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  • Should I adjust my DIY expectations?

    I was at a place called Bjorn's in San Antonio the other day and I got to listen to a set of B&W 802D with what I believe was a McIntosh pre and McIntosh amp in a treated room. I was floored at the soundstage and power that came out of those 2 speakers. It was definitely an experience, as opposed to just listening to music. My question is, would something in the DIY circle under $1500 for the kit, enclosure, and finishing materials, with reasonable upstream electronics in a properly treated room be able to compare/recreate to what I experienced? The electronics and room treatments are not included in that price.

    I'm even ok with stand mounts + separate sub, with the sub not even factoring into the price.

    I probably did a terrible job describing what I heard and felt, but it took me into a different world for the few minutes I was there.

  • #2
    Originally posted by jcsmith0919 View Post
    I was at a place called Bjorn's in San Antonio the other day and I got to listen to a set of B&W 802D with what I believe was a McIntosh pre and McIntosh amp in a treated room. .
    Having looked them up, they are not passive crossed. So you could get the kind of transparency that an active crossover brings by bi or tri-amping. And then you could buy the most expensive low distortion speakers.

    If you have the time and the money, you could do this. I built a set of $6000+ line arrays(2 12 inch woofs, 32 3 inch mids, 64 1 inch dome tweeters) in 2004 for less that 900 bucks including the active electrical crossovers and the amps. I could probably do it today for about $2500. It did take me 18 months of on line research. Each midrange had its separate and isolated cabinet, in a circular cylinder that research said reduced 3rd harmonic overtones. You could also add a piece of electronics that boost 2nd order harmonic overtones, which dramatically modifies the sound in a positive way. There are so many things you can do, but the research is hard to do.

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    • #3
      There are lots of high performing speakers that fall into that price range. Statements II by Curt Campbell and Jim Holtz come to mind as they deliver a very immersive soundstage using an open-back midrange.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by malboro2 View Post

        Having looked them up, they are not passive crossed. So you could get the kind of transparency that an active crossover brings by bi or tri-amping. And then you could buy the most expensive low distortion speakers.

        If you have the time and the money, you could do this. I built a set of $6000+ line arrays(2 12 inch woofs, 32 3 inch mids, 64 1 inch dome tweeters) in 2004 for less that 900 bucks including the active electrical crossovers and the amps. I could probably do it today for about $2500. It did take me 18 months of on line research. Each midrange had its separate and isolated cabinet, in a circular cylinder that research said reduced 3rd harmonic overtones. You could also add a piece of electronics that boost 2nd order harmonic overtones, which dramatically modifies the sound in a positive way. There are so many things you can do, but the research is hard to do.
        Wow that does sound impressive. So you researched everything, then built your own line array with active crossover? That would be a new all time high for me to take on a project like that.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by scottvalentin View Post
          There are lots of high performing speakers that fall into that price range. Statements II by Curt Campbell and Jim Holtz come to mind as they deliver a very immersive soundstage using an open-back midrange.
          I've been seriously interested in those for a while. I just haven't had the chance to hear them. The finalists were actually what I was thinking when I mentioned "a stand mount and separate sub" if need be. Have you heard the 802D to compare? I lean towards the statements, but if the finalists would give me everything the statements would, when adding a separate sub, I'd be more inclined to go that route. I just haven't heard anything personally of considerable reviews from the diy world besides the 1099s off DIYsoundgroup, and that was in an HT setup. Of which until I heard the 802s, I'd say even the 1099s were the best speakers I've heard before (even for music).... I wouldn't be able to compare the two, as it was a while ago hearing the 1099s, but I remember being in that enchantment as well.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by jcsmith0919 View Post
            I was at a place called Bjorn's in San Antonio the other day and I got to listen to a set of B&W 802D with what I believe was a McIntosh pre and McIntosh amp in a treated room. I was floored at the soundstage and power that came out of those 2 speakers. It was definitely an experience, as opposed to just listening to music. My question is, would something in the DIY circle under $1500 for the kit, enclosure, and finishing materials, with reasonable upstream electronics in a properly treated room be able to compare/recreate to what I experienced? The electronics and room treatments are not included in that price.

            I'm even ok with stand mounts + separate sub, with the sub not even factoring into the price.

            I probably did a terrible job describing what I heard and felt, but it took me into a different world for the few minutes I was there.
            How was the room treated, and what material was being played for your listening pleasure?

            On room treatment: A friend rented a small office once that was located in a large cabinet shop. In an effort to control noise, the owners of the cabinet shop built-out the walls w/ dual 2x4 construction (to decouple the inside from the outside wall), used insulation AND doubled-up the drywall on the outside.

            I was there after the office was built and was impressed how much it cut the noise even with very heavy-duty machines running nearly right outside.

            But there was still some noise and they said they were going to carpet the walls, floor to ceiling. The next time I was there, the walls and floor were completely covered in carpeting. Now the room was so dead it was amazing. Even trying to carry-on a conversation with someone standing right next to you was pretty weird, you felt like you wanted to talk louder. It was a bit of an anechoic chamber.

            I was pretty young at the time (we're going back 30+ years) and was familiar a bit with LEDE (Live-End Dead-End) rooms from reading, but had no comprehension of what they could achieve or anything. I had never experienced one.

            But I'll tell you, after standing in that room and experiencing those acoustics, I'm fairly convinced that the sonics of any room could be grossly altered with room treatments.

            So I do wonder how much different that system you heard would sound in a typical living room.

            I'm rambling, too much coffee.

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            • #7
              Personally, I believe the deliberately over-bright voicing of the diamond equipped B&W is what draws people in. Leave the expensive tweeter 5db hot and people will say "oh my gosh that diamond makes all the difference!".

              I started a sh!tstorm thread about these speakers several years ago, questioning what the designer's goals were. Let's face it: if a DIY'er or Polk or NHT released a design with a couple 5db peaks in the treble, they would not be taken seriously. Boy, a company like B&W releases a speaker with that voicing and a bunch of the DIY crowd will find ways to justify that decision - proving we are not immune to the influence of the price tag.
              Don't listen to me - I have not sold any $150,000 speakers.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by johnnyrichards View Post
                Personally, I believe the deliberately over-bright voicing of the diamond equipped B&W is what draws people in. Leave the expensive tweeter 5db hot and people will say "oh my gosh that diamond makes all the difference!".

                I started a sh!tstorm thread about these speakers several years ago, questioning what the designer's goals were. Let's face it: if a DIY'er or Polk or NHT released a design with a couple 5db peaks in the treble, they would not be taken seriously. Boy, a company like B&W releases a speaker with that voicing and a bunch of the DIY crowd will find ways to justify that decision - proving we are not immune to the influence of the price tag.
                Hole smokes I hadn't see the response curves on those.

                The tweeters look like roller coasters.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by johnnyrichards View Post
                  Personally, I believe the deliberately over-bright voicing of the diamond equipped B&W is what draws people in.
                  IMO what draws them in is the word 'diamond' and the price. Chances are what was most responsible for the OPs experience was the room treatments. The 802s aren't bad by any means, but they're not all that special either.
                  www.billfitzmaurice.com
                  www.billfitzmaurice.info/forum

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jcsmith0919 View Post
                    .. I got to listen to a set of B&W 802D ...
                    If these, they use passive crossovers
                    https://www.stereophile.com/content/...-speciications
                    and has been measured:
                    https://www.stereophile.com/content/...r-measurements
                    from
                    https://www.stereophile.com/floorlou...5bw/index.html

                    "Not a Speaker Designer - Not even on the Internet"
                    "If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter."

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                    • #11
                      Its always about the second mile. First mile: Yay! Be and Diamond that stay as a piston well above 20K!!! Breakups are even higher!!!!


                      Second mile: Giving them the correct edge terminations and concideration to the physical impedence changes as the dome terminates to eliminate colorations and reflections back through the material nulling any good these fancy materials do to begin with.

                      The latter is still being worked on by both, and all too many, even some spendy ceramic types, fall short due to the same issues. Regardless of the popular measurements that lure many in.

                      YMMV

                      There are many wonderful kits availabe that will measure well, sound good enough to compete with retail equivlants costing double. Safest bet is a Curt/Jim offering in the way of kits. They have good ears on top of technical ability.

                      I can name several designers if you wanted to go ground-up.
                      .

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                      • #12
                        My dads pair dont measure all crazy like that. Is there different crossovers throughout the years? His arent flat but nothing that crazy.
                        My Build Thread's
                        Carrera's / Finalist TL's / Speedster TMM's / Speedster MTM Center / Overnight Sensation Surrounds

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by malboro2 View Post

                          Having looked them up, they are not passive crossed.
                          ​The 802 is passive, not active.

                          ​To the OP, the best thing to do is go to a DIY event and listen to some speakers. Don't build a ~$500 kit expecting to best a $18,000 pair of commercial speakers that are driven by a $10k front end... I'm not saying it can't be done, I'm just saying you should go listen to a bunch before you pull the trigger. Or, at least accept the reality of what you're doing- unless you can manipulate the xover to suit your ears, I can almost guarantee you that you'll need to sift thru a lot of designs before you find one you like.
                          "The ability of any system to produce exceptional sound will be limited mainly by the capability of the speakers" Jim Salk
                          "Audio is surely a journey full of revelations as you go" JasonP

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mzisserson View Post

                            There are many wonderful kits availabe that will measure well, sound good enough to compete with retail equivlants costing double. Safest bet is a Curt/Jim offering in the way of kits. They have good ears on top of technical ability.
                            Thanks Mike! We appreciate the props.

                            However, it's Curt that is the wizard, I just do day labor and throw in a few ideas. We also can't forget Wayne's voicing input.

                            In the end, for all of us, it's all about the music.

                            Jim

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Mike220 View Post
                              My dads pair dont measure all crazy like that. Is there different crossovers throughout the years? His arent flat but nothing that crazy.

                              Are his the "diamond" tweetered model?
                              Don't listen to me - I have not sold any $150,000 speakers.

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