Ed Frias DIY Kit-Madisound vs SpeakerCity [Archive] - Audio & Video Forums


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Rob H
10-20-2004, 08:00 AM
Years ago I fell in love with the sound of a good two-way 6.5" stand mounted speaker. I am currently running a pair of Axiom M3Ti's powered by a Denon DRA 685 receiver. The system sounds good, but I am looking to upgrade the speakers.

I want to build/purchase a pair of the Ed Frias Audio Review DIY speakers. Both Madisound and SpeakerCity sell kits. It appears that the Madisound kits may have better cabinets (rounded edges). Are there any sonic differences between the two kits? The pre-built offer through SpeakerCity is a heck of a deal ($10.00 more for assembled speakers vs kits).

Any comments would be greatly appreciated. Also, has anyone compared the Axiom M3Ti's to the Ed Frias speakers? From the reviews I've read on this site, it appears the Ed Frias speakers produce awesome sound.

10-20-2004, 11:34 AM
I own the M3Tis, and I'm somewhat impressed with them...they do all right upstairs in my kitchen/dining room, but compared to other $250-$300 speakers their good but not great. I liked my Paradigm Mini Monitors much more, and the Studio 20's and 40's I have destroy them, but cost quite a bit more...good value in the M3Ti though. I'd say their priced fairly, certainly not competing against most speakers double and triple the price. I bring this up because you should expect the ar.com DIY's to sound quite a bit better.

I'm currently in the stages of building some of Ed's speakers...I've already build a very similar speaker (Wayne J's PeeCreek) that used the same Peerless woofer but a North Creek tweeter instead of the Peerless...Now the $300 I spent on those was worth EVERY penny...they easily give the the Studio 40's a run for their money, and in alot of ways are better. Throw in the price factor, and it's not even close. The only other person I know who's built both the PeeCreek and the Ar.com DIY told me he preferred Ed's speaker by a wide margin.

If you're new to the DIY thing, either company (Madisound/Speaker city) is fine. I think most people (including Ed) prefer Madisound's crossovers though - they'll assemble them for you...this makes things easier and is only a bit more expensive than the cost of buying the parts for them....go that route. As for cabinets...well I think either is fine. They both know what they're doing.

You'd save a ton building them yourself though. Especially the cabinets. Building these is quite educational, and fun. The DIY community is very helpful, too.

I got hooked on DIY when some stage tech friends of mine opened a business and built me a pair towers using Vifa drivers. I was skeptical at first, but they sound way better than the Paradigm's and Wharfedale's I own, and cost about 1/2 as much. Finished in cheap paint and carpet though, I'll have to do something about that.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

10-20-2004, 12:08 PM

I can't comment on the Axiom, but can say one of the good things for me about the AR.com DIY design is the low component count in the crossovers. The drivers in the AR.com are reasonably well behaved therefore don't need much taming of peaks and such. If you decide to build the crossovers, then Ed's design is quite straightforward & cost effective.

I bought the crossovers premade from Madisound. They did an excellent job of assembly. They use a Solen polyprop cap for the tweeter circuit (not just a cheap cap). Components are put on a proper PCB, with self backing adhesive tape to attach to the cabinet bottom and lugs easily soldered to.

One thing I like so far (4 days and counting) about the AR.com DIYs over my older speakers is the midrange. It is a lot smoother / liquid like without loosing any intimacy or detail. I'm using a Marantz amp.

I think for the price they are great. As most people have commented in the reviews there are better speakers out there no doubt but at what extra cost? If you look at most driver manufacturers - they have a huge jump between woofer and tweeter costs for the next level of drivers past what are in the AR.com DIYs (eg. the 850122 is $40ea, most driver manufacturers have a jump to $60 then approx $120 for better drivers). If you spend double on drivers, then you probably should also buy better quality crossover components. To get a better speaker - I believe you would have to spend close to $500/pr. Would a $500/pr speaker be 3 times better than the AR.com DIYs - don't know!

I believe for the amp you have (I used to own one, and depending on the source), the AR.com DIYs will be the stronger part of your system and allow you to upgrade amplification and source later and still get tangible improvements in the sound.


Rob H
10-20-2004, 02:32 PM
Dave (and Kexodusc)...

Thanks for the feedback. I'm really looking forward to purchasing the AR.coms. I'm leaning towards the Madisound kits ($340 per pair), but the factory built option from Speaker City (at only $42 per pair more) is tempting.

Thanks again, for the great feedback.


10-20-2004, 03:57 PM
Whatever you're most comfortable with...
Have you ever changed spark plugs in an engine? Assembled a computer? Building speakers isn't much harder, just takes a bit of time and learning. There's tons of folks here that will help answer your questions, and Ed Frias himself frequents these boards.

If you decide to go with Speaker City, make sure you ask for the latest xo design, NOT the over-priced GR Research offering. After conversing with several people that have tried both, you'd save yourself a bit of money going this route.