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  1. #1
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    AR DIY vs. Paradigm vs. Axiom

    I recently bought a set of M3Ti's to go in our dining room, mostly to play at moderate volumes. I must say, the Axioms certainly look nice, but the more I listen to them, the more I realize they fall short of the old (and cheaper) Paradigm Titans they replaced. I can't get my Titans back because I gave them to my parents. I've decided to move the Axiom's into my workshop.
    This has left me with the problem of replacing the speakers upstairs in my dining room. At first I was going to move my Paradigm Studio 20's from my main system and buy larger Studio's, but being so soon after christmas and all I just can't afford it.
    I also have Mini Monitors for my HT and don't want to touch that setup so they're out of the question.
    I've always been curious about the AR DIY kits. I'd love to try it, but I don't know anybody who's ever used them and I'm hesitant to buy speakers without listenening to them.
    Can anyone here give a testament as to how the AR DIY speakers would sound compared to either (or all) of the speaker models I've listed? Any suggestions...the AR DIY's fit my budget quite nicely at this time.

  2. #2
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    not sure about the speaker you are asking about. but i have an opinion as to what to get with a budget. try ebay and audiogon.com for a used set of studio 20's v2. should be able to get for $ 380 to 400. they are $800 new for 20's v3. you know you already like them and they are truely proven to be a great speaker. my 2 cents. good luck

  3. #3
    Forum Regular Swerd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    I've always been curious about the AR DIY kits. I'd love to try it, but I don't know anybody who's ever used them and I'm hesitant to buy speakers without listenening to them.
    I was in a similar situation to you. I wanted to try my hand at building speakers. The AR DIYs seemed like a good way to start. So many others here commented positively on their own experiences with these speakers that I took the leap. I remember especially comments by Dick Hertz who apparently has a lot of speaker building experience. If I remember correctly, he said that they were the best small ported 2-way speakers he had heard. Many others said that the AR DIYs performed as well as non-DIY speakers that retailed for 5-times the cost. As for me, I love them. I sorry I can't compare them directly to the Axioms or Paradigm Titans, but considering their cost, I would be surprised if you didn't find the AR DIYs better.

    By the way… Dick Hertz … we've missed you around here since the new format appeared. So get yourself up off the floor, wipe that sawdust from your face, and let us know how you are.

  4. #4
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    If you want to try DIY try GR Research, North Creek Music, or Besl. They only use the best components. You can have the crossovers assembled, and cabinets built so all you have to do is put it together. The North Creek Okara is a great starter kit. They use a Scan Speak tweeter that's used in speakers costing thousands of dollars, and a terrific little Vifa woofer that is a perfect match. Their crossover design is also top quality.

    DIY is pretty fun. I would recommend reading a book first like "The Loudspeaker Design Cookbook" to enhance your knowledge. I'm not an expert in DIY but I have built the GR Research AV1. I ordered assembled crossovers and had the cabinets built for me. Total price was around $500...they probably compare favorably to speakers costing 3-4 times that. People at http://www.audioasylum.com rave about them constantly.

    Check this site out for more info on DIY http://ldsg.snippets.org/idx.php3

    EDIT: I forgot to add, if you decide on the Ed Frias kit, order it from here: http://speakercity.com/sc_kits.shtml#efekit

    SpeakerCity offers the Ed Frias kit with a new crossover developed by Danny Richie, who is basically a God in DIY circles. Apparently the Ed Frias designed crossover had some serious problems. Danny Richie fixed these problem to get FR to +/- 2 from about 200-10K. Very good.
    Last edited by ryewoods; 01-08-2004 at 09:35 PM.

  5. #5
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Thanks bunches to everyone who responded so far...good suggestions, especially the book. I think I'll post another thread asking if there's other good books audio enthusiasts can read.

  6. #6
    all around good guy Jim Clark's Avatar
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    I've auditioned the Titans at Sound FX in Kansas City and to be honest I found them to be flat, lifeless, and non-involving. Having recently acquired the AR DIY's my opinion is that the DIY's are vastly superior. I've only had them for a little over a week and just fairly recently set them up to my satisfaction and I'm quite pleased. I will note that I bought these used and fully assembled for 195 (+shipping) so I feel like this set in particular was a tremendous value. Personally I'd chose the DIY's over the Titans any day of the week.

    I haven't written a full review or comparison as of yet since I don't feel I've been able to listen enough to give an accurate assesment but so far I'm very pleased. I'll also mention that this is with the original cross-over design, frequency dip and all. down the road I'll probably look into making some changes to bring it up to date and decide if it was a favorable change or not. Either way it's tough to go terribly wrong with this set of speakers especially if you're already used to stand mount speakers. This was my first set and setting up the sub was a bit more difficult than I had imagined.

    Finally, something to keep in mind with the AR Diy's is that Ed Frias who was extremely helpful to so many for so long doesn't seem to have stuck around with the software change here. The DIY forum is basically a ghost town and if you needed help with yours I'm not so sure it would be easy to come by here at AR right now. Of course if you knew what you were doing it probably wouldn't matter but I would have needed massive amounts of help as I don't know a single thing about schematics, soldering, heck, I don't even know what a resistor is and what I'd do with it if I had one.

    regards,
    jc
    "Ahh, cartoons! America's only native art form. I don't count jazz 'cuz it sucks"- Bartholomew J. Simpson

  7. #7
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Thanks for the vote of confidence. For the price, I'd expect the AR DIY's to be vastly superior to the Titans, they're almost twice as much.
    I haven't really got the comparison's I expected, but to be honest it probably wasn't a reasonable question. Most people who would own or test the Titans out are probably trying to fit a budget (as I was in university) and wouldn't splurge for the DIY's. I don't know anybody who has the DIY's and have never heard a set, so I would be relying soley on internet testatments and comparisons with speakers I have owned to convince me to try them.
    Jim Clark is right, if I put the Titans by my Studio 20's or even Mini Monitors, they do sound flat and lifeless. That being said at 100 bucks a speaker I've only seen a few brands that could keep up. They're great for entry level systems and are suitable apartment/bedroom/dining room/HT speakers, critical stereo listening will reveal their limitations.
    I guess I was really hoping someone would say, "don't worry about not being able to afford new Studio 20's, the AR DIY's are just as good or better".
    Haven't got that yet, but I ordered a kit...so maybe in a few weeks I'll answer my own question. Now if you'll excuse, me I have to go find my soldering gun and blow the dust off it.

  8. #8
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    Jim Clark is correct. The Ed Frias kit will definitely sound better than the Titans. It uses good Peerless drivers (Vifa's sister company) and a nice cross over. It also looks nice. IMO it's a good starter kit.

    EDIT: This may be what you're looking for. I have read reviews about Ed Frias kit, and most believe it won't be outclassed by speakers costing $1000. I'm assuming this would include the Paradigm Studios. Check out http://diyaudio.com The Ed Frias kit has a big following there, and they may be able to give you more of an idea of what you can expect.

  9. #9
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Thanks ryewoods, good source, if nothing else it leaves me feeling more comfortable with my decision to purchase the Ed Frias after the fact.
    I'm really looking forward to them now. I have no doubt they should sound better than my old Titans or even newer Mini Monitors...up against the Studio 20's, well, I'll believe it when I hear it.
    Anyway, this could be the start of something fun (and costly) for me.
    I do a bit of woodworking, any good sources out there that could serve as a guide to building my own cabinets?
    Thanks again

  10. #10
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    AR.com DIY

    Hello guys,
    I'm still around, I just don't have much time to get involved giving answers on postings unless specifically aimed at me. Kexodusc, I don't know if you purchased the kit yet, but I recommend you buy it with my latest crossover as posted on this site, not with Danny Richie's supposed upgraded version from Speaker City. I built his version last year and posted the results for all to read (see below), it does not have the same kind of sound my designs are known for. We have two different philosophies in our designs, and his version sounds very different. You can buy the crossovers and drivers from either Speaker City or Madisound, I'd compare cost, but Speaker City sells the cabinets exclusively. Make sure to use the additional 2ohm resistors on the tweeters positive terminals at first, you can easily change them to a higher or lower value later depending on your personal taste and system. Let us know how they come out? Success!

    Ed Frias
    EFE TECHNOLOGY Speakers

    EFE vs. GR Research version DIY
    http://forums14.consumerreview.com/c...23970@.ef9ae62

  11. #11
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    When I called Speaker City for the AR DIY kit they asked me what I wanted specifically.
    I had never heard of Mr. Ritchie, so I asked to stick with Mr. Frias' designs. They mentioned something about newer specs, and I think they charged me a few extra dollars, no big deal.
    I did buy the cabinets, as this will be my first dip into DIY. However, does anyone know of a good web source or other reference I could use should I decide to build my own in the future...woodworking has always been one of my favorite hobbies, why not put the two together, right?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    However, does anyone know of a good web source or other reference I could use should I decide to build my own in the future...woodworking has always been one of my favorite hobbies, why not put the two together, right?
    There are a bunch of books with designs you could use (check out Amazon and type in Speaker Design and you will get a ton of books]). Also, sites like http://www.murphyblaster.com and http://www.dillonacoustics.com offer several FREE design. I'm actually planning on doing one of the many designs Dennis Murphy offers. They do not sell kits, so you must do everything on your own (assemble crossovers, build cabinets, purchase drivers, etc.).

    Other sites like http://www.northcreekmusic.com/, http://www.bamberglab.com/ , http://zalytron.com/ , and http://madisound.com/ offer kits in several stages of completion. For example, you could order the drivers and assembled crossovers, but build the cabinets yourself (they will include plans for the cabinets).

    Here's an example: http://www.northcreekmusic.com/OkaraII/IkemoCabinet.PDF

  13. #13
    Forum Regular Swerd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    I do a bit of woodworking, any good sources out there that could serve as a guide to building my own cabinets?
    Thanks again
    In addition to the sites already listed, I found some articles as this site useful
    http://www.speakerbuilder.net/web_files/default.htm

    Also don't forget Parts Express
    http://www.partsexpress.com/webpage....&WebPage_ID=29

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swerd
    In addition to the sites already listed, I found some articles as this site useful
    http://www.speakerbuilder.net/web_files/default.htm

    Also don't forget Parts Express
    http://www.partsexpress.com/webpage....&WebPage_ID=29
    Have you ever ordered a kit from PE? I noticed that they have some new kits besides the original that used Dayton drivers. They seems to be reasonably priced at less than $400. I was thinking about going with the Morel/Peerless combo they offer. I was just apprehensive because I'm not sure about the quality of the crossover they use.

  15. #15
    Forum Regular Swerd's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ryewoods
    Have you ever ordered a kit from PE? I noticed that they have some new kits besides the original that used Dayton drivers. They seems to be reasonably priced at less than $400. I was thinking about going with the Morel/Peerless combo they offer. I was just apprehensive because I'm not sure about the quality of the crossover they use.
    I've bought plenty of parts and stuff from PE, but never bought one of their kits. I've eyed that same Morel/Peerless combo, but I've been busy and happy with the AR DIYs that I got this past fall. In general my experience with PE has been very good, so I am inclined to believe their claims. I wish I could give a better answer to your question. Tell us what you decide on doing, and post it on the Tweaks, Mods, DIY forum, where the cobwebs have been accumulating.

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