DIY L/C/R: 88 Special vs.Fusion 8 Alchemy? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 37 Old 01-30-2015, 01:46 PM - Thread Starter
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DIY L/C/R: 88 Special vs.Fusion 8 Alchemy?

Hi all,


Apologies in advance for the wordy thread; I prefer to provide as much detail as possible to assist you all in helping me.


I'm looking to replace my front stage for the dedicated theater room in the new house and I'm debating b/t the 88 Special (for LCR) and the Fusion 8 Alchemy (Alchemy/Alchemy Center). I've read a lot of threads here on both and I'm not really sure which would be for me. It would be nice to have the horizontal center channel, but it's not mandatory. Some relevant info:


Room is 17 x 22 x 9 (17' across the front)
Dedicated theater room, some DIY acoustic panels will be on walls, but not going nuts with it
Screen is normal projection, not acoustically transparent
Speakers would be to L/R/under the screen, not behind it
I don't want floor standing speakers, I want everything on the wall/shelves
I would have about 4 feet to left/right of the screen
PLP is about 15' away from the screen
Power is Denon X4000 (125WPC) but I could/would go to a dedicated amp if need be
I like it loud (don't we all? )
Usage will be 75% movies/25% cable TV/kids movies/video games/etc
I have a sub (SVS PB2-Plus) (and may be going nuts w/DIY subs to replace it, but that's another thread)
Surrounds are Axiom QS8s for SB/SL/RL/RR. Not worried about the timbre-matching b/t the front stage and surrounds. As long as LCR match, I'm golden.
Current LCR is Axiom M22/VP150. Nothing wrong with them but looking for more punch from the front stage.
I have built speakers before but would be going with the full kit/flat pack b/c I don't have much free time and the extra cost over DIY really isn't that much.


This may be a stupid question, but are the 88 Specials specifically designed to be wall-mounted? I.E. was boundary reinforcement taken into account when they were designed? Being that I will be mounting the LCR on the wall, this is a relevant question. There is a decent price difference b/t the Fusion 8 Alchemy and the 88 Specials, but I'm OK spending the extra money if it gets me considerably more output.


Not sure what other info I should've provided, but please do ask away! Thanks very much for your help and your time.


ps
Anyone built grills for their DIYSG speakers? I have to put grills on whatever I build as I've got kids/neighbor kids/curious adults that will be in the room.

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post #2 of 37 Old 01-30-2015, 02:13 PM
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Subscribing for input, as I'm interested in the Fusion 8 for my future LCR setup.
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post #3 of 37 Old 01-30-2015, 02:44 PM
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The 88-Special was designed with the assumption that the speaker would be very close to the wall or on the wall.
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post #4 of 37 Old 01-30-2015, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you very much, Erich H; I really appreciate your input. Based on the info I gave in my OP, which DIYSG speakers do you think would be best for my application? Would the 88's be better simply b/c I'll be wall-mounting them? Would the Alchemy's be better in my room/setup if I did not wall-mount them?
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post #5 of 37 Old 01-30-2015, 03:53 PM
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88 probably better image because of the bigger Seos 15" wave guide and lower crossover point.
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post #6 of 37 Old 01-30-2015, 04:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, Mfusick. I had read several threads that mentioned the lower x-over point and larger waveguide, as well as the fact that the two midwoofers are very close together (less comb filtering effect).


BTW, anyone know what frequency the cab is tuned to? I want to guess 60Hz, since that is lower end of the freq response specified in the specs, and you can't (shouldn't) play a ported cab below it's tuning frequency.
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post #7 of 37 Old 01-30-2015, 05:05 PM
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I have a pair of Fusion 8 and love them. FYI. Really nice speaker for the price.
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post #8 of 37 Old 01-31-2015, 08:04 AM - Thread Starter
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The only possible catch to my 88 Special plan is their height. Not an issue for the L/R but could be for the center. It might be a tight fit, getting it under the screen, but I think it'll fit. I can always raise the screen up an inch or two higher to make the center fit.


Once I put feet on the cabs, they'll be 18.5-18.75 inches tall. Kind of difficult to measure/plan/visualize the available space where they'd go when the screen is not in place yet...because the house hasn't been built yet. I am trying to get builds done/equipment purchased before we move in so it's all ready to go as close to "immediately" as possible.
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post #9 of 37 Old 01-31-2015, 08:21 AM
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I just built some three 88 specials for my front stage. I was really impressed with the sound and how clear they were with the giant waveguard. If you can fit them I would recommend them in a heartbeat. I think ultimately from what I have read you will not be disappointed with either
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post #10 of 37 Old 01-31-2015, 08:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chadcj7 View Post
I just built some three 88 specials for my front stage. I was really impressed with the sound and how clear they were with the giant waveguard. If you can fit them I would recommend them in a heartbeat. I think ultimately from what I have read you will not be disappointed with either
This is the kind of feedback I was hoping to receive. How much listening time have you had with them? Enough to get them broken in? I plan on breaking in my drivers before installation by running a 30Hz test tone through them at low volume for 12 hours or so.


Have you cranked them up? I would expect 6, 8-inch drivers and 3 waveguides at that size to produce crystal-clear, no distortion, ear-splitting volume if called upon to do so. And I would be requiring that a large percentage of the time. Also, how are they at moderate volume? Does the timbre change a lot when going from low to medium to high listening levels? I guess I'm asking "Are they consistent?"
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post #11 of 37 Old 01-31-2015, 08:53 AM - Thread Starter
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CHADCJ7: Any pics you would share would be appreciated. Pics of the speakers themselves and in your setup would be dandy.
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post #12 of 37 Old 01-31-2015, 08:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelddd View Post
This is the kind of feedback I was hoping to receive. How much listening time have you had with them? Enough to get them broken in? I plan on breaking in my drivers before installation by running a 30Hz test tone through them at low volume for 12 hours or so.


Have you cranked them up? I would expect 6, 8-inch drivers and 3 waveguides at that size to produce crystal-clear, no distortion, ear-splitting volume if called upon to do so. And I would be requiring that a large percentage of the time. Also, how are they at moderate volume? Does the timbre change a lot when going from low to medium to high listening levels? I guess I'm asking "Are they consistent?"
http://www.diysoundgroup.com/home-th...ecial-kit.html
Additional information says that the low frequency extension of these speakers is 60hz. I think your plan on breaking them in definitely gets points for being unique.

I was just just listen to a few CDs. In reality, the only thing that might happen is the mid-range might loosen up a little bit. It's been debated if speakers actually "break in".

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post #13 of 37 Old 01-31-2015, 08:58 AM
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With 88 specials they are not as tall. And the design lends itself to a MBM upgrade, even used as a speaker stand. Imagine a 2226 JBL under an 88 Special... could be a nice combo.

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post #14 of 37 Old 01-31-2015, 09:03 AM
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Might as well use line level input and connect a powered subwoofer to each 88 special
Not the same. I was thinking keeping the sub, doing sub things, and adding a 2226 to do midbass things. you can't run a sub up that high... you get issues with localization. A dedicated MBM or woofer like a 2226 is a mid bass monster, and you located it directly below the 88 so localization is not so much an issue, and blending it in properly is easier.

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post #15 of 37 Old 01-31-2015, 09:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelddd View Post
Once I put feet on the cabs, they'll be 18.5-18.75 inches tall. Kind of difficult to measure/plan/visualize the available space where they'd go when the screen is not in place yet...because the house hasn't been built yet. I am trying to get builds done/equipment purchased before we move in so it's all ready to go as close to "immediately" as possible.
You can get small rubber disks that are only about 1/8" thick.

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post #16 of 37 Old 01-31-2015, 09:31 AM - Thread Starter
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The break-in method is something that's been around for long time in the DIY Pro Audio world. I've built BFM OTop12's and T48 Titans and the method I described is what's recommended by Bill Fitzmaurice himself, who probably got the idea from someone else. I can tell you that for SUBS, the method definitely works. For the T48s that use an Eminence 3015LF, I believe the method is a 30Hz test tone at 9 volts as measured with a DMM for 12-24 hours. I don't think I would run the 8" drivers from the 88's at that level, but a couple of volts @ 30Hz for a few hours would appreciably loosen up the suspension.


Speaker break-in is a hotly-contested subject. Most DIY folks align themselves with one camp or the other. Bottom line is that it's your money and how you spend it and what you do with it is your business.
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post #17 of 37 Old 01-31-2015, 02:01 PM
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I just put together an alchemy center which is similar to the 88 and I can assure you it can play louder than you need it to in a regular sized room. I couldn't make it up to max volume before my ears warned me to stop.
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post #18 of 37 Old 01-31-2015, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the testimonial, Samps. Good to hear the DIYSG family can handle the power and still sound great. I know what the specs say, but sometimes what's on paper doesn't completely equate with what you get. I'm looking forward to the build process. I just spent a few hours buying Duratex, terminal cups and such and finding the yards of black speaker grill cloth I had hidden away. In the process I discovered that I have enough mattress topper and polyfil left over from other projects to complete 3 88's. So glad I'm a packrat!


Now to buy some 88 kits!

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post #19 of 37 Old 01-31-2015, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Erich H View Post
You can get small rubber disks that are only about 1/8" thick.

Yessir, I found'em. Penn-Elcom F1687 will do perfectly for my intended application.


http://www.parts-express.com/penn-el...375-h--260-777

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post #20 of 37 Old 01-31-2015, 06:36 PM
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I'm not ready to comment on how they "sound" but they are capable of playing very loud. My single center speaker is not completely done but like most, as soon as the glue dries you gotta throw it together to ease the anticipation. The components aren't even screwed in and a dish rag is stuffed in the terminal cup hole. I did put a single slab of egg crate foam in.
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post #21 of 37 Old 01-31-2015, 08:42 PM - Thread Starter
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And done. Three 88 Special kits ordered along with the flat packs. The fact they come with CNC'd bracing and dadoes in the panels for them and they are cheap...well, made more sense than building my own boxes. PL Premium, clamps and brad nailer will make quick work of assembly. I'd be shocked if it took more than an hour to put all 3 together. I will do a build thread when the time comes...although it will be sort of anti-climactic since I won't be able to properly review them until mid/end-summer when we move into the new house. Guess I'll do both a build thread and a review thread when the time is right.

I really would like to build some grills to cover the two 8's, but there isn't really much space b/t the outer edges of the ports and sides of the cab, nor between the tops of the driver frames and the waveguide. I wouldn't want the grill frame interfering with the output of that awesome wave guide. I will have to figure something out though...there will be little ones bouncing around in the home theater as well as inebriated adults from time to time.

Last edited by michaelddd; 01-31-2015 at 08:46 PM.
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post #22 of 37 Old 02-01-2015, 02:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelddd View Post
And done. Three 88 Special kits ordered along with the flat packs. The fact they come with CNC'd bracing and dadoes in the panels for them and they are cheap...well, made more sense than building my own boxes. PL Premium, clamps and brad nailer will make quick work of assembly. I'd be shocked if it took more than an hour to put all 3 together. I will do a build thread when the time comes...although it will be sort of anti-climactic since I won't be able to properly review them until mid/end-summer when we move into the new house. Guess I'll do both a build thread and a review thread when the time is right.

I really would like to build some grills to cover the two 8's, but there isn't really much space b/t the outer edges of the ports and sides of the cab, nor between the tops of the driver frames and the waveguide. I wouldn't want the grill frame interfering with the output of that awesome wave guide. I will have to figure something out though...there will be little ones bouncing around in the home theater as well as inebriated adults from time to time.
Why not use an AT screen so you can put the speakers behind them?
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post #23 of 37 Old 02-01-2015, 08:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for the suggestion, niktak11. An AT screen is a possibility, but that would require more cost/effort as I'd have to build the screen away from the wall somehow to fit the speakers behind it.


Also, from what little I know about AT screens, they are perforated to let sound through. I would be afraid that I would see the perforations "in the picture" and it would detract from the viewing experience. That may sound ignorant, but the only time I've actually seen an AT screen in action is at a real movie theater when I'm sitting 50+ feet from the screen.


I wonder how much space I'd need to leave b/t the speakers and the screen? Wouldn't want air from the drivers "puffing against" the screen. It's definitely worth looking into though, especially since I've not bought the screen yet. I'm planning out what this new theater will be in advance. Thanks again for the suggestion. Guess I know what I'm researching today.
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post #24 of 37 Old 02-01-2015, 10:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelddd View Post
I'd be shocked if it took more than an hour to put all 3 together.
Putting them together is a piece of cake. It's finishing them that's a PITA.

Quote:
I really would like to build some grills to cover the two 8's, but there isn't really much space b/t the outer edges of the ports and sides of the cab, nor between the tops of the driver frames and the waveguide.
Just cover the speakers?:
http://www.parts-express.com/parts-e...black--260-424

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post #25 of 37 Old 02-01-2015, 10:58 AM
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I have a build thread of the speakers and you can see a lot more pictures in there. I have not broken them in yet as I only have about 8 to 10 hours on them. I will say that they sound as good at high levels as they do at a normal listening level. It all depends on your source as well though

I have attached a couple pics of where they are now but they will be gong behind a AT screen in the next week or so . If you have any direct questions feel free to PM as well

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post #26 of 37 Old 02-01-2015, 11:38 AM
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^ +1


sweet and neat


was that from a flat pack?

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post #27 of 37 Old 02-01-2015, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
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^ +1


sweet and neat


was that from a flat pack?
thanks....they sound better then they look!


yes that was from the flat pack from Diysoundgroup. They make the build not feel so DIY but it is cold here and I wanted to get them done quickly so I could enjoy listening to them! Once I got to the XO's though it felt very much DIY but so fun that I am trying to determine here I need speakers next to build and how I can get it by my wife!
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post #28 of 37 Old 02-01-2015, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Chadcj7: I saw your build thread and must've looked over the pics a couple dozen times. The AT screen question is what I'm sort of mulling over right now. I'm not sure how I would build another wall to recess the speakers. It's a 17' wide wall...I could just build a "bump out" for the screen and speakers behind it, but I'm not sure if that would look odd or not. I don't want a pull-down screen in my dedicated HT room; I want a fixed screen of some kind. I take it you built the false wall where your screen is mounted?


In reference to finishing them; that will be a piece of cake. Two coats of rattle can flat black and two coats of Duratex. Best stuff on the planet, that Duratex. Hides seams and shoddy craftsmanship like a champ! Although with the CNC-cut flat pack I won't have to worry about my middling woodworking skills getting in the way.
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post #29 of 37 Old 02-01-2015, 06:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelddd View Post
Chadcj7: I saw your build thread and must've looked over the pics a couple dozen times. The AT screen question is what I'm sort of mulling over right now. I'm not sure how I would build another wall to recess the speakers. It's a 17' wide wall...I could just build a "bump out" for the screen and speakers behind it, but I'm not sure if that would look odd or not. I don't want a pull-down screen in my dedicated HT room; I want a fixed screen of some kind. I take it you built the false wall where your screen is mounted?


In reference to finishing them; that will be a piece of cake. Two coats of rattle can flat black and two coats of Duratex. Best stuff on the planet, that Duratex. Hides seams and shoddy craftsmanship like a champ! Although with the CNC-cut flat pack I won't have to worry about my middling woodworking skills getting in the way.

I don't have a complete false wall. There is actually a cutout in the foundation where the builder before me was planning on putting a fireplace. I use that for my center and my subwoofer. He also built the wall out a little deeper for shelves that he had built in. I am going to remove the shelves and use that space for the speakers. I will take pictures and document for you it you want.

With these speakers not being that deep and able to be pretty much flush on the wall it will not be hard to build a false wall for your screen and then build panels with velvet to improve the screen picture as well. Trust me having ball velvet or a dark color around the screen really improved my picture quality.
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post #30 of 37 Old 02-02-2015, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, Chad. My situation is a bit fluid, I guess; the house isn't built yet. I can either:


1. Rip holes in the new wall myself, install the speakers and then fix the wall
or
2. Somehow work this with the guys doing the sheetrocking
or
3. Just mount them on shelves on the wall


Going with option 3 would be easiest and allow for the most flexibility with toe-in. Got time to mull it over and change my mind a hundred times, I guess.
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