Is DIY right for me? (upfront info) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 10-18-2012, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
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For awhile now I have bounced around the idea of upgrading the sound aspect of my HT.

Right now my media is played from an HTPC I built myself running XBMC (curious as if onboard sound digital out is holding me back at all). That connects to a Pioneer VSX 1016k through optical. From there I have 2 SVS SBS(had for around 5 years) in the front and 2 in the rear, a SCS as the center, and a Sony SA-WM40 120watt sub(had for about 8-9 years).

Not knowing that much about audio in general I have struggled with how much upgrade makes sense. First I had thought about Monitor 70s or Primus P363, then maybe RtiA7 or RF-82s. Then maybe my sub more in need of an upgrade that everything else? I would prefer to work from the weak point forward. Obviously knowing that I would want LCR done at the same time.

The next problem I have is the room I am current using. I'll be in it for the next 1.5-2 years while the tenants in my other home decide if they want to buy or not. In the mean time I'll make do. I have attached a rough outline of the room with dimensions. The wall half way through is only 2'8" tall and opens up to the space over the stairs, I do not know if that heavily effects volume differences, but I am sure it does. Room up to the short wall is roughly 1500 cubic feet, I can work on calculating what is on the other side if that is necessary, it is quite a bit of extra volume. I would also like any advice on moving around the current set up as I do have an idea to move the tv and fronts to where the big couch sits now. In the future I want this set up to be able to easily perform in a much larger room maybe
2500-3500 cubic feet.

With that being said I stumbled across DIY. I am 100% for doing something that is proven. I have zero, yes exactly zero experience in wood working so I would most likely either purchase flat packs, OR have a local company CNC a design for me(I do happen to live in a furniture mecca). I have looked amazed at pictures of the Clearwave dynamic 4t and 4cc however I'm not sure if I want to commit $2000+ to this quite yet. I will if it comes to that but if I can accomplish what I want for $800-1200 for LCR and $400-500 for a sub I would be happy. In order of most importance.

1. Have to look high end + WAF
2. Really want towers (not really from the sound aspect but I have kids and the bookshelves I have now make me nervous)
3. Large noticeable difference from what I have now.(I know in any hobby $ becomes a diminishing return, but if I'm going to spend it I want to be happy.
4.To learn, I do a lot of DIY(recently built a new HTPC and finally a server) and love learning picking up new skills and information.

Sorry for throwing so much out there at one time but I just wanted to answer most of the quesions I assumed I would incur upfront. I'm also looking for this to be a project that spans 3-6 months or more, so I'm willing to take the time to make the right decisions.

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post #2 of 19 Old 10-18-2012, 06:42 PM
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First suggestion would be to search out some of the owners of the DIY systems and email and ask if you can come and have a listen before you decide. You might be surprised how positive the response to this is, and most importantly, you'll get to hear them and make up your own mind. I can try to tell you what stuff I've heard sounds like in words, but it won't begin to communicate the actual qualities of the speakers that you'll get in 5 mins listening. If this means some travelling, just do it.

Finish in DIY is where you'll lose a lot of your DIY $ if you're paying someone else to do it.
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post #3 of 19 Old 10-19-2012, 08:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Well some of my biggest concerns are the best orientation and speaker palcement/combined with how much speaker/sub I need for the space AND enough to cover a larger space in the future.
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post #4 of 19 Old 10-19-2012, 03:40 PM - Thread Starter
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I may be thinking about this wrong since I'm not that experienced in audio, but I thought the order of figuring things out would be to determine how much speaker in each instance would be needed for my space and to future-proof X amount larger space. Then to determine what proven DIY designs fit within that range and within a reasonable budget and select from those.
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post #5 of 19 Old 10-19-2012, 04:10 PM
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yours is a reasonable approach. alpha niner has good advice up there, so +1 to that.

as for specifying a system, you have to choose how loud you want to go and how low you want to go.

then you have to remember your budget and start making tradeoffs. :-)

beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so forgive me if i point you to something that makes you cringe.

member java built some nice speakers around the seos horn and bwaslo crossover:
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1291022/hey-guys-we-need-a-little-rallying-here

erich h offers a flat pack for the mains, but i think he is shutting down the site for a couple of weeks in order to make a ton of updates and introduce many new flatpacks.

for the bottom end a sealed 15" driver in each corner or each wall midpoint with proper power is what jbl uses in their reference room. w15gti's are going for $300 shipped on ebay (though their impedance can be a little tricky to match to an amp), though there are several options for 15's.

ported subs and/or horns will give you more spl per dollar, but don't go quite as deep.

heck even one 12" alpine swr 12 per corner would giver some decent bass. they run about $150 and are a quality driver despite their looks. lol, the jbl look tacky too.

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post #6 of 19 Old 10-20-2012, 07:46 AM
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I was in a very similar position to you when I went down the DIY trail. I was looking to upgrade my Paradigm 5.1 system and then got bit by the "best bang for the buck" bug on DIY. I was looking at systems for Klipch, Axiom, etc. for $2k+, and then started wondering what I could do in the DIY space.

My LCR build cost me right at $1k. There is no way I could have gotten the quality of these speakers for less than $4-5k.

I'm also a DIY PC builder, which gave me the original confidence to tackle this. The rest of the confidence came from this community, LTD being a key support.

As LTD mentioned, Erich's kits and flat packs are coming online, so that will make this process much simpler.

As far as WAF, my wife pretty much leaves my theater to me. That being said, she is a crafter/artist and my theater is a social gathering point. The LCR turned out nice enough that she's shown them to friends that come over. One actually said it looks like a "work of art". I wouldn't got that far, but it does lend a unique look to the theater.

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post #7 of 19 Old 10-20-2012, 08:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the input, so far the DIY section seems to be an exteremely helpful area compared to a lot of forums. Part of my reason for doing this is to be able to control the finish on the product and to be able to say, yep I did that.

Does anyone have reccomendation as to the order of weak links in my set up? I've started to think that a sub may be a good starting point that if I find out this really isnt for me then its a few hundred investment as opposed to a few thousand.

Perhaps Erich is planning on a few full tower options?
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post #8 of 19 Old 10-20-2012, 05:47 PM
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"Does anyone have reccomendation as to the order of weak links in my set up?"

"Sony SA-WM40 120watt sub(had for about 8-9 years)"

this is where just about everyone would suggest a major change. i'd suggest that you scoot a little more of your budget toward the bass. since you have a relatively tight budget, a ported setup might be best.

one option could be four alpine swr 12d subs ($150 per driver) each in a 4 cubic foot ported cab tuned to around 20 or a little under and a pro audio amp (behringer inuke 3000dsp, $400) will get you up into 123db or so before room gain from 20hz up.

that is full reference level for an imax theater!

i suspect you would be grinn'n and giggl'n with something like that.

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post #9 of 19 Old 10-20-2012, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LTD02 View Post

"Does anyone have reccomendation as to the order of weak links in my set up?"
"Sony SA-WM40 120watt sub(had for about 8-9 years)"
I concur with LTD, you might want to add some serious improvement here.
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post #10 of 19 Old 10-21-2012, 01:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvrM3 View Post

Thanks for the input, so far the DIY section seems to be an exteremely helpful area compared to a lot of forums. Part of my reason for doing this is to be able to control the finish on the product and to be able to say, yep I did that.
Does anyone have reccomendation as to the order of weak links in my set up? I've started to think that a sub may be a good starting point that if I find out this really isnt for me then its a few hundred investment as opposed to a few thousand.
Perhaps Erich is planning on a few full tower options?

As far as "first steps", I think a sub build make sense, but I didn't take may own advice. My first build was my SEOS/LCR's. I'm working on the side/surrounds and then will get to the subs. Ass backwards...

For towers, what height do you consider a tower? Erich does have a 40" kit in the works: http://www.diysoundgroup.com/plastic-seos-12/seos-speaker-kits/seos-designer12-kit.html and a 40" baffle: http://www.diysoundgroup.com/speaker-baffles/seos-40-tall-baffle.html. Mine ended up being 32" with spikes.

As far a recommendations, I'm in the same boat as you on an aged AVR. As I relooked at your layout, it looks like you have flat screen, right? You probably won't be able to go an LCR route (all same speaker) like I did. You may want to look at Bill Waslow's Malcolm design for your center: http://www.diysoundgroup.com/forum/index.php?topic=11.0. Here's the pending kit: http://www.diysoundgroup.com/plastic-seos-12/seos-speaker-kits/seos-dayton-ds4-kit.html
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post #11 of 19 Old 10-22-2012, 09:12 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by LTD02 View Post

"Does anyone have reccomendation as to the order of weak links in my set up?"
"Sony SA-WM40 120watt sub(had for about 8-9 years)"
this is where just about everyone would suggest a major change. i'd suggest that you scoot a little more of your budget toward the bass. since you have a relatively tight budget, a ported setup might be best.
one option could be four alpine swr 12d subs ($150 per driver) each in a 4 cubic foot ported cab tuned to around 20 or a little under and a pro audio amp (behringer inuke 3000dsp, $400) will get you up into 123db or so before room gain from 20hz up.
that is full reference level for an imax theater!
i suspect you would be grinn'n and giggl'n with something like that.

For a living room theater I don't think I need reference for imax and the WAF would be out the window on 4 large boxes in the room.

What about using Erich's 3ft^3 sub box with a dayton 15 and either a 300 or 500w bash? I may be way off base here, just trying to learn as I go.

As for the LCR, I could live with 40" towers but would prefer 48" and over. And for the center I need something much lower profile than that. I do have a flatscreen and need something around 10 inches tall. It can however be quite long.
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post #12 of 19 Old 10-24-2012, 11:02 AM - Thread Starter
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After a little more digging around I've seen quite a bit of mention of plate amps not being that best bang for your buck. What upsides and downsides are there for external amps?
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post #13 of 19 Old 10-24-2012, 03:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by slvrM3 View Post

And for the center I need something much lower profile than that. I do have a flatscreen and need something around 10 inches tall. It can however be quite long.

Your L-R speakers are going to be naturally toed-in which is excellent for constant-directivity designs like the SEOS. A phantom center should work very nicely (saving $100-$200?) and there is nothing to stop you from adding one later if you insist.
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post #14 of 19 Old 10-24-2012, 08:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes I think I'm waiting to see what happens with some of the newer SEOS designs, and learning more about subs and amps in the time being. Considering a Dayton 15 with the possibility to upgrade to 2 down the road. Would the 3000 inuke be suitable to power multiple boxes?
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post #15 of 19 Old 10-25-2012, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by slvrM3 View Post

Yes I think I'm waiting to see what happens with some of the newer SEOS designs, and learning more about subs and amps in the time being. Considering a Dayton 15 with the possibility to upgrade to 2 down the road. Would the 3000 inuke be suitable to power multiple boxes?

Considering which Dayton 15?

I'm using a sealed DVC 15 w/ a iNuke 3000, or will once the fan issue is sorted. That driver only needs about 300 watts to hit xmax (sealed) so the 3000, with a reported 600w per side at 4 ohm and 2k bridged mono, would be able to power 4 drivers to xmax with 2.5-3db of headroom to spare either wired series parallel and bridged or off the stereo channels of the amp. The advantage of the pro amp over plate is future upgrades. Otherwise you have to buy another plate amp every time you add a sub.

The advantage of the plate amp is that it's quiet and doesn't take up space in your a/v rack with bright orange lights.
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post #16 of 19 Old 10-25-2012, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
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I was thinking the 390HO/HF, not sure on the difference, or the Titanic MkIII. Not sure what my best bang for the buck is.

As for space in the A/V rack, right now I have everything condenced down to the entertainment center(I have gotten rid of everything but the AVR and HTPC) I'm thinking rack mountable amps wouldn't look great there, but when looking online I don't see many options for good looking cabinets that allow you to rack mount instead of just sit there.
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post #17 of 19 Old 10-25-2012, 01:18 PM
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"What about using Erich's 3ft^3 sub box with a dayton 15 and either a 300 or 500w bash? I may be way off base here, just trying to learn as I go."

sealed rolloff faster than ported (above tuning frequency). most plate amps have a high pass filter around 20hz or so. the dayton 15"-ho in a 3 cubic foot sealed with a 300 watt amp would probably get you about what you have right now.

i missed your $500 budget the first time through.

maybe you specify more specifically what you mean by WAF, as that has a different meaning to everyone.

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post #18 of 19 Old 10-25-2012, 02:15 PM - Thread Starter
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So if I understand you correctly the downfall to that set up would be the plate amp not the fact that the it is sealed. I'm thinking I can be flexible in budget as long as it benefits of the big picture. For example, if I went with a $100 enclosure and $200 driver and then a $400 external amp. I would be in for 700 but able to add a second box down the road for another $300. Perhaps that's better than a $250 plate amp that would take every single box to 550.

As for WAF it needs to fit in with the decor. 3-4 ft^3 would be absolutely max and ill have to put some serious work into the finish. I am heavily considering down firing as I have 2 elementary school age children and plan on one more in the next 2 years.
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post #19 of 19 Old 10-25-2012, 07:17 PM
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part of it is the natural rolloff of the sealed subs. they tend to benefit from some sort of significant boosting down low, otherwise they can be underwhelming.

the high pass filter in plate amps just makes things worse.

the dayton titanic is on sale for $199 (thurs night). that can be made to work in a 3-4 cubic foot sealed enclosure.

that, along with a behringer inuke nu3000dsp ($399), which provides a little over 1000 watts per channel and has the dsp to brign up the low end of the titanic, would seem to be what you are looking for.

the system should give you an 8-10db advantage in max spl across the entire bass region. that is a pretty big upgrade.

in the future, you can add a second titanic and enclosure on the second channel for only $300 and double your performance again. :-)

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