Active 3 way project - Morel 110/PHL1340/Peerless XLS - diyAudio
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Old 18th July 2004, 06:50 PM   #1
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Default Active 3 way project - Morel 110/PHL1340/Peerless XLS


Here is a project that I am just finishing up.

Basically I wanted a speaker that would be very dynamic, very detailed, able to image with the best and also able to play at elevated volume levels. A two way was not going to be able to do it, and even a three way was questionable due to the bass limitations of standard 12” and 15” drivers. Most midrange drives cant be crossed over below 300hz and most long throw bass drivers cant be crossed over above 150hz. What I ended up with was a speaker that is a three way using good bass midrange drivers as extended midranges. This way, I was able to cross over the midrange modules at 120hz.

Bass: For the bass, I really wanted tight bass and not to be too limited in loud music passages. Given the sort of dynamics and headroom I wanted, it looked like a pair of good 12’s would work. I counted out 15” drivers as I needed to crossover as high as possible to keep as much bass away from the midrange drivers as possible. In the end, I decided to go the simple route and use some Peerless 12” XLS drivers I had already in a Dipole project. I mounted them, two per side, in 90L sealed boxes.

Midrange: I have had a slew of bass midrange drivers over the years and concluded that I like the PHL 1340 best in the upper bass and midrange. It’s very open and very dynamic sounding with surprisingly good resolution for a driver that is not a true midrange. While in a two way it’s limited as it does not produce deep bass, in my application it looked ideal. I ended up mounting them MTM style in 21L sealed boxes.

Tweeters: Picking a tweeter was a bit of a jump as I had not heard a tweeter I felt was ideal for this project. I prefer domes to ribbons, so that narrowed the choice a bit and I knew the sound I was after was half way between the sound of a Seas Millennium and a Scanspeak 9900 Revelator. In the end, I took a leap of faith and got a pair of Morel Supreme 110s. I had not heard Morel tweeters before, but as it turns out, the 110s provided exactly the sound I was after.

Cabinet design: This was very basic. The boxes needed to be sealed and needed to be no wider then needed to help imaging, especially the midrange tweeter box. The end result is a two box setup. A bass box and the MTM box mounted on top. The photo shows the setup in an unfinished state. In the end, the MTM boxes will be mounted on cones on top of the bass boxes, which are spiked to the floor.

Crossover: I like active systems, and this one is no different. The Behringer DCX 2496 has sounded excellent on other projects, so I used it again here.
At the moment, the crossover points are in the 120hz and 2200hz range. I am still playing with slopes and fine-tuning things so have haven’t settled on anything permanent yet.

Sound: I was looking for a speaker that could sound big with hard hitting dynamics, while at the same time, be very resolving of fine detail and musical nuisance. While this speaker is not perfect, it fills most of my criteria surprisingly well.

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Old 18th July 2004, 07:47 PM   #2
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Nice work - I'd like to hear those PHL's - have you ever used scanspeak mid/bass stuff ? - How do the PHL's compare?

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Old 18th July 2004, 09:24 PM   #3
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Hi Rob,

The only Scan Speak bass midrange I have tried in recent years is the 18W8545. I’ve only tried them in two way systems ( MT and MTM ) with the SS 9900 Revelator and Newform 45” ribbon and while they are not bad, they lack in the resolution and dynamics department relatively speaking. Compared to the PHL 1340, they have more bass, but that’s about it.
I have not tried the new Revelator bass mid ranges, but I imagine they would be a good step forward compared to the 18W8545.

The PHLs are odd drivers. They where designed for the Pro market but are easily on par with some of the better Home market drivers sound quality wise. The main drawback is the lack of deep bass compared to equal sized “Normal” drivers.

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Old 18th July 2004, 09:47 PM   #4
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Hi Branwell,

Thanks for the response. The reason I asked is I'm using the revelator midbass with the revelator tweet and a pair of 8565-01's for bass in my 3 ways. I have had my mid amp clip a couple of times (60w audiolab) so am looking for a mid with more sensitivity - I've upped the bass/mid xo point from 150Hz to 220Hz to stop any clipping. I'm very happy with the quality of sound of the ss mid,just think that maybe it doesn't have the spl's I need for HT and ~loud~ music (I listen to a lot of electronic stuff - bass heavy)

I'm using the dcx too, btw..

Maybe I should just up the mid amp to 100W


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Old 19th July 2004, 03:06 AM   #5
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Old 20th July 2004, 03:37 AM   #6
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Which current PHL model is simlar to your 1340? I did not find it in the usual places.

Aside from asthetics, what difference would there be in placing the MTM on stands and the woofers by the side?


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Old 20th July 2004, 11:20 AM   #7
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Hello Al,

The two dealers that I know are and
Zalytron is currently having a PHL sale and has the 1340s for $88.00
See here :

The other 6” bass midrange PHL do is the 1220. Its very similar to the 1340 except it doesn’t have a phase plug. While I have not heard it, I have been told it is every bit as good as the 1340.

Mounting the MTM units on stands beside the bass boxes could result in better sound depending on how your bass boxes are built.

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Old 20th July 2004, 11:49 AM   #8
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Barnwell (really nice loudspeakers )

I was just wondering after reading in the madisound forum that you had an active three way dipole ( Millennium, W22, 12” XLS )., how does the PHL 1340 compares with the Excel W22?

Did you get the idea of your previous design by Linkwitz Orion (Millenium, W22, 2x 10" XLS) ? You are not liking it anymore? Do you?

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Old 20th July 2004, 12:41 PM   #9
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You are right, I did have a pair of dipole speakers that used a pair of the 12” Peerless XLS drivers per side in H frames with the W22 and Millennium tweeters.

Overall, they did sound great, but where limited for what I was looking for.

Dipole bass place huge demands on the bass drivers as there is so much cancellation. Now that I have them setup and tuned, I find the same bass drivers in sealed boxes sound 99% as good at low levels, and much better at high volume levels.

The W22 is an interesting driver. It does sound good, but ultimately for a two way ( with a dome tweeter ), ends up being a limitation. Its main downfall is its lack of ability to sound good if crossed over above 1.5K. While there are some tweeters that can handle that, ultimately, 1.5K is really pushing a 1” dome and once the volume gets turned up, the dome will start to compress and distort.
I think the W22 would be really nice is a small 3 way as a bass driver or in a two way with one of the larger ribbons that can be crossed over under 1K.

By comparison, the PHL has more resolution better dynamics and can be crossed over higher. That said, it to is limited in that it does not make much low bass. In a two way, the W22 would kill it because of this. In a three way, the PHL has a definite advantage.

The Millennium tweeter is nice and has a sound that has a certain rightness to it. My main criticism of it is that it can sound a little rolled off at times on the top end lacking a sense of space.

There was also an issue I had with the Dipole layout, and that is they do not image as precisely as monopoles. Some people find this an issue, some don’t. I do.

Overall, the XLS / W22 / Millennium dipole speaker ( Orion Inspired ) is a great sounding speaker, certainly one of the better things I had heard. If the areas where its limited are not a big deal to the listener, I can easily understand how it gets so highly rated.

That said, the three ways I have now have deeper bass, more extended highs, have better overall resolution, have more precise imaging and do a better job of reproducing some of the scale and realism of the original event.

Disclaimer: The only truth that we can all collectively share is that we are aware. All else is relative and given this, just because I like something and think it better than something else, does not make it universally so……

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Old 20th July 2004, 01:38 PM   #10
goskers is offline goskers  United States
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Very well said Branwell.

You have done a great job on the cabinets and your system does look very, very good.

We all appreciate the work you have done with driver selection. At least I have as you well know from e-mails Thanks.

I just posted a message that is along the same lines as Branwell's design. I owned the Orion's and found the bass limitations, well, just that, a limitation. Music just did not have the impact that I would like in my system. Amazing speaker, just not my cup of tea.

Keep up the good work!!


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