater power handling, and more extended LF response - so it's not a simple chalk & cheese comparison.

From your description of the amp, it sounds like George's Simple P/P, which I happen to have myself - a nice enough sounding piece that I've let a rebuild of Jolida 302 (EL34) sit mouldering on my work bench for at least 3 yrs while I build speakers - probably too many, according to my wife. It ( Tubelab Simple P/P) has plenty 'buff power for either of the Alpairs.

With HP filtering and bass support, I think the 7.3 is pretty hard to beat for the money, but for a very simple, truly one driver introduction to the world of FR speakers, it's hard to fault the 10.3.

For drop dead simple floorstander enclosure that still retain a certain degree of WAF - should that be a factor - you should look at an MLTL such as Pensil, or Brines' A10M10 . However, as I've said before, if you can afford the extra required floorspace/footprint, the FH3 (7.3), or FHXL (10.3 ) would be my first recommendation.

edit- rereading your post, either model of the FH would probably not work as well as the MLTL
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Last edited by chrisb; 16th February 2015 at 03:09 AM.
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Old 16th February 2015, 04:35 AM   #3
Mayuri is offline Mayuri  Finland
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If you have a lot of wall space, how about a wall-mounted spiral horn?
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Old 16th February 2015, 08:15 AM   #4
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Thanks guys. I think I'll go with a 10.3 Pensil. Should I be worried that the driver position will be so much lower down than with bookshelves?

The amp is George's simple push pull, with the 25W Edcor OPTs.

Last edited by jonwhitear; 16th February 2015 at 08:22 AM.
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Old 16th February 2015, 02:01 PM   #5
chrisb is offline chrisb  Canada
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Jon - I wouldn't worry about that much at all - the Pensil7.3 design places driver at approx 30" from floor, which I find when seated for "critical" active listening is quite satisfactory - but then I'm a short guy (5'6"), and tend to take a relaxed position in my cozy listening chair.
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Old 17th February 2015, 12:02 AM   #6
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Chris, thanks.

I dropped the guys at Madisound an email - it seems their speaker grilles aren't suitable for the Alpair 10.3s. Is there an alternative beyond fabricating something myself? My drivers will be well within reach of my kids, so they'll really need some protection!
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Old 17th February 2015, 01:47 AM   #7
chrisb is offline chrisb  Canada
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I'm probably now notorious for caring more about the lifespan of delicate drivers such as the metal coned Alpairs than the deleterious effects of sturdy metal grilles that offer real protection. OK - full disclosure - WAF plays its own small part.

Of course, the paper coned "P" models are less fragile, but if WAF / aesthetics come into play ......

Perfed metal grilles recycled from car audio, or in our case a quickly depleting stash of dead warranty parts from small Monsoon sub/sat combos just happen to be slightly oversized to work with the A10 frames. Counter sink the drivers, and route the outer hole to friction fit the grilles, and they'll look made for each other.

Depending on who answers your query, the boys at Madisound , or Parts Express might be better at reading script from a catalog than sorting out what might work in an actual DIY build? Something along the lines of their G8 or G10 could be worth looking at. With careful routing of baffles, the lower mounting rings might be superfluous
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Old 17th February 2015, 04:12 AM   #8
Mayuri is offline Mayuri  Finland
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How about a computer fan protector for mesh. I reckon a 120mm normal fan cover would do nicely.
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Old 17th February 2015, 05:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mayuri View Post
How about a computer fan protector for mesh.
Those are a classic grill cover.

dave
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Old 17th February 2015, 08:27 AM   #10
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Thanks guys. All sorts of options there. I'll certainly consider the PSU fan grille option - I might get the drivers first then work it out. Aesthetically, the Madisound grilles are appealing. Their 6.5" grille has an OD of 174mm, while the OD of the Alpair 10.3 with bezel fitted is 164mm. I could just route the speaker rebate to leave a 5mm gap around the bezel to allow friction fit of the grille, as Chris suggested.
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