need help HT speakers for < $1200 kit

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I just finished my Hawaii set and it came out pretty well. I certainly learned lot. Thanks a lot for the help on my first diy project ever.

Anyways, my dad wants me to be more productive so I offered to build a whoel system for our family room. He wants 2 floor standing speakers, 2 rears and a center for less than < $1200. And maybe an extra $300 for the sub. Since it is for 30% movie and 70% music, what kit do you guys recommend? Please ask if you want more info.
any number of ways. assuming $1200 is not for drviers alone.

the most conventional would be a 6 " 2.5 way with a rear firing 6" for the difraction step compensation for the front. woofers about $50 tweeters about $30 (audax and vifa have models in this range that are easy to design XOs for). $30 per XO. $320 front pair.

rear 6" 2 way using same drviers as front $80 + $25 for XO. $210 for rear pair.

6" MTM for center $30 for XO $160 for center

320+160+210 = 700 for drivers and XOs
that leaves $500 for wood.
if you have a larger budget and want to somethng a bit unconventional....

1" tweeter
5 or 6" woofer (most 6" are better value buys)
8" rear facing woofer for bass augmentation and baffle step compensation
10" passive radiator (must be matched with 8")
cabinet front baffle 8" wide rear baffle 12" wide. A copy of the Vandersteen 3A is a nice option. see
Cost $500 per pair

You might manage with a 1st order series XO see for more info.

6 or 8" 2way. There are a few 8" woofers that extend up to 1000-1200Hz. There are tweeters that can be XOed at 2500hz. the ocatve between this can be compensated by difraction step. The reason I recomended 8" is that there is enough information in the rear channels of modern movies to need as big a woofer as one can get. $250 per pair

6" MTM again look at Vandersteen's center for a nice MTM concept. you need a tweeter that can be XOed quite low for this as the concentric driver they use is rather expensive. A variation of this design allowing the 6" to breathe more is an alternatiive. $160.

$900 + wood. this might go over the $1200 budget mentioned. but will give you a awful lot of bang for the buck. You can skip the 10 PR and save $40-50. Or use the money save to make the 8" into a TL.
The amp is an Onkyo AV reciever with integrated DVD right now. I believe we are upgrading soon to something like the Denon 2802.

Since I still dont have that much experience with building speakers yet. I would rather have something easy to do or maybe a kit that comes with the enclosure prebuilt but still have a lot of bang for the buck.

Of course my other family members are going to judge this set against my uncle's Klipsch RF2 set so if possible please give me a comparison between the recommended kit to the Klipsh.
If you're just getting into DIY, take a close look at some of the HT kits available - designing from scratch is a lot of fun, but this situation calls for a predictable result within a limited time frame (designs from scratch usually end up being tinkered with for quite a while).

The top pick within the price range is the Audax HT kit, designed for Audax by Joseph D'Appolito:

The speakers are well-designed (of course, look who designed 'em :)), and at $650 for parts, fit well into most budgets. Construction is straightforward - just don't build the sub. A plate amp from Parts Express ($120) and a decent driver ($100-$150 from Adire, etc) will do a much better job than the provided design.

As far as sound quality - it's been compared well to an Atlantic Technologies system, around $4500. More than this, I've never come across a negative comment among the DIY community, which is quite a feat. I've built a set for the parents who run them off of a Yamaha RX-V800 - sounds fine for both music and movies. The center channel is a rather nice design.

If having front floor standing speakers is important for aesthetics, you'd need to modify the front channel cabinet design somewhat. There is at least one project write-up on the web (somewhere out there) with a floorstanding Audax HT kit modification.

If you go ahead with this kit leave a note in the thread and I'll see what else I can remember about building this kit. Good hunting!

Joined 2002
That kit is an attractive option.

Taligent or anyone,

Where do you get the comparison for this system vs the Atlantic Technologies system or any other system for that matter?

If anyone knows the links to modified floor standing version for the front, let me know. Thanks so much for the help. I need to do more researching. =)
Solen has the kit with all cross parts for fronts=277, center=244, and surrounds =178 US. About seven hundred for everything but the sub These guys should give me commission!
Hey pink mouse, I like that slab you're using for a base. I've got a whole busted up ledge right next to my house. Now you've got me think ing....
ps I agree this sounds like a kit job. You don't want to have time constraints on something you would like to keep tweaking. Boom bang-here onto my next project.
best luck, Jason
Joined 2002
Hey pink mouse, I like that slab you're using for a base.

The most cost effective tweak I ever made, 2 sandstone slabs at £1.20 each:D :D

It tightens up the bass and improves imaging no end, equivalent to spending about £100 on improved crossover components at a rough guess;)

If anyone knows the links to modified floor standing version for the front, let me know.

You could probably just extend the cabinet vertically to the height you want, and just close off the unwanted volume, and maybe fill it with sand or something to add mass, ( or fill it full of active crossovers and amps!!).
A review of the Audax center channel:

Audax Center Channel Speaker

Google's cache of a DIY write-up at what used to be at

Edit- Google link isn't working. At google, search for:


and select the cache of the D-I-Why? page.

Various threads and websites:

You can probably turn up more info around the web, try, etc.

If you're careful while putting together a parts list you'll be able to meet the $650 mark while using good quality components throughout. PartsExpress is good about giving discounts for quantity orders (drivers, inductors), while Madisound can fill out the rest (Solen caps for all values, and resistors).

On a trivial note, PartsExpress usually packs in some interesting toys in large orders. Not sure if it's done now considering the state of the US economy, but a year and a half ago they tossed in a Polaroid zoom-lens APS camera with the Audax order. Interesting surprise.

Anyone has opinions on GR-Research AV3 and AV1+? I was thinking that one can get the pair of AV3 for the front $329, the AV1+ $300, and a single AV1+ $160 which all add up to about $788 versus the Audax kit which is about $610 at Madisound (all price doesnt include shipping).

According to GR-Research, the AV3 is very similar to the AV1+ besides that it goes a little deeper so I dont think timbre matching is a problem.

There's a $178 difference between the two but they are still in the same ballpark. How would the GR-Research system compare to the Audax? Is it worth the extra money?
Dickason Kit

You might also try the Vance Dickason HT kit (I didn't see it mentioned earlier). Parts Express sells it. I don't know the price but I think its in your range. They also sell the cabinets premade since you had specified some interest in that. They're not floorstander fronts--just stand-needy MTM's. I don't think you can just build a bookshelf design to the ground without altering the performance even if you do seal off the chamber. When the baffle dimensions are changed I believe it changes the Baffle step compensation and consequently the xover. Maybe try talking to your dad into something on stands.

The design is also covered in detail in the 6th edition "Loudspeaker Design Cookbook."
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