Need Complete Home Theater EL70/CHR-70/Alpair 7

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I recently picked up a new LG 55LE5400 and Denon AVR-990, and I'm looking to replace my aging Wayne J. Dayton Home Theater DIY.

My most recent DIY was a pair of CSS ELF 1.0 (Tangband W3-871S) driven with a Sonic Impact T-amp. That was ~3 years ago and they're still serving me as wonderful PC speakers. I decided it may be worth it too look into fullrange for my home theater setup as well.

I have 3 main constraints:

1. Complete complimentary system (LCR+surrounds).
2. Preferably 8-ohm speakers than can handle the claimed AVR-990 120W/ch.
3. This unfortunate setup:

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The viewing distance is about ~10' and the fronts of the speakers can be no more than 18" away from the wall (I'm assuming this elminates bipole designs?).

I've been primarily interested in the EL70, the CHR-70, and the Alpair 7 due to the favourable reviews and ease of access. In particular, I've been looking at the the Coniston^2 or the castle microTowers, but I'm not sure how well those will fare with my room and how I'd integrate a center and surrounds. I'd like to purchase from Creative Sound or Solen if possible. Duty, taxes, exchange, and brokerage fees are a pain for US purchases.

Other than what I've outlined, size/shape/complexity is a non-issue. I'm fairly skilled with woodworking and have a full shop (sans lathe) to play with.

Any help is greatly appreciated, and if there's anything else that would help in guiding me, please ask. Budget is not really an issue provided it's under $750 for all drivers.
 

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10' distance ?
can you get the alpair 12's ?
5 x alpair 12s = 5 x $143 (madisound, ship not included) = $715

see graham's alpair 12 setup.......
Graham's hifi page

I've never heard the 12, but people have liked the 12 here.

Norman

That looks quite nice. I'll have to give the 12's a closer look. I also notice he went with the 7's as surrounds. I think I'd probably do the same, but hopefully in a smaller package.

Does anyone know if the Alpair 12's are a substantial step up from the Alpair 7's or EL70's?
 
sound wise, I've no idea.
For me, the alpair 12 has almost 3 times the cone area yet has less than double the price (compared to dual alpair 7). The cone is also the same as 3 alpair 7's.

Coming from dual 4" setup (5" frames making for 114cm2 total cone area, still less than a alp12), I'm thinking it would be wiser to use a larger driver than 2 smaller ones run wide open. I'll report here when my alpair 12 pencils arrive.

Norman
 
sound wise, I've no idea.
For me, the alpair 12 has almost 3 times the cone area yet has less than double the price (compared to dual alpair 7). The cone is also the same as 3 alpair 7's.

Coming from dual 4" setup (5" frames making for 114cm2 total cone area, still less than a alp12), I'm thinking it would be wiser to use a larger driver than 2 smaller ones run wide open. I'll report here when my alpair 12 pencils arrive.

Norman

Excellent! Thanks.
 
frugal-phile™
Joined 2001
Paid Member
The A7, A10, & A12 are very much of a family. They all sound the "same". Differences lie pretty much as you'd guess based on their size. Dynamics, impact, dispersion, midrange finese, box size*, cost all a bit different based as one qould expect by their size. Bass extension of A7 is not that far from the A10 & A12 (whose LF reach are not all that different).

You won't go wrong with any of them.

*(optimum box size for my miniOnken boxes at 9, 13, 13 litres so that are not all that different, A12 Mar-Ken12 has finally resolved itself :))

These drivers are a step up in terms of finesse and downward dynamic range from the EL70, CHR70, but if you really like dynamics & impact 4 EL70s are likely going to outdo 1 A12. CHR70 not far behind and likes small sealed boxes so it will sit in places the others won't.

dave
 
For dedicated listening the A12 would be fine. However I think for home theater where you (or someone else) will not be directly on axis the A12 might be a poor choice.

What would you suggest as an alternative? It was actually your Lotus build with a center channel(pictured here) that got me looking at the Coniston^2.

They look incredible and I could build a pair for the pretty well the same price as a single A12. I also really like the center channel. Is there a design somewhere or is that a one-off?
 
frugal-phile™
Joined 2001
Paid Member
For dedicated listening the A12 would be fine. However I think for home theater where you (or someone else) will not be directly on axis the A12 might be a poor choice.

What would you suggest as an alternative?

Steven's reference has to do with driver size. As a generalization, a cone will get directional earlier if the driver is larger.

The A12 may not have the dispersion you need to cover someone way off centre. A smaller driver should do better in that respect.

That said, the Alpair cone has good dispersion relative their size.

dave
 
Thanks for all the excellent info. It's a bit of an adjustment to be totally clueless, coming from range of computer forums where I'm one of the seasoned experts, but you've been more than helpful thus far.

I'm getting very close to pulling the trigger. Just a couple more queries.

Having not seen too many boxes for the A12, I'm assuming the Pensil12 is a solid choice for L/R mains?

With regard to the dispersion characteristics, would I be better off going with an A7 or A10 on the center to keep dialogue intact off-axis? Also, I've seen a number of sealed centers. Is this more a space consideration, or is it complementary to the sounds in a general center channel track? I know the baffle plays an important role, but are their ill effects in placing a single driver cabinet horizontally instead of vertically?

Finally, for surrounds, I'm looking for a smaller box, wall-mountable would be ideal. Are there any A7 designs that would suit? I saw the mMars, but only for the CHR-70. Is it the same one for the A7?
 
frugal-phile™
Joined 2001
Paid Member
In theory A7 fits into a mMarS size box, but you'd need to scare up a set of the bezel-coverless versions (unlikely) to be able to fit it into the exact same shaped box. Not as extended in the bass as the CHR.

A7 would be better for centre as far as dispersion goes. A10 you won't see until Sometime late Nov at the earliest.

Pensil12 is a solid choice for mains. We are just getting started on both the Classic GR Mar-Ken12 and the Mar-Ken12 if a smaller enclosure would suit better (assumming we get as good a result as previous miniOnken)

dave
 
I guess that pretty well decides it. I think I'll be using the following:

Mains -Alpair 12 in Pensil12
Center - Alpair 7 (or two) in horizontal box, suggestions appreciated.
Surrounds - Alpair 7 in modified mMars

I'm assuming the single A7's will be able to handle my receiver output. Please advise if inaccurate.

I'm just waiting on CreativeSound to get back to me about matching the driver colours. I'm hoping they can do it. Aesthetics should be the last consideration, but staring at a mixed bag of drivers would surely drive me crazy.
 
Use a single driver or center channel.

Use the same driver for all channels.

With the size of the room you have, you should get more than sufficient volume before your reach the power limits of your suggested drivers.

I'm not an expert on HT, but IME....

I personally don't like a center channel and use a phantom center. This is a subject that elicits the same kind of religious fervor as cables and MDF. I would however recommend that you try it both ways.

If you assign your center channel as "small", and and particularly if you can make the XO above 100Hz, a single driver of the Alpair series should be able to handle the required power.

I wouldn't get too excited about using the same driver in all five positions, unless it is convenient. As long as they are in the same family, they will blend well enough. In particular, the rears are a completely different sound field than the mains. Unless you are in to classical concert DVD's, the surround field is pretty much manufactured by the recording engineer.

As I say, I'm not an expert on the subject, but this is what works for me.

Bob
 
I personally don't like a center channel and use a phantom center. This is a subject that elicits the same kind of religious fervor as cables and MDF. I would however recommend that you try it both ways.

I'll definitely be trying it both ways. I've been using a phantom center for the past 5 years or so, and I'm finding more recently with the combination of the large dynamic range in Blu-ray tracks and the the blending of the center channel with L/R, it ends up either making L/R sounds far too loud, or dialogue far too quiet. Now that I think of it, I may play around with some settings and see if I can't tweak that out. I've only had the AVR-990 for about a week, so I'm still working out getting the settings to my taste.

It's more convenient in almost every aspect to NOT have a center channel, but I'm going to give it a try regardless. Worst case, the 2 extra drivers I pick up for experimenting with the center can easily be re-purposed to replace my ELF1.0 PC setup. :)
 
please, please don't use 2 small drivers side by side. I'll dig up links if you want, but combing is a HUGE problem. For an elf setup, maybe, but not 2 drivers run wide open side by side, ever.

Last night I was sitting 7' from 2 time aligned thiels 6' apart (huge booksehelf / entertainment wall stand thing). In that setup, I'm wanting a center channel for movies (streamed down from netflix on my son's setup). I want the voice solidly anchored to the tv.

Currently I listen to a single speaker setup (1 or 2 way), because the voice to me was horrible listening in stereo after I played with ambiophonics (even on non time aligned 3 ways even, and I'm a full range driver lover). I've been close to ordering a dolby digital dts preamp, but I'm not there yet. I've ran it before but music is priority (90%) and my apartment neighbors are a pain without me running a subwoofer.

For the cost, buy 3 of the 12's and play. Run 3 across the front, run 2 in phantom across the front, try whatcha like. I found surround sounded like junk until I ran the exact same speakers front and back. Then finally the exact same speaker in the center also. True sound field. I agree with Bob that the family of alpairs should be very very similar.

Looking at the alp 12's freq response, there is an odd bump in the response. You can use that hump by keeping the baffle 10.5" wide, then add some boost below (the pencil design does this already). Since you are a woodworker, I'd make 4 of the pencil (or super) and a smallish sealed for a center.

With dolby digital or dts, voice is piped in the center, it is easier for the dialog than mixed in with everything when you run only left/right. You can even run the center a few db louder than left/right. Add to that the superior intelligibility of full range drivers and you have an awesome low to medium volume theater.

Norman
 
What would you suggest as an alternative? It was actually your Lotus build with a center channel(pictured here) that got me looking at the Coniston^2.

They look incredible and I could build a pair for the pretty well the same price as a single A12. I also really like the center channel. Is there a design somewhere or is that a one-off?

Dave hit the nail on the head. It's the size of the driver that I was referring to. It's probably not as bad as I make it out to be. And truth be told, the farther away you are from the speakers will help even more. That might be something to keep in mind.

That little center channel was a one off. I really can't even remember what I tuned it to. It's a cute little piece though and it does well for the guy I made it for.
 
Thanks for all the help guys. I ended up picking 3x Alpair 12's in front. L/R in Pensil12's, center in the same sealed center as Graham's FR HT project (Graham's hifi page).

I was a bit worried about the off-axis comments, but I did a quick sketchup with the boxes I'm building and as far as I can tell it won't be an issue.


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Rear's are 2x Alpair 7's in modified mMarS. I'm still not too sure how to situate them. I think it'll come down to experimentation with the awkward layout I'm faced with.

I probably won't have the drivers until the end of the week, but I finished cutting all the enclosures today. Just need to route and assemble. I'll be sure to post completed pics.
 

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