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post #1 of 25 Old 05-22-2019, 07:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Need help with driver selection.

Hi Folks,


I want to make large tower speakers for my stereo music setup. Speakers will go in the mancave, where the wife is not allowed to be, so the WAF is irrelevant (as long as the cost is less then a divorce lawyer...)



I was considering the Klipsch RP-8000F's at first, but I would prefer to make speakers rather then buy them because I need a hobby project and I want to learn something. I'd like to not exceed the price of the Klipsch towers for the driver component costs if possible.



I realize it is not easy to make good speakers. I plan on sidestepping all crossover issues by using active crossovers through a minidsp and separate amplifiers. I am good with REW and I am confident I can balance and level the frequency response.


Essentially, I would like some starting guidance on which Dayton components to use. I lean towards the reference series...


There will be no subwoofer, so bass extension should go to 30ish Hz or thereabouts.


I'm good with 2 way or 3 way design. Towers can be large. Vented enclosures are OK with up to 4" precision port kits.


I was thinking PHT1-6 tweeter, 2x RS150-4 and 2x RSS265HF-4. Seems like the midrange components are much weaker then the high and low...


Please help
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post #2 of 25 Old 05-22-2019, 07:48 AM
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@BassThatHz I remember you posting suggestions for building a speaker not all that long ago, the details are fuzzy, if I recall it was a 4 way

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post #3 of 25 Old 05-22-2019, 08:05 AM - Thread Starter
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I did what now?



Either you are confusing me with someone else, or I really have to drink less


Living in Belgium:

Downside: Limited component selection.
Upside: Sooo much beers to try.
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post #4 of 25 Old 05-28-2019, 06:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Five View Post
@BassThatHz I remember you posting suggestions for building a speaker not all that long ago, the details are fuzzy, if I recall it was a 4 way
Active is awesome, I highly recommend it.
Yeah external amps aren't the most efficient per driver/speaker at lower powers but playing the band-limited signal with no analog components is about as analog-efficient as it gets... and if you need higher power the efficiency improves DRASTICALLY, and it's VERY hard to clip with that much extra headroom (which is a good thing!)
Tweeters don't like to be clipped!!! (it tends to smoke them quickly.)

The only bad things I've heard about the minidsp is the limited voltage, hiss and inaccuracy for ULF XO's.
I'm really not sure if the HD version fixes any of those or just makes them worse you'd have to ask someone who owns one.

I use Motu 24's and Audition, it's more accurate and full XLR voltage in/out; but it requires like a PhD in comp-sci to wire/configurate/operate without issues. Not as technical as Linux/BruteFIR might be... but equally as insane a concept! LOL
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post #5 of 25 Old 05-29-2019, 11:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erik.vanhamme View Post
I realize it is not easy to make good speakers.
You start off well with realistic expectations, but then immediately say:

Quote:
I plan on sidestepping all crossover issues by using active crossovers through a minidsp and separate amplifiers. I am good with REW and I am confident I can balance and level the frequency response.
Which is a drastic oversimplification of crossover design, and makes it sound like as long as we help you pick the right drivers, you believe designing a good speaker with them will be easy.

If you have no problem getting Dayton Audio components shipped to you, why not look at the offerings from http://www.diysoundgroup.com? Those are complete kits sometimes requiring only a little extra simple woodworking. The designs are popular on this forum, so you'll receive plenty of help if you need it. You could even build them with the included passive crossovers, but with provisions to make the speakers active down the road.

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post #6 of 25 Old 06-03-2019, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry for the late reply, work has been hell.



Quote:
Originally Posted by BassThatHz View Post
The only bad things I've heard about the minidsp is the limited voltage, hiss and inaccuracy for ULF XO's.
I'm really not sure if the HD version fixes any of those or just makes them worse you'd have to ask someone who owns one.

I will definitely be using the balanced minidsp's since all my amps have balanced input. The soundcard I use is a focusrite 2i2, which has balanced outs to +4dBu. Noise wise I should be good.
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post #7 of 25 Old 06-03-2019, 12:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by fill35U View Post
... and makes it sound like as long as we help you pick the right drivers, you believe designing a good speaker with them will be easy...

I didn't say that, and if it came across that way, I apologize. I am fairly certain that choosing the wrong drivers will make it harder to get to a good result.


I looked at the diy sg kits, and none of them seem to have Dayton drivers in them.
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post #8 of 25 Old 06-03-2019, 03:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erik.vanhamme View Post
Hi Folks,


I want to make large tower speakers for my stereo music setup. Speakers will go in the mancave, where the wife is not allowed to be, so the WAF is irrelevant (as long as the cost is less then a divorce lawyer...)



I was considering the Klipsch RP-8000F's at first, but I would prefer to make speakers rather then buy them because I need a hobby project and I want to learn something. I'd like to not exceed the price of the Klipsch towers for the driver component costs if possible.



I realize it is not easy to make good speakers. I plan on sidestepping all crossover issues by using active crossovers through a minidsp and separate amplifiers. I am good with REW and I am confident I can balance and level the frequency response.


Essentially, I would like some starting guidance on which Dayton components to use. I lean towards the reference series...


There will be no subwoofer, so bass extension should go to 30ish Hz or thereabouts.


I'm good with 2 way or 3 way design. Towers can be large. Vented enclosures are OK with up to 4" precision port kits.


I was thinking PHT1-6 tweeter, 2x RS150-4 and 2x RSS265HF-4. Seems like the midrange components are much weaker then the high and low...


Please help

How far away will you be from the speakers in meters? 30hz tuning may be a bit optimistic, limiting your overall max SPL.

Ask your doctor if DIY is right for you. Side effects of DIY may include anxiety, elevated blood pressure, lightheadedness, rapid heartbeat, skeletal muscle flaccidity, euphoria, psychological dependence, insomnia, confusion, blurred vision, implusivity, uncontrolled or repeated movements.
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post #9 of 25 Old 06-03-2019, 06:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erik.vanhamme View Post
I didn't say that, and if it came across that way, I apologize. I am fairly certain that choosing the wrong drivers will make it harder to get to a good result.
My apologies if I misinterpreted you! I wanted to make sure you understood the scope of your undertaking.

I'd say the first thing you should do is set some goals. Sensitivity? Max spl before how much distortion of what type? For how long before thermal failure? With what kind of program material ("30 Hz", but are you going to need a high-pass filter, at what probable frequency?)? How are they going to be placed- baffle wall, a meter away from any walls, how much toe-in? What's the room like, what kind of treatments? Any mids/highs going to be bipolar/dipolar/multipolar/omnipolar? How far away will the listening position(s) be, and at what relative height? What nominal impedance? More importantly, what kind of impedance *curve* will be compatible with your amplification at the expected power levels? Size/weight constraints? Preferences for/against any particular transducer or box types?

Figure that stuff out, get some idea of what drivers to try, then realize that the crossover (whether passive or active) is the heart of the speaker. It's not about just getting a flat response along some line in front of the speaker, speakers radiate sound in complex three dimensional shapes that vary with frequency and are delayed, filtered, and reflected by everything in the room. Achieving good results with that while using the drivers optimally and simultaneously protecting them are the main jobs of the crossover.

So it's a holistic approach with many compromises. You might want to think about what criteria are the most important for this project. Another reason I suggested going with a kit, where all this has been worked out by an experienced designer.

Quote:
I looked at the diy sg kits, and none of them seem to have Dayton drivers in them.
I meant that if you can obtain Dayton components (the house brand of Parts-Express here in the U.S.), then you should have no problem buying from other U.S. companies like DIYsoundgroup. Besides, many of the DIYSG kits use parts *available* from Parts-Express, including some drivers and crossover components.

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post #10 of 25 Old 06-03-2019, 07:49 PM
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Dayton products are available in the EU @ SoundImports:


https://www.soundimports.eu/en/


That said, once the other questions are answered and a few blanks filled in, it may be more economical to choose brands that are relatively native to that part of the world compared to Dayton products. BMS, B&C, Faital Pro, 18 Sound, LaVoce are a few. ScanSpeak is another.
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Ask your doctor if DIY is right for you. Side effects of DIY may include anxiety, elevated blood pressure, lightheadedness, rapid heartbeat, skeletal muscle flaccidity, euphoria, psychological dependence, insomnia, confusion, blurred vision, implusivity, uncontrolled or repeated movements.
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post #11 of 25 Old 06-04-2019, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
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First off, thanks to all for responding.


It's clear I need to provide more detailed information. I will attempt to do so here.


Here is how far I have gotten on my own before I got stuck.
The speakers will go in my mancave. Dimensions and listener placement are in the image below. The mancave is under the roof, hence the angled ceilings. I only modeled part of the ceiling, but you get the idea.


The speakers I designed are supposed to challenge my woodworking skills. I designed large cabinets in SketchUp, with curved sides for extra difficulty.


I went through a couple of designs, but the above one is the winner regarding looks and size. I also like the idea of dual 10" woofers. It seems like just the right amount of overkill.


To find out if what I want to do is at least possible to make, I built a feasibility study box, on the same dimensions, except the height. Images below (sorry about the messy workshop):

I am confident at this point that I can make the cabinets. It will take 14 days, and 3 bottles of glue, but it can be done.


Driver wise I have the following preliminary selection:
2x RSS265HF-4 10" Reference HF Subwoofer 4 Ohm
2x RS150-4 6" Reference Woofer 4 Ohm
1x RST28F-4 1-1/8" Reference Series Fabric Dome Tweeter 4 Ohm
1x 4" Precision flared port kit


Cabinet volume is roughly 150L, give or take a couple of L. I have not calculated the exact bracing volume yet. Dropping the box size to 140L in WinISD did not change the graphs much.



I modeled in WinISD:

In the above model, I sent the maximum power to the midranges (80 Watts) and matched the woofer SPL to that. I ended up with 160 Watts going to the woofers to model flat. In that box, max power for the woofers is +/- 420 Watts, so 160 should be no problem. Driving the midranges at max RMS power can be an issue, but it models to 107dB, and I don't want to go over 100 dB. I figure that sending 25% of rated RMS power to the midranges would still yield acceptable distortion numbers.


The speakers are designed to have the tweeter at ear level when I sit in my most comfy seat. I had my girlfriend measure.


Regarding the box volume and port tuning, I have the DATS measurement system from Dayton which I used in the past to measure the real tuning frequency of the speaker+cabinet for my subs. It seems WinISD is always a bit off with the real tuning...



To summarize:
I will be 2.4m away from the speakers.
Speakers will be angled 60 degrees apart and face the listener position directly.
I am looking for 100 dB.
Cabinets can be large.


I have only considered Dayton drivers at this point because I am happy with the ultimaxes I have from them. I can expand to anything available on the soundimports website, although it seems Dayton is the more reasonably priced brand.


Please educate me on where I went wrong. I appreciate all feedback, including "it sucks, start over" (in that case please tell me why).
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Last edited by erik.vanhamme; 06-04-2019 at 12:06 PM. Reason: Re-uploaded the pictures because they seemed too small to see.
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post #12 of 25 Old 06-04-2019, 05:31 PM
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post #13 of 25 Old 06-05-2019, 05:24 AM
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So for your very first speaker project, you plan on designing a 3way Xover? I am going to give you some sound wisdom from a very competant speaker builder. Stop. Find a speaker project designed by someone that knows what they are doing, check the ego at the door thinking that I can do this, and come away from the project with a respectable sounding result. Disregard this, and...well...you will have a result many of us have experienced, an expensive lesson...
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post #14 of 25 Old 06-05-2019, 11:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buggers View Post
So for your very first speaker project, you plan on designing a 3way Xover? I am going to give you some sound wisdom from a very competant speaker builder. Stop. Find a speaker project designed by someone that knows what they are doing, check the ego at the door thinking that I can do this, and come away from the project with a respectable sounding result. Disregard this, and...well...you will have a result many of us have experienced, an expensive lesson...
Please go back and read the thread. I explicitly acknowledged that I don't know how to build crossovers and that I will use an active 3way, with 3 amplifiers.


I can then set the crossover points in software, which would allow the amplifiers to deal with the impedance variations of the drivers. After that I can measure frequency response and set the parametric EQ to flatten the full system's frequency response. If I want to correct for group delays and impulse response, I can add dirac live to the system.


In essence, I want to use my knowledge about DSP and software to fill in for my lack of knowledge in crossover design.
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post #15 of 25 Old 06-05-2019, 11:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the hint, I will look into these in detail. I could use those drivers in my project, but I will have to work on the volume. What I had in mind is twice as large as the nexus mtmww's.
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post #16 of 25 Old 06-06-2019, 12:06 AM
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You don't seem shy about spending money on all of this.



In any case, the best bang for your buck would be to buy some 15" molded PA boxes like the Behringer B215s and concentrate your DIY urges on fabricating a couple of subwoofers.
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post #17 of 25 Old 06-06-2019, 07:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erik.vanhamme View Post
Please go back and read the thread. I explicitly acknowledged that I don't know how to build crossovers and that I will use an active 3way, with 3 amplifiers.


I can then set the crossover points in software, which would allow the amplifiers to deal with the impedance variations of the drivers. After that I can measure frequency response and set the parametric EQ to flatten the full system's frequency response. If I want to correct for group delays and impulse response, I can add dirac live to the system.


In essence, I want to use my knowledge about DSP and software to fill in for my lack of knowledge in crossover design.
A digital xo certainly helps in making a multiway design manageable. There are still some things you need to know other than "flatten response". Where does distortion start to rise in each speaker? Is total distortion lower with a 250Hz xo point or 350Hz? How will you know? Is there ringing in the upper midrange? Should that be flattened with eq, mechanically damped, or both? What does the vertical dispersion look like? Should you use 2nd order or 4th order acoustic slopes to give the best on axis response? Does that mean your digital filter is 4th order or 3rd order? Where are you measuring response? What is the polar response like? Do you get a smoother transition with 250Hz or 350Hz xo point? If distortion is better with a 350Hz xo, and dispersion is better with a 250Hz xo, what do you choose? How will you know? Does that mean a different driver or drivers would have been a better choice for your baffle? Does that mean you need to alter your baffle?

I only hit some highlights. But there is more than just 'flatten response with eq' whether using dsp or not.
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post #18 of 25 Old 06-06-2019, 10:25 AM
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Whether you do active or passive my recommendation is the same...but hey you probably make more money than me so why not have some fun and experiment?
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post #19 of 25 Old 06-06-2019, 10:36 AM
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If you have the money to spend I would say go for it, experience learning hands on is great if you can afford it. Though I would do a lot of reading and digging before taking on this sort of project.
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post #20 of 25 Old 06-06-2019, 12:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Five View Post
If you have the money to spend I would say go for it, experience learning hands on is great if you can afford it. Though I would do a lot of reading and digging before taking on this sort of project.
^This.^ With the DSP and separate amps you can learn and tweak as you go. You may not have considered every design issue or trade-off at this point but your system will be flexible enough to work on it. I think you're enclosure shape is probably a good platform to start with. From what extremely little I know about speaker design, that shape should be good about baffle diffraction.
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post #21 of 25 Old 06-06-2019, 12:24 PM
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This is a really good looking start to the project.

You have really good drivers that you have chosen. They each have pretty wide passbands and are excellent performers on the distortion side. You will be able to easily get your 100db listening level with this set up assuming you have enough power for the dual 10's.

I say keep going and give the 3-way a roll. You will want the Mini-DSP 4X10 HD, although someone else might have a different active crossover solution as far as the filtering and EQ are concerned. I did my first set of 2-ways using the 2X4 and it turned out really good. Better response than I got from my later passive version.

In terms of getting set up to do the crossovers, you will need to be able to measure, and REW with a UMIK is probably the best bet. Measurement techniques will be what you want to read up on. This will include determining the best driver crossover points as it relates to both distortion profiles and off axis characteristics.

As @Red Five mentioned, experience is a great teacher. I think you will come out of this with a really sweet set of speakers given some time, determination, and asking lots of questions. There's nothing wrong with just measuring everything and just winging it to start. Then you can start to dial it in, educate yourself, dial it in some more, scrap it all, start over, dial it in, and voila - 3-way speakers!

Good luck!
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post #22 of 25 Old 06-06-2019, 12:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by erik.vanhamme View Post
Thanks for the hint, I will look into these in detail. I could use those drivers in my project, but I will have to work on the volume. What I had in mind is twice as large as the nexus mtmww's.
The drivers you have already mentioned are a step up in performance as far as distortion characteristics go, as well as more beef on the bottom end with the Reference 10's. If you are good with the price of what you've mentioned above, I would stick with those. Not that the DS series is bad, the Reference series are just better.
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post #23 of 25 Old 06-09-2019, 02:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks to all for replying. I read all replies with great interest.


You all convinced me it will be hard. I knew that already, but it being hard just means there are more things I can learn. It kinda makes me want to do it even more.



The consensus seems to be that the chosen Daytons will do the job, so I will most likely go with them.


To put the money thing into perspective, I look at it this way:

I went through 7 iterations of my subwoofer design. I spent 1000 euros on that project, and it took me 2 years to complete. I hit and exceeded my design goals of 115dB at 20 Hz at listener position, and they play very well, smooth and awesome. They integrate well with the system too, and my wife loves the 2 small tables in the living room. That project cost me about as much as a week of holiday somewhere where it doesn't rain, and kept me busy for 2 years instead of a week. And I learned a lot... It's worth it.


I will not spend all the money up front, here is my battle plan:
Phase 1:

  1. Buy the tweeter and 6" midrange drivers.
  2. Build a small 11 liter test box for the 2 midranges and tweeter, in the dimensions they would have in the final project. Box will have the full front baffle to put the tweeter at ear level.
  3. Setup a 2 way crossover in Equalizer APO (https://sourceforge.net/projects/equalizerapo/) on my computer. Send the 4 channels of PCM to an older receiver (in direct mode) via HDMI, and power tweeter and midrange from 4 of the channels.
  4. Measure, tweak, change amount of stuffing until happy with the result.
  5. Listening session, with speakers in correct location and final seat (may add an old sub here to have some bottom end)
Phase 2:
  1. Buy the woofers.
  2. Build test box. Non curved sides. Quick and dirty.
  3. Switch equalizer APO to my analog soundcard (I have an https://www.asus.com/Sound-Cards/Essence_STX_II_71/) and setup 3 way crossover (keeping XO settings for midrange/tweeter transition).
  4. Borrow the amplifiers from the home cinema system for 2 weeks (3x behringer A500 reference), apologize profusely to the wife.
  5. Measure, tweak, change amount of stuffing until happy with the result.
  6. Listening session, with speakers in correct location and final seat.
If at this point it still sounds like crap, I will be in real trouble If not...
Phase 3:
  1. Buy the final amps and MiniDSP. Soundcard will be focusrite 2i2, so I switch to full balanced at this point.
  2. Build the final boxes, however many attempts it takes.
  3. Transfer the components, measure and tweak where needed.



If I succeed at this, I will try building a 3 way crossover. I can keep it outside of the speakers since they will have 3 sets of binding posts anyway.


Best regards, Erik
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post #24 of 25 Old 06-10-2019, 02:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Update: Phase1 drivers have been ordered. Going with the reference series.
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post #25 of 25 Old 06-10-2019, 07:09 AM
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The RS series can produce some outstanding speakers. My current MTM's were designed by the master xover designer Jon Marsh, sitting on top of dual Dayton RS 15" bass bins.
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