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A design to beat the giant-killers

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During a casual exchange of posts with Chris B in the recent "what are you listening to" thread, I declared that my only current pair of shop purchased speakers were the diminutively small (read ridiculously overpriced to the unenlightened!) Neat Iotas.
Afterwards, I started to wonder what among the Planet 10 arsenal was good enough to go head-to-head with these, as a small, full range bookshelf design?
My criteria for selection would be a similar size (the Iotas are only 130 x 160 x200mm) unless this became a limitation to performance, suitability of the design for either bookshelf of stand mounting, and a general happiness to be placed close to a rear wall. For the sake of availability, I suspect that the choice of drivers would be from the smaller end of the current Fostex or Mark Audio ranges, with or without the dots.
As someone who builds things for a living, I am fully aware of the price escalation between the factory door and the retailer, so I reckon that the Iota's £730/$1000US/$12200 CDN retail price would equate to approximately £200 to spend on the design, drivers, enclosure and finishing materials. As a perk to myself, I would throw in the labour FOC!
Let me know what you think. I fancy a challenge.
The "gosh, those are small..... they cost how much?" conversation needs to come to an end, one way or another.
Joined 2001
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Neat Iotas

Looks like they are using either the Peerless 830870, or a variation. We use that as helper woofers for the uFonken. They are very good. Matched we a electrodynamic planar… XO is probably very simple (because the drivers are well behaved)

(130 x 160 x200mm)

That is 4.16 litre external. If we go with 2.6 L off the website, F10 below 55 Hz… i might just crib that, as the uFonkenSET & uFonkenPlus (or the A5.2 versions) are based on 2.5L. The FF85wk goes to a bit more than 10 Hz higher, the A5.2 goes a few hz lower.

They should both be near as extended and about 3 dB more sensitive than the NEAT.

So any but the smallest one:

There are some CGR boxes for the A6.2m & FF105wk that are a bit bigger and then the standard millSize box (~17x30x18 cm) -- many drivers can be fitted into them.

Utterly coincidentally, Neat seem to have come to the same, or a similar, conclusion.

Just released, this month:

Introducing the Iota ALPHA | AudioPlus News and Views

From what I see and read, its an Iota variation with an additional bass enclosure. How the large port on the rear is linked into the two cavities is something of a mystery, and I'm not entirely convinced about the diminutive overall height, even with the upward angled drivers. Definitely not one to let the grandchildren near!

I think that a....kenSET might be a good staring point for a comparative stand-off, with the lower bass helpers on stand-by to tip the balance, as needed. Whether to go with Fostex or Mark Audio is a harder call, as I have no experience with the latter. In Europe, the 5.2s are about twice the price of the 105s, but as stated previously, this alone is not the deciding factor.

Now, how to get onto the subscription list?
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Rob - there are also a couple of models of drivers by Mark Audio that work very well for this type of application - the Alpair 6 in paper and metal, and if you have space available to fit the minimum enclosure volume that might be required, the new Pluvia 7.

I've only heard the Pluvia in the FH3, and can't comment on what smallest working size for a bookshelf/desktop for it might be - but no doubt Dave could correct that quickly.

As he noted above, if our suspicion is correct, the little Peerless mid-bass is actually quite a nice little performer, and any of the small planar /ribbon type tweeters that are available for under $40 US ea could make for a surprisingly good and simple project.
Giant-killer - who's to say? ;)

If you peruse any of Dave's sundry enclosures, as someone who's probably built more of his separate designs than anyone, I'll advise that the trapezoid shapes are much fiddlier than the simple rectangular boxes.
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