DIY or Commercial Towers?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Scott Sabin, Mar 17, 2004.

  1. Scott Sabin

    Scott Sabin Stunt Coordinator

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    As my basement finishing project crawls along toward completion, I have been pondering my speaker decision more and more as of late. I have a fairly large open floor plan, much of which will be used for HT/music. I find myself favoring the use of 6 towers, a center, and a sub, as far as speakers go.

    So, because I am not rich, and my general basement finishing expenses have crept up higher than expected, I need to go with bang-for-the-buck towers if I am to keep that plan alive. I have auditioned Energy's C-line of towers, and thought that getting the C5s all around would be a good plan. My wife loves how they look as well (the canadian maple/silver look), and they are very stable boxes. I've read good things about the HTD level III towers too, and those would be a cheaper alternative. I prefer front vents as the side speakers may have to be quite close to a wall.

    Then I started reading about some of the DIY experiences, and have become intrigued. I don't have a lot of woodworking skills, but I do like to tinker, and have built several electronic projects just because the exact thing I wanted/needed didn't exist. My next door neighbor, however, has a full-blown wood shop, and for a bottle of wine, I'm sure I could solicit some help in getting some of the tough stuff accomplished.

    I'm intrigued with the Adire Kit281 (vented) and the SCH K08T23 kits. I like the fact that the Kit 281s have a center design that should integrate well, but the shorter SCH towers would have better WAF.

    What I'd really like to know is how these DIY speakers compare to a commercial speaker like the Energy C5, which are considered nice bang-for-the-buck commercial speakers? Also, I'd probably seal the deal with my wife if I could find some canadian maple vinyl vaneer to make my speakers look like the Energys. Anybody DIY with vinyl veneer? Do you know a good source with decent selection? Parts Express has a beech vinyl which looks alright, but I don't know if it is THE color that I need.
     
  2. TimForman

    TimForman Supporting Actor

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    Please consider the HE line from Adire. They are not towers and will need stands but I don't know many women that would object to a smaller box. If you build them from baltic birch plywood you can have a very nice looking light color with just clear coat. The 10 or the 12 in sealed enclosures will integrate easily with a sub and perform well with HT or music.
     
  3. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    I think these DIY designs are supposed to be better than even the "good value" commercial systems. Any of them... not the Adires or SCH's in particular. I personally have owned Kit281s for 2.5 years and, obviously I think they are well suited to your environment. But the other larger speakers are good ideas too.
     
  4. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    The SCH towers are VERY good speakers...especially for the money. They should have a new center channel design within the next month or so. The older version was just as good as the towers. If you want to keep things on a really tight budget then this is the way I'd go.

    I have had the Adire LCC in the past and it was an excellent speaker. I have not had the chance to hear the 281's yet but I'd imagine they are well worth the money as well.
     
  5. TimForman

    TimForman Supporting Actor

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    FWIW, I've owned both the LCC and the 281's.
     
  6. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    Tim, what did you think of those versus the higher effiency ones?
     
  7. TimForman

    TimForman Supporting Actor

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    All I can do is offer my personal opinion with is worth as much as you're paying for it. IMHO, the 281's didn't offer a very detailed midrange. The 281's have a good low end and nice HF dispersion. However, the HE's that I've heard impressed me much more. Admittedly they are aimed at different market segments and I more fit the HE market.
     
  8. Dan Hine

    Dan Hine Screenwriter

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    Yes, consider the HE series. I've owned the HE10.1's and they sound really nice...great dynamics, soundstage, clarity...great speakers for the price. One correction to Tim's statement though, the HE12.1's do have a vented tower design that can be used. Also, you could always build the HE10.1's as towers and just close off the top from the rest of the cabinet. Don't be too afraid to be creative. [​IMG]

    - Dan Hine
     
  9. Scott Sabin

    Scott Sabin Stunt Coordinator

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    I'm convinced to build something myself after hearing all of the positive things about the speakers I was considering. I'm intrigued with the HE tower idea - I must have missed that option on Adire's site. I will look into that.

    I have a preference for towers. Although they might be more intimidating than monitors on stands, they are less prone to being knocked over (I have 3 kids - 5 year-old and twin 1-year olds), and should be easier to integrate with a sub with their lower extension.

    I tend to find that there a lot more Kit281s out there than SCH towers, so the feedback on the SCH towers is appreciated. It would be nice to hear from that one person out there that might have had the chance to hear both!

    Anybody have a source for vinyl veneer that offers a lot of color choices? I know most folks go with wood veneer, but the extra cost and time involved in going that route for 7 speakers is probably not worth it to me.

    Thanks to all for your input!
     
  10. TimForman

    TimForman Supporting Actor

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    Like Dan said, you can build a tower for the HE's. It's basically just an integrated stand and as for stability it doesn't get much more stable than filling the bottom cavity with sand.
     
  11. BrianAe

    BrianAe Second Unit

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    Given your price point and the fact that you are trying to save money, I question why you'd want to go with 6 towers. You'd get a much better bang for your buck with Monitors. Note that regardless of what you choose that you want good speaker positioning for all your speakers which could be harder to do with towers.
     
  12. Scott Simonian

    Scott Simonian Screenwriter

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    I own a pair a 281s vented and a LCC. I highly reccommend them both.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  13. Scott Sabin

    Scott Sabin Stunt Coordinator

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    Just thought I'd throw one more possibility in the mix.

    I like the GR A/V-3 (especially the smaller footprint), but am worried about the rear port. Can this speaker be ported to the front without consequence, or is that design parameter coupled in with the crossover design, etc?

    Ii'm inclined to avoid a rear-port design as the side speakers (and one of the rears) will have to sit quite close to the wall.
     
  14. KyleGS

    KyleGS Second Unit

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    Why not just go all out and build the HE12 ported floorstanders like I did? They are large but very efficient and very good sounding. I'm about to rebuild them in Baltic Birch and hopefully get them a little better lookin'.

    The Kit281's are also excellent along with the AV3's.
     
  15. Jeff Elliott

    Jeff Elliott Stunt Coordinator

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    I, too, wondered if the A/V3's can be front ported? Anyone know???

    JE
     
  16. PaulDF

    PaulDF Second Unit

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    I seem to recall Danny at GR saying that the AV/3's can be front ported as well. Not sure what alterations must be made though. Would have to ask him.
     
  17. Dan Wesnor

    Dan Wesnor Second Unit

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    Ports operate at a low frequency (large wavelength), so you can generally put them anywhere you want to on the box without a problem. The only thing to watch out for is port noise (including pipe resonance), which is generally of a short enough wavelength to be directional (and won't make it from the back of the box to the front). There's no real way to eliminate this noise. Not sure how much of it the GR speakers produce.
     
  18. Daniel Metcalf

    Daniel Metcalf Stunt Coordinator

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    The AV/3's are a TL, not sure if that makes a difference.
     
  19. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    Tim, thanks, I can see where you're coming from. It is totally true that compared to *real* high end speakers the Kit281s midrange quality is just not the same. What matters is whether we care about that more than other things which they are better at. I still don't know how close their dynamics, which seemed to become surprisingly better with a silly powerful amplifier, come to the HE kits. I have assumed that they are better in this regard than other smaller speakers.

    Is there any word on how the midrange of the HE12.1 compares to the HE10.1 and others? It does have a larger woofer, but I know it doesn't have serious breakup until 3KHz and I've assumed the dispersion is close enough to match that of the tweeter horn near the crossover. That speaker is attractive because the tower version can have a lot more bass, probably enough to run full range for music.
     
  20. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    IIRC, Danny has stated that you can have the mouth of the TL on the front simply by moving the internal bracing around which creates the line of the TL. In other words, move the back braces to the front and vice versa. This causes the mouth to be on the front of the cabinet.
     

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