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Old 10th October 2008, 05:08 PM   #1
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Default improving diy loudspeaker

Hi guys

i had a chance to demo a pair of talon hawk (retail $9000). i had to admit it has its own class. very fluid. details and very very natural.

but i am cheap lol, is there anyway to improve my diy usher design(cost less than $1500)?
bookshelf speaker project advice
the usher feels abit heavy and abit harsh? thanks jay for this superb speaker for only a fraction of the price of SUPER high-end speaker.

my questions: what contribute most to naturalness and super smooth sound?
1. passive crossover component play an important role? capacitor? resistor? wire? binding post? which one play most important part?
i am using mills resistors, obbligato caps and foil inductors(some from ebay, some are alpha core inductor), neotech and vampire wire, but ordinary binding post. or any better suggestion?

how bout boutique components such as duelund caps?
2. or the crossover design play more important part than component above?
3. will active crossover bested passive crossover?
4. speaker choice more important? i am using usher 8945p and 9950

thanks for the suggestion
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Old 10th October 2008, 06:21 PM   #2
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Default Re: improving diy loudspeaker

Quote:
Originally posted by milen007
...my questions: what contribute most to naturalness and super smooth sound?
1. passive crossover component play an important role? capacitor? resistor? wire? binding post? which one play most important part?
i am using mills resistors, obbligato caps and foil inductors(some from ebay, some are alpha core inductor), neotech and vampire wire, but ordinary binding post. or any better suggestion?

how bout boutique components such as duelund caps?
2. or the crossover design play more important part than component above?
3. will active crossover bested passive crossover?
4. speaker choice more important? i am using usher 8945p and 9950

thanks for the suggestion
1) Crossover design far more than components. Speaker cable must be thick enough to not offer resistance, other than that nothing. Binding posts, irrelevant - the best connector is no connector.

"Boutique components" - avoid - big waste of money.

2) See answer to #1.

3) Probably not; in any case you will then need additional amplifiers, adding to cost

4) Yes - most important - and you are using very good ones.
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Old 10th October 2008, 07:38 PM   #3
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http://www.talonaudio.com/products/images/Hawkstand.jpg

Those Talons use Accuton drivers which are expensive and sound excellent. I have heard them in other speakers and they always sound superb. If you want that kind of sound you need to use those drivers. They are available at Madisound:

http://www.madisound.com/manufacture...uton/index.php

Put your Usher's up for sale and save to build a Talon clone. For speakers using crossovers (typical two and three way designs) I think Accuton drivers are probably the best. Very liquid and smooth sound, agreed.
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Old 10th October 2008, 09:39 PM   #4
Jay_WJ is offline Jay_WJ  United States
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Erwin,

I strongly suspect that the difference you hear between the Talon and your 2-way is simply the difference in their tonal balance. I really don't think the Accuton drivers in the Talon have lower distortions than the Ushers. I also don't think the Talon use a better crossover topology (like 1st order transient perfect) than your 2-way's.

You didn't compare the Talon and your speakers side by side in the same listening room, did you? If you want to compare two different speaker sets, you need a long term listening test in an identical environment.

If you email me with your preferred direction of change in your speakers' tonal balance, I may be able to let you know what kind of change you want to try.

-jAy
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Old 11th October 2008, 03:02 AM   #5
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Hi Jay

its indeed on my systems in the same room. In A/B comparison for 3 hrs, but will have friend coming tonight for A/B (possibly blind test), Talon Hawks does show its price. BUT..... usher is not far behind. my impression, the Hawks only a tad somewhat smoother and has a tad more detail as well. but the naturalness of the decay and maybe tonal balance does beat the usher.

i think that the usher need more tweaking to get its best.

the talon with its tag price sure has tons of tweaking. maybe thats the price to pay for.

Hi sdclc126,

whats the ideal gauge for crossover? i am using solid 18ga for tweeter and stranded 14ga for woofer. while from binding post is around 14ga as well. i might try bypass the binding post to see any improvement. I did plan not using binding post but the application not allowed that i cant make good connection without the binding post.

Hi Godzilla
I will check it out and put on my wish list for my next (if i do not manage to tweak my usher). do you know exactly which woofer and tweeter is used in Talon Hawks design? thx for the suggestion
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Old 11th October 2008, 04:04 AM   #6
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Hi milen007,

There is really no "ideal" gauge for crossover interconnects, but if you look at how thin the connector wires actually are on components such as capacitors and resistors, that will give you some idea as to how thin you can go with no negative effects. What you're using right now is fine - going any heavier gauge won't make any difference.

Let me clarify about binding posts - I'm not recommending you don't use them, it's just that you won't hear a difference between different types with different materials, etc., and you won't hear a difference either between using them or not. "The fewest connections possible" is simply a sensible guideline - don't use more than you really need.

My 2 cents about Accuton - very expensive drivers whose performance can certainly be had for less money. Accuton has placed a disproportionate emphasis on cone material when more of their engineering could go into motor design. Manufacturing the ceramic domes is very costly and that goes right into the retail price. Scan Speak has shown that good old paper, engineered properly and with the right motor design, has produced some of the best loudspeaker drivers in the world.

My advice about your listening tests - do them blind if you can - it's your best chance of eliminating your own bias and expectations when comparing one speaker to another. You might just be surprised.
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Old 11th October 2008, 04:10 AM   #7
Jay_WJ is offline Jay_WJ  United States
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Quote:
Originally posted by milen007
Hi Jay

its indeed on my systems in the same room. In A/B comparison for 3 hrs, but will have friend coming tonight for A/B (possibly blind test), Talon Hawks does show its price. BUT..... usher is not far behind. my impression, the Hawks only a tad somewhat smoother. but the naturalness of the decay and maybe tonal balance does beat the usher.

i think that the usher need more tweaking to get its best.

the talon with its tag price sure has tons of tweaking. maybe thats the price to pay for.
There are some factors to consider:

1. Often times, perceived tonal balance *can* be a matter of personal preference especially for speakers whose designed frequency responses are not far from flat. Speakers can reflect their designers' own voicing preference, too. The "smoother" sound you hear might be due to the Talon's recessed upper midrange and lower treble. I'm not sure of its crossover frequency, but I suspect it is significantly higher than your Usher 2-way's 1,850 Hz. In my design, I prefer to use a tweeter's low-end response to create well-dispersed, clean upper midrange and lower treble. This makes the speaker's response in this range less affected by the woofer's beaming. Also this makes the speakers sound a tad bright and forward, which I like. If we use a higer xover point like 2.5 to 3 kHz, perceived tonal balance can be quite different even if the on-axis response is not that different.

2. Upon looking at the Talon's box and port, it is likely that its port tuning frequency is much higher than yours. If its sensitivity is really 88 dB, it means the designer uses much less baffle step compensation than I did in my design, and compensates the loss somewhat by the effect of high port tuning. This technique is used often by many speaker manufacturers (e.g., Klipsch). I don't like this since it causes a dip in the midrange. But the effect can be prefered by some people.

3. You got used to your speakers' sound. Right? Sometimes, people tend to find in other speakers what they miss in their own speakers. The opposite case can also happen: people don't like what their ear has not been accustomed to.

Simply using the Accuton drivers won't guarantee that you will have the same sound as you hear from the Talon, if the Talon sound is what you really want (not just for now, but for a long time).

After you compare these two speakers, let me know their difference in more detail. Not by general words like "smoother" or "heavier." Focus on tonal balance, for example, balance between bass vs midrange and between midrange vs treble. Also, within midrange, lower vs upper mids, and within treble, lower vs upper treble. Then I may be able to suggest some changes in the crossover.
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Old 30th October 2008, 01:58 PM   #8
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good news guys.

usher 8945P and 9950 is highly recommended!!!!!!

after the crossover redesigned. all i can say is Superb!!! its alot better now. with run in around 4 hours, i can conclude that its almost or most likely matched the talon.
the only different is "maybe" the vocal in talon abit lay back. and
talon "maybe" image better.

however, the usher bass is stronger

all in all. this design is world class. thanks Jay for sharing. this is
really superb. way ahead my expectation.

happy listening
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Old 27th April 2009, 02:08 AM   #9
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hi Jay

i did some more tweaking on the xo. may need some advice

TIA

erwin
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Old 27th April 2009, 10:46 AM   #10
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Default it is a long process of fine tuning

most of the expense of a speaker is in the research and testing
just like what many of us do it yourself people are doing but not getting paid to do it
if you should get lucky enough to have some of the DIYer invite you to listen to their speakers and be tested under multitude of listening test that you have them do will give you the best for the least.

The most time has to be listening for the all aspect of true live performance reproduction quality is the main goal
knowing the harmonic nature and richness that defines the sound
what does a violin versus a oboe versus a flute versus a piano versus a typhamony drum versus a distorted guitar each of these are subjective and after all that it is what you can live with. For you may like it at the start but then it may have a quality that will come apparent after the time adjusting. For example my my ideology is to use MTMT in a LR2 XO and I have many speakers I will be trying to get my goal accomplished
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