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Multi-Way Conventional loudspeakers with crossovers

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Old 17th October 2002, 12:52 PM   #1
dc is offline dc
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Location: NYC
Default Is this crazy?

I built a pair of Phoenix open baffle speakers this Spring. I love the way they sound for certain types of music (jazz vocals, classical) but they lack punch and bass and sound too smooth and airy for the type of music I listen to most of the time - electronic/house. The speakers are designed to accurately produce a live performance. There's nothing very "live" about house music... Not that I listen to Metallica all that often, but I auditioned the speakers with Metallica, and it sounded more like a boy band! These are also fronts of a surround music/HT setup.

Would it be crazy to take the drivers out of these boxes and put them into a sealed or ported box (MTMWW-style) to get more bass and attack? I've also got a pair of Lambda SB12 I was planning to mate with Mangers... I could use the Lambdas in an MTMW and the Peerless XLS with the Mangers... I'd like to continue using the 3-way XO, but will proably need to change out some resistors and caps to adjust the XO frequencies. (SIDE Q: Has anyone ever used all Pass (or other class A) amps with a 3-way active set-up? I'd love to build these, but I'm afraid the current draw and heat produced would make it impossible.)

I'd still keep the Phoenix boxes for later on in life, when my musical tastes change a bit.

Any thoughts or suggestions appreciated.

brad
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Old 17th October 2002, 03:24 PM   #2
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/rant

You exposed the drawback of open baffles - hehe

If you are hardcore about music and find
it frustrating to find the right system, step
back and analyze each individual component
in the speaker system. That's what I do
and I find complete happiness. The cost
to do this is higher but you sleep well at night
*and* you don't have to keep building systems
through out your life time - hehe

Make a list of tweeters, midranges, woofers that
you *think* you like. Buy some samples of each and do some
listening tests on each driver by itself. Spend a
month auditioning the drivers without using filtering
(except the tweeters which need some form of
crossover - heh). If you can find drivers that sound
nice to you unfiltered, then you have completed
one part of your quest.

My latest project had these drivers on my list.
Tweeter - Raven2, ESg3, SA8535

I chose SA driver. It exceeded my design goals by a
wide margin. The tweeter quest is over.

Midranges - focal 7k2, focal 6wm, phl 1120, phl 1660, phl 2520,
pr180m0. This took a month to figure out, they all sounded
good except 6wm. In the end, I had to mate the tweeter
to each midrange to do the final test. I picked 2520.
The midrange quest is over.

Woofer - Eminence 12", 15", 18", Lambda TD15.
The bass subsystem is taking a long time to figure out,
should I make a 4 way or 3 way. hehe Eventually, I received
some tips and considered lambda woofers to simplify
my 4 way to 3 way. After testing, this woofer exceeded
my expectations.

My design goal was to build a high impact sound system
without using a prosound solution, ie, compression horns,
10" midranges, etc. To build the high impact sound system,
I wanted to only use high sensitivity drivers so I made
the list as shown above. I'm not saying that these are
the only good sounding drivers, they were the only
high sensitivity drivers to make the list, any other were
crossed out for whatever reason.

Using these methods and goals has helped me
find audio paradise.

My next step is to finalize cabinet design - lol


fyi;
I read a review on TNT audio on the manger driver
they said it was great for any music other than
rock n' roll. When they listened to AC/DC, it sounded
horible.
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Old 17th October 2002, 06:56 PM   #3
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I don't know. I listen to house, electronic, industrial and even punk and my open baffle speakers sound great. Not that I listen only to those speakers, I have other closed box speakers in a house, but the open baffle ones are just the best (for all type of music). Maybe you just have to get used to them (you've been conditioned too much by closed boxes. )
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Old 17th October 2002, 07:05 PM   #4
dc is offline dc
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Default Great idea, but...

what do you do with the drivers you turn down?

My goal certainly isn't to find one pair of speakers for the rest of my life. Even if I thought that was possible, I'm in it more for the building experience than anything else. I'd be building myself out of a hobby! More importantly, I think that my listening tastes will evolve over time. As much as I like Naked Music, Jazzanova, Mark Farina and Derrick Carter right now, I don't see myself listening to them 10 years from now. I think I'd like to keep these Phoenix around until then, because they do perform magnificently with the types of music I imagine I'll be listening to, then.

But, I spent a fair amount on these drivers 6 months ago, and I'd like to see if I can use them in a different design with more impact before setting them aside and dropping another $1,500 on more drivers. SL measured a fair number of drivers before choosing these based on exceedingly low distortion numbers. Although he was looking to use them in a different manner (open baffle instead of a box), I don't see any reason why the low distortion numbers wouldn't also apply to box speakers (although I'm open to arguments counter to this).

Admittedly, the Mangers may not have been an ideal choice. I got them used at a substantial discount, so I thought I'd give them a try. I remember reading a post from Petter saying that he wanted to use the Mangers as rear speakers (which is my intention, as well). As rear speakers, I think they may perform very admirably - wide dispersion and quickness and the low SPL levels aren't much of a concern, given that they are rear speakers to be placed close to the listening position. Again, they may be better-suited to Jazz/Classical music.

It's getting to be winter, here, making woodworking outside impractical. I think I'll probably spend the winter reading and investigating different drivers/boxes and drawing up plans for the spring.

I'd be interested in hearing what you decide on for boxes for your project, as well as your proposed XO - are you going active or passive?

brad
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Old 17th October 2002, 07:32 PM   #5
dc is offline dc
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Peter,

What drivers are you using in your open baffles?

The sound I'd like to accomplish is a low, rumbling bass line, covered by tight, driving mids and a sweet, melodic high-end, drifting over the top. I feel the Phoenix are just what I'm looking for on the high end - transparent and melodic.

I feel like the bass line is not rumbling at all, but very tight and controlled. Bass drum kicks don't stretch out the way they were intended. The woofers are not really present until the point where a number of speakers would be overdriven. That's the objective with these speakers, but, it turns out, it may not be what I'm looking for. I could try doubling-up the woofers (to 4 per side) or adding a sub...

The mids are a bit too airy, and seem to have too much depth, so that they create an empty feeling. This may very well be because my listening room (my whole apartment) has 15' ceilings... I know it's important to design a speaker with the room in mind, but, it's an apartment, and I don't plan to be there for more than another year...

Also, house music is made to be played in large clubs, on massive sound systems, which are often overdriven and not even close to low distortion (with the exception of Phazon(sp?) systems). Friends of mine who make records all have that type of sound in mind when writing the music. My idea of a live performance of house music is hearing a dj spin at a club, so, it only makes sense that getting closer to live for me would involve a closed box. I think the sound I'd try to emulate would be the Phazon system that was once running at Twilo, in New York. From what I've heard from former employees is that Twilo spent well over $2 million building and maintaing that system, and that the designer went in a couple of times a month to tweak. As loud as it got in there, you could always talk to people near you without having to shout.
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Old 17th October 2002, 07:56 PM   #6
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One thing is, you try to emulate the sound of a club in your apartament. I, OTOH, almost never go to clubs, so I don't try to get the same sound in my house. I have my idea how I want the music to sound and I tweak as long as I get that sound.

So I have found that properly tweaked system plays Deep Dish, Paul Oakenfold as good as Dire Straits, Pink Floyd or Apoptygma Berzerk and Front 242 (or Clash for that matter)

I'm using Raven1 tweeter (not that I couldn't buy something better today, I got this one for last 8 years), Triangle midranges (those are the best sounding mids I tried so far) and Focal Audiom 12" and 15" woofers (those are in Grand Slamms ).

I'm using bi-amp system so I can taylor woofer's response as I like. I can never imagine more natural bass than the one coming from an open baffle. It might not be rumbling but it is very natural. I prefer the last.
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Old 17th October 2002, 10:09 PM   #7
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--what do you do with the drivers you turn down?

Dust collectors for now - lol

I can use later, slap a box together and sell it to friends - lo

Tell them that these speakers are the greatest sounding speakers I've heard"... hehehe

Audio addiction seems just as worse as drinking or smoking
moneywise? hehe
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Old 17th October 2002, 10:10 PM   #8
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--Triangle midranges (those are the best sounding mids I tried so
--far

Which model? I haven't tried that brand yet, I'm always
looking for interesting drivers.

What have you compared them to?
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Old 17th October 2002, 11:06 PM   #9
dc is offline dc
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Peter,

I remember seeing pictures of these speakers many moons ago in another thread. Do you have pictures of the rear? If I remember correctly, you're bi-amping with two Aleph monoblocks per side, no? If so, do you run into any issues with excessive heat or current draw? As I mentioned above, I'd really like to try a couple of Alephs, but I'm afraid of size, heat and current draw overload. Maybe I could get away with it if I passively crossed the mids and tweeters and used Class A/B's for the center and rear?

brad
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Old 17th October 2002, 11:51 PM   #10
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Did you use a Linkwitz Transform circuit to boost the bottom octave? Do you have a way to measure the FR? If so I’d first check that everything is working the way it should. The DIY and Pro open baffle’s I’ve heard are outstanding except the very bottom registers (40hz and below) so if everything is OK with the crossover and such and you still want more bottom end then just add a good Sub. Something like a Sono-Tube enclosure with a Tempest driver ($150)

. The Phoenix Speakers are said to be among the best Open Baffle design available for the DIY market, if you used the exact parts and configuration as specified by the Linkwitz site then they should sound very good. Remember they need to be far from all reflection surfaces, practically in the middle of the room, which IMO is the biggest drawback to open baffles, if it weren’t for that I would be building a pair for myself, or maybe something like Peter’s.

Sure do like those speakers Peter made, very impressive work and good finishing skills.

Here is a Pic of a Brama 12 sub, the best choice IMO ($439)
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