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Multi-Way Conventional loudspeakers with crossovers

Almost-Newbie needs some 3-way speaker & tri-amping advice :)
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Old 27th February 2017, 06:18 PM   #1
Vortex is offline Vortex  Hungary
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Red face Almost-Newbie needs some 3-way speaker & tri-amping advice :)

Hi all,

I'm an IT guy, 37, my father is the big guru (built couple of tube & solid state amps) but we're not living together and he almost doesn't have any more time to teach me on basics of electronics or hi-fi or whatsoever.

- Ca. 15-20 years ago my first speaker set was 2 fullrange boxes made of MDF, I cut the holes, drivers in, glued together - perfect. Then blown with Prodigy at that time - well, youth .. you know ..

- Ca. 15-10 years ago my 2nd project: 4 boxes, 2 left, 2 right, all mdf. (3 way, separate boxes for Bass and mid+highs). 2x12" (30cm) bass drivers / side, 4 Ohms each, in series, with front-facing bass reflex holes. Mid+high in a separate box on top of it.

- Passive filter for the 3-way was set-up by myself, based on my father's instructions. He calculated me the 2 basic X-over freqs matching my speakers and I had to solder them together and wound the coils also by myself from his copper wire, using a ferrite core (for the bass coils only).. 3-way classic Butterworth design.

Still using these huge boxes, but the speakers need to be changed. Mids are from Visaton, silk dome ferrofluid tweeters from Audio-Ton ( = almost noname, sound excellent however..) .. bass drivers you can forget .. cheap whatever types..


Now I want to sweep the table and start all-new again with a far better project.

What I have:
- precision soldering iron
- contact to a local company building high-end grade extraordinary speakers, also for hobbyists, partly or fully .. I'd have them build my boxes. BIZSÓK Loudspeaker Manufactory
- my ultimate-looking wanna-own speaker design http://www.canhifi.com/Resources/Pro..._XtraLarge.jpg
- a 3-way active crossover design I'm going to use from Linkwitz Lab - Loudspeaker Design, fine tuned to my needs with help of my father..

Where I need advice on:
1. High sensitivity, detailing, fast, audiophile-grade speaker driver recommendation (exact models maybe?) - or at least a good store ! For bass, mids and highs.
2. No big magic pls, I'm rather the realistic type of person, not believing in placing spikes below the 230V/AC splitter
3. Some questions regarding tri-amping with different DIY amps

Target music: sadly I'm almost an all-eater but don't want to have 2 separate systems..
- electronic music (Goldfrapp, Air, Morcheeba, Asteroids Galaxy Tour, Jean Michel Jarre)
- Classics (Karajan Gold collection on LP, mint condition)
- Rebecca Pidgeon, Loreena McKennitt, Dire Straits, Mark Knopfler, Diana Krall CDs, SACDs, LPs and high-res DSDs
- Deep house, techno, electronic music (all lossless)


For topic #1 my imagination so far:
- 8 Ohm total. 2-4 bass drivers, 1 or 2 midrange(s), 1 tweeter
- tweeter would be a ribbon type, I LOVE their sound. DIY amp design would be carefully selected to be able to drive such tweeters with transformers.
- mids: no idea. Something from Visaton, Seas, Fostex, Scan Speak, others.. ?
- bass: no idea. Maybe 8-10" ones ? For more power handling I plan 2 pcs here (at least) - does it make sense to have 4 pcs ? (Does it increase overall sensitivity and detailing capability of the bass section while retaining decent power handling ? I hate slow bass..)
- all 3 ways at around 90+ dB sensitivity, I would like to hear details
- 80% stereo music, 20% home cinema use (2.0 stereo, maybe 2.1 but no sub planned yet)

Topic #3 - tri-amping, DIY amps.
- Does it make sense (or is it a completely wrong idea) of using a mixed setup ? MOSFET amps for bass, tube class AB pushpull for mids (Tung-Sol KT150-s), tube OTL for tweeters ? Considering phase coherence mostly.
- Gains matched, in the amp design and also on the active crossover network (matching the parameters of the driver sections of course)
- Where to put the volume controls ? (Stepped attenuators). The more towards last amp stage or right at the beginning at line level in the preamp ? (Before splitting into 3 ways).
- Passive preamp OK ? (with XLR Input from high-res DAC)

Any advice or useful info warm welcome. Please forgive me for my English and try not to laugh if I seem to dream big with so few knowledge about electronics. It's always that I dream and my father helps me to put things ready onto the table. I'll need him for this project too but without your valuable help it would still remain just a simple oldschool design without any traces of quality. I really strive for quality here (combined with decent power), at least as far as a hobbyist I can go..

Many-many thanks !!

Last edited by Vortex; 27th February 2017 at 06:28 PM.
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Old 27th February 2017, 07:12 PM   #2
anji12305 is offline anji12305  United States
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Join Date: Jan 2006
Congratulations on your ambitions!

I would recommend the SEOS Fusion kits, which offer good build quality and freedom to finish cabinets as you like.

These are deceptive designs, where complexity has been engineered out, and what remains is solid.

You could conceivably convert them to a fully active crossover, if you desire.

http://www.diysoundgroup.com/plastic-seos-12.html

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Old 27th February 2017, 11:33 PM   #3
Vortex is offline Vortex  Hungary
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Send a message via ICQ to Vortex Almost-Newbie needs some 3-way speaker & tri-amping advice :)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vortex View Post
Hi all,

I'm an IT guy, 37, my father is the big guru (built couple of tube & solid state amps) but we're not living together and he almost doesn't have any more time to teach me on basics of electronics or hi-fi or whatsoever.

- Ca. 15-20 years ago my first speaker set was 2 fullrange boxes made of MDF, I cut the holes, drivers in, glued together - perfect. Then blown with Prodigy at that time - well, youth .. you know ..

- Ca. 15-10 years ago my 2nd project: 4 boxes, 2 left, 2 right, all mdf. (3 way, separate boxes for Bass and mid+highs). 2x12" (30cm) bass drivers / side, 4 Ohms each, in series, with front-facing bass reflex holes. Mid+high in a separate box on top of it.

- Passive filter for the 3-way was set-up by myself, based on my father's instructions. He calculated me the 2 basic X-over freqs matching my speakers and I had to solder them together and wound the coils also by myself from his copper wire, using a ferrite core (for the bass coils only).. 3-way classic Butterworth design.

Still using these huge boxes, but the speakers need to be changed. Mids are from Visaton, silk dome ferrofluid tweeters from Audio-Ton ( = almost noname, sound excellent however..) .. bass drivers you can forget .. cheap whatever types..


Now I want to sweep the table and start all-new again with a far better project.

What I have:
- precision soldering iron
- contact to a local company building high-end grade extraordinary speakers, also for hobbyists, partly or fully .. I'd have them build my boxes. BIZSÓK Loudspeaker Manufactory
- my ultimate-looking wanna-own speaker design http://www.canhifi.com/Resources/Pro..._XtraLarge.jpg
- a 3-way active crossover design I'm going to use from Linkwitz Lab - Loudspeaker Design, fine tuned to my needs with help of my father..

Where I need advice on:
1. High sensitivity, detailing, fast, audiophile-grade speaker driver recommendation (exact models maybe?) - or at least a good store ! For bass, mids and highs.
2. No big magic pls, I'm rather the realistic type of person, not believing in placing spikes below the 230V/AC splitter
3. Some questions regarding tri-amping with different DIY amps

Target music: sadly I'm almost an all-eater but don't want to have 2 separate systems..
- electronic music (Goldfrapp, Air, Morcheeba, Asteroids Galaxy Tour, Jean Michel Jarre)
- Classics (Karajan Gold collection on LP, mint condition)
- Rebecca Pidgeon, Loreena McKennitt, Dire Straits, Mark Knopfler, Diana Krall CDs, SACDs, LPs and high-res DSDs
- Deep house, techno, electronic music (all lossless)


For topic #1 my imagination so far:
- 8 Ohm total. 2-4 bass drivers, 1 or 2 midrange(s), 1 tweeter
- tweeter would be a ribbon type, I LOVE their sound. DIY amp design would be carefully selected to be able to drive such tweeters with transformers.
- mids: no idea. Something from Visaton, Seas, Fostex, Scan Speak, others.. ?
- bass: no idea. Maybe 8-10" ones ? For more power handling I plan 2 pcs here (at least) - does it make sense to have 4 pcs ? (Does it increase overall sensitivity and detailing capability of the bass section while retaining decent power handling ? I hate slow bass..)
- all 3 ways at around 90+ dB sensitivity, I would like to hear details
- 80% stereo music, 20% home cinema use (2.0 stereo, maybe 2.1 but no sub planned yet)

Topic #3 - tri-amping, DIY amps.
- Does it make sense (or is it a completely wrong idea) of using a mixed setup ? MOSFET amps for bass, tube class AB pushpull for mids (Tung-Sol KT150-s), tube OTL for tweeters ? Considering phase coherence mostly.
- Gains matched, in the amp design and also on the active crossover network (matching the parameters of the driver sections of course)
- Where to put the volume controls ? (Stepped attenuators). The more towards last amp stage or right at the beginning at line level in the preamp ? (Before splitting into 3 ways).
- Passive preamp OK ? (with XLR Input from high-res DAC)

Any advice or useful info warm welcome. Please forgive me for my English and try not to laugh if I seem to dream big with so few knowledge about electronics. It's always that I dream and my father helps me to put things ready onto the table. I'll need him for this project too but without your valuable help it would still remain just a simple oldschool design without any traces of quality. I really strive for quality here (combined with decent power), at least as far as a hobbyist I can go..

Many-many thanks !!
Thank you for your link, I'll check it tomorrow.
Cheers !

Sent from my Xiaomi Redmi Note2 using Tapatalk
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Old 28th February 2017, 05:19 PM   #4
jReave is offline jReave  Canada
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Join Date: Oct 2012
Most ribbon tweeters need to be crossed high, usually above 4KHz which means that you are usually best off with a smaller mid, about 4" or maybe 5" depending on the cone breakup and the off-axis response. But to get high SPL's and an 8ohm load, you probably need 2 of them (2 x 4ohm in series), so an MTM on the top end.

To get the low end it sounds like you want (no sub), I think you'll need at least a couple of 8" woofers if not 2 x 10". Again look for 2 x 4ohm drivers in series for the right impedance result. The 10" on the front might need a wider cabinet than it looks like you may be after, so you could possibly mount them on the sides, but that depends a little on your woofer to mid xo point which may be just a little too high if you are going with some smaller woofers. Running 2 x 8ohm woofers in parallel for a 4ohm load may open you up to a few more driver choices. Depends on what you do for amps though.

In Europe:
https://www.intertechnik.com
https://www.falconacoustics.co.uk/

Budget is unspecified so it's hard to suggest specific drivers. But......

Look at SB Acoustics, ScanSpeak Discovery and Peerless for excellent quality to price ratios. Fountek is making some decently priced ribbons. Splurge on the mid if you have a choice, something like the 5" Satori for example.

Just 1 potential combo:

Fountek Neo CD3 or CD3.5H
2 x Satori 5" 4ohm
2 x ScanSpeak Discovery 22W4534G00
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Old 28th February 2017, 06:03 PM   #5
plasnu is offline plasnu  United States
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: NY USA
I would not start DIY amps and speakers at the same time. It's almost impossible to diagnosis the reason why your multiple amp system sounds somewhat strange, and I'm sure it will, unless you are extremely lucky person. I would start DIY speaker with the amps I already know very well, or buy 3 clean digital amp modules.

Also you will need acoustic measurement equipments to complete your project.

Good luck and have fun!

Last edited by plasnu; 28th February 2017 at 06:11 PM.
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Old 28th February 2017, 10:49 PM   #6
Vortex is offline Vortex  Hungary
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Send a message via ICQ to Vortex Almost-Newbie needs some 3-way speaker & tri-amping advice :)
Quote:
Originally Posted by jReave View Post
Most ribbon tweeters need to be crossed high, usually above 4KHz which means that you are usually best off with a smaller mid, about 4" or maybe 5" depending on the cone breakup and the off-axis response. But to get high SPL's and an 8ohm load, you probably need 2 of them (2 x 4ohm in series), so an MTM on the top end.

To get the low end it sounds like you want (no sub), I think you'll need at least a couple of 8" woofers if not 2 x 10". Again look for 2 x 4ohm drivers in series for the right impedance result. The 10" on the front might need a wider cabinet than it looks like you may be after, so you could possibly mount them on the sides, but that depends a little on your woofer to mid xo point which may be just a little too high if you are going with some smaller woofers. Running 2 x 8ohm woofers in parallel for a 4ohm load may open you up to a few more driver choices. Depends on what you do for amps though.

In Europe:
https://www.intertechnik.com
https://www.falconacoustics.co.uk/

Budget is unspecified so it's hard to suggest specific drivers. But......

Look at SB Acoustics, ScanSpeak Discovery and Peerless for excellent quality to price ratios. Fountek is making some decently priced ribbons. Splurge on the mid if you have a choice, something like the 5" Satori for example.

Just 1 potential combo:

Fountek Neo CD3 or CD3.5H
2 x Satori 5" 4ohm
2 x ScanSpeak Discovery 22W4534G00
Wow, many thanks, very useful hints. I'll check your recommendations in the weekend.. (busy like hell at the moment) Cheers !!

Sent from my Xiaomi Redmi Note2 using Tapatalk
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Old 28th February 2017, 10:52 PM   #7
Vortex is offline Vortex  Hungary
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Send a message via ICQ to Vortex Almost-Newbie needs some 3-way speaker & tri-amping advice :)
Quote:
Originally Posted by plasnu View Post
I would not start DIY amps and speakers at the same time. It's almost impossible to diagnosis the reason why your multiple amp system sounds somewhat strange, and I'm sure it will, unless you are extremely lucky person. I would start DIY speaker with the amps I already know very well, or buy 3 clean digital amp modules.

Also you will need acoustic measurement equipments to complete your project.

Good luck and have fun!
I might also build it with 3 almost similar amps.. don't know yet but anyway if the system sounds really strange afterwards, I still can revert to a 2-monoblock setup and use the remaining smaller monoblocks elsewhere, e.g. give it to my sister with smaller 1 or 2-way DIY boxes with passive filter or so... There's always room for a good amp in the family )

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Old 1st March 2017, 11:21 AM   #8
Piersma is offline Piersma  Netherlands
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Default Active setup

hi,

Last year i finished a active multi-way speaker with some chinese LJM amplifiers.
L12-2 CFP Output amp 120W*2 8R
They are for cheap on Ebay, but don't be fooled their measured performance in really excellent. Also low (idle) power dissipation.
I used the combination with a fourth order Linkwitz Riley filter and the result was a superb sounding setup.
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Old 1st March 2017, 02:17 PM   #9
Vortex is offline Vortex  Hungary
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Piersma View Post
hi,

Last year i finished a active multi-way speaker with some chinese LJM amplifiers.
L12-2 CFP Output amp 120W*2 8R
They are for cheap on Ebay, but don't be fooled their measured performance in really excellent. Also low (idle) power dissipation.
I used the combination with a fourth order Linkwitz Riley filter and the result was a superb sounding setup.
Great news, I'm checking this as well.
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Old 1st March 2017, 04:55 PM   #10
jplesset is offline jplesset  United States
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Most people simply can not discern any difference between different amplifiers as long as they do not know which one they are listening to. Call it a "double-blind test" or DBT. As long as the levels are carefully matched, any competent amplifier sounds much like another one, as long as neither has run out of power.

Most solid-state amps work very well into either 8 ohm or 4 ohm loads. I don't think this will be an issue for you. Choose drivers based on performance, not on impedance.

Crossover design needs to be done based on driver performance measured IN THE BOX. Easiest way to do this is with a measurement microphone and free software. Many use some form of digital crossover, which allows very easy modification and equalization based on measurements... If you read more of Linkwitz' site, you will see that the three-way tri-amp system was one of his very early systems. I've built that for the car I had 20 years ago, and found it quite good for then....
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