On the fence: Frugel Horn or Pensil 10.2 - diyAudio
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Old 25th October 2014, 05:15 PM   #1
bgruen is offline bgruen  United States
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Default On the fence: Frugel Horn or Pensil 10.2

Researching the Frugel Horn has brought me to Markaudio drivers and the various designs for them. I'm looking to build a pair of speakers for my 14 x 16 bedroom, to be driven by my Dynaco Stereo 70 and a Foreplay Tube pre amp. Right now I'm in a rental and there is no WAF to worry about, but when I move to a different place the speakers may be pressed into living room duties and powered by a SS amp.

The Frugel Horn seems like a novel design and there seems to be a lot of forum support for it. If I build it it will probably be out of the 5' x 5' of Baltic Birch as is recommended by almost everybody. I would select one of the Alpair 7s to drive it.

The Pensil 10.2 seems like a more straight forward build, with the very exacting internal bracing being the only unusual aspect to it. If I build the Pensil 10.2 it would most likely be out of MDF (with a double thick baffle) and wrapped in veneer. Not sure about paper or metal for the driver though. I know all the cautions I'll get for going this route, but there are logistic, financial, and familiarity reasons for going this route.

In the beginning they would play light rock, jazz, and classical, if they move to the living room they would move to rock and movies, but they would also be coupled to a subwoofer.

Can anyone offer some subjective comparisons and opinions between the two designs?


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Old 25th October 2014, 06:34 PM   #2
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The complex internal bracing shown in the pensil pdf files does put some people off, but it is optional, not mandatory. It is the 'ideal' case -if you can, great. If you can't, so be it. Two or three window braces will do. Not as well, but better than nothing, and it isn't the case that one will be a catastrophic failure and the other a resounding success.

Note that the Pensil 10.2 is obsolete (unless you happen to have the 10.2 drivers). The current version is the 10.3. I would not use MDF for the larger pensil boxes however, or FHXL. They're too large, & MDF is not stiff enough. If you did use MDF, that is one case where in the case of the pensils the complex holey bracing shown really would be of benefit, giving better support.

Last edited by Scottmoose; 25th October 2014 at 06:36 PM.
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Old 25th October 2014, 06:34 PM   #3
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If you like the FH aesthetic, just build the FHXL +10p and never look back. Don't build them out of MDF thou.

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Old 25th October 2014, 07:23 PM   #4
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For your needs i would suggest that the trade-offs between the A7s and the A10x that the set contained within the A10x would give them the edge (except maybe box size, and cost),

In both cases Scott's small horns have the edge in performance, but the Pensils in ease of build (even with the holey brace) and a smaller footprint.

FHXL with either A10p or A10.3 are superb performers, but even pushed right back againt the wall (that is OK), they will protrude out into the room near a 1/2 m.

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Old 25th October 2014, 10:14 PM   #5
toobhed is offline toobhed  United States
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…just adding something to Scott's comments on Pensil bracing:

As a novice at the time I built my first Pensil, I was somewhat intimidated by the vertical bracing's driver cutout which braces the driver as well as the cabinet. This apprehension was due to difficulties with driver/brace fit on a different build prior to the Pensils. So I employed a simple compromise.

I milled a plain rectangle that extends vertically from the driver's bottom to just above the Pencil's vent, press-drilled a bunch of holes and glued off center. This also allowed for a couple horizontal dowels through the holes at the bottom of the brace to keep the stuffing from falling into the vent.

I understand that bracing the driver is a good thing, but I feel this compromise is still much better than no vertical bracing at all.

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Old 26th October 2014, 12:35 AM   #6
chrisb is offline chrisb  Canada
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I always like to consider which of the enclosures under consideration might be awkward placement / size-wise in the room.

Having built / heard quite a few combinations of the drivers/ enclosures listed above, in a variety of rooms, I would heartily recommend either model of the FH if there's sufficient floorspace (the FHXL is approx 22" deep, and work best with several inches of "breathing room" behind) the Pensil enclosure for the same driver is not to be sniffed at, is certainly an easier build, and in both cases require less floor space than the horns.

If you're going to be using a powered a subwoofer - and particularly if you're able to split the Foreplay's line out - it has plenty of gain and drive capability- and HP the Dynaco or any future amp powering the Alpairs, I'd be inclined to recommend the A7.3 / Pensils.

And as Mario notes, the holey brace tightly nested to the driver is much easier to draw than build, and simpler strategies should suffice.
this retirement thing is harder than it looks for some folks

Last edited by chrisb; 26th October 2014 at 12:38 AM.
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