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Old 27th October 2007, 11:20 PM   #1
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Default Tips for Tiny Speakers (newbie)?

As I plan a speaker-building migration from the garage to the living room, I have discovered that WAF is my top priority. For my W, that means small speakers--the smaller, the better. Really, really tiny is best.

I know that making speakers really small sacrifices huge chunks of sound quality and drastically limits performance options. But I'm not really sure exactly what these pitfalls are nor how to mitigate them.

Can y'all experienced designers recommend some tips, features, or techniques which help minimize the worst of the small-speaker performance tradeoffs?
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Old 27th October 2007, 11:49 PM   #2
TerryO is online now TerryO  United States
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One word...Headphones!

OK, maybe that's not what you want, so some of the options that are open to you are:

1. Sat/sub combo (if the sats are really small, you may need two subs to keep your mid/bass cohearence)

2. Sat/IB sub combo (either using the ceiling and attic or the basement/crawlspace)

3. Real narrow floorstanders with side-firing woofers. This is a larger speaker, but the narrow baffle facing out gives the illustion of a much smaller speaker.

4. In-wall speakers (may take a little work to adapt to finished walls, but they can sound pretty good and no baffle-step problems!)

I'm sure that others will have suggestions as well, but these were the ones that came to mind.

Best Regards,
TerryO
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Old 28th October 2007, 12:10 AM   #3
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The grand master of economy has spoken. Heed the words of the great Terry O. The only human able to get more value from cheap speakers than Amar Gopal Bose. Also well versed in the art of wifery. Sub and sat is a pretty standard compromise between getting your way and sleeping on the couch.
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Old 28th October 2007, 01:21 AM   #4
TerryO is online now TerryO  United States
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Cal stated:

"Sub and sat is a pretty standard compromise between getting your way and sleeping on the couch."

I hadn't thought about it in those terms, very well stated

Best Regards,
TerryO
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Old 28th October 2007, 01:58 AM   #5
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You're being too modest, I learned that from you.
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Old 28th October 2007, 02:14 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by TerryO
some of the options that are open to you are:

1. Sat/sub combo (if the sats are really small, you may need two subs to keep your mid/bass cohearence)

Do you mean two different types of sub, one for the midbass and one for the bass? Interesting...

Quote:
Originally posted by TerryO
some of the options that are open to you are:

2. Sat/IB sub combo (either using the ceiling and attic or the basement/crawlspace)...

4. In-wall speakers...

One of my wife's favorite hobbies is rearranging furniture. Which, of course, I wholeheartedly support. No, really, I can easily run wires again. Of course they will be out of sight.

Fortunately, I'm not enough of an audiophile for it to be a huge deal. I can live with sub-optimal sound, I'd just like to minimize the "sub" part. I like the idea of the side firing woofers.

What are the look-out-fer's of building small satellites?
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Old 28th October 2007, 02:57 AM   #7
TerryO is online now TerryO  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by diesel_88


Do you mean two different types of sub, one for the midbass and one for the bass? Interesting...



One of my wife's favorite hobbies is rearranging furniture. Which, of course, I wholeheartedly support. No, really, I can easily run wires again. Of course they will be out of sight.

Fortunately, I'm not enough of an audiophile for it to be a huge deal. I can live with sub-optimal sound, I'd just like to minimize the "sub" part. I like the idea of the side firing woofers.

What are the look-out-fer's of building small satellites?
Mr. 88,

I was in a hurry when I typed the above reply and probably should have gone into more detail. Basically, the smaller your Sats are, the higher the rolloff will occur due to cabinet volume (and perhaps driver size vs. power handling as well). The higher the bass crossover point is, the easier it is to detect the directionality/location of the bass source. Depending on who you believe, anywhere from 40 Hz to 100 Hz will be detectable. I think that under 80 Hz will allow you to maintain a plausibly stable image with regard to bass integration. A bit higher is possible with a sub centered between your sats, but at some point moving up the frequency scale, you'll have to utilize separate subs for each side to maintain a believable stereo image. Room size (and arrival times) will certainly play a part, as a small room and the attendant spacing of your sats and sub a will allow you to get away with a higher crossover frequency than a large room would.

From a domestic standpoint, there is probably nothing that can compete with in-wall speakers. A few years ago, one of the regulars on the old Bass List whose opinions I have much respect for, mentioned that the PE "Dayton" in-wall speakers were very good and bettered many more expensive "real" speakers. I'm not making a recommendation as I haven't heard enough of the different in-wall setups, but it seems to be a viable solution.

Best Regards,
TerryO
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Old 28th October 2007, 03:21 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cal Weldon
You're being too modest, I learned that from you.

Cal,

In the immortal words of my former German Professor, Dr. Franz-Josef Pfister: "I will begin giving good advice when I am no longer able to set a bad example."

I can truthfully state that in the 36 years I've known the good Doctor, he hasn't stooped to giving good advice yet.


Best Regards,
TerryO
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Old 28th October 2007, 03:38 AM   #9
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Take a look at www.zaphaudio.com - he has several small to very small designs there, all of them with good to excellent sound and very reasonable budget wise.
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Old 28th October 2007, 04:41 AM   #10
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Just thought I'd mention a current possible project of mine, which I was reminded of while reading this thread..

Magnepan MMG-W's.. single full-range planar transducer, no crossover. Supposed to be mounted on the wall with a mounting system that doesn't even require drilling (very high WAF), but I'm not doing that. Instead, I'm currently searching for the perfect 10"-12" woofer to mate each of these with, so each MMGW will be mounted to the top of an enclosure. It'll be very much like a miniature version of the Eminent-Technology LFT-8, which I also have sitting here unhooked ready to sell, as they're much too large for this room since I moved to another location. Anyway, there's also the matching MMG-C center channel, which you might also be interested in. I had originally intended on using these MMGW's as rear channels with my LFT-8A's, but never got around to it. They've been sitting in the closet for several months now, and I just tried them out the other day, simply sitting on the floor and angled just right while leaned against the edges of my 67" TV. Wow, definitely far from perfect, but I was VERY surprised...especially for $300/pr brand new! So, I'm planning to gather some equipment pretty soon to do some measurements and see what all is going on, and then go from there. They seem much different from any other Magneplanar I've heard. I grew up on my dad's MMG's when I was a kid, and didn't like them at all. These actually sound quite different. Much more lively and revealing, if not a little too much.
http://www.magnepan.com/model_MMGW
http://www.magnepan.com/model_MMGC
http://www.eminent-tech.com/lft8prod.html

I suppose if you're not so worried about sound quality, you could go ahead with the intended use of mounting them on the wall with the mounting kits, and then set a custom single sealed 8"-10" woofer under each channel with EQ, crossed around 100-120 Hz. But unless it's your only option, I definitely wouldn't mount them on the wall if there's any way your wife would let you get away with it. Also, keep in mind that these are very directional, which can be both a good and bad thing. MUCH less room interaction, but critical positioning and listening position, and sounds pretty terrible anywhere else but there. However, my gf is sound asleep 10 feet from me, and I'm currently listening to some tunes at a fairly low level, yet easily loud enough to wake her up if it weren't for the directionality of the full range planars. Once I stand up and walk in there, I can hardly hear it at all...maybe 10-20% of what I hear when I'm sitting right here.

Anyway, just a thought. Goodluck..
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