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Old 9th January 2007, 05:36 PM   #1
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Default Jazz speakers and SET

I'm hoping for some suggestions for speakers that are particularly suited to playing Jazz. My current plan is to build a pair of Bottlehead Paramounts (300B) or perhaps an offering from Welborne. I currently have a pair of Thiel CS 1.6's mated to a SS amp and CD player. Nothing special yet I was hoping to take better advantage of the Thiels. From what I've seen, it appears the Thiels aren't a very good match for an SET amp. They're spec's: 88db sensitivity, 4 ohm/3 minimum and a minimum amplification of 50 watts. Set's obviously don't match up very well and though P/P is an option I'd rather do an SET. I'm planning on building the amps and just trying them with the Thiels and see what happens. Worth a try at least. I listen in a small room at low to medium spl levels. I'd guess that 95% of what I listen to is jazz. I suspect that setup may not prove suitable for long. So, I've begun looking into potential DIY speaker projects. If you enjoy Jazz, what speakers are you using and what insights can you offer. Details about DIY projects would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 9th January 2007, 08:33 PM   #2
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I'm probably the most inexperienced speaker builder on this site but I'll tell you my experiences. My amp is an Audio Note Kit 1 Signature 300B SET. I built a pair of 45 litre bass reflex boxes loaded with Fostex FE206E, I wanted to try them on my hi-fi and I thought that they could be my AV front speakers if they weren't that good. Actually they sound superb, and of all music genres tried I think that jazz is the best. Detail is incredible, I feel like I have seen John Coltrane live now ! Bass reflex aren't really the correct boxes so I'm now building Fostex FE206ES-R in Fostex recommended enclosures (horns), these are better drivers in better enclosures although to be honest the speakers I've already built sound great (especially with jazz !). The first speakers cost me 260 UKP, the next set will cost 550 UKP - should be even cheaper in the USA. Hope this helps.
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Old 9th January 2007, 09:14 PM   #3
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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Best for Jazz? IMO, something ALTEC. Put an Altec 604 or 605 coaxial driver in a big box, find one of the new crossovers and "Bob's your uncle!" With a 300B SET you'll be in Jazz Heaven.

But if you don't have a huge wallet and a large place to put the big boxes, one of the fullrange drivers like Fostex should do the trick. Most fullrange guys are jazz fans.

The key is that with your amp you want a speaker that is in at least the low 90s sensitivity. Mid to upper 90s is better.

Have you looked at the BIB stuff?
Take the Speaker Voltage Test!
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Old 9th January 2007, 11:46 PM   #4
Dumbass is offline Dumbass  British Antarctic Territory
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Since you are posting to this board, I assume you are interested in a single-driver solution.

Since you mentioned your small room and low output requirements, I will assume that a full-on Lowther in rear-loaded horn treatment would be unfeasible.

I think the Fostex FE166E or FE167E might fit your bill. They are rated 94 dB, which I think is reasonable, and their 6.5" size is probably a good fit for your needs.

For the FE166E, I recommend the Austin rev G. Plans can be found here:

For the FE167E, I recommend Martin King's project 2, which can be found here:
The project whitepaper includes plans for a folded version, which might be more visually appealing to you.
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Old 10th January 2007, 12:10 AM   #5
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Agreed. Either of the above are stunning designs. A Frugelhorn or Metronome might also be possible, though are less efficient.
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Old 10th January 2007, 12:40 AM   #6
MJK is offline MJK  United States
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Lowther PM6C in my ML TL, lowest cost option, or maybe a DX3 if you have the funds. I listen to acoustic jazz all the time and with a SS amp and BSC circuit it is an excellent sounding combination. Lowthers are a cut above all the Fostex drivers I have heard, but I must admit I have not heard them all.
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Old 10th January 2007, 09:26 AM   #7
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Agreed on the Lowther front. Steve's EX4s are the best drivers I've ever heard. Actually, I tend to prefer the Fostex FE208ESigma with supertweeters, but that says more about the kind of music I listen to (mostly rock based) than the drivers. For jazz, or other acoustic music, I can't see anything at all beating the Lowthers, assuming you can afford them.
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Old 10th January 2007, 12:21 PM   #8
Puffin is offline Puffin  United Kingdom
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What sort of Jazz do you listen to ? Real Jazz or what I like (which is normally derided as "funky elevator music" Smooth Jazz.

I originally put a Fostex 206E in a BR 45 litre box. Fabulous. Very detailed, but not a great deal of bass.

Then built the 208 Horn for it, Which I am still tuning, but gives a HUGE sound. I think I probably need a bigger room, but it is infitely tunable. If you get too much bass stuff a cushion in the mouth and go from there. I have just had a brainwave. Cushions, mouth WAF.....?????
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Old 10th January 2007, 03:28 PM   #9
ravon is offline ravon  Netherlands
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I play jazz with Jordan JX92S drivers in a transmission line, a TA-2020 based T-Amp and a BlueNote Piccolo turntable. Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Nina Simone, Sarah Vaughan, they all sound great.
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Old 10th January 2007, 03:50 PM   #10
Puffin is offline Puffin  United Kingdom
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Yes, I have a 2020 Tripath amp, but prefer the sound of my modded S.I Tripath 2024 amp with the 206e's
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