after much thought

after much thought i have decided to not buil the ariel. many of the speaker projects that i have been considering seem to need other high end equipment in order to really enjoy their performance. not to mention that everything i want to build will cost me much money!, im starting over. i have a pair of sony (best buy) speakers w/ dual 8" woofs and a mid and tweet per tower. my a/v receiver is a yamaha htr-5150 , older sony cd player, and a hitachi dvd. models of this equipment may vary as time and money go by. hopefully it will increase in quality someday! but as for now, what would be my best bet for improving the sound quality oof my towers or what project would be best for me? i am very much into the looks of a speaker. this is one of the reasons i liked the ariel<-----small footprint, driver placement, tl, it not worth building the ariel or other comparable speakers and running them on the equipment that i have? i know i have said a mouth full but look forward to your replys! shallenn
I would start with perhaps an inexpensive MTM, and add a subwoofer as earlier suggested. In my opinion, its just not worth trying to upgrade the Sony's. has a number of inexpensive, easy to build, high quality speakers, that when combined with a subwoofer, will be a definite worth-while improvement, for only a little amount of money. Also, using a sub-satellite system allows for easy expansion or modification of your system later on, and doesnt take up a lot of space.


Disabled Account
2001-12-12 8:47 am
Actually, you should be able to make those Sony's sound 100% better(you might be suprised just how little of an improvement this is though!) with very low cost upgrades. Don't expect miracles, or even good deeds. LOL.

The upgrades below are simply corrective measures to fix some things that Sony should have done in the first place.

1. Go to the hardware store, buy Mortite. It is a putty, apply it to the sheet metal frames of the woofers. $5

2. Purchase a 2"x2"x8' foot board. Use a cheap mitre box and cut braces to fit inbetween the walls of the enclosure. Cut them so they are about 1.5" too short, then cut a short little piece so you can make it snug to stay in place after getting it positioned in the cabinet. Use genrous amounts of wood glue. Try to avoid placing the braces within the diameter size of the port. $7

3. Purchase some acoustic foam or dense cushion foam(1.5"-2" thick). You can usually get some dense foam from Wal-Mart. Get enough to line all of the walls in teh enclosure. If it's the lite foam it will not be effective. You can staple the foam into the enclosure. $10-15

4. Go to and purchase some rolls of speaker gasket compound, and place between the frame of the enclosure and the speaker when you put it back in. Also purchase some neoprene 'drill screw' spacers from the hardware store. These are littlen rubber like washers with a metal back on them. Remove the metal backs with needle nose pliars and use the washers on the driver mount screws to help keep the screws from coupling with the speaker basket. $8

5. Write down the value of the capacitor(s) on the tweeter. Purchase new ones, metallized film poly type from to replace the electrolytics. $8-10

6. Here is a maybe: Replace the internal wiring if it's like 24 or 22 guage. Use 18 guage, that should be sufficient. $10

7. If their is a resistor on the tweeter, you may wish to purchase a non inductive of the same value at partsexpress and replace them. $3

8. VERY OPTIONAL: purchase damping sheets(bitomous or vinyl) from partsexpress and apply them to the inside of the enclosure. Of course, this will likely be too much extra expense for these speakers. $25-$30 Optionally, you can adhere thick floor tiles to the inside of the cabinet, or roofing felt(smells bad though and is a mess)

Anyways, these are a few cheap ways to make significant improvments to the speakers. Of coursse, even with these improvements you will not achieve even a fraction of the sound reproduction that you would from even the inexpensive bookshelf dayton DIY project on or other such places.

Good luck.

I would agree with Super on doing an inexpensive MTM system with at least one sub. You won't believe the difference a good set of speakers can do for even mid-fi equipment. It my personal belief that at the level you're talking the speakers can make the single biggest improvement that you'll hear. (I know, I know, other things affect the sound, but I said "at this level") While the options Chris8 offers will make improvements, I wouldn't bother with that, by the time you've bought all the stuff and made the enhancements, you've invested enough time and money to build yourself a better pair of speakers! (Not to mention the fact that the box the Sony's are in is probably 1/2" particle board instead of something decent.

Basically, I wouldn't let the fact that your equipment isn't the highest quality stop you from upgrading portions of your system. (You have to start somewhere!
Don't give up!

My approach is to upgrade my system with components that are of a quality that will hold up sonically for quite a few years.
Eventually you end up with a decent system.

The Ariels will sound a whole lot better in your existing system.
I agree that there are cheaper and easier to construct speakers out there, that might be a good compromise.

If you aren't intimidated by the construction, go for the Ariels.
I want them too, but have to decide if I can complete a project of that difficulty.

I recently replaced an 8 year old Sony CD player with a Cambridge Audio D500. What a difference!

Do the speakers this year, next year the DVDA/SACD issue might be resolved and cheaper so you could then get a new player.

This is not to say that amps can't have a big influence on the sound-somethimes they do.

Check out this site that has an Ariel component kit:

Note that the "value" crossover version is missing some parts.
I think thse are a Zobel network to smooth out the impedence
You really don't need these as much with a solid state amp.
The cool thing is that the missing coil L3 is .3 MH , the same as the
required L1. You could get this as a 14 AWG for now, then switch it for a 12 AWG later. Then use the 14 AWG to add L3
No waste! Lynn Olsen says a cheap crossover reduces the speaker to mid fi, but I suspect it is a pretty darned good mid fi.
certainly way better than what you have.

If you got (God forbid!!) Solen caps for now, you could, upgrade them as you can afford to. A lot better than wasting money on questionable tweaks! Start with the tweeter caps.
Since you built it you can easily upgrade it!
How much for you to cut me an Ariel pair when you do yours? :)

By questionable tweaks I was not referring to Chris8's good tips.
I was referring to the tendancy for all of us to want to improve our systems by buying little (but sometimes expensive) items that might not make much difference. Fancy caps will definitely improve the sound so are a much better deal then the aforementioned. BUT they will probably be more noticable after you improve other aspects of the system.

Variac said:
If you got (God forbid!!) Solen caps for now, you could, upgrade them as you can afford to. A lot better than wasting money on questionable tweaks! Start with the tweeter caps.
Since you built it you can easily upgrade it!

I have generally found Solen film caps to be of reasonably high regard with the people of this forum so i find this comment a little odd.... sure there are better caps but i'm not sure that these are so shaby.....


Disabled Account
2001-12-12 8:47 am
IMO, the metallized film types(Solen) are ideal, even for 'hi-fi' applications when used in parallel applications. However, I do try to only use fim/foil types in the direct signal path to the drivers, especially the tweeter. If you can't afford film/foil cap for the caps inline with drivers, just add a bypass film/foil cap of 0.1-0.01 uf value in parallel with the metallized film capacitors. I find that all film/foil types sound pretty much the same, however many prefer one specific brand. If using for a bypass cap, just purchase the economical housebrand of film/foil caps from

Well... Shallenn wasn't getting much response so I thought I'd help him as much as I could to my limited abilities.

To my credit, I got things stirred up!!!
From my correspondance with Lynn Olsen, creator of the Ariel,
I am aware that he thinks only film/foil caps are appropriate
for the quality of the Ariel. Also huge inductors

Of course no one else knew this so my comment about Solen caps
was misinterpreted. I should have used a bunch of emoticons to show I was being facetious. So here are some now:
:eek: ;) :rolleyes: :D

I never said that Solen caps were shaby or even shabby!

I fact I thought I was implying that he should go with the Solens
for now, and upgrade the tweeter to film/foil as he could afford it.

Yes, I think the Ariels will sound better than the Sonys-by a lot.
No I have never heard them.

re. the cabinets: Aloha Audio sells pre-cut cabinet kits for the
speaker for I think about $900. Your cabinet maker may or may not be cheaper! I thought you were cutting them yourself in your garage. The amount of work cutting 4 instead of two cabinets is minimal. so maybe that is a way to save money. Most of the work is thinking and setting up the saw for the cuts.

MArk:D :rolleyes:
well, i may cut the boxes myself but i may be able to swing a deal with a cabinet shop that i put a alarm in. he has already offered specialty woods for other hobbies of mine. a free alarm in his house might be apealing to him! lets hope so!:) i'm willing to cut my own but this be much slower! like i say, i was just scared that the ariel's would not be a good choice for my set up. but it seems that it would be fine.