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Multi-Way Conventional loudspeakers with crossovers

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Old 15th September 2012, 09:57 PM   #8081
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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A number of people who have heard my system have asked "How much does all this cost?". Tough question. Because I put together the system thru sweetheart deals, horse trading, swaps and DIY, it's hard to price.

As near as I can figure, about $2700.
That does not include the room and room treatments (important!!) but does include the following:
  • Source (CD or network player)
  • EQ/DAC with modifications
  • Volume control
  • Tube amp
  • Passive crossovers
  • Woofer, midrange and tweeter drivers
  • New driver diaphragms
  • Midrange horn
  • Bass bin + modifications and paint.

If you had to start from scratch and buy most of it new, I think the system would cost you around $4000. You'd have to do some DIY at that price.
If you already have a source, amp and DAC you like, take about $800 off that - for $3200.

I don't know how much Lynn's system would cost for a DIYer, but that should be pretty close. Not bad for a really great system.
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Old 16th September 2012, 01:31 AM   #8082
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Can you refer us to a discussion of your crossover? I'm already spending hours on the forums. Thanks.
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Old 16th September 2012, 01:33 AM   #8083
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Pano ... have you posted pics of your current system? If not I/we would love to see.
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Old 16th September 2012, 01:48 AM   #8084
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pano View Post
A couple of years ago we were discussing the beryllium 'frams over on the Altec forum (IIRC). I don't think I've ever heard one, but from all the measurements, they seemed only slightly better than aluminum. Didn't seem worth the costs and hassle to me. The jump from titanium to aluminum is a good one for SQ, but then onto beryllium there just isn't that much change in the measurements.
The Altec forum measurements(fig 1) match data from several other sources. Aluminum and Titanium diaphragms have break-up modes between 10KHz and 15KHz, but beryllium does not typically break-up until above 18Khz, and usually only above 20Khz. This SPL data shows the more extensive break-up of titanium over aluminum diaphragms.

The general viewpoint is that a beryllium diaphragm has little value with a 2" exit compression driver because the 4" mechanical diaphragm plus phase plug frequency limit is below 10Khz, especially when distortion is also considered. Aluminum diaphragms typically do not start break-up until above 10Khz.

The general viewpoint is that the expense of a Be diaphragm is probably only justified for a 1.4"-1.5" CD to remove Al/Ti 10K-15Khz break-up distortion(fig 2), or for a 1" CD to avoid break-up distortion until over 20Khz(example: TAD 2001). High frequency boost compensation can now extend a flat response to near 20KHz.(3)
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File Type: jpg GaryDahl Radian745PB.jpg (68.7 KB, 460 views)
File Type: jpg EMJL350 TAD2001.JPG (115.5 KB, 454 views)
File Type: jpg 1 inch CD distortion.JPG (143.9 KB, 453 views)
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Old 16th September 2012, 02:01 AM   #8085
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phivates View Post
Can you refer us to a discussion of your crossover? I'm already spending hours on the forums. Thanks.
I don't think I've ever said much about it. Will try to correct that. May post some photos tomorrow. None of it is very pretty.
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Old 16th September 2012, 06:08 AM   #8086
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pano View Post
A number of people who have heard my system have asked "How much does all this cost?". Tough question. Because I put together the system thru sweetheart deals, horse trading, swaps and DIY, it's hard to price.

As near as I can figure, about $2700.
That does not include the room and room treatments (important!!) but does include the following:
  • Source (CD or network player)
  • EQ/DAC with modifications
  • Volume control
  • Tube amp
  • Passive crossovers
  • Woofer, midrange and tweeter drivers
  • New driver diaphragms
  • Midrange horn
  • Bass bin + modifications and paint.

If you had to start from scratch and buy most of it new, I think the system would cost you around $4000. You'd have to do some DIY at that price.
If you already have a source, amp and DAC you like, take about $800 off that - for $3200.

I don't know how much Lynn's system would cost for a DIYer, but that should be pretty close. Not bad for a really great system.
The Karna amps have a raw parts cost of about $3000, not counting chassis fabrication or the price of a quad set of 300B's. The LTO Apollo's will probably be around $3000 to $5000, depending on cost of cabinetry and crossover components. The Monarchy DAC that I use is about $1500, and a decent CD transport (with improved low-jitter clock) is about $1000, and/or a high-quality USB -> S/PDIF convertor, which is in the $500 to $1500 range.

The Ariels are plenty revealing of source quality and the LTO Apollo's are considerably more revealing. I recently heard a USB DAC at David Robinson's (editor of Positive Feedback Online) that played downloadable DSD and 2X DSD material, and that was pretty impressive - true mastertape/mike feed quality. No digital artifacts at all. The biggest downside is the USB DSD DAC (which also plays 192/24 PCM, of course) was at a price well outside what I could afford.

Of course, that's what Sony and Philips claimed 30 years ago for the CD, but I guess 30 years late is better than never. It's kind of ironic that now that physical media like CD's are nearly dead, we finally have mastertape sound - and this time around, in downloadable form.
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Old 16th September 2012, 06:14 AM   #8087
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Is there any reason why you opt for the GPA416B over other drivers...say TAD TL1601/3?
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Old 16th September 2012, 06:36 AM   #8088
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I recently received an e-mail that mirrors others I've seen over the last couple of years. Yes, I have set aside dipoles for now, although Gary Pimm's dipole subwoofers are the best subs I've ever heard. But subwoofers with 500-watt amplifiers and massive EQ are a subject for separate discussion.

The primary purpose of this project, as it was for the Ariels back in the early Nineties, was a good loudspeaker for use with direct-heated triode amplifiers. As soon as dipoles start needing substantial amounts of in-band equalization, that rules out amplifiers in the 6 to 30-watt range. And building triode amplifiers with transmitter tubes with 1kV power supplies is a place I don't want to go. No thanks.

There are two main facts I consider when designing a loudspeaker for use with DHT amplifiers: every extra 1 dB of efficiency saves about 22% of amplifier power. The other fact is a medium-efficiency speaker like the Ariel, at a true 92 dB/meter/watt, is still only 1% efficient. That means when 100 electrical watts go into the loudspeaker, 99 of those watts heat the voice coil and do nothing else. Only 1 of those watts becomes sound.

Audiophile speakers with their real-world 87 dB/meter/watt efficiencies are worse. 99.7 watts heat the voice coil, and only 0.3 watts become sound.

Let's go further and use an audiophile driver with a generous 92 dB/meter/watt efficiency and put it into an equalized dipole system. Before EQ, we're at 1% efficiency. Add 20 dB of boost at the bass end of the spectrum, and the electroacoustic efficiency (at the bass end) is a remarkable 0.01%. Think about that for a moment. You could put in a kilowatt and only get 100 milliwatts of sound out.

Of course, some dipoles only need 6 dB of EQ across the working band. That's still a fourfold drop in efficiency (using the above example, an effective 0.25%) compared to the non-dipole equivalent. Transistor amps are easy to scale to kilowatt levels - and not that expensive to buy, either - but direct-heated triodes start hitting hard limits in the 20 to 30 watt region (for Class A PP operation), and pentodes don't go much above 60 to 100 watts (for Class AB PP with feedback operation).

Last edited by Lynn Olson; 16th September 2012 at 06:40 AM.
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Old 16th September 2012, 06:48 AM   #8089
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vt4c View Post
Is there any reason why you opt for the GPA416B over other drivers...say TAD TL1601/3?
They sound very good, but in addition to the very high cost (more than double what GPA charges), I am quite concerned about their future availability from TAD/Pioneer. Some of the TAD woofers have already been discontinued, to the chagrin and financial loss of some of my speaker-building friends in the high-end industry.

The TAD line, as good as it is, seems to be going in a non-prosound direction, as evidenced by their most recent flagship loudspeaker, which does not use the classic TAD horn/large-format woofer driver lineup. I've heard that loudspeaker and did not like it at all.
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Old 16th September 2012, 06:50 AM   #8090
BudP is offline BudP  United States
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I have been borrowing one of Rene' Jaeger's DAC's, you know the one. With it came an M2 Tech Hi Face USB to SPDIF converter that forces the USB into asynchronous operation.

http://www.m2tech.biz/hiface.html

Can be had for $160 and that, with a true 75 ohm cable one without any ceramic core clamped to it, allows 192/24 recordings if you can find them and 176/24 recordings from places like MA Recordings to be played. Either of these or any of the other formats play without any difficulties from a fully functional Win 7 lap top with a USB external drive storing the music. This is so much better sounding that any of the CD players I have used it's almost unbelievable.

By the way Jack Garfinkle of MA makes his recordings using two mics and a KORG MR2000S digital recorder. Astonishing quality even through a pair of EnALB'd Fostex F127's

Bud
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Last edited by BudP; 16th September 2012 at 06:54 AM.
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