mtm versus tm driver recommendations on project with $500 driver and xo part limit

I just finished building a pair of MMMTMMM's for a friend of mine, and am interested in making a pair of speakers for myself. I listen to a wide range of music from rock (mostly classic) to jazz and classical recordings. I am a little skeptical of building or for that matter purchasing parts for the project since all my purchases to date have been after extensive listening tests, but reading this board has started to convince me that there are some out there who build for excellence in addition to value. I have extensive woodworking experience (tapered lamination, cabinetmaking, furniture projects), am not a bass freak, and place a high importance on voice reproduction and instrument sustain in the mid range and up through the high freq's.

My current stereo:

Creek 5350SE integrated amp, a Rega Planet (1999 model), and a Linn LP-12 turntable, Norman Labs Model 11 speakers (notice big weak spot).

As mentioned in the headline for my first personal project I would like to keep the driver and xo parts cost under $500. So far I have been largely debating between a TM and TMW designs. I was considering TL but am not shying away because I live in a smallish irregularly walled (concave) apartment and I listen to rock quite a bit. The TMW system that I was considering was a Vifa XT25TG30-04 ring tweeter, Peerless HDS 134 (850488) 5" mid-bass, and Peerless HDS 205 (805490) 8" bass. xo'ing between 2-3kHz for the top set, and 300Hz on the lower set. This gives space for an octave above/below, and relative smooth xo dropoff. The TM config that I was considering would be something like Vifa XT25 tweeter and then Focal 5w4211 mid-bass monitor-ish looking setup crossed over between 2.5-3kHz. I have heard some grumblings about the Vifa tweeter, but don't know of any other low price yet good sounding tweeters out there. I'd love to be able to get a R1 or 9700, but for my first project and without hearing beforehand, I'd like to make something to bolster my confidence first.
Re: many, many, many possibilities

gsattler said:
Focal, Morel

There are a HUGE number of possibilities for your project and many-many really decent drivers. Getting a combo that works together and then making an XO to suit is not an easy task. Given that it is your 1st crack i'd stick to something that has already been sorted out.

One possibility -- John K has what he calls an LS3/5A clone that is a well thought-out design using a Focal mid-bass and a Morel tweeter. I wouldn't call it a clone -- that would require the same drivers.

If it doesn't produce enuff bottom, add an active sub.

Another interesting one is the TLb -- althou it wouldn't come close to eating half your budget. It has the very simple XOs i prefer. Hey you could use the left-over cash to do an active sub :^)

If you can't tell, i'm a big fan of smallish speakers with subs -- it gives me lots of versatility and gorgeous mids...

I'm sure others can point out projects that would help fill out the list of possibilities.


I was very interested in the TLb at first, though since I live in a very irregularly shaped small apartment and listen to alot of rock, in addition to jazz and classical, it seemed from the Hass papers and information at that TL speakers are probably not right for my living conditions and listening style. A great design though I have to admit.
Re: TLb?

gsattler said:
I was very interested in the TLb at first, though ... that TL speakers are probably not right for my living conditions and listening style. A great design though I have to admit.

All the stuff in the TLb that may not make it suitable for your living room has to do with its biploar nature not that it is a TL.

The midbass in the TLb -- the Vifa P13WH-00 -- is an outstanding driver. It is used in the Ariel, and i have had a lot of opportunity to listen to Chris' Dalines which use the same midbass. He swapped the Linn T for a modified Vifa (the numbers confuse me) and started out with a complex computer simulated XO. As he listened he started throwing out parts until he ended up with what was best -- a single cap. That is one of the beauties of this driver -- it is well enuff behaved you can just run it FR.

In the context of your room, you could take the TLb, lose the tweeter on the back and put an inductor in series at about the baffle-step frequency. This is now a two and a half way in the same box. Or you could move the back woofer to the front (still with the inductor) and work the box a bit (you would have to be a bit more judicious with inductor choice since front-firing any miss on the exact frequency becomes more audible than when it was on the back and firing into the wall. You can configure the drivers MTM or TMM.


The next step in this series is to clone the Krix Euphonix. It uses 4 in a 2 1/2 way. Because of the MTM at the top you probably need to move back to a more complex XO at a lower frequency, you have to worry about tweeter levels and ultimate impedance.

As much as the Krix design fascinates me*, one of the 1st 2 2.5 ways with a sub makes more sense to me.

*(i will build a similar unit just to get it out of my blood -- i have more than enuff PSB/Vifa 170mm drivers to do it).