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  • Help needed on radio console project

    I picked up a 1960s Montgomery Ward radio console a while back for what an IKEA coffee table costs. The AM/FM radio worked but the LP player and most of the speakers did not. I pulled all of the electronics out. My plan is to install a Bluetooth equipped receiver, two 3-way speakers (if I can fit 3-ways), and a subwoofer. I'm planning on using a Yamaha R-S300 as the receiver but I have not bought one yet. I am interested in making the radio console look as close to factory as possible. The receiver and power distribution will sit vertically where the LP player used to sit. I don't have the expertise to build the speakers from scratch so I am looking for speaker kits. I have looked at several options on this website and others I am overwhelmed. I am having difficulty finding a 3-way that would fit within the 8"x14 3/4" spacing but I want the range a 3-way offers. The room in which I'll use this radio is about 20' x 30'. I have the following questions:

    What speaker kits could I used based on the space and the power available in the Yamaha R-S300?
    Same question for the subwoofer, what do you recommend?
    I plan on enclosing the subwoofer. Should I enclose the two set of speakers as well?
    I was thinking I should close the rear of the console and fill it with sound dampening material. should I add fan ventilation?
    Does anyone have any other equipment ideas? I open to suggestions.

    All help is appreciated. I am new to this site and I am very excited to emerge myself in the home audio world.

    I am keeping the current paint and grill cloth. half the speakers were damaged. I still have all the hardware. The receiver and power distribution will sit vertically where the LP player is.

  • #2
    With a sub, you could really just use a pair of two-ways.

    Plenty of nice two-way kits out there. PE has a few on their pages, and DIY Soundgroup has a few more.
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    • #3
      It SEEMs like you'd really have more like maybe 14"h x 14"w? (by also almost 14" deep? - we need to know the depth avail. to calc. volume). Probably somewhere between 1.0 and 1.5 cu.ft. avail on each side? Possibly only 1 additional cu.ft. for a small sub?
      Like Pete said, w/a sub - all you need are 2-ways (maybe some MTMs?). All drivers will need their own internal "boxes" inside the open-back console.

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      • #4
        Each front window is 8" wide. With the sides each window is about 11". I want to leave the third window from the right empty for future functionality growth (computer, cd changer, etc). I measured 13" deep.

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        • #5
          It's a beautiful piece and could be a charmer with the right audio gear installed.

          I agree with 2-ways with a sub. An alternative is 3-ways with the woofer in separate enclosures taking up the middle two spaces (some prefer 3-ways to a sub for music). Perhaps the woofers (or a sub) cabinet shapes could be arranged in a way to allow the on-end receiver because it doesn't look like there won't be enough depth to stand a receiver on end above the right speaker. But there would be enough room above the speaker to lay in a touch screen (w/a small format PC residing were left over room permits). That would be very cool.

          The speaker "kits" should be built as self contained speakers and placed in position behind the existing grill cloth. And you wouldn't have to finish the raw MDF. Perhaps just paint the baffle black to avoid showing through the grill. I'd leave the back open (and many kits are ported to the rear anyway).

          I also think that the right PC audio card could be the "pre-amp" w/graphic equalizer, internet/streaming radio, etc. Then you would only need a power amp and PS. But that begs the question: Home Theater in the future or just music?

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          • #6
            Thanks Mike. My first thought when I saw the console at the store is what you are describing with the touch screen. My problem is it would be doubling the topics I know very little of from the start. I figured I could expand the concept later. If you have a list of components and SW in mind by all means I take it. I am good at following instructions. My thought was home theater but I have been unable to convince the wife. I figured once it was working I can make the transition.

            If I stick to 2 x 2-way + subwoofer I think I can still fit the receiver all the way in the back of console. The R-S300 may not have enough power to drive the MTMs I see in PE (correct me if Im wrong). I was looking at getting 2 Dayton Audio RS621 Speaker Kits and one Dayton Audio 8" Reference Series HO Subwoofer. I have enough space for the subwoofer box and if 0.25cuft holds true for the 2-way speakers I would have 2 inches to spare on the left side for the receiver. Would I need a separate amplifier for the subwoofer?

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Edaniel View Post
              Thanks Mike. My first thought when I saw the console at the store is what you are describing with the touch screen. My problem is it would be doubling the topics I know very little of from the start. I figured I could expand the concept later. If you have a list of components and SW in mind by all means I take it. I am good at following instructions. My thought was home theater but I have been unable to convince the wife. I figured once it was working I can make the transition.

              If I stick to 2 x 2-way + subwoofer I think I can still fit the receiver all the way in the back of console. The R-S300 may not have enough power to drive the MTMs I see in PE (correct me if I’m wrong). I was looking at getting 2 Dayton Audio RS621 Speaker Kits and one Dayton Audio 8" Reference Series HO Subwoofer. I have enough space for the subwoofer box and if 0.25cuft holds true for the 2-way speakers I would have 2 inches to spare on the left side for the receiver. Would I need a separate amplifier for the subwoofer?
              Well, I said my piece. Many others here have built or heard lots of the available kits. You should get several+ posts on speaker kit choice. Two things I would consider ...

              First, the tweeter will be well below listening level tilting the choice to designs/kits with the least off-axis HF drop off.

              Second, though they may never been "seen", a kit with an included baffle that has the driver recesses cut for you (unless you have a router and are an somewhat experienced woodworker).

              Ditto for PC audio. I simply play MP3s or tune to a commercial internet station (w/ads) via iHeart.com. I use my PC's built-in sound card. Many others here using streaming pay services and upgraded sound cards, DACs, etc. Probably, beyond your initial foray into this project and fidelity beyond what I can hear.

              You may get some suggestions for a receiver in the sub $300 range to compare against the Yamaha RS300 - perhaps integrated amp suggestions (e.g., pre-amp & amp w/o FM receive). The RS300 doesn't appear to tune hi-def FM and the standard FM signal leaves a lot to be desired with respect to fidelity.

              8" HO sub is good - it fits. Nail the speaker kit choice and you'll be way ahead of the game.

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              • #8
                Mike you are correct, the receiver doesn't fit once the enclosed 2-way is installed. I tried multiple configurations. I have little interest in radio. I only need the console to play off of smart phones, tablets and computers through Bluetooth for the time being.

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                • #9
                  Given your rather limiting criteria (CURRENT speaker kits that include a cabinet - that will fit inside your console), you don't have too many choices just at PE. The 8" HO sub is probably the only one that'll fit in the bottom center of your console. If 15" is too high for your mains, you're really only left w/a set of BR-1s (or Overnight Sensations - which WOULD probably need the sub). At 15" high, the Tango would be a good choice (which probably would still need the sub), and the Classix II could work well for you. I'd be tempted to go w/the Classix first and see if you feel that you still need the sub.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Edaniel View Post
                    I have little interest in radio. I only need the console to play off of smart phones, tablets and computers through Bluetooth for the time being.
                    Sounds like a small digital amp with bluetooth is what you should be looking for, not a receiver.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Chris Roemer View Post
                      Given your rather limiting criteria (CURRENT speaker kits that include a cabinet - that will fit inside your console), you don't have too many choices just at PE. The 8" HO sub is probably the only one that'll fit in the bottom center of your console. If 15" is too high for your mains, you're really only left w/a set of BR-1s (or Overnight Sensations - which WOULD probably need the sub). At 15" high, the Tango would be a good choice (which probably would still need the sub), and the Classix II could work well for you. I'd be tempted to go w/the Classix first and see if you feel that you still need the sub.
                      Chris, sorry, I may have confused the issue ... I suggested a kit with a pre-cut baffle if woodworking resources are limited.

                      But you bring up a good point; an extra inch or so opens up a lot of choices. And it looks to me that there's more room that 14" high inside. Just that the grill is limited to 14" high (actually 1" to 15" high?). So I would think that as long as the drivers sit within the grill outline it would work.

                      OS MTMs ???

                      Then again, it's a huge room at 20' x 30'. May be better suited to a higher output 2-way that needs the sub for the lower end.

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                      • #12
                        Now that the receiver is out my limiting factor is the 8"x14-3/4" grill. With 13" depth I can achieve the 1cuft some of the MTMs require. I just have to get the speakers to fit. I'll read up on Classix II, BR-1, Overnight Sensations, and Tango. Even though having a baffle may make life easier I would have to customize anyways. I got the tools I need around and I enjoy woodwork.

                        I also have to start researching digital amplifiers. The receiver would have made that part of the project simple plus it would have looked great. Any recommendations on digital amplifiers?

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                        • #13
                          Have you considered a car stereo based solution? Open baffle speakers, sub and car stereo head going to a conventional home stereo amp.

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                          • #14
                            djg, I have not considered using a car system. Ill have to give that some thought. Car systems are meant to be hidden which is a plus.

                            I did some looking around through several websites and Im thinking Ill use a digital integrated amplifier as JimHRB suggested. I am considering the TEAC AI-301DA DAC 2x60W. The thing is this amp pushes at 4ohms limiting my speaker options (am I wrong here?). I would upgrade later on to a NAD C 338 Hybrid Digital Integrated Amplifier. This device has everything I am looking for (at a higher price tag) plus I would be able to control the system with a NAD app on my phone. With a width of 2 I can fit it vertically even with a cabinet below. Since it is a D amp I dont have to be too concerned about the heat in the cramped environment. I might delay the finished product a few months so I can buy the NAD and skip the TEAC. Well see.

                            The reason I am sticking to kits for the speakers is my inexperience matching speakers and building crossovers. I can fit the MTMs (TriTrix and AviaTrix) in the 8x15 grill. I have two questions regarding the TriTrix. The kit that includes the cabinet says the kit is designed for 8ohms but the kit without the cabinet says 4ohms. Which one is it? Another discrepancy is the cabinet size. The one without says 0.25cuft is required which is very small but the cabinet in the kit adds up to 2cuft. Which one is it?

                            As for the subwoofer I am planning on 8 bundle with a dayton SPA250 amp.

                            Thanks for the advice. I have learned a few new things.

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                            • #15
                              An amp rated for a 4ohm load can handle 8ohm speakers, but usually not the other way around (esp. if you really turn it up).

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