Somebody give me a shove, please!

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I've analyzed myself into a catatonic state. I want to build some single-driver speakers. I just can't seem to figure out the differences in all the driver specs and designs. I'm really confused right now. I need to do something before my head explodes.

Budget: Up to $200'ish for two drivers.

Room: 14' x 26' x 8' (4.3 x 8 x 2.5m, for you sensible people :)), carpet, one door opening, plaster walls. IMO, this is the perfect room. Nothing sounds bad in it. Speakers on the short wall. Placement out to 3' (1m).

Speakers: Currently Spectrum 208's (c 1985), two-way BR design, but I have no idea what's in them (the grill is glued on). Rather mellow sound. Beautiful real Claro walnut cabinets. I know I can get better sound than these.

Amp: Onkyo Integra 8087A 100 wpc (c 1985), but I'm moving to chip amps as soon as possible.

Source: Currently a Panasonic DVD/CD, but when I get the wiring in place, all music will be from a computer via Stereo-Link USB DAC and Belden coax to the amp(s).

Tastes: Realistic listening levels. My wife IS psychotic and hates bass (only slightly kidding). Vocals, instrumentals, small groups, blues, R&B and folk-based rock, jazz etc. I will crank it, occasionally, when she is not home.

Needs: The system will be on all day, every day with soft FM classical. In the evenings and weekends, I will listen to my music, and we will watch movies. Music is most important. Home theater is secondary. With a movie, as long as I can hear what is going on, I'm happy. With music, I want it all (just can't afford it). I'm going to stick with two-channel for now and maybe add surrounds later.

Subs: Not immediately, but definitely in the future. Probably my next DIY project.

Last thoughts: My wife has given me the go-ahead to build something. Last weekend, (bless her heart) she printed out an article she got off the web on the Cain & Cain Abbys. I think she likes how they look.

I feel confident that I can build any cabinet out there. This first pair must be most impressive; beautiful to look at and sound even better. My wife has given me a short leash on this, so I have to do it right the first time, and I really want to be able to keep building speakers. Think ethereal sound.

Right now I need focus. I need a driver and cabinet design(s) to get me started.

Sounds like your first speaker. You didn't listen loud, and don't need a lot of bass. Your wife is somewhat like mine. ;)

What about the Creative Sound CSS W..125. (can't recall exactly) a 4.5 inch full ranger thats I think around $140 US + freight from Canada.
Lots of positive feedback on this forum. No XO needed of course, and works well in a 1/4 cubic feet box.
diyAudio Editor
Joined 2001
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It looks like you have lucked out.
You want full range drivers and your most excellant wife likes the look of the quarter wave cabinets that are most often used for them. There are various of these type cabinets on this forum- the ones that look like wedges- and you can easily make them look just like the C&C Abbys.

Unfortunately I don't know where they all are, but I would suggest searching the Loudspeaker forum- The guy named Planet 10 is worth searching on because he posts regarding these type of speaks. also "quarter wave" from the posts you find, you will find others....
Most of these use drivers made by Fostex, so that's another thing to search on. The Fostex models 206 and 207 are generally liked, and fit your budget. Also Terry Cain posts as TC, and he makes the Abbys. Your room is pretty big, thats the one concern I have, but if it generally sound good, that's really more important.

OK I admit I'm not helping much, but maybe someone else will take up the slack!:rolleyes:


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Thanks Rick, I'll look into it.

In a way my first speaker but not really. I built many when I was a teenager, 30 years ago. I just finished two pairs for our computers. In between, nothing. So much has changed in the past 30 years that I am totally lost with the technology. I want something "real." Something great. Something transcendent. Unfortunately, I can't throw money at the drivers. $200'ish U.S. is the limit.

I'm an accomplished woodworker, so don't hold back on cabinet designs for my sake, but please, I need specific. When I say I am catatonic about this, I really mean it. It's frustrating.

Sorry to say those horns are not mine. I first saw them many years ago on Thomas Dunker's horn pages. They were made by Peter van Vegchel out of mdf. He can still be found online, but has apparently moved on to larger speakers.

I think that you would do quite well with one of the fostex designs that I linked to earlier. Choose your driver and build their suggested enclosure.

I really like the smaller fe108, I can only guess that you might too. Especially so if you think you may build a sub.

planet10 said:
FE167s & either a set of Bob Brine's FT1600, or search the forum for the Cabby...

running FM 24/7 it should only take a couple or 3 weeks to break them in.


Bob's designs are invariably an excellent choice. But don't forget Martin's excellent ML-TQWT either. The old Fe164 drivers he used are are a straight swap with the FE167E. Those would be my top choice in a room of that size if your wife likes the tall TQWT appearance; they certainly look good; quite elegant in fact.
Dynamics and bass depth are both excellent, as is stereo imaging. Very clean sound generally. I've built two pairs, the first of which are now with an opera-singer friend who heard them soon after their completion, and begged me nicely if she could 'borrow' them. She's since informed me that they are not moving from her living room; hence my building a second pair. And believe me, she's a music fanatic, as you'd expect (hope?) from her job. Says it all really. If you're happy with the woodworking, try building them out of a decent hardwood. Never a complaint again...

You could also try Terry Cain's Bigger is Better box, but using the FE166E -I just have; the simulated results in MathCad aren't pretty, but Terry assured me they measure much better so I roughed up a pair in MDF using some spare 166 drivers: lo and behold: they did measure better. I was startled at how good they were: in fact, they produced one of the best sounds I've heard recently. I reckon they'd be at their best in large rooms which give them room to breath, but they still work well in smaller rooms like mine. They hurl up a massive soundstage, and again, are tall, clean and elegant looking. Bass is great too.

EC8010 said:

Could you give a link for details? I'm wondering what to put my FE166E in.

The original is here:

Apparantly these dimensions work OK with drivers up to 6" which, ignoring the surround, the 166E nominally is. Terry informed me these are actually factory Fostex designs in the Craft Manuals, which are tricky to get hold of at present -probably being reprinted.
Any thoughts on altering the dimensions for larger drivers Terry? I deepened mine to 16 1/2" and reduced the height to 64" for the 166E to good effect. Oh -the boxes are bomb-proof when built out of MDF BTW -although you'll put your back out trying to move them!
Ok, I'm thinking a bit clearer now. Thanks so far, everyone. I knew this would help.

I would like to try the Buschorn MKII, but which driver? I am choosing this mainly becaue it can go in a smaller room when I get ready to build something else. Plus, it could also be used as a surround, I suppose.

Most mention the "F108" in the Buschorn. Is this the Fe108 Sigma? Is this driver that much different from the Fe103? I was thinking that if I could go with the Fe103, then I would have enough money left over to buy another pair of drivers. Perhaps the Fe166 or Fe167. But which one and which design? This is where I get confused. All these drivers seem so similar that I have a hard time making a distinction.

Bottom line so far: Do I go with the Fe108 sigma in a Buschorn and stop there, or do I get the Fe103 and another pair for larger speakers. Is the better sound of the Fe108 over the Fe103 worth not building two pairs of speakers?

There certainly is a marked difference in clarity, and detail between the fe103, and the 108e sigma, which one to go with? I can't really answer that. I guess it depends on if you want to experiment with different drivers, designs, configurations, or just build one good set to last you a while.
Outside box dimensions are 7"x14"x70", is rectangular box.
Driver height from base is 39"
Baffle is centered at 5-1/2" between outer walls and floor of cabinet

The baffle (not to be confused with TC's spheroid driver mount) goes from 5.5" from the bottom and 5.5" from the back wall and goes up to the intersection of the top and front. Top is open.
Joined 2001
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Originally posted by Taperwood
Do I go with the Fe108 sigma in a Buschorn and stop there, or do I get the Fe103 and another pair for larger speakers. Is the better sound of the Fe108 over the Fe103 worth not building two pairs of speakers?

The B-Horn II is actually designed for the FE103 but the FE108ESigma works in it too.... The FE103 in the horn clobbers the FE108ES as far as magnitude of bottom goes. The FE108ES is better everywhere else. It hasn't the minor upper midrange "honk" that the FE103/40-1197/FE108S all have (and that we go to extremes to remove), it has more detail in the midrange and goes higher.

But then you can buy 5 FE103s for the price of a set of FE108ES (and you can always fit 108s later (especially if you make a removable baffle)



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Ok, I've decided. I'm going with the 108 in the Buschorn. I think it's the most flexible option right now, since I don't know exactly what I'm getting into, and since my wife is bass-shy and has more acute hearing than me, I will concentrate on great midrange. I really need her to buy into this before I can pursue this as a hobby. Once I get the drivers, I will play around with some prototypes first and see what happens. Who knows, maybe I will stumble onto something useful (which is usually how I get things done around here).

For the future, I am keenly interested in some of the bigger designs mentioned here.

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