Newbie looking into GR Alpha LS

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by AhsanR, Nov 21, 2003.

  1. AhsanR

    AhsanR Stunt Coordinator

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    Good day mates,

    Well in the DIY world I am a newbie, but from what I've seen, it seems if I build my own stuff, I can undercut commercial stuff big time.

    With that said, I was looking at the GR Alpha LS, just because it looks like a beast. And it probably has more bass otuput than any speaker I've ever seen.

    I have a couple of questions since I've never build a speaker.


    A)How would you say these speakers sound for those who have listened compared to say..... the popular ones roaming around, Onix Reference, Paradigm 100s, Magnepans, Klpisch, Polk LSi, the list goes on.....

    B) I can make an enclosure easily, BUT, I've never worked with internals of a speaker, is this tricky/hard? I work in technical production theater, so I have to make things everyday.

    C)For behemoths like that, what would be matching surrounds and a center channel?

    D)I'm looking into a MArantz MM9000 Amplifier I beleive. Its rated 170 watts into 5. Is that a good match?

    Alright thanks guys, I've searched online but haven't been able to find one review.... Hopefully someone here has some expertise in these.
     
  2. AhsanR

    AhsanR Stunt Coordinator

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    No one?
     
  3. Christopher Fisher

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    Talk to Danny Ritchie at GR Resarch. He's an very cool guy and will give you the facts. Period. I've heard the Alpha LS and they are AMAZING. Nothing I have ever heard before even comes close. I will own a pair someday. Talk to Danny www.gr-research.com

    He's a great guy and if your in or near Witchita Falls, you can hear a pair at his house.

    Good Luck
     
  4. Danny Richie

    Danny Richie Stunt Coordinator

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    Sorry you haven't had any responses yet. Its a slow day on the forums from what I see. I don't think I have any Alpha LS owners that are regulars here.

    They are out there from Atlanta GA, to somewhere in Mass., to El paso TX, Dallas TX, to somewhere in CA, one guy in AZ, to the west coast of Canada, and points all in between, but those few came to mind.

    As for A) The only speaker mentioned that shares any common traits that can be compared to the Alpha LS are the largest Maggies.

    B) They are not tricky at all, but will take some time.

    C) I have a guy in GA that uses four Alpha LS's in the rear and I made him a custom center channel. Anything is possible.

    D) I haven't heard the Marantz, but would think it to be a bit of a mid-fi receiver. Power wise it will be plenty. The Alpha's are easy to drive and need little power, but can handle a lot of power if you have it.

    Try visiting our forum at the Audio Circle. There are lots of posts there from Alpha LS owners, pics too. Just scan down through the headings and you'll see Alpha LS's mentioned.

    There are also post at the Audio Asylum made be some that have heard them. Do a search and you'll have plenty of threads on them to view.
     
  5. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    I don't think you can go wrong with GR-Research Danny
    supports what he designs and sells as is evident by his
    posting on the forums.

    And as far as Line Array's go... The only close match in
    the mass market would be Planar's like the Maggies or
    Electrostatics like those offered by Martin Logan and
    either of those will likely cost more than the Alpha's
    and you don't get the custom finish options that you do
    with the DIY Route.

    The Alpha's sure are beautiful [​IMG]
     
  6. Chris Tsutsui

    Chris Tsutsui Screenwriter

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    If you can solder a lead (small metal plate) to copper wire so it doesn't come loose, then you should be ok. You'll also have to be able to read a simple circuit diagragm and not confuse positive with negative. The cabinet is a different story... If you're not somewhat skilled in wood shop it may be difficult to build a line array.

    Another thing.. don't let the number of the drivers fool you into thinking that you'll get the most bass. Bass does require a lot of air movement which can be achieved by multiple drivers, but also keep in mind how deep the "speaker" can go. You may find that in movies especially, you can achieve immense bass output by the use of a separate subwoofer. (Even with a line array)

    With that in mind, you can achieve a full range spectrum of sound by a pair of bookshelfs and a subwoofer.

    The line arrays are well suited for playing LOUD, because of the ability for the drivers to "work together". This way you'll be able to listen to music in the biggest of rooms.
     
  7. AhsanR

    AhsanR Stunt Coordinator

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    This is all very interesting.

    I Was researching on these speakers, and when cross referenced to Magneplanars and the Martin Logans, the biggest complaint was a small "sweet spot".

    Can you comment on the "sweet spot" and three dimensionality for a moment. Thanks.

    BTW... I've tried to find any review, but still am unlucky, if you can link me, or anyone can, that'll be great.
     
  8. Stacy Huff

    Stacy Huff Second Unit

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    http://www.audiocircle.com/circles/viewtopic.php?t=2759

    Here's a link to a review from a guy that built a pair. If you check that site, and Danny's forum, you'll find a few others who have heard them.

    Also, on AVS Forum there is a thread in the speaker forum started by a poster named Sushi titled something like "$5,000 pair--VMPS? Von Schwiekert? Something else." Sushi heard the Alphas and there are some posts about them there.
     
  9. AhsanR

    AhsanR Stunt Coordinator

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    These speakers, just sound better and better as I read different impressions.

    I still think I'm gonna study up more on speakers, before I make my final impressions and eventual purchase, because whenever I do, multiple factors come in. And whichever one I decide to get, I will keep for a LONG time.

    Anyways, has anyone seen this before? Any comparisions to the Alphas?

    http://www.selahaudio.com./linus2.html

    they seem alot like the Alpha LS in many respects.
     
  10. Stacy Huff

    Stacy Huff Second Unit

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    I'm no expert and I haven't heard either speaker, but like you I've been intriqued by the designs. The big difference that I see between the Linus and the Alpha is that the Linus is sealed whereas the Alpha has four flared ports on the back. So the bass response of the two speakers would be different. I'm expecting that the Alphas would go lower.
     
  11. John Wes

    John Wes Stunt Coordinator

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    *edited*

    Sorry, wrong forum..
     
  12. ryan stre

    ryan stre Auditioning

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    I wrote this before anyone responded but I wasn't a member here and it took a while for me to get registered to post.

    My handle is 'azryan' on the Audiocircle if anyone wants to PM me there.

    Hey there,

    I built the GR Alpha kit 6 months ago. They're stunning and honestly VERY sad that this speaker is so unknown.

    I finished mine w/ VERY expencive blackhole 5 damping sheets (best damping you can buy), upgraded top quality x-over caps (parts often 5 figure speakers don't use. I'm looking you B&W! hehe), and per the cabinet design 1.5" MDF w/ super hard internal bracing throughout (read: pretty much no vibration even when hammering deep bass terribly loud) and fully wrapped in Red Birch wood veneer (to match my room and my dual DIY Adire Tempest sonotube subs -another incredible DIY deal BTW).

    The finished pair cost me $2,600 total, and I was told overpaid on the veneer (bought in town. Heard it was cheaper online).

    It's a large understatment to call this price amazing IMO.

    So often you hear people say 'better than speakers 2-3 times it's price!!!' but they neglect to mention the several other speakers at a similar price that are also debatably as good.

    This speaker kit doesn't have any close competitor IMO though.

    The nearest great value would be the VMPS RM-40's which in their own right kills almost everything out there, but still costs about twice what someone could build an Alpha kit for.

    If you buy premade Alpha cabinets, or even totally finished Alphas you'll still be around the 40's awesome price/value but still get a better speaker in the Alphas IMO.

    "-A)How would you say these speakers sound for those who have listened compared to say..... the popular ones roaming around, Onix Reference, Paradigm 100s, Magnepans, Klpisch, Polk LSi, the list goes on...-"

    Not even close to any of these. These are in the league of world class speakers in the 5 figure section of the audio world.

    Not that the speakers you listed don't sound good (well I would say that about Klipsh actually and the Magnepans -though for totally diff. reasons), but you just can't get the level of dynamics, dead low distortion, high effi. yet also high power handling (meaning totally unrestrained dynamics), and soundstage that the Alphas can throw.

    Please don't read that as LOUD LOUD LOUD. Modest and low levels the effortless detail shines as brightly as an excellent mini monitor.

    GR's own Lucidity series speakers are more what you could directly compare to the level of speakers you listed and even then cream them all with their true ribbon tweeter, world class Eton woofers, and top quality x-over parts.

    The tweeters, woofers and x-overs in these other speakers are not nearly the same level, and the Alphas are GR's top speakers above the Lucidity line.

    All the specs and measurements are there on GR's site of all their speakers. Something you sadly don't often see from most speaker companies.

    The Alphas are equal to ~99db rated point source from a typical listening distance (being a 93db line source that loses half the SPL's that a point source will).

    Standing on the side of the speaker you can hardly see the nine 6" large motor woofers (per speaker) move even when hammering out deep loud bass. Meaning they're always in the magnetic gap with your amp in total control of them and their speed and distortion level is amazing.

    The line totally outclasses the dual world class Scan-Speak 8545 woofers in my Newform Research 645's (see the use of a single 8545 in the $20,000 WATT/puppy and MANY other high end speakers).

    The Alpha's line of B-G Neo 8's is cleaner, more detailed than the (IMO) world class 45" Newform ribbon.

    I actually still really like the Newform 645's, but there are some quirks to the design that I didn't like and why I looked for 'better'.
    Looking at tons of store brands and online brands (typically much better than store brands) I chose the Alphas.

    The eight neo planars used per Alpha speaker are the same single driver used in the new $2,000 Martin Logan Mosaics (which sounds tonally like a tiny baby Alpha w/ weak bass IMO) and Logan's ads act like they created that driver too!? hehe
    Even renaming it the AFT, and passing on this distorted info to local sales reps.

    The blend between the two-way design is 100% seamless IMO. Something the Newform 645's just weren't quite no matter what the set-up.

    "-B) I can make an enclosure easily, BUT, I've never worked with internals of a speaker, is this
    tricky/hard? I work in technical production theater, so I have to make things everyday."

    The x-over is VERY simple (very little in the signal path -which is always nice!).
    To the x-over it like looks like a plain jane 2 driver 2-way speaker.

    If you can solder a wire to a wire, you'll be able to finish both pair of x-overs in 30 min.
    I did and I've got next to no exp. in soldering.

    I'd bet you have FAR more exp. than me in these matters.

    The wiring of all the drivers is a bit tricky, but the wiring plan you get is totally clear and simple. It's just a matter of 'that's a lot of wires and I BETTER not mix ANY up!!!'. hehe

    More a matter of being extra careful not skill.

    "-C)For behemoths like that, what would be matching surrounds and a center channel?"

    Having gone from the Newform Research 645's to the GR Alphas, I've ditched using a center chan all together. With these lines you really get such a sharp center image and without a head in the vice need to be dead center (though dead center is always 'best' w/ ANY speakers).

    W/ a phantom center you get the best matching center you can get. Most center chans. are very compromised designed by having to be small and horizontal to fit above or below the tv screen.

    If you're way off axis, yes the center info will pull to the speaker you're closer to, but you'll also physically be on an angle to the screen which should be set behind the speakers so the sound still actually lines up very well. And let's face it... leave the off axis seats for friends and relative you don't like right? heheh

    Plus the savings of the actual center cost and IMO best to put into using a high end stereo amp for the mains and lesser/cheaper amps for the surround sections.

    If you do demand an actual center chan. I think the VMPS LRC would be a good match. I heard the VMPS RM-40's and thought tonally they were very similar to the Alphas (fast, detailed, and accurate tends to sound pretty similar no mater what drivers used), but never heard them side to side w/ the Alphas so maybe they wouldn't be? Hard to say.

    "-D)I'm looking into a MArantz MM9000 Amplifier I beleive. Its rated 170 watts into 5. Is that a good match?"

    Powerwise any amp is going to be a good match to a speaker equal to ~99db point source and ~8 Ohm avg. imp.

    I don't think the Marantz is going to be that high of quality as these deserve though. They're worth the best you can put on them IMO as any very high end speaker deserves.

    Like I mentioned about amps before... you should look into a high end stereo amp for the front end.

    Some new digital models are world class and actaully very affordable right now.
    Acoustic Reality (I own the eARTwo), Spectron, Solar Hi Fi has a stunning new model.

    The way human ears are aimed forward, you're rolling off the highs even when you have exact same mathing surround amps/speakers.

    I use my former Newform 645's for rear surrounds as they are touch too bright as mains, which counters that treble roll off when used as rears. Probably overkill though.

    GR doesn't have a surround speaker to match the Alphas, but maybe Danny (GR's owner/designer) has some suggestions.

    I've always been a big advocate of monopoles all the way around, but more and more I'm feeling that the surround use in movies is just better off splattered around the room w/ dipoles, and surround music IMO should only have ambiance in the rears most of the time, so while a monopole would be clearer and more realistic if a guitar was playing behind your head... I don't WANT a guitar playing behind me!
    I think I'm changing my opinon to go for dipoles and then that's even less critical that you have matching speakers to your mains. There are a lot of nice and inexpencive dipoles out there online.

    "-Alright thanks guys, I've searched online but haven't been able to find one review.... Hopefully someone here has some expertise in these."

    Did you go to Audio Circle's forum? That's where GR's own forum is.
    I wrote a review of my Alphas when I finished them and also comments when I later heard the RM-40's in town.

    My review is still there if you do a search for it under GR's forum or the Critic's Circle (which is for reviews of anything).
     
  13. Stacy Huff

    Stacy Huff Second Unit

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    That's the link to the review I posted above. No need to go looking too far.
     
  14. Jim Griffin

    Jim Griffin Extra

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    For what it is worth my Near Field Line Array White paper(see the link) covers most of the design issues and listening thoughts associated with line arrays.

    As co-developer of the Linus 2, you will find them to be a very nice line array. Parts and plans are available through

    www.selahaudio.com

    My Needles which is a quasi-line array) won Best of Show at the recent Atlanta DIY speaker contest. Parts and plans for the Needles are available through

    www.creativesound.ca

    Both of these arrays provide an exceptional listening experience.

    Bottom line it is good for the DIY bulding to have several options to consider for high quality line arrays designs such as the Alpha LS, Linus 2, and Needles. With each design you have tradeoffs to consider on size, cost, performance, and such. I would say though, that with careful attention to detail and time, a novice bulder can be successful with these designs.

    Jim

    [​IMG] Near Field Line Array White Paper
     
  15. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    Ahh heck since Jim is plugging his LA's...

    These are the LA's I am building..

    http://forum.stryke.com/viewtopic.ph...1f9f450d9f14df

    [​IMG]


    And I don't think you could go wrong with ANY of these
    Array's be it the AlphaLS's or the Linus/Needles or the
    Stryke Array's...

    It's fantastic having such exotic designs available to the
    enthusiast who has the time and tools on his hands to
    complete his own speakers. Or even if you don't have the
    skills you can buy them assembled from any of the listed
    sources and STILL have less money tied up in any of these
    LA's than you would in most mediocre commercial point source
    designs.
     
  16. John Wes

    John Wes Stunt Coordinator

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    Hypothetically speaking, which of the three listed above, gets the most bang for the buck? [​IMG]

    The Alpha LS?


    The Linus 2?


    Or Stryke Array's?

    All look to be something else to listen too.
     
  17. AhsanR

    AhsanR Stunt Coordinator

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    The only problem I have justifying this speaker purchase is.....

    Well... I will be using a low end denon 3803 to power them, and B. I sort of need a matching center and a pair of surrounds with them for movies/multichannel audio for the rest of the family.


    Danny and others, are any plans for a matching center or surrounds in the works? Thanks!
     
  18. AhsanR

    AhsanR Stunt Coordinator

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  19. Danny Richie

    Danny Richie Stunt Coordinator

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  20. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    While we're talking about these different line arrays... does anyonw know how the expensive RD-series (single driver) ribbons compare to the Neo 8 and others used in these kits? I heard Pete's RD50 dipoles and with the exception of possibly needing some EQ, they were absolutely amazing.
     

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