Frugel-Horn Mk3

Well, I'm new to these forums (have been a member a while, but have never posted). I'm thinking of getting these Frugal horn MK IIIs from the Australian gentlemen (SOUND WITH STYLE - CUSTOM LOUDSPEAKERS Frugel Horn MK3 kit flat pack Mark Audio Fostex Tang Band) and have sent him a message. I have some questions - how easy are they to assemble? It's been a long while since I've done any woodworking, and I doubt that I'll have all of the necessary kit to assemble such a kit speaker.

Drivers - so many drivers. From a wee tiny bit of research, the Alpair 7 seems to be very highly recommended - I found this link - Mark Audio Alpair 7 Gen. 3 - Gold - PAIR, and I presume that these are the drivers in question (in Mark III guise). Would these drivers give the best SQ (compared to the other drivers that can go with this kit)? I'm electrically retarded, so keep it simple ;-)

A bit about my system:

Preamp - Audiolab 8000c (to soon be upgraded to a PrimaLuna Dialogue 3 probably); monoblocs - Opera Consonance Cyber 845 SETs; vinyl front end - Clearaudio Champion Level II/Rega RB300/Lyra Clavis/ASR Basis Exclusive phono stage; digital front ends - DPA PDM Series III DAC with a Denon 1520AE as a CD transport and stand alone SACD player. Current speakers are Sonus Faber Electa Amators on dedicated stands, which seem to be giving the poor amps a bit of a tough time driving. My room is small to medium sized and I don't listen at thunderous levels.

The problems are that my system seems to harden up at medium levels and get shouty and confused on more complicated and/or mainstream pop/rock material. I'm (at this stage) putting it down to the amps running out of steam driving my Sonus Fabers. I like the sounds of these Sonus Fabers - a bit warm, not overtly super detailed, but very musical with above average soundstaging.

I listen to a very wide variety of music, mostly rock/pop, but slowly gravitating more towards acoustic stuff, jazz and some country music. I don't listen to dance/trance or demand insane listening levels or humungous bass. Midrange and vocals are all important to me, as is (preferably) detail retrieval and soundstaging and "air" in the performance. edit: and musicality. I don't want a hi fi sounding speaker, I want a speaker that's musical in its nature and enjoyable (read: non fatiguing) to listen to.

Do you guys think these horns will suffice and if you had to guess, how would they compare to my Sonus Fabers soundwise?

Oh, and I've looked everywhere, I couldn't see the SPLs for the finished kits (obviously varies depending on the drivers used) - what should I expect? And how tall/deep are they (I couldn't see any published tech specs for the cabinets, but I've probably missed it on the site).

Any help/comments appreciated.

Dave

PS Anyone in Brisbane, Australia that has one of these horns in their system that I could listen to for a bit with some of my music?
 
Last edited:

zman01

Member
Paid Member
2011-02-04 11:35 am
Dhaka
Drivers - so many drivers. From a wee tiny bit of research, the Alpair 7 seems to be very highly recommended - I found this link - Mark Audio Alpair 7 Gen. 3 - Gold - PAIR, and I presume that these are the drivers in question (in Mark III guise). Would these drivers give the best SQ (compared to the other drivers that can go with this kit)? I'm electrically retarded, so keep it simple ;-)

Great drivers, very good SQ. A very good match with this cabinet also, as users who have built there FH Mk3's with Alp 7.3 will testify. Also works in a variety of other designs.

The problems are that my system seems to harden up at medium levels and get shouty and confused on more complicated and/or mainstream pop/rock material. I'm (at this stage) putting it down to the amps running out of steam driving my Sonus Fabers. I like the sounds of these Sonus Fabers - a bit warm, not overtly super detailed, but very musical with above average soundstaging.

Possible, also mainstream pop/rock material recording quality and the ideas of the recording engineers is sometime questionable :). I've been struggling with thin rock records that seem to play ok but kind of hazy on a lot of commercial 3 way systems, but become unbearable in revealing systems. I had nearly given up hope tilll very recently. Amp is also important, some genres do demand more power and you notice the difference once you change/upgrade.

I listen to a very wide variety of music, mostly rock/pop, but slowly gravitating more towards acoustic stuff, jazz and some country music. I don't listen to dance/trance or demand insane listening levels or humungous bass. Midrange and vocals are all important to me, as is (preferably) detail retrieval and soundstaging and "air" in the performance. edit: and musicality. I don't want a hi fi sounding speaker, I want a speaker that's musical in its nature and enjoyable (read: non fatiguing) to listen to.

Very much same here, but also back to listening electronica (blame it on good speakers). And the Alp 7.3 can take the detail level of some modern electronica to new levels of enjoyment :). The criteria you mention - the Alp 7.3 does those well - superb midrange, extended top end with plenty of air, very good soundstaging. I personally own the Alp 12 which is a bigger driver which has an edge in dynamics and SPL, but have spent a lot of hours with Alp 7.3 and really like that driver too.

Do you guys think these horns will suffice and if you had to guess, how would they compare to my Sonus Fabers soundwise?

This is difficult to say, as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, let others chime in. The FH Mk3 is a very smart design which is very nice to listen to. If you are not playing very loud, they can handle a wide variety of genres. The sound they make is bigger than what you would guess a nominal 4" driver would be able to reproduce. I have been surprised at time. I do not want to derail you from your though process on the FH Mk3, but if you like rock and pop, and would like to turn it up sometimes, I would recommend adding helper woofers in the future if you feel the need. One of the key minds behind the FH Mk3 Dave Dlugos (aka Planet10) recommends helper woofers for the FH Mk3 crowd who are looking for more bottom extension - hey he even has some cool designs for them if I recall correctly.

- Zia
 
Last edited:
Thanks Zia. I'm not really worried about the looks - the frugal horns look fine to my eyes, although I'd have to pick the right laminate of course ;-)

I forgot to mention that I have a REL Stadium II sub which would be used in tandem with the horns.

I'm worried about:

SPLs (I wanted something above 95db SPL and I don't think that these horns/alpair drivers will do that from what I've been reading. Which means I'm back to square one. Correct me if I'm wrong.

I'm well aware that most modern rock/pop is compressed in nature, and not exactly recorded very well. It's a source of much angst to me!

I find that my system (amps/speakers) sound much better with simpler material - Jheena Lodwick, Christy Moore, Tsuyoshi Yamamato, Eva Cassidy as examples. I'm not that much into classical, but don't mind Dvorak, but I find that my system is a bit closed in with this sort of material. General rock/pop sounds fine at lower listening levels, but at medium levels tends to compress and become muddled and shouty - it's probably a combination of my preamp not really being up to the rest of my gear (imho), and some form of speaker/amp matching, and partially my room (bedroom and sadly I can't do much with it).

Since I suspect that the culprit is my amps are running out of steam driving the SFs, a more efficient speaker would/should do the trick in alleviating these issues. A slight roll off in the top end won't hurt either, I think it might help tame some of the shoutiness that the system can exhibit.

Commercial horn systems are way overpriced (silly money) and few people make reasonably priced horn systems sadly. There is much logic as to why the audio arena is slowly dying a death from new people getting into the hobby imho - when manufacturers set silly and greedy pricing, problems occur imho.

Dave
 

zman01

Member
Paid Member
2011-02-04 11:35 am
Dhaka
G'day Dave! It must be 2 am in Brisbane now?

95 dB... hmmm... maybe P10 Dave can comment on that since I haven't got the experience. For pop and rock I still suspect the material more than your gear! :D As you've rightly stated most of the stuff get's painful at high dB if you're looking for details. One possible solution is bi-amping - I am experimenting with that positive impressions.

BTW, if you don't mind me asking, what are your room dimensions?

-Zia
 
It would be nice to guarantee you're wrong about the "limitations" of the Alpair7.3 for your application in this or any enclosure, but only you can be the final arbiter of that.

The Fostex FE126 does have a bit more of a dynamic "jump" factor and forward midrange presentation that I find gives them a subjective impression of being louder than they actually are - a characteristic that some folks find fatiguing ( I don't particularly), but the Alpair is much more refined in lower level details and extends the "3D" soundstage much deeper behind "the back wall".

I've not heard a direct A/B comparison of these 2 drivers in the FH3, but have had enough exposure to them both in many other types to conclude these characteristics are definitely those of the drivers, not the enclosures.

Your separates system would easily accommodate a simple passive line level HP - whichever drivers you decided for FH3, reduction of this LF excursion would contribute significantly to their attainable SPL, as well as improve midrange dynamics and clarity.
 
I have some questions - how easy are they to assemble?

I have seen a blog post on Ben's flat-paks which, IIRC, has some ink on assembly. Ben's roughly follow our flat-paks and they are quite easy yo assemble... with patience they should be doable with masking tape & the contents of a bookshelf.

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/plan...-mk3-flat-pak-mock-assembly-instructions.html

Drivers - so many drivers.

Given the quality of the support gear, A7.3 is a very good bet

... Opera Consonance Cyber 845 SETs;... Sonus Faber Electa Amators

The problems are that my system seems to harden up at medium levels and get shouty and confused

Most likely the interaction of the high output impedance of the SET and the ugly impedance curve of the SF

Amafig1.jpg


You are going to get a big peak right in the range of where the XO pushes the impedance skyward, right in the ear's most sensitive area, and, as you turn up the wick, right where the equal level curve where you would have that portion of the spectrum dialed back

Any full-range driver will have an impedance curve (both magnitude & phase) that the SET will be MUCH happier with.

And how tall/deep are they (I couldn't see any published tech specs for the cabinets, but I've probably missed it on the site).

Link to the post with the most current planset in post 1 of this thread: http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/full-range/172937-frugel-horn-mk3-builds-build-questions.html

PS Anyone in Brisbane, Australia that has one of these horns in their system that I could listen to for a bit with some of my music?

I'm gonna guess yes.

dave
 
I do not want to derail you from your though process on the FH Mk3, but if you like rock and pop, and would like to turn it up sometimes, I would recommend adding helper woofers in the future if you feel the need. One of the key minds behind the FH Mk3 Dave Dlugos (aka Planet10) recommends helper woofers for the FH Mk3 crowd who are looking for more bottom extension

Or start with EL70. For those with FE126 in their FH3, and no corners, decent bass extension requires helper woofs, with EL70 & to a lesser extent A7, not nearly as much.

Treated EL70 can approach stock A7.3 in terms of DDR, reach deeper in the bass,are more robust, and are somewhat more tolerent of lower quality source material (or amps, but i don't think you have that issue)

dave
 
SPLs (I wanted something above 95db SPL and I don't think that these horns/alpair drivers will do that from what I've been reading. Which means I'm back to square one. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Your SET is something like 18W? Unless you listen at crazy levels, in a really big room i wouldn't worry about getting that kind of efficiency (the FE126 does get close to that thou -- it is the fave of those with 2-6 w SETs). I have 20W and a biggish room (and an amp that likely doesn't overload with quite as much grace as yours) and have no issues with A7/EL70/CHR

When people talk about SETs and efficiency they ignore that the nature of the impedance curve is MUCH more important.

Factoring into this whole thing is the unresolved conundrum that Mark Audio drivers are happier with amps much smaller than "common wisdom" would suggest. I have one customer who was very pleased with the levels he got in his largish room, with CHR70 (1st gen/82 dB 1w/1m) and his 3.5W SE

dave
 
What sizes did you guys use for the felt pieces? Can't figure out from the drawings how long the pieces on the inside of the back panel, and the one on the internal deflector board have to be.

Not critical. they can be estimated from a comparison of the damping drawing and a drawing with dmensions. I could measure the peices i ship with flat paks. I can say that the front piece that folds over the divider is almost square so about 145mm long.

dave