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2 way speaker build, with Horns..

Wharfedale EVO4.1 Bookshelf Speakers

rajan-

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Feb 26, 2014
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am not an audiophile.

I am a music and audio enthusiast

no, I dont fancy exotic audio and power cables


I havent measured anything yet, which mean I must be a subjectivist.!!! but am I ? after reading the below, some clarity on the true definitions were made easier.

I think I must be a moderate..

NwAvGuy: Subjective vs Objective Debate

(by the way, I have used a fiio e5, and loved every minute of it, never felt the need to upgrade when my friends had much fancier hardware.)

History:

During the distant past of my school days, I had built simple speaker systems from whatever I could lay my hands on, removed drivers from damaged radios, stuffed them inside clay pots, powered by my pride, a sony walkman through some simple amplifier I had assembled looking through "electronics for you" magazine. and life was good..


More recently:

many years later, I was at my friends home, having few drinks. like in every good friends place, there was his old crusty audio system in the corner, wires hanging out, torn cloths.. you get the idea... but it was just rocking.. it was BIG .. and it was OLD...

I was hooked... again to audio nirvana..

I wanted a "nice" speaker set for my listening pleasure, and I wanted it easy.. and I wanted it quick.. and started looking out. Idea was to go to a store and buy something main stream.

soon I was quite disappointed. whatever I liked in the market, was some or the other exotic, and simply costed way way too much than what I wanted pay for something which was a vague idea (some nice sounding speakers)

whatever I could afford, to my dismay turned out to be way too ordinary, bland and lifeless.

The problem was, I had certain expectations.
1. I dont want to play LOUD
2. the system should play well at low to moderate listening levels
3. it should have the capability to rock IF needed
4. pref to have high efficiency, so not to spend too much for amplification
5. Easy to drive, so that 30% amplifier power should be enough for reasonable listening levels. this also will ensure the amp has 70% reserve.
6. I like tube amps.

I had been exposed to Big speakers from the 60s when I was working for a small IT systems integrator in America. The clients were not big corporations, some of them were really small businesses, running from basements or home offices, and I found many of them with passions outside work. Some of them had music systems and some had muscle cars. and few were keen to showcase these to an alien from India, who was quite wide eyed to get an audition, or thrilled to get a drive around.

And I remembered one thing, 15 inch exposed drivers looked darn good :) and sounded pretty good too..

Back to a year back. I realised there is no quick and easy way, unless I want to spend big money
1. travel to places for auditions
2. manage to get systems for home use
3. buy and probably realise the need to upgrade
4. generally fall into the audio fool traps & politics

so I took some time and started reading about music systems. somewhere during the journey, I picked up an IEM from etymotic research, and I bided my time pouring over the net reading "stuff".

then I stumbled across altec sound and old school sound systems, which brought back memories stuff I had the chance to listen during my stay in USA. I realised that I want something that sounded like that. the wonderfull world of klipschhorns, altecs, and further reading led me to a mix of klipsch hybrid called cornscala (Cornscala Style D | Critesspeakers.com), and I decided to just build something like that. not too hard. I didnt want a complex build. At the same time, I needed the effortlessness of a big system, which can play low to mid volume levels, to all kinds of real music, blues, classic rock, Hindustani, etc.


it was during this search that I came across hifivision and some posts about horns

I had also known about lyrita audio, because of my interest in tube gear.

then I saw the horns made by Viren, and thought why not build one like that.

Called up Viren and he sent me a pair of horns.

The idea was that I will build a bass box and keep the round horn on the top. Simple 2 way with a simpler cross over. and incase it did not sound good, I will send the horns back to Viren and ask him for a complete speaker system built from him.
Atleast I will have some good time building something and fail at it.

while searching for good bass bins for 15 inch drivers, I found this, Let's build some scoops!

so from thinking of doing a simple ported box, I went after the bass scoop. this was also helped by the fact that I had already decided my drivers, and the bass bin can accommodate my choice of bass driver.

Bass Driver: Eminence Gamma 15
Compression driver: Eminence PSD2002
Lecleach Wood Horn: Viren Bakshi, Lyrita Audio
Crossover 800 Hz, First Order


Got the Eminence drivers from the distributer in Chennai. Sent them the money through bank transfer, and the items reached bangalore the next day by bus. Had to collect them from the bus transporter office.

Note: they have similar models made in china and made in the US of A. there is a big difference in weight to start with, and also the cost. I got the USA made items.


Bass Box: Design by Paul and given in detail on dancetech.
If anyone here wants the plans, he has published the same design for 12, 15 and 18 inch drivers, the same can be downloaded from the above URL.

an excellent build of the same bass bin is given at Audio Karma. with enough photos of build stages.
Speaker Cabinet Construction | Audiokarma Home Audio Stereo Discussion Forums


To get the box done correctly, I got the paper templates cut 1:1 and used them to draw on one side panel, and stood over the carpenters shoulder to make the pieces. this was hard work, as the carpenter has his own ideas about how a speaker box should be, and always wanted to take the easy way out. standard line is, Saaar, I have made enough speaker boxes, these are not needed duh

once the box is completed, I used silicon to seal each and every joint from inside. this was messy work. but excellent results

The complete box, inside and outside was coated with linseed oil.

an army style blanket was cut and pasted inside the box, and the scoop top end was filled with dacron lifted from a pillow. this was because I didnt want to use glass fiber.


Got the capacitors and other electronics from SP road.
Had to hunt for the right size speaker terminals, to accommodate for the thickness of the plywood. Mounted them directly to the back of the box (didnt want to cut a square box to accommodate terminal boards), as that could affect the box acoustics.
Internal wiring: high quality Belden audio cables.

Crossover is outside the box, easier to tweek,

Once everything was set up, I connected them up to my old sony AV receiver, Aux connected to laptop. The results were not good, it was awful.

So much for high expectations. Disappointed, switched off everything and went to sleep.

Next weekend, went back and checked everything, and found that in my eagerness, I had connected the crossover completely wrong.

After 2 hours of rewiring, at the next trial run, they started to open up, and I knew that my efforts were not in vain. this is showing some potential. phew..


Time for stepping up the game.


The Integrated Tube amplifier (err, a chinese amp), with some decent NOS american tubes) came on loan from a friend. this one also has a head phone out. very well made for a chinese amp.

A friend carried a Schiiit Modi 2 Uber DAC

and all these were connected to a mac book pro, installed with SSD.

Loaded claptons guitar festival through VLC, and the system started to sing..

I was taken aback with the out come. Even though I had high expectations, never really thought I can pull this off, all by myself.


not all items were going good.

There was this strange problem which I couldnt crack for a long time.

If I play any DVD video with multi channel audio, all works well.
BUT, if I play any mp3 or flac, too much distortion was the outcome. I had to be content with playing DVD rips only. I was playing through VLC.

in-between, I added a sub woofer (onkyo) I had it with me. Had to use the AV receiver instead of tube amp for this.

I tried everything, connected the system through Optical, removed the DAC and connected AV receiver through optical. same problem with flac/mp3.


The breakthrough came when I used Vox player for mac. this was the final piece. suddenly, all flac/mp3 were sounding good. very good. VLC is only good for multi channel DVD rips (ONLY)


What Next:

the box is not finished yet, cosmetically. that comes next, after that some DIY speaker cables.

The speaker position is not correct. Soon I expect to move to own house, after that, this will be addressed.

I am starting to think about a proper Valve amp.

Also thinking on some DIY sub woofers. I kind of like the sono tube designs, as it will not take up valuable space in my room.



But right now, I am having a blast. it has far far exceeded my expectations. on top of it, there is an immense personal satisfaction, knowing that this was my own effort.

every time the horns sing, more karma points are going to the below mentioned people.

Its big, and also a conversation starter for visitors at home. Most are astonished at the size. with the 12 inch horns on top, this thing close to 5 feet in height.


I would like to give due credits to

Viren Bakshi for Horns, and some advices.
Paul C, for the bass scoop design
my interior contractor friend, Satish who sent his carpenters for 2 days.
 

Sumanta

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Nov 27, 2011
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You write too good, almost towards the edge of words chosen from dream cut reality.

Enjoyed every bit.

Probably, this is the first post in HFV-DIY section, where I have not longed for photos in every paragraph.

I myself am inclined to Open baffle design or MLTL type, but the child in my ear and children in my brain want to listen to a horn (Rajib's name came to my mind first) first with an inner believe that that listening session will ultimately force me to make a horn speaker for self.

Music is the mirror of life and symbol of unadulterated joy IMO. I somehow tend to believe, OBs are those mirrors and such horn with big scoops are symbols of joy.

Thanks for writing such a wonderful post.
 

rajan-

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Feb 26, 2014
Messages
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Location
Bangalore
You write too good, almost towards the edge of words chosen from dream cut reality.

Enjoyed every bit.

Probably, this is the first post in HFV-DIY section, where I have not longed for photos in every paragraph.

I myself am inclined to Open baffle design or MLTL type, but the child in my ear and children in my brain want to listen to a horn (Rajib's name came to my mind first) first with an inner believe that that listening session will ultimately force me to make a horn speaker for self.

Music is the mirror of life and symbol of unadulterated joy IMO. I somehow tend to believe, OBs are those mirrors and such horn with big scoops are symbols of joy.

Thanks for writing such a wonderful post.

did not want to post too many pics, specially of constructions, when there are many given in the audiokarma url I have provided.

I have posted a pic of the completed system, guess its waiting for an admin to approve my post.

I have never had the pleasure to listen to OB, heard much abt them, will wait. something will come up.

well said abt mirror and joy. pretty good explanation to someone who may care to ponder on them and choose.

As someone who had done OB (trust me, I have gone through your blog before your comment), I take your words about it being the mirror, I chose to build the joy, as I believe music is all about musicality & enjoyment, not analysis.

I would rather leave the analysis to a recording engineer, Again no offence to anyone, just my perspective based on my personal exposure. Sometime driving in an open window jeep and listening to roadie music is better than sitting in a cold room analysing sound signature changes while changing between prohibitively expensive speaker cables and agonising over "what could have been if I had ...... & having buzz word compliant items" ....

perspectives... thats what make things interesting.

Great one :clapping:
There's a whole lot of speaker and other DIY guys from Bangalore on the forum.
These are two of them.
http://www.hifivision.com/diy/25387-my-diy-altec-lansing-a7-voice-theater.html
http://www.hifivision.com/vintage-audio/48864-altec-2-ways.html

Dear Naturelover,

I would love an audition of rethm. its one of those things pending for a while, and every time I go home (close to cochin) I think of going there.

looking at your signature, I would be lying if I say I am not borderline jealous.

I do seems to have some common friends in Bangalore who are into horns, but never met them, yet.
 
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Srinath_seshadri

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You've replicated the altec 19 or a close modern variant there of.
They sound good no matter what, old tube, new SS and everything in between.

Seriously sensitive and that allows you to run it on a 13 watt single ended tube amp, and that makes for an awesome sound.

Cool.
Srinath.
 

Sumanta

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Nov 27, 2011
Messages
690
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Location
Kolkata
I would rather leave the analysis to a recording engineer, Again no offence to anyone, just my perspective based on my personal exposure. Sometime driving in an open window jeep and listening to roadie music is better than sitting in a cold room analysing sound signature changes while changing between prohibitively expensive speaker cables and agonising over "what could have been if I had ...... & having buzz word compliant items" ....

perspectives... thats what make things interesting.

This calls for a get together as it made my day.
I was in a off mood today while coming to office in Mumbai, so I put UB40, put those horn(y) cars away by closing all glasses and drive while listening their dizzy Reggae beats. And all I was thinking of a Thar with songs of "Lekin" on the way towards Jaisalmir.
 

Naturelover

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I would love an audition of rethm. its one of those things pending for a while, and every time I go home (close to cochin) I think of going there.

DO that. They are a revelation.
You're welcome to Nagpur.
If you travel around the country, there are FM Rethm owners in Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Cochin itself.
http://www.hifivision.com/speakers/59525-living-rethm-club.html

ARN at Frazer Town has Emerald Physics and Spatial OB speakers.
welcome to arnsystems bangalore
 

rajan-

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Feb 26, 2014
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in the pic I have posted, its BB with Clapton, Robert cray and Jimmy Vaughn playing "thrill is gone" in the "cross roads guitar festival".. later a host of others join.. anyone who is not convinced about horns, should give a listen to this with dimmed light and a drink of their choice..

if I make another horn, it may be something like a "sato" horn. but that will be with altecs, not with eminence.
 

Hari655

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Oct 2, 2012
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Hi Rajan,

Could you please tell me cost of the items for the below for your project.

Bass Driver: Eminence Gamma 15
Compression driver: Eminence PSD2002
Lecleach Wood Horn: Viren Bakshi, Lyrita Audio
Crossover 800 Hz, First Order


Thanks,
Yashwanth
 

GeorgeO

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Why not contact Viren Bakshi at Lyrita, they have a website. He should definitely be willing to supply the horn and drivers.
 

rajan-

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Location
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Hi Rajan,

Could you please tell me cost of the items for the below for your project.

Bass Driver: Eminence Gamma 15
Compression driver: Eminence PSD2002
Lecleach Wood Horn: Viren Bakshi, Lyrita Audio
Crossover 800 Hz, First Order


Thanks,
Yashwanth

Gamma 15 x 2: 10750/-
PSD 2002 x 2: 9000/-
Teak Lecleach Horn: Pls contact Viren, he will be glad to help.
Cross over: less than 1000/-
Cabinet cost: dont remember exact. 2 sheets ply + 2 days labour.
My own personal time: quite a lot. :)

You've replicated the altec 19 or a close modern variant there of.
They sound good no matter what, old tube, new SS and everything in between.

Seriously sensitive and that allows you to run it on a 13 watt single ended tube amp, and that makes for an awesome sound.

Cool.
Srinath.

Hmmm.. Altec 19 ?

I took a look, aren't they ported bass reflex cabinets ?

my build has the bass driver in a rear loaded horn.
 
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rajan-

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updates..

the horns are more or less completed.

Painted the cabinet to match the room
Painted the lecleach horn base in contrast color (black)

for the first time, connected to TV as well (through HT)

When watching HD content (tata sky), I realised that a LOT of details and impacts previously not articulated are presented in a very nice way. its effortless along with a commanding presentation of sound.

The main goal was to make a speaker for music, the suitability for movies came as a pleasant surprise..

if anyone is sitting on the fence on horns, I encourage them to go for an audition, where ever you get a chance. reading up alone will not do justice to such old school gear. may be you will like it, may be not, either way, you will be enriched by an experience which is far too uncommon.


frankly did not miss the sub at all, but I am sure it will add a lot more impact on movies.

next, raise the top horns by 3 inches,

and sit back to enjoy..

it has been an excellent learning experience,
 

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krell

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looks wonderfull.you done a great job. above 800hz horn is taking all, Do you feel any honky with horns, because i feel 800hz is too low for a short horn.
sorry if i miss some thing.
 
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