Audiophile drivers

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Hi all,
I am pretty new to this speaker building lark, but reckon I can build a decent set of floorstanders for alot less than the equivalent can be bought. Ideally looking to build a pair of 3 foot x 1 foot x 1 foot (approx) 3-way with one driver for each frequency range.

If I wanted to, say, build a set of speakers equivalent to some £1000-£1500 QUAD, KEF, B&W, etc. for around £300-£500, how do I go about determining which drivers are top quality? I know speaker manufacturer brand names that are respected, but can anyone reccomend driver makes that are really really good, looking for smooth, mellow ish sound, but with decent lower frequencies. I know the cabinet makes a big difference, but where do I start with drivers?

Any advice would be hugely appreciated, and I will then endeavour to post to let people know what the finished article is like, and if it's audiophile quality, will post my construction plans.

Thanks alot everyone,
Joined 2001
Paid Member
davidcollins said:
If I wanted to, say, build a set of speakers equivalent to some £1000-£1500 QUAD, KEF, B&W, etc. for around £300-£500

That converts into $1000-1500 USD?

The problem starts with the fact that there are so many choices. And these choices are affected by your room and the kit you are going to use with it.

For a 1st project you probably want to look at an already well sorted out speaker where someone else has already figured XOs and such.

The 1st thing you should do is go out and look at the zillion projects people have already done. Don't restrict yourself to 3-ways and don't restrict yourself to spending your entire budget on the speakers. i say this because by bi-amping you can get a big leg up -- it also changes a 3-way system into a pair of woofers/subs, plus some really nice mini-monitors (ie John K's LS3/5A inspired minis) + perhaps a quad of Peerless 10" in a push-push box).

or a 2.5 wy with a active low end....


6" 2 way on top with anohter 6" or 8" for teh bottom.

i suggest you to look at the Premium 33 project for Vifa/SS drivers. It has been done. it fits into your size.

if you want to expriment a bit try this...
take Premiun 33 project...
replace 9300 with 9500
replace M18 low end with M22 low end and make that active

the advantage of using a 8" low end as Dave Wilson (WATT) and Joe Joesph (Pearl) have found out is that you dont need the Bl/Mms ratio of a 6" if you are rolling of at 300-500Hz and you get a bit more Vd and a few Hz and db more of bass without sacrifing the mini monitor imaging too much. (a cabinet for a 8" woofer is only 2" more than than that of a 6" and one can us a gentle taper to reduce this altogether and at the same time reduce standing waves in the box).

If you want to look further there is a SS 8546/8545/9700 or 9900 project also floating around. If you cant dig it up let me know I might have it around. Also this might be out of your budget.

I bet Dave thinks I am biased since I am working on a similar desing with a much smaller budget (my drivers cost me $40 per side).

I have come to this conclusion after build a few systems.

any bass below 30Hz (I would even hazard to say 40Hz) excites all sort of room problems and forces you to tube trap, RPG or LEDE the room.

Looking at small rooms we have in India and Europe 2 x 6" or 8" woofers (per channel) provide enough bass. In a 2500 cu. ft. room I got by with 3 x 8" (Focal woofers with about 6-7mm linear one way Xmax).

Using bigger woofers (2x 12" per channel and a big box 7 cu. ft) I had a lot of work (RPG, Egg crate foam, curtains and carpets hung from the ceiling etc) to damp resonances and my wife got really mad.

The Premium 33 already uses the PL18W (vifa)+ scan 9500. You will get this at Building a kit is simply based on trust, you can not listern to it before you decide. I want to take it that, VIFA and SCANSPEAK will use this MODELS to show how good their drivers can be.

Hi All,
Thanks for the response. Something like the ProAc 2.5 sounds sort of what I am after. I have a rather crisp Marantz amp so am looking for the mellow sound that the 2.5's generally produce. Could you tell me, dshortt9 from Milwaukee or navin, how the Scan-Speak drivers compare to the ones that ProAc use? I have heard very good things about the audiophile quality of the ProAc speakers, and would like to match this as much as possible.
Does anyone know of any British suppliers, preferably around the midlands? Failing that, any websites, preferably with prices in pounds sterling? Getting interested. The estimated price on the geocities diyaudio price list is $640-$940 (£400-£700 here in rainy england). The drivers were quoted at $260 and $100 for mid/bass and HF, is this an up-to-date price, or have they gone up/down? Could I build a comparible set for less than $700?
peterpan said:
The Premium 33 already uses the PL18W (vifa)+ scan 9500. You will get this at Building a kit is simply based on trust, you can not listern to it before you decide. I want to take it that, VIFA and SCANSPEAK will use this MODELS to show how good their drivers can be.

Actually when you live in the Netherlands you CAN listen them before you buy :). (, both dutch companies which sell diy speakers)

An alternative model would be the Scanspeak Reference Monitor or Scanspeak Reference+ (quite popular in the Netherlands).
The kits are developed by (the Dutch importer of ss and vifa).

If you want a small monitor I would suggest the premium 11
Scan-speak Premium 33 heeelp

Hi there,

I am in the same boot (or boat), like SRMC or Dave.

I decided with my friend to build two floor-standing speakers, for some hundred dollars/pair, like the newbies.
We plan our first driver ordering now.
On the weekend we heard a factory-made Proac 2.5, oooo...

We will build a Proac 2.5 sure, and another type of good speaker.

I think about Premium 33 with 2 parallel Wifas and SS 9500.

Navin, you proposed this, what about the sonic performance? Do you know?
Will it be better than Proac 2.5 for the (little bit) more money?
( by my precalculation, ~500 and 600 euros)

I never heard, and I can't do (not living in NL), but I trust in other witnesses.
I hope, they don't put SS 9500 together with two flat, dull sounding woofers. But the question is not that. Probably if I build, will get a great sound... but is it worth to make with a Proac?
I don't want to be so disappointed...

I try to go to direction of SS Reference Plus, Proac 3.8 or an MTM North Creek Rhythm, using Scan-speaks.
If Premium 33 is not a "little step ahead" from Proac 2.5, maybe I build also Proac 2.5 for myself.

But Pre33 looks same like Reference Plus, so it could be a good practice... only if this sound is excellent.

It seems to be wise not to jump up to a Reference at the very first time. :)

Any comments? What is your opinion?

Other things, if I am here:
(maybe LaMa is a big help for me! :) )
I visited, and I don't understand the language (no English button!)

Belastbaarheid: speaker? 120 Watt Test Elektuur Dec '97
Houtpakket MDF € 80,- per stuk
Speakerset met filter € 435,- per stuk Opmerking: incluis bitumen

Is it /pair with xo, or /piece, without xo, or combinations... :xeye:

And what kind of drivers used by Vifa projects?
Like HT-200, HT-275D2, XT-300, Midden 17-WP-200, PLW14/232/8
Are these old models (not found in Vifa homepage), or optional?
And, are these tests and documents are available somehow, from Radio Bulletin, Elektuur, Elektuur Special?

What about Carat and Premium 22?
Did you hear it?

I think it is enough for today.

First of all I want to point out that I don't want to be the guy that cost you a lot of money because he advised the wrong speaker, so be warned!

Ok let's start. The Vifa and SS kits are also listed on the audiocomponents site. In the Netherlands they use other product codes (those *^%*&^%). The tests are available only in the Dutch language.

The XT-300 is simply the XT-25 ring radiator.
PLW14/232/8 -> PL14WJ09-08
17-WP-200 -> P17WJ-00-08
HT-275D2 -> D26TG-05-06 (not sure though)
HT-200 -> D20TD-05-06 ( " " " )

I would crosscheck these numbers with Rolph of audiocomponents.

The prices are /piece for the drivers, the x-over and the wiring terminal. (Everything except the wood) and in some cases the leadbitumen (don't know the English word :)) are also included.

The Pre33 isn't the Ref+, sorry but the Ref+ is in his own league.
I haven't heard the Pre33 for a long time though, it's quite expensive at €435/piece so above your pricepoint of a couple of hundred bucks.

The 2 little brothers: the pre11 and pre22 I have listened though. (Pre22 for 2 hours, the Pre11 for a couple of months because it is the speaker of my brother).

I would suggest the premium22 instead as an costeffective speaker. The Vifa ringradiator just sings so nicely. My brother has got the premium11 the little brother of the pre22 (2way without the extra woofer). The topend is comparable with the pre22 and I just love the midbass and highs of this little gem, and the imaging is just awesom. So the pre22 would be an excellent allrounder, but.......the drivers are only 5,5" so the bass is for the size of the speaker deep (appr. 40Hz) but the soundpressure isn't the same as from the Ref+ or any other speaker with bigger membrames, but instead you get a very detailed clean and tight bass response.

The pre22 would cost you appr. €350,- /piece for the drivers and x-over parts (no fancy caps though) and if you order from outside of Europe at audiocomponents it seems you get even lower prices (no retailshop with a margin).

The only problem is that I don't think the speaker is able to fill a big room (>40m2) because of the small drivers and the modest powerhandling. So how big is your listening/living room?? In the Netherlands this is mostly not an issue :) because a Dutch living is not often that big.

The Vifa Carat is a speaker for the average ppl. it has got a popular x-over (I mean too much highs and too less mid-end), so you have to change the filter to a more decent sounding one.

The Pre33 is too expensive at €450,-/piece (without MDF) and maybe a bit conservative design (an average SS tweeter with 2 vifa drivers).

The Pre22 is featuring the XT-25 ringradiator (look e.g. at the Krell LAT serie speakers or the audiophysics) with two 5,5" midbass drivers (these drivers are a bit expensive though, but worth the money) which delivers a great sound. (especially the highs en mids). But IMHO it can't fill a large room. Price: appr €350,-/piece (also no MDF)

The Carat will after a while disappoint you with too much highs. So don't consider it if you want a serious hifispeaker

I have never heard any Proac (clone) so I can't comment on that.

One more thing: I would also consider the SS Event it is a transmissionline and is also listed on planet10 his site, I've heard this design and if you can do with a little less detail in the toprange (I mean the XT-25 excells and any other dome tweeter except the ss97000/99000 will sound as if a blanket is dropped over the speaker) it can be a very good sounding alternative. With a very nice and deep bass (appr. 30 Hz)
I would look at the North Creek Music systems site. George Short will sell you the Scan Speak 9500 tweeter or his own tweeters which are very close in spec. to the 9500. He has these manufactured. I bought two of George's tweeters for $36 the pair, and they sound pretty good. I had to replace the Scan Speak tweeters as I damaged them in a wiring mis-hap. I am quite happy with Geoge's tweeters.

Nothing beats the very expensive Scan Speak Revelators though, at $400 the pair.

Georges Rhythm speaker kit is worth looking at. You could do the wood work and buy the drivers and crossover separately.
I intend to send the Scan Speak tweeters back to Madisound for repair. I've put new voicecoils in myself, but never felt I got them in just right. It was faster to buy the North Creek Tweeters, and for $36 the pair, I wanted to try them out for future speaker projects. I have thought of using them in a "Thor" cabinet, using two of the Scan Speak 7" kevlar woofers.

Can you get voice coils for the Scan Speak Revelators?
Thanks LaMa, and others for help!

I have all the prices, and understanding for these SS-Vifa models.

Only what is missing, is the xo design of Rhythm, from North Creek.
Does anybody have it?
OK, I can order from George, of course. But the min. price is more that 400 bucks!

I plan to order all the speakers and xo parts from for a good price.

Other choice is Proac 3.8.
Any original (good) design?

Flipping Heck....

You'd have to really balls things up to pop a 97000/99000. I once connected my amp through an inductor to the tweeter instead of the woofer with no ill effects. (I hit play with the amp volume turned up fairly loud...)

Talking about series crossovers, could you use one with a manger mid/treble? Might make an interesting experiment.
diyAudio Senior Member
Joined 2002


Sorry to go off topic:

plus some really nice mini-monitors (ie John K's LS3/5A inspired minis)

One of the best mini-monitors I ever heard.
Did you notice these are still made?
(the original ones I mean).
Tim the Paravicini (of EAR fame) used these at a Penta Show once to demo his valve gear.
Wow,what a sound!

If someone knows about a kit that sounds even better at about the same boxsize I'ld love to hear about it.

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