Oh to hack with it (aka: to h*** with space, I wan'ts me some new speakers!)

Well, here's some background. About 6 years ago I got into diy audio, and built myself a pair of rather marvelous speakers (by my standards at the time). I had the cabinets and crossovers done by Zalytron, who gave me an excellent setup for a very good price (right about 1k for the whole shebang, all parts included). My level of expertise at this isn't the greatest, but I have enjoyed the system I made for the whole time I had it.

Unfortunately, they are getting old and a bit worn down from near constant usage (I listen to music or watch movies every day) and they're due for replacement. To be blunt, I /did/ put them through hell (8 moves, lots of shipping, assembling, disassembling, tweaking, loud music, etc). They've done amazingly well, but now I'm getting bit by the bug yet again...

Now, the system as of now consists of a Meridian 586.2 for source and an Arcam AVR200 for pre-amp and powering duties. Using some nice transparent cables all the way through the system and the speakers as well. The speakers are a 3-way, using a Seas Excel silk dome tweeter, Excel magnesium cone 6.5" woofer and a Zalytron 8" sub. They've done very well all things considered, with a full midrange, good clean highs and nice bass. The soundstage has been good and the imaging very pleasing, but after several years of listening, I'm noticing they're lacking the true depth or clarity I'm starting to crave, as well as the impact in the lows.

Taking this all into account, I've started on the path to a new system. My new criteria are:

1) To hell with space. I want a system that sounds good dammit.

2) I'm not nearly skilled enough to make my own amps, otherwise I would. Therefore, I am snagging a used Levinson 331 to hook up to my Meridian controller/pre that is collecting dust (562v3) as well as getting some balanced interconnects and better cabling. The amp and pre can be changed though (maybe something from Pass?) if there are other suggestions ;)

3) I want a system that can be just as good at low volumes as at high volumes. Or as close to this as I can get anyway.

4) I /really/ want a good soundstage and imaging. My hearing is extremely sharp and not much makes me enjoy music more than a system that can do this in spades.

5) The music I listen to can involve a lot of bass, so the lower octaves are a priority, whether or not this involves a new sub as well. In fact, that might even be fun. But I expect to power it with the levinson unless I really don't need to.

6) My budget is $5k or so. Maybe a bit more depending on how many more I.T. contracts I complete before I really get going :D

7) The girlfriend factor is not a problem. Hell, she enjoys helping me geek out with model trains and as far as she's concerned, speakers are just as much fun (she wan't to build amps too, but I had to put my foot down and say "not yet hon" - that's a ways off for sure :xeye:

Yes, my girlfriend is a rare find. I'm a keepin' this one :cool:

Aaaaanyway, enough rambling about stuff, now to the meat of my dilemna:

I called Zalytron and talked to the same gentleman who sold me my kits so many years ago (I forgot his name, but he's been a huuuuuge help to me). He recommended something using the Focal Audiom TLR and 4 7" woofers (I think focals as well). This brought me to thinking about maybe a line array of some sort, or at least lots of drivers (the better to handle power?). He recommended I call Alan at Orcadesign (Alan, if you read this, I'm soooooo sorry that I just called out of the blue, especially when you were probably busy - my sincere apologies!). I asked Alan his opinion and he suggested the New York Noisemaker, which uses the Raven R3 and two 10" woofers (Peerless?) crossed over at 800Hz.

Well, two rather different suggestions here. I'm not sure what sort of sound each will yield. I mean, I'm not going for crazy volume 100% of the time here. My girlfriend and I enjoy listening to some music during dinner at lower volumes or when just chilling on the couch. We also enjoy movies playing pretty loud with good 'ol hard-hitting bass beating us around without being tiring.

I'm not sure of the sound these suggestions will yield. I'm not even sure these will do what I want. I've searched a lot of threads and found some great systems and setups, but I'm still not quite sure what's going to get the sound I'm after.

Ideas I've had on my own were for a system built around a single tweeter with 4-6 woofers. Maybe a simpler 3-way system. I even have been simply looking at dynaudio speakers in general (I love their sound). Heck, if a pair of small 2-way speakers would do it, I'd build 'em happily and put the $$ into working on my race car, but I'm willing to shell out the cash to make something really special.

I'd love to hear ideas and suggestions, even just pointers to threads I missed. Any thoughts on what I've got going here is much appreciated.

Thanks all!

-Copper

Note: I'm going to get some system pics up here soon as I can snag 'em, as well as a diagram of my listening room with dimensions, so space can be taken into account.
 
Originally posted by copper
(she wan't to build amps too, but I had to put my foot down and say "not yet hon" - that's a ways off for sure


The gainclone kits have made it pretty easy to build your 1st amp...

The Raven R3 is considered one of the vey best ... if you need bottom thou, i'd consider a smaller mid (say a Jordan JX125 or 1 or a a pair of JX92 -- the latter since JX125 are pretty scarce) and some serious woofers... 4 12s or 2 15s or 18s. Those ravens sure eat up a lot of your budget.

A line array is more a quantity thing... you need an array of tweeters (i wonder what the discount is on 18 R3s?), ribbons would be best...

maybe a pr of R45s (http://www.newformresearch.com/bare-ribbons.htm) next to a row of Aura 3" or CSS WR125 or FE103 or <pick a killer wide range> next to a row of 8" or 10"

18 10" + 60 3" + 4 45" -- depending on what you choose for mid & woof close to your budget... they will need a HUGE room thou. Triamping would be a good idea. Should have effortless dynamics and produce a very BIG sound with low distortion.

dave
 

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Re: Re: Oh to hack with it (aka: to h*** with space, I wan'ts me some new speakers!)

planet10 said:


The gainclone kits have made it pretty easy to build your 1st amp...


I'd love to do that actually, but I don't want to bite off more than I can chew at first. I have seen a few sites with those projects though and they seem like a lot of fun :)

The Raven R3 is considered one of the vey best ... if you need bottom thou, i'd consider a smaller mid (say a Jordan JX125 or 1 or a a pair of JX92 -- the latter since JX125 are pretty scarce) and some serious woofers... 4 12s or 2 15s or 18s. Those ravens sure eat up a lot of your budget.

A line array is more a quantity thing... you need an array of tweeters (i wonder what the discount is on 18 R3s?), ribbons would be best...

Maybe not quite a line array then? Just one tweeter and a group of woofers? One thought off the top of my head is an Raven and 6-8 other drivers.

maybe a pr of R45s (http://www.newformresearch.com/bare-ribbons.htm) next to a row of Aura 3" or CSS WR125 or FE103 or <pick a killer wide range> next to a row of 8" or 10"

18 10" + 60 3" + 4 45" -- depending on what you choose for mid & woof close to your budget... they will need a HUGE room thou. Triamping would be a good idea. Should have effortless dynamics and produce a very BIG sound with low distortion.

dave

*stops drooling*

Wow, that's a hell of a speaker. Unfortunately, probably would require a lot more space than I have available, but someday ;)

The big sound with low distortion is what seems to be my aim with this system, though low volumes sounding good is also a goal.

Thanks for the reply! :)
 
Re: Re: Re: Oh to hack with it (aka: to h*** with space, I wan'ts me some new speakers!)

Originally posted by copper
Maybe not quite a line array then? Just one tweeter and a group of woofers? One thought off the top of my head is an Raven and 6-8 other drivers.


That raven goes down pretty low ... but it is important to keep interdriver distance down -- dig out Jim Griffin's line array paper to get a real good idea of how interdriver spacing affects where you should XO stuff. 1 or 2 small drivers in the critical midrange (or floor to ceiling). As well, relieving the mid drivers of serious excursion is the biggest benefit of real woofers. With the Raven going down to 600-800 Hz you want mids that go from there down to 80-125 Hz and then something that moves air below that.

Personally i like to keep XOs out of the 300-5k range, so i'd base a big budget system like this on a killer full-range driver.

dave
 
Re: Re: Re: Re: Oh to hack with it (aka: to h*** with space, I wan'ts me some new speakers!)

planet10 said:
That raven goes down pretty low ... but it is important to keep interdriver distance down -- dig out Jim Griffin's line array paper to get a real good idea of how interdriver spacing affects where you should XO stuff. 1 or 2 small drivers in the critical midrange (or floor to ceiling). As well, relieving the mid drivers of serious excursion is the biggest benefit of real woofers. With the Raven going down to 600-800 Hz you want mids that go from there down to 80-125 Hz and then something that moves air below that.

Well, I'm happy to make 1 or 2 subs to go with this, or build them into the cabinet too. As for tweeters, what others might fit the bill besides the raven?

Taking this into account, how about this: 1 tweeter, 4 mid-woofers, 4 subs. Probably 5.25" or 6" mid-woofs, and the subs being slightly higher vmax and 8" or so. Possibly put the subs on the back? or arrange it kind like a SS-WW-T-WW-SS? It's not too late to change my amplification strategy either, I could go with some bi or tri amping if that will yield the best sound.

Personally i like to keep XOs out of the 300-5k range, so i'd base a big budget system like this on a killer full-range driver.

dave

I'm really apprehensive about full range drivers. I've never heard one that sounded the way I want...not to say they don't exist, but I'd like to not walk that path on this project.

Again, thanks so much for your input Dave! :)
 
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Oh to hack with it (aka: to h*** with space, I wan'ts me some new speakers!)

Originally posted by copper
how about this: 1 tweeter, 4 mid-woofers, 4 subs. Probably 5.25" or 6" mid-woofs, and the subs being slightly higher vmax and 8" or so.


The problem with 4 mid-woofs is getting a tweeter that goes low enuff... even 2 (ie MTM) puts the XO quite low. The XO point is pretty much determined by how close you can get the centres of the mid-woofers that are furthest apart.

Think 1 or 2 midwoofs (or twice that if you go bipole (but that is a whole nother thing...

Woofers would be separate since their optimim room placement is different than the tops.


I'm really apprehensive about full range drivers. I've never heard one that sounded the way I want...not to say they don't exist, but I'd like to not walk that path on this project.


The best midranges are full-ranges.

dave
 
These speakers are highly regarded and use a ribbon tweeter- I believe a raven.

http://www.aerialacoustics.com/Aerial/prods.html

That would be their Model 20T I'm referring to.

I've never heard them but they look like one of the configurations you are considering.But bigger woofers for yours- if only for appearance!!

If you could find some to audition, that might answer a lot of questions for you.

Ribbons would give you a change- so I think that's a possible way to go. They CAN sound really good. I love mine.

People assume that they have a whispy, light sound, but that's not true if used right, IMHO

The NY Noisemakers are named somewhat tongue in cheek I suspect. Just playing loudly isn't their point. Loud and very good - maybe.

*&*****


These Orions
http://www.linkwitzlab.com/


are considered very very good, are designed by a guy with great credentials, and can be powered by lots of little chip amps (you can use the kits that are available at various places on DIY Audio)

Speaking of kits, he will supply the quite complex crossovers already built or in kit form- and instructions on how to make the wood parts-or supply those also. A kit or at least instructions, is the only way you are going to get a great speaker without LOTS of work and frustration IMHO.

They use SEAS drivers that you already are familiar with, so are not a radical change for you,although ea speaker has 2 12" woofers
HOWEVER I suspect that they sound quite different in this open baffle design. ie MUCH better

The only hesitancy I would have is that they aren't made for maximum volume, The 12" drivers are used in an open baffle arrangement, which has much less output than other configurtations. BUT , if you make his Thor subwoofer, it takes some of the load off the woofers and he says allows much more volume and LOW bass. With the sub I'll bet you will have plenty of volume.


Last I looked at the site I noticed Linkwitz has a small vacation house at Sea Ranch in Northern California - a beautiful place. You can rent his place for $400 for 2 nights and snuggle with your deserving GF,

AND he has the speakers and system all set up to listen to while you are there. Gotta admire his marketing!!

Mark
 
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Oh to hack with it (aka: to h*** with space, I wan'ts me some new speakers!)

Originally posted by pinkmouse
Can you get Volt drivers over there? I'm thinking Raven, 2x Audax PR170M0, and a Volt R3823 or two on the bottom...


Interesting driver, thanks for the link. I'll check that configuration out.

Originally posted by planet10


The problem with 4 mid-woofs is getting a tweeter that goes low enuff... even 2 (ie MTM) puts the XO quite low. The XO point is pretty much determined by how close you can get the centres of the mid-woofers that are furthest apart.


Ahhhhhhh. I did not know this. :D

Think 1 or 2 midwoofs (or twice that if you go bipole (but that is a whole nother thing...


Hehe, no bipole for me. I really need to get a diagram of my room done though so the restrictions on placement are evident. :(

Woofers would be separate since their optimim room placement is different than the tops.


Agreed. I'd be happy to make a pair and stick them in seperate boxes in the room. Would I power the woofers off the same amp, or set them with a plate amp in their boxes?

The best midranges are full-ranges.

dave


:eek:

Originally posted by Variac
These speakers are highly regarded and use a ribbon tweeter- I believe a raven.

http://www.aerialacoustics.com/Aerial/prods.html

That would be their Model 20T I'm referring to.

I've never heard them but they look like one of the configurations you are considering.But bigger woofers for yours- if only for appearance!!

If you could find some to audition, that might answer a lot of questions for you.


Agreed. That is kinda turning into the configuration I'm starting to lean towards. Are there any designs right now using this configuration, or something close? Maybe MTM-WW?

Ribbons would give you a change- so I think that's a possible way to go. They CAN sound really good. I love mine.


Cool! It does sound like a fun change from simple domes. :)

I've not gotten to hear ribbons on their own before, so I've been wondering how they will perform. Most of the music I listen to varies wildly in composition, so I really need something that will perform well with all types of music. I'm really beginning to lean towards the R3 right now, maybe with a single or dual mid and two seperate subs.

People assume that they have a whispy, light sound, but that's not true if used right, IMHO


What's the right way to use them in your opinion?

The NY Noisemakers are named somewhat tongue in cheek I suspect. Just playing loudly isn't their point. Loud and very good - maybe.


Hehehehe. Yeah, I wasn't quite sure if those were right for me.

These Orions
http://www.linkwitzlab.com/


are considered very very good, are designed by a guy with great credentials, and can be powered by lots of little chip amps (you can use the kits that are available at various places on DIY Audio)

Speaking of kits, he will supply the quite complex crossovers already built or in kit form- and instructions on how to make the wood parts-or supply those also. A kit or at least instructions, is the only way you are going to get a great speaker without LOTS of work and frustration IMHO.

They use SEAS drivers that you already are familiar with, so are not a radical change for you,although ea speaker has 2 12" woofers
HOWEVER I suspect that they sound quite different in this open baffle design. ie MUCH better

The only hesitancy I would have is that they aren't made for maximum volume, The 12" drivers are used in an open baffle arrangement, which has much less output than other configurtations. BUT , if you make his Thor subwoofer, it takes some of the load off the woofers and he says allows much more volume and LOW bass. With the sub I'll bet you will have plenty of volume.


They look like a great speaker, but the ~$6k+ total is getting out of my price range there. They also would need to be placed well away from walls, correct? That could cause problems with my size restrictions. I am a fan of the seas drivers though, that's for sure :)

Last I looked at the site I noticed Linkwitz has a small vacation house at Sea Ranch in Northern California - a beautiful place. You can rent his place for $400 for 2 nights and snuggle with your deserving GF,

AND he has the speakers and system all set up to listen to while you are there. Gotta admire his marketing!!

Mark [/B]


Oh man, she read that and is thinking of checking it out. Well, can't complain about a short vacation - and I'm not far away from there either! :D

Thanks everyone for the help!

(sheesh, could I have made this post any longer?! :xeye: )
 
sheesh! The 6000 figure is for finished wood cabinets, speakers completely assembled and finished ie like you bought them in a store,
and ready to plug into your preamp.


Without his amps, WITH precut wood WITH an assembled crossover,
INCLUDING the drivers and all the instructiions, and Cd and stuff it comes out to around $3000.

You just have to assemble it, finish the wood, Maybe make the grilles if you even want them.

I think you only need 8 channels. You can make 8 gainclones -which are basically what he recommends on the site if you don't buy that assembled amp. You should be able to make all the channels for arond $500.

They DO have to have the fronts 4' from the back wall, but any speaker really sounds best about that far out. Cold be a problem though-I'll admit that/

I'll bet you 've never heard those drivers sound as good!

You can make the subs later....

here's the house link:
http://www.linkwitzlab.com/orion_searanch.htm
 
Variac said:
sheesh! The 6000 figure is for finished wood cabinets, speakers completely assembled and finished ie like you bought them in a store,
and ready to plug into your preamp.


Without his amps, WITH precut wood WITH an assembled crossover,
INCLUDING the drivers and all the instructiions, and Cd and stuff it comes out to around $3000.

You just have to assemble it, finish the wood, Maybe make the grilles if you even want them.

I think you only need 8 channels. You can make 8 gainclones -which are basically what he recommends on the site if you don't buy that assembled amp. You should be able to make all the channels for arond $500.

They DO have to have the fronts 4' from the back wall, but any speaker really sounds best about that far out. Cold be a problem though-I'll admit that/

I'll bet you 've never heard those drivers sound as good!

You can make the subs later....

here's the house link:
http://www.linkwitzlab.com/orion_searanch.htm


My apologies, didn't mean to offend or anything. I think that building amps will be biting off more than I can chew, unless they're uber-simple (I really am terrible with complex electronics or circuits). Regardless, they are very appealling and quite gorgeous, with a lot of positive feedback on their performance, so I'm giving 'em a real good look (the GF has final cosmetic approval actually, her sense of design is far better than mine :D )

Going back in the thread a bit now, I'm actually looking at the array that Dave mentioned and getting interested in some variations on that theme. How could it be tweaked to require a bit less space but still get that sound? Is a system like the pipedream a feasable proposition? Or am I missing something key about the whole line-array concept?
 
Originally posted by copper
Going back in the thread a bit now, I'm actually looking at the array that Dave mentioned and getting interested in some variations on that theme. How could it be tweaked to require a bit less space but still get that sound? Is a system like the pipedream a feasable proposition? Or am I missing something key about the whole line-array concept?


To use less space you'd go from a full woofer array to just a parr of subs (say 2x12" each, 2 so you can take advantage of push-push, if that is too big, 2 x 10" or 4 x 8") Then you could build the main array out of 3 or 4" drivers & get the width down to 4-5" + the width of the tweeters -- the newforms are self-supporting so they could just be attached to the side of the mid-woof line. Mount each driver in a folded aperiodic line and you have a "small" array. An arrary should approach floor to ceiling but in practice couls be shorter (the newform comes in 30" as well so you could use 2 of those for a 6 ft line, or even 1 45" for a 5 ft line.

If you can live with a bit wider, you could use the 1kHz XO of the newforms to build the mid-woofer line with extremis 6.8s and possibly live without woofers at all.

dave
 
Hi Copper

My apologies, didn't mean to offend or anything. I think that building amps will be biting off more than I can chew, unless they're uber-simple (I really am terrible with complex electronics or circuits).

That is a good desciption of a Gainclone :) Here is a image of the Gainclone circuit:
[IMGDEAD]http://users.verat.net/~pedjarogic/audio/gainclone/images/inv-gc_sch.gif[/IMGDEAD]
The power-supply might be a more difficult, but not too much. You could always have a buddy build that for you. :smash: :)

Just go to the Chip Amps forum here on diyAudio to have a look and read up a bit about this phenomenon we call Gainclone. :) You'll get a lot of help there.

Enjoy,
Deon
 
here is the easiest approach to making a chip amp:

http://www.chipamp.com/lm4780.shtml

There are other vendors, and you could do it all yourself, but at least study how simple these things are. I built a couple with no experience, and no test equipment. They would probably be best for speakers with multiple amps, but work very well, and sound quite powerful in most circumstances.

Back to the speakers:

Since you are a newbie, pretty much, you are going to have to convince somone to design the crossover for you. To get it right isn't a matter of someone sitting down for a few minutes and calculating.

Unless you decide on an established design, or someone experiencd takes it on as a project (possibly seduced by your high budget ;))
I think your results will be quite poor. Again, even if the thing is calculated, it doesn't mean that in real life it will sound as good as it can- that takes tweaking...

PS: Planet 10 knows his stuff- you arelucky to have him interested ;)
 
Variac said:
here is the easiest approach to making a chip amp:

http://www.chipamp.com/lm4780.shtml

There are other vendors, and you could do it all yourself, but at least study how simple these things are. I built a couple with no experience, and no test equipment. They would probably be best for speakers with multiple amps, but work very well, and sound quite powerful in most circumstances.

Back to the speakers:

Since you are a newbie, pretty much, you are going to have to convince somone to design the crossover for you. To get it right isn't a matter of someone sitting down for a few minutes and calculating.

Unless you decide on an established design, or someone experiencd takes it on as a project (possibly seduced by your high budget ;))
I think your results will be quite poor. Again, even if the thing is calculated, it doesn't mean that in real life it will sound as good as it can- that takes tweaking...


Chipamps or gainclones are starting to seem the way to go. I could easily tri-amp without much trouble it seems. But as for having to make crossovers, I'm getting a bit disheartened and starting to lean towards a more established design. It probably isn't best for me to make a design this complex on my own, so I'm going to start poking through the designs I know of and maybe pick something out. So far, I think the most likely is either Odins or the W-Line Array from Zalytron.

For something to design entirely on my own, I think I'm going to wait for these to be done and then start on something smaller. :)

(And yeah, planet10 has been a /huge/ help :) )
 

SpeakerBob

Member
2002-08-15 6:21 pm
UK
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Oh to hack with it (aka: to h*** with space, I wan'ts me some new speakers!)

planet10 said:


-snip-

The problem with 4 mid-woofs is getting a tweeter that goes low enuff... even 2 (ie MTM) puts the XO quite low. The XO point is pretty much determined by how close you can get the centres of the mid-woofers that are furthest apart.
-snip-

dave


You could always use the outside 2 mids for baffle step compensation - 2.5 way. This keeps your mtm xo at its original place.

Cheers,

Rob
 
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Oh to hack with it (aka: to h*** with space, I wan'ts me some new speake

Originally posted by RobWells
You could always use the outside 2 mids for baffle step compensation - 2.5 way. This keeps your mtm xo at its original place.


And if you are going to do that -- a good idea if you are out in the room at all -- then putting them on the back where their phase roll is in the shadow of the box is a good idea.

dave
 
Well, my available space lets me place the speakers a max of 3' away from all walls, and the ceiling height is 9'. I see your point about the use of a 2.5 way, Rob, but I'm not totally clear on the concept.

And if you are going to do that -- a good idea if you are out in the room at all -- then putting them on the back where their phase roll is in the shadow of the box is a good idea.

dave

:confused: Not quite sure what you mean here. Are you saying relegate some of the drivers to the rear of the cabinet instead?

Again, many thanks to all contributors, I'm learning a lot about this from your excellent advice! :)