I am very interested in an update on this as a couple of Alpha 12's sit in a shopping cart somewhere far far away....
This is an incredible look at the endless possibilities for a DIY speaker... I'd be honored to learn how to woodwork and build the way you do! Sadly I'll probably have to go the flat pack route and have things pre-assembled since I have no skills
If you get these puppies up and running please provide a review on here! Eagerly awaiting...
A little filler to smooth things out.
Filler for the filler?
A little primer, inside and out.
By this time I had had my fill of sanding. Little did I know this was just the beginning. I do not own any sort of painting gear besides a couple of chip brushes and some rollers. With that I mind I figured I'd use some high quality exterior paint from the big orange hardware store. The paint being acrylic, I figured I could wet sand it and bam be done. Well.....
First thing first, the baffle goes on.
After a couple of layers of paint this is what I'm starting with. A couple of passes with some sand paper and it'll be like if the can is on a mirror... Right.... :P
It was a disaster. The fine grit sandpaper had such a grip on the paint I had to use a 3"x3" block to minimize the footprint. Then managing the water and keeping it from wicking into the exposed mdf edges was a nightmare. Then this happened.
I said the, "The hell with this sh!t! I'm getting this bish together now!"
Before that though, I embraced my flaws.
The crossovers in place.
Here is the modified brace for proper air flow in and out of the port, because I measured once and now I had to cut twice. :\
At this point I'd like to mention how awesome socket head sheet metal screws are. They made installing the crossover a dream come true after I totally frustrated myself with #10 pan head philips screws.
The finished product.
Thank you for your patients.
My Dedicated Theater Build
Thanks. So far so good. Ive had a little time with them already. I've been tweeking what i can on my reciever. I like what I'm hearing.
Thanks. Will be gathering some up pretty soon for the masses to discredit.
Thanks, the pics definitely make them look better than what they really are. :P
The floor standers next to the seos are some KLH towers. I foegwt thw model number, but they house a pair of 6.5" mids and a large silk dome tweeters. On the floor are autotech 350hz tractrix horns with EV DH-1A drivers. In the back ground is a Jensen CS-315 cabinet converted for sub duty with a JBL GTi15 and a pair of 4" aeroport.
The sound coming out of the seos is very detailed compared to the KLH towers. The seos get nice and loud, seriously loud, but not as loud as the auto tech horns with the EV drivers. :/ I'll get some measurements of them all soon.
Thanks for that "A" for effort. I give my self an "F" for execution on that paint job. :P I'm sure you got a chuckle watching this amateur in action. The leather is the touch that the wife sees and forgets how much i have in my hobby.
For anyone that is considering the Zephyr for music only and in a higher end system, a more "budget" crossover part upgrade that I'm currently trying seems to hit a lot of the things that I wanted and I'm happier with the sound now. I had been trying to do bypass caps of differing types and stick with the lesser priced stuff to keep overall costs down... but the bypasses weren't doing enough to overcome the cheaper caps enough, nor were they affecting the issues I had with the drivers to result in a kind of sound I really liked... I tried all the different stuff I have here..... some of it worked, but the price of the parts was out of control to get the size of caps needed and my buddy nixed that idea.
Jeff at Sonicraft made a recommendation to me and I took it... I've only got about 20-30 hours on the new caps and a couple of the inductors that I swapped out, but I'm digging the sound. Overall, the speaker still has a very different presentation to a typical dome or ribbon tweeter that may take some getting used to and its even different to the other SEOS designs I've built to date (I actually find it similar to how Maggies do their soundstage presentation)... the latest crossover parts helped with a weird narrowing/pinching of things in the midrange that was out of proportion with everything else so that everything is now balanced in its presentation... still a little more diffuse than I would prefer as far as imaging is concerned, but great wall of sound nonetheless...
I ended up tuning my boxes differently than the kit as well... they're tuned a bit lower (mid 30s) and I like the way they're damped and the response with this tuning versus a higher tune.... these can definitely be run without a sub full range and be satisfying for "normal" folks that don't *need* a 24 driver infinite baffle wall
So the recommendation was as follows:
Dynamicaps for both caps in the tweeter section, Goertz inductors everywhere (he's got the 14 gauge and 16 gauge for 30% off right now), Sonicap Gen I in the woofer circuit cap, and Mills resistors. I consider it a budget price, but that may not be the case for others. I have zero affiliation with Sonicraft, for the record... you can buy the same brand of parts from other sources as well (madisound sells the goertz, parts connexion in canada has the dynamicaps I believe... PE has mills resistors).... I just did it as a one stop shopping solution...
For those that don't have a wholesale account with PE, the full sticker price for everything that comes in the Zephyr kit for crossover components is $57.52 per speaker. If you bought kits from Erich, you'd be tossing those parts aside to use at a later date or not at all. The cost at Sonicraft's current sale prices to change over to what I'm describing above (using 14 gauge inductors) is $168.20 per speaker plus shipping. Not an insignificant cost for some. But it completely transforms the speaker IMHO. Swapping back and forth between the stock crossover and this "upgraded" one is not a subtle change and I can easily discern the differences. Measurements via Omni-Mic between the two crossovers don't show enough differences to explain the differences in sound.... there is no way you can lay these two measurements down on top of one another and have it explain the full story of what is happening as far as sound is concerned in all the audiophool jargon... for me, its' a no brainer to make the part changes.... with the changes, I could actually see myself listening to these speakers longer term... they wouldn't be my primary speaker. I still prefer other speakers over them for various reasons... but they are seriously fun to listen to and they don't fall apart if listening at lower power levels. a lot of the SEOS designs I've built you have to play them at a certain SPL minimum before they really "bloom" "open up", etc. These have that same thing going on to a degree, but it's still a great sound at low levels with the "upgraded" parts.
Caveat... and a big one at that.... I'm referring to using this speaker in the context of a high end 2 channel music setup run full range. Dollars spent does NOT equal better sound... but for some context, the MSRP for the various system incarnations I've been listening to these speakers with ranges from ~$3600 (not including cost of speakers themselves, running gear direct into wall without power conditioning, and including some cash to cover what I spent building the audio PC as the only source) to close to $40K including CD transport and power conditioner. If you are running these speakers in a modest HT system with a $300 Onkyo receiver, you'll notice a difference between the two (I tried the sherwood 972 to keep myself honest and try to figure out if he would notice enough difference to justify the part upgrades)... but it may not be enough to warrant you making the change versus doing other upgrades to your system or in the context of how much in total you are willing to spend on all pieces of your system... if you have a nice setup, swapping the stock parts is almost mandatory, imo and is easily shown to make the speakers richer sounding, with more flesh and meat to the presentation.... they are sweeter sounding, while still being extended in their response, dynamic as all get out, and clean...
Bagby designed a very nice speaker. It's worthy of going in some nice systems and not being the weak link. These go to their new owner next week.
I don't know if any of the above rambling was helpful for anyone... but hopefully some can read it and see that this is not just a budget DIY design that was slapped together... this really is a nice sounding speaker with the part changes. It was good stock, but is worthy of being compared with a lot of expensive commercial stuff with some upgrades.
Up next for me: I finish up building the 3Pis and I also have the parts here to go all out on mtg90's BMS4550/SEOS12/AE TD15M woofer design I'm going to build using my big woofer boxes.... I'll stick the SEOS12/BMS4550 on a small baffle on top of the woofer box with the TD15Ms in it and TD15Hs on the bottom.... I went a little nuts on those with the caps I bought rather than use the stuff in my parts bin... I've been dying to try out the Jupiter flat stack caps and thought this design would be the ideal first choice to have a listen... should be interesting.... I've been wanting to make more progress on my big horn experiments... but the only time I ahve to take measurements is late at night after the little guy goes to bed.... so not happening.... thus building some finished designs for now until after the holidays where I'm goign to have to get more assertive in making the wife take the little guy for a while so I can take measurements in the day and start designing crossovers for the big horns....
PS.... love the leather baffle look on your speakers, onebadmonte.... really cool!!
The Zephyrs will work great in that space... he still wants to do a few treatments on the front wall to try to help out the speakers a bit... it's nowhere near as good as in my rooms that are better treated. But it is still very listenable and the controlled directivity and waveguide top end helps cut through the room and presents a better soundstage and image than any other speaker he's tried in the space.... It's no contest compared to the B&Ws he currently has in there... they were un-listenable in that space, imo. I left him with a smile on his face and listening to tunes that night...... and him asking to borrow the battery powered Red Wine Audio Signature 16 hybrid integrated amp I was powering them with in my room when he came over to help me load them in the truck to take to his place... the speakers are already making him want to upgrade his electronics... before it didn't matter what electronics were used... they couldn't fight through the acoustics of the room and his speakers to make much difference in the end result...
a happy owner has been spawned.... of course he's now got the sickness and was eyeing up the 3Pis that I was finishing wiring the crossovers for and the BMS4550/SEOS12/AETD15M crossover boards I just finished wiring and all the parts strewn about the room ready to be finished up and listened to.... hehehehehehehe
I've not heard any of Matt's stuff yet... the couple things he's put in the public domain that I've noticed didn't appeal to me... this one I already have all the parts here except for some of the new Jupiter flat stack caps I'm trying and gives me a way to use my big woofer cabinets until such time as i can get full measurements and do the crossover designs for the big horn experiments... I've just not been able to do proper measurements for those projects yet... so I'm building a few known designs to finish satisfying my curiosity about the smaller waveguide based stuff and see if there is a reasonable sounding pair that i can keep and stick in my remaining theater room that isn't sharing a wall with the little guy's nursery... and then I'll get back on the big horns in the new year...