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Thread: New DIY speaker project underway

  1. #1
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    New DIY speaker project underway

    After the reasonable successful completion of my recent DIY speaker project, (see HERE), i've decided to undertake another -- hopefully it won't take 15 years to complete like the last one.

    My objective is to build small footprint, tower speakers with high-quality drivers. These could potentially replace my Magneplanar MG 1.6QR's which are rather obtrusive in my small-medium living room. I might decide I can't live without the Maggies, these new ones might go to my HT setup or be gifted to my son.

    FIRST I will build the cabinets. Yes, cabinets first: with a reasonable choice of cabinet design it is possible to accommodate pretty large selection of driver options. Since I don't have a table saw, I decided to buy my cabinets and then do some mild mods. I choose Parts Express Denovo 1.16 cu.ft. MDF tower cabinets, (see HERE). If the selected drivers call for less volume, these cabinets can easily be partitioned to accommodate them.

    New DIY speaker project underway-denovocabinet.jpg

    I'll probably added an additional 1/4" of fiberboard to the front baffle's 3/4" MDF, and round the front baffle's edges with my router by 3/8 or 1/2". I'll probably paint the cabinets vs. attempting veneer; with enought work it's possible to obtain an automotive quality finish.


    SECONDLY I'll choose my drivers. I could design my own crossovers but because I'll be investing in relatively expensive drivers I'll probably go with an expert's design. Leading contenders, (as I now see them), are:


    The cabinets are ordered and on the way. Wish me luck. I will post updates as things develop.
    Last edited by Feanor; 06-11-2016 at 08:58 AM.

  2. #2
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    I have heard really good things with the revelator towers and a lot of very expensive speaker companies use the revelator drivers in their designs. those cabinets will be really good with the mods you have planned. I have used the pre cut subwoofer enclosure from PE for my custom built sub for my 2 channel setup and it has been a killer sub for music.

    Marantz SR5008(HT)
    Nu Force P8 Preamp (2 channel)
    Pass Labs X150.5(2 channel)
    Adcom 545 mk2 power amp(rear channel amp)
    Spatial Audio M3 Turbo S Mains Speakers
    Dayton 8" HO custom sealed subwoofer(2 channel)
    Yamaha NS-c444 center channel
    Emotiva ERD-1 surround speakers
    JBL e250p subwoofer highly modified
    Samsung 46" LED TV
    OPPO BDP-83 blue ray/multi format player
    ps-audio NuWave dac (2 channel)
    Dell I660 music server running fidelizer windows 8 audio optimizer
    PS Audio Quintet power center



  3. #3
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harley .guy07 View Post
    I have heard really good things with the revelator towers and a lot of very expensive speaker companies use the revelator drivers in their designs. those cabinets will be really good with the mods you have planned. I have used the pre cut subwoofer enclosure from PE for my custom built sub for my 2 channel setup and it has been a killer sub for music.
    Speaking of subs, I expect to continue to use my sub with the new speakers. If I go with the Revelator 2-way vented, I'll tune the vent to about 40 Hz roll-off, so the bottom octave will have to go to the sub.

    Curiously, Zaph provides tuning options for the 2-way vented as low as 25 Hz roll-off but I suspect this is far too demanding for the 2-way system, i.e. too much driver excursion with possible damage to the driver, and/or too much distortion.

  4. #4
    Forum Regular blackraven's Avatar
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    Sounds like a great project. Have fun doing it.
    Pass Labs X250 amp, BAT Vk-51se Preamp,
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  5. #5
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
    Speaking of subs, I expect to continue to use my sub with the new speakers. If I go with the Revelator 2-way vented, I'll tune the vent to about 40 Hz roll-off, so the bottom octave will have to go to the sub.

    Curiously, Zaph provides tuning options for the 2-way vented as low as 25 Hz roll-off but I suspect this is far too demanding for the 2-way system, i.e. too much driver excursion with possible damage to the driver, and/or too much distortion.
    Yeah I would definitely do the floorstander if I would to do any of these systems. Just for the sake of the extra driver area adding to the dynamics and the overall low end being less taxed. I would also think that if you are thinking of moving from your Mg's then I would also go with something that could at least fill the room the way a larger speaker can or you will feel that you lost something in my opinion. I have heard many bookshelf subwoofer setups that sound good but they all seem to miss something to me when It comes to dynamics. I have pretty good dynamics now with my Dyns with the sub added but I myself will be looking for another option in the near future, but I might keep the sub in the mix just to fill out the lowest octaves because god knows I cant just go out and buy Wilson Allexandros or any of the super speakers than can do it

    Marantz SR5008(HT)
    Nu Force P8 Preamp (2 channel)
    Pass Labs X150.5(2 channel)
    Adcom 545 mk2 power amp(rear channel amp)
    Spatial Audio M3 Turbo S Mains Speakers
    Dayton 8" HO custom sealed subwoofer(2 channel)
    Yamaha NS-c444 center channel
    Emotiva ERD-1 surround speakers
    JBL e250p subwoofer highly modified
    Samsung 46" LED TV
    OPPO BDP-83 blue ray/multi format player
    ps-audio NuWave dac (2 channel)
    Dell I660 music server running fidelizer windows 8 audio optimizer
    PS Audio Quintet power center



  6. #6
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harley .guy07 View Post
    Yeah I would definitely do the floorstander if I would to do any of these systems. Just for the sake of the extra driver area adding to the dynamics and the overall low end being less taxed. I would also think that if you are thinking of moving from your Mg's then I would also go with something that could at least fill the room the way a larger speaker can or you will feel that you lost something in my opinion. I have heard many bookshelf subwoofer setups that sound good but they all seem to miss something to me when It comes to dynamics. I have pretty good dynamics now with my Dyns with the sub added but I myself will be looking for another option in the near future, but I might keep the sub in the mix just to fill out the lowest octaves because god knows I cant just go out and buy Wilson Allexandros or any of the super speakers than can do it
    I appreciate your comments about having enough dynamics and power handling. I think a 2-way, single mid/woofer will do for me because of my small-medium room and because I don't listen at high volumes. However I still haven't ruled out the the possibility of the closed-box 2.5-way version of the Revelator that uses two mid/woofers. (The Denovo 1.16 cu.ft. doesn't allow the 2.5-way in vented format.)

    The issues with the closed 2.5-way are
    1. Almost another $500, (which is Can$700 for me)
    2. The roll-off frequency, (F3), us much higher, >60 Hz
    3. Zaph Audio says that the vented 2.5-way is best in larger room or a listening distance of at least 8 feet

    Item (2) might be addressed by digital equalization, and (3) in part by a crossover mod. However Item (1) remains a biggy for me personally.

  7. #7
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    Sometimes you just got to look at how much more price verses the amount of performance difference. In a smaller room you might be better off saving the money and getting the 2 way setup and using a sub, you will get the same sound overall from midbass and up and probably have a chance to even get better imaging since there is less of a cabinet to obstruct the soundwaves.

    Marantz SR5008(HT)
    Nu Force P8 Preamp (2 channel)
    Pass Labs X150.5(2 channel)
    Adcom 545 mk2 power amp(rear channel amp)
    Spatial Audio M3 Turbo S Mains Speakers
    Dayton 8" HO custom sealed subwoofer(2 channel)
    Yamaha NS-c444 center channel
    Emotiva ERD-1 surround speakers
    JBL e250p subwoofer highly modified
    Samsung 46" LED TV
    OPPO BDP-83 blue ray/multi format player
    ps-audio NuWave dac (2 channel)
    Dell I660 music server running fidelizer windows 8 audio optimizer
    PS Audio Quintet power center



  8. #8
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harley .guy07 View Post
    Sometimes you just got to look at how much more price verses the amount of performance difference. In a smaller room you might be better off saving the money and getting the 2 way setup and using a sub, you will get the same sound overall from midbass and up and probably have a chance to even get better imaging since there is less of a cabinet to obstruct the soundwaves.
    Yes, indeed. Even two 7" drivers aren't going to give you the bottom octave, so they don' obviate the need for a subwoofer i that respect. 2.5-way systems, (as I grasp the concept), address two issues: (1) they provide more power handling in the the high to mid bass ranges, and (2) they are a solution to the "baffle shelf" problem. Neither of this issues is as significant in a smaller room or at lower listening volumes.

  9. #9
    Charm Thai™
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    Looking like another great project. I've always loved Morel drivers in all applications I can remember gearing them but you;d be hard pressed to go wrong with the revelators either.

  10. #10
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    PROGRESS MADE -- cabinets constructed

    I have pretty much complete construction of the cabinets for my ZRT 2-way projects. I still have to order Madison's ZRT 2-way kit; I'll just get the drivers and crossovers since I have everything for the cabinets, etc.

    The cabinets are 1.16 cu.ft. knock-down towers from Parts Express. I added an additional 1/4" layer to the front baffles for a total thickness of 1". Other than that, I slightly radiused the edges and fabricated the wider bases. The pics I'm including show own cabinet with the from baffle in place and the other still open. I've got front and rear views of the latter; you can see the vent tube in place. Once the crossovers are installed in the lowest section, I will stuff that section with Acousta-fill; this is necessary to prevent nasty resonances in the tall, slender cabinet.

    The cabinets are painted; ordinary water-based acrylic latex. I've never done lamination and wasn't going to try it. I applied 3 or 4 casts lightly sanding in between. I'll admit the finish ain't automotive quality but I figured I wasn't going to achieve that without spray painting. I waxed the final coat with carnauba wax. The color was chosen as a close match to the leather on my listening chair.

    New DIY speaker project underway-diy_speaker02.jpgNew DIY speaker project underway-diy_speaker03.jpgNew DIY speaker project underway-diy_speaker04.jpg
    Last edited by Feanor; 07-25-2016 at 07:45 AM.

  11. #11
    Forum Regular harley .guy07's Avatar
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    Looks good, I have always wondered how those ZRT kits from Madisound sound. I know they use really high quality drivers. And that is the only way to get those drivers in a speaker priced in this price class. I had thought about going that route as well but was too compelled with the Spatial Audio thing to give up trying them. I know several people have said the precut cabinets from PE are really good as my sub cabinet from them is

    Marantz SR5008(HT)
    Nu Force P8 Preamp (2 channel)
    Pass Labs X150.5(2 channel)
    Adcom 545 mk2 power amp(rear channel amp)
    Spatial Audio M3 Turbo S Mains Speakers
    Dayton 8" HO custom sealed subwoofer(2 channel)
    Yamaha NS-c444 center channel
    Emotiva ERD-1 surround speakers
    JBL e250p subwoofer highly modified
    Samsung 46" LED TV
    OPPO BDP-83 blue ray/multi format player
    ps-audio NuWave dac (2 channel)
    Dell I660 music server running fidelizer windows 8 audio optimizer
    PS Audio Quintet power center



  12. #12
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    I attaching a few more pics that contrast the size of these cabinets with my Magneplanar MG 1.6QR's. Once I've heard the completed ZRT's I'll decide whether to use them or stick with the Maggies. Right now I'm not assuming they'll be better than the Maggies. ...

    New DIY speaker project underway-diy_speaker07.jpgNew DIY speaker project underway-diy_speaker06.jpgNew DIY speaker project underway-diy_speaker05.jpg

  13. #13
    Suspended topspeed's Avatar
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    Lookin' good, Feanor! Sounds like a fun project, too!

  14. #14
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by harley .guy07 View Post
    Looks good, I have always wondered how those ZRT kits from Madisound sound. I know they use really high quality drivers. And that is the only way to get those drivers in a speaker priced in this price class. I had thought about going that route as well but was too compelled with the Spatial Audio thing to give up trying them. I know several people have said the precut cabinets from PE are really good as my sub cabinet from them is
    Most of my reason for undertaking this project was for the fun and moderate challenge of doing it. I selected the relatively expensive Scan-Speak Revelator kit because I wanted to get the best bang for the effort I'd be putting into the project. That plus the possibility the result just might be competitive with my Magneplanars for sound, but I'm not counting on that.

    I suspect that you'll enjoy the Spatials a lot. Over the years I've head a lot of advocacy for dipole bass.

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