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Multi-Way Conventional loudspeakers with crossovers

Advise on which DIY build - Wavcor Ardent, Bordeaux, or other?
Advise on which DIY build - Wavcor Ardent, Bordeaux, or other?
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Old 10th September 2019, 02:55 PM   #1
jamespie is offline jamespie
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Default Advise on which DIY build - Wavcor Ardent, Bordeaux, or other?

As the title says, I need advice on what to build. The Wavcors are about $5k and the Bordeaux about $2300. Would the Wavcors be worth that much more? Has any heard them?

I was blown away by Bowers and Wilkins 802 Diamonds. I want to get as close to that as possible.

Any suggestions?

Thanks!
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Old 11th September 2019, 01:28 AM   #2
LineSource is offline LineSource  United States
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Have you built an all-active speaker?
DSP or analog crossovers, and one amplifier for each driver range.
Your budget would allow good equipment in place of a large collection of premium grade passive crossover parts.

Digital driver time alignment would allow you to construct a vertical Ardent baffle. You still need a clever baffle design(bevels or rounds) to minimize edge distortion, but DSP power can smooth many baffle edge SPL bumps. DSP will allow you to use fast-transient sealed box woofers, and also equalize room effects for smooth deep bass.

DSP would allow you to accurately equalize at the listener the minimal front tweeter bezel B&W uses on its tapered tube tweeters.
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Old 11th September 2019, 09:54 AM   #3
andy19191 is offline andy19191  Europe
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamespie View Post
As the title says, I need advice on what to build. The Wavcors are about $5k and the Bordeaux about $2300. Would the Wavcors be worth that much more? Has any heard them?

I was blown away by Bowers and Wilkins 802 Diamonds. I want to get as close to that as possible.

Any suggestions?
The B&W have a characteristic sound that follows from crossing a large midrange to a tweeter at a high frequency. The on-axis response deviates significantly from flat in order to help compensate but a characteristic sound remains. The other two speakers differ significantly in this respect.

The Bordeaux has a characteristic sound from the use of a ribbon tweeter and spraying the rear radiation from the midrange over the front wall.

The Ardent appears more conventional but some of the detail design choices are non standard leading to, for example, an abnormally low sensitivity. It is very expensive.

All three of the speakers lack some of the things that would be done if a high sound quality in a technical sense was a strongly weighted factor. The radiation pattern is not well controlled and this has a significant influence on the sound quality perceived in the home. Passive crossovers lack the flexibility, control and technical performance provided by competent active DSP crossovers.

What gets DIY speaker folks juices flowing varies widely which is on balance a good thing but it can lead to some confusion when the criteria by which folk judge speakers varies strongly. My views may or may not be relevant to how you see things.
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Old 11th September 2019, 12:00 PM   #4
jamespie is offline jamespie
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Thanks for the replies! Andy, I like what you had to say. I may have worded my goal wrong though. I don't necessarily want to emulate the B&W sound, I would just like to have of the same quality sound. I see that the Ardents were an improvement over commercial speakers costing over 50k per pair, so I'd assume it would be of the same quality or higher! And yes, I was planning on using DSP for crossover vs passive. Maybe someone can point me in the right direction for a guide and good equipment; what to look for is DSP? Thanks!
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Old 11th September 2019, 02:23 PM   #5
andy19191 is offline andy19191  Europe
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Originally Posted by jamespie View Post
I see that the Ardents were an improvement over commercial speakers costing over 50k per pair, so I'd assume it would be of the same quality or higher!
Hmmm... Improvements depend on a person's criteria. There are certainly commercial boutique home audio speaker costing over $50k that by my criteria are significantly inferior to the Ardents. On the other hand, there are also a number of commercial speakers costing less than $50k that I would prefer to the Ardents.

The Ardents are far from being poor DIY speakers but... they are built from pretty much the most expensive drivers on the DIY market, very expensive but passive crossover, modestly engineered cabinet, modest control of radiation pattern, some oddities like low sensitivity,... This is partly about technical performance but mainly about my values compared to the values of the designer of the Ardent and those that consider the Ardents to be an improvement over speakers costing $50k.

For me quality is reflected in using what is sufficient to do the job with nonfunctional excess that raises something unwanted like price, weight, size,... being poor design. Many, probably most, don't judge luxury products like this and they are not wrong to do so just different.

I also weight technical performance more strongly than most home audio enthusiasts and sounds good less strongly. Again there is nothing right or wrong about this when it comes to luxury products. Note that pretty much all audiophiles consider the speakers they like high performance but what they actually mean by performance is the tricky, and at times baffling, bit.
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Old 11th September 2019, 03:37 PM   #6
jamespie is offline jamespie
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Yes I agree with what you're saying. I agree with what you consider quality except for technoical performance. I weight heavily what sounds goods. I dont care what the data sheet shows IF it shows problems in the inaudible range.

I think I would rather DSP vs passive cross over design. I'm waiting to hear what Jon has to say about DSP Wavecor Ardents. However, I'd like to get your advise on a DIY DSP build. Do you know of any proven designs? Any build guides? Or is it as simple as following a passive speaker design, omitting the passive crossover, and use DSP instead?
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Old 12th September 2019, 08:49 AM   #7
andy19191 is offline andy19191  Europe
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Originally Posted by jamespie View Post
I agree with what you consider quality except for technoical performance. I weight heavily what sounds goods.
That makes guidance from others less useful. It can only be up to you to determine which characteristic sounds you find good but you are likely to find little on the topic of what is responsible for creating them. B&W for example are unlikely to include discussions in their marketing on why they have opted to cross a large midrange at a high frequency to a tweeter because it will draw attention to the fact that a characteristic sound is a deviation from a more neutral sound and for many will look like a form of distortion and hence a negative. They will have solid commercial reasons for doing it but I don't what they are. Anyone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamespie View Post
However, I'd like to get your advise on a DIY DSP build. Do you know of any proven designs? Any build guides? Or is it as simple as following a passive speaker design, omitting the passive crossover, and use DSP instead?
One could reproduce a passive crossover with an active one but why would you want to? The components in a passive crossover interact with each other, have passive slopes, struggle with the time delays between drivers, have discrete slopes, etc... and whatever you come up with is then fixed. An active crossover has none of these problems and can be adapted to different rooms or a different positions in a room by reprogramming at zero financial cost and little in time and effort. Their ability to have a variable slope allows for significantly better control over beam width with frequency which is one of the main areas today where real rather than marketed improvements in technical sound quality are happening. Not much in the DIY speaker world yet but it will grow.
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Old 12th September 2019, 11:55 AM   #8
jamespie is offline jamespie
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Yeah this is the problem with DIY. Im VERY nervous about dumping $5K into speakers I never heard before!

The main thing I want in a speaker is a huge soundstage, with very detailed sound. That 3D effect. I love it!

Do you have any DSPs that you'd recommend? I saw miniDSP HD. But I looked at the measurement reviews and it doesn't perform well. About as well as $50 DSPs
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Old 12th September 2019, 11:58 AM   #9
jamespie is offline jamespie
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Also, with DSP, and assuming proper driver selection, I could come pretty close to emulating B&W 802 Diamond sound, correct?
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Old 12th September 2019, 12:51 PM   #10
Lojzek is online now Lojzek  Croatia
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Hi,

you are likely to be better served by purchasing B&W loudspeaker from the beginning rather than chasing a DIY build you know not much of.
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