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post #1 of 33 Old 02-11-2013, 08:24 PM - Thread Starter
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It's time to upgrade the mains and surrounds, and I thought I'd ease into horn speakers by building an inexpensive but solid horn for surrounds.

Key things I wanted to accomplish were:

Performance using known quantity components
Price - Grad student, annual 4 figures income budget
Looks - living room, WAF considerations
Sealed configuration
Size

After looking around, the best option within those guidelines was tuxedocivic's Jack of All Trades 8. At $95 a pop for components, and building a box & accoutrements, they're a steal! The dims are pretty close to 15.25x9.75x10.

Got the parts on order, then Pete and I picked up a sheet of oak ply and a half sheet of MDF from HD, and started making sawdust.

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post #2 of 33 Old 02-11-2013, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Decided to try mitering for nice corners because I don't like plies showing...it's just not aesthetically pleasing to me, and I didn't want to merely slap Duratex on these.



Initially Pete was cutting them by hand, and the cuts were less than optimal, but then he decided to jury-rig a jig. As you can see above, to avoid plies showing on the back, Pete had an old roll of corner veneer that he put to use.



Meanwhile I was busy working on the MDF baffles.



Pete made quick work of the boxes. Pretty cool little hole cutter for the terminal cups.

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post #3 of 33 Old 02-11-2013, 08:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Even cooler is that the miters worked out so well that Pete was able to simply tape & glue. The dado is for the single cross-brace that these will have.



I call this move the "Glue 'n Go"





Yep, there's four. I'm thinking of giving a pair away once done.



Just about ready to paint.



Dry fit. With gasket tape they should be just about flush mounted. Next build I think I'll rear mount similar pro speakers...they just look too sweet like that!



That's where we left it until next weekend.
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post #4 of 33 Old 02-11-2013, 08:29 PM
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Man, I wish I could move that fast on a build! Good job.
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post #5 of 33 Old 02-12-2013, 06:13 AM
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No kidding. He pm'ed me about this build what seems like only a few days ago eek.gif

Nice work, they look great.
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post #6 of 33 Old 02-12-2013, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks! Mostly it's Pete's expertise. While I was doing the MDF baffles, he did everything else so far. That was good, though, as it forced me to figure out (or ask) how to do the recesses and cutouts. It took time, but the learning experience is invaluable. Plus, this was a weekend's worth of work.

By the way, MDF sucks to work with. Cleaning dust up, from the baffles on each router pass or the floor/workspace, took the bulk of my time.
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post #7 of 33 Old 02-12-2013, 10:23 AM
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Woah. That's a cool lil project there! I could have a use for smaller system like that.

My Dual 18" LLT subs 120dB down to 10hz

 

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post #8 of 33 Old 02-12-2013, 10:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nube View Post

Cleaning dust up, from the baffles on each router pass or the floor/workspace, took the bulk of my time.

Yup. Even with a spiral upcut bit; it's router, vacuum, repeat.

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post #9 of 33 Old 02-12-2013, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Simonian View Post

Woah. That's a cool lil project there! I could have a use for smaller system like that.

I could have a use for smaller system like that

smaller system

smaller system

smaller system

















Sorry, that was way too good a setup to let pass by tongue.gif
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post #10 of 33 Old 02-12-2013, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antisuck View Post




Sorry, that was way too good a setup to let pass by tongue.gif

Turnabouts fair play. biggrin.gif

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post #11 of 33 Old 02-12-2013, 11:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by antisuck View Post

















Sorry, that was way too good a setup to let pass by tongue.gif

Ahahahaha! Good one. But hey, I don't have room for a proper system in my kitchen. Or for friends with no money. That's what this is for. tongue.gif

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Turnabouts fair play. biggrin.gif

Yeah, I deserved that.

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post #12 of 33 Old 02-12-2013, 02:09 PM
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The mitered boxes look great, surprised more people don't make them. Looks like oak or birch plywood?
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post #13 of 33 Old 02-12-2013, 02:22 PM
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I was skeptical about doing the mitered boxes but they turned out much better than I expected. First I tried cutting the miters just using the rip fence but the wood moved around enough that I couldn't get a perfectly straight cut. I was suffering dull blade syndrome too, which makes it even harder to get a decent cut. Then I re-cut everything on the crosscut sled with the wood clamped in place. Worked great. I wouldn't want to attempt to build anything too big with miters though - not without a custom cutting jig with much better clamping than I did with the crosscut sled.

The plywood is oak veneer from the big orange box. It was about $45 IIRC. Decent quality and fairly flat.

I've got the grain filler on one box and have it sanded out to 180 grit. Three more to go.

I am really anxious to hear these. I need surrounds desperately and these will be a good "proof of concept" for my theater.

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post #14 of 33 Old 02-12-2013, 03:54 PM
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I really like the mitred boxes. I've done it twice. Once on a small build that worked out great using maple ply. Another was sub boxes that worked out, but did have some openings along the seems. The grain ran with the seems and a little bit of filler hid it really well thankfully. Saves the step of having to veneer.
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post #15 of 33 Old 02-13-2013, 12:27 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm also excited to hear them. Maybe Saturday, if we can start early and bust ass on them.

I'm curious how sealed they'll be with the miters. If they fit really well together, it'll be great. The miters is also important because I cut the front baffles exactly to size with nothing to trim off! Hope it all works out. smile.gif
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post #16 of 33 Old 02-13-2013, 02:29 PM
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The miters won't leak, if that's your question. I got a lot of glue squeeze inside the boxes when I did the assembly roll-up.

If they suck we could seal up an M-80 inside one and do a structural integrity test. We'd have to build an igniter like the one Walt used to blow up you know who... I'm sure they'll be much too nice to blow up!

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post #17 of 33 Old 02-14-2013, 07:46 AM - Thread Starter
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post #18 of 33 Old 02-16-2013, 06:03 PM
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Crossovers built...


And nestled comfortably into the box....


Tomorrow is the big day. Just need to remove clamps and screw the drivers down. Time to listen!

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post #19 of 33 Old 02-17-2013, 06:19 AM
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Let me know how it goes if you want anything adjusted after some listening. IF the cross over is accessible.
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post #20 of 33 Old 02-17-2013, 06:59 AM
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The crossovers are held down with one wood screw (see screwdriver in previous pic). They'll slip right through the woofer hole. We'll have sound later today!

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post #21 of 33 Old 02-17-2013, 12:30 PM
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Real time update...we're getting close!

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post #22 of 33 Old 02-17-2013, 02:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Mobile update:

Got to demo these little guys for a solid 30min or so. First they were hooked to a little 20W USB amp and Pete's laptop. They sounded solid with great imaging and a good stage when on the bench just about a foot below ear level, toed in a little.

Then we hooked them up to a real power amp that did maybe 60W and they REALLY came alive. Superb dynamics and they remained composed, even with some fairly demanding content including Los Toreadors (via cd) from Carmen.

All in all they sounded superb for their size and price in the initial listening setup. Now for a little more in depth listening at home and cleaning up the finishing - had an issue with tape fusing with the duratex cuz we didn't wait for it to cure.
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post #23 of 33 Old 02-17-2013, 04:04 PM
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Impatient with the duratex eh? I do the same thing every time I get to the finishing. Glad they're promising. Look forward to more feedback. Good and bad please.

They look fantastic btw. Can I still your image for my design thread? My blue test box is really quite bad redface.gif
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post #24 of 33 Old 02-17-2013, 05:38 PM
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Here's a closeup. Duratex needs some touchup. Please feel free to use any pictures ... we'll get better ones posted.

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post #25 of 33 Old 02-26-2013, 07:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Finished these up over the weekend. A few pics, some commentary about the build, then later I'll post some thoughts about sound quality.

Left profile



Right profile



Back corner to show the miters and veneer.



This is a little deceptive. Where's the miter joint?



Overall a relatively easy build. Any complexity was added to get a non-DIY finish. I think that was pretty much accomplished. smile.gif

The red oak ply didn't take stain too well. After the 2nd coat, it wouldn't get any darker. It's not a match for my previous sub build, but I still like the tone.

Side note: never using masking tape again. The stuff just leaves too much residue. Next build gets blue painter's tape. Also, gonna switch to spray poly.

The miters worked out pretty well, and the boxes look good. Just need to get grills built, then these are done.

Thanks for the design, tuxedocivic! Thanks to Pete for the equipment, space, help, and expertise! And thanks to Erich for the components.

More about the sound later.
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post #26 of 33 Old 02-26-2013, 08:34 PM
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Those look awesome! Defenitly stealing one of those pictures smile.gif
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post #27 of 33 Old 02-26-2013, 10:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks man. Please do. I can prolly get some better shots with outdoor lighting at some point, too.

As for my listening impressions, here are a few notes I took the other day while listening to music:

Note: these comments are for the speakers without any MCACC room correction.
  • Good stage when only moderately toed in, and waveguides at ear level.
  • Full, rich, warm sound. Nothing too bright here. Maybe a little too far in the opposite direction, in fact.
  • Surprisingly good lower end performance for the size.
  • Not exceptionally efficient, but good.
  • Music has some midbass punch even without a sub when set to Large in the receiver. Still prefer using with a sub.
  • A little midrange beaming. Hard to describe, but on some very good recordings of classical, the cello can sound strained at moderate-high volumes.
  • Vocals are similarly challenged on occasion.
  • Like the size, though non-enthusiasts may still consider this a "big" speaker.
  • Waveguides must be at ear level - seemingly excessive vertical off-axis performance drop.
  • Even a 10 degree difference in height makes a huge difference in the high end (rolling off). Characteristic of this waveguide?
  • Probably will easily exceed almost all user's needs for rears/surrounds in a HT, but not suitable for mains.
  • They're good at what they're designed for - small, inexpensive and easy build with solid performance.
  • Good little speaker to build for a friend who just needs a 2ch stereo setup for a living room.
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post #28 of 33 Old 02-27-2013, 08:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nube View Post

  • Full, rich, warm sound. Nothing too bright here. Maybe a little too far in the opposite direction, in fact.
  • Waveguides must be at ear level - seemingly excessive vertical off-axis performance drop.
  • Even a 10 degree difference in height makes a huge difference in the high end (rolling off). Characteristic of this waveguide?

Could try changing the parallel resistor in the tweeter circuit for a 2.5 or 3ohm. Might help both of these issues. For off axis, you're talking about high frequencies? Above the xo point right? That probably is the waveguide. In the spring when I can get outside again, I'll try getting some better verticals. I took some basic ones, but the mic was to close to really be accurate.

Hopefully they were worth building cool.gif
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post #29 of 33 Old 02-27-2013, 02:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Could try changing the parallel resistor in the tweeter circuit for a 2.5 or 3ohm. Might help both of these issues. For off axis, you're talking about high frequencies? Above the xo point right? That probably is the waveguide. In the spring when I can get outside again, I'll try getting some better verticals. I took some basic ones, but the mic was to close to really be accurate.

Hopefully they were worth building cool.gif

They definitely were worth building! They're an inexpensive, small, good-sounding speaker. Exactly what I had hoped for!

Thanks for the input on the swapout of resistors. I may consider that after further auditions and after running room-correction on my Pioneer receiver.

As for the vertical off-axis performance, yep, I was talking about it seemingly rolling off the high frequencies. It seemed to me that it might very well be attributed to the dispersion pattern of the waveguides themselves, since they seem reasonably well-behaved when moving left and right, but less so when going much above or below axis. I live fairly close to a large park with a lot of open space, so I'll see if I can find a spot where there are outlets and perhaps measure them when it warms up a bit.
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post #30 of 33 Old 02-28-2013, 06:31 AM
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So you find the name fitting then? smile.gif
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