Best $1k a pair speaker kits?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Greg Risley, Jun 8, 2001.

  1. Greg Risley

    Greg Risley Second Unit

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    I am thinking about trying the DIY speaker kit thing. My budget is a grand a pair, and this has to include the assembled cabinets since my woodworking skills are from an 8th grade shop class 20 years ago. I have looked at ACI, Madisound, and Zalytron. These look like good stuff but I have never dealt with any of these and haven't heard any of them. Let me know.
    Thanks
    Greg
    Equipment List
     
  2. Mark Hayenga

    Mark Hayenga Supporting Actor

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    Hi Greg,
    I'm an EE student at UT and I design my own speakers from scratch. I recently finished a design for a high quality bookshelf speaker with a 6.5" midwoofer and a 1" dome tweeter that costs roughly $500 a pair to build. If you're interested you can feel free to pop on over and give my test pair a listen, it'd be good for me to get some unbiased feedback on 'em anyway [​IMG]. The plans are free if you'd like to build a pair, just don't leak the details as I have something of a financial stake in the design. If you want to build a pair, I unfortunately can't offer assistance on the actual construction (I'm about 3 speaker projects behind and I'm taking a difficult summer courseload) but I'm sure there's a woodshop or two in town that could help out in that department. Lemme know if you want to hear em.
    Frequency Response
    Frequency Response w/tweeter polarity reversed to show proper phase tracking through crossover region
    System impedance (magnitude & phase)
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    Mark Hayenga
    www.hayenga.com
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    "Saru mo ki kara ochiru"
     
  3. Julian Data

    Julian Data Second Unit

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    Hey Mark,
    Do you have a MTM design in the works?
    JD
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  4. Greg Risley

    Greg Risley Second Unit

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    Hey Mark thanks for the offer. If I ever get any real free time I'll take you up on the demo. My problem is that about the only free time I do have is at night after the kids are asleep, thats why I was looking at the kits from ACI and such. That way I could just have the whole kit sent to the house and take an evening to put it together. Can you recommend any of these companies kits since you are very in the know about the DYI arena.
    Good luck with that course load, and don't let those Bush daughters get you in trouble.ha
    Later
    Greg
     
  5. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Greg,
    All of the ACI kits are very good. I've personally built a pair of Emeralds and Opals from kits. A friend of mine has also built the Jaguars and a Titan II. It appears that you are looking for a kit that comes with everything, including the cabinets, and you just put it together. Unfortunately, ACI doesn't offer cabinets with their kits. You either get the completed speakers or you buy the kits and build the cabinets yourself.
    I think something like the Madisound kits may be more of what you're looking for.
    Brian
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  6. Mark Hayenga

    Mark Hayenga Supporting Actor

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    Hi Greg,
    Well, I had typed out a reasonably lengthy response, but I've got too much wine in me tonight and I'm sure to draw some speakerbuilder's ire for insulting this driver or that, so I deleted the whole thing.
    What my response amounted to was that I have definite prejudices as to drivers in hi-end loudspeakers, and that makes me lean towards one speaker over another without ever hearing them, and that's really really bad. Going into such lengthy advice would do little good, so let's go with this instead:
    Crossover design will make or break *any* speaker, no matter the quality of the drivers. So, me not having heard any of these kits places me squarely in 'worthless opinionated schmuck' territory [​IMG], since my advice would have been largely based on the drivers used and not their implementation. Once you reach this level in DIY audio, diminishing returns are way beyond setting in and arguing over technical merits of drivers is more an academic exercise than anything which directly equates to better sound. All those discussions can ever amount to is what's possible with a driver, and not necessarily what you'll get with (AudioConcepts/Madisounds/Etcs') given implementation. So, where the heck does that leave us?
    Um, not anywhere that really does us any good. I think the only way to really find out what's the best speaker for you, is to seek out published reviews (including measurements) for the speakers you're looking at. I'm a big measurements guy, and feel I can infer a fair bit about how a speaker would sound given some basic test data on them. Such reviews are probably few and far between, but I think there have been a few kits reviewed at this level (North Creek comes to mind for some reason). Also, ask as many people as possible *who have built the kit* what they think of it. So, that's the end of my rational, relatively opinion-free advice.
    Now for the opinionated stuff!!! [​IMG]
    I've worked with a fair number of drivers in DIY systems, and I've been thoroughly impressed with the Seas Excel stuff. If I personally were in the market for a set of 1k mains, I'd have my eyes squarely on the Seas Odin or the BESL series 5 stuff (www.bamberglab.com). North Creek's Borealis and Rhythm systems would also be on my short list, though they start to push the budget (www.northcreekmusic.com). The Dynaudio kits from Madisound also look interesting, though I've never heard them. I'm sure there are lots of other good systems out there, but these are the ones that I'd be looking at for myself if I were in the market.
    If you get the chance sometime, you should come hang out with me and the local DIYers. Atkins and I made it to the first HTF Austin meet, but haven't been able to go to one since. I'm sure he and Scott could also add some valuable stuff to the little I've said here, they've been doing this a little longer than I have. I'll shoot you an email with some contact info, we get together fairly often to work on stuff if you want to come hang sometime.
    Well, back to stuff.
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    Mark Hayenga
    www.hayenga.com
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    "Saru mo ki kara ochiru"
     
  7. Greg Risley

    Greg Risley Second Unit

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    Thanks for the reply Mark. I was looking at the Seas Odin so I might go that route when the money comes in. Then later after picking you diy guys brains I can do some tweeking to the crossovers, if I'm feeling comfortable to try that. I'll try to host another get together in another month and maybe you guys can bring over some of your projects.
    I hope you didn't get that wine at Chueys.
    Later
    Greg
     

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