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Frugel-Horn Mk3 flat-paks


Got my flatpak 10 days ago (four days from Canada to California!) and have since put them together with Dave's treated FE126en.
The paks are super nice and assembly is a snap. All CNC cuts are very precise; almost a little too precise... I needed to sand down a bit in various places around the inner and rear panels to allow excess glue to escape.

I took some pictures during assembly and then upgraded my iPhone to iOS 5, which managed to do nasty things to some of my data; those pictures amongst it. Not what I am used from Apple. :eek:

Back to the topic on hand: I hooked these up to my Tubelab SSE with KT-88 power tubes, put in 'Making Music' from Zakir Hussain and my mouth fell open. I instantly remembered the comment I read on here from chrisb about a '$hit eating grin'. Fantastic! I had broken in the drivers in the weeks before I received the flatpak already, but I am still a little careful with too much volume/too dynamic stuff. But if what I hear now is an indication of things to come, these will be the last speakers I really need for a while.

I read a lot about these before deciding to build them, so I know I am not telling anybody anything new. It's my first build that consisted of more than some cheap particleboard and drivers whipped together in a box of sorts (which is what I did when I was 16) and I am really happy that I did it.

The not so happy note is that my 2-year old in his limitless curiosity obviously (I didn't see it) stuck his finger in the center cone of one driver and dented it. :( He's just a peanut, I can't really be mad at him...
If anybody has any tricks on how to get that back out, I may try it. I don't think I can hear the sonic impact of this deformed cone. Not sure if you can see it in the picture.

What you see is still the unfinished wood. I think they will be stained and clear-coated, the wife has been asked to pick a stain.

Thanks to the designer trio for a speaker design that is versatile, easy to build, sounds fantastic and has [had] an instantly high WAF! :)



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Oh man, my own personal nightmare. My son (16months) has taken to walking around swinging a broom. I have even had a few adults take a look at my CHR-70s and motion their hands at them. They are unscathed so far, but it feels inevitable.

I am beginning to think that each pair of frugal horns I see brings me a step closer to building a set.

Stefan - sorry to hear about the dust caps - time to think about protective grilles?* and maybe like other minor knicks and dents (to be) accumulated from little ones' discoveries, you'll look back on it fondly.

Be aware that the BB plywood can get a bit splotchy with darker stains - even Watco oils etc, unless preconditioned / sealed. It does look quite decent with natural nitrocellulose lacquer or shellac - not so much with clear polyurethanes. (i.e. very cold and plasticy).

I'm personally a bit ( very ) lazy when it comes to the time required for a nice rubbed oil and wax finish.

These should have had a cursory 220G random orbit sanding, but it wouldn't hurt to check for swirl marks with a quick evaporating splash of lacquer thinners or toluene based contact cement cleaner. That would also give you a good idea as to how a "natural" clear coat might look. If you do find additional sanding is required, an electric or air driven RO sander to no finer than 220G should be sufficient unless you're looking for a "piano grade" finish.

* not the prettiest things, but inexpensive and certainly do the job:

Fostex K312 Grill Pair - Fits FE126E, FE127E, FF125K, FW127: Madisound Speaker Store
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Thanks for your audio-empathy, guys!
Kyle, given your broomstick-wielding toddler, I almost feel lucky... ;)
I knew full well that I can't get attached to anything within reach of the lil' guy; that's just part of growing up (him as well as me...).
I can - as everyone else who did it - only recommend building these. In my mind, they are the perfect combination of looks, ease of build and sonic capabilities. It really helps that the aesthetic appeals to the wife as well. I listen to all different kind of stuff and with most types of music, these perform excellent. I have a preference for acoustic and vocal (live) stuff, which is where these really shine. Close your eyes and you really think you're there! It boggles my mind as to how much bass comes out of these; nice, clear, non-boomy bass. Beautiful!

Chris, thanks for sharing your valuable finishing advice. It may be a while before I get to it because we are planning a move up to Washington state early next year, so there's plenty of other stuff to take care of, given wir are in the process of buying a house.

I may just live with the results from the little inquisitive fingers as I don't hear any difference. It sounds as if the cone/cap treatment transforms the material into something stiffer that is going to be hard to make look good.
I am wondering if just hiding the drivers behind some acoustic fabric will have a good effect. In IT we call that 'security by obfuscation'... It doesn't prevent ill effects from determined 'hackers', but it makes it less obvious where the interesting stuff is. Maybe it works with Lukas...!? ;-)

Anyway, I'll ponder some more and wait a little longer to see how much it really bugs me before deciding on corrective action. Maybe I'll just put some proximity sensing device in that plays back a recorded warning statement whenever anything/-body comes close to the cones. That may REALLY freak him out, though.... :p

Again, appreciate all the input here and via email (thanks, Dave!!).
Back to just listening to the horns with eyes closed,
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2011-12-02 7:54 pm
Is Florida Too Far For A Mk3 Flat-pak Shipment


I haven't built a pair of speakers since about 1990 when I put together a two-way with Vifa drivers from Meniscus Audio. Refurbishing some passive B&O speakers from the 1970s and 1980s has put the itch in me to build my first pair in 20+ years. After poking about diyAudio for a month or two, I'd love a go at the Frugel-Horn Mk3, but only if I can get a hold of a flat-pak. I've seen you quote Florida shipping at over $100, but you thought that might be a low-ball. Any chance in getting a flat pak down to Florida?

The 1st flat-pak that went out the door was to Florida. All of the initial postage ests turned out to be low ball.

Florida is about as far away as you can get from here. (althou one flat-pak did get to Japan cmpliments of the US military.

Post to Florida on the basic flat-pak with no drivers would be $125. We are well into pre-orders on round 3 which Chris & Tak are in the midst of manufacturing