Initial thoughts - 3-Way active floor stander as first project...
First of all I would like to say hello to everyone and thank you for your input!
This is my first post and really just a toe in the water for me and a little bit of basic advice from what seems to be the best audio website on the web!
So, I have been a long time hi-fi nut, and audioholic, and over the last few months found active speakers.
I swapped my old Acoustic Engergy speakers and Arcam FMJ CD player and amp, for an audiolab CDQ plugged via XLR straight into the back of two Focal CMS65 studio monitors - I have never experienced anything like it - the difference is like night and day.
So I am sold on active crossovers and active speakers!
Just before I did this, however, I was about to buy a passive speaker kit from Wilmslow Audio specifically this one:
PRESTIGE - Silver
As I have heard them and thought they were excellent. I am a keen DIY'er and thought this would be within my skills as it is already designed and set up, just basic wood work and electronic skills.
So finally to my question......
As I am a complete convert to active speakers, could I buy the cabinet kit and drivers from Wilmslow audio, along with a active 3-way crossover like the behringer CX3400:
Behringer: SUPER-X PRO CX3400
And a 6 channel power amp like this:
150 WATT x 6 CHANNEL AMPLIFIER | Line & Zone Amplifiers | Audio Amplifiers
Then I could run my audiolabCDQ into the CX3400, which then feeds the 6 channel power amp and drives the speakers?
Would this work? I could speak to Wilmslow to ask them about their passive crossover points, so that shouldn't be a problem. I know that the basic soldering of speakers and building of the cabs would be within my grasp, then its just lots of xlr-xlr cables, and a whole lot of fiddling with the CX3400.....
Or would I need all sorts of test equipment and knowledge to get the CX3400 set up to do a decent job?
The way I see it, if I can get this to work, £2000 ish should get me a fantastic pair of active 3-way floor standing speakers, with great drivers.......something I would love.
I have looked and looked and their are lots of passive speaker kits on the market but no active ones I can find....
Thanks for your help, and sorry for the long first post!
Just having the crossover points won't recreate the Wilmslow speaker, you need to be able to recreate the driver specific transfer functions.
I've got the Behr CX2310, which I think is a 2-way version of the 3100. To me, these are pretty crippled compared to more modern equipment, for example miniDSP. It's about more than just spinning the knob to get the right crossover point.
That said, I'm also the kind of guy to jump in head first and learn as I go. I'd advise looking into miniDSP, or the Behr DCX2496 rather than the cheap analog boxes.. Much more flexibilty. If you're anything like me you'll end up going that route in a few months anyways ;)
Unless the active x/o can be set to any electrical x/o function, its useless for hifi.
The more up market active x/o can be, the lower ones can't, they do standard.
I severely doubt Wilmslow Audio would give you the required transfer functions.
I like active speakers, or semi active, e.g. active bass to mid, passive mid/treble.
Value wise you can do a lot better, i.e. not as good but a shedload lot less.
A really good crossover..
DEQX High Definition Audio
Ironic that the calibration kit includes a Behringer mic..
NHT Xd active loudspeaker system Measurements | Stereophile.com
Thanks for your help guys!
So it looks like it is feasable, but not with the eletronics I specified and possibly with a digital X/O rather than analogue?
The problem I have, is that I really like the audiolab CDQ, it has a wonderful dac, great digital and analogue preamps and a really lovely sound (plus interesting digital filter options which I like to play with!)
I am guessing that one of the digital X/Os would mean CD player: - DAC to analogue balanced output - Digital X/O: ADC - signal split three ways - DAC (again) - speaker......So this means the signal undergoes multiple conversions which seems crazy to me....
I was hoping to keep the CDQ for dac duties and then use analogue active X/O downstream.....so there is only one DAC and then all analogue....
What about those speakers and a pair of descent plate amps? Like these:
Madisound Speaker Store
Sorry I am so ignorant!
Actually, the cheap Bheringer does quite well. Better than most speakers and most amps. The DCX is a lot more useful as you can do baffle step and one additional filter per output. You can run your CD PCM right into the DCX, but then you are stuck using the DCX DSP section for overall gain. That gets clumsily. It's DAC is not that bad. Remember, it was built for PA speakers, not home hi-fi. Yes, the multiple conversions does degrade the sound. That is why I still build passive crossovers.
If your DIY goal is to build one set of speakers, build an established design. If you want to learn about speaker building, I know it may seem contrite, but start at step one. Read. Read a lot. You have to learn about how to measure drivers both electrically and acoustically. You have to learn about phase interactions. You have to learn about how the size of the radius on a box corner can dramatically change the sound. You learn that that darn hump at 800 is really a miss-aligned BSC.
A sub is a good place to start. Sealed easier than ported. Don't build expensive boxes for you first speakers unless it is an established design. You will learn many tricks and preferences in cabinets as you build a lot of prototypes. You throw away prototypes, so keep the cabinet cheap. You will built a lot of crossovers, so use cheap electrolytics until you get close. Then use good caps in your final. So much to learn. I an a rookie. Only about 35 years off and on. Every build for me has targeted some other aspect to explore.
Back to active crossovers. Love them. Expensive. ( don't forget, everything but the woofer still needs a DC blocking cap, or else!) They can be far easier to dial in. I suggest you get the new D. Self book on active crossovers. Even if you don't want to build one, it is quite an education. So, the money you were about to spend on a cheap PA crossover where you don't have control over slope or any additional filtering is better spent on a book. Then get D'Appolito's book on measuring loudspeakers. Again, background information is really important. Learn from the best.
PS: I still use one Behringer as a sub crossover. Slightly modified, but in this (rare) case, a symmetrical 4th order is just what I needed. I don't think any of my speakers have symmetrical crossovers in them.
PPS: "Decent" plate amps? Please go read Self's book on active crossovers.
OK read a bit more about the miniDSP and it seems it is designed to take an analogue signal, split it in the digital domain then chuck it back out in a split analogue signal, so whilst if you are using a digital source it will undergo, DAC, then ADC, then DAC again, this doesn't seem to be a problem?!?
Am I right that this is preferable to using an analogue active crossover?
If so, then the miniDSP 2x8 kit would seem ideal to drive a decent 3-way floor stander.
The next problem would be what amps to use though - should I use plate amps, or a central unit....
Hi TVR geek posted before I read yours! So I am gathering there is no simple step to building a 'kit speaker'!!!!
I was hoping to use it a way of keeping costs down and just doing the assembly myself, but as there is currently no sorted active speaker kit available, I would have to come up with one myself, which seems to be infinately more complex than I imagined!!
I think you have given excellent advice! I will keep reading!
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