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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm copying my post from Reddit here as I do want to spead the good words about a product I like just like a way to give back and support the company. I'm surprise there is not more reviews on these guys because they are amazing. For DIYers, once you finish a pair, I hope you guys reviews them in detail more just so more people know about these DIY kits and which one to buy. It will attract more people to this hobby. The biggest thing holding me back from buying these kits was because there is not really much discussion about them besides some very generic impression.

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I recently bought the Triangle Borea BR03 and compared it to the new Elac UB52. Before I bought the Triangle, I did a ton of reading on hifi speakers. As much as people comparing popular names such as KEF, Focal, Dynaudio etc, there is this ongoing myth/discussion of whether DIY can compare with commercial speakers at 2,3 times price. So I took the plunge and bought the Criton 1TD DIY kit from the folks at Creative Sound Solution. There are a ton of DIY kits out there but I selected the CSS kit as its a complete package and I dont need to worry about ordering drivers + cabinet separately. They are also a real company with some branding, customer support, warranty and legit endorsements, not just some forum legends among a close knit community where words like amazing, fantastic, blow away are thrown out pretty generously.
The kit cost $675, shipped to me within 3 days and took me about 8hr + ~$100 more in additionals (clamps, vinyl, solder...) to assemble + finish. Not cheap, but certainly not expensive compare to "real audiophile speakers".
Enough boring intro, here's the gist after a few days of listening: It's a different league compared to the Triangles. Pretty much very thing is better: Balance, sounds stage, details, bass, treble, even midrange which is the biggest strength of the Triangles. It has a full, warm and silky smooth sound that is such a joy to listen to. My girl friend who doesnt give a **** about hifi audio also admitted its sounds better after just a few mins with the Criton. Another key area where it shines is low distortion. I tried Nessun Dorma - Pavarotti on the Triangles at high volume and you can feel it is trying at its limit, but on the Criton, it is really effortless. Finally, the bass is amazing (i know lol), but it really is. It goes low, fast and clean. There is no comparison w the Triangles at all.
The area where the Triangles holds its own is female vocal (a bit thinner & colder compared to the Criton) and acoustic instruments like guitar, flute - they are very realistic on the Triangle and probably slightly better compared to the Criton.
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So, is DIY better than commercial at 2-3 price? I don't know and I don't care. These generic statements help no one as there are too many specifics + subjectivity involved. The Triangles are also said by some reviewer to be comparable with speakers at 2-3 times the price. LOL. I did listen to some B&W floor models in a local store and I like them but it was impossible to compare unless you listen to the speakers side by side, same room same song etc.
What I do know is the Criton scratch the itch where the Triangles falls short. I'm satisfied enough I don't feel the need to upgrade anymore. The kit cost $775 in total and hours of work so it is much more expensive all things considered. But would I do it again? absolutely YES. The sound alone is worth the investment. And the feeling of freedom and attachment with something you build DIY is very special. If you want an excellent pair of speakers of your own and can afford the price and time required, you should give the CSS Criton kit a try. I'm highly confident you wont be disappointed.
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I just finished the Criton 2TD last week.. even in a similar color. It is a nice sounding speaker.
I already need to dial down the bass on the 1TD because of its current position so I can imagine how impressive the 2TD can be in a larger room. Looks dope man.
 

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I have an 18" and a few 12"s so bass wasn't an issue, I wanted a little more efficiency. Although with the subs on the bass tends to be exaggerated. It is nice to have the option to turn the subs off and have things be more musical. I typically just turn the subs way down instead of off though. The Critons do have good low end. Plenty for most music.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I have an 18" and a few 12"s so bass wasn't an issue, I wanted a little more efficiency. Although with the subs on the bass tends to be exaggerated. It is nice to have the option to turn the subs off and have things be more musical. I typically just turn the subs way down instead of off though. The Critons do have good low end. Plenty for most music.
Agree on efficiency. Sometimes I do hope the Criton plays louder. Im comfortable listening at 90% vol on my iphone + 50% volume dial on the amp whereas w the Triangles, i usually leave the vol at 75% on the phone and 40% on the amp and it was loud enough. Maybe the Criton is too smooth I keep cranking it up lol
 

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I'm copying my post from Reddit here as I do want to spead the good words about a product I like just like a way to give back and support the company. I'm surprise there is not more reviews on these guys because they are amazing. For DIYers, once you finish a pair, I hope you guys reviews them in detail more just so more people know about these DIY kits and which one to buy. It will attract more people to this hobby. The biggest thing holding me back from buying these kits was because there is not really much discussion about them besides some very generic impression.

Here's the copied content:

I recently bought the Triangle Borea BR03 and compared it to the new Elac UB52. Before I bought the Triangle, I did a ton of reading on hifi speakers. As much as people comparing popular names such as KEF, Focal, Dynaudio etc, there is this ongoing myth/discussion of whether DIY can compare with commercial speakers at 2,3 times price. So I took the plunge and bought the Criton 1TD DIY kit from the folks at Creative Sound Solution. There are a ton of DIY kits out there but I selected the CSS kit as its a complete package and I dont need to worry about ordering drivers + cabinet separately. They are also a real company with some branding, customer support, warranty and legit endorsements, not just some forum legends among a close knit community where words like amazing, fantastic, blow away are thrown out pretty generously.
The kit cost $675, shipped to me within 3 days and took me about 8hr + ~$100 more in additionals (clamps, vinyl, solder...) to assemble + finish. Not cheap, but certainly not expensive compare to "real audiophile speakers".
Enough boring intro, here's the gist after a few days of listening: It's a different league compared to the Triangles. Pretty much very thing is better: Balance, sounds stage, details, bass, treble, even midrange which is the biggest strength of the Triangles. It has a full, warm and silky smooth sound that is such a joy to listen to. My girl friend who doesnt give a **** about hifi audio also admitted its sounds better after just a few mins with the Criton. Another key area where it shines is low distortion. I tried Nessun Dorma - Pavarotti on the Triangles at high volume and you can feel it is trying at its limit, but on the Criton, it is really effortless. Finally, the bass is amazing (i know lol), but it really is. It goes low, fast and clean. There is no comparison w the Triangles at all.
The area where the Triangles holds its own is female vocal (a bit thinner & colder compared to the Criton) and acoustic instruments like guitar, flute - they are very realistic on the Triangle and probably slightly better compared to the Criton.
-----
So, is DIY better than commercial at 2-3 price? I don't know and I don't care. These generic statements help no one as there are too many specifics + subjectivity involved. The Triangles are also said by some reviewer to be comparable with speakers at 2-3 times the price. LOL. I did listen to some B&W floor models in a local store and I like them but it was impossible to compare unless you listen to the speakers side by side, same room same song etc.
What I do know is the Criton scratch the itch where the Triangles falls short. I'm satisfied enough I don't feel the need to upgrade anymore. The kit cost $775 in total and hours of work so it is much more expensive all things considered. But would I do it again? absolutely YES. The sound alone is worth the investment. And the feeling of freedom and attachment with something you build DIY is very special. If you want an excellent pair of speakers of your own and can afford the price and time required, you should give the CSS Criton kit a try. I'm highly confident you wont be disappointed.
Reply
View attachment 3040851
View attachment 3040852 View attachment 3040853
I couldn't agree more. These speakers are true gems. I went with the superior crossover and finished them in a red mahogany veneer. Every time I upgraded a component in my system these speakers rose to a whole new level. Another hidden gem for those who might own a vintage Hafler amplifier is the FANTASIA AUDIO PC-1 Driver Board Upgrade Kit. This upgraded amp, a Denefrips Ares II DAC, Schiit Freya+ Preamp, Audiolab 6000cdt transport, BluNode2 streamer, vintage Denon DP72L turntable, round out my system. These speakers are a revelation! They are superior to every KEF or B&W speaker I've ever owned. Imaging, sound stage, neutrality of timbre, micro-tonal finesse, all excellent. The bass response for bookshelf speakers is incredible. I'm hearing nuances that were never there before. I can hear the difference between a downstroke and an upstroke on violins or the difference between any early production Gibson SG standard guitar and a later production one. Every genre, Rock, Classical, Jazz, Electronica, Afro-pop, if well recorded came to life in a way none of my previous speakers revealed. If the sensitivity of your ears exceed your budget these speakers are the way to go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Your kit looks amazing with the veneer. You can try adding a lacquer coat, it will look exquisite. I made a series of mistake in finishing tho, so take my advice with your own caution lol.

I bought a pair of Yamaha vintage NS690s. They are highly regarded in the world of vintage audio. But with the Yammie to compare, I appreciate this Criton kit even more. While the Yamaha sounds very detailed and analytical (and very very forward), the Criton sounds much more like high end audio to me, warm and butterly smooth with no less amount of details. The yamaha is better with soundstage and presence which is understandable considering is 3 times bigger and have sensitivity at 96db (compared to 87db of the Criton), but the Criton is better at everything else.

I can only imagine what itd be with the upgraded crossover. I wish CSS will come up with a three way at <$1500 soon and Im down.


I couldn't agree more. These speakers are true gems. I went with the superior crossover and finished them in a red mahogany veneer. Every time I upgraded a component in my system these speakers rose to a whole new level. Another hidden gem for those who might own a vintage Hafler amplifier is the FANTASIA AUDIO PC-1 Driver Board Upgrade Kit. This upgraded amp, a Denefrips Ares II DAC, Schiit Freya+ Preamp, Audiolab 6000cdt transport, BluNode2 streamer, vintage Denon DP72L turntable, round out my system. These speakers are a revelation! They are superior to every KEF or B&W speaker I've ever owned. Imaging, sound stage, neutrality of timbre, micro-tonal finesse, all excellent. The bass response for bookshelf speakers is incredible. I'm hearing nuances that were never there before. I can hear the difference between a downstroke and an upstroke on violins or the difference between any early production Gibson SG standard guitar and a later production one. Every genre, Rock, Classical, Jazz, Electronica, Afro-pop, if well recorded came to life in a way none of my previous speakers revealed. If the sensitivity of your ears exceed your budget these speakers are the way to go.
 

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Your kit looks amazing with the veneer. You can try adding a lacquer coat, it will look exquisite. I made a series of mistake in finishing tho, so take my advice with your own caution lol.

I bought a pair of Yamaha vintage NS690s. They are highly regarded in the world of vintage audio. But with the Yammie to compare, I appreciate this Criton kit even more. While the Yamaha sounds very detailed and analytical (and very very forward), the Criton sounds much more like high end audio to me, warm and butterly smooth with no less amount of details. The yamaha is better with soundstage and presence which is understandable considering is 3 times bigger and have sensitivity at 96db (compared to 87db of the Criton), but the Criton is better at everything else.

I can only imagine what itd be with the upgraded crossover. I wish CSS will come up with a three way at <$1500 soon and Im down.
Thanks, it was my first veneer project. I followed CSS recommendation for the heat glue method. It wasn't difficult, only required a router and a sharp razor knife and an iron. My work space is in the house so no VOC based finishes were possible so I went with a polymerized linseed oil finish. The Critons look like Clark Kent but sound like Superman. The definition of timbres is amazing. Brass sounds metallic, violins sound like rosin on gut, woodwinds sound like reeds, with no coloration biases. When I upgraded my preamp to the tube based Schiit Freya+ the soundstage expanded massively in height, width, and depth. The other thing that happened was that imaging sounded like three dimensional objects in a three dimensional space where previous speakers sounded like two dimensional objects in a three dimensional space. It feels great to be in a place where my expectations were exceeded within the budget I set for myself. I am not one of those obsessive audiophile types that is always looking for the next great thing. I will be settling in and enjoying the music for quite some time to come, and with COVID 19 around great music played on a great system is a huge quality of life improvement for me.
 

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I just upgraded mine to the new tweeters and superior crossovers and yeehaw! Smoother, clearer, more detailed, and the soundstage sounds bigger and sweeter. That's all subjective so maybe it's in my head. I didn't upgrade my center channel..maybe someday I'll do a proper comparison.

I think the upgrade is more than twice the price of the regular 1TD and you're definitely at the point of marginal gains for a lot of money. That to say the regular kit is really great, not to say the upgrade isn't worth it. I wanted a no compromise set of speakers in this form factor and I see this as money well spent. Besides the government keeps sending me those stimulus checks.. just trying to do my part to stimulate the economy.

3119214


The new xovers are beefy, top ones in the pic are the ones on the way out. Apologies for the grainy pics, the room is poorly lit.

3119215
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Im thinking about upgrading myself. WFH and cant travel can make you a bit bored. But since I bought the Criton I have added the NS690 and another receiver to my basement. Now it spoiled me because I want bigger sound. Thus, I will most likely buy a pair of NS1000 or build myself a set of 3 way speakers with 12 inche woofer. It will be costly but well, i got nothing to do. Lol
 
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