Another Cheap Thrills Build (SEOS 12" Waveguide + DNA350 Compression Driver + Celestion 15" Woofer) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 08-18-2013, 11:01 PM - Thread Starter
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I thought I would share my build now that I am getting closer to completion. I decided on these speakers based on their price and all the rave reviews from the various SEOS build threads here and over at DIY Sound Group Forums. I still haven't heard these speakers in action, but that days is near. Hehehe... I bought the components in stages to avoid a big purchase all at once, which helped keep this project below the RADAR for a few months.

First purchase was the woofers, while Parts Express still had them in stock. I didn't want to let this deal get away! Next I bought the crossover components and assembled the crossovers. As usual, my OCD tendencies got the better of me during the crossover build...




While I hoped and waited for Erich to announce a flat pack for the Cheap Thrills, I purchased the remainder of my components from Erich at DIY Sound Group and Parts Express. I went back and forth between a recessed cup to mount the speaker terminals vs a Speakon connector. I finally decided on a Neutrik Speakon chassis connector which I could easily flush mount on the back of the speaker using a 2" and 1" hole saw and a router to make the pocket.




While I waited for the flat pack, I went ahead and designed a cabinet modeled after the other DIY Sound Group offerings in Sketchup. I really prefer Autocad over Sketchup, but the price was right (but I really dislike Sketchup...)

Cheap Thrills v3.skp.zip 596k .zip file (Rename the file by removing ".zip" and it will load into Sketchup.)

After Erich confirmed that a flat pack was unlikely, I went and bought 2 sheets of MDF at Home Depot, and began making sawdust. I cut all of the panel blanks in a day on the table saw after a few raw cuts at HD so the MDF would fit in the Landcruiser. Next I layed out the horizontal brace and used a router and hole saws to create the desired shape and cutouts. I then took a tip from Erich and used the first brace as a template and used a router bit to make 5 more exact copies, pretending to be a human CNC machine. I did the same to make the vertical brace and two copies.




I assembled most of the cabinet using Titebond II and 18gauge x 1-3/8" brads using a pneumatic nailer. I really had to restrain myself from putting in a hundred brads with that nailer, it was a lot of fun!!



I assembeled the rest of the cabinets and then began the finishing process. I knew there was a reason I wanted flatpacks... Despite all my effort and preparation, I still can't make a square box! mad.gif Anyway, I covered up all my mistakes and the brad holes with a bunch of Bondo and let the cabs cure overnight. The next morning, armed with fresh belts for the belt sander and paper for the orbital sander, I set out to remove 99% of the Bondo I applied the night before! Note to self, 50 grit on the belt sander is too coarse for MDF. eek.gif

Did I mention I have a tendency toward OCD. Well it got the better of me when it came time to paint the enclosures. I painted the cabinets inside and out with primer, then put on a coat of satin black to minimize the amount of Duratex needed to coat the exterior. I got a deal on the satin black at HD - it was only $7 in the unclaimed bin in the paint dept. The only downside is that it is the new primer/top coat all-in-one and takes longer to dry than basic primer. Oh well. I'll let these cure for a day or two before I do a quick wet sand prep before I apply the Duratex.

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File Type: zip Cheap Thrills v3.skp.zip (595.9 KB, 23 views)
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post #2 of 21 Old 08-19-2013, 05:24 AM
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Cabinets look great. I guess I have never understood the need for Duratex unless you are using these in a rock band or handling them an inordinate amount of the time.
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post #3 of 21 Old 08-19-2013, 07:22 AM
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Awesome job!
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post #4 of 21 Old 08-19-2013, 08:16 AM
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Very nice work, crossovers look neat and clean!
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post #5 of 21 Old 08-19-2013, 10:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Willie View Post

Cabinets look great. I guess I have never understood the need for Duratex unless you are using these in a rock band or handling them an inordinate amount of the time.

I am with you. This .

Seems totally stupid. If you care about looks you can make them look pretty. Otherwise leave them flat black. But making them durable is unnecessary 99% of the time, especially when they just sit there behind an AT screen.

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post #6 of 21 Old 08-19-2013, 10:30 AM
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Because Duratex is cheaper and easier to use than Carbonite. wink.gif
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post #7 of 21 Old 08-19-2013, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
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What Don said!

My experience with latex is that it stays pretty soft and offers less protection to the underlying wood. The coatings I've seen on most speakers, presumably Duratex, is much tougher and resistant to abuse. Although my speakers will lead a pampered life, my theater is still a work in progress and these enclosures will likely be moved quite a few times before they find a permanent home. Plus, Duratex will hide some of the spots that needed another round of Bondo and sanding.

Thanks for the compliments, guys! Its nice to get some positive feedback.

I'm still searching for the perfect pair of subwoofers to compliment these speakers. My budget is tight so I'm thinking two horns with drivers in the neighborhood of $200-$300 would work, but I also want them to reach down to 16Hz and fit through the door to the crawl space adjacent to my theater,which means at least one dimension less than 24".

Thanks again,
Mike
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post #8 of 21 Old 08-19-2013, 12:53 PM
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I am eager for you to hear them and comment your feelings and opinions in comparison to others you have heard too.

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"Too much is almost enough. Anything in life worth doing is worth overdoing. Moderation is for cowards."
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post #9 of 21 Old 08-21-2013, 10:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Still waiting for the latex to fully cure.............

Assembled my first speaker the other day and gave it a listen. Wow, these things are really efficient!! After listening to music for a while in the garage, I moved the speaker downstairs into the theater as the center channel and ran the Audyssey setup program. As soon as the test sweep ran on the speaker, I noticed some ringing from the enclosure (Audyssey also showed this speaker to be 10dB more efficient than my existing POS speakers). Bummer mad.gif

The following night I completed a second speaker, this time I tacked in most of the memory foam I planned to use. With the two speakers setup as LF and RF, I ran Audyssey again and the 2nd speaker did not exhibit any ringing! cool.gif I completed the 3rd speaker today, and also built a shelf to support all three of these beasts behind my screen. No ringing with the foam installed in the 3rd speaker either, but Audyssey does show the speaker without foam to be 1.0dB more efficient than its mates. Hmmmm... That's a tradeoff I'm willing to make.

I toed the two front speakers speakers in and adjusted all three to point downward as well toward ear level. There are two reasons for the downward tilt:
1. The screen bottom is even with ear level, and mounting restraints forced the speaker placement even higher with the acoustic center ~5' above the ground.
2. The driver offsets and crossover resulted in the primary vertical lobe to be angled up 10 degrees (provided I understood Bill Waslo's comments).

What an improvement. This theater is really starting to rock! Although I am powering these with a Denon AVR-3313CI, the amp seems to distort at a much lower level than I expected. "Damn it, Scotty. I need more power"! Even so, I am really pleased with these speakers!!! biggrin.gif

The woofers fit great in the front baffle, but the waveguides could not be installed in the baffle after two coats of paint. Erich should consider opening up the waveguide cutouts by 1/16" in both dimensions to facilitate installation of these waveguides after people paint their enclosures.

Mike
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post #10 of 21 Old 08-22-2013, 09:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhutchins View Post

10dB more efficient than my existing POS speakers). Bummer mad.gif
What an improvement. This theater is really starting to rock! Although I am powering these with a Denon AVR-3313CI, the amp seems to distort at a much lower level than I expected. "Damn it, Scotty. I need more power"! Even so, I am really pleased with these speakers!!! biggrin.gif

Point Of Sale biggrin.gif

I've hit the -10db lights on my clone which is 1300w @ 8 x2 going to JUST the SEOS's, not the Celestion.
at which point it is starting to get painful to be within 20ft of the speakers, but it's not distorting. redface.gif
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post #11 of 21 Old 08-22-2013, 10:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhutchins View Post


The woofers fit great in the front baffle, but the waveguides could not be installed in the baffle after two coats of paint. Erich should consider opening up the waveguide cutouts by 1/16" in both dimensions to facilitate installation of these waveguides after people paint their enclosures.

Mike

On another forum I saw where someone wished the recess was 1/32" smaller so it would be super tight. wink.gif It really depends on how much paint you use inside that recessed area. Spray paint wouldn't add much to the thickness, but Duratex does.

Because the mounting flange on the waveguide flares a bit at the bottom where it sits on the wood, you could sand that down a little bit versus the recessed area you painted.
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post #12 of 21 Old 08-23-2013, 07:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Hey Erich, I guess you have the cutout just right if you have just as many complaining of too tight as too loose!

Bass, I am totally envious of your system's performance. I would have to be single to even consider a system like that!
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post #13 of 21 Old 08-25-2013, 06:25 AM
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Listening impressions ?

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post #14 of 21 Old 08-25-2013, 01:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Listening impressions?

Well, I have to admit I am not the best person to give a reliable report because it has been many years since I have been around any high end gear. Most of my listening is via in-ear monitors or PC speakers. Having said that, here goes:

Compared to my well reviewed Sony CT-100 sound bar tongue.gif, the sound stage is much better and the dynamics have more impact, at least in the upper bands. There is not a lot of bottom end, and this is confirmed by WinISD which predicts the 3dB down point around 75Hz. My room restricts placing the speakers very far apart (each speaker is <6" from its neighbor), so there is not much chance for these speakers to demonstrate a broad stereo image. I have played with Audyssey, and it generates a very bizarre equalization graph, which I don't trust based on the frequency response graphs I have seen for these speakers. Audyssey does make the voicing warmer, but I'm not convinced it is accurate. The top end sometimes seems harsh, but I haven't put much quality source material through the system...

In general, I am pretty happy with these speakers and look forward to building a solid home theater sound system around these speakers. They definitely need subwoofers to fill in the bottom end! I think once I cross these speakers over to some subwoofers and free up the amp from trying to reproduce the low freqs with these speakers, my amp will be able to drive these speakers harder and really make them shine! biggrin.gif

Mike
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post #15 of 21 Old 08-25-2013, 09:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Whew!! I just finished reinstalling my 3 speakers and put my screen back in place. What a long day!

I took down all 3 of my speakers today to apply Duratex. After I removed the drivers and foam, I wet sanded that stupid Behr primer/top coat to remove the worst of the brush marks. That stuff was still a little soft... Duratex is fun, but I think the 96 degree heat made it dry pretty fast so my texture ended up a bit rough, rather than smooth. mad.gif Oh well... There is definitely an art to applying Duratex to get the desired texture, but it sure hides a lot of woodworking sins!

After the Duratex dried, I used spray adhesive to install the memory foam. The Parts Express gasket tape never really recovered its shape, so I was worried it may not seal as well a second time. Sooo, I went to HD and bought some C4 and rolled it out into a small gasket to seal my drivers.

I think I'll take a break for a week or two before I start on my subwoofers. I'm thinking a pair of LLT's tuned to 14Hz should do the trick, but then, that's another thread

Mike
Edit: Added link to subwoofer build
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post #16 of 21 Old 09-10-2013, 08:56 AM - Thread Starter
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I listened to some better quality material last night, and all I can say is WOW!!! I love these speakers!

Vocals were unstrained, guitar plucks were crisp and impactful and ohhh the detail....

The image is amazingly coherent with absolutely no sensation of point sources. You really have to get close to one speaker before the image starts to break down. Oh Yeahhhh!!!!!

Mike
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post #17 of 21 Old 09-10-2013, 09:01 AM
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^^ :-) awesome!

Listen. It's All Good.
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post #18 of 21 Old 09-10-2013, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhutchins View Post

I listened to some better quality material last night, and all I can say is WOW!!! I love these speakers!

Vocals were unstrained, guitar plucks were crisp and impactful and ohhh the detail....

The image is amazingly coherent with absolutely no sensation of point sources. You really have to get close to one speaker before the image starts to break down. Oh Yeahhhh!!!!!

Mike

+1
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post #19 of 21 Old 09-10-2013, 09:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Here are a few more pics of my build:

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post #20 of 21 Old 09-11-2013, 09:48 AM
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Very nice!! cool.gif

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post #21 of 21 Old 09-11-2013, 09:56 AM
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You should be proud, they look excellent. Now please don't forget the value they offer. That's mandatory as I'm the value-freak. smile.gif

James

Actual phone call (see pic to left):

 

Tech (responding to laughter): "I'm sorry sir, did I miss something?"

Me: "Yeah, a case of Diet Mountain Dew walking across my living room."

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