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Hey randy, I've got a question about the wild burro's

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The following is a PM that I sent Randy and his response. I felt it could be of use to others on the WBA Betsy journey so I got his permission to move the conversation over here.

Hi Randy and congratulations on the store front and living the dream.
I've got a question about the Betsy.
I'm pretty much a noob to audio stuff. I've made a couple pair of speakers and bought a few more to try and dial in the sound I like. I'm completely sold on OB and am currently listening to my Betsy above an
Alpha 15. The Betsy is fed by a Decware pre to KT88 amp. The 15's are fed by a Yung plate amp. The Betsy can be a bit shrill sometimes. Maybe this is what people call shouty? Anyway, I figured no one better to ask then you and saw that in one of your pics you have a box on the back of the stand with the speaker terminals. I'm assuming you also have a x-over in there? I'd like your input on this if you don't mind. I'm also willing to pay for x-over information or maybe even a board? I know you have put a lot of time into this.
Thanks so much for your time, Mike


And then Randy's quick response.

Hi Mike,
Good to hear from you .....

Actually, the only purpose that box on the base of the baffles serves is to support the 5 way binding posts.

A couple of things I might share about the Betsy drivers and OB in general which might help ..... but, chances are good that you have already figured a lot of this out on your own.

The surface area of the baffle and the proximity of the driver to the floor and walls makes a huge difference in the tonal balance of an open baffle speaker. I have heard a pair of Betsy drivers in 4' x 4' baffles that produced bass frequencies that made my kneecaps buzz .....

The received wisdom is to get the "primary" drivers somewhere near ear level in height. While this is probably true for most applications, I have found that getting the Betsy drivers closer to the floor gives them a bit more upper bass and lower midrange ..... which balances things out pretty well in most listening rooms. Most of my baffles are pretty small, so I'm not working with a lot of surface area. The stereo image "floats" above the baffles and I don't find the height of the sound stage a problem. If a person feels the need to "raise" the sound stage, it is easy to prop up the front of the baffles ... tilting them back a little.
I have also found that toe in of the baffles can make a big difference in the tonal balance.

Because you say that your Betsy drivers are a bit shrill "sometimes", that could very well be related to things upstream (including the recordings).
My biggest gripe in the audio hobby is how poorly many recordings have been engineered ..... especially digital.
Some folks absolutely hate anything digital, but I know for a fact that when done right digital can be absolutely amazing. The Stockfisch CDs and SACDs (engineered by Gunter Pauler) are top shelf in my opinion and have a tonal balance pretty close to a good analog LP.

Even so, many digital recordings are simply horrible and I can't listen to them on any decent sound system. It's not easy to have a system that is extremely revealing and also "kind" to poorly recorded material ..... much of which is "shrill".

I have even made a few baffles with Betsy drivers and super tweeters with a defeat toggle switch that would allow me to get a little more sparkle on the top end for well done recordings, but most of the time I am very happy with the Betsy as a stand alone speaker (and an Eminence Alpha or Hawthorne Audio Augie to help on the bottom end).

I have come to the conclusion that there is no perfect speaker or sound system and I try to find and buy recordings that sound good to me on a system that I consider to be tonally "neutral".

I haven't heard too many LPs that are shrill, but since I spin a lot more CDs than LPs I am always on the hunt for good sounding recordings.

The sad thing is that some of my favorite music is on CDs that sound like crapola .....

I wish that I had a better answer for you. I know that a lot of music lovers have made notch filters and other crossover devices to "tame" their full range drivers, but I prefer to "let the Betsy sing" without restricting her in any way .....

If you are ever in the Cincinnati, OH / northern Kentucky area, please stop in and say hi.

Best wishes and happy listening,

Thanks so much for your help Randy.
It's hilarious that in your next PM to me you replied with

"The proximity to the floor has given me a pretty decent tonal balance ..... but I have had some feedback in the past saying "that couldn't possibly work" "

Because I will tell you that is exactly what I said to myself. But I made the Betsy panel removable from my Alpha 15 so I said to myself " what the heck, nothing to lose"

I was shocked, It pretty much killed the shrill that I was hearing every time a high part of any song came on. That's when I contacted you to ask if we could move it here. I figure some one somewhere will find that info useful.

The baffle the Betsy is on is about 20"h x 17"w and is now on the floor pointed roughly towards my ears. If I move my seated position to a standing one. The music appears below me. I wonder if I do the phase plug mod if the sweet spot will widen?
Hi Mike,

Glad to hear that the change in proximity to the floor helped with the "shrillness" issue ..... :cool:

I can recommend that anyone building open baffle speakers should experiment with the height of the driver from the floor to "fine tune" the sound and then experiment with tilting the baffle back to further dial it in.

If the driver is too close to the floor, some muddiness creeps in and a lack of detail in the upper midrange and high frequencies ..... if it is too far away, the sound tends to get thin and can be shrill with some recordings.
Some experimentation can usually result in a happy medium.

More surface area also changes the tonal balance, but I prefer a smaller "low boy" baffle that is better at visually (and sonically) disappearing ... ;)

As you observed, once you stand up the image is below you ..... but since all of my "serious" listening is done from a seated position this is not an issue for me.

It's interesting that your baffles for the Betsy drivers are 20" high and 17" wide. Both my "barrel" shaped baffles and the "tombstone" shaped baffles are 22 1/2" high and 18" wide and they sound pretty good to me.

It seems that we have followed a very similar path as to supplementing the bottom end of our designs. I use a plate amp driven separate baffle (or two) with a Hawthorne Audio Augie or Eminence Alpha 15 in a setup like the one in this photo of my recent trip to the Capital Audio Fest .....


I have always been interested in the phase plugs but never got around to trying them.
Maybe now that I'm retired I will have some time to squeeze that onto my plate .....

Have fun with your project and happy listening,

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If I leave the single Betsy on the floor, it will certainly make it easier to try out different full rangers with out disrupting my system too much or having to build a giant panel every time. But I do like the look of a more imposing panel personally. I should do the smart thing and leave it in it's own panel. I don't always to the smart thing though. I'll try. haha

My next step, maybe today, is to put the Betsy back on top of the sub and add some wings to it in varying places and lengths. If the tonal balance is helped by the floor, I would guess that adding some wings would to the same thing?
Hi Mike,

Yep ..... that gets you back to the increased surface area thing ..... :cool:

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I heard a pair of Betsy drivers in some 4' x 4' baffles that were built by one of my audio buddies. He referred to them as the "Donkey Kongs" and the bass that those speakers produced was absolutely insane ..... ;)

It was hard to believe all of that bass coming from a pair of 8" drivers.

The wings also work very well, per the plans on the Project page of the Wild Burro website.

Best wishes,

It is videos like this that give youtube auditioning a bad rep. Seriously, it is hard enough to
be confined to virtual auditions, if I were the one making these types of videos I would make sure I recorded them in the best fidelity I can afford, because the really lousy videos really do a disservice to the instruments they purport to honour.
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