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Considering GR AV3s, here come the questions.


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#1 of 138 OFFLINE   Justin Ward

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Posted January 25 2004 - 06:32 AM

For my next set of speakers I've more or less decided to go DIY. The kit will cost me about $600 Canadian without wood. So that puts the final price about the same as Studio 20s. Are the AV3s much better than the Studio 20's?

I will be running them without a sub for a while, I'm concerned about the 5.25" woofers ability to play low with authority, do they have respectable bass ( compared to my current Titans)?

I plan on bringing them to college with me(the full 5.1 Paradigm/Tempest setup is just too big), so the small footprint is very appealing, is the overall sound well suited to a small dorm room?

I mostly listen to rock and I 'm worried about the speakers ability to rock well. I have Grado SR-80 headphones which are just perfect for rock. Should I be looking at the Adire HE series speakers for a better rock speaker?

#2 of 138 OFFLINE   Michael R Price

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Posted January 25 2004 - 08:58 AM

Justin,

I think that the A/V-3s are most likely better than the Paradigms, however if you like rock music they may not be the best speaker for you. I also question the ability of those 5" drivers to play significant bass. The GR speakers seem to have a softer tone which in my opinion isn't really realistic with rock music. I listened to the A/V-2 and the highs were of similar quality (but softer) to my 281s, the midrange was a bit clearer but the bass was kind of weak and distorted. I would look towards the Adire HE kits as well, except the size of the HE12 may be a problem. The Kit281s are also pretty sweet... they have no shortage of bass (the Goo Goo Dolls are playing now Posted Image). The compromise there is that their dynamics are questionable with a receiver.

#3 of 138 OFFLINE   Justin Ward

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Posted January 25 2004 - 09:05 AM

Quote:
The compromise there is that their dynamics are questionable with a receiver.


This concerns me a bit. I'd probably be using a low quality amp for a bit. I'm assuming the dynamics are questionable due to a lack of clean power? But in a small room their sensitivity is quite high (even more so with the HEs), so I wouldn't need a lot of power for good dynamics I think. I probably could get away with the 10.1s or even 12.1s considering I probably wouldn't need a sub right? Although I might add a sealed DPL 12 anyway.

I really want that "live" type sound, and from what I've read, the HEs would be a better choice. I'm assuming the HEs are also a significant step up from the Studio 20s?

#4 of 138 OFFLINE   Shawn Solar

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Posted January 25 2004 - 09:12 AM

I have AV2's that replaced V.2 studio 40's and to me the AV2" are a more realistic sounding speaker. Drums and guitars sound more realistic as do voices. The AV2's I found to be easier to listen to and can play loud with a decent sub. The bass went lower with the studio 40's but didn't have the transient kick of the av2's. The av2's imaging is better but I found the sweet spot to be a tad smaller and the speakers slightly more directional. So Careful setup and experimenting is needed for best sound,

I had the 40's pointed straight ahead and the av2's I liked pointed in a bit and a little further into the room. I agree with Micheal I think the adire 281's would have a lot more bass with dual 8inchers but I used a sub anyway. I listen to Rock, rap, blues and a little country and all sounded better with the AV2's than the 40's. 2-Channel Home theatre sounds great too. 5-channel will have to wait until it thaws a bit outside. I have almost everything cut just no room to assemble as the workshop got delayedPosted Image

#5 of 138 OFFLINE   Justin Ward

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Posted January 25 2004 - 09:14 AM

Michael,
I was wondering if you have any pics availible of your 281s. Looks aren't terribly important but I'd like to get a speaker that looks and sounds good. The AV3 tower looks a little weird, the "bookshelf speaker in a tower" look doesn't really do it for me. The HEs also look a bit weird.

#6 of 138 OFFLINE   Ben L C

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Posted January 25 2004 - 09:46 AM

Here is a link where you can find different people's finished 281's:

281's

They seem like a great speaker.

#7 of 138 OFFLINE   Justin Ward

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Posted January 25 2004 - 10:30 AM

I really like the looks of the 281s. They are very affordable too.

#8 of 138 OFFLINE   Michael R Price

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Posted January 25 2004 - 11:13 AM

Ha ha ha! You don't want to see my 281s. They are so ugly it's funny. Plain MDF cabinets with the wood filler over the nails still showing... and the front baffles are painted partially black to make them look less tall and thin. But if you're willing to spend money on a finish and take your time to build them correctly, they can look as good as anything else. (Lesson: the tools matter. Other lesson: I don't mind what I have.)

OK, ok... Posted Image
http://home.comcast.....e281inroom.jpg

I really don't know how the dynamics of the 281s compare to other speakers with lesser amplifiers. I've used three amps with these: 15 watt class A "Zen," a 100 watt Audiosource amp (supposed to be like a very good receiver), and my other amps with unknown but absurd power capability. There's a noticeable difference in subjective bass "strength" and liveliness of the music between all of those. I don't think a receiver would sound obviously deficient, though - the Audiosource amp clipped at 103db in my room (still maintaining the bass). Strangely these speakers sound more dynamic in the bass/midrange than Klipsch RB-5s (92db/w) which maintain a clean and awesome treble at high volumes, but the "little" woofer compresses so much the tone of the speaker is quite different. Or maybe it's just that the 281s are equally compressed sounding across the entire range. Posted Image

Anyway, I know what you mean about the "live" sound and - I guess - the HE12 would be a better choice. Compared to real music even the Kit281s are a little "sleepy." Then, of course, you could have problems with noise and distortion from the amplifier at very low power. You'd have to ask Saurav.

#9 of 138 OFFLINE   Jake K

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Posted January 25 2004 - 12:22 PM

Quote:
The AV3 tower looks a little weird, the "bookshelf speaker in a tower" look doesn't really do it for me


What do you mean by "bookshelf speaker in a tower"? There's nothing "bookshelf speaker" about them.

I just finished a pair of A/V-1's and they are very nice speakers so far. I plan on building two A/V-3's and an A/V-3s as well.

For small bookshelf speakers they can produce a good amount of great sounding bass with, it's just not very deep. I use an AV15 sub which blends very nicely with them.

#10 of 138 OFFLINE   Justin Ward

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Posted January 25 2004 - 12:35 PM

Quote:
What do you mean by "bookshelf speaker in a tower"? There's nothing "bookshelf speaker" about them.


I mean it essentially looks like a bookshelf speaker with a very tall enclosure. Small speakers in a largish-enclosure just look kind of strange to me. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure the GR series are great, I've heard alot of great things about them. I'm just not sure if they're best for my listening habits.

#11 of 138 OFFLINE   Justin Ward

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Posted January 25 2004 - 01:25 PM

After HE 10.1s

After seeing Kyle Richardsons HE 10.1s, I really leaning leaning towards going with that kit. At creative sound the 10.1s are way cheaper than the 12.1s and for some reason, even cheaper than the 8.1s. I was thinking a set of the 10.1s combined later with a dipole DPL12 sub would make some great music.

#12 of 138 OFFLINE   Danny Richie

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Posted January 26 2004 - 05:26 AM

There is no one speaker for everyone and all have their trade offs.

The A/V-3 is no exception.

First of all I hate to even see our speakers being compared to the Paradigms, but I guess they do share some of the same price points.

If you compare driver quality and especially component quality these are really not in the same league. Sonically there is really no comparison either as some here have already pointed out.

I would have to say that the performance of our A/V-3's could be more closely compared to offerings from Joseph Audio or maybe the new Onix Ref 2's.

As far as low bass extension the A/V-3's will hit low 40's with easy, and good solid SPL levels. The transmission line design controls the drivers extremely well allowing them to play down low with speed and quickness that a larger driver will have a tough time matching and since long exertions are minimized by the transmission line loading distortion is keep quite low.

It will not however have the air moving capabilities of the 281's using a pair of 8 inch woofers.

That is part of the trade off.

Speed, accuracy, and high end extension is sacrificed if air moving ability and low end extension is the goal.

The HE series speakers Adire offers moves little air either, nor do they play low but offer very high efficiency. Again there are always trade offs.

I have heard the HE 10 and while it is a very different speaker than our A/V-3 it was a very fun speaker to listen to with some types of music, especially good rock and roll.

All depends on what you are looking for here.

And one of the reasons that the smaller woofers are used and the front baffle is kept small is to minimize surface reflections. Thus, the thin, slim look.

This improves imaging.

The larger the front baffle, the more it will sound as if the sound field plays front the baffle forward. The smaller the baffle the easier it is to make the sound stage three dimensional.

It also allows for a higher WAF.

Some of the design objectives for the A/V-3 were: 8 ohm MTM (easy to drive with receivers), accuracy (smooth response +/-1.5db), good output level (91db), good low end extension (low 40's) with low distortion and good driver control, good detail level, easy to listen to at high levels without fatigue, easy to build TL design, and good, natural, realistic sound with any type of music.

Did we achieve all of our goals? Well I think so, but if those goals are for you and how it sounds is for you to decide. It is clearly is not for everyone

#13 of 138 OFFLINE   ThomasW

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Posted January 26 2004 - 07:15 AM

HERE's a rather interesting review of an early version of the 281. It was written by some folks fairly well known in the audio industry.

Note they take no issue with the speed, accuracy or high end extension of the Adire 281 design. So perhaps there aren't as many trade-offs involved as one might imagine.....

#14 of 138 OFFLINE   Michael R Price

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Posted January 26 2004 - 07:56 AM

Thomas, thanks for pointing out the review, it's one of the best speaker reviews (in terms of measurements and commentary) that I've seen. I don't think the design of the Kit281 has changed since the review, except that the reviewed speakers were built with the tweeters wired out of phase and the ports tuned too low.

To be fair, I think there is a minor anomaly in the upper midrange with the Kit281s, presumably caused by the narrowing dispersion increasing distortion of the midwoofers at the top of their range. It's a worthwhile trade off IMO, considering the other benefits of the design. I don't know how the midrange of the HE10 and 12 speakers compares, but the A/V-2 had no such problem.

#15 of 138 OFFLINE   Justin Ward

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Posted January 26 2004 - 08:08 AM

There's one more consideration I should throw out there. Most listening would be done at close distance (<2m). I'm thinking the HEs, having a coax driver would sound better at these distances but I could be wrong.

#16 of 138 OFFLINE   Justin Ward

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Posted January 26 2004 - 08:27 AM

BTW Danny I appreciate your honesty regarding compromises in your and other manufacturers speakers. The AV3 might not be exactly what I'm looking for but I won't hesitate in recommending them. The other day I was at my Paradigm dealer and one of the salesman there is very knowledgeable about audio and DIY. I didn't directly ask him, but he did tell me that while he felt the Paradigms were very good speakers (I've got no regrets about my current Titan/Atom/CC170 setup, it sounds great for the money) but told me DIY is a better value. He actually wanted to hear my Tempest to see how close comparable it was to the much more expensive Servo 15. His taste in speakers is a little more neutral, I'll have to mention those av series to him since he's always trying new things.

#17 of 138 OFFLINE   Danny Richie

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Posted January 26 2004 - 09:16 AM

Quote:
BTW Danny I appreciate your honesty regarding compromises in your and other manufacturers speakers.


Thanks Justin. Sometimes it is hard to answer even specific design related questions when comparisons are also being made. I try to stick to only obvious objective info and stay clear of subjective views. The Paradigm comparison struck a bit of a nerve though.

Quote:
...but told me DIY is a better value.


No question about that regardless of what speakers you decide to build.

Regarding listening distances. Most speakers are tested and measured at only 1 meter away. With two way designs, even MTM's the measured responses will tell you a lot about driver integration.

Some things are hidden though. The response curve won't tell you how well the drivers are in phase.

Typically in the design stage the polarity of a driver (typically the tweeter) is reversed to check the depth of the out of phase null. This is most often called a reverse null test.

Typically we look for a dip about 20db or deeper when this is done, depending on what order the crossover is. A lower order network will be a little less, but wider. Steeper network slopes should show a deeper but narrower dip. This test lets you know just how in phase it is when it is wired as intended.

Reverse nulls of in the 10db range or less lets you know that the drivers are not in phase very well when wired the other way.

This will tell you a lot about how well the drivers integrate regardless of them being co-axial or not.

As for Thomas:

Quote:
Note they take no issue with the speed, accuracy or high end extension of the Adire 281 design. So perhaps there aren't as many trade-offs involved as one might imagine.....


Some of that reminds me of the stuff you posted long ago on the Harmonic Discord that I remember reading about big drivers verses smaller drivers and speed etc.

There were some fundamental things you overlooked that made your conclusions false (sorry to sound so blunt there), but it was fun reading anyway (humorous). Sorry, I didn't have time to admonish you back when you first posted that. We can revisit it if you like.

#18 of 138 OFFLINE   Justin Ward

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Posted January 26 2004 - 09:37 AM

Quote:
The Paradigm comparison struck a bit of a nerve though.


Why is that? I know Paradigm is not the final-word on speakers but was under the impression they offered good value in speakers (especcially in Canada)? I am able to get Studio 20s for $600 CAD which I believe is less money in CAD then most other members were paying in USD. I was also using this as a benchmark since I have heard Studio 20s and they sounded very good to me.

#19 of 138 OFFLINE   ThomasW

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Posted January 26 2004 - 10:12 AM

Quote:
I was also using this as a benchmark since I have heard Studio 20s and they sounded very good to me.
Having a basis for comparison is a good idea.
BTW, Stereophile agrees with your assessment of the Studio 20's.

#20 of 138 OFFLINE   Danny Richie

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Posted January 26 2004 - 10:21 AM

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Why is that? I know Paradigm is not the final-word on speakers but was under the impression they offered good value in speakers (especcially in Canada)?


Well when comparing other commercially available speakers in the retail market they are not bad for the money, but mainly because of their price not performance. For what you pay for the Studio 20's that's a good price just for the enclosures alone.

Ever crack one open to see what's inside?

$2.00 to $3.00 worth of parts mounted onto a plastic binding post is not exactly high end.

Certainly they could choose to use higher quality parts but that would be a lot more expensive and then they couldn't hit their price points.

Then again it has been awhile since I last had a look see. Maybe they are now splurging and using higher quality parts. I doubt it. The prices don't justify it.

Plus, that line is typically 50 to 60 points depending on the model. That means the dealer pays half or less than half of what they charge you for them.

If they are less than $430. US then the dealler paid about $215. for them, and the manufauturer doubled their money too I gaurantee it. So they have less than or close to $100. in the pair at most?

What do you think?

What would you rather your money go towards? The dealer, advertising cost, etc, or towards higher quality parts?

Just the Alpha Core foil inductors and the Sonicaps alone that are used in our cheapest kit (the A/V-1) cost over $100.

Quote:
I was also using this as a benchmark since I have heard Studio 20s and they sounded very good to me.


Listen to other speakers. It gets much better, and I am not just talking about our own products. See what else is available in the DIY market.


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