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Old 13th June 2004, 11:15 AM   #1
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Default Ultimate small bookshelf?

I was out the other day shopping for new bookshelf speakers for my family room and listened to the B&W Nautilus 805's. I was sure those were the speakers for me (I'd find a way to make them fit...) until I heard the price ($2500/pr). I have no problem paying for fine audio equipment when I know I'll have the flexibilty in room placement to get the most out of it. However, these are speakers that (because of the WAF) will be placed on a shelf in a bookcase. So, my mind started thinking and I have been wanting to build a pair of speakers for a while and I thought that there must be a great sounding bookshelf DIY speaker kit out there that would provide great sound at a more reasonable price.

Below are a few of the confines of the project:
Budget - None (more interested in sound quality, but would like to stay under $1,000)
Room size = 18' x 21'
Shelf Size = 12.25" h x 9.75" d
Source = Audiophile grade through Bryston Amp (music only)
Sub = None at this time
DIY Experience = None
Woodworking experience = Extensive (building reproduction furniture - full shop in basement)
Electrical Experience - None (building a crossover may be a bit much for my first project)

I have searched through the archives, but most of the suggestions center around boxes that are 14-19" tall. Would the sound quality suffer if I turned a taller speaker on its side?

Any suggestions for great small kits out there? I'd prefer one where I could buy a prebuilt crossover...

Thanks!
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Old 13th June 2004, 03:55 PM   #2
LouC is offline LouC  United States
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Default Some Considerations

A traditional 2 way turned on it's side will likely suffer some issues with phase and imaging. If you want a full range speaker, you'll be hard pressed to fit a traditional 6-7" woofer and 4" tweeter into a 12" high box and get adequate box volume for bass -- and have room for WAF approved grills. With a sub you would have more options by using 4-5" woofer. Morel makes some excellent small faced tweeters that would give you a bit more flexibility.

There are also designs using the SEAS coaxial drivers that would possibly fit your shelf. I've used one for a center channel.
http://www.lonesaguaro.com/speakers/
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Old 13th June 2004, 03:57 PM   #3
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Your limitations work a lot (IMO) against the idea of "great sound". You will have to go with a front ported (or sealed) design, but even then, the model's characteristics and performance will be severely affected by the placement inside the bookshelf. Maybe you'd be better off looking for an in-wall solution.
That being said, try the following links for a start:
PartsExpress
SpeakerCity
Search around, maybe you'll see something you can use.
Or maybe you could find to incorporate the enclosure as an integral part of the bookshelf, but I have no idea if it can be done and/or if it's worth it. (I'm clueless, y'know )

Good luck.
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Old 13th June 2004, 04:08 PM   #4
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You're actually in a pretty good position to start building speakers. By far the most difficult part for me to learn was the woodworking aspect, but I guess you've got that knocked. Constructing the crossovers really isn't too dificult so don't let that discourage you. Here is a tutorial on how to assembly crossovers. I would recommend having a look at Tony Gee's site and browsing through his projects to see if you can find one you like. Best of luck, I think you'll be very happy if you decide to go the DIY route. Don't let your high priced budget keep you from looking at some very good lower priced DIY designs. Just because the total for the speaker parts doesn't add up to near $1,000 doesn't mean that the speakers don't sound great.
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Old 13th June 2004, 04:50 PM   #5
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Default try single driver design

partsexpress has 4 inch tang band drivers (w4-654s or 616s) run numbers at linear team online calculator. http://www.linearteam.dk/default.aspx?pageid=newdriver for the 654s I had id 7.5 inch wide, 8.75 deep and 11 tall for about 56Hz you may want to run mjk quarterwave sheets I don't have windows I can't I have a mac
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Old 13th June 2004, 05:35 PM   #6
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Thank you all for the suggestions. I have taken a look at most of the PartsExpress and SpeakerCity kits and they all seem to be taller than the 12 inches I have to play with.

What happens to the sound quality when I lay one of those on its side?

I know it's not DIY, but I saw a raving review of Klipsch's RB-75 (which would work on its side). It's front ported so it shoudl deal with the tight encloser better than most. It runs about $875. Will the same money spent on a DIY solution outperform the Klipsch?

Thanks.
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Old 13th June 2004, 05:41 PM   #7
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Use a tried and true design (or kit) with a tweeter and either a 5" or 6.5" mid. This will easily fit into a 12" height. Next to it place a separate enclosure with a 10" woofer. Bi-amp to keep the crossover around 120Hz or so.

This would meet the WAF, your budget and your physical constraints.
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Old 13th June 2004, 08:07 PM   #8
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Bill - Do you have any examples of such a beast? It sounds promising. Also, does anyone have any experience with the GR Criterion? It looks like it may do the trick as well. Thanks.
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Old 13th June 2004, 08:55 PM   #9
indoubt is offline indoubt  Netherlands
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I've had more or less the same problem, also looked at the 805's and to speakers like Josheph Audio RM7i (which was reviewed better than the 805's)

In the end it was a price that I didn't wanted to pay and decided to build it myself. I've build a monitor with the bas unit of the RM7 and the tweeter of the EX-4 but that is too large for your shelf

It's possible to have good speakers in that size and enjoy music. Probably it is best though to add a small quality sub.

The placement of the speakers is not ideal. Even small speakers are often better of on a stand and not too close to the wall.

You mention that you're good in woodwork, that opens up a lot of possibilities in the creative area.


Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.
Units used: Bassmid Peerless HDS134, tweeter is Vifa ringradiator.

sub: Little Thumpy:
Click the image to open in full size.

The size of the speakerboxes is 30 cm high and 16cm wide. For your purpose they are not suited because they are rear ported and will function sub optimal on a shelf. Be aware that if you want an hig-end passive filter that it will not fit into the box(it is in the foot of the stands in my case). The sub is 17,5 liters net volume end will go down to 35Hz(-3db point)

You could consider to take a smaller tweeter and have a slotted front port. I'm designing a smaller box with a Seas KT25N tweeter (48mm dia) and a Monacor SPH135KEP bassmid for a friend with the same problem as yours. The boxes are under construction so I can't post the results yet. They will have a slotted frontport.
I expect them to sound great but as always: the proof of the pudding is in the eating

In the end the WAF and best sound don't always mix to well. But if subwoofers are allowed than you can get very far. In my opinion the biggest problem is not even the size (although this is a problem to some extend) but the shelf.
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Old 13th June 2004, 09:38 PM   #10
qubix is offline qubix  Poland
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I've got some experience with seas coax-es, and would rather advise not to use them, as the treble is rather of low quality. But those still are the best widely avaliable coax drivers for home-audio at a sane price.

Coax-es in a bookshelf are generally a great idea. You can also try looking at this webpage: http://member.newsguy.com/~stigerik/html/gnurk.htm -- it's a DIY project on the seas 6,5" coax. Maybe try seeking for second-hand PHL coax transducers. Or try to get the drivers from KEF and their old reference series as spare parts.

If not, 1k $ is quite a sum. DST has got a wide range of speakers to select from. Many ppl here used them (indoubt used them). Also try looking into Usher.
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