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Thread: Newly completed DIY 2-way Dayton Reference

  1. #1
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Newly completed DIY 2-way Dayton Reference

    Yesterday I completed my DIY speakers -- took me 15+ years. Well, that's when I began the cabinets.

    These speakers are based on Dayton Audio Reference drivers; these are regarded as high value and I can't disagree based on my own results. The box is just under under 1 cu.ft. and is vented. The woofer is Dayton's 7" 8 ohm paper coned Reference driver; the tweeter is their silk domed 4ohm Reference:


    My design aids were Harris Technologies' X-Over 3 Pro and Bass Box 6 Pro programs. I choose a 2nd order crossover to minimized the number of components. The paper cone and silk dome options were choose to make minimize the risk of nasties, especially given the low-order crossover. I chose 1500 Hz for the crossover; this fairly low xover point is feasible because the tweeter has a low resonance frequency, extended lower response, and very good power handling.

    I tested the each speaker using Dayton's OmniMic program and microphone. I don't exactly have an anechoic chamber for the a listening room but measured and 3 feet, the speakers measured reasonably flat and had no nasty peaks or troughs.

    Measured with the speakers in their listening placement and from my actual listening position, the response was markedly different from close up which isn't too remarkable. I used a Foobar plug-in equalized to flatten the response -- this is what I have been doing with my Magneplanars too, so I am only leveling the playing field.

    Equalized, the Dayton DIYs sounded tonally a lot like the Maggies. However, not surprising, the Maggies easily beat them for soundstage and air, though the Dayton's are pretty close in terms of resolution. The Daytons have only 4-5 hours of playing and will probably improve a bit with further break-in.

    Ultimately the Dayton DIYs will end up in my HT set up, but I'll listen to them in my main stereo system of a few day.

    Some pics ... note the speakers stand are far from ideal: they are too tall and too spindly.

    Newly completed DIY 2-way Dayton Reference-dayton_speakers_fr_leftt.jpgNewly completed DIY 2-way Dayton Reference-dayton_speakers_fr_right.jpgNewly completed DIY 2-way Dayton Reference-dayton_speakers_in_stereo.jpg

  2. #2
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    I presume you designed the box. Nice work! What material/finish is it?
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  3. #3
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoeE SP9 View Post
    I presume you designed the box. Nice work! What material/finish is it?
    Yes, I designed & made the box. The finish is Tremclad Textured spray paint. Thought if would be easier than a lot of sanding, (but it wasn't really).

  4. #4
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Very nice. I was considering building a pair of speakers but I know nothing about the technical side.
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  5. #5
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackraven View Post
    Very nice. I was considering building a pair of speakers but I know nothing about the technical side.
    Well there is a great deal one MIGHT know on the technical side; I've done a fair bit of study over more than I decade but I'm a LONG way from being an expert. But the good news is that virtually anyone can build speakers successfully with just a little basic research. In that regard you can either (b) build a kit, or (b) follow a "recipe" such as can be found at a few DIY speaker builder websites.

    Kits can come with or, (more usually), without cabinets. In the latter case, you build the cabinets, buy the cabinets separate from the kit, or have them made by a custom builder. Kits usually include the crossovers but some times you have to assemble them yourself.

    An example of a complete kit would be one a mentioned a couple of weeks ago that's from Parts Express. It comes with an unfinished cabinet in knock-down form ... Solstice MLTL Reference Tower Speaker Kit

    An example of "recipe" is this one from Seas; it's their 'Idunn' two-way speaker ... IDUNN

    But Madisound sells Idunn kits complete with assembled crossovers but no cabinets ... https://www.madisoundspeakerstore.co...ir-parts-only/

    Other examples of "recipes" can be found at Zaph|Audio. John "Zaph" Krutke's designs are highly regarded; some of them are available as no-cabinet kits at Madison. I've given some thought to building Zaph's 'ZRT' speakers ... Zaph|Audio - ZRT - Revelator Tower. Again, Madisound sells kits for the 2- and 2.5-way versions.

  6. #6
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    These speakers are working well but have now been consigned to their anticipated destination, i.e. fronts in my HT set up. The Paradigm MiniMonitor V3's are now moved to L+R surrounds and the old Boston Acoustics A60's are retired.

    As was expected, though very good they aren't in same league as my Magneplanar MG 1.6QR's. The latter beat them easily in soundstage and airiness as expected. The DIYs have very good resolution and depth but the the highs have a slight graininess that aren't evident in the Maggies.

  7. #7
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    These speakers are working well but have now been consigned to their anticipated destination, i.e. fronts in my HT set up. The Paradigm MiniMonitor V3's are now moved to L+R surrounds and the old Boston Acoustics A60's are retired.

    As was expected, though very good they aren't in same league as my Magneplanar MG 1.6QR's. The latter beat them easily in soundstage and airiness as expected. The DIYs have very good resolution and depth but the the highs have a slight graininess that aren't evident in the Maggies.
    I've very pleased with these DIY Daytons in my HT system, so all's good. In addition to hearing them in case of videos and multichannel TV, I have listened to multichannel SACDs played on my Sony Blu-ray; that experience has been very satisfying. Incidentally, I will reassert, as I have for years, that good multichannel recordings deliver a verisimilitude of live, in-hall performance you just don't get in stereo.

    As for the slight graininess I mentioned, I have discovered comments that the Dayton Reference dome tweeters, (at least the metal one which mine is not), have rising distortion below 2000 Hz. Just maybe the slight grain I heard (in my stereo system) is due to this mild distortion since I choose a low, 1500 Hz crossover point. I could revise the cross over to 2000 Hz but I don't intend to do so because results are very satisfactory for my HT system.
    Last edited by Feanor; 05-19-2016 at 03:59 AM.

  8. #8
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    I finally figured out that I could measure harmonic distortion with my Dayton OmniMic microphone and software, so I did it today.

    The measurements were taken in my fairly well damped, (but definitely not anechoic), living room is pictured my original post, except that the single speaker measure was moved to the coffee table and the mic place 1 meter from the speaker.

    The graph below, (click to enlarge), shows frequency response, (top, black) and total harmonic, (middle, blue line). I think it looks reasonably good. Frequency response looks reasonably flat from 50 Hz on up. Harmonic distortion looks pretty good with a main-band high around 200 Hz of a relative -33 dB, (2.2%), and about -51 dB, (0.28%), at 1000 Hz.

    I had some concern that my select crossover point of 1500 Hz was introducing distortion from around there to about 2000 Hz on account of the tweeter's reputed performance, but there is no indication of that.

    Newly completed DIY 2-way Dayton Reference-dayton2waydistortion01.jpg
    Last edited by Feanor; 05-30-2016 at 08:43 AM.
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  9. #9
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Great Job.
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  10. #10
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    Oh wow great job feanor. Those PE reference drivers are great and I especially like the choice of silk dome. The color choice of paint is a very nice touch.

  11. #11
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheHills44060 View Post
    Oh wow great job feanor. Those PE reference drivers are great and I especially like the choice of silk dome. The color choice of paint is a very nice touch.
    Thanks, Hill. I'm pretty pleased with the result. They are working great in my home theater setup.

  12. #12
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    really nice looking speakers. I have done diy as well and as the interest peaked a few years ago and I have recently remarked about how I might build my own high end speakers to replace my mains it seems that as time goes on I start to figure out that I will probably not want to do all the testing and tinkering in order to make them perfect as there are several designs out there in the commercial world that I am interested in. Not to say that at the end of the day a diy design still wont happen but as time does on I doubt it. I still have some 6" Dayton reference aluminum mids and soft dome tweeters that I have in boxes from years ago that I have yet to put to use.

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