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Can you help me with my DIY Speaker dilemma? (1 Viewer)

Danny Richie

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Apr 8, 2002
Messages
171
This has been an interesting thread, and I really find very few threads on any message boards interesting.
Watching you guys in your thought processes and using each other as sounding boards with the issues you have has been very helpful for me.
I love seeing people carefully weighing out the pros and cons in efforts to make good decisions.
Since some of what was said was directed to me I will respond in a direct way.
I found what Phil said here to be particularly interesting:
"Not bashing the AV1+'s at all, as I really would like to hear a pair, but I would really question if they are in the same performance category as the Jag's or Rhythms.
If you take and add up the cost of all of the drivers in a pair of AV1+'s, they total up to less than it costs to buy (1)Scan Speak 18W/1845 7" mid-woofer."
Maybe I should raise my prices so I would have a higher perceived value? Not!
Okay, I'll join in on your comparisons a little, but not on subjective issues. I'll leave the performance comparisons to you guys.
I'll have you look at specific or factual components of the comparisons.
First of all I don't think ACI or North Creek has had any of our drivers but what they use is commonly available off the shelf drivers and I have worked with those. So lets look at drivers.
Tweeters are a good place to start.
The GR-T1 is often compared by others to those in the Scan Speak line. Just last month on the Mad board it was being compared to the Scan Speak 9500. Respected designer Dennis Murphy said he like it as well as the 9500. Some others disagreed. The point is it really is comparable. It happens all the time.
I have always like the 9900 Revelator tweeter. I think it is one of the best soft domes made.
One of my designs using it can be seen here at Speaker City: http://www.speakercity.com/GRProject...vProject.shtml
So, I have had it side by side with our tweeter.
Is ours better? No, certainly not. Are they comparable? in many ways yes, but the Revelator is clearly a better sounding tweeter. Is it eight times as good? It cost eight times as much. I think there is point of diminishing returns there somewhere. For most people that point is reached pretty quickly in this comparison. For a few it is not.
The comparison is close enough however that if I put nothing more than a poly cap on the Revelator and put a film and foil cap on the GR-T1, and match the output level, the comparison is actually pretty close.
Lets look at the woofers.
There is a big price disparity again, but look at the real performance.
Can the GR-130 really be compared to the Scan Speak 8545? Is it an apples to apples comparison as Jeffery said. No it is really not fair to compare that heavy 7" woofer with a more nibble, faster, better detailed, light weight little 5.25 inch woofer like the GR-130.
While the GR-130 excels and betters it in several areas of performance in many areas it gives up a few things to the larger woofer. Low end extension is one thing and along with that is less distortion in lower frequencies due to the thicker stiff cone of the 8545. But then again the GR-130 is not called upon to play real low anyway.
This also comes with a price though. More low frequency extension means less sensitivity. This woofer is really about 87 to 87.5db in the sensitivity department. factor in about 3 or 4db worth of baffle step compensation and sensitivity is around 84db.
No thanks. I like the low powered tube amps way to much. To me that is a serious drawback.
For still less money I have found that the PHL woofers are much better, and I think clearly a level of performance above. I used a pair of 16 ohm PHL 1240's and after completely compensating for all baffle step loss the pair still had 91db sensitivity and was still 8 ohms. What you give up with them is low frequency extension, but that is what big woofers are for.
A better comparison would be comparing the 8545 to our GR-165 6.5" woofer. In our Paradox-3 the pair of 165's will play down to a -3db of 35Hz while still maintaining many of the better qualities in other areas as well.
Also the upper ranges of our woofers have less break-up than the 8545 and less components can be used to control them. There is a lot to be said for a crossover network on the woofers to be nothing more than one foil inductor verses having to pack on all the dynamic robbing components of a 4th order electrical network.
Okay back to comparing the kits you guys are talking about....
Lets look at components involved.
With ACI who knows? They really don't tell you anything. I see no measurements for the Jags at all. Impedance is somewhere.... 8 ohms average rated..... no minimum dip at x frequency, nothing.
With North Creek you can see for yourself someone did their homework because they show it to you. All measurements are clearly posted. So are pictures of their network.
I have not tried the North Creek caps, nor do I know who makes them, but I hear they are very good. They are however just a poly cap to my knowledge.
Our kits include not only Axon poly caps but each is by-passed with a custom made .1 uf Seti that is is a real improvement over just a poly cap alone. This combo is very close to the sound of some film and foil caps with much less money spent.
All of our kits also include foil inductors. I feel (subjective part here) as do many others that the foil inductors are a clear improvement over wire wound coils. I could hear immediate differences the first time I tried them. The foil is much more open, less congested, more natural sounding. Objectively the foil inductors have much less self inductance as current passes through them too.
North Creek uses the wire wound inductors. I am guessing ACI does the same. They are about half the price of foil. Was it worth twice as much to me? Obviously, foil is now all I use.
Go ahead set price aside and listen.
I can now see some real benefit to sending around a few demo models like you guys have suggested. I believe I will.
Then you guys can answer all those questions for yourselves and share them with each other.
Do I think our less expensive kits will outperform those mentioned? I couldn't say. That would be very subjective.
Do I think they would sound as good or comparable? I think that has already been answered. People have been comparing them already.
Do I think the others mentioned could possibly sound 2.5 times as good? Like Phil said they are 2.5 times as much. Somehow I have a hard time believing that, and I think that when you guys get the chance to judge for yourselves you will reach the same conclusion. Why else would I be willing to send a few demo pairs out there?
In a more dollar to dollar comparison I think the kit listed there at Speaker City, here again: http://www.speakercity.com/GRProject...vProject.shtml would easily best them all. Higher sensitivity, more stable impedance, easy load to drive, and much lower extension, etc. After all I have worked with all of the drivers we have been talking about.
A hope this participation in your debate was useful information and I hope it did not sound too biased. I tried to focus on the objective only.
 

Jeffrey_S

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Messages
206
Danny,

Thanks for participating! I really do appreciate it. I'm sure the others do too. You have made some excellent points. As I stated earlier, a sensitivity of 84db is of concern to me as well as I would want the option of using any speaker I own with my Bottlehead Foreplay preamp and Dynaco ST70 tube amp. Of course, I don't use these for home theater but only for two channel music.

I'd be really interested in test driving a pair of your speakers. I'd be happy to put them head to head against my ACI Saphire IIIs. I'd also be happy to put one of them up against my Rhythm Revelator center channel. I would be glad to also share my observations on this forum.

As you know from this thread, I am looking for a 7.1 solution. I'm already fine in the .1 category but if I were to change gears at this point, I'd be looking for new mains, sides and surrounds and possibly a new center channel. I'm only interested in kits, however, as I have a woodshop and really enjoy building cabinets.

So how do I go about getting a finished pair of your speakers to audition? Which ones would you recommend? AV1+s or Paradox speakers?

Let me know.

Jeff
 

Phil M

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Sep 2, 1999
Messages
161
Danny:
Thanks for the input, I really do appreciate it as well, and as Jeffrey said, you brought out some very good points that I hadn't considered (or really even knew much about).
I too am enjoying this thread as I'm learning a lot as it goes on. Like I said earlier, this is my first DIY project so I went with the SAFEST, due to the return policy so that I could listen & live with them to make sure they were what I really wanted. It also gives me the chance to see how much of a carpenter I am!
Jeffrey, does you Sapphires have the D2905/9300 SS tweeter, or the previously used tweeter?
Danny: hopefully you'll remember us when deciding who to ship the demo pairs to!:D I'd love to compare them to the Jags and to my Paradigm Studio 40's.
Phil
 

Jeffrey_S

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Messages
206
Danny,

I have an offer for you. If you would send me a pair of speaker kits, I would be glad to build the cabinets for the privlige of auditioning the finished speakers. If I like them, I would keep them. But if I didn't like them, I would reserve the option to return them to you and be credited for just the cost of the speaker kits themselves. I'd be willing to absorb the cost of the materials to build the cabinets and for my labor. If I did return them to you, you could then use this pair of speakers as audition samples. Do your crossovers come assembled? This isn't necessarily a problem either way but I'd like to discuss the details of my offer with you.

What do you think? I have no problem paying for the kits up front if you agree to this.

Phil,

My Saphire III tweeters are from about 3 years ago. They are Scan Speak 9500/9000000. Please let me know the significance of this.

Thanks.

Jeff
 

Phil M

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Sep 2, 1999
Messages
161
Jeff:

I just noticed when researching the Saph's (before my home demo) that many people seemed to really prefer the newer SS 9300 tweeter over the older model. I was just looking forward to your review comparing your Saph's & the AV1+, and wondered which version you had, thats all.

Phil
 

Brian Bunge

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Sep 11, 2000
Messages
3,716
Wow! Lots of good info from Danny. That's nothing new though, having talked to him over the phone a bit lately. If I can ever get my AV1+'s built I can compare them directly to the Jags as I helped a friend build them about a year ago.

As far as auditioning the AV1+'s or the Paradox, the AV is your only real choice. Focal has discontinued the tweeter used in the Paradox 1 and 1+, so Danny will not be selling them any more. He has just enough tweeters to go with the last of the P1 cabinets that he has, so he will sell those off and then they will be no more.

Also, the Jags and the Sapphire III both use the 9300 tweeter.

Brian
 

Danny Richie

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Apr 8, 2002
Messages
171
I am glad you guys liked my input.

Jeffery, It's a nice offer, but if it is all the same to you I would rather send you out one of the demo pairs.

If you like them you can order some and just send the demo pair on to the next person.

If you guys will visit my web site, click the contact us button in the upper right corner, fill out all the necessary info that I will need, and in the comments section let me know you would like to try one of the demo pairs, and I will let you guys be among the first on the list of recipients.
 

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