Planning first build - custom Volt 6 center + Volt8 or Cobalt LR? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 18 Old 01-14-2020, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Planning first build - custom Volt 6 center + Volt8 or Cobalt LR?

Just finished renovating our living room and got a new C9 55". I'm planning to build a set of mains this spring, along with a custom Volt 6 center. This will be my first build (really my first "proper" speaker system).


I can't put a center on top of the console under the tv, because it's a mid-century Lane chest, and the top needs to be able to flip open for storage. To that end, the tv will be wall mounted with the center speaker flush against the top edge of the screen using an adjustable-depth soundbar bracket (Aeon-90200). I've wired power, coax, cat6, and speaker wire for the center, along with pvc conduit for the hdmi all behind the tv... and behind the cabinet/chest underneath is another receptacle with cat6, 3x rca for the front sub and stereo aux return (echo dot), plus the LR speaker wires. All the wiring and conduit goes under the floor through the basement and back up into a dedicated tech/media closet which is underneath the stairwell.




My design for the Volt-6 center is inspired by the one posted by aron7awol. The outer dimensions will be 7h x 5.75d x 24w, which is just about the minimum depth and height for the Volt 6.
I can't keep it front ported since the enclosure will only be 4.5" deep on the inside and the 1.5"x4" ports would not have quite enough clearance. So, I'll likely put the ports on each side or else on the bottom.



I was originally planning to making all three Volt-6 in the front just to match, but the LR mains can be a bit larger which is leading me to consider other options. I like the concept of the HT-8 for voicing with the Volt-6 center, but the 16.75"x 12.5" baffle is just too big (I do wish the Fusion-6 or HT/HTM-6 were still around). So, I'm debating between the ported Volt-8, and the Cobalt 8 MT since they both are 10x14 which is the perfect size.


goals & configuration details:
- 70% movies/tv, 30% music
- We watch tv at around/under 60db, but sometimes for movies and shows we'll crank up to 75db baseline @ 8ft (according to a db meter app on my phone)
- The room is 14.5' x 15' and 9'3" ceiling height. The side to the left is open to the dining room which is 17x18 and to the right the room has 45 degree corners (4ft wide) for double-hung windows with very large picture/transom window in between (kind of shaped like a bay window set, but it's the whole side of the room). We'll have floor to ceiling velvet curtains drawn to the sides of each of the windows.

- MLPs are both off axis, and since this is more of a family/living room there is no seat in the middle... so off-axis response is one of my biggest concerns and why I'm going with a coaxial for the center instead of horizontal mtm (trying to avoid any lobing issues)
- LRs will be on stands on each side of the tv probably 10in or less from the wall
- The AVR will be a Denon x3500h, so I can use XT32
- I'll be building two sealed subwoofers probably with the Dayton DCS255-4 (10"), but only after the LCR are all done.


All else being equal, I'm slightly leaning towards building the Cobalts since I expect that the dome tweeter will probably have a smoother and more musical response than the CD, plus according to specs they have a little more bass extension than the Volts (60hz vs 65hz) and are still high enough sensitivity for avr power... but I'm a little concerned about voicing differences especially between the dome tweeters and the compression driver on the center.


My gut feeling is that the Cobalts will be a step up from the Volts, and that after running eq/xt32 it probably will blend with the center just fine, but there's not much in the way of comparison to go off (only 2 builds I can find: ghart999 and ratm), and to be honest I just haven't heard any higher-end home theater systems let alone any diy speakers to have a point of reference here.


How different sounding are the Cobalts from the Volts? Has anybody heard both sets to compare? Maybe I'm just looking for validation that the Cobalt LR and a Volt Center will sound fine together. I'd also welcome any other feedback/criticism of my plan so far! Sorry that this is my first post on avsforum, I can't post any pics of the floorplan/room or the sketchup drawings for the center just yet, but I'll be happy to as soon as I hit the required 5 posts!
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post #2 of 18 Old 01-14-2020, 04:41 PM - Thread Starter
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Ah! My post did include the room pic that I uploaded... just can't embed or link in the text.


I can also share a floor plan and a quick sketchup of the center speaker showing side ports vs bottom ports. I like that bottom ports will make the cabinet look less cluttered, but I don't know if firing right between the wall and tv could create resonance issues.
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post #3 of 18 Old 01-14-2020, 05:30 PM
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Why not just use the Cobalt MT with a modified cabinet for the center? I think the Volt-10 sealed box is relatively small and could be used for all 3. I suppose the depth is more than the others listed but not by much.
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post #4 of 18 Old 01-14-2020, 05:39 PM
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I haven't heard the Cobalts, but I can offer my experience with the different combinations I ran for extended periods of time...

Originally I ran my ported Volt-6 center with ported Volt-10 LRs. After a while, I upgraded the Volt-10s to Fusion-15s while still running the Volt-6 center. More recently, I upgraded the Volt-6 center to a Fusion-8 center.

There was definitely a perceivable timbre difference when sounds moved across the front soundstage when I had the Fusion-15 and Volt-6 combination. With 99% of content it wasn't really noticeable, but if a voice moved from C to LR or vice versa it was noticeable. Not a deal-breaker by any means, but it was there. Everything was seamless with the Volt-6 and Volt-10 combo, and with the Fusion-8 and Fusion-15 combo.

Keep in mind it's not only about CD vs. dome, but also about the waveguide. Every speaker I mentioned uses a CD, but the waveguides made the timbre differences.
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post #5 of 18 Old 01-15-2020, 01:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnDean View Post
Why not just use the Cobalt MT with a modified cabinet for the center? I think the Volt-10 sealed box is relatively small and could be used for all 3. I suppose the depth is more than the others listed but not by much.

As far as I understand, putting drivers side-by-side will create horizontal cancellation/combing especially in the mid bass range which gets more pronounced the farther off to the side. Ideally, the center speaker should still sound good and render dialog well for the rightmost seat on the couch -- which is over 45 degrees off center.



Quote:
Originally Posted by aron7awol View Post
I haven't heard the Cobalts, but I can offer my experience with the different combinations I ran for extended periods of time...

Originally I ran my ported Volt-6 center with ported Volt-10 LRs. After a while, I upgraded the Volt-10s to Fusion-15s while still running the Volt-6 center. More recently, I upgraded the Volt-6 center to a Fusion-8 center.

There was definitely a perceivable timbre difference when sounds moved across the front soundstage when I had the Fusion-15 and Volt-6 combination. With 99% of content it wasn't really noticeable, but if a voice moved from C to LR or vice versa it was noticeable. Not a deal-breaker by any means, but it was there. Everything was seamless with the Volt-6 and Volt-10 combo, and with the Fusion-8 and Fusion-15 combo.

Keep in mind it's not only about CD vs. dome, but also about the waveguide. Every speaker I mentioned uses a CD, but the waveguides made the timbre differences.

Thanks! That's helpful especially since I don't have a sense of even how much LCR panning is used in tv and movies. It's good to know that it's not too often but if it's noticeable in some scenes it will still be a little distracting.



I might be able to do a version of this center with the Volt 8. I didn't really even consider it earlier but it could fit into an 8.5h x 6.75d x 28w cabinet. That'd give it almost exactly the same volume as the ported flat pack, and there's just enough depth to use the included ports on the front. It's probably still within the range of not-too-huge on top of the 55in tv, but at the end of the day it's not only my opinion that counts!
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post #6 of 18 Old 01-15-2020, 07:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Jackson View Post
As far as I understand, putting drivers side-by-side will create horizontal cancellation/combing especially in the mid bass range which gets more pronounced the farther off to the side. Ideally, the center speaker should still sound good and render dialog well for the rightmost seat on the couch -- which is over 45 degrees off center.
Who said anything about laying it on it's side?
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post #7 of 18 Old 01-15-2020, 03:02 PM
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I might be able to do a version of this center with the Volt 8. I didn't really even consider it earlier but it could fit into an 8.5h x 6.75d x 28w cabinet. That'd give it almost exactly the same volume as the ported flat pack, and there's just enough depth to use the included ports on the front. It's probably still within the range of not-too-huge on top of the 55in tv, but at the end of the day it's not only my opinion that counts!
I was just about to say too bad the Fusion-8 center isn't for sale anymore because I think it's amazing and possibly your best option, then I remembered I actually have an unopened and untouched Fusion-8 center kit from Erich. I bought it because I wanted to build it, but then I saw someone on the forum selling an already built Fusion-8 center and bought it to save myself the trouble of building because I had a lot going on at the time. It's honestly amazing, and definitely a significant upgrade over a Volt center. I'd sell it for cost if you're interested, and it would mesh really nicely with any of the DIYSG kits with waveguides, like HT/HTM. No pressure if you want to go a different direction, I'm not actively trying to sell it, but figured I'd throw that out there to potentially help you out.
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post #8 of 18 Old 01-15-2020, 06:35 PM - Thread Starter
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Who said anything about laying it on it's side?

Fair enough! You didn't not say on it's side! Considering vertically oriented driver arrangements might point to other center options that will work so far off axis. For example, Carmody's Swope HT has a 3-way center with a low enough crossover to the woofers (350hz). The reason I nixed that design is that it's a bit taller and quite a bit deeper than I'd like for mounting on the tv. And that it's a somewhat low spl design. However, I don't know how much that matters after a certain point if there's still (just) enough headroom to hit 95db+ at 8ft. That all to say the Swopes could still be a possibility if I modify the center cabinet to be quite a bit shallower.



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Originally Posted by aron7awol View Post
I was just about to say too bad the Fusion-8 center isn't for sale anymore because I think it's amazing and possibly your best option, then I remembered I actually have an unopened and untouched Fusion-8 center kit from Erich. I bought it because I wanted to build it, but then I saw someone on the forum selling an already built Fusion-8 center and bought it to save myself the trouble of building because I had a lot going on at the time. It's honestly amazing, and definitely a significant upgrade over a Volt center. I'd sell it for cost if you're interested, and it would mesh really nicely with any of the DIYSG kits with waveguides, like HT/HTM. No pressure if you want to go a different direction, I'm not actively trying to sell it, but figured I'd throw that out there to potentially help you out.

I appreciate it! I can't seem to find dimensions for the fusion-8, but I'm pretty sure that would be too deep of a cabinet. The tv mount arm needs to be able to push all the way back to into the wall (with the speaker mounted flush with the tv screen). That allows 3" for the mount + 2" for the body of the tv + and maybe another 2" max with the screen tilted slightly forward.



How far can you reasonably be off-axis with the Fusion-8 center? In my layout, the right side seat on the couch is over 45 degrees off center and much closer, so that's really been pushing me to the Volt series.
FWIW I emailed Erich and he let me know that sometime this year he'll be getting in some 6" centers with seos square waveguide. I wonder if it'd be worth waiting to see when those become available.
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post #9 of 18 Old 01-15-2020, 06:50 PM
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FWIW I emailed Erich and he let me know that sometime this year he'll be getting in some 6" centers with seos square waveguide. I wonder if it'd be worth waiting to see when those become available.
That would be something I would be interested in too, but I don't think I have the patience to wait. Did he say what LR speakers they would be matching?
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post #10 of 18 Old 01-15-2020, 09:42 PM
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How far can you reasonably be off-axis with the Fusion-8 center? In my layout, the right side seat on the couch is over 45 degrees off center and much closer, so that's really been pushing me to the Volt series.
FWIW I emailed Erich and he let me know that sometime this year he'll be getting in some 6" centers with seos square waveguide. I wonder if it'd be worth waiting to see when those become available.
FYI, The Fusion-8 is much better off-axis than the Volts due to the waveguide. I looked at the square waveguides as an option when I was deciding which center to build, but the square waveguide was significantly worse off-axis, which was important because my outside seats are also pretty far off-axis (although only 20 degrees compared to your 45). Matt Grant (the designer of most of the DIYSG kits) posted that even the HTM-1010 square waveguide, which is quite large, was best suited for +/- 15 degrees max and I'd be better off with something else. This drove me to make room for a larger center channel so I could get something with a horizontal waveguide, and I thought the 1099 was my only available option which really was going to be a struggle to fit, until I found out that Erich had a Fusion-8 center kit available and I snagged it, and I am really glad I went that route. I'd love to see the smaller Fusion kits come back, because I think they are absolutely fantastic and there's nothing else with a horizontal waveguide that fits in the same places.

I didn't realize you had such a depth restriction and such extreme off-axis seating. That's a pretty difficult dilemma with no perfectly ideal solution, but I wouldn't worry about it too much. Despite my raving about the Fusion-8 and the waveguides, by no means was the Volt-6 center a slouch and it served me well for over a year without making me feel like it was necessarily lacking in any way. So I think you'll be very happy with a custom Volt-8 center if you decide to go that route.
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post #11 of 18 Old 01-17-2020, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
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I'd love to see the smaller Fusion kits come back, because I think they are absolutely fantastic and there's nothing else with a horizontal waveguide that fits in the same places.

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I didn't realize you had such a depth restriction and such extreme off-axis seating. That's a pretty difficult dilemma with no perfectly ideal solution, but I wouldn't worry about it too much. Despite my raving about the Fusion-8 and the waveguides, by no means was the Volt-6 center a slouch and it served me well for over a year without making me feel like it was necessarily lacking in any way. So I think you'll be very happy with a custom Volt-8 center if you decide to go that route.



Yea, it's really too bad the Fusion 6 center isn't around anymore. There's nothing I can find that's really comparable. The flat pack was only 8.25"h x 22"w x 8.5"d (found it on wayback machine). It seems like it could have been modified for a slightly shallower and wider cabinet. If they were available I'd probably be leaning towards fusion-6 mtm center and fusion 8 mains.



You're probably right that I'll be happy with the Volts, thanks for the reassurance. Frankly, any of of these will definitely be a massive upgrade (from the tv speaker). In some years, after some other major renovations are done, I'll have some dedicated raw space in the basement to go crazy with a baffle wall

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post #12 of 18 Old 01-18-2020, 01:44 PM
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Yea, it's really too bad the Fusion 6 center isn't around anymore. There's nothing I can find that's really comparable. The flat pack was only 8.25"h x 22"w x 8.5"d (found it on wayback machine). It seems like it could have been modified for a slightly shallower and wider cabinet. If they were available I'd probably be leaning towards fusion-6 mtm center and fusion 8 mains.
Yeah, I haven't heard a Fusion-6, but if it's anything like the Fusion-8, it would be perfect in so many setups as a center with a waveguide.

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You're probably right that I'll be happy with the Volts, thanks for the reassurance. Frankly, any of of these will definitely be a massive upgrade (from the tv speaker). In some years, after some other major renovations are done, I'll have some dedicated raw space in the basement to go crazy with a baffle wall
Oh yeah, for sure, honestly the upgrade from TV speakers to a Volt is like going from 1 to 95 and going from Volt to Fusion is like 95 to 100.

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post #13 of 18 Old 01-18-2020, 05:01 PM - Thread Starter
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I asked Erich about the whether new square waveguide design will be good for off-axis response, he replied: "I believe the square shaped waveguide is 60 degrees. It uses the same
inside curve as the other SEOS waveguides. It's a good waveguide."

If I hold out for the new designs, in the meanwhile I can decide on a set of micro-bookshelf speakers for surrounds and just use them up front for a bit with a subwoofer.

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post #14 of 18 Old 01-18-2020, 05:29 PM
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Here's Matt Grant's post regarding the HTM-1010 that I was referring to:

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Unfortunately you can't cheat physics and with 10" woofers in a horizontal MTM crossed at 1200hz even as a 2.5 way I won't lie off axis response is not the best. Ideally sweet spot for listening positions on this one are within +-15 degrees.
Also see my discussion with him here:
http://www.hificircuit.com/community...e-2#post-10434

45 degrees off-axis is pushing it for pretty much any design, and really, only the designs with the biggest horizontal waveguides maintain a good response out that far. You can view the off-axis responses for the HTMs, Volts, and Fusion-15 over on hificircuit if you want to check them out for yourself.

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post #15 of 18 Old 01-18-2020, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by aron7awol View Post
I looked at the square waveguides as an option when I was deciding which center to build, but the square waveguide was significantly worse off-axis, which was important because my outside seats are also pretty far off-axis (although only 20 degrees compared to your 45). Matt Grant (the designer of most of the DIYSG kits) posted that even the HTM-1010 square waveguide, which is quite large, was best suited for +/- 15 degrees max and I'd be better off with something else.
There is nothing wrong with the square SEOS waveguide. It is the center to center spacing of the woofers in the HTM-1010 which limits horizontal coverage to +-15 degrees before you start to see a dip in the response due to a cancellation between the two woofers. The off axis cancellation will occur in any MTM design unless the crossover point is very low and/or the driver centers are very close.
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There is nothing wrong with the square SEOS waveguide. It is the center to center spacing of the woofers in the HTM-1010 which limits horizontal coverage to +-15 degrees before you start to see a dip in the response due to a cancellation between the two woofers. The off axis cancellation will occur in any MTM design unless the crossover point is very low and/or the driver centers are very close.
How would you describe the off-axis response of the HTM-1010 compared to the Fusion-8 center, HTMs, and Volts?

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post #17 of 18 Old 01-18-2020, 10:49 PM
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Compared to the horizontal HTM-1010 the Fusion-8 Center would have slightly improved off axis response in the horizontal plane due to the smaller ctc distance of the woofers (I think crossover point is similar between those two).

The normal HTM's or HT's used in their vertical orientation do not suffer from off axis cancellation nulls in the horizontal plane and therefore are only limited by the dispersion of the waveguide.

The Volts being a coaxial acts as a point source speaker and as such it does not suffer from cancellation nulls in any axis. Again the only limitation being the dispersion of the horn portion of the coaxial which is not quite as good as the SEOS waveguides in that regard.

I should note that the off axis nulls of the HTM-1010 or Fusion-8 Center only occur in the midrange at the crossover frequency and just below the crossover in the upper end of the woofer's range. Dispersion of the high frequencies is not impacted.
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post #18 of 18 Old 01-19-2020, 02:08 PM
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The square shaped SEOS waveguides are about as good as you can get for their size. But trying to create a 2-way center channel with 10" woofers will be a compromise due to how far apart the woofers are. That's not an issue with the waveguide, just physics and 10" woofers. The HTM-1010 ended up being a 2.5 way which did help. The square shaped waveguides were originally made up to go with 6" and 8" woofers. The 10" version wasn't really going to be done, but some people wanted it, so we made up the kit.

As mentioned before, when the site first started it seemed most people wanted the bigger speakers and the small models were rarely built. I ordered 2 pallets of Fusion-4 flat packs and after 4 years only 25% were ordered. My guess is now that people have built some of the midsized models and commented on how loud and clear they played, people are seeing that the small ones would have also been a good choice. Unfortunately.....most were discontinued 2 years ago. BUT, we will be working on new models as soon as possible.

I'll be talking to a couple of the speaker designers and seeing if we can get these models up and running soon:

HT-6 with dual woofer and possibly quad woofer center channel. Angled surround sound cabinet.

HT-8 center channel and possible angled surround cabinet.

Possible resurrection of the Fusions as full range speakers with a 6" and 8" horizontal center channel.
aron7awol and Nate Jackson like this.

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