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Speaker suggestions - emphasize sound quality.
Speaker suggestions - emphasize sound quality.
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Old 11th December 2020, 02:46 PM   #1
BKE is offline BKE  United States
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Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: Rochester, NY
Speaker suggestions - emphasize sound quality.
Default Speaker suggestions - emphasize sound quality.

Hello all, I’m in a “chicken egg” deal, do I build a firstwatt f6 amplifier, or a speaker kit?

Assuming the latter, I have a large room, 17’ x 20’ with uneven high ceilings (15 to 20ft). I listen to a wide spectrum of music, not too jacked up, but enough to experience the music.

Speaker plans/kits I have found interesting,
Frugal Horn xl
Sonido - Aion
Woden - not sure as they don’t post all of the dimensions HxWxD, I can only sell so much to the wife, but I need info.
Bass is only as important as the song requires to relay the message, the rap genre is excluded as I don’t listen to it.
I’ll admit, the drum solo in “hot for teacher” by Van Halen is a blast, but I can get over it 🤘.

Current system; emotiva xpa 5 amp, Marantz 7702 pre, definitive technology STS, rhythmik fv15hp sub.

Sound quality is my first priority.
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Old 11th December 2020, 04:32 PM   #2
ssportclay is offline ssportclay  United States
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The drivers I would look at first are the Markaudio Alpair 11ms or Alpair 7ms. The 11ms will go into the Frugel-Horn xl and the 7ms will fit the standard Frugel-Horn Mk3. Woden has also designed tall rear double mouthed horns for each of these drivers. I am not sure the firstwatt f6 is the best way to go. You might be perfectly happy with the SMSL DA-8s. If you really have to spend a lot more money, I would take a good hard look at the Benchmark ahb2. I have not heard it and the SMSL DA-8s is very compatible with full range speakers at a modest investment and it will outperform any tpa3116 amplifier out there. Good luck on your search.
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Old 11th December 2020, 05:17 PM   #3
BKE is offline BKE  United States
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Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: Rochester, NY
Speaker suggestions - emphasize sound quality.
Thank you ssportclay,
The Frugel-horn XL has the best WAF, which puts it in the lead. The sonido is beautiful, to me, and the poplar is not pleasing to my eye, but it might be a sound superstar.
The firstwatt is an old emotional idea, I heard the original preproduction first watt amp when I was in the industry, and I loved it. I’m intrigued with the smsl da-8 details, More research required on my part. The benchmark is very highly recommended, I believe monoprice has a duplicate amp (monolith) for a bit less. I don’t have experience with either unit other than what I have read. Have you heard the akitika or Schiit amp and pre-amp?
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Old 11th December 2020, 05:26 PM   #4
waxx is offline waxx  Belgium
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The firstwatt is a class A amp, and it can be the right one to use if you like that. The SMSL is class D, and some like that, others like me not that much. I just bought an SMSL as spare/mobile amp, but it's because it's a good class D that is cheap. But a class A amp is very different. Planet 10 uses an other class A amp a lot for his speakers like the Frugels and so. I do mainly use class AB (tube and solid state) now, but i also like class A's, but they are expensive...

Mark Audio drivers are indeed a good choice. I still prefer the Alpair ones above the MS series, but both are very good, if not the best (i think they are), especially for their price. Those bigger Mark Audios also got a good bass response and a decent xmax (so they can play bass rather loud). Just don't expect very low or very loud bass from them. the 7's and the 10/11 models are the sweetspot in the range. Some prefer the 7s, some prefer the 10/11s.

My biggest listening room (6x4x2.5m) has a WAW (woofer assisted wideband) setup with a Mark Audio Alpair 10.3 and a Scanspeak 10" woofer, amped with a 32w tube amp that is way to powerfull for what i need. I did use a 8w SET amp (on loan) on that setup and that was already enough. in my smaller room (my office wich is 3.6x3.5x2.5m) i have the same driver in a ported box with a 45w amp, but padded -10dB and that is also overkill (i use maybe 25% of the volume knob for very loud...). -10dB on 45w is like 5w real used power, and i'm using only maybe 1 or 1.5w of them max... So you don't need massive power for such a room, your F6 will do it.
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Old 11th December 2020, 05:29 PM   #5
planet10 is offline planet10  Canada
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Speaker suggestions - emphasize sound quality.
I may have this same opening post in my mail box :^)

I have heard few of the pricey drivers, my experience is in the more affordable FRs.

I will agree with Mr Clay, (most of) the Mark Audio drivers are decidely very good, and very good value for the dollar.

The A7/11ms are the current bleeding edge of the Mark Audio range. There are a number of other very good MA, A7.3, A10.3/p. And a bunch of smaller ones if less bass and ultimate levels required. Perhaps a bit better top, but the latest drivers really push the limits.

You room is much smaller than mine, and even the little drivers can produce spectacular sound, i often hook up the little µFonkenSET (FF85wk) or µMar-KenSET (Alpair 5.2/3) and people leave th eroom stunned.

They should all be very happy with the F6. A much better amp than the Emotive.

For your medium size room (uneven roof goes a long way to dealing with room problems) a larger box with a larger driver might be best if you like to push things at all. Frugel-Horns do a good job of extracting a huge amount out of a wide range of drivers, are elegant looking and reasonable size. The large Woden horns are design specific to the drivers used in them, and work to extract the most bass reasonablly possible. And many smaller boxes. MANY.

You should also keep in the back of your head whether you can see adding helper woofers down the road. That may make consideration of one of the smaller drivers (A7ms/A7.3) for their slightly better midTop. I do note that you do have a sub, and purportably a good one. A single subwoofer is not near as good as 2 or more, but if you plan on using it, it means that the FR’s ability to make big, low bass becomes moot. The amp on this sub is perhaps a limting issue. If those outs at the top do not have a variable line level high pass filter you will not have the bas sfiltering on the FR that improve its mid/top and ultimate levels. Time to dig into the manual.

Click the image to open in full size.


This is not saying other manufacturers don’t make good drivers, but this brand is MY favourite and few find they do not satisfy.

dave
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Old 11th December 2020, 05:59 PM   #6
ssportclay is offline ssportclay  United States
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I would not dismiss the SMSL DA-8s too quickly. Its pretty new and kind of special for the price because it hits quite a bit higher than any of the commonly found class D amps out there. It would probably take a pretty good class A amplifier to beat it also. My class A ACA amplifier mostly gathers dust these days.
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Old 11th December 2020, 06:57 PM   #7
BKE is offline BKE  United States
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Speaker suggestions - emphasize sound quality.
Actually, I was pleasantly surprised by the SMSL, and its ranking in comparison to far more expensive units. It is still on my plate.

Yes, that is me. I sent the email then thought the question would be better placed on the diy forum, as I didn’t want to break protocol/forum expectations.

I like what I’ve read about the mark audio Alpair series. I plan on using them if at all possible.

Regarding bass, I love the Rythmik sub and it works well for HT. I haven’t used it for music, yet. I have a different amp on my sub, balanced in and out. “”Ext” is when you use an external processor, damping and roll-off are still used, but the crossovers are not. Yes, out with the manual.

Multiple subs are a real possibility. I would like to get a feel for the speakers before I add more items. The databass crew have some mild to wild subs, worth delving into at some point.
Thank you all, you are helping me.
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Old 11th December 2020, 06:57 PM   #8
waxx is offline waxx  Belgium
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ssportclay View Post
I would not dismiss the SMSL DA-8s too quickly. Its pretty new and kind of special for the price because it hits quite a bit higher than any of the commonly found class D amps out there. It would probably take a pretty good class A amplifier to beat it also. My class A ACA amplifier mostly gathers dust these days.
They are just Infineon Merus MA12070 chipamp in a right config, nothing very special. But they are very well build, and does sound very good for a class D amp, just like most SMSL amps. But beating a class A on sound, i don't think so, at least not in my book. Even NCore sounds better, and the new purifi amps also probally (but i did not hear them yet myself). But for it's price and class it's a very good amp. The First Watt F6 is one of the better Class A amps arround, so i would definitly prefer it above any class D.
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Old 11th December 2020, 08:43 PM   #9
bradleypnw is offline bradleypnw
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BKE View Post
Hello all, I’m in a “chicken egg” deal, do I build a firstwatt f6 amplifier, or a speaker kit?

...

Sound quality is my first priority.
Active/powered speakers with DSP supply the best sound quality,

"End of story, goodbye, the end." - Alastor 'Mad-Eye' Moody.

Also, is a Firstwatt F6 really $3,500!!!? That's so embarrassing in the age of active speakers w/ individual amplification and DSP. I can't believe what people had to put up with in the past.
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Old 11th December 2020, 08:48 PM   #10
BKE is offline BKE  United States
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Join Date: Nov 2020
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Speaker suggestions - emphasize sound quality.
I agree that class A is hard to beat. FYI, Nelson pass posts his schematics for the diy community.

I saved the Smsl page, I can see many applications for this item today.

How about speakers, what did you build? I’m working on my final 3.
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