Easy(ish) DIY For the Newbie

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shutterlug

Member
2010-09-26 5:44 pm
Hello all,

I stumbled across this website while trying to keep my brain from atrophying while on a long-term job. I'm a new homeowner and music lover/performer. I recently moved into my house and finally took my circa 1992 Onkyo Pro-Logic (ouch) amp and DCM Speakers out of storage and set them up. Surprisingly, it all sounds pretty good.

However, now that I'm in a place where I can do interesting projects and fiddle to my heart's content, I'm looking for a challenging project. Let me say that half of the stuff that gets thrown around here is still totally beyond me. I'm no sound engineer. But I'm also no dummy and I do appreciate good sound. A lot. I also love making my own things and not paying retail (this seems like a no-brainer being here).

SO. I've been fascinated reading about speaker projects on the web, in particular the BD-Pipes and Zigmahornets. The Zigmahornets is one that looks really easy and a good one to start on. But the BD-Pipes (with Fostex or something better...? I can't bring myself to buy anything from Radio Shack) or other bipole looks like a more fascinating project. Any words of wisdom or advice? Keep in mind, I'm new...and things like bi-amping are not yet in my glossary (yet).

I should also say what I'm looking to use these for. I love classical (big and small), rock, opera, other vocal and chamber music. I'm also eventually going to integrate this into a home theater system.

I've been collecting vinyl, but haven't yet gotten a turntable. I heard a friend's truly audiophile system and he put on the vinyl of The Beatles Anthology and I was blown away.

I do realize that running an older integrated circuit amp won't get me the pinnacle of sound, and I'll post another question about amps and pre-amps on another message board, but let's start with what caught my fancy. Initially, I wanted to do a sub...but I think that will come after a little success.

The fullrange is appealing of course because of the "purity" (and ease) of it. And I can supplement with a sub if it's really that lacking in bass.

I'm better at woodworking than electronics, but like I said, I'm interested because I like a challenge. I put myself in your hands...be gentle...

- J
 
We built some BD-Pipes (5 pair) early on in our FR journey. Probably the 1st widely done ML-Voigt. I still have my 1st pair (in storage thou). I wouldn't bother building it unless you use 2 drivers/box.

The 1st currently available driver that pops to mind is the FE103En. We also recently ran a sim for someone that wasn't happy with a single FE127 in theirs that indicated that the Mark Audio CHR-70 or Creative Sound EL70 will also work. Certainly these last 2 should give better bass & dynamic potential at the expense of some efficiency.

You should also look at the microTower and bipole Metronomes too. There are others as well... Lake District series and British Auto series have designs that can be configured as (quasi) bi-poles.

dave
 

human.bin

Member
2008-05-13 3:30 am
if woodworking and challenge is in the game you'll find more than one interesting thing here: Woden Design

i'm a real newbie just like you, i started with audionirvana drivers which are in some way similar to fostex drivers, they are efficent but not balanced and so they need to be tweaked and matched to the correct audio chain, which is an expensive and long trials way. so my suggestion is look at the markaudio drivers, they are far easier to get working than most of other fullrange drivers and also an easier match to a wide range of amplifiers, also in most cases you will not have to deal with the electronics of a bsc or notch filter.

given you are in the us my choice would be chr70 or similar if you are on a budget, or assuming that you'll be surprised and satysfied, skep directly to the alpair7, for their refinment will be a real plus with classical music. than you can think of a sub if you still miss something or something different like FAST or open baffles and keep using the alpair

any way to get helped about driver/design choice you should specified the size of the room and the power the amplifier can deliver (thought class-t amplification is so cheap and it's a good match to the markaudio family). also if you liked the speakers from your friend setup you can specify it too and see what people think is needed to get you there
 

shutterlug

Member
2010-09-26 5:44 pm
I was looking at the Planet 10 website and I was impressed with the BD-Pipes...which is why I was thinking of those. Obviously, if you're going to build it, it should have two drivers. But again, it seems everyone says you need to bi-amp them...which I'm assuming uses two amps (which I don't have...yet).

In terms of drivers for the BD-Pipes, I was looking at the Fostex FE103en since that's what everyone seems to use. But I'll check out the Mark Audio and Creatives. I'm not interested in blowing things away too often, but I would like to make sure I get the orchestra swell when it's supposed to be there.

I haven't seen the microTower...I'll look it up. Is it on Planet 10? The Metronomes were something I was thinking of, but after reading up on some construction issues people had, I'm a little worried about doing trapezoid design the first time out, I'm concerned enough about doing 45 degree cuts. I didn't see a bi-pole version of the Metronome, but that sounds like something very interesting.

Dave, it seems like you're not a fan of the Zigmahornets.

OK, the Wooden Design is a little far for me. Wow. I'd love to hear what they sound like.

I'll check out Mark Audio, but what sort of plans work well with those (besides BD-Pipes)? It seems most of the things I've seen have been matched to Fostex. I'm willing to pay a little more for drivers if the difference will be that much greater.

Ah yes, room size. Every room in my house isn't really large, but I'm thinking this will go in my living room, which is rectangular and about 9' x 12'. That's more of a guess since it's still a new house and I'm not there. Ceilings are 8'.

My Onkyo does about 35 watts per channel. Again, I'm not looking to blow anyone away, but I do enjoy it loud every now and then. But I'd rather the neighbors didn't wonder what I had going...if you know what I mean.

Thanks guys, I appreciate your help!
 
I was looking at the Planet 10 website and I was impressed with the BD-Pipes...which is why I was thinking of those. Obviously, if you're going to build it, it should have two drivers. But again, it seems everyone says you need to bi-amp them...which I'm assuming uses two amps (which I don't have...yet).

You could use 2 amps -- 1 per driver, but most people just use 1.

I haven't seen the microTower...I'll look it up. Is it on Planet 10? The Metronomes were something I was thinking of, but after reading up on some construction issues people had, I'm a little worried about doing trapezoid design the first time out, I'm concerned enough about doing 45 degree cuts. I didn't see a bi-pole version of the Metronome, but that sounds like something very interesting.

microTower is in the Mark Audio/CSS part of the box library. For EL70 or CHR70,

If one is anal then their is a very small angle on the sides of the trapezoids, but the original was built with butt joints and 90 degree cuts and a round over on all the edges to cover up any evidence. That's how i would do it.

it seems like you're not a fan of the Zigmahornets.

No i'm not. Their only asset is aesthetic.

OK, the Wooden Design is a little far for me. Wow. I'd love to hear what they sound like.

Brenton has a set of Saburo in NW Calgary and has invited members over to hear them.

I'll check out Mark Audio, but what sort of plans work well with those (besides BD-Pipes)? It seems most of the things I've seen have been matched to Fostex. I'm willing to pay a little more for drivers if the difference will be that much greater.

The Fostex have accumulated a ton of designs over the 10+ year span that they have become popular outside of Japan (althou in various form have been around since the late 60s (Admiral Tunnel Reflex has Foster FE103A which are the great-great-great grand daddies of the FE103En -- and a good driver for the BD-Pipes)

In the approx 2 years the Mark Audios have been around, they have gathered a slate of cabs 2nd only to the Fostex and will probably pass them. The entry level CHR & EL70 (stock they ship out of Abbotsford) are less or about the same as the 103.

... my living room, which is rectangular and about 9' x 12' x 8'.

Small then... you want to avoid some of the real big enclosures. Castle style microTower would probably suit.

My Onkyo does about 35 watts per channel.

Plenty. The Mark Audio (note: EL70 is made by MA for CSS) will be happier with that amp than the Fostex, which tends to prefer amps with higher output impedance.

dave
 
Thanks Dave, extremely helpful. I found the microTower design and I love it. Simple and elegant. We have a winner. Castle Howard variation is better for smaller rooms? I was just going to do the bi-pole on either side, but after reading the design notes, I can see the advantage, especially in a smaller room. But you can't stack them. ;-)

Is there a cross-over necessary for these? (I'm assuming yes) I know very little about wiring, but I'll ask those questions when I get a little closer.

What is the bass response like for these? Will they need a sub?

Eventually, I'll be upgrading my amp to accomodate 7.1 sound and possibly adding a tube amp, as well (how far will I get sucked in???) for audio listening. There's a lot to learn. But I can't wait to hear how these sound.

I did have one other question about woods. Is a softer wood like redwood ever acceptable as cobinet material? I ask because I see a quite a bit of it in California. It would certainly look good, but it's not nearly has hard as birch plywood.

Going to order my speakers now...

- Josh
 
Putting the 2nd driver on the top or the side lets you push them closer to a back wall.

No XO is required. Some would suggest a filter to roll-off the top of the 2nd driver, but i don't think it necessary, unless a position too close to a boundary causes too much early HF spray.

You will be surprised how much bass these little 4s can produce (well into the 40s, maybe lower in a small room), but it is still only 2 4", HT effects can stillbenefit from a sub. Being able to XO it real low really helps with integration thou.

You guys have no lock on BIG Redwoods (here they are called Western Red Cedar -- they grow in my backyard). I have contemplated building out of this -- but usually in the context of either getting it REALLY dry and then replacing the water content with a catalyzed epoxy (and mostly thinking milled horns, waveguides), or as a thick shell over a smaller BB box so that huge roundovers can be applied. One could also use the West Systems approach... a lot of work but ceratinly proven to be tuff.

What you are looking for is high stiffness, with light weight. This is key to pushing any potential panel resonances high efuff that they are unlikely to get excited.

dave
 
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