Zaph ZD5's in a HT - Now I need a Center Channel


2008-02-11 4:18 am
I've some how managed to get my heart set on building a set of Zaph's ZD5's for a 5.1 home theater. Basically, when looking for a design to build, I wanted something small with top notch sound quality, but more importantly used drivers that are available in Australia (which basically limits me to Vifa/Scan Speak/Peerless as they are all I have managed to find so far).

One of the reason I wish to build the ZD5's, is that I will be building the cabinets out of Australian Hardwood (Marri), so with the many hour's that will be invested in the build, I need a high quality speaker that will have a sound to match the look of the finished product. My Wife is also strongly against large floor standers, and with the price of the wood alone, the smaller design of the ZD5's would be much better suited.

I intend on building sealed ZD5's for the front speakers and surrounds, but my only concern is what should I use as a center channel? My initial thoughts were to use a fifth ZD5, but i'm not 100% certain on this. Obviously I want to keep with the same drivers throughout all speakers, but I would prefer a center channel that will sit horizontal on a cabinet.

Has anyone managed to build an MTM design based on the Vifa XT25 and the Scan Speak 15W8530K00, that would work well and complement the ZD5 design? If not what modification's (if any?) would be required to use a ZD5 as a center channel?

While I have some great idea's on this and know what I would love to build, unfortunately I don't have the equipment or knowledge to do the design and implementation myself, and make it work well with Zaph's ZD5's :bawling:

Full commendations to Zaph, on all of his work and making it available to others, he truly is a credit to the DIY audio industry!:cool:
I'd say your best bet would be to build another ZD5 :)

Horizontal MTM's don't work very well for centre channel duty despite 90% of comercial centre's being like that.

The only other 'horizontal' layout worth looking at IMO is WTMW (tweeter and midrange central on the baffle, flanked by a woofer either side). But a design like this will be much bigger and more expensive than a ZD5 ;)
One thing you need to be aware of about the ZD5 is its vertical polar responses (or lobing pattern). Since it's a LR2 design, its vertical lobes around the xover point are significantly narrower than usual LR4's (see the polar patterns posted in the design page). If you use this as a surround speaker, you may not want to position it much above ear level.

Also, for the same reason, it is not recommended to convert it into horizontal MTM even if you can do so. Its xover frequency (2.4 kHz) is not favorable in this case, either. Using a ZD5 (w/ a single woofer) horizontally for CC is not a good idea, either, due to the above mentioned, narrow lobing.

IMO, ZD5 is not very suitable for multi-ch HT use.


2007-07-29 10:41 pm
I suppose I should ask if you could check this thread.

It has a brief description of my room and goals. Basically no size limit, but the room is quite small so a large size may be unnecessary. I don't require high SPL capability as I usually listen / watch at a moderate volume.

troystg said:

Couldn't you mount it high and up-side-over ( as my daughter used to say)?

It'll be better to tilt it down to aim it at the listening position if the setup is for multi-ch music like SACD listening. What I meant in the above was that the ZD5 crossover is not suitable for general multi-ch use for its limited vertical listening window, say, for example, for CC use placed on its side.