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"The Esoteries" (ES-3's) Speaker Project Write-Up

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  • "The Esoteries" (ES-3's) Speaker Project Write-Up

    "The Esoteries" (ES-3's) Speaker Project Write-Up

    Project description:
    This is my take on a mid-size tower speaker using very high quality speaker drivers in a TMM slanted-baffle design layout.



    Design Goals:
    In the past I've tended to spend my time and energy making more elaborate cabinets as opposed to spending big money on drivers. However, I've thought about doing an 'all-out' speaker system to see what was possible with higher-end drivers. This was my chance to build a 'special' set of speakers that will hopefully grace my home for many years to come.

    Driver Selection:
    My reason for choosing the Esoteric drivers is because I recently heard the larger ES180 woofer in action at Wolf's "DIY Indiana" speaker building contest this year. Dan Neubecker brought his set of stand-mount speakers he calls the "Premioso's" and I was astounded at the level of detail and low bass that this single-woofered speaker was able to reproduce. I was sure the subwoofer was accidentally left on, but it wasn't. Kerry (Navy Guy) and I were looking at each other in the back of the room going "Is the sub on? The sub must be on..." Possibly it was where we were standing in the room that was the reason we were hearing so much clean bass, but others sitting elsewhere mentioned the same thing.
    I made up my mind right then and there to try the Esoteric woofers out for myself. Wanting to build a narrower mid-sized tower, I decided to double up on the smaller 5 1/4" woofers to reduce the width while hopefully maintaining the same bass capabilities. I LOVE these drivers... you can plunk on the dustcap of these woofers in free air and sense that they are something special. They're almost too pretty to hide in an enclosure.
    As far as the tweeter selection went, I had a set of unused silk domed Reference Series tweeters in my stash already. The silk domed RS tweeters seem to be less used than their aluminum domed brothers, so I thought it would be a good chance to see what they could do in a high-end system.

    Enclosure Design:
    My goal for these cabinets was to build a unique looking, but still fairly easy-to-construct cabinet that would stand out in a crowd of normal rectangle box-type speakers. I wanted this cabinet to be able to be built by others fairly easily and with fairly basic woodworking tools that many folks would likely have in their woodshop. I would suggest a table or miter saw and router at the minimum. The cabinet is around 41 liters, vented with a 3" by 11" Precision Port tuned to 32 Hz.

    Enclosure Assembly:
    The cabinet may look difficult to construct, but it's not hard at all. The only tricky aspect of construction is setting up the angles that make up the main cabinet shape. I did miter the joints on the front/top/back/bottom seams, but I suppose you could just skip that and use b*u*t*t joints... but really, if you're setting the angles on the miter saw anyway, why not just miter the joints and have less end grain to worry about?
    Since I'm really bad at math and angles, I took my time on this and made out fine in the end. The best idea I think is to rip some boards to the proper width and make a few test cuts to make sure you get the angles correct. Getting every angle and dimension exactly the same as my drawing isn't important, as long as you're within a quarter to a half inch or so I would think you'd be fine. Tuning doesn't change much with the addition/subtraction of a few cubic inches. As long as the baffle is roughly the same angle, all is good. My method: make a cut, hold it up to the side panel and see if it's right... repeat. There is a picture below with all the dimensions and angles needed to reproduce the cabinet.







    *Veneering curves, seams, using heat-lock iron on method *Trimming veneer & tips *Curved Sides glue-up video
    *Part 2 *Gluing multiple curved laminations of HDF *Cello's Speaker Project Page

    *Building the "Micro-B 2.1 Plate Amplifier -- Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * * Part 5 'Review' * -- Assembly Instructions PDF

  • #2
    Enclosure Assembly (Cont.):
    I made the side slabs slightly oversized and trimmed off the excess with a straight cutting router bit after the sides were glued on. That way, any variance in the shape of the structure would not cause an issue once the sides were ready to be glued on. I used strap clamps to hold the top, bottom, back, front, and front angle pieces in place during the glue-up process. I suspect carefully tacking these pieces together with an air-gun and brads would work as well. Those pieces were also glued to one of the side pieces at the same time. After some clean up and applying caulk to the inside seams, I glued in the vent support, and side-to-side braces. Then I glued on the second side panel using polyurethane glue to help seal things up.





    All that was left was to build the base, transition piece, and machine the driver/port recesses and cut-outs with a circle jig and router.









    I did end up covering the front pieces and top with 1/8" HDF (High Density Fiberboard) to reduce the possibility of the MDF seams showing through the veneer later on. I used 1/16" maple veneer on the back for the same reason. Even though I sanded these cabinets several times, I still wanted to reduce the risk of the joints telegraphing through the veneer as much as possible.















    When thinking of what veneer to put on these, as usual, I asked my wife. I showed her several varieties and the one she liked the best by far was Waterfall Bubinga. Well that figures, that was one of the most expensive veneers I could have used.... but it is absolutely stunning in appearance, and just makes these speakers seem special. Good job wife!







    *Veneering curves, seams, using heat-lock iron on method *Trimming veneer & tips *Curved Sides glue-up video
    *Part 2 *Gluing multiple curved laminations of HDF *Cello's Speaker Project Page

    *Building the "Micro-B 2.1 Plate Amplifier -- Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * * Part 5 'Review' * -- Assembly Instructions PDF

    Comment


    • #3
      Crossover Design:
      The woofer filter is second-order LR with an additional .5 filter on the lower woofer. The tweeter filter is third-order LR. There are a few response-shaping bits added to take care of some dips and peaks in these drivers natural response as well as level matching for the tweeter. The crossover point is approximately 1,700 Hz and uses 10 parts. It's actually 9 parts, but I wanted to double up on one of the 10 watt resistors as it was getting a little warm during high-volume testing. This is a 4 ohm speaker, it doesn't dip below 3.8 ohms.









      Internal Cabinet Treatments:
      Below is a visual of what I did as far as soft materials inside the cabinet.




      *Veneering curves, seams, using heat-lock iron on method *Trimming veneer & tips *Curved Sides glue-up video
      *Part 2 *Gluing multiple curved laminations of HDF *Cello's Speaker Project Page

      *Building the "Micro-B 2.1 Plate Amplifier -- Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * * Part 5 'Review' * -- Assembly Instructions PDF

      Comment


      • #4
        Products Used:
        Tweeter: (2) Dayton Audio RS28F-4 part number #275-140
        Woofer: (4) Dayton Audio ES140TiA-8 part number #295-396
        Vent: (2) Precision Port PSP3-BKHT part number #268-350
        Acoustic Eggcrate Foam, 2 pc. (1) part number #260-526
        Supreme Binding Post (2) part number #260-314
        Polyfill, Denim Insulation
        Crossover Parts...
        Dayton Audio 15 uF Capacitor (2) part number #027-432
        Dayton Audio 27 uF Capacitor (2) part number #027-439
        Dayton Audio 25 uF Capacitor (2) part number #027-438
        Dayton Audio 1 uF Capacitor (2) part number #027-410
        Dayton Audio 1.5 mH Inductor (2) part number #257-552
        Dayton Audio 4.5 mH Inductor (2) part number #257-564
        Erse 0.20 mH 18 AWG inductor (2) part number #266-806
        Dayton Audio 9.1 ohm Resistor (2) part number #004-9.1
        Dayton Audio 25 ohm Resistor (4) part number #004-25
        (12.5 ohms...Two resistors run parallel to allow for more power handling)







        *Veneering curves, seams, using heat-lock iron on method *Trimming veneer & tips *Curved Sides glue-up video
        *Part 2 *Gluing multiple curved laminations of HDF *Cello's Speaker Project Page

        *Building the "Micro-B 2.1 Plate Amplifier -- Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * * Part 5 'Review' * -- Assembly Instructions PDF

        Comment


        • #5
          Conclusion:
          My goal was to build a higher end, or 'reference' type of speaker using the best drivers the Dayton Audio brand had to offer. I think the real star of this speaker show is the Esoteric woofers, which allow for a level of detail along with low bass output that seems to be almost too good to be true. I'm happy with the results and I feel that the clarity of these speakers, even at higher listening levels speaks volumes about the level of refinement and quality of construction of these updated Esoteric woofers. They don't dig quite as deep as Dan's speakers, but they get pretty close, and I'm happy with the narrow width of the cabinet.
          I like what I'm hearing so far and I love the crispness of the sound on acoustic guitar passages especially. I'm not great at describing what I'm hearing, but these speakers do a good job of not adding anything to the music. I think the Esoteric woofers can hang with some pretty fancy drivers with no trouble whatsoever; and overall, I'm very happy with how this project turned out. I do want to revisit the finish at some point in the future as I'm not totally happy with the 'smoothness' of my application of polyurethane, but as usual, I've gotten some good advice from my 'Tech Talk' friends and will be fixing up the finish once the poly has had a chance to cure completely.






          TomZ
          *Veneering curves, seams, using heat-lock iron on method *Trimming veneer & tips *Curved Sides glue-up video
          *Part 2 *Gluing multiple curved laminations of HDF *Cello's Speaker Project Page

          *Building the "Micro-B 2.1 Plate Amplifier -- Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * * Part 5 'Review' * -- Assembly Instructions PDF

          Comment


          • #6
            Awesome Project Tom.
            Congratulations!

            Comment


            • #7
              Very nice build Tom, and great writeup as usual.
              I've been thinking a lot about a high end build, and frankly looking at SS and SB. Sure wish I could hear those side by side with the Esoterics.
              Q - did you use the newer Esos or the older ones? The new versions are flatter, right?

              I think I hear a difference - wow, it's amazing!" Ethan Winer: audio myths
              "As God is my witness I'll never be without a good pair of speakers!" Scarlett O'Hara

              High value, high quality RS150/TB28-537SH bookshelf - TARGAS NLA!
              SB13/Vifa BC25SC06 MTM DCR Galeons-SB13-MTM
              My Voxel min sub Yet-another-Voxel-build

              Tangband W6-sub

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by AlexRivera View Post
                Awesome Project Tom.
                Congratulations!
                Thanks!

                Originally posted by donradick View Post
                Very nice build Tom, and great writeup as usual.
                I've been thinking a lot about a high end build, and frankly looking at SS and SB. Sure wish I could hear those side by side with the Esoterics.
                Q - did you use the newer Esos or the older ones? The new versions are flatter, right?
                Thanks Don.
                They are the newer ones with the added mass on the inside of the dust cap to tame a peak.



                It's pretty much the same otherwise, I believe, though.

                They're nice sounding drivers.

                TomZ
                *Veneering curves, seams, using heat-lock iron on method *Trimming veneer & tips *Curved Sides glue-up video
                *Part 2 *Gluing multiple curved laminations of HDF *Cello's Speaker Project Page

                *Building the "Micro-B 2.1 Plate Amplifier -- Part 1 * Part 2 * Part 3 * Part 4 * * Part 5 'Review' * -- Assembly Instructions PDF

                Comment


                • #9
                  Beautiful work! Those look very professional and high-end.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Fantastic set of speakers Tom! The cabinet's unique shape and beautiful veneer (good job Eileen) looks like it was meant for these drivers, a perfect compliment to them. They also sounded as great as they looked, nice job on the crossovers. If there was ever a debate on which speakers to put in the living room, the debate should be over.

                    You've probably already got the subwoofers for the room but a matching set in the same veneer would rock!
                    My "No-Name" CC Speaker
                    Kerry's "Silverbacks"
                    Ben's Synchaeta's for Mom
                    The Archers
                    Rick's "db" Desktop CBT Arrays
                    The Gandalf's

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Very nice build and write up. I've been following since your first posting, primarily because of the cabinet shape. They have an architectural appearance with a sense of tension, rather than simply another ho-hum box. Wish I were able to hear them short of building a pair......
                      If life were fair, Elvis would still be alive today and all the impersonators would be dead.
                      ~ Johnny Carson

                      Bungelow Ed's Photo Album http://techtalk.parts-express.com/album.php?u=8594

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        👁❤'m.
                        Kenny

                        http://www.diy-ny.com/
                        DIY NY/NJ 2014 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGwA...ature=youtu.be
                        Man does not live by measurements alone, a little music helps.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Beautiful speakers and excellent write-up. I thought these were one of the very best sounding speakers at MWAF this year. I agree with your comments about Dan N's Premioso's at InDIYana. These small esoteric drivers can really dig deep in a fairly small cabinet. For my next build, I am going to try a cabinet shape similar to this.

                          Keep up the good work!

                          Bill
                          Linehopper: http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...Esoteric-build
                          Plan-Tanic: http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...ght=Plan-Tanic

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Very well done! Your builds are getting better and better both aesthetically and sound wise based on the wins. Thanks for the excellent write-up as always. Congrats on the win.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Those are stunning, Tom. I'll bet they sound fantastic, too!

                              Comment

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