Is this crazy?


2001-12-26 9:04 pm
I built a pair of Phoenix open baffle speakers this Spring. I love the way they sound for certain types of music (jazz vocals, classical) but they lack punch and bass and sound too smooth and airy for the type of music I listen to most of the time - electronic/house. The speakers are designed to accurately produce a live performance. There's nothing very "live" about house music... Not that I listen to Metallica all that often, but I auditioned the speakers with Metallica, and it sounded more like a boy band! These are also fronts of a surround music/HT setup.

Would it be crazy to take the drivers out of these boxes and put them into a sealed or ported box (MTMWW-style) to get more bass and attack? I've also got a pair of Lambda SB12 I was planning to mate with Mangers... I could use the Lambdas in an MTMW and the Peerless XLS with the Mangers... I'd like to continue using the 3-way XO, but will proably need to change out some resistors and caps to adjust the XO frequencies. (SIDE Q: Has anyone ever used all Pass (or other class A) amps with a 3-way active set-up? I'd love to build these, but I'm afraid the current draw and heat produced would make it impossible.)

I'd still keep the Phoenix boxes for later on in life, when my musical tastes change a bit.

Any thoughts or suggestions appreciated.



2001-02-19 10:38 pm

You exposed the drawback of open baffles - hehe

If you are hardcore about music and find
it frustrating to find the right system, step
back and analyze each individual component
in the speaker system. That's what I do
and I find complete happiness. The cost
to do this is higher but you sleep well at night
*and* you don't have to keep building systems
through out your life time - hehe

Make a list of tweeters, midranges, woofers that
you *think* you like. Buy some samples of each and do some
listening tests on each driver by itself. Spend a
month auditioning the drivers without using filtering
(except the tweeters which need some form of
crossover - heh). If you can find drivers that sound
nice to you unfiltered, then you have completed
one part of your quest.

My latest project had these drivers on my list.
Tweeter - Raven2, ESg3, SA8535

I chose SA driver. It exceeded my design goals by a
wide margin. The tweeter quest is over.

Midranges - focal 7k2, focal 6wm, phl 1120, phl 1660, phl 2520,
pr180m0. This took a month to figure out, they all sounded
good except 6wm. In the end, I had to mate the tweeter
to each midrange to do the final test. I picked 2520.
The midrange quest is over.

Woofer - Eminence 12", 15", 18", Lambda TD15.
The bass subsystem is taking a long time to figure out,
should I make a 4 way or 3 way. hehe Eventually, I received
some tips and considered lambda woofers to simplify
my 4 way to 3 way. After testing, this woofer exceeded
my expectations.

My design goal was to build a high impact sound system
without using a prosound solution, ie, compression horns,
10" midranges, etc. To build the high impact sound system,
I wanted to only use high sensitivity drivers so I made
the list as shown above. I'm not saying that these are
the only good sounding drivers, they were the only
high sensitivity drivers to make the list, any other were
crossed out for whatever reason.

Using these methods and goals has helped me
find audio paradise.

My next step is to finalize cabinet design - lol

I read a review on TNT audio on the manger driver
they said it was great for any music other than
rock n' roll. When they listened to AC/DC, it sounded
I don't know. I listen to house, electronic, industrial and even punk and my open baffle speakers sound great. Not that I listen only to those speakers, I have other closed box speakers in a house, but the open baffle ones are just the best (for all type of music). Maybe you just have to get used to them (you've been conditioned too much by closed boxes.;) )


2001-12-26 9:04 pm
Great idea, but...

what do you do with the drivers you turn down?

My goal certainly isn't to find one pair of speakers for the rest of my life. Even if I thought that was possible, I'm in it more for the building experience than anything else. I'd be building myself out of a hobby! More importantly, I think that my listening tastes will evolve over time. As much as I like Naked Music, Jazzanova, Mark Farina and Derrick Carter right now, I don't see myself listening to them 10 years from now. I think I'd like to keep these Phoenix around until then, because they do perform magnificently with the types of music I imagine I'll be listening to, then.

But, I spent a fair amount on these drivers 6 months ago, and I'd like to see if I can use them in a different design with more impact before setting them aside and dropping another $1,500 on more drivers. SL measured a fair number of drivers before choosing these based on exceedingly low distortion numbers. Although he was looking to use them in a different manner (open baffle instead of a box), I don't see any reason why the low distortion numbers wouldn't also apply to box speakers (although I'm open to arguments counter to this).

Admittedly, the Mangers may not have been an ideal choice. I got them used at a substantial discount, so I thought I'd give them a try. I remember reading a post from Petter saying that he wanted to use the Mangers as rear speakers (which is my intention, as well). As rear speakers, I think they may perform very admirably - wide dispersion and quickness and the low SPL levels aren't much of a concern, given that they are rear speakers to be placed close to the listening position. Again, they may be better-suited to Jazz/Classical music.

It's getting to be winter, here, making woodworking outside impractical. I think I'll probably spend the winter reading and investigating different drivers/boxes and drawing up plans for the spring.

I'd be interested in hearing what you decide on for boxes for your project, as well as your proposed XO - are you going active or passive?



2001-12-26 9:04 pm

What drivers are you using in your open baffles?

The sound I'd like to accomplish is a low, rumbling bass line, covered by tight, driving mids and a sweet, melodic high-end, drifting over the top. I feel the Phoenix are just what I'm looking for on the high end - transparent and melodic.

I feel like the bass line is not rumbling at all, but very tight and controlled. Bass drum kicks don't stretch out the way they were intended. The woofers are not really present until the point where a number of speakers would be overdriven. That's the objective with these speakers, but, it turns out, it may not be what I'm looking for. I could try doubling-up the woofers (to 4 per side) or adding a sub...

The mids are a bit too airy, and seem to have too much depth, so that they create an empty feeling. This may very well be because my listening room (my whole apartment) has 15' ceilings... I know it's important to design a speaker with the room in mind, but, it's an apartment, and I don't plan to be there for more than another year...

Also, house music is made to be played in large clubs, on massive sound systems, which are often overdriven and not even close to low distortion (with the exception of Phazon(sp?) systems). Friends of mine who make records all have that type of sound in mind when writing the music. My idea of a live performance of house music is hearing a dj spin at a club, so, it only makes sense that getting closer to live for me would involve a closed box. I think the sound I'd try to emulate would be the Phazon system that was once running at Twilo, in New York. From what I've heard from former employees is that Twilo spent well over $2 million building and maintaing that system, and that the designer went in a couple of times a month to tweak. As loud as it got in there, you could always talk to people near you without having to shout.
One thing is, you try to emulate the sound of a club in your apartament. I, OTOH, almost never go to clubs, so I don't try to get the same sound in my house. I have my idea how I want the music to sound and I tweak as long as I get that sound.

So I have found that properly tweaked system plays Deep Dish, Paul Oakenfold as good as Dire Straits, Pink Floyd or Apoptygma Berzerk and Front 242 (or Clash for that matter);)

I'm using Raven1 tweeter (not that I couldn't buy something better today, I got this one for last 8 years), Triangle midranges (those are the best sounding mids I tried so far) and Focal Audiom 12" and 15" woofers (those are in Grand Slamms;) ).

I'm using bi-amp system so I can taylor woofer's response as I like. I can never imagine more natural bass than the one coming from an open baffle. It might not be rumbling but it is very natural. I prefer the last.;)


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--what do you do with the drivers you turn down?

Dust collectors for now - lol

I can use later, slap a box together and sell it to friends - lo

Tell them that these speakers are the greatest sounding speakers I've heard"... hehehe

Audio addiction seems just as worse as drinking or smoking
moneywise? hehe


2001-12-26 9:04 pm

I remember seeing pictures of these speakers many moons ago in another thread. Do you have pictures of the rear? If I remember correctly, you're bi-amping with two Aleph monoblocks per side, no? If so, do you run into any issues with excessive heat or current draw? As I mentioned above, I'd really like to try a couple of Alephs, but I'm afraid of size, heat and current draw overload. Maybe I could get away with it if I passively crossed the mids and tweeters and used Class A/B's for the center and rear?

Did you use a Linkwitz Transform circuit to boost the bottom octave? Do you have a way to measure the FR? If so I’d first check that everything is working the way it should. The DIY and Pro open baffle’s I’ve heard are outstanding except the very bottom registers (40hz and below) so if everything is OK with the crossover and such and you still want more bottom end then just add a good Sub. Something like a Sono-Tube enclosure with a Tempest driver ($150)

. The Phoenix Speakers are said to be among the best Open Baffle design available for the DIY market, if you used the exact parts and configuration as specified by the Linkwitz site then they should sound very good. Remember they need to be far from all reflection surfaces, practically in the middle of the room, which IMO is the biggest drawback to open baffles, if it weren’t for that I would be building a pair for myself, or maybe something like Peter’s.

Sure do like those speakers Peter made, very impressive work and good finishing skills.

Here is a Pic of a Brama 12 sub, the best choice IMO ($439)


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I bought my Triangles T160 in 1996 and paid $250 ea. Since then, Orca for some reasons stop distributing them and picked up PHL line instead. I compared them to many Focal drivers, ceramic Accutones (I've been using), PHL 1230 and few others. The Triangles sounded the best, I just don't hear any colorations and the sound is very smooth. Here is some info.


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It is somewhat amusing that kick drum should not be reproduced well by a dipole speaker, as a kick drum is a dipole. Judging from the rest of your post however, I am not sure that you are talking about a real kick drum. It sounds like you are listening mostly to music produced electronically by amplifiers and box speakers with no depth, and made to be played back in a surround fashion by multiple speakers in different positions surrounding you. Also, remember that much music is mixed with an intent to augment the dynamics on a variety of box speakers in the studio, which supposedly represent what the consumer(of that given type of music) might own. The speakers you are listening to are very unforgiving of bad recordings, which are unfortunately about 80% of what's out there.
Sounds like you are just getting used to the depth of soundstage these speakers can present. Aside from the rear radiation, which requires some distance from the rear wall(more=better IMO), dipoles actually put much less energy in the room, especially to the side walls, which results in less reflection and excitation of room modes. I feel that the power put into the room might be what you are missing. To reproduce this Louder than life, immersive pulsating club scene will probably require a similar setup,ie. multiple monopole speakers for side/rear at least. To further increase the power and pressure introduced to the room, you might add a sealed sub below 40-60hz to "feel". Dipoles put less power to the room than boxes, a fact that I'm sure the other tenants appreciate:D Not so sure they'll like the house system though...You might not like the loss of detail and everpresent box resonance once you switch either. I still have some albums I listen to on box speakers, but mostly because I like the music and can't stand the recording.
variety is the spice of life.
regards, Jason


2001-12-26 9:04 pm

Thanks for your opinions. The kickdrum I mentioned is made by a drum machine, so it's not a dipole. Also, the bass beats in general seem to dissipate a bit too quickly. It's almost as if I'm complaining about my Ferrari, saying I wanted an SUV, but, SUVs handle rough roads better.... I guess I didn't design the right car for the roads I wanted to drive on.

I looked at the Triangle at Zalytron, yesterday. It's not the same model Peter is using. The current Zalytron offering looks like this:

The Triangle T17FLV608 is an extremely high quality full range driver. This French import features a cellulose cone and latex coated paper surround. This driver is used in our TriMendous speaker system. This driver can literally be used without a tweeter and achieve good results. It is a natural for SE tube audio enthusiasts. $225.00

Outside Diameter 187 mm
Nominal Impediance 12 Ohms
DC Resistance 9.8 Ohms
Voice Coil Inductance 0.18 mH
Fs 49 Hz
Vas 53.3 l
Voice Coil Diameter 26 mm
Voice Coil Length 14 mm
SPL 94 db / 1w /1m
Xmax 7.6 mm
Moving Mass 6.2 g
QTS 0.39
QES 0.41

I'm going to think about this a bit more, but I haven't fully tweaked this setup, yet. Right now, I've got a 12dB/octave XO between woofers and mids. I think I'm going to start with the following:
1. up the woofer to mid XO to an LR4
2. possibly add a second set of woofers next spring
3. add some polyester wadding behind the mids, and damping material around the inside of the mids' chambers

I'm going to add a sub, regardless. I was waiting to see the new Adire Audio sub, but it's been delayed for about 6 weeks now... Acoustic Visions posted the following specs:

Fs: 16 Hz
Qms: 4.15
Qes: 0.395
Qts: 0.360
Vas: 226 liters
Re: 3.14 Ohms
Le: 3.05 mH
BL: 16.16 Tm
Xmax: 32 mm
Sd: 737 cm^2
SPL: 85.7 dB @ 1W, 1m

"This is a 15" driver, with a single 4 Ohm voice coil. It has our XBL2 technology, so the BL is ultra-flat; around 29mm one way before the BL drops 10%.

They're saying now that the pre-order timeline information will be available "around October 18."

Winter isn't a good time to do woodworking around here, so I'm going to do some soldering and wait for Spring.

Thanks again.