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post #1 of 105 Old 07-10-2012, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello all. I have been investigating a plan for building my own home theater speakers for some time now on many different forums including this one. With advice from someone at another site (thanks GranteedEV), I decided to build Curt Campbell’s Stentorians for my mains and center speakers. I have been working on the speakers using ideas mostly from a build thread here on AVS Forums (thanks Passing Interest). His build has given me so many ideas and instruction. I have also emailed Curt several times for help with some of the items I have struggled with.

Now, I am a total novice to speaker building so anything you see on here that looks like a complete newbie did it, it’s true. With that said, I have completed a lot of the project with little trouble. For the remainder of my home theater speaker system, I plan on building Curt’s Stenn II’s for the rear and rear surrounds (4 of them) and I am going to build 2 subs. Based on information I got on another site, I bought 2 of the Infinity Reference 1262w’s. They were very reasonably priced and based off the posts, they will sound very good once I have them in an enclosure. Problem is, I have yet to find a good box design for them. I have been told to just “build this box with this size vent”. Being new to this, I have definitely not built a sub before and don’t really know how to just build a box without a good plan similar to Curt’s designs. So, if anyone has ideas for me, please post on here. Other items in my system are a Denon AVR1912 and my projector is an Epson Powerlite Home Cinema 3010. It is 3D. My plan is to build a false wall (idea here) and do a DIY acoustically transparent projector screen so I can put my 3 Stentorians behind the screen. I will put the 2 subs in front of the

Now, on to the build. I have been working for a couple months (very slowly) on the Stentorians. I now have them assembled and have hooked them up (have not painted them yet). I also have the crossovers built for the Sten II’s. I have all the components for the Stenn II’s but have not yet cut any MDF for them. In the following posts, I will show my progress to this point. Please feel free to provide any feedback on what you see. I especially would like to have ideas or advice on building my subs, finish for all the speakers and how to measure the performance of the speakers so I know I did everything correctly.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 105 Old 07-10-2012, 06:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok, here are the first steps of my build.

First, starting with the 3/4" MDF.
imag0510w.jpg

Then, the most accurate cuts I got (with what I have) was with the circular saw and a guide.
imag0512ue.jpg

And, the ever popular stack of wood for the build. This is all the MDF for 3 Stentorians.
imag0517g.jpg
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post #3 of 105 Old 07-10-2012, 06:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Next, I cut 4" holes for the full size braces- 2 per speaker (Thanks PI for this idea).
imag0520t.jpg
imag0521d.jpg

And the holes for the smaller braces. These go behind the tweeters. They are smaller braces because they mate up to the crossover recess in the back. They are slotted to make sure the tweeter has room.
imag0522j.jpg
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post #4 of 105 Old 07-10-2012, 07:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Next was drilling and routing out the holes for the crossover recess in the back. Again, ideas from PI's build.
imag0577x.jpg
imag0582o.jpg
imag0583u.jpg
imag0580u.jpg

Oh yea, and I ran a 3/8" roundover bit over it. Don't have a large view of it at this point. Maybe in a later post.
imag0585p.jpg
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post #5 of 105 Old 07-10-2012, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Then, dry fitting and my first glue up. I did put 1 1/2" finish nails in to hold while the glue dried. I didn't feel completely comfortable with my clamping.
imag0587p.jpg
imag0613n.jpg
imag0615n.jpg

Here's a little better view of the roundover on the crossover recess.
imag0617y.jpg
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post #6 of 105 Old 07-10-2012, 07:28 PM - Thread Starter
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For the next step, I needed to cut out 6 inch holes (Used Jasper Jig) for the front panel. Like PI, I used two layers on the baffle. The first layer has 6" holes to give plenty of room for the smaller holes in the baffle that will hold the drivers.
imag0619q.jpg

I used a flush trim router bit with a top bearing to trim the braces that protruded into my 6" holes. The 3/4" braces were a little thick for how close together the holes have to be. No problem though once trimmed.
imag0628r.jpg
imag0629b.jpg
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post #7 of 105 Old 07-10-2012, 07:41 PM - Thread Starter
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The baffles come up next. With the brilliant idea from PI, I used my actual tweeter and woofer flange to set up my plunge router depth gauge for the flange cuts on the baffle.
imag0634md.jpg

Using the Jasper Jig and a 3/8" straight cut bit, I cut the driver flange recesses and the driver holes. Please remember to always cut your recesses first and then the driver holes. You don't want to have to re cut your entire piece.
imag0635t.jpg

Baffle glued up and clamped,
imag0642b.jpg
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post #8 of 105 Old 07-10-2012, 07:50 PM - Thread Starter
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For the crossovers, I cut them out of 1/4" sanded plywood. I laid out the components to see how they looked and drilled the holes in the wood.
imag0657l.jpg

I painted the crossover boards with a gloss black paint and then hot glued all the components. Made all the solder joints on the back side to keep it clean.
imag0672szn.jpg

Then, hot glued all the wires down to keep them tight to the board. I also added standoffs made of the 1/4" ply to the bottom of the board like PI to keep it raised so air could flow.
imag0675m.jpg
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post #9 of 105 Old 07-10-2012, 08:03 PM - Thread Starter
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For the next part, I'm not too proud of it because I was in such a hurry to get it done, I didn't take any photos. I will explain what I did though.

1) I sanded all the cabinets really well and added wood putty to fill the holes where the finish nails were put and to fix any blemishes. I have not painted the speakers yet though.
2) I had to drill my holes for the speaker wires to route after I got the speakers built. To anyone that is going to build speakers, please drill your speaker routing holes during the build. Don't wait til the end. It's very difficult.
3) Inserted the crossovers and routed the wires/
4) Since I am going to take the speakers back apart, I used wire terminals to connect to the drivers. I will solder the connections after I paint and re assemble.
5) I connected the drivers and stuffed about 1/2 lbs of cheap Walmart pillow stuffing into each driver hole.
6) Mounted all drivers.
7) Mounted the terminal cup on the back of the speakers and soldered the connections.

This is where I am at this point. Again, notice that i have not yet painted the speakers. I am looking for ideas. PI used a garage floor paint but I have not been able to find it anywhere. I am open to ideas. I want it to be good looking but pretty tough. I plan to use it on all speakers.
imag0679.jpg

You'll notice that, like PI, I mounted the terminal cups at the bottom of the speaker. I think it looks pretty good there.
imag0681x.jpg
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post #10 of 105 Old 07-10-2012, 08:10 PM - Thread Starter
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So again, that's where I am at this point. The next step is to use the cut list I made to cut the MDF for my Stenn II's. Since I already have the crossovers built, these should go pretty quickly. For the Stentorians (and for all of them once finished), I am really interested in learning how to do speaker measurements. Any tutorials anyone might have would be very helpful. What tools do I need? Can I use the calibration mic that came with my receiver? Is the software free or will I have to purchase it? Is it difficult to do and to understand the results?

Also, as mentioned earlier, I really need more advice on my sub builds if anyone has ideas.

I will continue to post my progress here. Any feedback or advice will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Matt
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post #11 of 105 Old 07-10-2012, 08:32 PM
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Looks great so far Matt, did you use the Aura NS6-255-8A paper cone neodymium drivers and Vifa BC25SC06-04 textile dome tweeters?
How do they sound so far?
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post #12 of 105 Old 07-11-2012, 03:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miahallen View Post

Looks great so far Matt, did you use the Aura NS6-255-8A paper cone neodymium drivers and Vifa BC25SC06-04 textile dome tweeters?
How do they sound so far?

Yes miahallen, I did use those speakers per Curt's design. Again, I'm pretty new to this and definitely don't have "trained" ear yet but so far I think they sound great. Initially, when I hooked them up, I was pretty disappointed. I didn't really know how to set them up with my receiver. I spent a couple nights messing with the settings. Last night I watched a movie (Puss in Boots) with my little girl and they sounded great. As mentioned earlier, I really need to learn how to measure them so I can give accurate answers on how they sound.

Matt
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post #13 of 105 Old 07-11-2012, 07:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mathu126 View Post

This is where I am at this point. Again, notice that i have not yet painted the speakers. I am looking for ideas. PI used a garage floor paint but I have not been able to find it anywhere. I am open to ideas. I want it to be good looking but pretty tough. I plan to use it on all speakers.
For durability, its hard to beat Duratex.
http://store.acrytech.com/Speaker-Cabinet-Coatings/

But it may not be the 'look' you're after.

THT_finasl.jpg

Kevin
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post #14 of 105 Old 07-11-2012, 08:39 AM
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Great build thread with nice attention to detail. Thanks for posting. How long did the build take you?

If i do another build it might be the Statements (also from SpeakerDesignWorks) and i'll need to try my hand at the circular saw + guide technique. Been using my tiny table saw for all my builds to date but it won't cut it tongue.gif for large panels.
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post #15 of 105 Old 07-11-2012, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mathu126 View Post

The baffles come up next. With the brilliant idea from PI, I used my actual tweeter and woofer flange to set up my plunge router depth gauge for the flange cuts on the baffle.
imag0634md.jpg

This is an awesome little trick, but one warning for careless people such as myself. I tried this approach recently and managed to fubar it...

On one cabinet it worked fine, but on the second i must have pushed down too hard on the router when setting the depth gague with the speaker in place. It must have compressed the gasket material too far and measured too shallow of a depth. In the end one of my cabinets has countersink holes that are a bit too shallow and the drivers stick out a bit.

Anyone with some experience should know you should always test fit your drivers and not assume everything fits... I think i test fit in the first cabinet and it looked good so i didn't bother on the second. When will i learn...rolleyes.gif
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post #16 of 105 Old 07-11-2012, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by mathu126 View Post

imag0679.jpg

One thing to remember - speakers should be set up so that the tweeter is at ear height. Since you built these with the tweeter centered you'll need stands to get the speakers set at the correct height.

I'm guessing you centered the tweeters deliberately (since you are planning to put them behind an AT screen) and would want to use stands, but I figured better safe than sorry.

Chris

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--Despair, Inc. "Regret"

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post #17 of 105 Old 07-11-2012, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mathu126 View Post

Also, as mentioned earlier, I really need more advice on my sub builds if anyone has ideas.

You mentioned that you already have the drivers (Infinity Reference 1262w’s), do you also have an amp for them? Do you have a preference on the type of cabinet (sealed, ported, etc) or even what the trade-offs are? Do you have size constraints? Do you have any other specific goals?

There are lots of people here that can help you design a sub, but they'll need more info.

Chris

"It hurts to admit when you make mistakes - but when they are big enough, the pain only lasts a second."
--Despair, Inc. "Regret"

My AviaTrix TM Build
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post #18 of 105 Old 07-11-2012, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin A View Post

For durability, its hard to beat Duratex.
http://store.acrytech.com/Speaker-Cabinet-Coatings/
But it may not be the 'look' you're after.
THT_finasl.jpg
Kevin

Thanks for the Duratex idea Kevin A. I think that is more of the professional "gig" type look. I like it but I am looking for something a little more smooth or sleek. I want them to be black. I am not looking for a piano type finish but something nice. I really liked PI's finish with the garage floor paint but, as mentioned, I can't find that exact paint.

Matt
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Originally Posted by lowpolyjoe View Post

Great build thread with nice attention to detail. Thanks for posting. How long did the build take you?
If i do another build it might be the Statements (also from SpeakerDesignWorks) and i'll need to try my hand at the circular saw + guide technique. Been using my tiny table saw for all my builds to date but it won't cut it tongue.gif for large panels.

Thanks lowpolyjoe. It has taken me a couple months to get to this point. I have been working some on the weekends and a few minutes in the evenings for that length of time. This is something I enjoy doing so it's been fun. Finishing my basement on the other hand, is not something I enjoy. Very hard to hang sheetrock and do everything by myself. When I am able to get help, I cherish it.

For the circular saw, everyone may not get the same results I have but I was very impressed with it. In the end, I built some pretty accurate cabinets.

Matt
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post #20 of 105 Old 07-11-2012, 05:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BeerParty View Post

One thing to remember - speakers should be set up so that the tweeter is at ear height. Since you built these with the tweeter centered you'll need stands to get the speakers set at the correct height.
I'm guessing you centered the tweeters deliberately (since you are planning to put them behind an AT screen) and would want to use stands, but I figured better safe than sorry.

Good point BeerParty. Yes, I do plan to elevate them behind the AT screen. I have do not have any stands to put them on now. I will just use them temporarily in my living room until the theater is finished.

Matt
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post #21 of 105 Old 07-11-2012, 05:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeerParty View Post

You mentioned that you already have the drivers (Infinity Reference 1262w’s), do you also have an amp for them? Do you have a preference on the type of cabinet (sealed, ported, etc) or even what the trade-offs are? Do you have size constraints? Do you have any other specific goals?
There are lots of people here that can help you design a sub, but they'll need more info.

Another good point BeerParty. I have not yet bought an amp. My thought, based on posts elsewhere, was to get a Crown XLS1000 or a Behringer Inuke, I'm ok with either. I'm thinking I that I want sealed boxes and they just have to fit under my projector screen (probably about 30"). The use for my system will be movies/games/music- 70%/20%/10%. I like bass in my movies but not overwhelming. After thinking about it alot, I decided the 12's would be sufficient for what I want in my theater (even though most suggestions were to go with 15's). I really don't have that many limitations on woodworking or skill level. I think I can handle most of the processes for building cabinets. I have seen many posts for sub builds but don't know what people prefer for theaters where the bulk of the use will be movies.

Thanks.
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post #22 of 105 Old 07-11-2012, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by mathu126 View Post

Thanks for the Duratex idea Kevin A. I think that is more of the professional "gig" type look. I like it but I am looking for something a little more smooth or sleek. I want them to be black. I am not looking for a piano type finish but something nice.
Oh, I completely understand. My 'duratexed' sub sits in a dark corner out of site, but for my two prominent mains speakers, I'd wants something 'sleeker' too.
Something like this maybe.....matte or gloss black with wood accent....at least thats my plan.
stat_mk01.jpg


I love your build pix, by the way. Excellent job!

Kevin
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post #23 of 105 Old 07-11-2012, 09:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mathu126 View Post

Thanks for the Duratex idea Kevin A. I think that is more of the professional "gig" type look. I like it but I am looking for something a little more smooth or sleek. I want them to be black. I am not looking for a piano type finish but something nice. I really liked PI's finish with the garage floor paint but, as mentioned, I can't find that exact paint.
Matt

Try wrapping them in black or carbon fiber 3m vinyl wrap biggrin.gif

or buying plasti-dip in a can and spraying that on (not sure how durable it is, once it dries it becomes a vinyl finish that can be peeled off)
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post #24 of 105 Old 07-11-2012, 09:32 PM
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Congrats on your build! I'm very impressed with the finished product.

I would love to know how well your DIY speakers would compare to my three Aerial Acoustics LR5's....

David Lynch Current Equipment: Marantz AV8801, Proceed HPA3, Parasound HCA-1206, Aerial Acoustics LR5's (LCR), Aerial Acoustics LR3's (sides), RBH in-walls (rears), Seaton Submersive, Marantz VP15s1, 106" Carada BW screen, Oppo BDP-103.
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post #25 of 105 Old 07-12-2012, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mathu126 View Post

This is where I am at this point. Again, notice that i have not yet painted the speakers. I am looking for ideas.

Nice looking speakers! I'm sure they sound great.

With paint, surface preparation is probably more important than what kind of paint you use. The pickier you are and the more time you spend preparing the surface, the better result you will get.

For painting by hand (that is, not spraying), I like this stuff:

237

Link: http://www.sherwin-williams.com/homeowners/products/catalog/proclassic-interior-waterbased-acrylicalkyd/?referringCategory=interior-paint-coatings/paint/

Dries to a pretty hard surface, not too much sheen, doesn't show brush strokes too badly, easy clean up. It should be available at any Sherwin Williams store. It's pretty easy to apply but you do have to move pretty quickly. For big flat surfaces, like the sides of your cabinets, I would probably roll it on with a roller and then go over it immediately with a brush using light, long strokes. Once you have brushed the whole surface, put your tools down and let the paint set up. If you play with it too long, you'll leave brush marks that won't level out.

I would probably prime the bare MDF before I put on the paint, but I don't know that it's really necessary. If you use a gray primer, you might be able to get by with a single coat of paint.

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post #26 of 105 Old 07-12-2012, 05:01 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdlynch View Post

Congrats on your build! I'm very impressed with the finished product.
I would love to know how well your DIY speakers would compare to my three Aerial Acoustics LR5's....

Thanks for the feedback jdlynch. I'd like to tell you how they measure but I haven't figured out how to measure yet. My initial impression is that they sound great. I think that on some music and in some movies, the treble is not high enough. Almost seems muffled. They are extremely loud and the bass sounds pretty good. When I figure out how to adjust the settings and get them optimized, I'll post more info.

Matt
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post #27 of 105 Old 07-12-2012, 05:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dwightp View Post

Nice looking speakers! I'm sure they sound great.
With paint, surface preparation is probably more important than what kind of paint you use. The pickier you are and the more time you spend preparing the surface, the better result you will get.
For painting by hand (that is, not spraying), I like this stuff:
237


I agree with you on the surface preparation. I plan on sanding more, applying more wood putty, sanding, etc... I want to get them as smooth as possible and get rid of all the blemishes before painting (All 9 speakers when I get them built). I forgot to mention that I do have nice Graco paint sprayer that I plan to use on them so this paint (if you say it's not for sprayers), may not work. I appreciate the idea though.

Matt
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post #28 of 105 Old 07-13-2012, 01:29 AM
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why don't u wrap it in leather, or vinyl? u can mix colors.
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post #29 of 105 Old 07-13-2012, 08:34 AM
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mathu126, these speakers are aperiodic right? I believe in his writeup curt said they put a hole in the box and stuffed the box greatly in order to tighten up the bass. Since the driver appears designed for car audio, it doesn't hurt the bass much as long as you use a sub.

Kevin, you based those aesthetics on Revel Salon 1s didn't you?! eek.gif
Quote:
I think that on some music and in some movies, the treble is not high enough. Almost seems muffled.

Often when people first start to live with neutral speakers, they seem a bit "dead" or "uncaptivating" in the treble.

What you'll find is that what high frequencies are there will be reproduced, but the speaker isn't adding anything fake that your untrained ear may have "expected". Boom and Sizzle sell, but often sound nothing like real female voices or violins or triangles. it's not the speaker is necessarily muffling the treble, but rather the treble wasn't there in the original recording.

That said, we are talking about a $17 soft dome s tweeter here. Nothing wrong with that, but there's definitely more resolution/detail to be had from a pricier tweeter, like the $95 fountek used in the aformentioned Statements, or the De250 used in SEOS-12s.

I definitely agree with raising the tweeter up to ear height though - that's where it should be, as vertical lobing between the mids and tweeter will mask upper midrange / lower treble details compared to straight-on, and the tweeter's directivity will mask upper treble detail when sitting off-axis. Don't be afraid to toe the outer speakers in by about 15 degrees.
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post #30 of 105 Old 07-13-2012, 08:04 PM - Thread Starter
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mathu126, these speakers are aperiodic right? I believe in his writeup curt said they put a hole in the box and stuffed the box greatly in order to tighten up the bass. Since the driver appears designed for car audio, it doesn't hurt the bass much as long as you use a sub.

Eternal Velocity, yes the speakers are aperiodic. I put a 3/8" hole in back of each individual "section" and stuffed them full of pillow filling. Works pretty well.

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Often when people first start to live with neutral speakers, they seem a bit "dead" or "uncaptivating" in the treble.
What you'll find is that what high frequencies are there will be reproduced, but the speaker isn't adding anything fake that your untrained ear may have "expected". Boom and Sizzle sell, but often sound nothing like real female voices or violins or triangles. it's not the speaker is necessarily muffling the treble, but rather the treble wasn't there in the original recording.
That said, we are talking about a $17 soft dome s tweeter here. Nothing wrong with that, but there's definitely more resolution/detail to be had from a pricier tweeter, like the $95 fountek used in the aformentioned Statements, or the De250 used in SEOS-12s.

That's a good explanation of the treble issue. Maybe there is nothing wrong. I hope I can get it tuned the way it should be soon.

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I definitely agree with raising the tweeter up to ear height though - that's where it should be, as vertical lobing between the mids and tweeter will mask upper midrange / lower treble details compared to straight-on, and the tweeter's directivity will mask upper treble detail when sitting off-axis. Don't be afraid to toe the outer speakers in by about 15 degrees.

Right now, I do have the right and left mains slightly turned in. It seems to sound better than with them straight on. And yes, I will definitely have them raised to ear level once they are in place in the theater.

Matt
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