Spendor cabinets

SWMBO has taken against the appearance of my 30 year old Harbeth HL stand-mount speakers and we've had no success in finding a floorstanding successor. The Spendor S8e came close, but having recently tried doubling the length of the Harbeths' reflex ports we're even more pleased with their sound, if not their looks.

The plan now is to build the Harbeth drivers into a floorstanding cabinet of my own design based on the Spendor, which we like the look of, keeping the Harbeth box volume, driver spacing, and port dimensions.
Incidentally, I based the design on 18mm MDF, with two internal braces, but the only joinery company I've approached so far said a 926 x 236 x 316mm cabinet would be better in 25mm. Has anyone got an opinion on this? They want to make the cabinets using butt joints, which doesn't seem very professional to me - I designed them to use rebated half lap joints. I think I'll get some more quotes.

Anyway, to get to the point, I was in my local hi-fi dealer's today eyeing up the Spendors again, and the salesman said the cabinets are made here in Sheffield. This set me to thinking about possible cabinet rejects or seconds at reasonable prices, which I'm told does happen, or even a bespoke job without Spendors' profit margin added on. The problem is, he couldn't remember the name of the manufacturer. So my main question is, does anyone here have this information?
 
I'm sure he said Sheffield, and Castle are in Skipton, I believe. Still, you could be right. I know Castle do make cabinets for other speaker manufacturers, such as Living Voice, and their own speakers are very well made.
I'll ring Spendor on Monday, though whether they'll tell me remains to be seen...
 
clothears said:
30 year old Harbeth HL ... I based the design on 18mm MDF, with two internal braces, but the only joinery company I've approached so far said a 926 x 236 x 316mm cabinet would be better in 25mm. Has anyone got an opinion on this?

DON'T use MDF. 18mm (3/4") ply with adequate bracing will be quite fine -- the key is adequate bracing (and don't be lured by the siren-song of shelf bracing -- braces should divide the panels into long skinny unequal, preferably trapezodal sub-panels). Even 1/2" (13mm) with adequate bracing will be fine (the similar sized Tangent RS6 was made with 1/2" ply).

dave
 
Well, planet10, between my first post and your reply I'd bought and cut the materials for my shelf-braced MDF enclosures, so as you can imagine, I now feel a little disheartened.
But this was always going to be an experiment anyway, so I may as well carry on.
Most of the commercial speakers I've listened to have been shelf-braced MDF designs, even up to £2500 (which is a lot of money to me, and a quite unimaginable amount to spend on speakers for most of my acquaintances.) So far as I'm aware, only one (Living Voice) has had a chipboard cabinet, so I daresay your advice is a counsel of perfection, something to bear in mind for future projects.
Of course, I can only audition commercial designs, so I'll never know if it's possible to improve on them.
The object of this exercise is simply to make a floorstanding enclosure that sounds no worse than the original thin ply Harbeth boxes, and looks as good as Spendor's design. Any improvements in sound would be a bonus.
I'm very much a newbie here and, to judge from some of the threads, I have a long steep learning curve ahead of me!
 
clothears said:
Most of the commercial speakers I've listened to have been shelf-braced MDF designs, even up to £2500 (which is a lot of money to me, and a quite unimaginable amount to spend on speakers for most of my acquaintances.)

None of the classic BBC monitors were made with anything but plywood. Rogers, Spendor, Harbeth among them.

And you see many modern speakers going to even more exotic materials (or exotic applications of plywood -- ie B&Ws)

MDF is used because it is cheap, easy to work with & easy to market because of the pervading myth about its superiority as a cabinet material.

But you have the material cut, so you might as well go ahead.

dave
 
I spent a fortune before I settled down with Harbeth HL-C7es2.

I know C7 has really different cabinet compared to other modern designs: thin & boxy cabinet with very short port... but I don't think its sound is ancient.

So, what's wrong with this thin box? I read about it somewhere before, but hope someone gives me a review again.
TIA.

Doug