Frugal Horns/SET/Class D [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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03-24-2012, 03:02 PM
With a Niles amp switcher I'm able to use a Miniwatt SET ( lower left ) or Class D AVR or combination of both to drive these DIY back loaded horns in a bedroom 5.1 system. I can also use either the DVD player or cable box as an audio source for the SET amp.

The center speaker is my own bass reflex design using the same Fostex FE126en as the horns. The sub is a small Velodyne and there's barely room for the 32" LCD.

03-24-2012, 03:09 PM
Finally I get my Frugals some corner loading.

03-24-2012, 05:43 PM
Very Nice!

03-25-2012, 03:02 AM
thanks for looking

03-25-2012, 04:25 AM
Nice small system that's consistent with your philosophy, PG.

03-25-2012, 08:12 AM
Well my philosophy tells me to place the mains in corners that I don't have.

While others seem proud of how much their gear costs, I'm proud of how little these horns cost. They came to less than $150 a pair and labor doesn't count if it brings you joy. I believe a guy in Canada is selling them in flat packs.

03-25-2012, 09:20 AM
Well my philosophy tells me to place the mains in corners that I don't have.

While others seem proud of how much their gear costs, I'm proud of how little these horns cost. They came to less than $150 a pair and labor doesn't count if it brings you joy. I believe a guy in Canada is selling them in flat packs.
Yes, apparently that's Doug Dlugos a.k.a. planet10 at He has a vendor forum there ... Planet 10 hifi - diyAudio (

And his own website is ... planet_10 hifi (

03-25-2012, 02:19 PM
can these speakers be driven with a big amp without frying? Or should you only use a mini watt amp of good quality? Looks like a fun project in the flat pak for a beginner.

03-25-2012, 02:46 PM
Yes, I've heard the Fostex FE126en in back loaded horns driven by a 200 watt Classe power amp at Hornfest.

But if you're not planning on using a flea amp SET, I'd build the Frugals with the Mark Audio driver which gives more bass. I think the Mark Audio drivers are 88 or 89 dbs vs 93 for the Fostex.

03-25-2012, 02:58 PM
The Frugals are by far the easiest build of all back loaded horns. That and their excellent sound accounts for their immence popularity.

04-18-2012, 03:15 PM
Here's a review of the Frugal Horns Mk3.

Frugal Horn MKIII | Tí (

04-18-2012, 07:25 PM
Good job on the Frugals there! By the looks of your shop it appears you been doing DIY projects for a while now.

04-18-2012, 07:47 PM
I understand the excitement over buying very inexpensive gear and poo-pooing the guys who spend larger dollars. But I also tend to find that the guys who spend very little buy 10 of them.

The total invested is not all that different. I would rather own one truly outstanding $5000 speaker than ten $500 mediocre ones.

04-19-2012, 04:39 AM
I've never heard an outstanding $5000 speaker that was commercially made. The $32,000 Aerials I listened to last month were certainly not and my son-in-law's Meridians suck beyond belief.

I don't get excited over commercial speakers anymore and doubt I'll ever buy another pair. The Zu's cured me of that. Building your own is a hobby in which you don't stop with one design no matter how good you think it sounds.

04-19-2012, 01:01 PM
That is an unusual TL design. Usually the (cone) driver is at the large TL end and the TL exit is at the smaller end. The (secondary?) triangular closed TL is also unusual.

Care to discuss this?

04-19-2012, 01:34 PM
Well my philosophy tells me to place the mains in corners that I don't have.

While others seem proud of how much their gear costs, I'm proud of how little these horns cost. They came to less than $150 a pair and labor doesn't count if it brings you joy. I believe a guy in Canada is selling them in flat packs.

And you should be proud. That said, be careful about sweeping generalities. Yes, I've heard some crap $5k systems, and, as a point of fact, I've heard some crap $100k systems. I've also heard some mind-blowingly incredible ones.

I'm not speaking as mod just as a regular-guy poster but, c'mon, there's all kinds of systems that bridge the gap between euphony and accuracy.

04-19-2012, 04:55 PM
Mash, the Frugal Horns are true back loaded horns. All the smaller BL folded horns can trace their ancestry back to the original Bush Horns. The folded internal pathway that flares into the rear terminus gives the horns mechanical efficiency and results in decent bass performance when corner loaded. Pretty amazing for a driver barely 4 inches in diameter. My Frugals made the DIY Audio gallery pictures ( see link ). The first pair in black.

Sometimes I grow tired of defending DIY with folks who have never heard anything that wasn't store bought. I should remember that I was in the same boat not that many years ago.

Frugel-Horn Mk3 Picture Gallery - diyAudio (

04-19-2012, 07:06 PM
I'm not against DIY and I've heard several DIY speakers.

But let's not overstate these things. DIYers do not design and build the tweeter or the woofer - they buy them from companies like Fostex, Seas, Scanspeak etc.

They then go off some sort of design and they simply build the cabinet and put the drivers in the cabinet. Not unlike manufactured products.

It always comes back to the design - the mere fact that a home user can buy a driver and save money with no labour hardly guarantees it will be better than a manufactured produced of an entirely different design.

Further manufacturers can get certain drivers that home DIYers simply can't get. These drivers are either built in house or they are custom made by those big driver manufacturers with contracts that only allow the sale of those drivers to the specific manufacturers.

I'm not opposed to the idea of DIY - it depends on the design I suppose. Parts Express noted that one of their kits for $300 is largely just rebadged under other manufacturer names at $2,000.

Obviously there is tremendous value in that. But that value is only valuable if you like the sound. If you don't like them you won't like them at $300 or $2k. Granted you'll like them a lot less at $2k.

The famous Ellis 1801 kit which claims to use some of the best drivers and would be better than any $3k speaker - ahem - no. They're not very good. The DIYer was waxing poetic - he spent money on them unheard - and put in tons of hours no doubt but not having the biased built in love of the build just listening to them like any other speaker they're embarrassed by the likes of the AX Two, Roksan TR-5, ATCs, Magnepan 1.7s of the world. Which may all be using less impressive drivers but they have better proprietary designs perhaps and economies of scale on their side.

This is a hugely popular DIY speaker and I can't even say it is Good. For the amount of money the kit costs the time and the hype - it makes marginal sound. And as much as I like the Audio Note E even their kit just isn't in the same class as the production models - largely because this speaker design has a critical element in the matching process that no home builder has any hope to match. While it's still a very nice sounding speaker for the money against competitors - the magic wasn't there. Granted a different kit builder with upgraded parts may have made better - or shifting the internal carted sheep's wool wadding could have done the trick. I still like the idea of a speaker manufacturer that offers lower priced kit versions. For example it would be nice to buy the kit versions of the B&W Nautilus or Maggies for example.

But that's kind of what I want to compare - I want to compare apples to apples where possible - the DIY two way versus the best of the same sort of design by manufacturers.

It's not really fair to compare a production floorstander with SS amplifiers (even if it costs $30k) against single driver with SET.

It would make more sense to compare the Teresonic Ingenium with their amp in the same room against a DIY single driver loudspeakers.

At the budget end of the spectrum the single driver makes the most sense to me. Small two ways give up bass anyway so it makes sense to spend more on one driver and no crossover than on two lesser drivers and a crossover.

Fortunately living in HK I have seen some very inexpensive single driver speakers - (like DIY labour is practically zero money -- ahem ). I saw a couple of beautifully made Fostex driven single driver standmounts using what looks like the FE168ez for $250 retail in truly stunning cabinets with two front ports. The company has no website but I want to try them at home and see - for the money it would be tough to go too wrong even if there isn't much bass.

04-20-2012, 04:31 AM
Don't kid yourself. Speaker companies use the most cost effective drivers they can get away with. Proprietary drivers, instead of offering ubber exclusive performance, mean drivers built to established price points to insure profitability. I've examined Zu and Aerial drivers and neither came close to the quality and performance of the Tang Bands ( see link ) I use in my homespun OB's. The high end megga buck Zu's use Eminence Legend drivers I can buy all day long for $100 each.

Tang Band W8-1808 8" Neodymium Full Range Driver (,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&wrapid=tlif133492373806210&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=11870579317349054080&sa=X&ei=4FGRT6PLMIH26AHs1bC5BA&ved=0CG8Q8wIwBA#)

04-20-2012, 04:49 AM
DIY speakers can save the builder money for much the same reason that DIY anything can save the consumer money, viz. avoidance of paid labour input, promotional costs, and various retain chain markups.

Design and construction are very import whether for speakers as for, say, a backyard deck; accordingly results will vary. Today tools, including simulation programs exist, that make it possible for the careful speaker builder to produce predictable, high quality results. Exotic designs are, of course, harder for the DIYer to duplicate, but not necessarily hard for him to equal.

Commercial manufacturers "custom" drivers are not necessarily better than those offered to DIYers. They might have minor tweaks as likely designed to facilitated ease & economy of construction as to improve quality; sometimes they are only rebadged standard product.

Whether you or I like a DIY design says nothing at all about DIY per se; it only has to do with whether we like the design.

04-20-2012, 05:45 AM
Like I said - there are DIY designs being outright re-badged for 10 times the price.

The question is whether the home user can duplicate specific speakers. For instance no speaker sounds like the AN E (except the J).

So you want that specific sound - but on the cheap - you build the Kit - it's not the same.

You can't get the drivers from SEAS or Foster/Tonnegan. You don't have the matching process. You can get similar drivers that the E/J drivers are based upon. You can then remove the ferro-fluid but you also have to replace the Magnets and hand wire them.

The kits give you the drivers the crossovers and the measurements - it's just not the same result.

Many kits have no production model with which to compare - so you are comparing one speaker design type against another and in the case of the famed Ellis 1801 it is easily beaten by production models at the same price or less.

I think the value in kits are like the Parts Express example or where there is nothing unique in the design and is easily copiable - that is where you can save a bucket of cash.

But as the HYfi noted in e oertead about his experience with single driver SET - comparing a big full range Von Sweikert to a single driver or single driver kit is pointless. If you like the single driver sound above all else then no big 4-5 driver Aeriel or VS is going to impress you whether it is $30k or whether you heard a kit that sounds just like it. But what is also true is that I have yet to hear a single driver do what big multi-way speakers can do. Kit or production models. I'm not judging - I prefer the single driver sound but I certainly get why people don't and why they would prefer the likes of the big Sony speakers. But neither attains the strengths of the other.

It's like panel fans that will buy an MMG over ANY box because there is a box and by default to them boxes are bad irrespective of how it sounds - their eyes tell their brain it must be bad. Whether the box is $500 or $5million is a non issue.