DIY Towers and Center Channel to beat Sierra Towers & Center with Raal - Page 2 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #31 of 71 Old 02-16-2015, 09:01 AM
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This is the kind of stuff that drove me into diy and learning the facts and what matters. The Raal measures well yes, it measures well just like a good dome tweeter. Most ribbons measure horribly. So yes it is better then the statement tweeter. Is it better then the HDS tweeter in the Clearwaves? Only if you believe that spending 4-8x more makes it better. The total speaker design is much more important then a small format tweeter.

Anyway, trying to stay away from this topic....
Then lets talk about that profile picture

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post #32 of 71 Old 02-16-2015, 09:08 AM
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Then lets talk about that profile picture

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post #33 of 71 Old 02-16-2015, 09:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Jay1 View Post
This is the kind of stuff that drove me into diy and learning the facts and what matters. The Raal measures well yes, it measures well just like a good dome tweeter. Most ribbons measure horribly. So yes it is better then the statement tweeter. Is it better then the HDS tweeter in the Clearwaves? Only if you believe that spending 4-8x more makes it better. The total speaker design is much more important then a small format tweeter.

Anyway, trying to stay away from this topic....
There are other important factors, such especially directivity pattern, which arguably is more important than distortion profile. Then there's response and difficulty to work with or shape, etc...
Is RAAL worth 3 times the cost of the HDS, it depends. Is the HDS worth 3 times the cost of a DX25 to you?
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post #34 of 71 Old 02-16-2015, 09:34 AM
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There are other important factors, such especially directivity pattern, which arguably is more important than distortion profile. Then there's response and difficulty to work with or shape, etc...
Is RAAL worth 3 times the cost of the HDS, it depends. Is the HDS worth 3 times the cost of a DX25 to you?
Depends on the scale and goals of the speaker. On the basic level of $25 vs $75 the HDS has better distortion and response smoothness. There are a lot of tweeters that dont look better then the dx25 also. It is a very good value.
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post #35 of 71 Old 02-16-2015, 11:11 AM
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I have the Sierra Towers and Horizon Center with the Raal upgrade on back order. Total was $4314. I'm wondering if I can beat them with a proven DIY design. Reference levels is NOT my priority. I just want detailed accurate sound.

I'm not looking to build the crossovers but I am willing to build the enclosures. Don't have any tools except for a drill and such. However I am looking into starting woodworking to do other projects so the price of the tools for the job is not a concern for me.

The only thing that currently comes to mind are the Statements that I looked at a couple of years ago. Are there any other options?
Sorry to derail your thread with the RAAL discussion. To answer your question, yes you can build a DIY set that will outperform the Ascend speakers (which I do think are a good value). I recently proposed to someone a dual 8" 3-way using two Dayton RSS210 woofers, SB Acoustics Satori 5", and ribbon tweeter that minus cabinets would run about $2,200 for a L/C/R. These can be run sealed for a more compact cabinet to be augmented with subwoofers or a larger ported cabinet. I've already built a variation for a HT system using a SB 1" dome and for the $ it would be difficult to beat.

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post #36 of 71 Old 02-16-2015, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Rick Craig View Post
Sorry to derail your thread with the RAAL discussion. To answer your question, yes you can build a DIY set that will outperform the Ascend speakers (which I do think are a good value). I recently proposed to someone a dual 8" 3-way using two Dayton RSS210 woofers, SB Acoustics Satori 5", and ribbon tweeter that minus cabinets would run about $2,200 for a L/C/R. These can be run sealed for a more compact cabinet to be augmented with subwoofers or a larger ported cabinet. I've already built a variation for a HT system using a SB 1" dome and for the $ it would be difficult to beat.
An your honest opinion, do you think that the Clearwaves can beat the Sierra Towers and Horizon with or without the Raal?

I have eliminated the Statements from the equation. So far the clearwaves are the only option on the table now. I have read further about them and they seem pretty good.
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post #37 of 71 Old 02-16-2015, 04:22 PM
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Sorry to derail your thread with the RAAL discussion. To answer your question, yes you can build a DIY set that will outperform the Ascend speakers (which I do think are a good value). I recently proposed to someone a dual 8" 3-way using two Dayton RSS210 woofers, SB Acoustics Satori 5", and ribbon tweeter that minus cabinets would run about $2,200 for a L/C/R. These can be run sealed for a more compact cabinet to be augmented with subwoofers or a larger ported cabinet. I've already built a variation for a HT system using a SB 1" dome and for the $ it would be difficult to beat.[/QUOTE]


Rick, can you tell me more about this kit. I'm intrigued by this combination. The sb satori driver is one of the best available, but which ribbons is it pair with.
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post #38 of 71 Old 02-16-2015, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by 357 View Post
An your honest opinion, do you think that the Clearwaves can beat the Sierra Towers and Horizon with or without the Raal?

I have eliminated the Statements from the equation. So far the clearwaves are the only option on the table now. I have read further about them and they seem pretty good.
I've not heard either speaker but I'll give you an honest perspective from the view of a designer. If possible, some people prefer to keep the coverage pattern the same across the L/C/R speakers. With the Ascend that's pretty much achieved (with the exception of the inverted mid/tweet for the towers). '

With the Clearwave design both are quite different so the on-axis response might be very close but off-axis there will be some variation. This is true both vertically and horizontally. Depending on your seating and number of listeners that might be a factor. Jed doesn't show any vertical or horizontal curves so it's hard to judge compared to the Ascend. The dual mids of the Clearwave center channel will have some horizontal coverage issues but that's the tradeoff for a second mid which allows greater output and a fairly low profile. It might be that Jed was able to cross the tweeter low enough to mitigate the horizontal coverage issue but some measurements would help show that.

The Clearwave obviously has the advantage of greater surface area from the larger woofers and having four of them per side versus two for the Ascend. The excursion capability might be different but most likely not such that the Ascend would have any advantage. The second mid in the Clearwave also yields a little more surface area than the single mid of the Ascend. If HT is your priority then the Clearwave is going to offer more output capability. Depending on how loud you listen / and or what your listening distance is this might be important to you.

I have used the HDS tweeter as well as the RAAL. I like the RAAL better but there's a distinct difference in cost. There are some domes close to the cost of the HDS that I prefer but it's not a bad tweeter. The question here is whether the extra $ might be better spent on changing something in the design versus upgrading to the RAAL. Or say if I were the Sierra designer would I opt for the RAAL tweeter or do other upgrades that increase the cost of the towers $700? This becomes difficult because I can't say for sure how the custom Ascend parts perform versus the Clearwave drivers that I have tested myself. Or maybe what parts are used in the crossover or how inert the cabinet is.

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post #39 of 71 Old 02-16-2015, 06:04 PM - Thread Starter
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I've not heard either speaker but I'll give you an honest perspective from the view of a designer. If possible, some people prefer to keep the coverage pattern the same across the L/C/R speakers. With the Ascend that's pretty much achieved (with the exception of the inverted mid/tweet for the towers). '

With the Clearwave design both are quite different so the on-axis response might be very close but off-axis there will be some variation. This is true both vertically and horizontally. Depending on your seating and number of listeners that might be a factor. Jed doesn't show any vertical or horizontal curves so it's hard to judge compared to the Ascend. The dual mids of the Clearwave center channel will have some horizontal coverage issues but that's the tradeoff for a second mid which allows greater output and a fairly low profile. It might be that Jed was able to cross the tweeter low enough to mitigate the horizontal coverage issue but some measurements would help show that.

The Clearwave obviously has the advantage of greater surface area from the larger woofers and having four of them per side versus two for the Ascend. The excursion capability might be different but most likely not such that the Ascend would have any advantage. The second mid in the Clearwave also yields a little more surface area than the single mid of the Ascend. If HT is your priority then the Clearwave is going to offer more output capability. Depending on how loud you listen / and or what your listening distance is this might be important to you.

I have used the HDS tweeter as well as the RAAL. I like the RAAL better but there's a distinct difference in cost. There are some domes close to the cost of the HDS that I prefer but it's not a bad tweeter. The question here is whether the extra $ might be better spent on changing something in the design versus upgrading to the RAAL. Or say if I were the Sierra designer would I opt for the RAAL tweeter or do other upgrades that increase the cost of the towers $700? This becomes difficult because I can't say for sure how the custom Ascend parts perform versus the Clearwave drivers that I have tested myself. Or maybe what parts are used in the crossover or how inert the cabinet is.
Thank you. Great perceptive.
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post #40 of 71 Old 02-16-2015, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by datranz View Post
Sorry to derail your thread with the RAAL discussion. To answer your question, yes you can build a DIY set that will outperform the Ascend speakers (which I do think are a good value). I recently proposed to someone a dual 8" 3-way using two Dayton RSS210 woofers, SB Acoustics Satori 5", and ribbon tweeter that minus cabinets would run about $2,200 for a L/C/R. These can be run sealed for a more compact cabinet to be augmented with subwoofers or a larger ported cabinet. I've already built a variation for a HT system using a SB 1" dome and for the $ it would be difficult to beat.

Rick, can you tell me more about this kit. I'm intrigued by this combination. The sb satori driver is one of the best available, but which ribbons is it pair with.[/QUOTE]

It's the same ribbon I use in the Anniversario. Low distortion, excellent bandwidth, and smooth response. The 3-way's sensitivity is in the 87-88db range so it's not aimed at the reference level crowd but it will still play very loud and clean with low distortion. The sealed box is -3db in the upper 40's so it's easy to integrate with a subwoofer or it can be run without subs and ported for a -3db around 35hz. 4-ohm impedance and not a difficult load to drive. I'm also thinking of an all active version supplied with a MiniDSP 4x10.

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post #41 of 71 Old 02-17-2015, 03:23 AM
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So for the $4400 that I'm going to spend on the Sierra Towers no DIY can beat it for less? Keep in mind that I'm not wanting to build for music, I'm looking to build for movies...music is not my concern. Nor is SPL. My house is an open floor plan that opens up to the rest of the house.
Yes, you can indeed beat that combination with DIY, but, as far as I know, there are no existing DIY designs with the RAAL tweeter. If your room is moderately sized, and if you like movies instead of music as your main priority, then I would go with a high effeciency design such as the Fusion 15 or Tux 1099 from DIYSG as they will likely be more suited for movies, (with greater dynamics, better dispersion, more midbass, greater power handling and effeciency). To my knowledge, the Ascends are some of the best music speakers you can get under $12,000+. However, they may not be the best option for movies. If you wanted the best of both worlds, get a pair of the Sierra 2's to use in a dedicated music room, and order 3 of the Fusion 15's for your home theater!
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post #42 of 71 Old 02-17-2015, 04:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Ordered the Clearwaves last night. Jed has been exceptional with his service so far!

Got a local Cabinent maker to cut and glue them together for $150. He's doing that now and I should have the kit by next week. Talked to the guy about Veener and he said that he'd rather a Paper Backed kind. Off looking for something that floats my boat now.

If you guys have any suggestions about the veneer or anything else feel free to chime in!
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post #43 of 71 Old 02-18-2015, 03:14 AM
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Ordered the Clearwaves last night. Jed has been exceptional with his service so far!

Got a local Cabinent maker to cut and glue them together for $150. He's doing that now and I should have the kit by next week. Talked to the guy about Veener and he said that he'd rather a Paper Backed kind. Off looking for something that floats my boat now.

If you guys have any suggestions about the veneer or anything else feel free to chime in!
What drivers do the Cleareaves use? Are they a high effeciency design?
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post #44 of 71 Old 02-18-2015, 04:18 AM - Thread Starter
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What drivers do the Cleareaves use? Are they a high effeciency design?
Al can be found out at their webpage. I wasn't looking for a high efficiency design either. I don't listen to things at reference levels or even close to them.
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post #45 of 71 Old 02-18-2015, 08:19 AM
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Looking forward to your build and review.

I am considering a similar project in a year or so to replace a 20 year old Infinity Composition Prelude P-FR, P-CC, and P-QPS system and was looking into an updated version of speakers I built a decade ago and use in another room from North Creek Music. NCM used to be regularly recommended in the DIY crowd but I don’t see them come up on AVS.

I am very happy with the Vision Signatures I built, am a fan of the ScanSpeak Revelator tweeters and woofers, and like the near wall specific design of the Big Kat Revelator.
The Big Kats’ are double the price and while I know I will love how they sound I am open to more economical options.
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post #46 of 71 Old 02-21-2015, 11:00 PM
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I responded to your PM prior to reading this thread. I can give you a firsthand comparison between the Statements and the Clearwaves. PM me for a review.

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post #47 of 71 Old 02-22-2015, 08:21 AM
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I just googled and read up on the Clearwave speakers that you are going with. They seem to be a very strong combination of drivers, but, I think that they will fall well short of the Ascend Sierra and Horizon combination, especially if you were going with the upgraded Raal version.

Those Dayton woofers are pretty good, and I have heard them used in another design, as well as the Tang Band mids, but the mid and woofers used in the Sierra's are of higher quality.

I can not recall hearing that specific Scan Speak tweeter, and while I have heard plenty of SS tweeters in the past , and can honestly say the ones I have experienced are excellent, they are, however, no match to the Raal's.

The Raal, when implemented properly, is one of the best tweeters on the market for detail, accuracy, transparency, and has the most sparkling top ends of just about anything out there.

Now whether the differences between the Clearwaves and the Ascends are worth the price difference, that is only something that you can decide. If it were me, I would go with the Ascends. There honestly isn't anything in this price range that will beat them for the kind of music that I listen to, and if I wouldn't have gone for them, I would forever be wondering; what if? If you can't swing the $4,400 to buy the Sierra and Horizon combo, you can get the next best thing in the Sierra 2 for your LCR with enough money leftover for a nice pair of subs, and possibly some change in your pocket!
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post #48 of 71 Old 02-22-2015, 10:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Tip24/96 View Post
I just googled and read up on the Clearwave speakers that you are going with. They seem to be a very strong combination of drivers, but, I think that they will fall well short of the Ascend Sierra and Horizon combination, especially if you were going with the upgraded Raal version.

Those Dayton woofers are pretty good, and I have heard them used in another design, as well as the Tang Band mids, but the mid and woofers used in the Sierra's are of higher quality.

I can not recall hearing that specific Scan Speak tweeter, and while I have heard plenty of SS tweeters in the past , and can honestly say the ones I have experienced are excellent, they are, however, no match to the Raal's.

The Raal, when implemented properly, is one of the best tweeters on the market for detail, accuracy, transparency, and has the most sparkling top ends of just about anything out there.

Now whether the differences between the Clearwaves and the Ascends are worth the price difference, that is only something that you can decide. If it were me, I would go with the Ascends. There honestly isn't anything in this price range that will beat them for the kind of music that I listen to, and if I wouldn't have gone for them, I would forever be wondering; what if? If you can't swing the $4,400 to buy the Sierra and Horizon combo, you can get the next best thing in the Sierra 2 for your LCR with enough money leftover for a nice pair of subs, and possibly some change in your pocket!
Hmm I've talked to some owners and they all have stated that the Clearwaves compete with $800 to $10000 speakers that they have heard with their own ears. After I'm done with the build and if I'm nit impressed I'll order the Ascends and compare the two and return or sell off the loser.
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post #49 of 71 Old 02-22-2015, 10:38 AM
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Yes, you can indeed beat that combination with DIY, but, as far as I know, there are no existing DIY designs with the RAAL tweeter. If your room is moderately sized, and if you like movies instead of music as your main priority, then I would go with a high effeciency design such as the Fusion 15 or Tux 1099 from DIYSG as they will likely be more suited for movies, (with greater dynamics, better dispersion, more midbass, greater power handling and effeciency). To my knowledge, the Ascends are some of the best music speakers you can get under $12,000+. However, they may not be the best option for movies. If you wanted the best of both worlds, get a pair of the Sierra 2's to use in a dedicated music room, and order 3 of the Fusion 15's for your home theater!
I've designed several DIY kits with the RAAL tweeters.

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post #50 of 71 Old 03-13-2015, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Well $475 dollars and a month later. My cabinets got delivered. And of course they are all wrong. For starters they had both tweeters to the left. I told the guy that one tweeter was incorrect and it needed to be turned to the right (I had given him pictures to show how they were supposed to be oriented)...I asked him to build me a new one and that I would pay him the difference as I was thinking about ordering two more kits for surrounds. Oh no he'll fix and no problem.

So I took delivery today. The idiot rotated both tweeters to the right and cut half of the boxes off to do it. I also had asked him to flush mount the speakers and I go him one mid, tweeter, and woofer to get the measurements. And ofcourse he gave them back to me destroyed. Tweeter was pushed in. Mid's cone was messed up. Woofer has MDF dust all over it.

I'm so pissed off right now that I'm ready to destroy something.
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post #51 of 71 Old 03-13-2015, 07:41 PM
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I'm really sorry to hear about your issues. I'd definitely be asking for compensation for it. I've been watching the Clearwave speakers for a while so I was looking forward to your review of them.

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post #52 of 71 Old 03-14-2015, 04:41 AM
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All the more reason to go with the Ascend Sierra's and Horizon, assuming that you can afford them! Ascend has been around for a good while now, and you will rarely, if ever, find a complaint about their build quality, customer service, or their willingness to fix any issues that may arrise. I bought some used Ascend surrounds from a forum member last December and the woofer ended up getting broken during shipment. I contacted Dave at Ascend and he sent out a replacement woofer the same day with no questions asked, for free!
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post #53 of 71 Old 03-15-2015, 07:43 PM
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I thought Jed offered a Flat Pack option with the Clearwaves? http://www.clearwavespeakers.com/web...5/300200/82317 Why didn't you just buy the flatpacks and glue them yourself?

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post #54 of 71 Old 03-17-2015, 09:44 AM
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wow sorry to hear man, the drivers are available if you need to get replacements. i would definitely demand compensation for destruction of my speakers and not pay him a further cent. take your business elsewhere. i have the 4t and 4cc and i am very happy with them.
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post #55 of 71 Old 03-19-2015, 05:28 PM - Thread Starter
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I thought Jed offered a Flat Pack option with the Clearwaves? http://www.clearwavespeakers.com/web...5/300200/82317 Why didn't you just buy the flatpacks and glue them yourself?
They are no longer available.

Well I got one built today. Got her all ready then I realized that I forgot to put the speaker gasket tape on! Will it make that big of a difference?

Hopefully will have the other ready by Monday. Shouldn't take me as long to wire her up as I've done it all ready!
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post #56 of 71 Old 03-19-2015, 05:38 PM
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Well that sucks. I would think as long as the speaker is tight your ok. If you hear the speaker rattle or just want piece of mind, spend an hr or so putting the tape on and re-installing.
I have been considering those along with the ERM-18, an older design but look like a descent speaker for the price http://meniscusaudio.com/kits-c-133.html?page=2&sort=3a
I see PE also offers the Solstice which looks nice with flatpacks but im not sure about the smaller drivers. I have always preferred a larger woofer, never had luck with a 5" (IMO)

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DIY QSC SC-2150 L,C,R (10) QSC SR-8101 sides, rears & atmos/dst-x
DIY (4) Fusion Tempest, 88 Special
DIY (6) JBL cx12" UM-15", SI-18" subs, BFM Tuba HT, Dayton MKIII 15", (2) PA460 mbm
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post #57 of 71 Old 03-19-2015, 08:02 PM - Thread Starter
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And now I just remembered that I forgot to put the foam over the sealed chamber with the tweeters and mids. Oh boy.
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post #58 of 71 Old 03-19-2015, 08:19 PM
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I've built both the Statement and the Dynamics. I've also built extra cabinets for the Statements and Dynamics for others. If you have ANY questions please feel free to ask. Jed is also a pleasure to deal with as I assume you know by now.

The Other Theater (most recent build)
Old Woods Remodel
Old Wood Theater (first build)
Emotiva RMC-1 9.1.6 | JVC X790R | Emotiva XPA-5 | Emotiva XPA 4-3s | Oppo 203 | DIYSG 1099 | DIYSG Volt 8 | DIYSG Volt 6 | SVS PC-4000 | Seymour UF 132"
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post #59 of 71 Old 03-22-2015, 10:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Just got the left and right done and hooked up...

OH MY GOD

These are not broken in yet and it's the most AMAZING thing I've ever heard in my life. My Ascend Sierra 1s do not even matter to me anymore. I'll throw them in a dumpster no questions asked.

I've got these crossed over at 80 and even crappy YouTube audio rips sound good. I'm hearing stuff I've never heard before.

Gonna order two more and get my center setup and I'll be done for 15 years.

10/10
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post #60 of 71 Old 03-22-2015, 11:48 AM
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Now your re-convincing me to build them. ugh.. I have been so close for a few years now just haven't pulled the trigger. Perhaps after my theater room is built.

Marantz 7702mk2, Panasonic 8000 w/ 130" AT Screen HTPC w/48 tb
DIY QSC SC-2150 L,C,R (10) QSC SR-8101 sides, rears & atmos/dst-x
DIY (4) Fusion Tempest, 88 Special
DIY (6) JBL cx12" UM-15", SI-18" subs, BFM Tuba HT, Dayton MKIII 15", (2) PA460 mbm
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