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  • Solstice MLTL Build

    Just received my Solstice kit today and I am anxious to get rolling on the build. I've always wanted to do a build with Morels and when I saw Jeff's kit and comments it was the perfect excuse. Besides, when I told the wife my monstrous OB's might be moving out of the living room she practically jumped for joy.

    Here are some photos of my progress.

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    Mock Up
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  • #2
    Re: Solstice MLTL Build

    Some more photos.

    Starting to lay out the Crossover.
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    Black Baffle.

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    Black Baffle mocked up with Speakers.
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    Maple Veneer. What a PIA. This was my firs time trying a veneer. I have new found respect for the guys who do this well. What an art form.

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    • #3
      Re: Solstice MLTL Build

      Semi Finished. Still stressing about some imperfections that I'll eventually touch up. But this is a good indication of what they are.

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      I set them up in a Biwire/Biamp configuration. Building some new cables, but the jumper works for now.
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      • #4
        Re: Solstice MLTL Build

        Listening Impressions.

        They are currently breaking in, but so far I agree with what was said about this kit by Jeff. The midrange is fantastic and the presentation from the Morel Tweeter is tough to find fault with; smooth, detailed and not fatiguing at all. I've removed my sub for stereo listening as it's overkill the way these deliver the low end. These are very very easy to listen to if that makes sense. I've also noticed that they are very revealing to the source. First time listening was with my Emotiva XPA-2 as the power source and they initially seemed a little bass heavy. Not boomy, the bass is tight and detailed, there just seemed to be a noticeable bump in that lower octave. Not wanting to blame the speaker just yet, I switched amps to my Class D Audio SDS-470C. Now the Solstices seemed even more detailed, open and came out of a deep black to present this very wide soundstage. That said, now I felt like I was lacking a little low end authority. Yep, it's the source.. The great news or bad news for the wallet, is these guys are an excellent reference speaker for auditioning amplifiers and other upstream components.

        As they break in I will do a more in-depth write-up and post a vid so you can hear how they sound through your speakers...

        Great job on this design Jeff. I couldn't be happier with your Solstice design. These are well worth many times their price. Most importantly I am really enjoying listening to them.

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        • #5
          Re: Solstice MLTL Build

          Originally posted by Fergastubbs View Post
          Listening Impressions.

          They are currently breaking in, but so far I agree with what was said about this kit by Jeff. The midrange is fantastic and the presentation from the Morel Tweeter is tough to find fault with; smooth, detailed and not fatiguing at all. I've removed my sub for stereo listening as it's overkill the way these deliver the low end. These are very very easy to listen to if that makes sense. I've also noticed that they are very revealing to the source. First time listening was with my Emotiva XPA-2 as the power source and they initially seemed a little bass heavy. Not boomy, the bass is tight and detailed, there just seemed to be a noticeable bump in that lower octave. Not wanting to blame the speaker just yet, I switched amps to my Class D Audio SDS-470C. Now the Solstices seemed even more detailed, open and came out of a deep black to present this very wide soundstage. That said, now I felt like I was lacking a little low end authority. Yep, it's the source.. The great news or bad news for the wallet, is these guys are an excellent reference speaker for auditioning amplifiers and other upstream components.

          As they break in I will do a more in-depth write-up and post a vid so you can hear how they sound through your speakers...

          Great job on this design Jeff. I couldn't be happier with your Solstice design. These are well worth many times their price. Most importantly I am really enjoying listening to them.
          Great finish on the baffle and using the bright screws really makes the mounting POP! What is the black finish?

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          • #6
            Re: Solstice MLTL Build

            Originally posted by Uncle Bob View Post
            Great finish on the baffle and using the bright screws really makes the mounting POP! What is the black finish?
            Thanks. I used a basic primer and then sprayed them with Satin Black Kyrlon. Sand with 1000 grit, spray, sand spray sand etc. They have a clear coat finish over the satin. This required more wet sanding then a simple buff to make them shine. The screws are gold in color, my phone didn't do a good job of resolving the color.

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            • #7
              Re: Solstice MLTL Build

              I'm glad you like them. I have designed a lot of speakers, and I naturally don't feel the same way about every one of them, because they all have compromises and trade-off in the design somewhere. However, overall, the Solstice is definitely one of the finest I have ever designed and is just absolutely splendid in its presentation from top to bottom.
              Click here for Jeff Bagby's Loudspeaker Design Software

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              • #8
                Re: Solstice MLTL Build

                Look nice. I have been thinking about these for a while but I really don't need more speakers.

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                • #9
                  Re: Solstice MLTL Build

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                  Set-Up
                  Windows Music Server using HDMI Out
                  Software is JRiver
                  Sherborn PT-7030 Balanced Out to Emotive XPA-2
                  Music Hall 5.1 through Bryston Phono PreAmp using Balanced output to balanced input/pass through on the Sherborn 7030


                  Solstice Review

                  The Solstice did take some time to break in. After about 70 hours of use I can say that the dynamics opened up as the midrange and bass drivers limbered up. The only alteration I made to the kit was using different capacitors. I had a couple Jantzen Audio Superior Z-Caps from a previous project that matched so I decided to purchase the remaining Z-Caps necessary to complete the crossover and went with it. The midrange in this design is absolutely without question the strong point of this system. I haven’t heard better, period. The bass on these units improved over time, to the point where it is now excellent, tight, fast and deep. These units are some of the finest loudspeakers I have had heard. They seemed to present themselves best at about 3’ from the back wall and 4’ from the sidewall.

                  Keep in mind that the Solstice speakers in my case were very true to the source and displayed the sonic signatures from different components. I tried three different amps with these guys and the Solstice highlighted the signature sound of each one. The ClassDAudio 470 sounded detailed and open, but didn’t dig as deep as I like. It made the Solstice sound almost too clinical. The Parasound HCCA 3500 sounded a little too warm and not as detailed in the upper midrange/treble. Bass output was ridiculously powerful though. The XPA2 seemed to bring out the best tonal aspects of these drivers with great uncolored midrange detail and full authoritative low end.

                  Performance

                  These towers are very dynamic and well balanced to say the least. Hans Zimmer, Mombasa, from the Inception soundtrack is one I enjoy for bass extension and dynamics. It’s a complex track with transients that can be a difficult challenge for a speaker to reproduce properly. The Solstices reproduce the track easily with a solid punch and great dynamics with each instrument being in a pinpoint position well behind the towers. You won’t need a sub with these either, believe me. In room extension went very deep and with authority, but was never overpowering to the midrange detail. The separation and individual instrument detail/layers are well defined. They never seemed to strain or distort even with 3 lights shining bright on the Emotiva XPA2 meter. If you don’t know, that’s call the cops LOUD. They really do rival far more expensive speakers with a midrange projection that is incredible. Did I mention that the midrange detail is ridiculously good. Jeff’s crossover and cabinet design make these high quality Morel drivers sing. I’ve always been a fan of the Morel Tweeters and I like these tweeters in the Solstice better than the ear straining Vifa Ring domes or the highly transparent B&G Neo 3 PDRs in my Infinity RSIIa remakes. This is my first experience with a morel midrange/midbass and I waited too long to experience their sound.

                  Low level detail is not lacking either. The level of resolution at low volume will surprise you. They dole out every subtle detail you could want. These towers present themselves very well when it comes to defining subtle detail. Low-level instrumental is delivered with impressive precision and remains easily heard even when the music gets demanding. They’re not necessarily as good as the great bookshelf designs with regard to low level detail, but they definitely hold their own.

                  Lastly, the Solstice seemed immune from distortion or dynamic compression up to the loudest of levels. They could easily be powered to very very high levels, projecting a rock solid image no matter the sound be kick drums, rim shots, conga beats or sudden explosive transitions, all were displayed without congestion or softening. The overall sound quality and levels are fast, dynamic, and clean. I really enjoy listening to these.

                  Tone

                  Tonally, the Solstice speakers just edge slightly towards the warm side of neutral, but don’t go far enough down that path to cause complaint by any means. The upper frequencies are natural with cymbals and high hats being reproduced properly without unnecessary “sparkle” or ear strain. They are by no means dark. They seem to respond to the slightest change in volume level or musical intensity very easily and remain true to the source feeding it.

                  Vocal recordings both male and female were rendered with incredible tonal accuracy and realism. They captured a smoothness and lyricism in tenor that was addicting. Thievery Corporation, Le Monde (Vinyl, Mirror Conspiracy) was as natural and realistic as I've ever heard, with none of the fat bloated midbass emphasis, or closed-in quality I've heard from other speakers. These things LOVE reproducing vinyl btw. I think I was up until 2am playing different albums just to see how good they would sound through the Solstice. I kept having those, man I hadn’t noticed that before moments. Great stuff.

                  The much over used Nils Lofgren, Keith Don’t Go sounded as if it someone had removed a veil from the recording. You easily got the sense of chestiness, depth and presence in his voice. I became involved in the sound and felt as if I was hearing it for the first time. I didn’t mind that I was hearing it for the millionth time at all.

                  On acoustic guitar tracks like Antonio Forcione’s Touch Wood: the Solstices re-created a three-dimensional image of Forcione’s guitar and revealed the rich sharp mix of the plucked strings' and the guitar’s rich wooden resonance from his hammer strikes on the back of its cabinet. The snap and dynamics were very realistic. The wife even sat down for a listen and for once didn’t ask me to turn it down. That should say everything.

                  On orchestral music like the opening of Dvorák's Carnival overture; the timpani, strings, and winds intertwined nicely but remaining very distinct and powerful. Classical music was very inviting and never boring.

                  Sound Stage and Imaging
                  The Solstices delivered a deep, broad, rock-solid image. The soundstage is massive as is the three-dimensional image. The instruments and vocalists are well behind the speakers and easily pinpointed. They also disappear fairly well into the room and I now know what people are talking about when they use terms like “holographic” image.

                  Summary

                  These are very good speakers that I would put up against anything in a range at many times the cost to purchase this kit. In my room they did require a little bit of trial and error to get the best placement. To close to the wall resulted in a bass heavy response, but a bass trap and some distance cured it. These will be in the living room for the foreseeable future. I really enjoy them and I think anyone who buys this kit will too. People who want a bright or forward speaker might not find what they are looking for, but those who like a natural and inviting presentation will enjoy listening to these for hours on end.
                  Attached Files
                  Last edited by Fergastubbs; 10-28-2015, 04:39 PM.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Solstice MLTL Build

                    Just ordered the kit myself, praying mine turn out as nice as yours. First time building, do you happen to have anymore pics of the xovers......as I said I have never built a pair of speakers before and haven't played with a passive xover since the late 80's (car audio back ground)

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                    • #11
                      Re: Solstice MLTL Build

                      Consider adding a rug with medium to deep pile height to your floor. Otherwise, it is probably the first hard surface that the sound from the Solstice speakers will reach, and it will be the largest cause of frequency response variations from audible reflections. You'll notice that as you move closer or further away from the speakers, you will hear noticeable swings in the frequency response. The problem isn't with your speakers, but your environment.
                      Technology in the service of art, for the life of the music.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Solstice MLTL Build

                        Fergastubbs, That's quite a well-written review. I doubt I would have seen anything better written in the The Absolute Sound. Thank you for the wonderful comments, but most importantly, I am very glad you are enjoying the project. May they be a wonderful addition to your home for years to come.

                        Jeff
                        Click here for Jeff Bagby's Loudspeaker Design Software

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                        • #13
                          Re: Solstice MLTL Build

                          Here is a link to my build of the Solstice. These are truly awesome speakers

                          http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...My-first-build

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                          • #14
                            Re: Solstice MLTL Build

                            Would like to try the 308's but put off up to now by people saying they can't be used below a certain X/O point etc ( maybe in high power applications?)
                            but here I see it's been successfully used below 2khz! 2nd order?

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                            • #15
                              Re: Solstice MLTL Build

                              Originally posted by bill poster View Post
                              Would like to try the 308's but put off up to now by people saying they can't be used below a certain X/O point etc ( maybe in high power applications?)
                              but here I see it's been successfully used below 2khz! 2nd order?
                              In all of the time I have been doing this I have never heard that this Morel shouldn't be used with lower crossover points. I have used Morel tweeters for years with no problems. In this case the filter is second order electrical resulting in a 4th order acoustic crossover.
                              Click here for Jeff Bagby's Loudspeaker Design Software

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