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Strict Budget: Can I best 2 x Polk M70's for $300 via DIY? Doubting it...

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I currently have a pair of Polk M70 II's for my mains. For the price, I really enjoy them. I'm moving into a bigger space and planned to get two more for surrounds since they offer good bang-for-the-buck. I know that DIY can produce much better results for the money, especially with subs, but I'm curious (if not a bit skeptical) on building some floorstanding LR mains that could outperform the Polk M70's for the same price.

Without a doubt you could spend $600-$800 and build some Dynamic 4Ts, and I would LOVE to do that, but the $300 is already pushing it. Have you all seen anything that can be built in that pricerange that can match or exceed the M70's quality and output?

Cheers, all.
post #2 of 16
Well, first a few questions.

1. Do looks matter? If they do, you better be a really good woodworker, or just forget it now.
2. Is that $300 for the pair? Looks to me you can't get the M70s for $300/pair. If you have $300/speaker, then ya, you can smoke the M70s no problem.
3. What is the applications?

As for question 3, I mean, what size constraints? Does it have to be tall and thin? What is the listening distance? Are these going to be mains or surrounds? Above ear height and pointing down, mounted on a wall, on the ceiling....

Here's a couple links to whet your appetite for DIY.

http://speakerdesignworks.com/NS6project_1.html
http://www.diysoundgroup.com/waveguide-speaker-kits.html
http://www.diysoundgroup.com/forum/index.php?topic=37.msg267#msg267
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuxedocivic View Post

Well, first a few questions.
1. Do looks matter? If they do, you better be a really good woodworker, or just forget it now.
2. Is that $300 for the pair? Looks to me you can't get the M70s for $300/pair. If you have $300/speaker, then ya, you can smoke the M70s no problem.
3. What is the applications?
As for question 3, I mean, what size constraints? Does it have to be tall and thin? What is the listening distance? Are these going to be mains or surrounds? Above ear height and pointing down, mounted on a wall, on the ceiling....
Here's a couple links to whet your appetite for DIY.
http://speakerdesignworks.com/NS6project_1.html
http://www.diysoundgroup.com/waveguide-speaker-kits.html
http://www.diysoundgroup.com/forum/index.php?topic=37.msg267#msg267

1) They do. Call me shallow, but I'm very much into aesthetics... to the extent the M70's are about as ugly as I'm willing to go. One of my best friends is a master wordworker, so he'll be my guy for making sure the end result is pretty.
2) The M70's regularly go on sale for $150 each, and when they go open-box, it's for $135 each. I'm not in a massive rush, so I'd wait for these deals (monthly) to return before purchasing.
3) Well, these will be surrounds for large-room (26x13x18ft ceilings) surrounds for a 5.1 setup for 50/50 HT/gaming. The majority of time they'll spend standing on either side of my computer desk (I work from home) and be used for music 95% of the time.

The Stentorians finished in piano black would be pretty sleek. The drivers are $9 each... would I be naive to believe that the Polk's 6.5" drivers are better quality than $9 each?

I've sifted through the stuff over at diysoundground.com. To be honest, I find most of their stuff pretty ugly.

As for appearance/aesthetics, I really really like the Dynamic 4Ts: http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=88225.0

That's such a great looking setup, and from what I hear, great sounding. Deewan has invited me over - I need to go give his similar setup a listen.

That said, I'm not quite to the point where I can spend a couple grand on my LCR. I really need to stay under $350ish max.
Edited by ahheck01 - 1/4/13 at 3:20pm
post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahheck01 View Post

1) They do. Call me shallow, but I'm very much into aesthetics... to the extent the M70's are about as ugly as I'm willing to go. One of my best friends is a master wordworker, so he'll be my guy for making sure the end result is pretty.
2) The M70's regularly go on sale for $150 each, and when they go open-box, it's for $135 each. I'm not in a massive rush, so I'd wait for these deals (monthly) to return before purchasing.
3) Well, these will be surrounds for large-room (26x13x18ft ceilings) surrounds for a 5.1 setup for 50/50 HT/gaming. The majority of time they'll spend standing on either side of my computer desk (I work from home) and be used for music 95% of the time.
The Stentorians finished in piano black would be pretty sleek. The drivers are $9 each... would I be naive to believe that the Polk's 6.5" drivers are better quality than $9 each?

The price of the NS6's are for a closeout, they actually perform very well. I would definitely put the stentorians up against the m70s without hesitation.
post #5 of 16
Ya, the Sentorians should be pretty good. But for the sake of keeping things matching, I'd probably go with the Polks.

Personally, I haven't been very impressed with the quality of parts when I go to best buy or any of those places and look at polks and others. The tweeters are usually fancy looking but cheap little junkers. The NS6 might be $9 and a little ugly, but I bet the woofers in the Polks are $8 tongue.gif The cabs too, usually flimsy particle board with a cheap vinyl finish on them. DIY with $300 to spend is about being innovative and getting a quality product that the stores can't sell you. Not about bang for the buck. If you didn't mind the looks of some of the waveguide speakers, I'd lead you that way. But I understand when someone cares about looks. I don't blame you.
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahheck01 View Post

I've sifted through the stuff over at diysoundground.com. To be honest, I find most of their stuff pretty ugly.

So use grills. I intend to when I do my curved cab Tempest build this Spring.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Would it be possible to build the a variation of the Dynamic 4 that was less expensive - like perhaps using drivers that are a bit less expensive but still provide similar performance, etc?

Looking at the shopping list for them, the drivers along are:

8 x 7" Reference = $43.16 * 8 = $345.28
4 x 4" Titanium = $63.20 * 4 = $252.8
2 x 1" Dome = $81.40 * 2 = $162.8

Total for just drivers for the pair: $760.88
Edited by ahheck01 - 1/5/13 at 12:50am
post #8 of 16
Pick out drivers with posted measurements and I can design you a speaker. It won't be a proven design obviously, but it will work very well.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Interesting! Though I'm not sure I'd be knowledgeable to start from that end? I guess here's my priorities:

1) Sound is better than, or at least equal to the Polk M70's
2) Price for everything but the woodwork isn't much more than $300 for the pair (unless they can be 15 times better for an extra $120 bucks)
3) Appearance is better than or equal to the M70's. Prefer a floor-stander with presence. Multiple midrange drivers (5.5-7"), though that preference is purely aesthetically based, and I'm open minded.

The 4T's match my desires in every way but price. I just don't know different drivers - what their tradeoffs are, what the resulting experience is, etc., so I'm not aware of what (if any) compromises can be made in a pair of 4Ts that would still ensure equal or better performance to the M70's.

I'm not sure if that helps? I'm willing to research if you point me in the right direction.

Thank you!
post #10 of 16
A speaker like the 4T is tough to do for $300, that is a lot of drivers. If you dont want to go with the Stens or one of the cheaper SEOS designs, a TMWW with larger woofers would be my direction. The price of multiple drivers quickly adds up.
post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahheck01 View Post

Would it be possible to build the a variation of the Dynamic 4 that was less expensive - like perhaps using drivers that are a bit less expensive but still provide similar performance, etc?
Certainly. The listed drivers are pretty much top of the line; you could spend a third what they cost with only a minimal loss of quality, and they'd still be much better drivers than those found in something like the M70. But doing so does require a pretty high skill set.
Quote:
I bet the woofers in the Polks are $8
+1, OEM cost at any rate. Retail, maybe $14.95.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay1 View Post

A speaker like the 4T is tough to do for $300, that is a lot of drivers.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

Certainly. The listed drivers are pretty much top of the line; you could spend a third what they cost with only a minimal loss of quality, and they'd still be much better drivers than those found in something like the M70. But doing so does require a pretty high skill set.

So I think this might be a good place to compromise. I'll budge a little on price if it means ending up with some less expensive 4Ts. Jay, would you be willing to suggest some alternate drivers in the 4T configuration? If possible to do without ruining aesthetics with dirt cheap drivers, I can see stretching the budget a bit.
post #13 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahheck01 View Post


I've sifted through the stuff over at diysoundground.com. To be honest, I find most of their stuff pretty ugly.

That's where the DIY part comes in, you have to finish the cabinets the way you like them.
post #14 of 16
To each his own. I like the look of horns. If you make a grill it doesn't matter.
post #15 of 16
To answer your question. No, you can't take a proven design and change it. Speakers are not really interchangeable, that would make it a new design.

On Parts Express Tech Talk, there was a design competition for a pair of speakers for under $200 / pair using a Peerless woofer. It was an MTM design that won the contest. I'll see if I can dig that up... Iron Driver contest.. 2012...
Edited by djkest - 1/5/13 at 8:37pm
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by djkest View Post

Speakers are not really interchangeable....
Actually, they are. If you closely match T/S specs, frequency response, phase response and impedance you can swap one driver for another. The problem is the time involved in doing the necessary research, especially if you're a newbie and don't know either what to research or how to do it, but it can be done.
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