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Ideal Music-only Speakers

Old 09-11-00, 02:19 AM
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I'm looking into designing and building a pair of speakers for music only. I know most HT speakers handle soundtracks well but music so-so. What specific should I know?
Any imput ,experience or otherwise would be appreciated.

I already know I'm going to concentrate mostly on midrange, but probably only have a two-way system.

To keep mids good I'm not gonna go atleast below 100 hertz but would like an open trebble(dosent have to go up to 20 000hertz though)

What enclosure is best? Ported or enclosed?

Should I make it bookshelf, tower, or most perferably floor standing?

THankX
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Old 09-11-00, 02:24 AM
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You might want to check out past issues of Speaker Builder mag.
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Old 09-11-00, 09:45 PM
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This is an interesting issue.

What criteria determines whether a speaker is good for music, and whether a speaker is good for HT?

It would save me a lot of trouble to be able to figure this out on my own, rather than having to constantly ask salespeople this. I listen to classical and jazz music by the way.
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Old 09-13-00, 04:47 AM
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I my experience musical speakers have been a lot "flatter" than home theater speakers which tend to be bottom heavy and not float as much as good music speakers. By float I mean their dispersion, how big they make the room sound, and by flatter I mean they project an even array of sound without amplifying or lowering any certain frequencies so you hear exactly what was intended by the song writer. As far as designing your own go there's no set way to make a speaker for HT or for Music. For example. I have VonSchweikerts which are ported towers, but only the bass cabinet is ported where as the treble/midrange are sealed and also mass loaded. Where as Meadowlark creates spaekers with tuned ported midranges. Both are highly acclaimed music speakers. From what I've seen here's a couple notes on what I think I know about speakers:

1.) The heavier the better. A good heavy enclose prevents unwanted vibrations on the cabinet to effect the speakers output coloring the sound, so you hear what the speaker intends (speaker's mistakes too).

2.) Driver's / crossovers are everything. IN most high end speakers you're paying for their crossover not the box or the name. This is where most of the time in development comes from. Even though crossovers can be as simple as a couple resistors hooked up to a capacitor (unless the manufacturer of the speaker makes the drivers themselves).

3.) Unless you're in the business let some one else do it for you. These companies have 1000's of hours put into reseaching the best cabinet for their drivers and what frequencies/volumes they should function at. It is very possible to make incredible speakers yourself, but not very likely for less money than you'd spend on a built pair.

If you're interested in some music speakers here's what I'd reccomend.

Meadowlark, VonSchweikert, Gallo, B&W, Ariel, Sonus Faber, Martin Logan, Thiel, Legacy, and Vandersteen.

These are just a drop in the bucket as far as manufacturers go, but I've heard speakers from all these manufacturers (and then some I can't recall right now), and they all proved to be incredibly musical, and some really pricey too...
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Old 09-13-00, 05:17 PM
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Infinity has a brand new series out called the Prelude MTS. I sampled a pair of these at ABT Audio in Chicago and they are simply phoenomenal! I could not believe how clear and powerful these speakers were. When I took the grille off, I was amazed to a tweeter, a midrange, and 4 midbass drivers. Furthermore, it had an 850 watt subwoofer with it. These are definitly going to be my next and final upgrade.

------------------
DJ B SINISTER
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Old 09-13-00, 10:33 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by PoorBoy:

2.) Driver's / crossovers are everything. IN most high end speakers you're paying for their crossover not the box or the name. This is where most of the time in development comes from. Even though crossovers can be as simple as a couple resistors hooked up to a capacitor (unless the manufacturer of the speaker makes the drivers themselves).



Can't completely agree with the above. Obviously, the drivers and x-over are important. But with respect to "box" speakers, the cabinet is generally the most expensive component. The cabinet must be extremely rigid, else the high frequences smear and imaging suffers. The cabinet is the primary reason that speakers like the B&W matrix series, Thiel's, etc. cost so much. A lot of research has gone into cabinet design in the last decade resulting in new (and often expensive) construction techniques and materials.

quote:
Originally posted by PoorBoy:
3.) Unless you're in the business let some one else do it for you. These companies have 1000's of hours put into reseaching the best cabinet for their drivers and what frequencies/volumes they should function at. It is very possible to make incredible speakers yourself, but not very likely for less money than you'd spend on a built pair.



I've built lots of speakers over the years; if your handy with power tools, it can be both fun and rewarding. Mag's like Speaker Builder include some good designs which the average handy-joe can build. Some of the designs, if well executed, can produce amazing sound.

Just my 2cents.


This message has been edited by audrey on September 13, 2000 at 08:48 PM
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Old 09-14-00, 03:40 AM
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Bose speakers sound pretty good for music
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Old 09-18-00, 06:01 PM
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audrey, I don't completely agree with you. I still believe that the drivers are most time comsuming to manufacture follwed by the crossover. I too have been playing with speaker design and there are simple equations to calculate the volume need for a particular speaker (depending on frequency range) and as far as rigidity goes there is really only one rule. Stiffer the better. Ideally a sphere would make the best speaker design or in case of a circular driver such as tweeters or normal woofers an egg shape (Hence B&W's top tweeter). I'm not trying to belittle the cabinet design by far but I still believe that the drivers are the $$ factor in most hi end speakers. The stress analysis of a box is a whole lot easier to work out than the stresses and vibrations of a speaker cone. Just less moving parts. I got a pair of paradigm Titan drivers laying around here waiting for some wood, to buy the drivers/crossover alone would have been $220, where as the speakers are hardly more than that (retial). Albeit Paradigms aren't furniture quality speakers but they are excellant sounding speakers that have a decent solid cabinet. Yet still simple. When you talk about 4-5k Theils and B&W's the reason the cabinets cost so much more to make is most the time because the finish or wood used, not the research and tech spent on designing it. To upgrade VonSchweikerts from regular wood finish to a high quality wood veener is a $1550 upgrade on a $5950 speaker (VR-5's). As for the crossover, electronic circuits can get really expensive expecially when talking about the near zero impedance of some of the crossovers of these higher quality speakers. Silver, gold, and high end capacitors aren't cheep. Upgrades for Vandersteen speakers range from 600-1400 for a driver/wiring update (I believe it changes the tweeter and internal wiring/crossover). And those are only about 2000-4000$ speakers.

Anyhow, you made some good points and I didn't want to make it sound like I'm against speaker building. Hell, it's what I'm studying for. I just believe with the research and technology out there it is more cost effecicient to buy the speakers from a company that has already spent millions upon millions in research and development to perfect their speakers. If you get a great deal on drivers, crossovers, or wood though I'm all for it. I've priced furniture quality wood and found that the cheapest way to put an oak speaker cabinet together to get the wood from old furniture stores (thift or such), and layer it on a decent box of MDF (for consistancy). Pricing furniture quality wood almost made me choke on the prices, and the cost of hiend tweeter/midranges are rediculous as well. The bulk buy of a manufacturer that makes speakers probably reduces the costs by as much as 75%.

Kljo5, good topic and good luck with your speakers.
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Old 09-18-00, 11:19 PM
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I own speakers made by Dynaudio. Dynaudio is one of the last remaining speaker companies to use vertical integration (I think that's the term). They manufacture everything from their drivers to their cabinets. Very neutral sounding, they get about 80% use for music, 20% for home theater. Hifi speakers for a college budget, hehe...

If you don't feel like building your own though, check out the Audience (lower end) and Contour (higher end) lines.

They don't manufacture drivers anymore, but there are still many Dynaudio kits out there. They produce quality products and I don't think you'll be disappointed by their stuff, except that they may be very expensive.

[This message has been edited by mnguye10 (edited September 18, 2000).]
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Old 09-18-00, 11:32 PM
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[/b]PoorBoy[/b], not to belabor this point since its a bit OT, but below is something from Vanderstein's web site. Of course the actual percentage of component cost will vary with design, manufacturer, etc.

Also there's been quite a few articles in the audio press on cost of construction for amps, speakers, etc. The results are quite interesting. For example, on a power amp the two most expensive single components are the shipping carton and the heat sink.

Beyond the sonic advantages, our design also allows a distinctive look that is cost effective and visually pleasing. In a conventional speaker, the wood veneered cabinet is often the most expensive component. (Over 65% of the total manufacturing cost.) The veneer takes considerable time and skill to finish and the entire cabinet is useless if it is even slightly scratched or dented during assembly.



[This message has been edited by audrey (edited September 18, 2000).]
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Old 09-19-00, 09:24 AM
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Are Acoustic Research speakers good? I've always heard they are, but their price doesn't really reflect it.
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Old 09-19-00, 01:27 PM
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quote:
Originally posted by biggestmuff:
Are Acoustic Research speakers good? I've always heard they are, but their price doesn't really reflect it.


Acoustic Research make good speakers. I have heard their Phantom line and they sound great. Of course there are better speakers out there, but AR are some of the best. Is the only way you judge speakers by the price? I would suggest listening to them. The Phantom line speakers all use plasma hardened titanium tweeters and carbon fiber woofers. I am still thinking about purchasing the Phantom 5.2's for my rears since they are one of the only surround speakers I can find that will work in my set up. Try looking at the AR1. It is their top of the line speaker and runs between $1500-$2000 for the pair.



[This message has been edited by ZenDog (edited September 19, 2000).]
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Old 09-20-00, 04:29 AM
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quote:
Originally posted by ZenDog:
Acoustic Research make good speakers. I have heard their Phantom line and they sound great. Of course there are better speakers out there, but AR are some of the best. Is the only way you judge speakers by the price? I would suggest listening to them. Try looking at the AR1. It is their top of the line speaker and runs between $1500-$2000 for the pair.


ZenDog,
I should have clarified. I've never heard any of the AR line. I just haven't made it out to a good HT store. If I did judge speakers by price, then wouldn't Bose speakers be killer? hehe The AR1s would be the ones I would get. I don't know if I agree with the subwoofers pointing towards each other. Phase cancellation?

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