Building a CSS kit - Or any other that comes with flat packs

Greetings,

Just a question about the DIY CSS Speaker packages.. Specifically the CSS Model P215 Kit or either of the Criton kits. Or any other DIY speaker set that comes with flat pack knock down options.

As you may know you can purchase these kits both assembled and finished nicely or as kits with a flat pack. The price difference between the kit and the finished speakers is roughly 2k, so substantial. The finished speakers look very nice, whereas the kit just provides bare wood.

My question is, other than aesthetics, would the sound quality be the same if I bought the kit and assembled it as-is. Without finishing the wood or anything extra other than assembling the supplied wooden frames.

Thank you!
 
It's hard to say what the sound quality difference might be between the flat pack version versus the finished version. There will probably be some small difference, but which one is better may be more a matter of individual preference than anything else.

Don't forget that most of what you hear, probably at least 50%, will be your room. With the exact same drivers, crossovers, and case dimensions, it is doubtful that the box material will make a big difference. And CSS doesn't claim that it does. You would think that by charging the ridiculous amount of $2130 extra they would claim it improves sound quality if that were true and could be demonstrated.

Also note that the flat packs are not wood. They are MDF and there are different opinions as to whether that is the best material for speaker enclosures or not. If you build these the easiest way to finish them is with paint. You can add veneer, but it's difficult if you don't have any experience doing it.

Hope that you're not seriously considering spending $2,599 for these. If you are, then by all means check out Salk Sound and Selah Audio first. For that kind money you can get outstanding finished speakers from them, or a few other companies as well.
 
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Greetings,

Just a question about the DIY CSS Speaker packages.. Specifically the CSS Model P215 Kit or either of the Criton kits. Or any other DIY speaker set that comes with flat pack knock down options.

As you may know you can purchase these kits both assembled and finished nicely or as kits with a flat pack. The price difference between the kit and the finished speakers is roughly 2k, so substantial. The finished speakers look very nice, whereas the kit just provides bare wood.

My question is, other than aesthetics, would the sound quality be the same if I bought the kit and assembled it as-is. Without finishing the wood or anything extra other than assembling the supplied wooden frames.

Thank you!


The Criton 1TD and 2TD finished speakers have a slightly thicker front baffle than the kit cabinets and all of the finished speakers are only sold with the upgraded crossovers, which add $400 to the base price of the kit.

Sound wise, you should get exactly the same thing if you go with the upgraded crossover. The only differences here are that the Superior crossover uses upgraded parts. They are all the same value so the differences are subtle.

We sell about 30% of our kits with the upgraded but I think out of all of the kits we've sold we've only had one person who bought the standard come back and ask for the upgrade. Customers seem to be happy with either version.
 
It's an oddly high markup. It's possible that they outsource the cabinetry at great expense as I imagine they only sell finished units sporadically.

The cabinets are made here in the U.S. so they are relatively expensive for us. The aluminum trim on the side also adds a significant amount to the cost. We make them to order based on the low volume we sell of them. Part of the reason we continued to use these cabinets is so that people in the audiophile world know that these speakers should be competing in this price range with other commercial speakers.
 
The cabinets are made here in the U.S. so they are relatively expensive for us. The aluminum trim on the side also adds a significant amount to the cost. We make them to order based on the low volume we sell of them. Part of the reason we continued to use these cabinets is so that people in the audiophile world know that these speakers should be competing in this price range with other commercial speakers.

Appreciate the transparency- certainly it wasn't meant as a critique, they finished units are very attractive.
 
Appreciate the transparency- certainly it wasn't meant as a critique, they finished units are very attractive.

No problem. It wasn't taken that way. We've actually considered having some simpler veneered or painted cabinets built in China that could be sold either for people to install the parts themselves or have us do all the assembly. We could do it cheaper than what we offer right now but it would be a significant cash outlay and we don't know if the demand for that type of option is there or not yet.
 
I'm looking at the new LD25XBL tweeter - freq resp looks nice, much flatter than the old version and more extended on top.

We added a copper cap which lifted the top end slightly due to the lower inductance (as well as reduced the distortion even further) and removed the ferro-fluid which increased output on the low end a bit and in our opinion a gave it a more dynamic sound overall especially on cymbals.

We have a pair of the old tweeters and the prototype replacements which still had ferro-fluid but added the copper cap we are much happier with the new version that we sell when tested against them.
 

pliedtka

Member
2008-07-26 11:42 pm
I spoke with Mark Kravchenko about the old (he was around when the original tweeter was developed) and your new CSS version and of course his own KA25XBL - I do understand there are always trade-offs during design process and costs involved. He's very impressed how smooth and extended new LD25XBL is. While I like Marks choice of very low Fs, low distortions and ability to cross low, it doesn't have the extension on top of your tweeter, but then the original one also rolled after 15k and people didn't complained - something for something.
I understand that Vance Dickason also prefers tweeters w/o ferrofluid, and from my memory the Focal TC90, 120TDX w/o f-f sounded more dynamic and extended than the later ferrofluid version of the same drivers - looks like the CSS crew onto something good ;)
 
Greetings,

Just a question about the DIY CSS Speaker packages.. Specifically the CSS Model P215 Kit or either of the Criton kits. Or any other DIY speaker set that comes with flat pack knock down options.

As you may know you can purchase these kits both assembled and finished nicely or as kits with a flat pack. The price difference between the kit and the finished speakers is roughly 2k, so substantial. The finished speakers look very nice, whereas the kit just provides bare wood.

My question is, other than aesthetics, would the sound quality be the same if I bought the kit and assembled it as-is. Without finishing the wood or anything extra other than assembling the supplied wooden frames.

Thank you!

We just had a new review posted over the weekend of our P215 for more 3rd party opinions on what our speaker sounds like: YouTube