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Paul Carmody appreciation. Hitmakers & Classix II completed

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  • Paul Carmody appreciation. Hitmakers & Classix II completed

    Hi fellas and (are there girls watching?) ... and everyone else!

    I don't write much here but read just about every day. I've been very busy with multiple speaker builds. I've been very busy with other audio related builds. And I've been beyond busy for several months as I am building myself a proper studio. I tend to drone on and on when I get going, so I will really try to keep this as succinct as I can.

    I came here to mainly praise the designs of Paul Carmody. I needed studio monitors and a pair of middle of the road (as far as power) bookshelf / big bookshelf speakers. The Hitmakers I finished about five days ago. They've been set up in my new studio and holy moses what a difference from what I was using- a pair of retail obtained powered monitors that were not cheap. They weren't good, either. Low end way overdone, highs either piercing and painful or pretty much non-existent- those were my choices with high frequencies: pain or whispers. Forget the midsection: the people who made the monitors I was using obviously did. Horrid vocal response. So I go non traditional (I thought) and make a pair of passive studio Monitors by Paul and pair them with a Samson Servo 200 Reference Amplifier. Night and Day doesn't cover it. More than Night and Day, I'd compare them to infectious wound puss drainage vs. platinum bars. Five fellow musicians want me to build them so far and are very serious about it- two tried to put money in my hands for materials. Is five people a big number or a small number? A total of five musicians have heard them since I installed the pair. The near field use of these presents a field of sound that seems dead center and about five feet wide. I have them at ear level, about 2 feet from a wall, on a shelf, and about two feet away from my head when recording / playing. I have never heard monitors like this and I have been in many recording studios.

    About a half hour ago, I finished the Classix II. It's playing a selection of Moog Artists playing funk improv, the pair is behind me right now. The range is just THERE. No trouble whatsoever with the repeating low funk basslines while the right hand jams higher notes and I feel like I am in a club. Someone started snapping their fingers on a track and I can hear the finger skin slipping across the opposite thumb before the snap. They are that good. I know there have been many more people who could describe this magnificent sound better than I can, but good is good, great is great and UN-FREAKING-BELIEVABLE is what these are.

    Thank you Paul. Thank you. Thank You. Thank you. I am blown away.

    (Oh. I know you like white speakers.... the Classix II are a VERY light grey Duratex I had tinted that I think you'd appreciate.


    Hitmakers:






    Classix II:



    My Studio Music Production Gear: http://equipboard.com/spaker
    Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube DJTT Soundcloud

  • #2
    Pretty sure Mr. Carmody is blushing right now.

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    • #3
      Yes. That is quite a glowing review. I don't feel worthy. However, I really like the line: "I'd compare them to infectious wound puss drainage vs. platinum bars" That's poetry right there. I'm really glad they're working for your studio space, and I hope your buddies get good use out of them as well. It's good to see this design end up in home studios where it belongs.
      Isn't it about time we started answering rhetorical questions?

      Paul Carmody's DIY Audio Projects
      Twitter: @undefinition1

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      • #4
        Very nice review! And yes Mr. Carmody sure knows his stuff! As do some of our other venerable members here.
        Don't worry, if your parachute fails, you have the rest of your life to fix it.

        If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally ASTOUND ourselves - Thomas A. Edison

        Some people collect stamps, Imelda Marcos collected shoes. I collect speakers.:D

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        • #5
          Spaker,
          I finished a pair of Classix II's a while back and my son and I are going to build a pair of Hitmakers to replace his KRK Rokit 6's. Your review confirms our choice.

          Originally posted by Spaker View Post
          ...what a difference from what I was using- a pair of retail obtained powered monitors that were not cheap. They weren't good, either. Low end way overdone, highs either piercing and painful or pretty much non-existent- those were my choices with high frequencies: pain or whispers. Forget the midsection: the people who made the monitors I was using obviously did. Horrid vocal response.
          Can you please share which monitors you are talking about? I've listened to more than 20 different monitors over the last few months and was surprised at how bad many of them sounded.
          Thanks!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by jorns bergenson View Post
            Spaker,
            I finished a pair of Classix II's a while back and my son and I are going to build a pair of Hitmakers to replace his KRK Rokit 6's. Your review confirms our choice.

            Can you please share which monitors you are talking about? I've listened to more than 20 different monitors over the last few months and was surprised at how bad many of them sounded.
            Thanks!
            +1 Do tell!
            Electronics engineer, woofer enthusiast, and musician.
            Wogg Music

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            • #7
              Spaker,

              After building both of these sets and now that you have some listening time on them, do you have a preference between the Hitmakers and the Classix II?

              About to build a set of bookshelf speakers and cannot decide between the two!

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              • #8
                neo__04, I can't really help with the Hitmakers but I did build the Classix II and was happy with them, they are a good all rounder and enjoyable. I think the Hitmakers are more a studio monitor which probably means they are a flatter sounding speaker and may not be as lively but that's just what I make of it.

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                • #9

                  ABSOLUTELY!!!
                  Sorry I haven't been on the board chatting in a bit. Kids out of school and all that.
                  So, Paul says it all in his descriptions on his site with the plans. The Hitmakers are near field studio monitors. He designed them for that purpose. I do not know Paul, but I can glean a bit about him from the way he writes. He can jump from being absolutely puppy dog in love with sound, speakers, gear, the work, etc- and a certain aspect of the way a piece of gear acts in a given circumstance. He can then jump into a full on pocket-protected-seven-fact-backed-statement of irrefutable truth with adjacent attributes in full on nerd mode- which I say with love: as a life-long aspiring nerd. So it's easy to get caught up in his poetry and apparent love for all of this. One minute he is in a very human exploration with sound and science, and the next, he is a diabolical mastermind with so much data to back his reasoning, you feel stupid even questioning which might be better: never mind that he could be wrong. (So far, I haven't found a case like that)
                  BUT! About these two, VERY similarly sized, similar power handling cabinets, he is clear in the descriptions. He designed the Hitmakers as PASSIVE NEARFIELD STUDIO MONITORS. If you don't speak recording studio: That means these speakers are meant to be sitting less than 2.5 feet from your face, at ear level, in a recording studio, where the listener is the recording engineer behind the console, intensely listening to the act (n the other side of the glass) recording live, or listening to the "tape" that was recorded minutes previous, as it is played back. The Hitmakers, therefore have a job to do. So "Nearfield" is real close to your head. "Passive" means they are powered by an amp. In most modern recording studios, studio monitors have at least two amplifiers inside the cabinet, and are "active," or "powered:" one internal (inside the speaker cabinet) powering each driver. This is also commonly called "bi-amped: one amp for the woofer, one amp for the tweeter, all inside the cabinet.* Paul and I seem to agree that this is a ridiculous practice... but it is also pretty much the norm in my experience. Go ahead and TRY to buy a passive studio monitor. Some of the most popular selling studio monitors on the market are great for listening to music on outside of their intended 3 feet way, in silence mode... but that isn't the point of studio monitors. Studio monitors are supposed to give you as close to a perfect representation of whatever was just laid on "tape" as possible. Why would you want to listen to an effected, frequency massaged or otherwise different version of any track if something totally different just got recorded? How would the engineer know to tell the act to change X, Y or Z? Or how would he know if it was perfect, when it the vocal sounded way too tinny, and the kick overpowered the keys half the time in the studio, but on tape it was fine? That would be the first step in putting out n album nobody has ever heard. I'm not saying that the studio monitors that are most popular in the big leagues are guilty of that- but I am saying that my ears hear two different things on tape and in studio, and it my belief that engineers train themselves to accept this. Why do that when you could have a cloned sound of the tape while listening live? Dumb.
                  *I have built bi-amped studio monitors, for use in studios. I believe I accomplished what I was asked to do. The engineer loved and still loves them. I have also taken the concept and figured it might be cool to adopt for regular home listening. Two internal amps in a two way cabinet. I did a lot of math I thought made sense so the highs nor the lows would not be dis-proportionally loud, and it worked. All the music I heard on the pair I made, once in a setting utside my workshop... sounded pretty god to me. Crisp and clear and with a very wide and loud range without any overbearing overlap. Then I heard a bunch of music I was familiar with. No thanks. Sounded robotic and artificial to me. Unnatural. Perhaps my brain just couldnt handle what was familiar being strangely given powers where there was none and vice versa... but IMO, do not go bi-amped unless there is a reason to do so. Like you're being paid engineer. If you're cranking your own tunes. I say nah.
                  That was a long way to say that the Hitmakers better represent the exact signal reaching the cabinets in a hygienic setting meant to find flaw, or perhaps draw out strengths that would otherwise be hidden in the soundscape.
                  Now the :Classix II. I like them more. Classix II are a good ol' pair of rockin speakers ready for just about anything. overly compressed internet downloads? Go. Rachmaninoff Remastered? Do it. A Record recorded to casette ripped to CD transferred to .wav? Hiss away. The Classix II won't focus on that at all. The Classix II is the sound every poor sould working at Best Buy WISHES the particle board thin magnet imported crap he is hawking sounded like when he put in that Steve Miller CD hiss boss allows him to demo. Classix II, in short, are workhorses- ready to take on the modern condition of recordings the average Joe has banging around in his phone and iPod.
                  And if I face it, do I want the sterile experience of the studio when I am kicking back, listening to my favorite band rage out a FLAC version of a live show recorded two nights ago, melting my face with all the prog rock style twists and turns; winding improvisations the keys player noodles behind the lead guitar, bringing me to half a flashback from the mid 90's? Hell no! I want them to be punchy. I want the phantom stereo effect of that band to be ten feet in front of me, not coming from my left and right. Do I want to hear every detail in their 17 minute improvised jam of a song I have heard over 240 times already? Hell yes I do! I want the dramatic highs, lows- the slow build ups and explosive releases that same band presents when I am actually standing there, jumping up and down, covered in my own sweat, like a teenage girl! I want to hear the live engineer make a minute mistake and leave the crash too loud for two seconds to remind me this is a live show, not some sanitized version of a song on its 11th take.
                  And for the Classix II: What about those polished studio compositions? what about when I am not listening to my favorite stuff: live, recent, lossless recordings? My go to when testing new speakers is cliche, but it is cliche for a reason. Pink Floyd- Dark Side. There is nothing on that album that doesn't challenge a new pair of speakers to see if they can handle screaming frequencies pushing the boundaries of human hearing, nor is there another album with a thundering low end that should shake your rib cage at the right volume without sonically flopping around in the mud. I defy you to get the Classix II to do either screech or mud flop- assuming you have an appropriate amplifier and aren't playing a 3rd generation of a 192k MP3.
                  Since I built a recording studio and I record my own music, I have necessity for the Hitmakers. I have never had my own studio before, but have worked in many of these places- mainly as a tech and producer and engineer- as I am not a musician by trade, but I do have a lot of fun with it. I had only been in one other studio that did NOT have powered monitors sitting a foot or two away from my head while sitting at the console- and that was at the fanciest studio I had ever been in, in Toronto. These "monitors" were in a class of their own. Built into the wall and if they were cubic in nature, only half of the cabinet was protruding from either side, like wedges coming to a point, on either side of a large projection screen the computer images were on, like the pointed sides of triangles. On each protruding edge of the 45 degree angled "monitor" edges were 15" wooers, several 6.5"(?) Midrange and huge horn tweeters. All in on either side, so in duplicate, mind you, mirrored on each edge of the screen, on each side of the wall. Those were hooked up to a huge rack of amplifiers. Four 15" woofers, Twelve... 18.... 24? midranges.... and eighteen inch wide tweeter horns. Custom, to be sure. Deafening. My ears rang for a day and I sworeslently at that studio all night tossing and turning in my hotel bed, trying to sleep over the silent shrill.
                  Incidentally, I had the weird (and maybe rare?) opportunity to build my own studio monitors that a ton of pro recording studios use. By weird coincidence, I acquired new and unused plate amps, the exact woofers and tweeters, and schematics for the cabinets for the KRK RP8G3NA 8" Two Way studio monitors. Besides that monster studio, Every recording facility I had visited or worked in, had used powered monitors with 8" or 10" cabinets sitting all over the top of the consoles. More than the majority in the past ten years have been different generations of the KRK Yellow and Black active monitors I now got the weird fortune of building myself. I assumed that I got lucky, and I wanted and I needed these for my studio. Even after I made the Hitmakers and was blown away by the clarity, I wasn't convinced I was hearing my own recordings correctly. And I had this KRK stuff. So weirdly, I make the speakers- because I thought that I HAD to. Even though I would NEVER have bought the KRK's, I had the drivers, the plate amps, the cabinet blueprints.... I just needed to order the crossover inductors- so I did. And I fabricated them. For a few days, I thought that because I used MDF and not the fancy black plastic the KRK cabinets are made of, my KRK's were flawed. They didn't sound good to me. They were certainly no Hitmakers. They were too boomy. Too "in your face," and yet the KRK units tried to talk me into every take being perfect, though I could hear mistakes.
                  Then my friend Mike, a professional musician came over to jam. He took one look at my KRK's and his eyes widened. "Where did you GET these?" I told him I made them and he giggled. "Of course you did. Can we turn them on?" I agreed, but I said we had to play the same song twice. Once on the KRK, once on the Hitmakers. "The whaaa?" I pointed at the strange aluminum coned, seemingly oversized Carmody creation. "Whatever. Turn on the Spaker KRK's, man!" He melted. Wanted to know how I did it. How did I make these perfect monitors (the KR's) sound BETTER than the store bought ones? I told him I recalculated and adjusted the volume slightly from the blueprints and didn't crank them all the way, like everyone else does. He gushed and gushed. Could I make him some of the same KRK's? On and on. Then I held him to his promise. We played the identical tune. After the recording stopped, I just played back the recording he had just listened to three times over the KRK's on the Hitmakers. I had him sit in the center to experience that phantom stereo.
                  "Am I tripping? What the heck did you do? Was that all of them at once?" (Meaning the Hitmakers and KRKS in unison)
                  I kept it short and sweet. "There is this guy who I have never met. He is one of the guys in a community of speaker builders that I read a lot of online but barely ever participate. He has his own website with in depth directions on his own designs. I have made several. His name is Paul and he has the touch. Do you want a pair of the KRK's or a pair of the ones with the metal cones?"
                  "The Metal ones. the metal ones. Paul what? Is he from here?"

                  Last edited by Spaker; 08-31-2016, 12:00 AM.
                  My Studio Music Production Gear: http://equipboard.com/spaker
                  Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube DJTT Soundcloud

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Spaker View Post
                    "There is this guy who I have never met. He is one of the guys in a community of speaker builders that I read a lot of online but barely ever participate. He has his own website with in depth directions on his own designs. I have made several. His name is Paul and he has the touch. Do you want a pair of the KRK's or a pair of the ones with the metal cones?"[/FONT]
                    "The Metal ones. the metal ones. Paul what? Is he from here?"

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm speechless.
                      Isn't it about time we started answering rhetorical questions?

                      Paul Carmody's DIY Audio Projects
                      Twitter: @undefinition1

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Paul Carmody View Post
                        I'm speechless.
                        More of a "speak+ softly, and carry a big woofer" type of guy

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                        • #13
                          That's awesome, a great read.
                          Motivates me to get my Classix II kit finished, can't wait to hear them.

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                          • #14
                            I have been in and out of here a lot the past day- trying to figure out a non-problem by soliciting other members for ideas on an analog EQ kill box. I just was in my account profile here and clicked on this thread I started,

                            Originally posted by Dewmiester View Post
                            That's awesome, a great read.
                            Motivates me to get my Classix II kit finished, can't wait to hear them.
                            So? How did it go? Did you finish them?

                            I had my parts for the Classix packed in a box on top of the pre-cut MDF, on a shelf for... maybe a year? Many months, at least... I know that much, Not just Classix II parts that had sat and waited. The Nano Neo, and Hitmakers both had the MDF panels sitting for long periods after I cut the would-be the speaker cabinets. I had Classix II and Hitmakers drivers and crossover components seperated in boxes per project, and every MDF cut had been done to make the baffles, rears, sides and bottom. I don't know why I wasn't just assembling everything. It wasn't just those two I could have assembled any time. The Nano Neos- they sat. Two other cabinets I had designed and bought the parts for also sat in my shop storage, as well as parts for a vintage restoration, AND! I had recently added all the parts for a version of the Swope Home Theater! Another Carmody! Not the entire thing, just a 5.1 version.. - I already had a sub so I was just going to make the three MTM speakers in front of the room, closest to the screen, and the Swope TM's would be in the rear corners. That is 5 total and since I owned a subwoofer,

                            Why the heck did I do this? I don't have a good answer except that life got in the way. But holy smoke did I love having all these projects "shovel ready," so to speak, once my youngest son started school. I'm STILL drawing from my inventory of "ready to go" projects that I bought all parts for and neatly filed away.

                            To end on a note in the spirit that I started this thread- of all the projects I could have picked to do- in this space, other internet gathering spaces like this, from the work of others in the past, or trying to duplicate some commercially successful speakers, the majority of what I chose to build came right from Paul Carmody plans. The Hitmakers are near-field studio monitors I made for my studio, ans I now rehearse on four hours a day for my weekly gig. The Classix II are used in a small setup strictly for Vinyl, in a home library-like space. The Swope Home Theater system is on constantly in the Living Room. I hope speakers do not have feelings because lately, those Swopes are putting up with a LOT of Anime that this 7 year old I live with is obsessed with. Wait- that wordplay makes me sound creepy. Anime that my 7 year old SON is obsessed with. And I think the last time I counted, I had made NINE pair of Hitmakers for local musicians and bands, NINE! No complaints. No problems or breakdowns... nothing but people asking for more. I wish I had more time. I am going to eventually do every single project Paul has posted and then either he invents more to post or I'll quit this and take up quilting or take Latin dance classes.


                            PS- I've never charged more than $10 over parts for the Hitmakers. Working with musicians all of my adult life - I klnow one thing for sure. Most musicians are not rolling in money... and even if they were, it wouldn't matter. I overcharged by the $10 once and felt terrible.
                            My Studio Music Production Gear: http://equipboard.com/spaker
                            Facebook Twitter Instagram YouTube DJTT Soundcloud

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                            • #15
                              Thank you for the praise. I am very glad to hear they are going to good use with local musicians!
                              Isn't it about time we started answering rhetorical questions?

                              Paul Carmody's DIY Audio Projects
                              Twitter: @undefinition1

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