88-Special Build by Cam Man - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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Old 01-12-2016, 07:33 AM - Thread Starter
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88-Special Build by Cam Man

EDIT: Right up front, let me tell any of you who are interested in this or any DIYSG kit, DO NOT omit it from consideration due to having to build/assemble the crossover yourself. Crossover assembly service is available from MTG90, a fellow AVS member who is also a speaker designer (notably the Fusion-15 Sentinels). That fact may not be easily discovered (I had my 88 ordered and delivered before I learned of this). Don't miss what may be a fine speaker solution for you due to the fact that assembling the crossover strikes you as too daunting or time-consuming an undertaking. PM MTG90 for details. FWIW


Hi guys, the 88-Special arrived yesterday and I launched into it. I will not be providing a voluminous account of this endeavor, but I will try to provide useful details where I find them. I am utilizing bitmap42's excellent guide extensively, especially with regards to the crossover assembly. Some of the bits of info I provide will just be a bit of extra detail to bitmap42's info to provide a bit more clarity.

I would say you are not a hard-core DIY speaker person unless you are very comfortable and experienced with crossover assembly. Although I am quite comfortable with soldering and the like, the biggest obstacle I see for newbees at this is the task of "translating" the provided schematic to a network on a consolidated platform. That leap from paper to platform is not easy unless you have chunk of experience. Most of us will not have that. I think that the lack of an option for an assembled crossover or PCB for this model is a significant obstacle to marketing it. I'm game to tackle the task, but I suspect many are not.

Off and on over the afternoon I studied the schematic and bitmap42's guide photos. By late afternoon I had pretty much figured out how his assembly added up to what is shown on the schematic.

The addition of a terminal block by bitmap42 in his build is a big plus. It does not come with the 88 kit, but that would be a great item to add. My local Ace Hardware has them, so it was easy to find. I will be providing a photo of my completed crossover for only one reason; so that I can show you one with the terminals on the block labeled to show what goes to what transducer. Given my inexperience, it took me some study time tracing the schematic and the photo to understand those. I might as well save the next guy some time.

I will also have some things to add regarding gotchas that can occur on the flat pack assembly. The fit of the second brace in its dado channel is fine on dry fit, but difficult to confirm without specifically checking a full seating. You definitely want to use a clamp on each end and tighten enough to make sure that the brace is fully seated. This can only be verified by wiping away the glue at the ends and visually confirming. In other words, don't let the warning to not over-tighten lure you into under-tightening. Check that seating depth. Mine seemed to be seated, but was 1/8" high...and I corrected.

One final note for now. I don't want to risk mangling the MDF if I have to remove the woofers and waveguide a few times, so I'll be using t-nuts rather than the provided screws. T-nuts can be used in all but a few spots where there would be a conflict with the braces. Those spots need to be screws to secure the baffle to the braces.

Lots of progress to be made today.

Cheers.
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Last edited by Cam Man; 01-12-2016 at 01:33 PM.
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Old 01-12-2016, 08:29 AM
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Looking forward to it, can you please provide as much details as possible for newbies as well.

Especially important are the list of tools needed.

I'm not sure why this set, or most of the sets by diysound doesn't come with a complete crossover.

I think the 88-special would be great for 3 front speakers.

What's the recommended distance from speaker to listeners with these waveguides?
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarier View Post
Looking forward to it, can you please provide as much details as possible for newbies as well.

Especially important are the list of tools needed.

I'm not sure why this set, or most of the sets by diysound doesn't come with a complete crossover.

I think the 88-special would be great for 3 front speakers.

What's the recommended distance from speaker to listeners with these waveguides?
I have a basic list of tools in the build guide that I wrote that Cam Man referenced. Here is a direct link to the 88 Special Build Guide. It is also linked from my build guide in my signature.

A forum member @mtg90 will assemble crossovers. Here is a link to the thread. I didn't realize it, but it looks like he does make one for the 88 Special (and 1099, 893, and a couple of the Fusion line).

I have my 88 Specials about 11 feet from my Main Listening Position (MLP). They are clear even at low volume, so if you have space I think they would work for almost any size room.

If you search for 88 Special build threads (with pictures), there are a few members who have gone with a full set of 3 as their LCR. I have them as LR flanking my TV so it is a phantom center.

Also in my Sig is a link to the DIY Sound Group specific area (I listed it as General Information and Tips in my sig, but it links to the main forum list) on the forums.
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarier View Post
Especially important are the list of tools needed.

I'm not sure why this set, or most of the sets by diysound doesn't come with a complete crossover.
If you get the flat pack, then all you should really need for assembly is wood glue and clamps or straps. Some people have assembled DIYSG flat packs with blue painter's tape, because they're cut so well. You'll need a drill for whatever connection you want to use (speakon, banana plugs, etc...), and some way to finish the cabinet so you don't have raw MDF in your living room. Basic wire tools like crimpers, strippers, and cutters also come in handy.


The crossovers aren't assembled because that would add cost to the kit unnecessarily. If you would prefer not to build your own or don't have the ability, you can pay someone to put it together, but a lot of people will put them together on their own, so why raise the price?
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:23 AM
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The premade cross overs are very labor intensive. DIY saves people money so it's kind of counter intuitive to DIY and then have someone do it for you. I know Matt (mtg90) will do them. He charges very little. Actually I think he kind of undervalues his time. If it was me I'd probably be charging double what he does because it's time intensive. The soldering isn't bad. It's all the drilling and cnc setup to make the board. He even applies stickers and labels everything. These XO are fairly complex too. Not sure about the 88, but the 1099 has something like 14 components. It takes time to lay them all out.
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:24 AM
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An "88" was my first flat pack,
after about 12-14 sheets building 3 BFM THTLP's and the Submaximus

I felt like "WHOA!", what was I thinking . . .?

Instant Gratification . . .

You're going to love it
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DIY FAN Denon X5200 , ATI A 2000 for 7.4.6 SCATMOS/DSU/SHARP 80" LED/LCD
L/R: Fusion 15 V2 , C: 88 Special , SL/SR: F4Q4LP , RL/RR: F-3, TF/TR: Volt 6's TM: SLX
SUBMAXIMUS, ,Submaximus V3,LOWARHORNCustom Dual Driver VBSS,2 x Inuke6000DSP
www.avsforum.com/forum/155-diy-speakers-subs/1485120-submaximus-large-front-loaded-horn
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Old 01-12-2016, 09:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scarier View Post
I'm not sure why this set, or most of the sets by diysound doesn't come with a complete crossover.
A lot of people don't really know the history of the site. There's not a huge amount of money that can be put towards assembled crossovers on each kit. Just to keep 20 assembled crossovers for each would cost well over $10,000. That doesn't count ordering a run of custom boards for each model. If they all had custom boards made up and 20 assembled for each, figure over $20,000.

Forum member MTG90 will assemble the crossovers on any of the designs for a good price.
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Old 01-12-2016, 10:25 AM
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I just got my 88 special together using MTG90's board...was easy. not sure what to think about it yet tho, sounds like all the sound is just coming from the waveguide, the woofers are working but has little bass, hard to explain but it seems unbalanced between waveguide and woofers if that makes sense, The fusion 15's rock.
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Old 01-12-2016, 12:10 PM
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How did you wire up the woofers? Do you have them wired in parallel?

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Old 01-12-2016, 12:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Erich H View Post
Forum member MTG90 will assemble the crossovers on any of the designs for a good price.
Talk about day late and a dollar short! If I had known that, I would have jumped on that in a heart beat. Nothing is installed yet. How do I get MTG90 to do this? Do I need to PM him to get a quote, order, etc..? I didn't see that on the DIYSG as an option for the 88.


Quote:
Originally Posted by doc5150 View Post
I just got my 88 special together using MTG90's board...was easy. not sure what to think about it yet tho, sounds like all the sound is just coming from the waveguide, the woofers are working but has little bass, hard to explain but it seems unbalanced between waveguide and woofers if that makes sense, The fusion 15's rock.
I wonder if Jeff designed the 88 as a 2pi speaker rather than 4pi. The shallow cabinet would suggest that these will often be up against a wall or in a niche. Jeff is pretty sharp at this. He may have anticipated that and designed them as 2pi. Just a guess.

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Old 01-12-2016, 12:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doc5150 View Post
I just got my 88 special together using MTG90's board...was easy. not sure what to think about it yet tho, sounds like all the sound is just coming from the waveguide, the woofers are working but has little bass, hard to explain but it seems unbalanced between waveguide and woofers if that makes sense, The fusion 15's rock.
Yea, that's how I found them too, the 15" SEOS seems to overpower the twin 8's underneath it for some reason, even though the speaker measures flat. The normal advice is that they're supposed to be used with a subwoofer, but its not just low bass that appears to be lacking, its all of the bass. When running them full range for music, you can turn up the bass control on the receiver about 8dB and they sound more balanced and with a nice low punch. But I ended up modifying the crossover to shelve down the level of the compression driver. Also did some further tailoring in the low KHz range using the DIRAC room correction software. My two are used for surrounds in a 5.2 system and sound pretty good for that now.

Mainfloor 2.1 Music/TV System: Tekton Pendragons and Zu Omen Defs, Ibeam sonic transducer, Emotiva XSP-1, Anthem MCA-20, Outlaw RR2150, Pioneer BDP-05FD, Panasonic 60VT65 Plasma TV, Linn LP12
Basement 5.2 Theater: Fusion-12 Tempest for LCR, 2x 88-Specials (with modified crossover) for surrounds, stereo Stonehenge subs with 460HO drivers, Emotiva XMC-1, Anthem MCA 50, Crown XLi2500 for subs, Behringer DEQ2496, Epson 1080UB.
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Old 01-12-2016, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Cam Man View Post
Talk about day late and a dollar short! If I had known that, I would have jumped on that in a heart beat. Nothing is installed yet. How do I get MTG90 to do this? Do I need to PM him to get a quote, order, etc..? I didn't see that on the DIYSG as an option for the 88.



I wonder if Jeff designed the 88 as a 2pi speaker rather than 4pi. The shallow cabinet would suggest that these will often be up against a wall or in a niche. Jeff is pretty sharp at this. He may have anticipated that and designed them as 2pi. Just a guess.

Send Matt @mtg90 a pm about the crossover boards he also has a thread in the vendor area that talks about his service with xo boards. He does great work and his work station is really nice were he makes the boards and assembles them.
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Old 01-12-2016, 12:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Send Matt @mtg90 a pm about the crossover boards he also has a thread in the vendor area that talks about his service with xo boards. He does great work and his work station is really nice were he makes the boards and assembles them.
Thank you for the tip. Found it. PM sent.
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Old 01-12-2016, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
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What's the recommended distance from speaker to listeners with these waveguides?
I will certainly be exploring that very thing. From looking at the directivity plots that LTD02 posted on the SEOS-15 waveguide, I predict it will be fine from fairly close to fairly far. At the shorter throws, I would certainly expect there to be the necessity of the waveguide being at ear height OR having to aim the speaker a bit if it is above or below ear level. Aiming is a perfectly fine solution. I suppose you could also be so close to the speaker that there would be difficulty for horizontal coverage of a multi-seat listening area. I will have to listen carefully to discern the horizontal and vertical listening windows. From the look of the directivity plots, I would guess close to +/-30 degrees horizontal and +/-10 degrees vertical.
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Old 01-12-2016, 02:39 PM
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thanks for posting this, I will be taking delivery on 3 this Friday. Was debating between the fusion 15 vs 3 of the 88 special, and chose these based on price. the crossover info is very helpful!
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Old 01-12-2016, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by hardeng View Post
The 15" SEOS seems to overpower the twin 8's underneath it for some reason, even though the speaker measures flat. The normal advice is that they're supposed to be used with a subwoofer, but its not just low bass that appears to be lacking, its all of the bass. When running them full range for music, you can turn up the bass control on the receiver about 8dB and they sound more balanced and with a nice low punch.


Without any bass under 70hz, the speaker will be super loud and super clean.....but sound like a small but very loud speaker. You have to have a subwoofer......and a lot of subwoofer to keep up with these speakers. If you're pairing a couple 12" subs with the 88-Specials, the subs simply can't keep up. When your subs can't keep up, your mids and highs will seem overpowering, because they are.

If you ran them full range without a subwoofer, but they sounded better when you turned up the bass 8db to get more 'low punch'. That shows you probably need a subwoofer with more bass to give you the low punch.


You'll notice that no one has ever said those things about the Fusion-4, 6, or 8, the Volts, or the other smaller models. That's because 'normal' subwoofers can keep up with those and level out the sound. I wouldn't use the 88-Special without multiple 15's or 18's to help balance out the bass.

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Old 01-12-2016, 02:50 PM - Thread Starter
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thanks for posting this, I will be taking delivery on 3 this Friday. Was debating between the fusion 15 vs 3 of the 88 special, and chose these based on price. the crossover info is very helpful!
I only require the one 88 to fit my center niche. I'll also say that this is an audition of the speaker for me. Of course, it needs to "sound good," but I also have specific performance characteristics that I need my LCRs to achieve. I don't have a single seat "theater." I entertain with my system, therefore the LCRs must cover a listening area smoothly throughout the spectrum. That is why smooth, wide horizontal dispersion across the listening area is high on my list of priorities. I am not obsessive, though. If pros of the speaker far outweigh minor cons, I'll call it a keeper. At that time, I'll be moving on to a pair of Fusion-15 Sentinel v2s for the main L/R, and Volt-10LXs for the surrounds.

I only tell you this story because I might suggest that you build one 88 out and test it to your satisfaction before diving into the others.
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Old 01-12-2016, 03:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Erich H View Post
Without any bass under 70hz, the speaker will be super loud and super clean.....but sound like a small but very loud speaker. You have to have a subwoofer......and a lot of subwoofer to keep up with these speakers. If you're pairing a couple 12" subs with the 88-Specials, the subs simply can't keep up. When your subs can't keep up, your mids and highs will seem overpowering, because they are.

If you ran them full range without a subwoofer, but they sounded better when you turned up the bass 8db to get more 'low punch'. That shows you probably need a subwoofer with more bass to give you the low punch.

You'll notice that no one has ever said those things about the Fusion-4, 6, or 8, the Volts, or the other smaller models. That's because 'normal' subwoofers can keep up with those and level out the sound. I wouldn't use the 88-Special without multiple 15's or 18's to help balance out the bass.
If the 88 is not down more than 3dB at 80Hz, though, it should still sound quite good, even without a subwoofer for casual listening. Of course for movies and serious listening, you gotta have subs providing the LF! If the 88 can reach -3dB at 80Hz, then a room of <3500 cubic feet should easily be handled by two good 12" or larger subs IF the room proportions, placement of subs, and the listening location are all nominal to small room LF acoustics. With that kind of bass management and good EQ, you won't be able to tell the 88 is not "making" all that big sound.

Of course, four subs nominally placed is considered by many the best for not only output but smooth acoustic response. I use four, but I have a very big volume (open floor plan) space.

FYI, the on-axis response for the 88 on the DIYSG site does show that kind of response; fairly linear down to 80Hz.

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Old 01-12-2016, 03:20 PM
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I have heard the 88 special is on the bright side, at least compared to the tempest. Whether that is a perception based on the different mid bass response of each speaker or the waveguide im not sure. But I already ordered the three, and as has been said before...ignorance is bliss!
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Old 01-12-2016, 04:45 PM
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I'm following your build with interest. This is one of the center's I am considering. If you think the bright side is too much, perhaps a solution like is used on the 1099's might help:
Official Elusive 1099 Speaker Thread

There are parts for Parts Express mentioned which would make a nice way to install a switch.

hth
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Old 01-12-2016, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm following your build with interest. This is one of the center's I am considering. If you think the bright side is too much, perhaps a solution like is used on the 1099's might help:
Official Elusive 1099 Speaker Thread

There are parts for Parts Express mentioned which would make a nice way to install a switch.

hth
That's a cool idea. Two switches for installation flexibility would be cool. One would give the option of 2pi (against wall or in a niche/baffle wall) and 4pi (in-room). The other could be for contouring the highs...maybe with an AT screen. We need a clever designer/member to step up with those mods.

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Old 01-12-2016, 05:45 PM
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I thought the 88s had plenty of bass in room. Did any of you block the ports too much or over stuff the cabinet by chance?

I have 4 88s for surround duty and they measured fine in room. Both ypao and audyssey saw the 88s as Large though I set them as small.
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Old 01-12-2016, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by kernel8888 View Post
I have heard the 88 special is on the bright side, at least compared to the tempest. Whether that is a perception based on the different mid bass response of each speaker or the waveguide im not sure. But I already ordered the three, and as has been said before...ignorance is bliss!

LTD02 posted a great frequency response for both of those models with a red line drawn straight across their average point. The Fusion-12 was designed to sound a bit more laid back because it was one of the first models done and people were worried about compression drivers being too bright. So Jeff pulled the high end down a bit when designing it. But on the 88-Special we figured they might get used behind AT screens, so we thought it would be better not to pull the high end down and shoot for a flatter frequency response.

They use the same compression driver, so if you thought the Fusion-12 was a bit too laid back, you could simply use your receiver to boost it up a bit. If you thought the 88-Special was a bit too bright, you could always pull it down a little.
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Old 01-12-2016, 06:01 PM - Thread Starter
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I thought the 88s had plenty of bass in room. Did any of you block the ports too much or over stuff the cabinet by chance?

I have 4 88s for surround duty and they measured fine in room. Both ypao and audyssey saw the 88s as Large though I set them as small.
Can you please tell us how you have your 88s placed/installed (on walls, near walls, ceiling, etc.)?


I'm going to only line the walls of this 88 with dense 1" fiberglass boards/panels.

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Old 01-12-2016, 06:14 PM
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I had them playing as mains while I was finishing up my theater. They were several feet away from the walls.

The final resting place as surrounds are essentially against the wall.

Last post here has several pictures showing the original pair (unpainted behind a screen) and an example of the finished location.
88 special

I used 2 thin layers of dacron in the cabinets. I believe this is what was recommended over in the original design thread on diysg forums.
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Old 01-12-2016, 06:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by klipsch View Post
I had them playing as mains while I was finishing up my theater. They were several feet away from the walls.

The final resting place as surrounds are essentially against the wall.

Last post here has several pictures showing the original pair (unpainted behind a screen) and an example of the finished location.
88 special

I used 2 thin layers of dacron in the cabinets. I believe this is what was recommended over in the original design thread on diysg forums.
How would you characterize the difference in the 88 sound when on the walls with their boundary gain...or did you just run Audyssey and let it correct?


Your light Dacron lining might be the way to go rather than my dense fiberglass. I notice that in the JBL Synthesis LCRs there is a rather light lining of fiberglass.
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Old 01-12-2016, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by doc5150 View Post
I just got my 88 special together using MTG90's board...was easy. not sure what to think about it yet tho, sounds like all the sound is just coming from the waveguide, the woofers are working but has little bass, hard to explain but it seems unbalanced between waveguide and woofers if that makes sense, The fusion 15's rock.
I can't speak to your specific model which uses a pair of 8" Eminence woofers, but the 10" Eminence woofers in my Fusion 10 were VERY stiff when new and needed a LOT of breaking in. I would say you need to play them for at least a month before those woofs break in.

I have had my Fusion 10's for a year, and I'm telling you they never sounded better. When new they really were thin sounding. Not any more.

(and "yes"they are currently paired with a 12" sub)
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Old 01-12-2016, 06:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by wvu80 View Post
I can't speak to your specific model which uses a pair of 8" Eminence woofers, but the 10" Eminence woofers in my Fusion 10 were VERY stiff when new and needed a LOT of breaking in. I would say you need to play them for at least a month before those woofs break in.

I have had my Fusion 10's for a year, and I'm telling you they never sounded better. When new they really were thin sounding. Not any more.

(and "yes"they are currently paired with a 12" sub)
That's very helpful! Maybe when my 88 is up, I'll let it play something that's plenty busy in the low end full range for a few days when not home. Maybe put a couple hundred strong play hours on it asap to see if it helps to break it in. Those woofers do look very industrial-strength in structure/nature; certainly not like normal residential hi-fi speakers. Reminds me again or how the woofers look in the legacy JBL Synthesis speakers.


You know how some people say about some speakers "Oh, they don't start to sing until you pour big watts to them," etc. ? I wonder if that has something to do with the woofers being stiff.
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Old 01-12-2016, 07:48 PM
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Just to echo the experience @klipsch has had...

When I measured with REW the 88s were able to easily get down around 60 Hz. I had them flat against the wall when running these sweeps. Audyssey (xt32 in my denon) set them to a crossover of 60 Hz (running a phantom center). They are definitely a balanced speaker. As a comparison my previous speakers had a built-in massive peak in output from 50 to 200 Hz (easily 5 to 10 db). So when I did side-by-side comparisons the 88 Specials sounded "flat" in comparison, but the correct word is just "accurate."

@Cam Man I used mattress topper from Walmart to line the cabinets. Here is what I ended up doing. The first shows the original crossover (larger so fit on back wall behind one of the woofers). The second shows the second crossover (smaller so it fit on the side wall next to the waveguide). Note you don't really need those small pieces on the middle bracing, I just had them leftover and was having a great time destroying my lungs using the 3M spray adhesive (seriously nasty stuff, wear a mask if you use it).



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Old 01-12-2016, 07:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for that bit (no pun ) of performance confirmation, Bit.

I finished up the enclosure assembly short of the baffle this afternoon. In closer inspection with the baffle resting in place, I discovered that there are numerous other places that t-nuts will not fit due to the braces. The entire bottom of the waveguide is too close to the horizontal brace to permit the t-nuts.

On a hold now until I hear back from MTG90 with the lowdown on a pre-assembled crossover.
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