Kairos & Sb Acoustics Ara?

chinook9

Member
2013-08-15 4:00 pm
I just began shopping for a speaker kit. I quickly determined that the Sb Acoustics Ara seemed like a good one.

With a bit more research I came upon the Kairos which has the same tweeter (TW29R) and midrange (MW16P-4) as the Ara.

I haven't had time to determine if the cabinets or crossovers are the same but the cabinets look to be quite similar.

Does any know the differences in design and performance? At this point I am not considering the beryllium version of the tweeter.
 

chinook9

Member
2013-08-15 4:00 pm
Did a bit of digging tonight. I found a schematic of the Ara crossover.

Also, from what I've found, it appears that the SB Acoustics Ara was designed by Joachim Gearhardt and originally called the Kalasan. Have not verified this.

Seems a few DIY speakers have been designed using these two drivers. I'll continued to look but would still appreciate any additional information.
 
The biggest difference between them is in the crossover. Jeff crosses over the Kairos at 1.8KHz after first trying 3KHz and rejecting it. He discusses the reasons in his writeup.

The Ara crosses over at 3KHz.

Also the Kairos can be built either ported or sealed, whereas the Ara plans are only for ported. The Ara cabinet construction is also quite a bit more complicated that the Kairos. I believe that there are some dimensions missing from the Ara plans, although you might be able to deduce them or come close.

The Kairos uses an 8 ohm version of the MW16P, whereas the Ara uses the 4 ohm version.

I have seen lots of good reviews for the Kairos, but few of any type for the Ara.
 

dwk123

Member
2002-02-06 4:51 pm
Yeah, these are 3 independent designs using the same drivers. There is actually a 4th version also by Jeff Bagby - the Adelphos which is designed for a conventional flat baffle rather than a slanted one. Troels G also has a version.

The Ara is attractive as it has a version with the beryllium Satori tweeter, but the 3k crossover just doesn't seem ideal with these drivers. Troels also offers both the conventional or BE version, but it's not clear whether these use the same xover or not.

I'm quite curious as to whether anyone has tried massaging the xover for any of the Kairos/Adelphos/Kalasan to use the BE tweeter (TW29B, NOT TW29BN which is quite different). While they look close in response, the impedance and response differences make me feel that the BE isn't going to be a drop-in replacement and will at least required a bit of re-voicing. If you have DSP/Eq, they may be close enough, though.

Of the bunch, the Kairos definitely have the most feedback - almost all positive. One dissenter over on the PE forum feels that the Kalasan is 'much better', though. Relatively little feedback on the Adelphos, and the only feedback on the Ara that I've seen is from 'reviewers' rather than DIYers. The crossover for the Kairos and Adelphos is not public, and it isn't clear whether you actually get a schematic with part values with the kit or just instructions on how to assemble - if you don't get a schematic, it does constrain your ability to make any changes at all without reverse-engineering the xover.
 

yoke

Member
2004-01-08 6:41 pm
Split
I have build Kalasan, and Kairos
Kairos was a little laid back but also was build with basic parts...
I did like Kalasan more but have build those with much more expensive parts ( I spend like 350euro for Kalasan crossover while only 50euro for Kairos )

Also have build Ara BE in closed box (not by original as it's BR) with active subwoofer crossed at 140-180hz.
It play nice...
As on video
YouTube

Now I use 3 way combo as on video but full active.

Any way, Kalasan was really nice loudspeakers and I would advise to build them. (I think it was crossover V5..the last one in the original tread )

By the way, Ara is crossed at 3000hz while Ara BE at 2400hz
 
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dwk123

Member
2002-02-06 4:51 pm
I have build Kalasan, and Kairos
Kairos was a little laid back but also was build with basic parts...
I did like Kalasan more but have build those with much more expensive parts ( I spend like 350euro for Kalasan crossover while only 50euro for Kairos )

Also have build Ara BE in closed box (not by original as it's BR) with active subwoofer crossed at 140-180hz.
It play nice...
As on video
YouTube

Now I use 3 way combo as on video but full active.

Any way, Kalasan was really nice loudspeakers and I would advise to build them. (I think it was crossover V5..the last one in the original tread )

By the way, Ara is crossed at 3000hz while Ara BE at 2400hz
Thanks for the confirmation that the Ara BE uses a different crossover - this seems to be implied by the language on Madisound's page for the kit, but it's not really explicit. 2.4kHz seems like a more reasonable crossover freq, but it's still surprising how different designers make different choices with the same drivers.

Did you prefer the Kalasan to the stock Ara BE? Your initial setup is similar to what I'm aiming for - passive xover between M/T and active to a woofer in the same range that you used for a true 3-way setup.
 

yoke

Member
2004-01-08 6:41 pm
Split
Did you prefer the Kalasan to the stock Ara BE? Your initial setup is similar to what I'm aiming for - passive xover between M/T and active to a woofer in the same range that you used for a true 3-way setup.

I can't comment that, as I first build Kalasan and sell it, and after
like year or so, I give Satori another try but this time with BE.
And I never build original Ara BE.
(From the start I was going for closed box...)

For me BE is worth an extra money, over standard Satori, I pay 250euro/peace for berylium.

But as I wrote, I would recomend Kalasan to everyone as really nice two way.
Kairos was nice to, but Kalasan was more to my likening.
 

chinook9

Member
2013-08-15 4:00 pm
Thank you all for the information. One additional question I'll add to this thread.

I built a pair of CSS Criton 1TD last year. These consist of a CSS LD22 tweeter and CSS LDW7 woofer. I upgraded the crossovers and they sound really, really good.

Is a well designed speaker using the TW29R and MW16P-4 likely to be similar, or possibly better?

I'm trying to identify a speaker kit that I might like a bit more that the 1TD. I don't have room for anything a lot bigger. Assume cost is not a big concern.

My hobby is researching, buying, and building more than listening but I do listen regularly.
 

chinook9

Member
2013-08-15 4:00 pm
Curious what the shortcoming in the CSS 1TD is that you are looking to improve on.

No shortcoming at all that I know of. I love them, in fact, when I first heard them I was amazed.

I am 75, with nothing better to do during my winters in Arizona, so I like to try different stuff. I thought I might be able to find some other speakers that I like equally well, or possibly better.
 
Of all the speakers mentioned above the one that seems to get a lot of reviews is Jeff Bagby's Kairos, and they are consistently very positive.

But regardless of which one you choose to build it would interesting to get your reaction comparing it to the CSS 1TD. If you do, please include more information about your room and the type of music you play. Thanks.
 

chinook9

Member
2013-08-15 4:00 pm
The room I use is 12 x 13 feet with 10 foot ceilings. My listening position is 8-9 feet in front of the speakers. I generally listen to the likes of Pink Floyd, Supertramp, Meatloaf, and Bob Segar from TIDAL Premium using USB Audio Player Pro.

The amps are Classe AMP2 Class D, and Parasound A23. Next year, I expect to leave the Classe in Colorado and bring a Parasound A21 down here.
 
Your room is just a little larger than mine, but the music I listen to is entirely different.

I have trouble finding meaningful comments from people who listen to orchestral music in small rooms. In fact, I've been discussing that in another thread currently, but without receiving much useful information.

Seems like just about everyone listens primarily to the same genre, and it doesn't include much in the way of classical.
 
Thank you all for the information. One additional question I'll add to this thread.

I built a pair of CSS Criton 1TD last year. These consist of a CSS LD22 tweeter and CSS LDW7 woofer. I upgraded the crossovers and they sound really, really good.

Is a well designed speaker using the TW29R and MW16P-4 likely to be similar, or possibly better?

I'm trying to identify a speaker kit that I might like a bit more that the 1TD. I don't have room for anything a lot bigger. Assume cost is not a big concern.

My hobby is researching, buying, and building more than listening but I do listen regularly.


I’m glad you are enjoying the Criton 1TD so far. I’m not sure if you saw but we just brought back the famous LD25X tweeter and made some enhancements to make it even better. We are close to releasing an upgraded version of the Criton using it, probably in the next month or so.

The new LD25X has more detail and sounds more dynamic than the LD22. The LD22 has a smoother, more laid back sound. However the LD25X hasn’t ever presented itself as harsh while providing this detail. We will be providing upgrade kits to customers who want to purchase them and swap out the tweeters. It will just be a tweeter and crossover change.

In terms of the drivers you are inquiring about, I would say our woofer is on par with the Satori. It is better in some ways and not in others, but overall the quality is right on par. The Satori tweeter measures better than the LD22 but I don’t like the sound as much. I actually think the dome versions of the Satori sound better and you get better low end distortion performance. Obviously I might be somewhat biased but I really like our LD25X.
 
Kairos & Sb Acoustics Ara?

Your room is just a little larger than mine, but the music I listen to is entirely different.

I have trouble finding meaningful comments from people who listen to orchestral music in small rooms. In fact, I've been discussing that in another thread currently, but without receiving much useful information.

Seems like just about everyone listens primarily to the same genre, and it doesn't include much in the way of classical.



You really need a low distortion speaker that can keep up with the dynamics for orchestral music. I would recommend at least an MTM wth high quality drivers if you have the space a 3-way. For instance, our Criton 2TD does much better than with of our standard bookshelf speakers.
 
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mordikai

Member
2005-11-07 3:34 pm
Your room is just a little larger than mine, but the music I listen to is entirely different.

I have trouble finding meaningful comments from people who listen to orchestral music in small rooms. In fact, I've been discussing that in another thread currently, but without receiving much useful information.

Seems like just about everyone listens primarily to the same genre, and it doesn't include much in the way of classical.

I listen to a lot of classical and jazz. I have found many speakers will reproduce chamber music and small ensemble jazz, but I have yet to find a set of speakers that reproduces orchestral music well, both spacial and dynamically.
I have tried all the speakers mentioned here as well as many others. I have found not surprisingly, that most of the competently designed two ways with quality drivers of similar size sound pretty similar. Similar drivers, similar frequency response, similar off axis response = similar sound. I have found that a lot of people online exaggerate the differences in sound, having pet drivers they think are somehow magical.
My next attempts will be 15" coaxials and a large horn setup. I'll let you know what I think.
I'm actually the opposite of the op in that I'm trying to get my setup to a place where I can just listen to the music and stop compulsively searching for the perfect system. I may be too neurotic to ever get there.
 
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chinook9

Member
2013-08-15 4:00 pm
I have considered an MTM for that room. Any negatives to a speaker of that size in a small room?

Kerry, when will the new kits and mods be available?
Will the upgraded 2TD be available at the same time?
Are the crossover changes for each speaker anything more than changing a couple of components and are the capacitors/inductors likely to be bigger. I was really tight for space in the 1TD with my crossovers.
 
I have built the Kairos.It is very good but not sure it would best suit the music described.Most stand mount two way sort of speakers would not either however and will generally lack dynamics.The good thing about the Kairos is that unlike a lot of smallish speakers [especially rear ported ones]it can be use closer to the front wall and still sound good so suits smaller rooms.
The Lenehan Audio ML1 kit would be worth considering.They tend to sound quite dynamic for the type.