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  1. #1
    Forum Regular vr6ofpain's Avatar
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    Question DIY kit speakers, AR.com/Ed Frias EFE vs. BR-1...

    I assume (I mean one costs twice as much, and being kits this is parts) the Ed Frias EFE is a much better speaker, but has anyone actually compared the two?

    Any noticeable differences between the two?

    I am really considering the Ar.com/Ed Frias EFE, because speakercity sells the kit for $170 a speaker ($320/pair), and from what I have read, it is a very nice speaker. I assume it will easily blow away my current MB Quarts (retailed for $400, I got them wholesale for $200).

    Any comments are welcome.
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  2. #2
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    The Ar.com really is a better speaker than the BR-1 all around. Hard to compare the two. You'll run into the same question about value you do with any other two speakers (is it worth the price difference?). I suppose that depends on how much money you can spend.

    I haven't heard your speakers, so I'm not qualified to say if they'll "blow away" your current ones. I preferred them to my Paradigm Studio 20's and 40's v.2. They didn't blow those away, but were just better in the midrange, a bit more accurate in the highs without sounding as bright, and presented a better soundstage overall. Without sounding too subjective, they were just more engaging and musical to me. For me it was a small improvement over the Studio speakers, an upgrade I probably wouldn't bother to do except that I covered the cost of the ar.com's and then some in selling the Paradigms used. Almost enough to build 2 home theaters (which is in fact helping me finance some other projects still).

    I frequently compare the BR-1 to Paradigm's Mini Monitor (not because it sounds like it but because Paradigm is easy for most people to find as a point of reference). The BR-1 sounds better than the Mini to me. Smoother and more accurate, not quite as much bass though.

    I think Madisound sells the Ar.com a bit cheaper than speaker city, though you'd have to assemble everything yourself (not hard at all).

  3. #3
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    I pondered this same question a few weeks ago as I was considering my first venture into DIY speakers. At the time, I didn't know how good DIY speakers could sound and I was feeling risk averse, so I went with the much cheaper option, the BR-1.

    I'm very pleased with the BR-1. I find these speakers have a nice detailed high-end, but the low-end, while not insignificant, is not as tight as I would like it. I listen to alot of classical music, and I like the speakers for solo or chamber music, as well as jazz and pop. But for large orchestral works it is not quite there. A music-oriented sub might help (potential future project).

    These speakers did get me excited about DIY, and I think will eventually pursue building the AR.coms. Though I've never heard a pair, part of my motivation is curiousity about how a pair of speakers could have so much positive feedback written about it. I'm not crazy about the Madisound or Speaker City cabinets, so I'm currently assessing other options.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular vr6ofpain's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    I suppose that depends on how much money you can spend.
    I can afford the ~$350 or so I will need for the Ed Frias.
    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    I preferred them to my Paradigm Studio 20's and 40's v.2.
    Really, that is a good thing. I have heard very good things about the Studio 20's (well the version 2 at least.
    Quote Originally Posted by kexodusc
    I think Madisound sells the Ar.com a bit cheaper than speaker city, though you'd have to assemble everything yourself (not hard at all).
    Well I will look at my Madisound catalog again...and their site. I am not intimidated by assembly of crossovers, but I don't have an interest in building my own cabinets, because frankly I dont have the right tools to do a nice job. Though if Madisound sells theirs with a cabinet I could consider it....though the cabinets they do usually provide are kinda tacky.
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  5. #5
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Madisound sells woodstyle cabinets...the black ones are really nice, you might like the oak colored ones too if it matches your room....They're built well. But not the prettiest. The speaker city one's aren't any better though IMO.

    My experiences with the Studio 20 v.3 lead me to believe they are better than the v.2. I think a direct comparison could very well go in favor of the new Studio's, but I've never tried. Some might still prefer the ar.com's.
    I built my ar.com's for about $200 per pair. A far cry from the $700-$800 (plus tax in some places)my Studio 20's sold for. If you're like me, like wood working, and need a good hobby, building cabinets is easy and cheap. For you, without tools, I still think they'd be a great buy at $350 or less.

    There are lots of other DIY kits out there too that might interest you. Not everyone likes the BR-1 or AR.com's presentation. GR-Research is quite popular as well as some of the other kits Madisound and Parts Express sell.

    From Madisound, the crossovers are pre-made with quality parts (err..as long as they don't modify them, just ask for xo's that follow Ed's schematic), all you need is to connect them to the drivers and terminals...A soldering iron and 10 minutes of work.

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    How do these speakers compare to the Ascend CBM170 ?

  7. #7
    Forum Regular vr6ofpain's Avatar
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    good question, I was recommended those Ascend's a while back.
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