Let's Build Some Titans! - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 37 Old 07-31-2018, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Let's Build Some Titans!

It's happy days here in the strawberry household! No longer will I have to worry about people staring at my neck, or reacting poorly to my semi-frequent 'Nam flashbacks, because they'll be too busy ogling over my new front stage! This was my first ever DIY build, and I wanted to share details and pics in order to help inspire and invite any other newcomers to do the same. I found a wealth of information in this sub-forum that helped me tremendously, and I want to do my part to give back what I can to this great community. Bottom line: if you're lurking here, wondering if the DIY route is for you, but you're intimidated or unsure- I hope this build thread can help get you off the fence. I guess what I'm trying to say is, don't worry:



First a little background on me and my theater room: I've long been a vehement videophile, which is understandable since I have a background in video/film work. I have a JVC RS500 that I keep calibrated and tuned to perfection. But, I've always tended to spend money and time improving my final image at the expense of my sound. I decided I wanted that to change in 2018. I came into the year with a little SVS SCS-02 package that I had used for mains/surrounds since around 2011. While they're pleasant enough, they just weren't giving me big enough sound to match my 115" screen. For bass, I have a pair of HSU VTF-15H's that I plan to ditch in favor of 18"s in Marty cabs eventually, but I wanted to start by upgrading my L/C/R, because I felt like they were holding me back more so than the subs.

My room is fairly large, at 20'x24', and around 3,800 cubic feet. It's a dedicated space with 100% light control, but it does split time between home theater duty and get-togethers for sporting events and such, where some lights need to be on in the room and people need to be up and around. For that reason, I have an ALR screen (Black Diamond 1.4) which rules out any notion of doing a baffle wall and putting speakers behind it. Thus, I needed to look at a traditional horizontal center channel that could go below the screen.

I came into the process wanting towers and a large center. I looked at and was intrigued by the Klipsch RP line and Emotiva's Airmotiv T2/C2. Somewhere along the way, while on the speaker sub-forum, I came across a post advocating for 1099's over ID or store brands. That ultimately led me here. I perused and looked at build threads, I looked on the DIYSG site, and I really started considering it. I read up on the benefits of the SEOS designs and constant directivity and of the high efficiency that Matt and Ryan and Jeff's designs all boasted. I looked at and considered 1099's, 1299's, F15's (which would just fit under my screen as a vertical center option)- and I went back and forth for a while. But what I really kept coming back to were the Titans.

I mean: why go to the trouble of building if I was just going to want something bigger/better in a year or two? Why f**k around? Who are half-measures for? Panzies, that's who!!! It was settled. I was going to buy and build the Titans.

I just had one problem: the bottom of my screen is about 35" off the floor. Even if laid horizontal, the narrow/deep Titan cab was going to be too tall to fit under there. I was going to have the top of the waveguide poking up into the bottom of my image! The solution? Time to build a custom box!



I arrived at these dimensions to keep the outside volume at roughly the same 5.16 cubic footage as the stock Titan cabs while keeping the top of the waveguide from encroaching upon the bottom edge of my screen. I was all set. It was time to order these bad boys and get to work!!!

(to be continued...)
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Last edited by strawberry; 07-31-2018 at 02:03 PM.
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post #2 of 37 Old 07-31-2018, 02:29 PM - Thread Starter
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My order and experience with DIYSG.com: So, I ordered three Titan LX kits, two of the narrow flat packs for my L/R, and three pre-assembled crossovers from Erich. I just want to take a moment to give Erich some props: he's an absolute professional. I don't think I ever waited longer than ten or fifteen minutes for a response from him via email. When I had questions about what to do with my center channel design, he hooked me directly up with Matt to make sure I got the best possible answers. You just aren't going to get this kind of interaction and support with even the best ID or store brands, people. Between the community here and your access to the designers themselves- you really can't back yourself into a corner that you won't get helped out of. It's a huge plus for anyone thinking of going DIY, IMO.

So I place my order. And just eight days later...



Hello. Nice to meet you.

Erich's reputation as a packer/shipper preceded him, and I was not disappointed:















Damn near bulletproof packing job.

Next step: build some cabinets!!!

(to be continued...)
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post #3 of 37 Old 07-31-2018, 02:51 PM
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Awesome. Looking forward to the rest of the story.
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post #4 of 37 Old 07-31-2018, 02:56 PM
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Looking nice good luck with the build. I am hoping to do some titans after i finally get a dedicated room. I look forward to seeing your build and impressions of them.
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post #5 of 37 Old 07-31-2018, 02:58 PM
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post #6 of 37 Old 07-31-2018, 03:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by eng-399 View Post
Sweet! Your going to love these! Congrats man
Well- that's the thing: I'm kind of cheating, here! This is a post-build, build thread. I've had these guys finished and in my room since Friday. I was just too obsessed with getting them finished up to do an in-progress build thread, so I'm doing it after-the-fact. The good thing being that no one's going to have to wait very long for final pics and impressions!
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post #7 of 37 Old 07-31-2018, 03:15 PM
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Yes, your going to be well pleased with your choice. I went through process as you in April and settled on the Titans. They have been up and running for three months now and still amaze me and my son. I had no idea what to expect, and that made me a bit nervous when I ordered them and when they arrived I thought "What did I do?". lol , After listening to them I will never look back. Just my two cents !
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post #8 of 37 Old 07-31-2018, 03:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Assembling the L/R cabs from the DIYSG flat packs: I'm fortunate enough to have a buddy who is a carpenter by trade (you'll be seeing him in some of the build pics) who is easily bribable with beer/pizza. Truth be told, these things were so well cut and are so easy to assemble that I really didn't need him for this step. Still, it was good to have him on board just to make sure I didn't screw anything up! Glue and clamps really are all you need to pull this off, but we went ahead and used some brad nails to speed up the process.

After a quick dry fit, we got straight to glueing and nailing. It was hot. Stupid hot. What do you expect in Oklahoma in July? So, we moved our operation indoors...





Titebond II. Nectar of the gods... And soon, the nectar of my index finger.





All done but one side and the baffle. Everything lined up perfectly. I think we had one edge on a brace we had to sand down a little to get the baffle perfectly flush on the second cab, but for a pre-cut pack, these things were phenomenally well done. My carpenter friend was very impressed!





We decided not to put the baffles on just yet so I could have plenty of room to get my denim insulation installed. This was the end of the first build session. I have no idea why I didn't snap an *end* pic of the two mostly finished cabs at the conclusion of that day. I think I just got too excited by what was in front of me, and it goes to show that this is not only my first build, but my first build thread as well!

Next order of business would be to get together with my buddy and pound out the custom center box!

(to be continued...)
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post #9 of 37 Old 07-31-2018, 03:55 PM
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posting so I can follow...
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post #10 of 37 Old 07-31-2018, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by strawberry View Post
Well- that's the thing: I'm kind of cheating, here! This is a post-build, build thread. I've had these guys finished and in my room since Friday. I was just too obsessed with getting them finished up to do an in-progress build thread, so I'm doing it after-the-fact. The good thing being that no one's going to have to wait very long for final pics and impressions!
Hurry up with the story porn already then!
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post #11 of 37 Old 07-31-2018, 04:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Hurry up with the story porn already then!
Hey- nothing wrong with a little foreplay, right?

I'll enrich the story a little bit, though. Going back to my first post in this thread- I'm 99% certain it was one of your posts that pointed me to this sub-forum. I was looking up info about one retail speaker line or another, and you were calmly explaining to another poster that they were a moron for not just going DIY. So, there you go- you successfully recruited me to the cult and sent me flying down the rabbit hole!

By the time I get done with two Marty cabs and a bunch of Volts for surround/atmos duty later this year, I'll have a better idea of whether I should thank you or blame you!
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post #12 of 37 Old 07-31-2018, 04:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Building the Custom Center: A couple days later, I get the following text from my carpenter friend:



All pieces cut for the center box and waveguide brackets. Aw, yeah. We ready, fam. Let's do this!

Because this was going to be a long, horizontal box, I wanted to do three vertical braces: one cut-out brace to go behind the woofer and two window braces to go between the woofer and ports. So, first step was to cut out some bracing holes/pieces:





Next, we assembled the box and got the bracing in there. We had to do some extra clamping and work to get flush edges and 90 degree angles everywhere vs. the flat packs. Again- a testament to how good the stuff from DIYSG is. We powered through and got everything to work, though.



Whoops! Almost forgot to get some horizontal bracing in, like a couple of newbs...



On to the baffle. He had already cut the hole for the woofer, but I really wanted to flush mount the ports like they are on the flat packs. So, he improvised, adapted, and overcame with the help of a bolt, a washer and some scrap wood.







Like a glove!



While he was busy doing the woodworking, I was busy cutting and installing my denim insulation. Ah....the wonderful aroma of 3M 77. And, yes- I took that crap outside to apply it. Be prepared to have fantastically wooly, sticky fingertips by the end of this process. I would have taken a picture, but I kinda' didn't want to touch my phone with that gack all over my hands!

Anyways. Denim insulation installed. Time to mount the crossovers!



Actually, it probably wasn't time to install the crossovers, as I then had to take special care to be sure not to get sawdust and paint on them later on in the process. Beginner's mistake. Oh, well...

Got 'em in there. Decided to mount them in the middle right-ish back panel of the L/R flat packs, and on the bottom right-ish panel of the center, with the big cap oriented away from where the woofer magnet would be. Because these are the deeper cabs, I didn't think there would be any issue with this, and there doesn't appear to be now that everything's up and running.



We then put all the baffles on and I got everything hauled out to the garage to prep for subsequent sanding and painting to be done the next day.



The final push was ready to begin! Next we'll talk about sanding/painting: everyone's favorite activity! This will be my last post for today- as I'm running out of time. I'll be back to finish the build story up and give my detailed listening impressions tomorrow.

(to be continued...)
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post #13 of 37 Old 07-31-2018, 05:58 PM
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It is looking good!
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post #14 of 37 Old 07-31-2018, 08:01 PM
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Just great.. I finally decide on building an 88-Special for my center speaker (when it's in stock again) and then I see this thread.. That titan center looks rather tempting to build to use under a 60" tv.
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post #15 of 37 Old 07-31-2018, 10:07 PM
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So how would you describe the difference in sound quality vs the SVS? Not output or bass capability per se, thats an easy win for the Titans, but how about imaging, clarity, soundstage depth?
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post #16 of 37 Old 08-01-2018, 12:15 PM - Thread Starter
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So how would you describe the difference in sound quality vs the SVS? Not output or bass capability per se, thats an easy win for the Titans, but how about imaging, clarity, soundstage depth?
I'll include some specific thoughts on this for you when I do my write-up on listening impressions at the conclusion of the build story. Should be up later today.
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post #17 of 37 Old 08-01-2018, 12:52 PM - Thread Starter
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Sanding and Painting the Cabs: I awoke the next morning refreshed and ready to work! My buddy had been nice enough to lend me a spare orbital sander, which would speed the process up for me a bit...

...or would it?...



5 minutes into using the darn thing, chunks of foam started flying everywhere. Before I could get it spun back down, the backer pad had completely disintegrated.

Oh, well. Nothing a quick trip to a box store couldn't fix!



Fast forward a couple of hours, and all three cabinets were sanded, spackled and re-sanded!



It was time to paint! For a variety of reasons, I chose to go with Duratex. The biggest one being that I need these things to be bulletproof, and don't really need the stress of worrying about a beautiful finish or paint job getting ruined. I'll go into more specific detail on that in my next post, but let's just say that I've got my reasons.

I found the Duratex to be easy to work with. I didn't prime before painting- but I'll probably consider doing so next go-around on my subs. It's not a huge deal: the Duratex bonded just fine to the raw wood and the spackling, but I probably could have saved a coat had I primed first, and primer's a lot cheaper than Duratex! As it was, I wound up rolling two heavy coats and one light third coat for finishing and final texture, except for the bottoms of the cabs, which only got one heavy coat. (I mean- who cares about the bottoms? You're never going to see 'em!)

Here they are after the first coat:





And a couple close-ups of the texture, which I rolled on pretty heavy:





I did my additional coats the following day and began to prep for the final phase: installing some dang ole' SPEAKERS!!!

(to be continued...)
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post #18 of 37 Old 08-01-2018, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Final Assembly: With painting done, it was time for the final push! I hauled all the bits and pieces back inside and began putting things together.

Port pieces!



Ports assembled and glued up!



Waveguides installed into brackets. Like a glove!



Mids and cd's installed and all wired up. Eazy peazy!





Terminal cups and Speakon connectors installed. The Neutrik connectors were easy to work with once I got the hang of 'em, but man that print is tiny. Definitely have your readers and a flashlight ready if you're a blind old fart like me... I couldn't hardly tell the +'s and -'s apart at first.





With all that done for the three cabinets, it was time to install the woofers. But there was one problem. A small, yet simultaneously BIG problem...

Rowdy. AKA: Cat-Dog. AKA: shredder of furniture, carpet, woodworking and most paper products...



This little guy can straight wreck some s**t. He's a big part of the reason I mentioned when discussing the use of Duratex in my previous post. But there's more! How would this guy react to 15" woofers, should said woofers be exposed and accessible? Hard to say. Would be a coin flip. What's for certain, though, is that if he decided those things were scratching posts, they'd be shredded in about 30 seconds. Not a chance I could afford to take. So...

Waffle grills, it is.



And there you go. Rowdy-proof cabs.



That took care of one problem. But yet another remained...

Lexi. AKA: Puffy-Poof. AKA: The world's most determined 4 pounds. AKA: Inveterate chewer and shredder of all cabling. Which is a bit of a problem in my HT room!!!



Couldn't really have her chewing through the cabling running from my cabs to the mids and cd's. There was no coin flip here, either: it's a 100% guarantee that she would chew through these. I've been playing whack-a-mole with cabling for two years with this destructive little fart. The only way around it that I've found is this:



So, carry that over to my waveguides, and you wind up with this:





Not the most attractive thing ever, but it's not like I'm going to spend much time standing behind my cabs looking at the cabling, and the most important thing is that it's all safe and secure!

With everything wired up and installed, the next step was to lug the cabinets into their final resting place and plug 'em in! Final pics and listening observations coming next!

(to be continued...)
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post #19 of 37 Old 08-01-2018, 02:25 PM
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Terminal cups and Speakon connectors installed. The Neutrik connectors were easy to work with once I got the hang of 'em, but man that print is tiny. Definitely have your readers and a flashlight ready if you're a blind old fart like me... I couldn't hardly tell the +'s and -'s apart at first.

[/I]
Glad I'm not the only one (old fart that is). I laughed at this as I recently installed some Speakons for the first time myself and I needed my readers and a flashlight to read the +1, -1 etc.

The wrap around the exposed wires is a great idea and, to me anyway, looks good.
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post #20 of 37 Old 08-01-2018, 02:55 PM - Thread Starter
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Listening Impressions: So...after hooking these guys up to my Denon 7200WA and running Audyssey, it was time to put these guys through their paces! How did they sound?

Meh, they were alright.


Thanks for reading!!!
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post #21 of 37 Old 08-01-2018, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Ha ha! Just kidding. (Like I'm going to spend two days writing up posts about my build just to say I was underwhelmed at the end of it all!)

It might be best to start with what I was expecting to hear, since expectations can so often affect our perceptions. What I thought I was building were face-rippers. When asked by my buddies about them prior to finishing my build, I would tell them that these things were going to be like the Dodge Viper of loudspeakers: no frills, no bells-n-whistles, just 0-60 in 3.2 seconds. So, buckle the hell up!

Boy, was I wrong. Not to say that the Titans can't rip your face off, or go 0-60 in 3.2 seconds: they can, and they will, but that's not what's so impressive about them. What's so impressive is the ease and grace with which they do it. This is not an aggressively voiced speaker- regardless of how loud you play it. It's just smoooooooooooth. Maybe people jacking a kilowatt into them can get them to sound strained, but I sure as hell can't pull it off up to and including volume levels that make my heart hurt. It just feels like no matter what you throw at these things, they're almost laughing back at you: "what, you think this is loud, bro?" And that's the real kicker: the Titans sound the same at 60db as they do at 90db: just 30db louder, if that makes any sense. There's no change in their tonal character, and they're not straining at all to hit those higher levels. I thought I was going to hook these things up and put them through their paces, but what really happened was that they put me through mine! I turned them up to the point that I couldn't bear to be in the room with them anymore, and there they were, just strutting along like it was no biggie.

And that butts up against another oft-cited characteristic of the Titans: sneaky-loud playback volume. I had people over on Saturday night to check these things out, and was playing some tunes through them as a primer. I got them dialed up to about where I thought they should be and let them play for a bit. Then I turned to a buddy who was sitting right next to me and realized I was basically shouting like you would do if you were at a rock concert. This phenomenon has been mentioned before, and I was aware of it, but you really have to experience it to truly understand how awesome it is.

What I discovered was that my Dodge Viper analogy was inept. This is an Astin Martin Rapide, with all the bells and whistles. Sure- it'll get you around fast as you want, but in style, and smoothly. James Bond style!

So, with general impressions out of the way, here are some more detailed thoughts separated by subject:

Sound stage: Well, it's just immense. If you just close your eyes and listen during intense action scenes, you'd think you were sitting in front of a baffle wall filled with drivers. I feel like I'm at a commercial theater in terms of scale. One good thing about my setup, and you'll see it in my pictures, is that the delta between the cd height on my custom center and on my mains is very minimal considering the fact that it's a horizontal, below-screen center setup. It's a very strong reason for flat panel owners or non-AT screen owners to consider going with Titans using my custom center design. I've watched a half dozen flicks now, and everything's very cohesive in my front stage. Huge win.

Imaging: Imaging is solid, but I wouldn't say spectacular. Now- this could well be owing to my room, which is largely untreated and my positioning within it, which is suboptimal. I'm not fussing about this at the moment because I'm going to be completely re-orienting my room in the coming weeks. Right now, I'm shooting across the short side of the room and off to one side, which was fine when I was rocking entry-level ID mid-towers, but that crap's not going to fly going forward. I'm going to re-arrange everything so that I'm shooting down the length of the room with screen and center channel all centered up. Once that's done, I'll be building some panels and traps and I have a sneaking suspicion that my imaging will improve. This will also create enough room to place a couple Marty cabs between my center and mains on each side! Hello.

Detail and dialogue reproduction: Stellar. Wow. If I could post a bunch of swear words, I'd do it here (but in a good way). Again- these things are just smoooooooth. There's detail all over the place, but it's never harsh, never clinical, never straining: just detail. As for dialogue specifically- the fullness with which voices are rendered is really something. Again- it sounds like you're at a commercial cinema. If you, at any point, cannot understand the dialogue in a film with these speakers properly set up, you can be assured it's the mixer's fault and not the speakers.

Extension: They're digging pretty deep in my space. I haven't done any sweeps to get hard #'s because of the aforementioned and impending room change, but I can tell you that Audyssey wanted to set them to Large/full band, which should tell you something. Testing them full band without the subs, I'd say they have to be getting into the low-mid 30's with room gain. But it's very clean-sounding bass: doesn't sound like the boomy, authoritative stuff you'd get out of a sub driver. My guess is that if you were really desperate to run these things full-band, especially for music, you could do pretty well with an external DSP and some boosting in the ~30 hz range. For my own use, I've got them crossed over at 60hz for the moment and everything sounds super-duper to my ears.

Comparison to my Previous Setup: @SteveCallas had asked me to compare/contrast to my previous setup. I think you can probably guess where this is headed. It's obviously unfair to pit entry-level ID mid-towers against these monsters. About the only thing equal between them in my opinion would be the imaging, and I think that's largely due to placement/room issues and a lack of room treatments. In any and every other aspect, the Titans don't even belong in the same paragraph with the SVS's, let alone the same sentence. That particular line from SVS was pretty fatigue-free, but you had to crank them to get much detail out of 'em. The Titans, by comparison, are like putting a pair of glasses on after not knowing you've needed them for half your life. That's without getting into the huge gap in efficiency and extension between the two.

Welp, that's about all I can think of at the moment. Feel free to ask questions if I've left something uncovered, here. Final pics of finished speakers coming up next!

(to be continued...)

Last edited by strawberry; 08-01-2018 at 03:23 PM.
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post #22 of 37 Old 08-01-2018, 03:06 PM
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Thanks for the great writeup!

You should have left the "meh alright" post up for a few hours lol
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My dog doesn't chew my wires. She is the size of a cat, but she has no interest in things that aren't hers. I think because I don't let her touch my stuff, she freaks out about losing any of her own toys lol.
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post #24 of 37 Old 08-01-2018, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Finished Speakers: Alright- time for some pics of the finished product. These aren't the best pics- but they're the best I can do. The only real overhead light I have in my theater room is garishly bright, so the room basically never looks anything like this, and neither do the speakers. In the normal lighting/viewing environment, everything's just...well, black.

Anyways- I'll probably come back here and update again once I get my room re-arranged and finalized, just so you can see the progress. Thanks for reading, and don't hesitate to ask questions, especially if you're on the fence about building some Titans or any of the other designs.















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post #25 of 37 Old 08-01-2018, 04:19 PM
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Great write up and impressions.


Would you be open to a demo of the Titans? Figure I am about 4 hours from you.
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post #26 of 37 Old 08-01-2018, 04:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BCRSS View Post
Great write up and impressions.


Would you be open to a demo of the Titans? Figure I am about 4 hours from you.
Absolutely- I'm happy to demo them for anyone interested. Just contact me via pm when you want to set something up!
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post #27 of 37 Old 08-01-2018, 04:56 PM
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Great write up and impressions.


Would you be open to a demo of the Titans? Figure I am about 4 hours from you.
You go Curt. That is a lot of hard work. Congrats on the build.
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Rofl you call those Titans? So small! I can't believe anyone complains about them. Look how little space they take up! Such huge volume output.

Clearly worth it.
No complaints allowed ever again!!!!!
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Nice build, I think these are the first pet resistant Titans I've seen. Tho that midrange in the center seems like prime height for destruction...maybe the metal grill on the 15 will dissuade them from going higher.
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post #30 of 37 Old 08-01-2018, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Nice build, I think these are the first pet resistant Titans I've seen. Tho that midrange in the center seems like prime height for destruction...maybe the metal grill on the 15 will dissuade them from going higher.
Yeah- I'm a little worried about the mids, too. We'll have to see how it goes. The good thing is that it's only ~$45 to replace one of those, unlike the woofer, which is $200 a pop. If it's going to be a thing, I'll figure out a way to protect 'em.

Quote:
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Rofl you call those Titans? So small! I can't believe anyone complains about them. Look how little space they take up! Such huge volume output.

Clearly worth it.
No complaints allowed ever again!!!!!
Well, you know. Now that Mike went and built his dual-15 models, the rest of us 'regular' Titan owners are just a bunch of plebs. Probably going to have to start calling them "Titan Minis" soon for accuracy's sake...

Last edited by strawberry; 08-01-2018 at 07:06 PM.
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