Before I order the parts for the Zaph Seas L18 / Seas 27TBFCG speaker

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long time no post (again).

so, short background: this would be my third DIY speaker project. first was a ready-designed tower with Visaton drivers. sounded nice but nothing special.

second was a bookshelf that I designed myself and used Morel MW144/MDT32S. with these I was willing to give up the bass the towers had for added midrange clarity and soundstage. but... although I invested quite a lot of effort into measuring and designing everything (I even built a measurement rig just for these) the sound is still mediocre and in some ways worse than that of the towers. the midrange is muddy and I can easily tell the location of the speakers while listening. I rarely find myself listening to the Morels because they don't bring the musical enjoyment I'm seeking.

now you can tell that I'm kind of reluctant about venturing again into the world of speaker DIY. I'm even considering buying a pair of Dynaudio X12s :eek:

but... a few days ago I remembered about Zaph's website and gave it another look. and turns out his all metal Seas design is quite praised and the price would be a fraction of that of the Dynaudios. and to be frank for me there is hope that they may sound even better (I've heard Dynaudios in the past and I do like their sonic signature).

all in all I've reached the point where I'm man enough to admit that my speaker designing skills have a lot to improve and as far as $$$ goes I'd rather trust someone who knows what he/she is doing.

now I realize that this is not a question but rather a rant :D

anyway, what do you think/advise?
 
If you want an alternative, I modeled these up for another builder to try in the same cabinet and driver set. I've never heard either one, but know I don't really care for the L18 personally. The person who tried these said it was a dynamically different design, and both versions have their tradeoffs.

That said, this is just my different approach to this driver set.

"Black Knights":
Black Knights- for GOWA pictures by wolf_teeth_speaker - Photobucket

Later,
Wolf
 
the Seas drivers would be a big step up from the Morel... go for it...!!!
But, part of the fun is solving problems, tell us about the cabinet and crossover you used for the Morels if you want...???
sure, let me dig for the files a bit.

found them. box volume is 9 liters. as for the port specs (box tuning) I'll have to dig some more.
here's the XO:
 

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Yes, and he stated he preferred mine.
Later,
Wolf
could you please detail some more?
what I'm missing with my current speakers is midrange transparency and a good soundstage. and a bit more low end wouldn't hurt too. all in all they sound kind of flat and boring, they don't really draw you in.

bear in mind that I own a pair of Grados and they are my reference for midrange clarity, I've yet to find a pair of speakers that can reveal that much. but nevertheless I'm sure you can do a lot better than with the Morels.
 
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I find personally some of zaph's stuff to be too 'reserved' or 'dull/polite' in the midrange, and I have to have the midrange right for me. Granted, I have not heard this design so it may need some minor tweakage from where it rests.

Morel being the Damped Polymer Composite cone structure typically, it has a very neutral and easy/laid-back sound on a lot of things. This makes them non-fatiguing, and I like Morel drivers at times. A very highly damped cone will do that, but not lack in detail necessarily.

FWIW- you have lots of options. Let me know if I did not answer your question.
Later,
Wolf
 
I had Zaph's L18 and changed the internals to MarkK's ER. The sound is different and I find ER much better. Zaph himself thinks that Mark's speaker is an upgrade to his SR71 which uses the same woofer. The trick Mark did is controlled ddirectivity, thus avoiding the dip in power response at mid treble.

Juha
 
I find personally some of zaph's stuff to be too 'reserved' or 'dull/polite' in the midrange, and I have to have the midrange right for me. Granted, I have not heard this design so it may need some minor tweakage from where it rests.
he clearly states that he designs his speakers to his liking and maybe he likes that. unfortunately not me.

Morel being the Damped Polymer Composite cone structure typically, it has a very neutral and easy/laid-back sound on a lot of things. This makes them non-fatiguing, and I like Morel drivers at times. A very highly damped cone will do that, but not lack in detail necessarily.
after all the much praised Merlin TSM uses drivers from the same range (MDT30 and MW164). OTOH they're Morel USA, mine are from Israel. i was considering giving them another chance, maybe first experiment with an active XO to see if I can improve.

how does your design image? especially thinking about depth of sound stage (which my current speakers lack completely).
 
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I built the L18 project, and find the following:

Box spec is critical. Mine became a little larger due to some miscalculations, and I have a few problems with correct placement.

The design is pretty unforgiving of bad recordings. The upside is that transient response is excellent, specially in the lower midrange.

The crossover point is slightly high. At high levels the breakup from the woofer can intrude in some specific tracks.

Bass precision is excellent. In spite of the excellent measurements of the TBFCG tweeter, I'm not a fan of the treble from this speaker.

Sound is very different from most speakers I've heard. I think a metal cone woofer takes a bit of getting used to. I have had Suman Jana on this forum design an alternative crossover for the speaker, that is a project I intend to implement at a later date (2012 maybe). That lowers the crossover to 1500Hz and impacts the power handling and sensitivity adversely.
 
I built the L18 project, and find the following:

Box spec is critical. Mine became a little larger due to some miscalculations, and I have a few problems with correct placement.

The design is pretty unforgiving of bad recordings. The upside is that transient response is excellent, specially in the lower midrange.

The crossover point is slightly high. At high levels the breakup from the woofer can intrude in some specific tracks.

Bass precision is excellent. In spite of the excellent measurements of the TBFCG tweeter, I'm not a fan of the treble from this speaker.

Sound is very different from most speakers I've heard. I think a metal cone woofer takes a bit of getting used to. I have had Suman Jana on this forum design an alternative crossover for the speaker, that is a project I intend to implement at a later date (2012 maybe). That lowers the crossover to 1500Hz and impacts the power handling and sensitivity adversely.
thanks for the brief review, sangram :)

truth is that I haven't had the time to seriously listen to these speakers for quite a while now but with the holidays I listen to them as much as I can (actually doing so just as I'm writing this). but the impressions remain, they lack a lot in many aspects. if I'm going to build a 3rd DIY pair of speakers I really want them to satisfy me to the point where I stop looking for faults and just get drawn in by the music.

but one thing I'm going to do before spending more is try to listen to a serious system in MY listening room in order to get an idea about room acoustics and influence on sound. trouble is that it is a hard task to achieve where I live, no audiophile shops whatsoever and an almost non-existent community which I'm not an active member of.

what I mean is that while tonal balance is IMO (based on actual listening of various systems throughout time) mainly influenced by speakers, 3D imaging and timbre is mainly the responsibility of the sound source. for instance, I've learned about this while testing an external DAC with a pair of Dynaudio Audience 52SE's at some else's place. instant switching from DAC to bypass proved a lot in this aspect. I'm using a heavily modded CD600 (Kwak clock, low noise regulators, NOS, upgradced opamps, Elna caps on output etc) with Hypex amp, maybe that's where the trouble is after all. switching from the huge (and expensive) class A amp the guy was using to my amp which I brought over changed nothing except bass quantity. unfortunately I didn't have my CD with me.

but then again my Grado SR80 heaphones manage to reveal a lot of things even when used with my laptop's jack output :)

but I digress...
 
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how does your design image? especially thinking about depth of sound stage (which my current speakers lack completely).

That I can't say, since I have not heard them or even had the chance to tweak the voicing to be certain of the tonal balance. My simulation is preliminary, but probably a good approximation. You can build it and tweak values to your hearts content if it's not to your liking.

Just don't change the values in the trap filter on the woofer. The most I think I would adjust is the resistances for a better tonal balance between drivers.

Later,
Wolf
 
That I can't say, since I have not heard them or even had the chance to tweak the voicing to be certain of the tonal balance. My simulation is preliminary, but probably a good approximation. You can build it and tweak values to your hearts content if it's not to your liking.

Just don't change the values in the trap filter on the woofer. The most I think I would adjust is the resistances for a better tonal balance between drivers.

Later,
Wolf
if I'm going for a ready-designed project, that's the way it will stay - ready designed and unmodified.
I've been reading on crossover design lately and besides the fact that I'm realizing how little I knew back when I built the speakers I'm finding that everyone agrees that controlled directivity plays its role when it comes to imaging.
this nevertheless motivates me even more to try and redesign/tweak the crossover for the Morel based speakers.
 
changing speaker specs

Im about to build these speakers and am considering increasing the baffle width .5 inches in order to account for some thicker acoustic dampening on the inside of the speaker which should amount to the same fluid volume in the box... i suspect. Is this a valid assumption?
 
I built both Zaph’s and Wolf’s L18 designs and though Wolf’s needed some tweaking it is the sound I prefer because of the midrange treatment. I haven’t had the good fortune to hear any of Wolf’s own completed designs but he did some sims for me which leads me to believe that he builds some very good systems. Zaph’s L18 design is nice in the bass area but I’m not sold on the mids. Within the next couple of weeks, I will be building another design which uses the Dayton RS28F instead of the Seas tweeter. I will post the results when I have it all together.
 
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