DIY MUsical Sounding Speakers

Status
Not open for further replies.
I have been working on an open baffle speaker for some time now, using the Bastani clone. I loved the dynamics, transparency and live feel, but struggled to get it to sound musical. This no doubt will be due to a combination of inadequate harmonics, timing and rhythm etc etc, which gives music the soul and fun factor making you want to listen to albums all the way through even those you thought you disliked. Musicality makes your foot tap to the beat and allows you to emerse yourself in the meaning of the piece, if not life itself when you are really moved by a piece.

I have owned a lot of high end equipment in my time and i forgot why most of the time I only listened to the same few tracks off each of a handful of albums. I sat one day in my listening room and scanned my eyes across the hundreds of cd's and Lp's I owned and realised hardly any of them got an outing on any of my systems!!!!! I remembered my first high end systems with a townsend rock and harbeth speakers, and remmber getting excited about a concert or getting high on one of my favourite jazz tracks, That was over 8 years ago!! I had obviously lost my way.

So, having got frustrated with my current project I went and bought for a couple of hundred quid a second hand pair of Neat petites with the tonigen ribbon tweeter. I knew this company designed their equipment mostly by ear and both designers were musicians. Yes the sound had wonderful swing and flow, the emotions from voices seemed more purposeful from what can only be desribed as being due to finer shadings of harmonics. However the speakers were not as dynamic, lacked air and were not as detailed as my DIY jobs. Yet every instrument played a tune and had a soul with the Neats. I could listen and enjoy album after album, because I got it, the music i mean.


My Question is, how many of you guys actually build in musicality into your designs, if so whats the magic??????? Drivers?? crossover?? enclosed versus open baffle??

My understanding is that a lot of the so called musical sounding pieces of Hifi equipment especially speakers are designed by musicians. Those in the know will appreciate the virtues of the following pieces of equipment, if not, then with no disrespect i suspect you will not be able to answer my query adequately.

Neat
NAIM
AUDIONOTE
Devore fidelity
Harbeth
Exposure
Linn sondek
Totem
Rega
Sonneteer

etc etc.
 
Last edited:
Hi,

The may be musicians but to do it right you also have to be an engineer.
Its the tools that allow you to choose drivers, develop the crossover
and then "voice" the louspeaker by finely balanced tuning.
Enclosure contruction is another area dominated by the engineering.

There is no "magic" its just doing it properly with experienced ears.

rgds, sreten.
 
thanks for your reply sreten.

I am not disputing that engineers are not needed for the development of the speakers, but it is the designers ears that leads the way.

So what drivers? what type of enclosure and crossover? do you believe would help me achieve the sound I am after??
 
thanks for your reply sreten.

I am not disputing that engineers are not needed for the development
of the speakers, but it is the designers ears that leads the way.

So what drivers? what type of enclosure and crossover?
do you believe would help me achieve the sound I am after??

Hi,

NIMO. Most of the design choices are led by the engineering, you cannot
do a very good job armed with only your ears, a bunch of various drivers,
various c/o components and the wood with woodworking facilities.

What your ears tell you with experience is which approach you prefer.
There are lots of approaches, I don't dislike any done correctly.

I dislike any approach that does not consider the factors correctly.

rgds, sreten.

Paul Carmody's DIY Audio Projects - undefinition
Zaph|Audio
FRD Consortium tools guide
RJB Audio Projects
Speaker Design Works
HTGuide Forum - A Guide to HTguide.com Completed Speaker Designs.
Humble Homemade Hifi
Click below to go to
Quarter Wavelength Loudspeaker Design
The Frugal-Horns Site -- High Performance, Low Cost DIY Horn Designs
Linkwitz Lab - Loudspeaker Design
Music and Design
 
I respect your opinion Sreten, and you have made your point.

I would prefer to have some ideas in a simple format from the guys on line about their experiences, in particular open baffle speakers and getting one to sound musical in the form i have described.

Thanks
 
Last edited:
>>> My Question is, how many of you guys actually build in musicality into your designs, if so whats the magic??????? Drivers?? crossover?? enclosed versus open baffle??

The magic may simply be a designer adding his or her personality to the sound. For example, a speaker designer may decide to incorporate a fuller sounding bass into his product resulting in a group of dedicated customers who prefer the sound compared to more accurately engineered products.

I design my own speakers for my own enjoyment but always try to figure the ‘most correct’ way to do it first. Then I alter things to suit my taste (more treble, more bass, etc).

There may also be an argument made how different materials sound more musical. I tend to prefer tubes to solid state. To me, they are more musical. For speakers, some prefer the sound of paper cones over poly, metal or Kevlar.

I’m not sure you will find ‘magic’ at the source rather design choices resulting in more musical sound.

Btw, I have heard Linn, Totem and Rega products (none of the others on your list) and was never too impressed by their sonic signature. Maybe add a subwoofer system to the Neat’s you enjoy to capture some of the missing dynamics you are after.
 
I respect your opinion Sreten, and you have made your point.

I would prefer to have some ideas in a simple format from the guys
on line about their experiences, in particular open baffle speakers
and getting one to sound musical in the form i have described.

Thanks

Hi,

I understand your viewpoint too, but you seem to want subjective
"rules of thumb" answers to a question that is basically objective,
I do not believe there are any reliable subjective answers.

e.g. see
http://www.quarter-wave.com/OBs/OB_Design.pdf
and
http://www.quarter-wave.com/Project08/Jordan.pdf
http://www.quarter-wave.com/Project08/Passive_Crossover.pdf

And then Linkwitz Labs and Music & Design for a full exposition
of the issues related to open baffles, there are no simple ideas
AFAICT that are relevant, just complicated ones to be understood.

The simplest idea that may be relevant to poorly designed OB speakers
might be "if it's not flat it's not flat" and minor modifiications won't help.

rgds, sreten.
 
Last edited:
Thanks for the replies.

That was a complete waste of time then! For me that is

Hi,

Not really, relatively flat frequency response is the hallmark of any
good loudspeaker, the most important parameter by far, lots of
OB designs are lash ups ignoring this fundamental princinple, you
cannot really judge OB's unless you've heard a relatively flat one.

rgds, sreten.
 
I am reminded of a Nightclub in Plymouth UK that I used to frequent.
It had a large Opus Sound soundsystem and the music always sounded mediocre to me.
Then one night the BBC took over for an outside broadcast, and they used their own front end equipment, deck table, turntables and mixer. That night the sound was superb, and the energy and vibrancy of the music was reflected in the audiences reaction.
The sound was loud and clean. Holding a empty beer can you could feel the pitch of every bass note.:)
That was an inspiration for me, and I went on to become quite sucessful in running dance events where the 'vibe' was exceptional.
The point I'm trying to make is that good engineering is musical, in as much as it gets you closer to the original musical performance.
The majority of the manufacturers that you listed excel in equipment that has good timing.
As I understand it, good musical sound preserves the pitch and dynamic energy of each note. With poor sound the music is blurred with harmonics and timing delays.
I know that there are exceptional speakers just as there are other items of equipment that seem to have an edge. My recommendation to you is to take an holistic approach to your sound system. Concider all the aspects that you can account for.
Have you concidered equipment supports that reduce feedback in all your equipment, RF interference & grounding, wiring etc etc. The setups that would be concidered obigatory when using high end audio apply to all sound systems. I'm not talking about spending loads of cash on expensive extras but concidering all aspects that can make a difference and applying as many as you can.
You will never get music from your speakers for instance, if the rest of your equipment is just slung on a resonant wooden cabinet.;)
 
Streten thanks for your concern

I was not convinced that you guys had understood what kind of sound I was after. I was hoping that by giving you the names of a very select group of products it would automatically highlight what I meant by the term musicality. Search the net you will see the same manufacturer names come up time after time as a group- Pink Fish Forums are full of them. Why? because those that listen to these do not care for their technical measurements, it is not necessarily their flat frequency response, clarity or soundstaging that is important but the emotion that they provoke in us as Human Beings. Have you ever lost a beloved pet dog whose life is often so short and yet so full of zest for life. Whose unconditional love can never be forgotten and rarely found in others, yet is so truely felt both in mind and soul. An aura so strong that it fills your every breath and touches every sense you have with the outside world.

Well I was hoping that someone could perhaps provide some ideas regarding how PRAT could be better achieved in a DIY design, e.g some crossover tweak or tell me about a particular brand of driver with those special qualities. I was not interested in the design of a perfectly measuring speaker.

I bet if I were to listen to nearly every diy design on this forum, 90% would not sound musical????? Because in the hifi manufacture world, that is exactly how it is, so few products actually touch the heart.


John Devore products are not British.

I have often read on Audiogon by Americans themselves complaining how emotionally uninvoling a lot of American audio products are.

I would gladly give up a technically perfect measuring 30k speaker to one with the bottom and top end curtailed and with a bumpy midrange but ensure it had PRAT with some nice harmonic textures in the midrange.
 
XOC1

Thanks for your reply.

The reason I have concentrated on the speakers and not the rest of my set up is because after trying the neats i rediscovered music again, so i knew the rest of my set up was doing ok for pitch timing and harmonics. God knows what will happen when the exposure amp i just bought (cheaper than to make the pass labs f amps) on ebay for peanuts is also brought into the occasion. i might just start crying from an overload of emotions.
 
I don't really know what PRAT is per say(seems a music thing not an audio one), but many who do say they get it with efficient horns, A resonant box, PP Tube amps, and rim driven TTs. I'd suggest starting there if that's what you are after.

I can't say I could ever compare a stereo to my dog though. I've got a special dog you know and my stereo just measures well and plays recordings like a charm. It does contain the things many PRAT fans have minus the tubes, plus a few mono blocks, and a few subwoofers. That's where I'd look. I've left it up to the producers to do their jobs.

Dan
 
Status
Not open for further replies.