A(nother) reason NOT to DIY - diyAudio
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Old 11th June 2006, 03:38 PM   #1
AJinFLA is offline AJinFLA  United States
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Default A(nother) reason NOT to DIY

There was a thread a while back that suggested this.
At the price point of those speakers, these was my thoughts:
http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/showt...222#post882222
IMHO, for that type money, there is a great reason TO DIY.
At a certain price point however, there may well be a reason not to (other than just to have fun).
A member of another forum http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/spe...es/226294.html pointed these out http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage....=1138085354138
on sale up until 6/10/06 @ $40 - per pair (someone from Best Buy must have seen the thread ).
For that type of money, I may now agree with ScottG.
I of course went out and bought (the last) pair at the closest BB (no, I don't work for them LOL) to see what $20/speaker got the non-DIY consumer (the vast majority of music listeners). The fact that it was a coaxial made me feel a little better in case I was squandering $40 that could have been used to buy beer.
I'll be honest with you. I wasn't expecting much. Several yrs back, I pulled apart a similarly priced KLH bookshelf (that BB sold also) given to me by a friend. The only suprise there was the thickness of the (chamfered) front baffle and maybe the decent size motor on the foam surround, poly cone woofer. Very little damping inside the enclosure, cap on the 99 cent tweeter, 50 cent clip binding posts ,etc,etc. They sounded a shade better than the price - which means not very good at all. Pretty bad actually.
These are quite a step forward. Are they going to replace my DSP dipoles? No.
But what I found left me quite astonished at the manufacturing capability of cheapo chinese speakers. I've seen some pretty decent bargains of course, but at the $20 (profit included!) price point, I wasn't expecting quite this much.
The enclosure alone is probably worth the $20 to avoid the headaches of enclosure building. Yes, its probably only about 5/8" (15mm) MDF, but the sides (the largest surface) are curved, making them fairly rigid. The top/bottom/back are small enough to make the MDF thickness ok. The front baffle is actually 2pc and over an inch (30mm) thick! The inner walls have plenty of acoustic foam. There is a real XO, not just a tweeter cap.
The drive unit itself might be worth the $20. Its a real CF cone (not poly made to look that way), VC is about 1.5" and a fairly large motor structure. The fabric dome sits in a small horn/phase plug ala KEF/Tannoy etc.
Decent quality banana plugs on rear.
Now the inevitable question. What does it sound like?
I hate those blathering subjective "reviews", so let me just say this. It sounds pretty decent. Remember, I'm used to listening to full sized active OB speakers. All boxes now have that familiar "sound" that some will like. Once I (try to) get past that, these sound far better than any $20 speaker have the right to. Great? No. Good....sure.
Rather than pick apart the treble/mid/bass, I suggest going down to BB and have a listen for yourself. Even if you don't need them for yourself, they would probably make a nice gift for the non-audiophile or kid going off to college, etc.
Could they use a sub? Yes! ALL bookshelfs do. No driver producing your mids should have anything to do with deeper bass. Especially one which horn loads your tweeter!

Now, being a DIYer, the next step (of course) is removing them from the box and putting them on an OB, crossing above 300hz, reworking the T/M XO, applying a felt ring around the horn and woofer surround......etc,etc . Probably after the World Cup

cheers,

AJ


And as always, the pics

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Click the image to open in full size. Click the image to open in full size.
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Old 11th June 2006, 04:34 PM   #2
wxn is offline wxn  Lithuania
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Cool. I wish I could get a pair of those
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Old 11th June 2006, 05:33 PM   #3
Zaph is offline Zaph  United States
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That's funny, I've got a pair of those sitting in my listening room right now. They were dropped off by a friend who asked "How much do these suck?" This was a guy who buys speakers based on dollars per pound. On that basis, I guess they do pretty well. If anyone's interested, I'll post some measurements.
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Old 11th June 2006, 05:45 PM   #4
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Yea measurements would be really cool. I'm surprised at just $50 per pair they look pretty nice. I used to own Kef Q series before i went DIY. I remember listening to the old radio shack optimus with the linneaums that sounded really nice.
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Old 11th June 2006, 05:54 PM   #5
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"If anyone's interested, I'll post some measurements."

Sure Zaph - if you've got the time I think that would be very interesting. Any other votes?
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Old 11th June 2006, 05:55 PM   #6
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With the advent and acceleration of Chinese manufacturing, many very competent designers of drivers and systems are able to make quantity purchases of quality products at dirt cheap prices. $5 drivers and crossovers and $20 cabinets for large quantity production runs of respectable quality were unheard of until recently.
There is speculation that this will not endure forever due to the historical precedence of industrialized societies producing a middle class that expects an ever increasing standard of living and quality of life.
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Old 11th June 2006, 07:58 PM   #7
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I thought you might be mistaken by saying it was MDF, based on the cost, from the picture I see it actually is!!!

These might make nice rear channel speakers.
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Old 11th June 2006, 08:17 PM   #8
ruerose is offline ruerose  Canada
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Cabinets look very similar to a small bookshelf The Source is selling here in canada, ($69 on special I think).

It's not on their website unfortunatly.
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Old 11th June 2006, 09:33 PM   #9
AJinFLA is offline AJinFLA  United States
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Quote:
That's funny, I've got a pair of those sitting in my listening room right now. They were dropped off by a friend who asked "How much do these suck?" This was a guy who buys speakers based on dollars per pound. On that basis, I guess they do pretty well. If anyone's interested, I'll post some measurements.
John, I actually think there would be plenty interest, given the price and (relative) availability. I would be interested in seeing a distortion sweep of the finished system (rather than individual drive units).
FR on and off axis. FR @ say 80, 90 and 100db, 1m to see the change in the tweeters response as woofer excursion level increases.
I think to wring the most out of these boxes (other than felt mods) would be to rework the xo and then use them with stand (sub)woofers that crossed no lower than 200hz, better yet closer to 300hz for higher output systems.
I'm not giving up my W22's, but I can't believe how decent these sound for 20 stinking $ ea.
The DA175 sounds better but is almost $20 by itself.
Keep us posted. Thanks.

cheers,

AJ
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Old 12th June 2006, 03:02 AM   #10
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Interesting tip - thanks AJ. And I concur that seeing Zaphs measurements would be very interesting indeed - see whether there is enough inherent overlap in the drivers workable areas to merit some experimentation.
I've always been meaning to pull the drivers from my Tannoy system 600's and play around with some DSP xovers to see how phase manipulation alters the sound. I've never gotten around to it, but at $40/pr these would be ideal as long as the breakup of the CF cone is far enough away from the lower end of the tweeter's usable range.

Intriguing to be sure.
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