Can you help me with my DIY Speaker dilemma?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeffrey_S, May 7, 2002.

  1. Jeffrey_S

    Jeffrey_S Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi,

    Here is my problem. As I've become more educated about this hobby of ours, I've come to realize that I need timber matched speakers. I've already built ACI Saphire III's a few years ago, which I love. I have also, over the last few months, built a center channel based on the NorthcreekMusic Rhythm. My Tempest subwoofer, which replaces my ACI Titan in my hometheater, is my latest addition. I need a long term strategy here! Long term to me is defined as what will I build within the next 3 - 4 months. Do I:

    1. Go with building NorthCreekMusic Rhythm mains and timber matched Borealis speakers (4 of them) for approximately $2,800 plus the cost of materials for the cabinets. This would be a real financial stretch for me but I'd be willing to do it if the resultant sound would justify the cost. The center channel I built is great!

    2. Build GR-Research AV1+'s as mains and center channel and AV1's (times 4) as sides and surrounds. This would cost about $1,100 plus the cost of materials for the cabinets.

    3. Should I invest in Adire Audio Kit281's and their yet to be released center channel. I could then do Kit81's as sides and surrounds. Total cost would be about $1,200 plus the cost of materials for the cabinets. I've been really pleased with Adire Audio to this point. Dan Wiggins is great to work with. It seams he's never too busy to answer questions about cabinet construction. Customer service is very important to me. The only thing that eclipses it, however, is sound.

    What do you all think? I really need some direction here. I have some pretty good components now but they are not timber matched and that is my real problem. I'd consider working with ACI components seeing as I have Saphires but I think they are doing away with the DIY portion of their business. Any help would be appreciated.

    Jeff
     
  2. Phil M

    Phil M Stunt Coordinator

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    Why don't you do what I'm doing.... build the ACI Jaguars.
    Mine should arrive tomorrow. They are including crossover assembly for free now and they have a 30 day return policy as long as you don't solder anything. It's costing me $764.00 including shipping.
    You could then move your Sapphires to the rear and then build an Emerald (or two) for center?
    I'm also considering another similar design to use as a center with the Jags. It uses the same exact drivers.
    Here is the link:
    http://www.speakerbuilding.com/content/1021/
    I'm wondering how it would pair with the Jags as a center?
    Phil
     
  3. Jeffrey_S

    Jeffrey_S Stunt Coordinator

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    Phil,

    Thanks for the advice. I considered Jags but have heard that they pretty much sound like Saphires except with lower extention. Since I'm using a Tempest sub, I don't think it would make a significant difference in my situation if I continued to use the Saphires as mains. Then I only would have to worry about sides, surrounds and a center. Emeralds would seem the logical choice but I have read that someone on this forum who has heard both thinks that AV1's sound better. This is what got me thinking about possibly switching gears and going with another kit designer entirely. That plus the fact that if I went with ACI kits I'd have to buy them all now and couldn't just build a couple and see what I thought.

    I guess the main question would boil down to the following:

    Do Saphire III's sound better than either AV1+'s or Kit281's as mains?

    If anyone has heard both and knows the answer to this question, I would greatly appreciate some input.

    Thanks,

    Jeff
     
  4. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Jeffrey,

    I would try the AV1+'s with the AV1 surrounds. From what I've heard so far from Martice, he loves his AV1+'s and doesn't miss his PSB Stratus Goldi's in the least. He'll be giving us his full write up soon. Hopefully I'll be able to build my own AV1+'s soon.

    I was the one that preferred the AV1's to the Emeralds. I think you'll be hard pressed to beat them, especially for anywhere near their price.

    Brian
     
  5. Phil M

    Phil M Stunt Coordinator

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    Jeff:
    You might also look at these:
    http://www.audioreview.com/Main,Spea...3_1594crx.aspx
    There is also a link to the manufacturers site. I think they sell for around 500.oo w/o cabinets. They have been getting some good reviews. He also has a demo pair roaming around the country which you can get more info about on his site.
    Since speakers sound so different depending on equipment and the room itself, I just can't see purchasing anything without doing an in-home demo. That is what ruled the AV1 & AV1+ out for me since I was told that they have no return policy.
    In the reviews that I've read comparing the Saph's to the Jag's, the reviewers seem to think that there is quite a bit more to the Jags. They do use the same tweeter, but the Jag's use the SS 18W/1845 woofer with a 4th order crossover vs. the Saphs Focal woofer with 1st order crossover.
    If the Jag's don't work out for me, I'll probably be looking at the 1801's even though I'm mixed on thier looks?
    Good Luck.
     
  6. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Phil,

    While there may not be a return policy on the AV1's and AV1+'s, I'm sure you could quite easily sell them on Audio Asylum should you not like them. There's quite a GR Research following over there.

    Brian
     
  7. Jeffrey_S

    Jeffrey_S Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks again Phil. I hadn't really investigated those before. They do look interesting.

    Brian,

    You make an excellent point about resale. If the speaker is well known in the DIY community, and beyond, like ACI speakers are for example, building a couple entails very little risk in that if you don't like them, just sell them. Then there are companies like NorthCreekMusic, which have excellent speaker kits, but don't seem to have as much of a following. (In this case probably because of the higher price point.) So if I went with NorthCreekMusic kits, I'd have a higher up front cost, and possibly more difficulty selling them if I didn't like them. Like you point out, GR-Research products seem to have a pretty large following so I don't think there would be a problem selling them.

    Now, correct me if I'm wrong but didn't Jags sell for about $2,500 completed? So if I were to get a pair of Jags, like Phil, the total cost of admission would be about $900 including cabinets. If I didn't like them, which I find very unlikely, I could easily recoup my investment. Now lets face it, surrounds don't have to be the equivalent of mains so, if I did get Emeralds, even though AV1s sound better, the only problem I'd have is a center channel.

    Which brings me to the center channel I built by modifying a sheilded NorthCreekMusic Rhythm. This speaker sounds great! I'd hate to stop using it. It uses a Scan-Speak D2905/9900 Revelator tweeter and two Scan-Speak 18W/8535 drivers. What makes a speaker timber-matched anyway? Is there any way that you can think of that I could still use this center channel in my final configuration?

    Thanks for letting me think out-loud.

    Jeff
     
  8. Danny Richie

    Danny Richie Stunt Coordinator

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    Regarding a return policy.

    If you order a factory assembled pair of speakers from us and for some reason don't like them you can return them.

    No worries here, the performance of our speakers is such that most would never consider sending them back.

    In all the years I have been selling kits I have only had two pairs sent back.

    Both were Paradox-1's.

    One was a room reflection related problem and the guys wife would not allow room control/treatment or other placement areas.

    The second guy just wanted a pair to evaluate while he planned his personal DIY project. He actual gave them an outstanding review.

    If you order an A/V-1 or A/V-1+ with the option of sending them back you will need to do the following:

    1) Order only a standard finish. Order a custom finish and they are yours. Standard finishes are Oak, Maple, and Cherry.

    2) Order them fully assembled. I don't accept back kits built by individuals.

    3) If you do send them back you will have to cover the shipping cost both ways too.

    If you have other questions you can e-mail me.

    Danny
     
  9. Phil M

    Phil M Stunt Coordinator

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    Jeffrey:

    That's the conclusion that I came to. If for any reason they didn't work for me, (room, sound,WAF)I should be able to sell a $2500.00 speaker to easily recoup my costs/time/labor.

    But, if I couldn't I could just send them back within 30 days for a refund less 15$ shipping each way. So I'd only be out 30$ plus 1/2 sheet of MDF, so about 40$ total.

    Plus they are assembling the crossover for FREE now so I don't have to mess around with that.

    I guess I'm just being cautious since this is my 1st DIY project so a good return policy, plus the ability to actually see if I can make the cabinets is a big factor.

    (the building experience)

    The ACI kits were just the only ones that I found with absolutely glowing reviews that I could attempt with very minimal risk. The fact that I also spent a month with the Sapphire III's was also a big factor.

    I really would like to hear a pair of AV1+'s since they too are getting great reviews and I'm hoping that I'll get the chance someday, maybe at one of the DIY meets traveling around.

    There is a meet scheduled in the midwest latter this year and I think that a pair of 1801's (from my earlier link)will be there.

    Can you give me some info on the center speaker you built?

    Phil
     
  10. Phil M

    Phil M Stunt Coordinator

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    Danny:

    Have you ever considered making a "home audition" pair (or pairs) of AV1+'s and doing what Dave Ellis is doing with his 1801's?

    He made an "audition" list and then shipped a pair out to the first person on the list to listen to for (1) week in-home. That person then agrees to ship it directly to the next person on the list to in turn listen for one week.... and so on. The person also agrees to do a write up about the speaker on audioreview. Dave controls who they goto next and tries to keep things geographic thus cutting down on actual shipping costs.

    Sounds like a GREAT marketing technique to me.
     
  11. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Phil,
    That's a good idea! I'm building several cabinets for Danny's own personal use, so I imagine another pair for "audition" purposes would be possible. I imagine Danny might require your CC# for security purposes should you decide to not send them on to the next person [​IMG], but I'll let him handle all the logistics involved.
    Brian
     
  12. Jeffrey_S

    Jeffrey_S Stunt Coordinator

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    Phil,
    I agree that test-driving one of these DIY speakers would really make this decision easier. Also helpful would be to find someone who has done head to head comparisons with some of these. I'd especially be interested in anyone who has heard some Jags and AV1+'s. Or Jags and NorthCreekMusic Rhythms. Are we talking about speakers in different categories of performance here or peers? That's what I'd like to know.
    The center channel I built was based on the Rhythm Revelator shown on the NorthCreekMusic.com web site. Here's a pic of how it turned out:
    [​IMG]
    It really sounds good. I just don't know if there is that much of a qualitative difference between this speaker and an AV1+ for example to justify the added expense.
    Danny,
    If you could comment on what I've said above that would be great. I'd understand if you felt that it was inappropriate to comment on other manufacturer's DIY kits, however.
    Thanks,
    Jeff
     
  13. Bryan Michael

    Bryan Michael Supporting Actor

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    is there any kits that have a bi polar suround?
     
  14. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Bryan,

    Danny has been toying with a dipole surround, but I guess you could simply add a switch to reverse the polarity of one of the drivers to create a bipole.

    BTW, this speaker would be two opposing GR130 drivers. No tweeters! The way Danny explained it to me, the new GR130 drivers have decent extension out to 13KHz. Because there is little high frequency response from a speaker when you are 90 degrees off axis, Danny feels that dual, opposing GR130's would work well without a tweeter. The best part is you could simply build the enclosure and cut out two woofer holes and be done!

    Brian
     
  15. Danny Richie

    Danny Richie Stunt Coordinator

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    Hey guys,

    I will give serious consideration to circulating some home audition pairs of A/V-1's and A/V-1+'s.

    I understand from Dave Ellis that the pair of 1801's he has circulated has taken a little bit of a beating, and they have had some shipping damage. I guess that is to be expected.

    I may have to craft up some really hefty shipping boxes, but that should be no problem.

    Thanks guys, good idea.
     
  16. Phil M

    Phil M Stunt Coordinator

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  17. Jeffrey_S

    Jeffrey_S Stunt Coordinator

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    Phil,

    You make some good points and I agree that I would think those are not apple to apple comparisons.

    With regard to the cost of components, I believe that the cost of the drivers in a speaker do not fully indicate the sound quality that will be achieved as well. In some cases, lower priced components will sound better than much more expensive ones based upon the implimentation (cabinet and crossovers).

    I wouldn't expect any more than a noticeable difference in sound quality between some of the speakers we have been talking about. Now differences in the sound speakers make are sometimes not qualitative. Two pairs of speakers can sound different with neither one being necessarily better. This is a very subjective thing and depends upon the components the speakers are hooked up to and your listening room. What we are really doing in choosing amongst these speakers is taking a researched shot in the dark. We go by other's subjective evaluations of one speaker or the other.

    That's why it would be great if DIY kit manufacturers would send out completed samples for a trial listening before purchase. Imagine if you could arrange to audition two or three sets of speakers in your listening room at the same time before commiting to one or the other. I would be willing to pay an added fee for that kind of a demo.

    Jeff
     
  18. Phil M

    Phil M Stunt Coordinator

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    Jeff:

    That's exactly what I was trying to say.... only you said it a whole lot better!

    I'm about 1/2 way done with building my Jag's and would love to demo them against some other DIY designs.

    Phil
     
  19. Jeffrey_S

    Jeffrey_S Stunt Coordinator

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    Phil,

    Thanks for being so helpful with my thought process. The more I think about it, the more I am leaning toward going with a known entity. You're right about the Jags having the longest and most well received track record of the speakers in contention. That's not to say they would sound best, but they seem to be the safest alternative. Besides, at least I already have a pair of Saphs that I love and know that the Jags are consistently rated better. The only negatives I see are as follows:

    1. They are rated at about 84db sensitivity. But I'm using a 200Wpc amp so I don't think that is too much of a concern.

    2. I won't be able to get additional kits or parts beyond June 30. ACI's products, however, will probably continue to be available in completed from if I wanted to add a rear center channel for example.

    So, as you can see, I'm leaning heavily toward a pair of Jags and a pair of Emeralds and might give ACI a call this week to see if they will go even lower on a pair of kits.

    As far as the center channel is concerned, I can't see giving up the Rhythm that I built. Center channel sound during movies is too important to me to go with a lesser speaker even if it is timber matched. I know this goes against conventional wisdom but I think it would only really matter with Music DVDs. I'll just see how it goes.

    Glad to hear your cabinets are coming along. I've been studying the online plan and it seems those angle cuts are a bit of a challenge. Just make sure your table saw (or whatever you are making your cuts with) is callibrated correctly.

    Good Luck,

    Jeff
     
  20. MikeAcc

    MikeAcc Agent

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    Phil,
    If you go to www.harmonicdiscord.com and searfh user id MikeD. you will find some reviews and impressions of the AV1 against some higher end speakers. I did not get to A/B in the same room or anything, just demos at stores.
    Do not let the price fool you, I was shocked from what I heard come out of the GR products, just never thought they would sound as good as they do.
    Hopefully in the next two months or so i will have A/B coparos against a Scan 8545 based kit - the STS from Dennis Murphy. I have the AV1 kit as well.
     

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