Modular 3+ way end game system

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Hello, I'm beginning my research for an end game speaker system that I will build myself.

I recently discovered that using active crossovers can save lots of money and countless hours of time so I'm going to build a dedicated tri-amp active crossover system.
I am surprised at how cheap the drivers themselves are, the highest price I've seen for what seems to be a top end driver is about $300, not bad at all considering speakers last forever unlike modern technology where you buy a new product every year.

I want to build a modular system that I can keep adding on to as I see fit.
My room size is about 10 feet high, and 20 feet wide, I plan on building a dedicated room with optimal measurements in the future but for now my basement is going to be it.
My carpentry skills are minimal but I do have access to the equipment.

I'm looking for neutral and natural sound, I don't care about loudness that much, my main concern is sound quality and realism.
I'm not looking for compromise, if you have a $500 driver you know about, throw it my way.
I'd like the ability to expand from 3 way to a theoretical
4/5/6+ way in the future assuming there are theoretical benefits and an active crossover allows it to be tuned relatively easily, so I'd like the enclosures to be separate and stackable, perhaps on a swivel or something for adjustments.
I've read that a spherical shape is best so I have to figure out how to make a sphere out of a material that resists vibration.

I've also read that the larger the driver size or the more drivers you add to the same crossover, the more realistic the sound, which is why super high end systems have massive speakers. Bass 15'' and midrange 8'' are the maximums for an individual driver I hear that one should use, I don't know if I should go for large individual drivers or a few smaller ones. Larger drivers produce less distortion do they not?

These will be my first pair of high end speakers. I know just about nothing at this point on how to choose speakers and what options are available, suggestions would be appreciated.
 
Couple things:
More Sd is not necessarily less distortion because, as with everything in execution is everything. However, you are not entirely wrong: it is true that more Sd minimizes excursion which minimizes coil travel within the gap, but even if you believe that to be true, take some time and visit a local dealer. Listen to anything and everything they put in front of you, even if you here a technology or general design you dislike, try to find a different room or just change anything about setting and see if you arrive at the same conclusion. Assuming you decide to pursue the Sd path you outlined with an 8 inch midrange and 15 inch bass driver and your willing to spend money: the AE TD drivers are fabulous. For a tweeter to mate with these, the Beyma TLP-150H gets great reviews around here.
 
Hello, I'm beginning my research for an end game speaker system that I will build myself.

I recently discovered that using active crossovers can save lots of money and countless hours of time so I'm going to build a dedicated tri-amp active crossover system.

Maybe. You still have to account for the same driver electro-acoustic matching. Impedance and sensitivity matching however become moot points. Then you have to deal with all the amplifier channels. I'm not saying you are wrong, just listing off complications people sometimes forget.

Now, if by active you mean active and digital, well then you have a lot of flexibility. You still have to achieve the same thing, just don't have to keep ordering resistors, caps and op-amps until you are done. :)

I am surprised at how cheap the drivers themselves are, the highest price I've seen for what seems to be a top end driver is about $300, not bad at all considering speakers last forever unlike modern technology where you buy a new product every year.

I agree with your direction, and implication that you can build something much better than you could buy, but please allow me to show you the really pricy stuff...... <grabs a candelabra and opens the door to the underworld....>

As Xrk recently pointed out elsewhere, there are a number of tweeters at Madisound in the $400-$600 range. The super-exotic diamond domes go up to $6,000.

For things more in the realm of merely privileged mortals look at Ribbon, Air Motion and Beryllium dome tweeters to find them. Even more "conventional" drivers like ring radiators and domes can be more than $300. :) We are lucky that one of the designers of the Raal ribbon tweeters sometimes hangs out here with us. Great guy, makes what is arguably one of a handful of tweeters called best in the world.

I want to build a modular system that I can keep adding on to as I see fit.
My room size is about 10 feet high, and 20 feet wide, I plan on building a dedicated room with optimal measurements in the future but for now my basement is going to be it.
My carpentry skills are minimal but I do have access to the equipment.

I'm looking for neutral and natural sound, I don't care about loudness that much, my main concern is sound quality and realism.
I'm not looking for compromise, if you have a $500 driver you know about, throw it my way.
I'd like the ability to expand from 3 way to a theoretical
4/5/6+ way in the future assuming there are theoretical benefits and an active crossover allows it to be tuned relatively easily, so I'd like the enclosures to be separate and stackable, perhaps on a swivel or something for adjustments.
I've read that a spherical shape is best so I have to figure out how to make a sphere out of a material that resists vibration.

I've also read that the larger the driver size or the more drivers you add to the same crossover, the more realistic the sound, which is why super high end systems have massive speakers. Bass 15'' and midrange 8'' are the maximums for an individual driver I hear that one should use, I don't know if I should go for large individual drivers or a few smaller ones. Larger drivers produce less distortion do they not?

These will be my first pair of high end speakers. I know just about nothing at this point on how to choose speakers and what options are available, suggestions would be appreciated.

Look at the discussions we had with Raal regarding the Mundorf Tweeters. Truth is the Raal and Mundorf tweeters are outstanding choices. They may even outperform the $6k tweeters. I say this because I have no real data on the exotic diamond tweets. They could be pure marketing gimmicks. The Raals, Mundorf and Scanspeak beryllium's are the real deal though and any top-tier DIY project should consider them.

In broad terms, there's just no substitute for surface area when it comes to deep bass with low distortion. Larger drivers not only have larger surface area but can have longer and more linear motion so no, I wouldn't recommend a line of 4" woofers to try to replace a single 15" one. Of course, this is all things being equal, and they never are. :) However.... one of our members has recently been doing full length corner arrays with amazing measured results.

I would say as I've said many times, acoustic treatment of a room enables good, deep bass. Without that, you'll get loud and/or flabby but not good. Point is, budget to spend 25% of your spend on good acoustic treatments and bass traps. I personally like GIK Acoustics for having great price/performance and attractive offerings but the standard is Acoustic Sciences Corp.

If you are going to go with something modular, consider placing your big woofers as close to the floor as possible to minimize reflections and other boundary issues. Sorry I don't have a link to why this is a very good thing, but it is.

Good luck to you!


Erik
 
With a modest size 10" x 20" listening room, a combination of controlled directivity speakers + multi-woofs, and thoughtful investment in room treatment will likely achieve the best results.

"Controlled Directivity Loudspeakers" literature on Dr. Geddes website is a good education on how some speakers can make selective room treatment more
effective. A controlled directivity speaker can allow putting 70% of the budget/effort into speakers, and 20%-30% into room construction/treatment. (carpet, corner bass traps) Spend more on DSP equalization. A "wide' directivity speaker may need closer to 50%/50% to further treat side walls and ceiling.

http://www.gedlee.com/downloads/directivity.pdf

http://www.pispeakers.com/Pi_Speakers_Info.pdf

Build an Effective Room Treatment on the Cheap - Envato Tuts+ Music & Audio Tutorial
http://www.universal-acoustics.com/docs/about/Universal_Treatment_Guide.pdf

Spend Time visiting high quality Audio Stores in your area to first -understand what type of "presentation" you and your family favor.
-Common wide directivity speakers ...reflections increase ambience
-Horn/waveguide controlled high frequency direcivity
-Dipole or Cardiod "reduced side energy" polar pattern across all frequencies LinkWitz website
 

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I should have pointed out, if you want to go modular, maybe sealed boxes are the wrong approach for you. You might be a lot happier with horns. Adding and removing a horn is a lot easier than adding or removing a cabinet, and I see at least one or two DIY-ers do just that. They seem to experiment with going to a 3 or 4 way horn system, play with different horn configurations, etc.

Horns have a lot of nice things to recommend them, including making it more fun to play with micro-power tube amps.

Plus, you get a lot more directionality and you get the immediacy that punches you in the gut and make you sing Belle Canto in the shower.

All are too big for me and not my cup of tea, but thought I'd throw that out there.

Best,


Erik
 
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