Looking for a replacement for Maggies, suggestions wanted


2006-10-15 4:30 pm
I'm looking to build a replacement set of speakers to change up my basement setup. I'm currently running QSC pro amps and a pair of Magnepan MG-IIB's, the sub stage will be covered by Mach 5 audio MAW-15's in stereo. I've been listening to my BBBIB's more and more and I'm loving the sound more than my maggies, plus I'm itching to build something knew.

I'm leaning heavily on the frugel horn spawns (the Bruce is what I'm looking at), something in the range of an 8" or larger full range setup. I would love to do another BIB, but I feel that my ceilings in the basement are to short for that, I only have roughly 6.5' of height to work with. Lord knows the BBBIB's won't fit down there as much as I'd love to have them there.

The main use will be mostly for movies but I will not skimp out for when I get to use them for pure audio bliss.

Driver cost I'd like to keep under 100-120 per, and the complexity of the build is a non issue as well. So I'd love to hear some suggestions or idears on what you guys would do. I'm leaning toward the Bruce, but what would you do with my room?


As you can see there isn't a whole lot of room to work with, I can't position the setup going the long ways due to the fact there is a door at the end, and a 42" TV + Speakers + Subs does not fit there.

So basically, what would you do for a DIY full-range setup?

Thanks for any input

The double-horns wouldn't be an ideal solution in that space as they'd be too close to get proper integration. You could try the Half-Chang, but I'd probably be leaning toward something smaller. If you want horns, then the Frugel-horn or Ron's A126 with the rear deflectors, or Brynn could be good; alternatives would be Fonken's, Mileva or similar. All assuming a sub BTW.
BiBs using smaller drivers would work great in there. They can be built 4' tall or less, and can be made down or back firing. I'm running a pair I built for a friend right now using Pioneer A11s which are $10 4.5" drivers.

I built them using stock, 4' bits of lumber as build complexity is a huge issue for me. I added a bit of a twist, though, in an effort to reduce complexity and gain line length. I added a horizontal slanting internal board at the bottom so that the internal closed point is at the very rear/bottom of the cabinet. Then the line travels forward along the bottom and does a 90 to travel up the front, then the traditional 180 to travel down the back, and then it hits that new slanted board to make another 90 degree bend to travel directly out the back, very near floor level.

Gives a line length of about 102", which is a little short for the A11 (they can be bass monsters for such small drivers), but should be about perfect for any of the 4"-4.5" Fostex. They're hitting flat down to about 50Hz, and with the digital EQ I can apply, I can get them to at least suggest the infrasonics from a good action DVD, even at very high levels (I'm in a low ceilinged basement area similar to your space, though I'm sitting even closer to the speakers).

BiBs will definitely be more dynamic than the old Maggies, but to approach the absolute sound quality level that even that vintage of Maggies are capable of, you'd need to at least start with Fostex drivers. The A11 good for absolute cheapness. Perfect for party speakers and would be great for a $100-$120 surround sound set meant for HT only, but they are quite forward and have other peaky issues (might be good, cheap candidates for modification, though, if one had the time and inclination to give them some TLC). FE126E would probably get you close. FE108ES might be closer (though smaller and less bass). A pair of P10 FE126 eN drivers might actually be better in SQ as well as dynamics.

Keep us posted. I'm very interested to see something DiY in direct competition with Maggies.

Just the other day I was praising the virtues of MJK's open baffle two way to a lapsed Maggie Lover (http://www.quarter-wave.com/General/General_Articles.html). I imagine it will combine much of the dipole fun with actual dynamics, some efficiency and more realistically sized images. I was never a fan of the cheaper maggie tweeters either (don't know which ones you've got.) They couldn't be cheaper or easier. I haven't heard them, so my thoughts are just speculation. If you want to do horns, by all means go for it. I just wanted to point out the option.

I was also going to suggest BIB's! You still might consider nearly full sized BIB's, maybe just slightly smaller. The larger BIB's will give you great bass for watching movies on your big screen.

If you like the BIB's you can alway upgrade the Pioneer drivers with something better later on if they overall arrangement works out for you.

BIB design:

Here's Mark's design that is cust from 2 sheets of OSB. The dimensions are slightly smaller to make one speaker from one 8x4' Oriented Strand Board or plywood. This size might fit what you are looking for.


Mark's design will keep the overall cost to within $200.

I'm building a pair myself using OSB and wrapping the entire speaker in beige speaker cloth, just like a Vandersteen. Beige makes the speaker just disapear in the room and the cheap cloth is far less expensive than finishing high quality wood. Glue round corner bead on the edges of the box, sew the cloth into a sock and pull it over the completed cabinet. If you use the sock approach, you will need an elevated mounting block for the speaker terminals so the binding post mounting plate is the same distance away from the main box as the rounded corner bead.


Ryan says he's got the bottom end covered, so we just need to hit down to 70-80Hz so that integration will be simple.

And I was not recommending the Pioneer drivers for this (B20s in OB, sure, but not A11s in any configuration; they're just not going to get close to the Maggies in absolute SQ, regardless of how well they can handle bass in BiB)

The OB suggestion is a good one. I normally use Pioneer B20s on small OBs with some EQ. Not thunderous or extreme low extension, but adequate for near field and very, very high SQ, especially for the low price and very small footprint in my setup. OB's about the size of your current Maggies would give you decent response and lots of flexibility. FE127s would be better on OB, and the P10 eN versions would sound fantastic here, crossed 200-300Hz to your MAW-15s. I'm not familiar with those drivers. If they're not good up that far, you might just find a modest 8"-10" driver to fill down to where the MAWs can pickup.

I am an OB convert, though, so I am biased. I wouldn't be able to settle for the BiBs I've made, even with great drivers, let alone the A11s. My buddy is going to think they're the greatest thing he's ever heard, while I have a hard time not focusing on hearing the box. I would have a hard time not sticking with the Maggies, but just crossing them higher with your MAWs. That would give them more dynamics.



2007-10-24 2:12 pm
I have been using a 4" Tangband titanium extended range driver in modified version of the Suzy Chang and am very impressed with it's performance. That is a little smaller than you were looking for but crossed over to a sub or two at 80hz it puts out a big sound. For midrange clarity it is hard to beat. Enabling seems to bring the performance up another notch. I am also thinking about using the Brynn cabinet with two drivers in each cabinet, one Tangband facing forward in the normal position and one facing up, to be used as surrounds.
No secret that I'm a big fan of Fostex drivers - but I think your room (or more specifically listening position as shown in the photo) is too small for any of the 8" or possibly even 6" systems proposed (some of which would want 8-10 ft to fully integrate a soundstage.

FWIW, my money's on Mileva or Brynn with FE127eN to give you the best bang for the buck - either would occupy less effective footprint than the Maggies. Nothing wrong with the BIB design, but this presents an opportunity to significantly downsize the visual impact of the speaker enclosure, and even the iBIB for FE108E Sigma or FE126/127 is taller than 1 meter.

The FE126E or FF125K are excellent drivers in the right enclosure, (FE126E in the Austin 126 is spectacular, and FF125K in Brynn or with bass driver is no slouch either), but at this listening distance I'd suspect that either would be too much in your face.

If you really think a 4" driver isn't enough, then the Demetri FE167 would also be worth considering - still a smaller footprint than your current panels, and with this enclosure/tuning unless you listen to a lot of pipe organ or other extreme bass content, you could probably stop worrying about where to put the sub that you might think you'd need (indeed, you could get tired of explaining where you've hidden it)
Looking at Kensai and Chrisb's comments, you might consider the Metronome's with Lowther or Fostex drivers. I heard a pair at Burning Amp with FR8 Hemp drivers and they sounded great. They lacked the bass punch of the BIB, but if you have a sub your're happy with then the Metronome's might be perfect. The size is more compatable with your room.

Metronome link:

to sub or not to sub?

Upon reviewing your original post and photo, I realized I overlooked your comments on subs for the new system, and not seeing any in the photo made the assumption that you want to avoid them.

After several attempts to get single subs to seamlessly integrate in 2 different and much larger rooms than shown, I've tried to avoid them if at all possible.

In a room 15'x26'x8', a pair of Mileva's with single FE127eN per side (that's right 2.0 video sound) is more than satisfying for movie watching, HDNet concerts and HD video games that my son plays (Assassin's Creed / Gears of War, Call to Duty, etc) - neither of us miss the woomp-woomp, and my wife certainly doesn't miss the boxes!

Therefore my personal suggestions were based on the goals of simple construction of enclosures, and widest bandwidth performance with the smallest visual impact in the room.

It's always been the best approach in my own domestic situation, but certainly doesn't apply to everyone.

IINM, the MAW15 is a car audio driver? Some of the latest generation of car drivers with which I'm familiar are optimized for insane SPL levels, very small enclosures and overkill power handling levels - although with the sacrifice of less "finesse" than high efficiency pro or home audio driver. That can make them less than a satisfying or seamless blend with many of the "full-range" designs and drivers suggested herein.

If you will be using stereo subs, what XO frequency do you have in mind, and will Bass management be via HT receiver functions? That could certainly affect the size of enclosure you'd need for the "small mains".

As for OB's, as much as they can sound fabulous, they are at least as room / placement dependent as dipole planar systems like the Maggies, ESLs or Line arrays, and this room could probably use less space dedicated to speakers.


2006-10-15 4:30 pm
Thanks to all of you for your input.

chrisb: The speaker/bass management is done through a DCX2496 and amplified by a QSC 1.0HV for the mains and a QSC CX902 powering the subs. The MAW is a car audio driver, but it is not geared exclusively for high SPL and power handling. They work alright and are my comprimise untill the new SI Mag comes out, then it will be stereo bass with Mags. The crossover frequency will be as low as I can have it and still blend in.

dw8083: The metronome link is interesting indeed, I may have to build that just for the sake of building it. I also really like the OB link and I will build that one, mainly because it is so rediculously simple I can get it done in a evening without a problem.

Scottmoose: Thanks for the insight that I don't have enough room for double horns. :)

On the topic of BIB's, I absolutely love mine and how extremely dynamic they are (minus the fact they are over 6'tall, 2' wide and 30" deep), but I'm not currently looking to build another pair just yet. I've already built them and would rather build something that I haven't built before.

From what you guys have currently suggested to me I would like to build the Metronomes, the OB from MJK, and the Mileva. Mainly for the shear fact tha I want to build some more over break while I'm home and to try them all out.

*edit* Incase anyone was curious, the reason I will only consider a full range replacent for the Maggies is when I went to the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, for some reason the only room that truly impressed me was the Cain and Cain room.
EEatKSU said:
*edit* Incase anyone was curious, the reason I will only consider a full range replacent for the Maggies is when I went to the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest, for some reason the only room that truly impressed me was the Cain and Cain room.

You're welcome.

Now why does that not surprise me?

You could do a DIY Abby easily enough -in a sense, it would actually be a better speaker than the original, from a technical POV. The Metronomes in a sense fall into this category, albeit with a slightly different aesthetic.

Yep, you're really sitting too close for double-horns; a single horn would be better, but still overpowering. I suspect Mileva would be your best bet, or something Monolith-ish anyway.
Scottmoose said:

Yep, you're really sitting too close for double-horns; a single horn would be better, but still overpowering. I suspect Mileva would be your best bet, or something Monolith-ish anyway.

didn't someone say that already? :nod:

The Mileva is very deceiving, and particularly works wonders in a small room. So does the Fonken, but even after 8 or so pairs, that's a much more complicated build, and they still require stands.