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Solstice speakers in Duratex

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  • Solstice speakers in Duratex

    A few months ago, I asked about putting Jeff Bagby's Solstice MTM in a smallish office. No red flags came up, so I went through with it! These were from the Parts Express flat pack kit.

    I've built a few different speakers now, all from flat pack kits. Every single one I've finished in Duratex. It's easy to use, makes for a rugged finish, somewhat hides imperfections in the wood, doesn't stink (I apply it in the dining room!), and is fairly cheap. And I actually like the resulting "utilitarian" look. With the Solstices, I thought about trying to do a veneer or other fancier finish... but impatience got the best of me: I wanted to listen to these, not wait while I learned a new skill. Also, the practical reason of not wanting my learning to take place on a fairly expensive kit.

    I know folks appreciate reviews on sound quality... I don't think my ears are "qualified" enough to give an in-depth review. But I'll just say that, if these speakers are doing anything wrong, I certainly can't hear it. If anything, the only "problem" might be that it's easier to notice sub-optimal recordings. But that's exactly what I wanted: detailed but neutral, revealing speakers. To my ears, the Solstices do exactly that. I also have to add that, for strictly music, I can't imagine anyone needing a sub with these speakers (unless you love total overkill bass). The Solstices replaced a pair of Paul Carmody's Speedsters. The Speedsters have an impressive amount of bass for their size, but it's no contest compared to the Solstices! I've been listening to a lot of classical music lately - Classical Era, early Romantic symphonies and chamber ensembles, which doesn't seem to have a lot of bass. But if I switch over to modern rock or any kind of electronic music, the bass practically knocks me out of my chair.

    I have a set of Salk Songtowers in the living room. Some day I hope to be motivated enough to compare them to the Solstices. But even without having them side-by-side, I can say for sure the Solstice dominates in the bass department.

    At this point, I'm quite sure the limiting factor is the room itself. It's all hard surfaces: hardwood floor, glass double-doors, wood wainscoting. The windows only have the thinnest sheer curtains. And a giant desk with a big monitor right in the middle of the room. Someday I'll put a big area rug on the floor, and see if I can't find some semi-discrete acoustic treatments (but that will be a struggle with the wife).

    Right speaker, front-view, with Speedster behind. Right speaker, angle view. Right speaker, birds-eye view.  Despite spackle and sanding, the seam between baffle and cabinet still shows a bit through the Duratex.

  • #2
    They look nice, well done. And they sound as if they make great music.

    For room treatment, if you have space and the $, maybe try a framed canvas painting or just plain painted canvas to hang on the wall? We had a 6x4 foot oil painting which seemed to make a difference in terms of the 'brightness' of the sound. It was hung on the wall behind the listening area; a rug or tapestry would have been better, but would have looked daggy.

    If you're a fan of classical music and good sound, I suggest checking out Trevor Pinnock's version of Bach's Brandenburg Concertos: great recording and a really nice interpretation. Or Janos Starker's version of the Dvorak Cello Concerto on the Mercury "Living Presence" label: on old 60s recording but the sound will blow you away; you will get plenty of bass through your Solstice speakers!

    Last edited by Geoff Millar; 01-03-2018, 08:40 PM.


    • #3
      Those look nice! Just plain basic black works well. However, I would advise you to toe them in to have the baffles face your position. These were designed to be listened to on-axis with the tweeter.

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