Scan-Speak speakers and X-over

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Hi everybody,

I have decided to make some new speakers to replace the Paradigm Monitor 5 I have been using for that last few years.

I auditioned some Totem Hawk speakers ( , and I fell in love with them. These speakers are 2600.00 CND a pair and I figure I can build something like them for half the price or something better for the same price.

These speakers are using a variation of the Scan-Speak 5.5” 15W/8530K00 diver and an German made Tweeter.

I will like to build the cabinet like the one on the cover of August Audioxpress mag. ( This design is a WTW design in an oak box; therefore I will need for one speaker, 2 drivers, one tweeter and a crossover network. The Totem Hawks uses one diver and one tweeter per speaker.

My questions are:

In your speaker building experience will this design perform well with the Scan-Speak drivers or should I go with a single woofer (like the Totems) in the floor standing speaker?

What will be a good match for the tweeter with the Scan-Speak drivers?

The Scan-Speak drivers have a Vas of 28L, because I would like to use two in one box do I have design the box for 48L?

Can you suggest a crossover network design to use with this speaker? First-order? Second order? Third? Fourth? Pre-made or made from scratch schematic and parts list.

Will a different diver give as good or better performance at a better price. The Scan-speak drivers are 174.90 US each.

Any other suggestions will be greatly appreciated.


pardon my french and english, I am italian, and I don't understand what exactly is that you want to do. You fell in love with the totems but you want to build an MTM with different drivers, Xovers, and cabinet??!!??! It's like saying that you fell in love with Halle Berry but you are going to marry Connie Chung.
I don't know much about the Totems, the kind of xover components they use etc, the problem with trying something like that at home is that there are 9 out of 10 chances that you are going to come up with a turnip that is going to sound like ***.
I could whip up a couple of formulas and come up with a few Xovers designs in a matter of minutes the problem is that until you try, go through painstakingly long listening sessions and component swapping (which requires having tons of components to swap) and optimization, there is very little chance to "get it".
I went with an active xover and biamp and $1000 worth of scan speak drivers, after months of dicking around I came to the conclusion that the whole thing has the potential to sound 10 times better than it does right now.
I am sure a lot of people around here will swear by their system and rather go down with the ship before admitting that they are not entirely happy with the sound.
Have you ever been to an audio show? CES or whatever?? I did several times and I noticed that I would go from booth to booth and find famous brand names systems that sounded like crap, other systems that sounded good until I heard others that sounded even better and maybe one in the entire show that really "clicked" for me and that I would take home.
What I am trying to say is that if you really feel that deeply about the totems, that's what you should buy.
Well the bottom line is.. I want to build a speaker that is not going to sound like *** and looks good. I guess that is the goal for all of us. I asked the question about the scan-speak drivers because that what the diver in the Totems are using. I auditioned them and they sound fantastic. (not ***) Plus I can buy these drivers from solen in Montreal. I dont really want to copy the Totems but they are the only ones that I heard with drivers that can be bought online. So that how I decided to use the Scan-speak drivers. Then I seen the artical from audioxpress about making the oak speaker boxes and I thought cool.... I can make those and they will look good in my house. So my goal is to put the Scan-speak drivers into the WTW boxes, have it sound and look good. I have never made speakers before and went into research how to design this thing. Thats when it got confusing and it started to not become as easy as I thought. I got lost on designing of the crossovers and the size of the box I needed. I read stuff on passive vs active, different filter orders, the size of the box... etc. Then when I had something figured out. I found that is was for a sealed box and not a ported box. That when i started thinking. yeah if I like to Totems so much , why dont I just go and buy them. But dam it, I want to make some speakers because buying them will just be the easy way out and not as fulfilling So am I foolish. Maybe. But If my finished speakers sound like *** then ether take the drivers out and redesign or say these are my *** sucking speakers I made my self and I like them. But with your help I can make great sounding speakers and not have to go through the redesign.

So I would like I a speaker with 2x 15W/8530k00 + 1 tweeter and I would like sugestions on the xover and box design.


James C.
diyAudio Editor
Joined 2001
Paid Member
Both of these companies sell kits that are highly regarded
using Scanspeak drivers,IMHO

These are some of the more expensive kits out there, but they will sound very good, and the best componants are expensive.
Later you could tweak the crossovers to adjust the sound a bit to your liking, but I'll bet you don't. ;)

You can make great speakers with cheaper componants too of course, in fact most quite expensive speakers don't use the very top of the line drivers. Additionally these highest end drivers are also often the most difficult to design with because they have characteristics that require more corrections, as a trade-off for greater performance in other parameters. That's why a kit might be the best approach if you are using these very high end drivers.
Thanks for the links... The Northcreekmusic kits look really interesting...

As for the tweeter, the D2905/9500 or any in D2905 series.

From the Northcreekmusic web site, they have kits for the xover. Are xovers, really that hard to make or are they making sound that they are?

James C.
diyAudio Editor
Joined 2001
Paid Member
North Creek is a big proponant of huge, expensive crossover components (coils especially) It seems to me that people have pretty much come to the opinion that they are right.

So, the best part of North Creek are their crossovers. I think their lower priced crossovers, are still much more substantial than most companies, so upgrading to the even more expensive crossovers that they offer is probably not that essential.

The hardest part about speaker design is the crossover.
To assemble a crossover is easy. To design a good one requires hours and hours of listening, and lots of design expertise and luck? The North Creek components are actually pretty reasonably priced for the quality.

To sum up: crossover design and quality is very very very important!!-the heart of the speaker

the 2905/9500 is a great tweeter, easy to work with,
and not too expensive- almost everyone loves it.

This has Scan-speak drivers too

Anyone else have an opinion?
diyAudio Editor
Joined 2001
Paid Member
Here's another, I think with the woofers you heard in the Totem.
(they are used in other High end designs too)
The cabinet is the standard MTM design, (a good thing)

Is the crossover any good? I think Solen commissions lots of speaker designs to sell drivers they distribute, so it might not be as carefully designed as some, but I don't know, has anyone heard this?

It looks like it might be supurb
And Hey! Solen is in Canada!
The Solen Design is almost exactly what Im looking for plus it is almost a $1000.00CND less than the totems and they are in Canada. ***BONUS*** I will still have tio make the cabinets but thats what I wanted to do all along.

Do you guys think that I can make the Solen desing into a ported book shelf box instead of a floor standing or will this degrade the sound too much?

James C.
diyAudio Editor
Joined 2001
Paid Member
I just did a search and found them, so I don't know much about them either. They seemed to fit your order! Solen is a very well known company- especially for crossover parts.

I like the design, and would be tempted to make a pair but I'm still pouring money into other projects :mad:

The width of the cabinet and the exact locations of the drivers are important. You could probably make the cabinet deeper front to back in order to make them less tall, but they are designed to be placed well into the room with the tweeter at ear height , not up against a wall (as are almost all decent speakers.) So, even if you make them shorter, they should then be on stands at least 3 feet from the rear wall, so you are back where you were, plus you need to buy or make some stands! The tower at least has a small footprint.

So I say stick with the published design. (and start convincing your spouse how great they will look in the room!) The MTM design (2 midwoofers vertically flanking a tweeter ) gives you the better efficiency and probably more realistic bass (better not lower) than the Totems IF they are well designed.

The drivers are above reproach, so in the future you can try better or different crossover components if you want to play around and experiment. For that reason many people put the crossovers in a separate box, or in a cavity under the speaker so they can be accessed more easily. Also gets them out of a rather hostile environment.

If you make them you have to give us a report with photos.
OOOOOOOPs, the woofer in the Tottem seems to be a Scan Speak, but really isn't. You would be supprised to know that is manufactured in the US, and is almost a scanspeak clone...

I know this from a dealer, where a set of totems woofers had to be exchanged because they were blown up... and had one in my hand so i could watch for myself. At the moment though i can't remember the brand of te woofers.

Tube Addict
Tube Addict,

According to UHF mag (Published in Quebec, CA not far from the Totem headquarters) they have a review of the Totem Hawks in mag No64 and they say "Experienced observers may spot the woofer as a Scanspeak Revelator, but it is a special one, with an extra-long throw"

Since these guys are almost neighbors, they should be in speaking terms with each other and should know what woofer the Totems are using. This doesn't prove your statement wrong but I tending to believe the publication.

James C.
you are probably right about the Midwfr being what they are. The solen xover may give you a good starting point and maybe after you bust your behind building the cabinets you will convince yourself that the sound coming from your speaker just rules.
I didn't suggest northcreek ( the only kit company I can really recommend) because you would probably end up paying the same as if you bought the totems.
You seem to be thinking that if you use great drivers you are going to get a baseline of good sound no matter what you do for the Xover. That couldn't be farther from the truth! The xover really is 95% of the speaker.
At the most, with good drivers, you will probably notice some instruments being reproduced very nicely with low distortion against the poorly imaged and unbalanced mess that are the rest of the frequencies. Don't believe me? Read what should be referred to as the 'case study' for all diyers on audioxpress last year the MTM kit using the 18w8545 and revelator tweeter from speaker city reviewed by D'Appolito.
At this point I would lower the overal 'bar' of the project, buy cheaper drivers and maybe try a well-established kit to see what you get before investing a lot of money in super drivers without the Xover that they deserve. How about the ariel project??
Your right about the xovers. I did put a lot a thought into the xover and I am goign to build the speakers with xovers outside the box so I can tweek and change it. With the help of other experts, I have a few xover designs that might give better sound than the refrence xovers from solen. I want to have these speakers for a long time and I dont plan to make another set. The drivers are only thing I will not be able to replace or tweek, so why skimp out on them.

James C.
Re: Scan Speak

Hello James, I have the System Audio 3070 as my mains. They incorporate Scan Speak drivers, Woofer, Mid.Woof and Tweeters. I have listened to many speakers of the years and recently purchased the System Audio over the B&W CDM9NT's. I found the High frequency detail a little more subdued than the B&W, but the mids and mid highs were far superior, The low end extension is tighter and very clean down to 30 Hz. Overall the System Audio with the Scan & Speak has been a very pleasing experience for me.
If I may sudjest something, if you want good sound but aren't up to the task of shelling out for those fancy coils and poly caps, or designing and building a complex active xover (would be the best idea though) you might want to look into fullrange drivers. I find they're the easiest route to good sound, don't get me wrong, I use a bi-amped system. But a good fullrange done right is much easier then a 2 or 3 way system, and can sound really good. It's just a sudjestion and my opinion, but you might want to give it some thought.
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