Bordeaux speaker by Curt Campbell Jim Holtz with curved edges

Information and reviews of this kit are available all over the internet and my intent here is to share my unique cabinet construction. I built these some years ago and continue to love them, though I did make some changes to suit my needs. I desired to have a single tower rather than a bass bin with a 2 way sitting on top and built these as such. In doing so I was careful to preserve the length of the midrange tunnel, the center to center spacing of each driver, the volume of the bass bin and it's port tuning along with the baffle width. The cabinets rest on feet to allow the dual woofers' port to be installed on the bottom and the crossovers are assembled to allow bi-amping. Other than that all is exactly according to plans.

First off, I built the speakers below around 2000. At the time I had access to industrial CNC equipment and it was quite easy to design anything I wished in CAD and then chuck a sheet of MDF on the CNC table and make cool shapes. I'm no furniture maker, but I can glue precut shapes together pretty well ;) and wanted something unique and beautiful. The arched top is not a translam; I purchased pieces of 180 degree curved plywood and mated them to the cabinet sides using biscuits. I show them because A) I love them and have never seen anything else like them and B) I really wanted to do something similar again but quickly realized this shape would not be complimentary to the Bordeaux as it is not an MTM. How to introduce some round features rather than birth another slab sided cab into the world?
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Given the driver layout of the Bordeaux along with the rectangular tweeter the arched top would not be fitting IMO. I went through many sketches and iterations featuring an open baffle for the tweeter or tweeter and mid tunnel but in the end felt that no matter what I came up with it appeared forced and contrived to my eyes. So in the end I built a standard tower speaker with large radiused vertical edges on the front baffle. These 2" radiuses are premade MDF parts typically used in cabinet making and the ones I purchased will mate to 3/4" MDF. I also will be building these the old fashioned way with a table saw and router. Time to make sawdust...

I started with cutting the front baffles and gluing the preformed radius edges on. My initial idea was to use a pneumatic stapler and tack the radiuses onto the baffle from the back side. This didn't work as there was not enough MDF present to hold them tightly. Instead I had to carefully predrill a number of holes in the radiuses and the baffle edges in order to use screws and washers to clamp them while the glue dried.
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Complete front baffle with 2" radius edges attached. Screws will be removed and filled once glue sets.
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Now cabinet construction is pretty straightforward except that the backside of the baffle is no longer flat; all horizontal bracing will need to have truncated corners on the front side to fit the baffle. Here the sides are attached, all window braces are installed, the midrange tunnel is glued into a rabbet on the backside of the baffle and the bottom of the speaker shows the large opening required for the flared port.
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Another view showing completed cabinet except for back. It's important that the PVC pipe midrange tunnel by properly sealed to the front and back of the cabinet. I accomplished this by routing a groove behind the baffle into which I glued the tunnel with construction adhesive. To allow differences in precision the rear panel has a groove wider than need be to receive the tunnel. This groove was then filled with construction adhesive before attaching the back to accommodate any slight alignment errors. Braided Teflon cat5 wire for the midrange and tweeter is already installed here. Black PVC pipe is enclosure for open back midrange. Cavity at far right will remain open for open backed ribbon tweeter.
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Back panel getting ready to go on. Groove for midrange tunnel would be filled with construction adhesive to allow for any misalignment of tunnel.
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Back applied and planing edges to flush. Some will tell you that you can't plane MDF. I find it not to be true.
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Raw MDF cabs with all sides complete. Driver rabbets and cutouts penciled onto baffle. Notice that rabbet for woofers extends slightly into the radius. I like this detail and was careful to measure and mock it up before building.
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Bottom firing flared port installed. I was unsure of any interaction between the window brace and internal port opening so left what I figured was "plenty of room"
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Paper backed reconstituted zebrawood veneer applied to back sides first. Open backed tweeter opening and open backed midrange tunnel opening shown.
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Top and bottom of cabinet are then veneered before applying a single piece of veneer that wraps around both sides and baffle. Be careful to layout your veneer to match the grain.
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Woofer and midrange rabbets and through holes are routed.
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Router template is built and attached to cut rectangular rabbet for flush mount rectangular tweeter.
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Tweeter rabbet complete. The through hole will be done with a jigsaw.
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Stain on. This is "reconstituted" zebrawood paper backed veneer. That means it's fake and much cheaper than the real thing! I worked for weeks with different finishes as I really wanted something blonde or gold similar to the arch top speakers. In the end I settled on this color and find it suiting. It's more subdued but fitting IMO.
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Poly applied. Though color and lighting is poor this pic shows curved edges to good effect.
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Bordeaux towers with Statements center channel and DIY sub in corner.
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Jim, I built these towers 3 years ago now and continue to love them. Thank you for all you've shared! The Bordeaux originally made it onto my short list due to the ribbon tweeter as after having spent so many years with them, domes just don't do "it" for me in comparison. I knew these would be excellent speakers no matter what and my only concern was they may be unforgiving of poor recordings. I was happy to find that was not the case. They of course strut their stuff when fed a great recording, but I find them perfectly enjoyable to play poorly recorded and compressed pop music all day long too.

Just over 6 months ago I began driving these with a dual mono Firstwatt F6 and that took these speakers to a whole new level. Great combo IMO and I've found no need to biamp though I made provision for it. I was concerned that driving the mains with so little power would be an issue (I previously drove the mains with a pair of Carvers bridged to 250W each) but after adjusting all the levels in the system the Bordeaux still reach uncomfortably loud levels without they or the amp breaking a sweat. This made me so happy I then built a monobloc F6 to drive the Statements center and was just as pleased with the result.

F6 Illustrated Build Guide- DamonB dual mono F6

F6 Illustrated Build Guide- DamonB monobloc F6
 
Hi @jholtz, I am not able to send you a private message as I just joined today. I am planning to build one of your design and have few questions.
Sure, ask away and I'll do my best to answer. Curt is the "wizard" that makes our designs sound so good, so if the question is about changes in the build or design, he's probably the one to ask. Curt can be reached at his website https://www.speakerdesignworks.com/.

Jim
 
Thanks for your reply Jim, it is not about any changes, but for speaker selection to build one. I sent you an email (jim @ jholtz . us) as well with the questions.

I would ask here as well.
I am kind of confused with so many DIY speaker options and not sure where to start. I have Kef speakers (Q950, Q650C and Q350) which I use in the home theater. I am looking for something to use in our living room for casual tv/movie watching and music (not critical listening). This is open space to the whole house. I could also move the Kef's in the living room and build something for the theater, depending on what you suggest. My listening position in the theater is 10ft away.

I like the look of Bordeaux and thinking of building them. Are these the right speakers for me? I don't listen super loud. From the dual Dayton woofer, it looks like I can use them without subs. I am planning to play them with Denon avr, I may add amp later if I feel the need. Do you think any other design like Anthology, Statement I/II(too big?) would be better for me?
 
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I am kind of confused with so many DIY speaker options and not sure where to start. I have Kef speakers (Q950, Q650C and Q350) which I use in the home theater. I am looking for something to use in our living room for casual tv/movie watching and music (not critical listening). This is open space to the whole house. I could also move the Kef's in the living room and build something for the theater, depending on what you suggest. My listening position in the theater is 10ft away.

I like the look of Bordeaux and thinking of building them. Are these the right speakers for me? I don't listen super loud. From the dual Dayton woofer, it looks like I can use them without subs. I am planning to play them with Denon avr, I may add amp later if I feel the need. Do you think any other design like Anthology, Statement I/II(too big?) would be better for me?


bullet0770,

1st of all, a couple thoughts. The designs Curt and I have worked together on are all open back mid designs which requires they be positioned away from the wall behind them by 18" - 24" to achieve the full sound stage they're designed for. Depending on your room they may not be the best choice for you.

OK, now for the really bad news... The Bordeaux, Statements (original and II's) and previous Statement smaller versions have all gone into NLA status due to the driver manufactures either making unannounced spec changes which meant a complete crossover rework or the drivers have been taken off the market without a 500-1000 quantity buy. That also includes all of our center channel designs.

Of the remaining designs I'm involved in, the Anthology II's and Traveler designs both shine for musicality, clarity and detail. The midrange is just really excellent in my opinion. The bottom line is their midrange accuracy. The cabinets of the Anthology II's could easily be built in the separate MTM/bass bottom configuration of the Bordeaux if you prefer that look. The Travelers are monitor size designed for stands but could also easily be made into floor standing if desired.

Another option is to look on Curt's website https://www.speakerdesignworks.com/ for his other designs that all sound great! The Chevalier are his latest design and come in two versions. Check them out.

HTH

Jim
 
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That is a bummer!:(

Thanks for your reply Jim, much appreciated. Placing 2 feet from a wall in the theater should not be a problem. Placing them 18" in living room would also be doable as wife is fine with speakers and is not a concern :). Are the open baffle good for theater? Anthology II's good for movies? good to know they could be built separate, but single towers should be fine as well.

Which one's would you recommend for me ?

Thanks,
Nav
 
Hi Nav,

The Anthology II's are the all around performer. They combine excellent sound quality with the dynamics required for action movies and realistic rock concert volumes. The open back design enhances the enveloping sound quality of movies.

The Travelers do everything I listed above with 6 db less maximum volume capability. The bass capability for both designs is around 32 Hz. The Travelers will still play very loud at around 106 db, but not at excessive volumes. The travelers can also be very easily built in a floor standing design by simply partitioning the top at 24" and leaving the bottom portion for your crossover etc.

So, the choice is yours depending on the look you want and cost of components.

Both designs are available on Curt's website or directly from him. FYI, the new website is still being updated.

HTH

Jim
 
Sorry, we don't have an updated center channel design available. Curt's a 2 channel guy and I'm happy with the Statements II center I'm using. However, Madisound sells the SB Bromo design which is based on the CAC drivers and sounded like similar voicing to Curt's designs when I heard them at a DIY show. I've been told that Madisound will sell the Bromo kit for single speakers if you ask. That is an upright 2-way speaker so you would need to have room under the TV for upright positioning.

The only difference I saw is the tweeter recess should be 4" instead of 3.9". Everything else is correct. Curt and I also highly recommend Clarity caps which is reflected in the BOM. Yes, they are worth the extra money.

HTH

Jim
 

Attachments

  • Anthology II Driver-Crossover BOM.pdf
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Thanks for your reply Jim! I see the cabinet of SB Bromo is 14.17" high, it would be tough to raise the TV to accommodate the speaker that high. I like my head to be in the center of the screen. Maybe phantom center :p. Do you think, I should be able to live with them without sub for normal tv watching and non critical music listening?

Thanks for the list for the parts,
Nav
 
Hi Nav,

I think I must not have been very clear in my previous descriptions of the Anthology II's and Travelers sound qualities. They are both designed for critical listening and will be extremely accurate to the original recording. So, music will be a reproduction of the original recorded song and won't mask the difference between wave (CD) and MP3's and will not add any "lushness" or softness to the recording. The AVR will not be the best amplification in comparison to a good amp and preamp combo.

The reproduction of the TV sound will be dependent on how it's sent to the speakers.

Jim
 
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Thanks for your reply Jim! I see the cabinet of SB Bromo is 14.17" high, it would be tough to raise the TV to accommodate the speaker that high. I like my head to be in the center of the screen. Maybe phantom center :p. Do you think, I should be able to live with them without sub for normal tv watching and non critical music listening?

Thanks for the list for the parts,
Nav

Do not underestimate the capabilities of these. I have the original Anthology's and they are without a doubt spectacular.
I use them for every-day duty on the TV in the living room, usually with the sub turned off & run full range.
For movies I turn on the sub and cross it over at.. 80 I think?

Movies will ALWAYS benefit from a center channel, it's not a question of L/R capabilities, it's how the audio tracks are designed.

If you have the space for them, you will not be settling in any way by choosing these.
 
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frugal-phile™
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I am kind of confused with so many DIY speaker options and not sure where to start.

:^)

Yes, there has been an explosion of designs, in all range of budgets, looks, tastes, capabilities. A much better sutuation, i feel, than when there was little choice. Speaker design is a juggling act of many, many compromises.

Note that the first diy loudspeaker you build is very unlikely to be the last. What you learn doing that box will teach you much. So the second box is a bit more dialed into your specific needs, ie the set of compromises best suits your listening situation. Don’t spend too much. A REALLY good cheap starter project would be with the Markaudio CHN-50. Small, straight forward build, the next project, i predict, would be to add helper woofers… or move a step up.

Don’t overthink it. Read some (the forum is packed with many talented people, and you wil find many peopel’s voyages documented), pick something and build it, knowing that it is a learning experience. Don’t get extravegant.

Curt designs decent speakers, Halcyon the one most aligned to the compromises i like. Unfortunately, like our big MTM ML-TL, the woofers are NLA and very hard to find. There are a couple things that would likely improve them.

dave

PS: you will find i have an aversion to most tweeters.
 
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