DIY speaker recommendation: high WAF, full range, under $1.5K

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Greetings,

Upon remodeling of listening space in the house (a.k.a. living room) my better half asked if something could be done to replace "these big black boxes" i.e. Vandersteen 2CE Signature speakers. True, they are big, black and block a lot of light from windows; however, they are fully working and sound great. On the other hand, wifey always supports me with audio projects and now it might be the time to return the favor. So I'm in search for a pair of high-WAF speakers.

The listening space has a few constrains such as speakers could not be positioned farther than 2 feet from the back wall and farther than 3.5 feet from side walls. They will be located at both sides of the fireplace (Pic is taken before remodeling, now the carpet was replaced with engineered wood floor). The room itself is 14"x20", with two openings; ceiling is 9". I mostly listen at low volumes to smooth jazz, classic jazz and soft rock. There is no room for subwoofer and I don't want to go this route.

We agreed that the new speakers should be narrow, 8-12" vs. current 16" Vandys, not much taller than current 40" but theirs lower part could be quite deep. The color should be light i.e. birch or harvest maple; this eliminates a lot of commercial models. Grilles should be light in color too; here I hope to replace that black cloth which most have. The sound quality should be comparable to Vandersteens or better; importantly, bass should be comparable to Vandys produce ( 29Hz/-3 dB...32Hz/-1.5 dB ) without a subwoofer. All that is expected to be achieve with the $1.5K or less price tag.

I realize this is a tall call and I didn't find any commercial speaker that satisfies the above requirements ( if there are some please let me know). We briefly considered Martin Logan Source and Electromotion ESLs but they don't have deep bass and are black after all. So at the end I came to three possible solutions and I'd like to ask your opinion on these:

A. DIY speaker, use existing design. I've never made a speaker before but have some experience in fixing and upgrading electronics. Unfortunately, I have no woodworking skills or tools so the cabinets should be built to order.

Found Paul Carmody's Sunflower redux design that should fit in the price range and cabinets looks great. Do you think Sunflowers produce bass that is deep enough? What other DIY designs should I consider?

B. "Semi-DIY" speaker: get a commercially available cabinet, re-veneer if required and replace components if needed. Anyone explored this route before?

C. Stay with Vandersteens since no DIY or commercial speaker in the $1.5K price range can compete with them. Get white socks on them, relax and enjoy.

Personally, I would go with DIY speakers since I like to make things and it is my believe DIY is the most cost-effective way. In addition, DIY cabinet design exterior could be changed a bit such as with Sunflowers.

Any comments on the subject would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Since this is "Full Range" forum, note that's usually taken to mean single driver, operating over most of the audio bandwidth, often with support of powered sub woofer - which you might want to consider in this case - they needn't be monstrous our fugly.

That said, I can think of several designs with single full range drivers in the 4-6" range that would be more than adequate when used with appropriate bass reinforcement.

Many of the denizens of this forum take the DIY to heart and fabricate the speaker enclosures and grilles themselves - if you're up to assembling a flat-pak kit, there a few to choose from that could meet most of the items on your short list. Full disclosure to a new member, I'm a partner a small commercial enterprise that offers a range of such kits.

Another suggestion would be to try and find a local DIY builder or club with listening sessions - this is coming up to that season, and get a taste for what's out there. Who knows, you might be surprised at what a single driver speaker can deliver, and some of these groups are even significant other friendly - we're not all uncouth knuckle- draggers or unwashed geeks - at least not all the time.
 
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I decided to refrain from making my own cabinets since I have no experience and tools and space such as basement or big shop. Moreover, I expect them to be nice from the first attempt and I know they wouldn't if I do it myself.

Would be happy to look at kits you recommend. No problem if your company manufactures them - I'll have an easy way to complain just in case:):D

...Many of the denizens of this forum take the DIY to heart and fabricate the speaker enclosures and grilles themselves - if you're up to assembling a flat-pak kit, there a few to choose from that could meet most of the items on your short list. Full disclosure to a new member, I'm a partner a small commercial enterprise that offers a range of such kits.
 
Most of the flat-pak kits that you'd find offered locally would require at least working space and clamps / maybe brad nail gun for assembly, and then there's the finishing.

There are small pre-fab and finished enclosures offered by Parts Express that require very little in the way of tools and space (not a huge fan of MDF, but lots of folks seem to like them) , but I think that to approach or surpass the performance you're used to from the Vandys, something more substantial than their largest offering - which I think is 3/4" ft^3 - probably to keep shipping costs reasonable - would be required.

So now that this has been moved to the multi-way forum, I think you can look forward to lots more helpful advice - careful what you wish for - some of it perhaps even before I finish typing this. :D

There are some pretty serious complete multi-way kits of drivers / XO etc offered by Madisound that I'm sure could do the trick sonically, but they'd all be predicated on specific enclosure designs, not a seat of the pants re-purposing of existing - which would require finding a local experienced speaker builder.


As much as I'd love to counsel someone to build their own, if it's mostly a matter of the cosmetics of the black socks, perhaps replacing them with lighter fabric would suffice?
 
----RE-THINK--REDUCE--REUSE--RECYCLE
You could keep the core speaker stack of the Vandersteen 2CE Signature and design+build a new tapered tube frame that can be wrapped in light color grill cloth.
-probably keep the base construction
-remove the large rectangle top and grill-support tubes
----now you have the naked speaker stack
--design+construct a clever shaped skeleton for "spandex" grill cloth wrap

----CONSTANT DIRECTIVITY DESIGN
Your room looks well portioned for easy-build corner speakers, like EconoWave in corner-cut box
-SEOS12 90h x 40v horn with 1" compression driver like Faital HF108
-12" midbass like Eminence or Faital or Acoustic Elegance
-15" or 18" woofer in ported box..not a horn, but bass reflex with "horn gain" from two walls.
-easy build with extensive information
-maybe paint them the same color as your walls

---KOOL KITS---FULL DOCUMENTATION AND TOP REVIEWS
---SATORI 3-way in two boxes TM + W
--Kairos 1"+6" sealed box. 10" woofer in ported box
 
linesource - one of numerous excellent suggests likely to follow, but kotofei has made it clear that his experience and tools/ space are very limited - I think recruiting a local DIY builder to assist with any solution should be at the top of his project planning list.
 
Vereer the Vandies with a light curly maple.


exactly how would a newbie veneer this ?

107vandy1-800x800.jpeg



Veneer the wood portion of top panel, perhaps and a new grille "sock" and top insert .


5th: no doubt any of Curt's, Paul Cormody's, Madisounds, or Troel's designs could hit the sonic target, but he needs to find a local builder, which would at least double many budgets
 
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Looked at this Website: can't fully understand the frequency response plots. First many of them starts at 100Hz or so, what about lower frequences? Second, if plots do go below 100 Hz, the bass response quickly goes down below 50 or so Hz.

I saw some TriTrix (?) kits at PArtsexpress and some user complained about boomy bass.

Speaker Design Works

Would do what you're after.
 
I am in talks with someone "semi-local" in Maryland and also someone in Ohio regarding cabinet building. I also have someone here in town who might built cabinets. Yes this at least will double budgets; however, the speakers will look nice.

Moreover, it's an opportunity to use my wife's designer skills in the hobby. After all, I won't be blamed ALONE if "this thing looks ugly" afterwards :D

Another option might be to find a (semi)local reputable DIY speaker enthusiast who has a pair of good speakers and will we willing to part with them;)

.... no doubt any of Curt's, Paul Cormody's, Madisounds, or Troel's designs could hit the sonic target, but he needs to find a local builder, which would at least double many budgets
 
be aware that speaker enclosures are more than just "cabinets", as in the common output of kitchen / millwork shops

as to your concern over the veracity and comparability of commercial maker's published measurements, and those by advanced enthusiast builders, that could open up a whole 'nother can of worms

of the numerous designers of multi-way systems readily publishing on the net, I'd be inclined to consider Troel's work
http://www.troelsgravesen.dk/Diy_Loudspeaker_Projects.htm

says the guy whose been an unapologetic Fullranger for at least the past decade.
 
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Jansen audio kits...:drool: If I would do cabinets myself it might work for SOME speakers. With the current situation my component budget should be around $750 at the most.


...of the numerous designers of multi-way systems readily publishing on the net, I'd be inclined to consider Troel's work
DIY-Loudspeakers

says the guy whose been an unapologetic Fullranger for at least the past decade.
 
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Whatever speakers you want. In every successful relationship there is give and take. In most things in our house I'm very flexible but not when it come to the stereo. Be reasonable somewhere else, I'm sure there are things you have to put up with as well. My family understands this and it has not caused any lasting problems, in fact everybody ( my kids and wife) has come to appreciate quaility audio.
No concessions when it comes to the hifi!!
 
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