DIY kit comparisons and opinions needed

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by bruin, Apr 15, 2003.

  1. bruin

    bruin Second Unit

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    My parents are looking to upgrade their Klipsch RP3 Towers to something better. I've looked at brand name speakers around the $500 range and haven't found much that may be considerably better than the RP3's and worth the upgrade. Maybe a pair of the Polk Lsi7 or the bookshelf rockets

    The reasons for upgrading are that the Klipsch's lack openess in the high end part. When playing the Eagle's Hell Freezes Over or some Eric Clapton, the instruments aren't so clear and enjoyable. However the vocals were good and strong but a little raspy. (Klipsch fans don't hate me).

    Here's their setup

    http://www.pbase.com/image/14648858
    http://www.pbase.com/image/14648853

    I let them hear my NEAR 10m II bookshelves which have great balance, imaging, and terrific highs, but just little laid back in the vocal range. They loved the clarity but said it lacked a bit more punch in the vocals.

    So I need to know which kits have great mids and highs for a 15x15 room and possibly 20x20. I also need a kit that doesn't have too much placement issues because how the setup looks now will remain. I'm willing to look at Towers (my parents preference) as well as bookshelves. The low end will be taken care by the SVS. This is for music and HT 50/50.

    Most importantly the budget is $500 assembled (unfinished is fine as I can do that). I'd like to get a matching center down the road for around $200. So budget is about $700.

    I've heard lots of great things about the Av-1+...any others? Also I hope that the kits you guys recommend offer free (or at a low charge) x-over assembly...the cabinets...I think I can have someone make a pair of mdf mtm's for around $130.
     
  2. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    I think the A/V-1+'s would be an excellent way to go if you can get the cabinets built for that price and finish them yourself. You'll have to ask Danny what he charges for crossover assembly though.

    Or you could look at the SCH kits. They're all pretty inexpensive. The K05B50's are $80 or $90 with assembled crossovers and the towers are $180 plus a small fee for assembled crossovers. Either of these would make great speakers if you want something cheaper than the A/V-1+'s.
     
  3. bruin

    bruin Second Unit

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    Hey Brian,

    I was thinking of having you make the cabinets but I figured that I kind of like to see what I can do. Don't get me wrong your cabs are outstanding! Can you recommend me a decent circular saw and router? Budget is $250 for both, the cheaper the better, but they have to last. What else would I need? I got liquid nails, 6 clamps, sandpaper, mahogany stain/gloss, insulation as well as fiberfill (i can't tell the difference except that the insulation itches!).
     
  4. Al Garay

    Al Garay Stunt Coordinator

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    As Brian suggested, the AV1+, AV1 or AV3 are good options that are very popular and Danny gives excellent service.

    I would add to your list kits designed by Dennis Murphy, http://www.murphyblaster.com
    I would look at the MBOW1, especially if you will add a subwoofer later on, or the Usher 2-way, which is very balanced and extends down low. The MBOW1 uses the same cabinet as Dennis's AV1, even the same woofer. It adds the Hiquphon OW1 tweeter that is regarded as one of the best available. It does well exactly what you are looking for... magical clear highs where you think you are in the front row of the stage... I have them in my Ellis Audio 1801s, which is another excellent kit designed by Dennis Murphy and sold by www.ellisaudio.com.

    You can read more about Dennis Murphy's designs in:
    http://www.madisound.com/cgi-bin/discuss.cgi
    http://www.audiocircle.com/circles/index.php

    Anthony Gomez just finished a very nice set of the Usher 2-way. This uses the same cabinet as the 1801 but with Usher drivers which are very similar/almost-identical to ScanSpeak drivers which are used in ProAc and other high-end speakers. The ScanSpeak driver that it copies ... I want to say 7545... is an amazing driver for presenting subtleties in the midrange and very strong bass down in the 30's Hz.

    So, in my opinion...
    * the MBOW1 will have the best mids and highs but really need a subwoofer to extend below 60Hz. Will be excellent for center or surround speakers.
    * the Usher 2-way will have the best balance, best all-around player... extending low enough that you will not feel the need for a subwoofer... and it will still present plenty of detail in the mids and clear highs.
    * the AV1+ is a very nice kit that is completely available from GR-Research ... so it is easy to buy... it is very popular... so it is a proven design... has good balance but will probably not have the extra detail in the highs like the MBOW1 nor have the extended bass as the Usher 2-way.

    Compromises. But all of these are good options that will make your parents very happy.

    Al
     
  5. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    I use a DeWalt DW621 plunge router almost on a daily basis and love it. My dad has both a Craftsman and DeWalt circular saw. I don't have a clue what the model #'s are of these but he's not had any trouble from what I know.

    I'm not sure what purpose you'd have for the liquid nails. You should use MDF with yellow carpenter's glue to assemble the cabinets. If you don't want to assemble them yourself and you can get the cabinets built for $130 each I'd jump on it.
     
  6. bruin

    bruin Second Unit

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    Thanks for the recommendations guys! I just ordered the AV1+ kit and matching center just because ordering the kit from one place with everything I need is easier.

    Brian, I guess I'll just skip the tools for now, I'll keep that Dewalt router in mind in the future. I thought Liquid Nails is just like wood glue. Well I've only had experience with liquid nails.

    Also, remember those subs I got from Anthony? I sanded them [​IMG] so that I could apply a mahogany stain/gloss to them. I'm also going to have the AV1+'s in mahogany. The left and right AV1+'s will be on top of each sub. I just hope my finishing skills can match the sound quality.
     
  7. james, keep in mind that those cabs were finished with Brewax and not poly or varnish etc. You need to remove the finish accordingly or a new finish will not take. Also, while you can sand to your hearts content on the baffle, the rest uses veneer.
     
  8. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Liquid Nails is a construction adhesive and is totally different from carpenter's glue. And listen to Tony concerning taking off the finish on the subs. I've never used Brewax so I don't have a clue how to remove it.
     
  9. bruin

    bruin Second Unit

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    heya Tony,

    I used 80 grit sandpaper and it took about 6 sheets per sub! I guess the brewax stuff kept attaching to the sand paper and I always had to move on to a cleaner side of the sand paper. I then used 120 grit to smooth them out. Took about 3 hours per sub! I think my muscles got bigger hehe. Hopefully all is well. I'm on the 3rd coat on one and 2nd coat on the other. I'll upload pics if you guys are interested to see them. I'll wait until I finish the av-1+'s.

    Do you guys know if I should use a gloss product on top of the one I use now? I'm using this Polyshades stain that combines the stain and gloss in one can. Or is there another product to "protect" my finish? Is brewax like a protector Tony?
     
  10. Darren_T

    Darren_T Second Unit

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  11. bruin

    bruin Second Unit

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    OH! So that's why the maple look doesn't really come out! hahaha. Well I'll post some pics on this thread when I finish the subs hopefully by friday. I'm such an amateur in diy, but hey, I'm learning. Thanks again for the help guys
     
  12. Darren beat me too it.

    with some VERY VERY carefull and creative sanding/trimming, you can re-veneer the subs (paperback only...NBL will no londeg work) and end up with a good line behind the solid baffle.
     
  13. bruin

    bruin Second Unit

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    Here's 1 sub that's done...it looks ok to me...i wish i used those wipe-ons instead of the brush on stains. Well next time.

    http://www.pbase.com/image/15638685

    Does anyone know if the cherry vinyl laminate that PE sells can be stained to darken the color?
     
  14. David Lorenzo

    David Lorenzo Stunt Coordinator

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    Is there a trick to getting those links to work?
     
  15. bruin

    bruin Second Unit

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    David,

    Sometimes pbase's server hangs due to the load but now it's seems to work again
     

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