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Old 18th August 2004, 11:07 AM   #1
Dinobe is offline Dinobe  Belgium
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Location: Flanders
Default Upgrading my set with some DIY speakers?

Hey all!

I'm thinking of upgrading my speakers. My system at the moment look s like this:
B&W 601's speakers sitting on Atacama 74 stands
Rotel RA 972 amp
Arcam Alpha 7se Cd player.

I feel that the speakers are not up to the level of the amp and cdplayer. I always wanted to upgrade the speakers to B&W CDM 1NT (I think these are now replaced with the 700 series). I simply can't save 1500 euros for these speakers. So I was thinking if DIY could help me out.

What I like about those CDM 1NT's: excellent imaging, gives you real insight in the music, the speakers 'disappear', the musicians really come out of the speakers, very good bass reproduction considering the size.

I' ve been looking on different sites, forums and I have seen all kinds of DIY sets, kits, plans, drivers,.... I'm really lost, most of all because I don't have any experience with DIY speakers and I don't know what to expect... With manufacturerd speakers I know how Dynaudio sounds, what models B&W has, how they sound....

My room is small 3,5 m X 3 m X 2,30 (L x W x H) and I don't have much options in placing the speakers.

What I'm looking for: a pair of monitors (not much bigger than the 601's in size), which are not very sensitive to placement, which will reach the performance or even better, outclass the B&W CDM 1NTS
and they need to have 'decent' bass reproduction.

My musical taste is very wide, but I mostly listen to rock, pop, triphop, electronical music but from time to time I also listen to some jazz (modern jazz(?) like St Germain, Marc Moulin,...) folk, world music and classical music.

Other concerns: I'm quite a good handyman with wood, I know how to solder so I think building can't be much of a problem.
I have a bit of knowledge of electronics, but I can't "read" all those graphs (you know the frequency response grahphs)

I think the best solution is to built a pair which is already a 'proven (?) design'
I don't think I'm going to start fiddling on the crossovers afterwards or start tweaking this capacitor or that driver,....

So when I spend money, time and work I want real performance...

Ofcourse I want to finish the speakers so they look really professional and expensive

Budget: I don't want to pin myself down on a budget, but I was thinking of 500 euro's a pair all in.... less is better but if 600 euro's can give a much better performance I'm willing to spend that...

Is this achievable or not? Or am I dreaming of the impossible?

So that was it

THX for reading!
(and sorry for spelling and grammar mistakes)
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Old 18th August 2004, 12:00 PM   #2
tktran is offline tktran  Australia
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Perth
Upgrading the 601 will be easy.

I suggest you look into some kits/plans by experienced designers. In order of decreasing raw material costs:

Ellis Audio 1801b
Dan Wesnor's Ella
Tony Gee's DD8 Mk2

They are all kits or designs that are standmout 2- way speakers based around a 6.5/7" midwoofer and tweeter.

To me the 1801b and BESL S5 MT represent standmount loudspeakers using "cost-no-object" materials.

Dan's Ella falls right into the 500 Euro price slot. I think he's struck a particularly good crossover and box design. For a sealed box it has excellent bass (60Hz). The other advantage I can think of is cleaner bass and easy intregration with a subwoofer.
So good he has admitted that he "would have absolutely no problems putting [Ella] up against anything (commercial) selling under $3,000."

That would put it into B&W 805 territory....

My own space/room requirements for speakers demands either large floorstanders (6x9 metre room) or compact monitors (small and cramped rooms), but if I had to choose a mid-sized standmount and had 500 Euro to spend I would not hesitate to try either the Ella or DD8Mk2.
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Old 19th August 2004, 08:14 AM   #3
Dinobe is offline Dinobe  Belgium
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Flanders
Thx for the first 'suggestions' I'll have a look into these and make some calculations

Would Tony Gee's HATT mkII be any good?
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Old 19th August 2004, 11:59 AM   #4
ALFIrE is offline ALFIrE  Belgium
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I'm about to start building the HATT III

Other speaker that interested me was the clofis GV1
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Old 19th August 2004, 12:29 PM   #5
Dinobe is offline Dinobe  Belgium
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Flanders
ALFIre: what's your target by building the HATT III?

I'm looking for a DIY bookshelf which can match B&W CDM 1NT as I said In my first post.

I'm interested in the mkII because it 's front ported. My room is small and I need to place them relatively close to the wall's. So backported may be a problem...
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Old 19th August 2004, 12:35 PM   #6
tktran is offline tktran  Australia
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I suspect they are both very good for their respective size classes.

Tony told me that the Hatt Mk3 and DD8Mk2 are similar except that the DD8Mk2 has greater sensitivity (=goes louder given the same amplifier power) and deeper bass.

This is all to be expected considering the larger size of the woofer and cabinets.

Hatt Mk3 will likely shock and redefine how good you think mini speakers can be...

But if you look at the size of the CDM1NT you will find it is a medium/large monitor using 6.5" driver.

I wouldn't expect the Hatt Mk3 to go as loud... this is why I did not include it in my recommendations.
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Old 19th August 2004, 12:48 PM   #7
ALFIrE is offline ALFIrE  Belgium
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Location: vlaanderen

where in flanders are you located? maybe we can help each other on some occasion?

I'd like to build the mkIII because of it's size (WAF you know - but she still finds them to big) and because of it's reputation. Components are easy to get (no exotics), drivers are good quality and Tony is a very friendly and helpfull guy!!!

My room is small as well, so I will have to make it frontported as the II is, but that should not be a problem.

Loudness is not one of my concerns, I just want it to sound very good and be affordable.

It is my goal to start building one pair, and if I like them (hopefully) build a second pair for rear, followed by a sub and then maybe a center.

the difference in performance between HATT en DD8 seems logical. Too bad the DD8 is to big for my wife...
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Old 19th August 2004, 02:05 PM   #8
Dinobe is offline Dinobe  Belgium
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Flanders

I live in Kalken (halfway between Gent & Dendermonde).


The size of the speaker doesn't really matter. I use the B&W CMD 1NT as a kind of 'reference' If a smaller DIY speaker can give me the same performance, that's ok!
Only a bigger cabinet (much bigger than te 601's or the 1NT) would cause a problem...
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Old 25th August 2004, 08:59 AM   #9
Dinobe is offline Dinobe  Belgium
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Well I have been thinking about it and I'm not convinced yet


1. You can choose everything yourself: drivers, finish, crossover..
2. I'm sure you can get very nice results
3. It's fun

Contra DIY
1. Most important is: what to expect from it? I can take my set to a dealer and check all speakers I want and choose those I like the most.
With a DIY kit you never know how it's going to sound, is it going to fit your taste? Is it going to sound good with the rest of your equipment?

2. You can do something horribly wrong and ruin something (example: slip with a screwdriver and damage the woofer) which can make it expensive after all.

3. No to forget: Resale value!
Most 'audiophiles' upgrade their kit now and then. With commercial speakers I'm sure I will be able to sell them at a decent price and reinvest the money in some better speakers
I think DIY speakers are not that easily sold secondhand, or at least not a nice price....

These are just some critical thoughts, I'm not bashing the DIY sector (definately not!)

Who can convince me?

Some other newbie questions:

1. If 2 different speakers (different drives, different cabinets) measure technically the same (they have exactly the same frequency response ed.) Do they sound indentical?

2. Is the shape of the bass reflex port important?
Image you a round bassreflex port with a diameter of 4 cm and 10 cm deep. The other is rectangular shaped: 1cm high and 12 cm wide 10 cm deep.
Both reflexports have the same surface: 12cm², but different shape.
Does this influence the performance of the speaker??

THX for reading
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