Building a new system, interesting priorities though [college house]

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Matt:Brunmeier, Jan 23, 2005.

  1. Matt:Brunmeier

    Matt:Brunmeier Stunt Coordinator

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    So my friends and I are getting a house next year and we've basically decided we need a sound system for it. The catch is that we need something that can do multiple purposes.

    We need a setup (amp and speakers) that'll sound good for watching movies, but we also need a setup that will get really really loud and thump really really hard. for parties. Basically we need a rugged home theater setup. (carpeted box speakers with corner pieces and stuff)

    I haven't decided yet whether we're looking at 2 speakers or 4, but I'm leaning in the 4 speakers and an amp direction (since you can't really call it a home theater with 2 speakers)

    Anyway we're looking at about a budget of $1000. I found some KLH party speakers (Rave II series) that look like they'll serve the party end, but I'm not sure they'll sound too good for a home theater setup. Another option was to wait for some JBL or Yamaha speakers to break out at a nice price on ebay. Those are obviously a better brand, but we'd pay the price too. I'd really like to get a lot of frequency response out of the main speakers too, because If I don't have to I'd like to not get a sub.

    I've also heard to look MTX Pro audio (I'm really looking at a Pro audio application here aren't I?) but it's kind of hard to find prices on MTX Pro stuff.

    I realize these priorities are a little different than a normal setup here, so I'm hoping someone can give me some solid input.
     
  2. Aaron Smithski

    Aaron Smithski Stunt Coordinator

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    Look no further than right here.

    This 15" Selenium coax will totally rock your world. The best part is they are on sale right now for $99...although I have absolutely no need for these, there is some dark force pushing me to keep looking at them on the Parts Express website...I can't get the thought of a pair of these in ported cabinets sitting out in the garage... [​IMG]

    Of course, you will need to build the cabinets yourself -- which should work out perfectly for your situation since cosmetics aren't your primary goal. Even if you aren't terribly skilled working with wood, any flaws will be covered up by the carpet and corner protectors!

    You said you needed a combo home theater/party system...so go ahead and get 5 Selenium 15's to cover 5.1. The five drivers -- plus the price of MDF and carpet -- should run you about $700 for the speaker side of things.

    As to amplifiers, the theater side of things can be ran off of an inexpensive Dolby Digital receiver thanks to the massive efficiency provided by the Seleniums; they do not need much power at all to get real loud due to their 97 dB rating. Sherwood makes a decent 100x5 receiver that you can find for under $100.

    For parties, you will need more power to really peel the paint off the walls. Head over to eBay and find a nice used pro amp (Crown, QSC, etc.) that puts out 400 or so watts into both channels at 4 ohms...should be able to find one for around $200 or so. Then connect two of the Selenium cabs in parallel per channel and prepare to be rocked.

    There is a graph on PE's website that shows the output provided by one of these cabinets measuring in at 122 dB with only 150 watts input -- with your combination of four cabinets, you will be at an ear-drum pounding 134 dB! Party on Matt. [​IMG]

    The only problem (unless you consider loss of hearing a problem) is you need preamp outputs/inputs to accept the pro amp's signal...and most inexpensive receivers like the Sherwood do not have these built-in. There are many old receivers that have built-in preamp in/outs that you could use for your party-mode preamp though.

    This setup fits within your $1000 budget and would absolutely lay waste to any of your KLH/Yamaha/etc. scenarios! Have fun![​IMG]
     
  3. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    I would suggest separate systems. Maybe a satelite system like the Hsu Ventriliquist for HT and then some party speakers. Another option would be to get some good speakers like Klipsch and perhaps have 2 different subs: one "party" sub and one HT sub (party subs being traditionally bloated around 40 or 50Hz).
     
  4. Matt:Brunmeier

    Matt:Brunmeier Stunt Coordinator

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    those drivers plus home made cabinets would be awesome for the party side (I've built some cabinets before, they've worked out). But I'm not convinced that those drivers alone would give me the high frequency response that I'd want for the home theater application.
     
  5. Aaron Smithski

    Aaron Smithski Stunt Coordinator

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    I think you would be very surprised at how well they do up top. They do start dropping off at 18,000 Hz -- but that really is way up there on the chart. Have you ever heard any of the earlier Klipsch speakers like the Klipschorn, Belle Klipsch or the La Scala? Their response was only rated up to 17,000 Hz +/-3 dB.

    The Seleniums definitely lean more to the party side of things; but judging from the tone of your first post that looked to be your priority. [​IMG]

    Anyway, a matched of set of five of these would be an awesome home theater setup and have dynamics to spare.
     
  6. Matt:Brunmeier

    Matt:Brunmeier Stunt Coordinator

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    That actually seems like the most viable option for me right now, especially since picking up 4 of those gives me good quality drivers for $400. I can build all 4 boxes without too much trouble, and that leaves a lot left in the budget to get a good amp.

    Nice as these drivers are, I don't think they're quite appropriate for a center channel do you? I could easily pick up a $100 center channel instead.

    Maybe this is a good option:
    I could pick up a center channel and some rears for maybe $200, then spend $400 and put two of those drivers each in two bigger boxes for front channels. I could use a separate amp for the fronts and use the receiver for the rears (can't I?) That way when it's party time I just turn the amp up. And if I mount the rear speakers on the wall and the center right above the TV, I shouldn't have to worry too much about them getting beat up.

    What do you think?

    A lot of people have told me I'm looking at getting separate systems here, and this seems pretty close to that line of thinking.

    Also: Am I going to want a sub too? I'm already pushing the $1000 barrier as it is. 40hz isn't that low for frequency response though.
     
  7. Aaron Smithski

    Aaron Smithski Stunt Coordinator

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    I think you want to avoid this for a couple of reasons. First, since they are coaxials, you will most likely run into lobing and cancellation effects with two of them mounted in the same cabinet. Second, the box will have to be very massive to allow the correct airspace for two drivers. Do you know what size of room you are dealing with yet?

    The sub issue: It would be beneficial to have a subwoofer, but you can tune these things low enough to where you could get by without one. Check out this thread here for some good info about cabinet size and tuning, etc. regarding these drivers. Even though the driver is rated at 40 Hz and has an Fs of 50 Hz, you can certainly tune lower than that. Read the eighth post down in that thread by Bill F. for some more ideas...you seem to have a lot in common with both the guy that started the thread and Bill's college dream setup. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    For your party setup, you really can't beat having the sound coming from the four corners of the room...especially if the room is big.

    About 10 years ago when I wasn't married and had four less kids to raise, a roomate and I had a system setup to party. It was in a room 42'L x 16'W that had a home theater/sitting area on one end, and a pool table/sitting (drinking?) area on the other. Each end had a pair of Klipsch KG 5.5 tower speakers -- 2-10's + a huge horn mid/tweeter in each big ported cabinet; along with a 15" powered Klipsch sub. We had no problem pegging the Radio Shack SPL meter @ 127 dB...it played louder but that is all the meter could read![​IMG]
     
  8. Matt:Brunmeier

    Matt:Brunmeier Stunt Coordinator

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    Blah..

    I'm getting a lot of mixed advice from different places. Some people are telling me I shouldn't try to make my own speakers.

    Other people are telling me to basically go with a regular home theater setup with Paradigm or Klipsch speakers since both are very efficient and can get very loud. They're having a tough time keeping it in the price range though. Klipsch and Paradigm don't come too cheap. Especially not for a full set. I'd obviously love to get Klipsch reference series stuff but it just isn't in the budget.

    I'd also be looking at getting a sub without question if I go with one of those setups, which sets me back more money.

    The party aspect is really more important to me than the home theater setup. So a setup that can play music LOUD is what I need. $1000 is the target.

    Can you point me in the direction of good plans for boxes for these drivers?

    Nobody thinks I should be looking towards pro audio speakers huh?
     
  9. Aaron Smithski

    Aaron Smithski Stunt Coordinator

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    I recommended the Seleniums for their big bang for the buck...and because it would be a fun project!

    As to the other people's concerns with going DIY, the biggest problem with building your own speakers is usually coming up with the correct crossover network. Selenium has taken care of this for you and provides a nice two-way network with the driver.

    Construction will be as easy as building a sub box since all you have to do is mount the one coaxial driver.

    Recommended plans for the drivers? PE's website has a recommended cabinet plan in PDF format here.

    If you haven't yet read the entire diyaudio.com thread about the Seleniums, you should do so. On page 7, post #69, Bill F. gives some recommended cabinet tuning points. If I was building these cabs, I would definitely run (3) 4" ports to allow for different tuning possibilities. I would also size the cabinet larger than PE's recommended 5 cu. ft. size; this will allow for deeper bass.

    No prefab plans, but if you know -- or want to learn -- how to use Unibox (or a similar program) you can come up with your own cabinet. I would build something a bit more upright for the four main cabs.

    Also, the more I think about it, with the 15's huge efficiency rating, you could easily get away with powering them with an inexpensive receiver. These things will crank with very few watts!

    You will not be able to buy anything retail that is remotely close to the output/sound quality of the Selenium drivers for their $99 asking price...it all comes down to deciding if you want to build the cabinets or not.[​IMG]
     
  10. Mark Seaton

    Mark Seaton Supporting Actor

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    $1000 (including amplification) for something which really rocks is a tight budget. That is not to say it can't be done, but it is easy to fall short. The price range you are looking at largely keeps you out of the better sounding pro speakers. Building your own box could certainly offer the best bang for buck. A coaxial speaker with a crossover designed for it would be your best bet as mentioned above. Looking at the options from say Parts Express, the Selenium 15" coax mentioned would probably be my safest and most straight-forward DIY option of those mentioned. Depending on costs, you could likely find a Guitar Center, Sam Ash, or whatever around and pick up a cheap carpeted or painted box. If you found something intended for a horn and 15" it would be very easy to cover over the horn opening with a piece of wood.

    Do be cautious of carpeted boxes as they tend to "hold onto" anything that gets spilled on them. Most pro cabinets commonly found now are either painted black or have a truckbed type liner. MDF will only be suitable for this type of speaker if it is sprayed in something like truckbed liner. MDF tends to disintegrate when it gets wet. No-void ply would do just fine.

    Maybe one of the Sherwood receivers could offer >100W/ch for reasonable money. If you are going to build the boxes for the speakers, you can then also build a subwoofer. If not, see if you can find some of the big JBL subs like the 4719 used. There are also some great deals to be found on some of the powered subs out there.

    The larger the box you can tolerate, the more impressive the results you are likely to get. If you get a sub and put those Selenium 15s in a smaller box, this would likely be the most output per space as this way you get lower and only have one big box, not 4, and it can go in the corner.

    Finally, will you have any issues with the TV and video shielding? A tube TV won't like being next to huge woofer magnets.

    So exactly how big is the place you are putting these in?
     
  11. Matt:Brunmeier

    Matt:Brunmeier Stunt Coordinator

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    Here's the room:
    epalla.com/telos/house%20tour/DSC00075.JPG

    It's a bit misleading because that's taken from about half way in the room. It's also connected with a very big arched open door to this room (which is also bigger than the picture lets on)
    epalla.com/telos/house%20tour/DSC00076.JPG

    So yeah, it's a lot of space.

    So far these drivers with home-made boxes are the best options that I've been presented with I think. It's a lot of work to make 5 cabinets but I guess it's always good to have a summer project.

    There are suggested plans there for a 5 cu. ft box. Getting 5 of these in boxes along with amp/receiver and sub could stretch the budget a lot though.

    OK So What about something like these (Cerwin Vega pro speakers) add http:
    cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=47094&item=3776147396&rd=1#ebayphotohosting
    or these (don't know this brand, they seem sketchy) add http:
    cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=47094&item=3776866280&rd=1
    Just throwing things out there..
     
  12. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    I actually would recommend pro speakers and then get something like the Hsu Ventriliquist for HT. I'm not sure if those Cerwin Vegas are the best things, but they may be fine. When I think of pro speakers it's usually EAW, EV, JBL, Peavey (pretty much in that order). EAW is the best, but out of your range unless you find a good deal used. Used EV's could definitely be in your range. Find a Crown, QSC, or Peavey amp to drive them and you'd have a decent system. The worst thing about pro speakers is shipping, so definitely shop around.
     
  13. Matt:Brunmeier

    Matt:Brunmeier Stunt Coordinator

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    It's nice to see some brands to look for. EAW is out of my range, for sure. There aren't many EV's floating around used, but JBL's and Peavey's can be had if you dig hard into eBay.
     
  14. SethH

    SethH Cinematographer

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    Another brand to check out for pro speakers and amps: Carvin. I'm not sure how much you'll be able to find used, but honestly their new prices are doable in your price range. Check out www.carvin.com. They make pretty solid stuff and good prices.
     
  15. Matt:Brunmeier

    Matt:Brunmeier Stunt Coordinator

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    cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=47094&item=3777883927&rd=1

    Carvin stuff looks nice. Those look REALLY nice, especially for a price like that. I'm sure the reserve will put it up over $700 though.
     
  16. Matt:Brunmeier

    Matt:Brunmeier Stunt Coordinator

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    ok so I'm getting ready to place an order for 5 15" seleniums. I'll get the hardware and the plates and stuff this summer, but after looking around for prices I've discovered that I can't even get the 12" versions for less than $150 ANYWHERE, so I'm not going to pass up this sale while I'm on a budget.

    Thanks guys!

    I'll post more this summer when I start building cabinets, I know people like to see projects come together. It's going to be a while for this one though [​IMG]
     
  17. Mark Seaton

    Mark Seaton Supporting Actor

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    Hey Matt,

    If you are already planning on making sawdust, I would plan on a big subwoofer as well. This way you could put the coax's in a smaller sealed box. You could go as small as 2.5-3.0 cu.ft. while having silly output down to ~70Hz without any chance of damaging the speakers with any sort of power you are ever likely to use. I'm sure there will be some good deals on bass drivers and you could likely make a big vented box that sat in the corner as a table or just a tall tower. In fact, a single Acendant Audio Atlas 15 in about 9 cu.ft. with a pair of 4" ports tuned to ~25Hz would be a nice match using a driver that only costs $160 and just add a 250W plate amp. That would be what I would have killed for when I was in college. [​IMG]
     
  18. Aaron Smithski

    Aaron Smithski Stunt Coordinator

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    Mark's recommendation for the small cabs for the Seleniums and a subwoofer is absolutely perfect for your situation.

    I eventually ended up adding a pair of horn-loaded 12" subs to the two sets of Klipsch towers I had -- even though the Klipsches had plenty of output down low with their two 10" drivers per cabinet, actively crossing them over at 80 Hz gained some major headroom! [​IMG]

    Enjoy the project and show us the system when your done!
     
  19. Matt:Brunmeier

    Matt:Brunmeier Stunt Coordinator

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    actually it turns out that now my friend might be bringing a sub box that he built for an audio competition to the house. It's a set of excellent car audio amps and subs built into a permanent box. There are 4 15" subs built in, 1 downfiring and 3 side firing. Each has over 1000w of power @ < 2ohms. (I don't remember).

    They fired it up once in the dorms and shook stuff off the neighbors walls.

    Anyway it's tuned pretty low and capable of being very very loud.

    Still, I think I'll build the cabinets to spec. I get to keep them obviously, so I'd like them to be as capable as I can make them.
     
  20. Matt:Brunmeier

    Matt:Brunmeier Stunt Coordinator

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    [UPDATE!!! Speaker Building]

    All right I said I'd update so now I'm updating with box building. I'm home for spring break so I decided to go ahead and build two of the boxes. My pics are rather huge - I'm sorry to anyone out there on a modem, I won't post them all though, just the interesting ones [​IMG]

    I went to home depot and picked up the 3/4" MDF. This stuff is heavy - I needed two sheets for just two speakers, so boxes are going to be expensive. I figure with scrap I'll be able to make all 5 planned speakers out of 4 sheets - so yeah they take a lot of wood. Here are the panels right after cutting:

    [​IMG]

    I used as much of the factory edge as possible and cut it on our handy dandy tablesaw. Didn't even have them cut it at home depot, this way I can save more wood for later. Anyway, here's a quick mockup we threw together of the box size:

    http://www.epalla.com/speakers/1.jpg

    and here's the glorious tablesaw that performed so well. We just put a new carbide blade on it actually and it chewed through MDF like butter, excellent cuts - better than factory edges on everythin that we cut:

    http://www.epalla.com/speakers/3.jpg

    The next order of business was cutting the big ol' holes for the two speakers. The speakers are about exactly 15" in diameter and have about a .5" mounting rail, so - I made my holes barely under 14". I marked them with a compass and cut with a jigsaw, then finished up with a drum sander on a drill. The holes are excellently round, and fit the speakers quite nicely:

    [​IMG]

    I did the port holes the same way. As you can see in this picture, the driver hole is pretty much centered at the top, and the ports are as far away from the driver as I can get them without falling out of the box, so they're pretty far down. The ports were cut the same way, they're a little bit rougher but I'll take care of that with the router tomorrow:

    http://www.epalla.com/speakers/5.jpg

    Now, I wanted to be able to pull the speaker in and out of the box and all, so I needed to drill the holes for the driver and pull up the T-Nuts. Unfortunately, the only t-nuts that home depot had are a little bit too big, so I can't get all 4 teeth to catch on any of them. Still, 3 out of 4 isn't bad, and they still suck up into the wood quite nicely. I actually drilled the hole to the size of the bolt and was able to draw the whole neck of the T-Nut through the MDF, so these things are wedged in there pretty tight, and luckily the overhang from being too close to the edge for the mounting holes doesn't interfere with the speaker:

    [​IMG]

    Next I had to glue the boxes together, so I used heaps of regular old yellow wood glue and a finish nailer to bash them into place. Finish nails are great for keeping the box together while you're building it, and they pull the panels in a bit, but I still clamped the hell out of the boxes to let them dry. The glue can be seen running in some places, I didn't let that last, I whiped it all up with a wet rag as I was going. Unfortunately we missed a few shots with the finish nailer and they broke through, but we'll cut those nails out with a dremel tomorrow and there shouldn't be any harm done. These pics just show the gluing/clamping process and how it is a few minutes ago after I took off the clamps:

    http://www.epalla.com/speakers/7.jpg
    http://www.epalla.com/speakers/8.jpg
    http://www.epalla.com/speakers/9.jpg

    That's pretty much where the speakers are now. Tomorrow morning I'm going to cut holes for the speaker terminals, then get the compressor and blast the hell out of the inside to get any sawdust that might be flying around in there out. Then I'll be caulking all the inside edges and putting in the foam. Once the foam is in I'll put the top on and glue/caulk those edges through the big ol' hole in the front. Hopefully the box will be done tomorrow.

    For caulk I got regular, cheap caulk. It's not silicone, it's a simple indoor/outdoor window sealer but I'm pretty sure it'll be fine. Just need to keep the bead thin and pretty. My speaker terminals are just plain-ol' speaker terminals from Radioshack - nothing fancy, but they'll accept up to 8ga. wire! hehe. The foam is interesting actually - actual foam is really damned expensive, so I asked around for alternatives and people suggested that egg shell foam stuff for mattress pads and guess what! Target had them on sale. Two full's for $10/ea. and I've got plenty of foam for my speakers. My plan is to put it on back, top and one of the sides (every other surface right). Check it out:

    http://www.epalla.com/speakers/10.jpg

    It even has egg shell ridges and stuff. Should be excellent for acoustics.
     

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