Frugel-Horn Mk3

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?


Yes, it was late, was taking advantage of the Easter holidays and not having to go to work the next day ;-) Yes, it probably is at least, partly, the recordings. On well recorded, less busy material, it sounds very good. The first time I heard Tsuyoshi Yamamoto Sans "Midnight Sugar" I was totally blown away. Sadly, a lot of my favourite music is mainstream, and not always well recorded, even if I love the music itself. I can't change the music industry unfortunately (they seemingly don't care about recording quality) sadly :(

My room is odd - it's probably 23' long and 11' wide, but I can only use half of it, so my Hi Fi gear is roughly half way along the long side. Because of my living conditions, my speakers can only be about 2 and a half to 3 foot apart. I can do nothing about this. I do not even have a dedicated listening chair, but instead lie on my bed when seriously listening to music (less than ideal I can wholly tell you). It means that any speakers have little to no bass reinforcement. It also means reduced soundstage. There is also the issue of reflection from furniture etc that runs along the walls of the room lengthwise. Again, there is nothing that I can do about this. My room is far from ideal for a listening environment, and I know that my current speakers are very badly setup and that this is almost certainly negatively affecting SQ.

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.

Chris, given your description, and what others have said, it seems the Alpair 7 Mark IIIs are the drivers for me. Thanks for providing your valuable experience and feedback to me!

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.

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

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


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.

Link to the post with the most current planset in post 1 of this thread:

I'm gonna guess yes.


Thanks Dave! I've never considered the SFs as difficult to drive speakers - my previous Audiolab 8000M monoblocs had no issues, but they are 125w monoblocs that provide 200w into 4 ohm loads. I believe the SFs are 6 ohm loads (average). I've got them plugged into the 8 ohm taps on the amps, simply because this actually sounded a lot better than the 4 ohm taps in all honesty (which is what I originally tried and used when I first got the amps). My suspicion is that the transformers in these Chinese made amps aren't particularly great and don't cope with lower ohmages very well.

I have noticed that when my system is "shouty" (when listened to in a normal manner, i.e. with the speakers in front of me), it sounds much much better off axis, i.e. at 90 degrees to the speaker planes. I wonder if that is related to what you've described. I must add that I have a 80% hearing loss at 5khz in my Right ear due to a mispent youth, and this probably doesn't help me!

Thanks for the links to Ben's flatpack assembly etc. I'm a very visual person, so that helps me a lot. Also thanks for the direction on finding and downloading the plans. I don't know how I missed them in the first place, I swear I checked that thread out before posting!!!

For the outlay involved, these speakers would be the perfect introduction to DIY for me, and hopefully simple enough for me to not get 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


Thanks for this. It's sounding more and more encouraging for me to try this! Sadly, I can't afford this for around 6 weeks or so to some pre-existing debts (paying off an iPhone and 24 month plan in advance), but I think that I will give this a shot. Worse comes to worse, I'll have to pay someone to help me. It'll hopefully give me a better sounding system and speakers that are more compatible with my SETs. My only concern is a forward sounding system, since both of my sources are on the bright side of neutral. I don't want that, and I definitely want a system that's musical. Deep bass is not strictly necessary (deep bass causes me pain). A good midrange, with forward vocals is desirable. Good detail retrieval without sounding overtly Hi Fi'ish is also desirable. The one thing that I've felt with some of the back loaded horn designs that I've been able to check out via Youtube (in itself not a great way of checking them I admit) have been a bit shouty to my ears. This could of course be simply the recording process, I have no way of telling, but I tend to give the speakers the benefit of the doubt due to my "demoing" process lol.

Hi there
I have a 3/4-finished pair of FH3's.
I'm in Kenmore Hills. Where are you?


Hey Doug - great to see another Aussie here. I'm at Churchill. I don't have a car though, so getting around is a bit tough for me. I've heard of Kenmore hills, but have no idea where it is, or how to get there. I'm a Sydneyite of near 38 years and have only been in Brisbane for the past 4 and a half years. I'm not much for going out as I'm a homebody and a bit of a loner by nature, so my locality knowledge of Brisbane is very poor. I'd enjoy catching up for a listen if that's possible.

Thanks to everyone who has posted with sage advice.




2008-06-22 6:19 am
Frugal Horn Mk. 3 V. Pensil

Can some of you on this frorum tell me what the sound difference would be if it were possible to listen to the above enclosures side by side, each with Mark's Alpair 7s fitted? I am wondering if the extra work involved in building the Frugals is a worthwhile exercise, knowing that Mark /Scott / Planet 10 will almost certainly come up with another great design in the next year or so which will mean yet another set of enclosures will have to be thrown out. I am currently listening to the rather strange looking Windermeres with EL70s fitted, also on some days the G Chang with Fostex units in them. I like both sets of enclosures but maybe their days are numbered and they will join another set of (empty) enclosures which previously housed the EL70s, on their way to council cleanup day. Any opinions?
I am buying flat paks tomorrow AM. Having a last minute nervous about alpair 7 vs fe 126n!
To incredible tired from working since 4:30 AM two days ago to pick thru all the thread. I got the Melba's for the flat paks tho!
Driving them from a sixties 20 watt (more like 12 I suspect, clean) valve amp which nevers gets much past 9:30 on the volume controll as it is. I think that the speakers at present are closer to 90 SPL tho.
Please tell me to buy the alpairs! I like what I hear about them, someone just spooked me today, mentioned having 86 SPL speakers and a 200 watt SS amp
basically, will I be able to drive them from valve amp, it's NOT SE? I like the idea of more bass from the Alpairs
Ben From "Sound with style", Good Job!!!

I just received my Frugal Horn flat pack from Ben from "Sound with style" in Melbourne. Unreal! I am well impressed, with the speed of delivery, the way it was packed and the value for money. i am probably capable of cutting them out my self, but for the money, my time is best not spent behind a saw.
Again...Good job!