Which DIY speaker designs work best on low volumes? - diyAudio
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Old 24th May 2012, 03:39 PM   #1
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Default Which DIY speaker designs work best on low volumes?

Hi.

Long time reader, first time writer

Due to personal preference and thin walls, I'm looking for speakers that "come alive" on low volumes. Most speakers need too much power/volume to give the right bass and detailing, but some designs work better than others. Does any one of you know, which DIY designs work best?

Budget is max 3k$, so I'm concidering both DIY and 2nd hand commercial. This would be my 4th speaker project and I'm a professional carpenter, so the bar is high overall.

Medium to high WAF is appreciated. The room is approx. 25m2 (270sqft), so I'm thinking small floorstanders, maybe. Smooth, warm(ish), effortless, musical sound is very much preferred. Amp is 2x70W tube-mosfet hybrid.

So, high end sound at late night levels? High sensitivity? Scanspeak drivers? 2nd hand Harbeths (what ever happened to the WAF)? Any suggestions, ideas or personal experience?
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Old 24th May 2012, 04:06 PM   #2
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Man...I like your project AND your budget...LOL

I dont think the Harbeths are candidates for your application. A ported box with some sensitive speakers would do it. A nice 10 inch bass driver could be a consideration
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Old 24th May 2012, 04:27 PM   #3
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I just finished a project like that , but ,man ! 70 W it's a lot !
I spent more money on the crossover parts than on the drivers.
Indeed the drivers were found in : woofer in a '60s box , midranges come from a radio-cassette player , tweeters from a sony tv set , and they cannot support more than 10 W
For the tweeters ( cheap plastic cast with neo magnet )I prepared a waveguide made from dead elliptic speakers ;for the woofer , I cut the whizzer out and put a reversed dustcap that looks fantastic ; midranges are housed in a cylindric tobacco can , onto the plastic cover
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Old 24th May 2012, 04:33 PM   #4
carolus is offline carolus  Belgium
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pekkakala View Post
Hi.
I'm looking for speakers that "come alive" on low volumes........ Medium to high WAF is appreciated ....... Any suggestions, ideas or personal experience?
Hi,
One suggestion & idea:
I did a very good (& unique) experience with concept "DML" and Treupath amp.
It's KIS ...... but ..........It's music, i like it ....
(Btw: normaly, my favorite musical scène go for 5-way-horn system .. but not in 25m2)
Good luck with your musical set-up,
Karel
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Old 24th May 2012, 04:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pekkakala View Post
Hi.

Long time reader, first time writer

Due to personal preference and thin walls, I'm looking for speakers that "come alive" on low volumes. Most speakers need too much power/volume to give the right bass and detailing, but some designs work better than others. Does any one of you know, which DIY designs work best?
Quote:
So, high end sound at late night levels? High sensitivity? Scanspeak drivers? 2nd hand Harbeths (what ever happened to the WAF)? Any suggestions, ideas or personal experience?
High sensitivity does help. Anything above 92-93 dB/(2.83V*m) would be nice. Just beware that many commercial speakers declare 'optimistic' sensitivities
Also, if you go the DIY route, one other parameter to consider is the compliance of the Woofer's suspension. Simply put, higher compliance = easier to "come alive" at low volumes. A good rule of thumb, I'd say, is Cms > 0.3 (which rules out many pro PA woofers, despite their high sensitivity).
One more thing you might want to consider is box tuning. Well-damped boxes (e.g. closed with Qtc < 0.7, or Bass Reflex with Vb = n*VAS*Qt^2, n<4.5 and lowish Fb) tend to sound "quicker" and "more alive", all else being equal.

Cheers,

Marco
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Old 24th May 2012, 08:59 PM   #6
Pano is offline Pano  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pekkakala View Post
Long time reader, first time writer
Welcome aboard!

Interesting project. Most guy want speakers that can blast really loud, but many of us just can't do that where we live. A speaker that plays well at low levels is a cool project.

Many of the fullrange guys are quite happy at moderate levels with single, small drivers in some sort of MLTL, BLH or other enclosure. But it seems to me you'd want a speaker with a recessed midrange to take into account the Equal Loudness Curves at low levels.

The SEAS FA22RCZ is a very good driver that works well on open baffle. Its rising response is gone on OB in a room about your size. You'll want some woofer under it, especially for low levels. You can adjust the woofer louder to make up the subjective bass roll-off at low levels.

Good luck with the project, it will be fun to see what others come up with.
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Old 24th May 2012, 09:06 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Pano View Post
Many of the fullrange guys are quite happy at moderate levels with single, small drivers
Yep. Add a high output impedance amp for FltcherMunsen lift.

dave
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Old 24th May 2012, 09:16 PM   #8
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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Hi,

High sensitivity has nothing much to do with how speakers sound at low volume.

The short answer is high quality, the better the speakers, the less volume they need.

A longer answer is simple passive line level EQ to optimise the balance for low levels.

Small floor standers don't come much better than this :
Zaph|Audio - ZD5 - Scan Speak 15W8530K00 and Vifa XT25

rgds, sreten.
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Old 24th May 2012, 09:17 PM   #9
tvrgeek is offline tvrgeek  United States
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The carefully designed ones with quality components. Flippant answer? No. A good design works well. A poor design may have more limitations. I have heard speakers that need more power to "open up". I consider that a flaw and look elsewhere.
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Old 24th May 2012, 09:57 PM   #10
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High sensitivity AND high quality is a good recipe for excellent sound at low levels. My Nagaoka BLH's with Fostex FE208ES-R (just tippin' the 100 dB mark) has real good sound and not at least RESOLUTION even when I'm lurkin' around at 55- 60 dB. The amount of low-level detail is quite amazing. Most of these details are lost with below 90 dB speakers..

My Altec 604s are also pretty sweet-sounding and detailed at low levels, and these are readily available and in your price bracket, I believe.
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