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Multi-Way Conventional loudspeakers with crossovers

Cheap Mini's: DelSol v Zaph's ZBM4 or B3S
Cheap Mini's: DelSol v Zaph's ZBM4 or B3S
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Old 19th November 2007, 02:41 AM   #1
rj9294 is offline rj9294  United States
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Default Cheap Mini's: DelSol v Zaph's ZBM4 or B3S

Noob/first post, but long time lurker...just wanted to say first what an awesome community this is and thanks to everyone for all their work and patients.

Anyway...getting ready for my first project, some speakers paired with a T-amp used primarily for desk top listening in a small office. I want to keep it small, simple, and cheap (and obviously sound great).

After doing a ton of searching and reading, I've narrowed it down to three possible projects..Pekar's DelSol, Zahp's ZBM4, or Zaph's Hi-Vi BS3. All three speakers seem to have their own unique qualities and strengths, making the choice tough. After going back and forth between these three speakers as to which one I'd like to make, I'm asking for some help...any input from all the other users out there who have more experience with these projects, or just building speakers in general would be great.. Thanks for all the help.....here's what my thoughts are so far:

Aura NS3 fullrange speaker in a ported box
*Pros: Simple..no XO, sensitive..kinda(85db), very cheap
*Cons: Limited use, lack of subjective & objective testing

Zaph's Hi-Vi B3S
MCM 55-1853 woofer/Aura NT1
Fullrange speaker in a sealed box
*Pros:More versatile, extensive objective testing/design, cheap
*Cons:Requires XO w/ non standard parts, low sensitivity (81db)

Zaph's ZBM4
MCM 55-1853 woofer/Aura NT1 tweeter in a Minimonitor
Pros:Very versatile, better power/sound quality, extensive object testing/design
Cons:More complicated enclosure, low sensitivity
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Old 19th November 2007, 11:40 AM   #2
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Brighton UK

I understand the MCM woofer is sold out, probably the best choice.

The NS3 is best for full range (no sub) use over the B3S.

Attached is Zaphs stuff for the NS3 in the B3S cabinets.

Attached Images
File Type: gif aurans3-193.gif (19.3 KB, 657 views)
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Old 19th November 2007, 01:06 PM   #3
squib is offline squib  United States
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Default Not to muddy the waters, but...

You might also want to check out Timn8er's PC speakers using the Aura NS3 193's (http://www.timn8er.com/Aurasound%20NS3.htm.). I was in a comparable position this summer looking for a 1st project and started with Tim's design. I fell into a number of noobie traps (all easily traced back to making tings more complex than necessary), but I'm very pleased with the final results. The Aura works very well with my T-amp, as long as I respect the maximum SPL limits of these drivers in a vented alignment. I'm listening to Brandenburg Concerto #1 on my butchered "version" of Tim's design now, and smiling.

I've not personally heard the designs you listed, but was seriously tempted by Zaph's sealed B3S. In end, I chose against it due to the limited output of the T-amp and the low sensitivity of the drivers. I also wanted to leave open a relatively easy path towards a "subwoofer" option (2nd project!) and zaph's comments about the need for a steep high pass filter for the B3S concerned me.

Good luck, and my advice for what its worth is to avoid too much tweaking on your 1st project.

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Old 19th November 2007, 05:01 PM   #4
rco3 is offline rco3  United States
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Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Space Coast, FL
I've built both the B3S and the ZBM4 systems for many of the same reasons that you're considering them. Two of my co-workers went in on the ZBM4 build with me (more hands, cut several cabinets' worth at once, etc) and in total we've built 8 of them. We're all really impressed with the ZBM4, and preparing to move a step up and build Zaph's Waveguide TMMs.

The ZBM4s still sound a bit small to me, but crossed over to my sub at around 120Hz, I'm very happy. I'm suspicious that my woodworking may be the weak spot here, with cabinet construction issues possibly leading to poor bass performance.

Were the woofers in stock at MCM, I'd call this one a no-brainer. The imaging, the clean sound are both a step above the B3S which I also like, but which isn't in the same class. I've not heard a design with the NS3, so I can't comment on that.

Routing the tweeter holes for the ZBM4 can be a bit of work; I drilled a new hole in my Jasper Jig, and still had to use a micrometer to tweak the jig centering to achieve the correct size. Once done, though, the press-fit is about perfect. I think it could be done better if the taper of the tweeter is taken into account, but tapering that hole doesn't sound like fun. Just routing the baffle was more work, overall, than building a complete pair of Bjorn Johannesen's lovely TABAQs. Those, however, didn't work so well as desktop speakers. I've thought, more than once, about adapting the ZBM4 drivers and crossover to the TABAQ cabinet...

Overall, I really like the ZBM4s. Well worth the cost and the time.
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Old 19th November 2007, 06:28 PM   #5
peter_m is offline peter_m  Canada
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Join Date: May 2007
Default It's in stock!


I can't speak from experience but just looking at the drivers' graphs I lean toward the Zaph ZBM4. And according to Zaph himself:

"The previous Audax Mini system on this web site sounded good, but Audax was a bit overpriced and they pulled out of the DIY market anyway. I wanted to come up with something that sounded better but cost less - no small feat. I think I've succeeded with this system"

"This system represents a very good value, and performs excellently regardless of price"

He seams to really like what he accomplished.
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Old 20th November 2007, 04:19 AM   #6
rj9294 is offline rj9294  United States
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Thanks for all the feedback. I'm thinking the ZBM4's might be the way to go...I'll just have to take my time making the enclosure. I might be doing alot of hand sanding getting the tweeter to fit just right.

How is the sensitivity for this mini-monitor rco3? I would be interested in what amp you have paired up with these. Thanks
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Old 20th November 2007, 10:50 AM   #7
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Brighton UK

Seems ZBM4 bass drivers are available. Construction difficulties aside
I'd say it is a no-brainer over 3" drivers that do not do real bass.
For desk top nearfield use build the reduced baffle step option.

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