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  • DIY kit to upgrade current setup

    Hi all,

    I'm looking for a kit that might be an upgrade to my current setup for around USD$1500 including wood and shipping, (cost of shipping to NZ is pricey!).

    I'm running a set of ESS AMT Monitors from an el-cheapo 12ax7 preamp I got on Ebay and a Sumo Andromeda power in the rumpus room. I've been eyeing those statements series speakers from Jim and Curt for a few years now but open to other suggestions as well!

    I will say that I do like this setup as it provides a big sound and holographic imaging from the AMT tweeters. I know people talk about the hole in the midrange and the slow woofers so this got me intrigued about a diy upgrade.

    I listen to all kinds of music from classical to jazz, rock, hip hop, indie and everything in between including house and techno.

    One thing I'll have to consider is buying components in segments because of the cost. This might limit my choices if kits are only available as a whole package.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

    Cheers,
    Yohann






  • #2
    Originally posted by basilbrush View Post
    Hi all,

    I'm looking for a kit that might be an upgrade to my current setup for around USD$1500 including wood and shipping, (cost of shipping to NZ is pricey!).

    I'm running a set of ESS AMT Monitors from an el-cheapo 12ax7 preamp I got on Ebay and a Sumo Andromeda power in the rumpus room. I've been eyeing those statements series speakers from Jim and Curt for a few years now but open to other suggestions as well!

    I will say that I do like this setup as it provides a big sound and holographic imaging from the AMT tweeters. I know people talk about the hole in the midrange and the slow woofers so this got me intrigued about a diy upgrade.

    I listen to all kinds of music from classical to jazz, rock, hip hop, indie and everything in between including house and techno.

    One thing I'll have to consider is buying components in segments because of the cost. This might limit my choices if kits are only available as a whole package.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

    Cheers,
    Yohann




    Assuming you're ordering from the US, I really wouldn't recommend buying a kit that included the cabinet: you will pay a huge amount in shipping the MDF or plywood and risk that it will arrive damaged. That's a lot of money which you could be spending on nicer drivers and crossover components.

    We live in Melbourne and, for example, freight for a complete Tritrix kit cost more that the kit itself. I ordered the drivers and XO parts from the Oz Parts Express agent, gave the cabinet drawing to a timber supply place and had them CNC cut it for me according to the plans. Cost was less than half of what the shipped cabinet would have been. The MDF was cut to plus or minus 1mm and they did a nice round-over on the baffles.

    I had a router and circle jig so I made the holes and rebates, luckily I used grilles so my 'handiwork' is hidden! For the next project I had a family friend build and finish the cabinets as they were for our living room.

    Almost all DIY designs will include details of the cabinet construction: I assume you have access to wood suppliers who will CNC cut to size, so once you have a design in mind, you could contact them for a quote. They should also be able to cut and rebate the holes for the speakers.

    You will have to finish the MDF or ply, of course but if you get CNC cut wood, fitting and assembly shouldn't be that hard. I don't think there are many kits available which include knock-down and finished cabinets but I'm happy to be corrected.

    As to the design, there are many high quality speakers and excellent designers around, I'm sure members will suggest some options. Do you plan to buy a new amp, use a sub etc or keep the setup in the photo?

    Your budget is about A$2200, for that price you could get a great set of high end, DIY speakers. I can't recommend anything as I didn't spend that much on our Slapshot MTM 'reference' speakers, which were also designed by Curt Campbell. They sound great!

    I haven't heard them of course, but your ESS speakers seem very well regarded: what do you like/not like about the sound apart from the 'hole in the mid-range? And by 'slow' bass, do you mean that it's a bit fuzzy and lacks definition?

    Good luck!

    Geoff
    Last edited by Geoff Millar; 01-11-2020, 04:54 AM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Geoff Millar View Post

      Assuming you're ordering from the US, I really wouldn't recommend buying a kit that included the cabinet: you will pay a huge amount in shipping the MDF or plywood and risk that it will arrive damaged. That's a lot of money which you could be spending on nicer drivers and crossover components.

      We live in Melbourne and, for example, freight for a complete Tritrix kit cost more that the kit itself. I ordered the drivers and XO parts from the Oz Parts Express agent, gave the cabinet drawing to a timber supply place and had them CNC cut it for me according to the plans. Cost was less than half of what the shipped cabinet would have been. The MDF was cut to plus or minus 1mm and they did a nice round-over on the baffles.

      I had a router and circle jig so I made the holes and rebates, luckily I used grilles so my 'handiwork' is hidden! For the next project I had a family friend build and finish the cabinets as they were for our living room.

      Almost all DIY designs will include details of the cabinet construction: I assume you have access to wood suppliers who will CNC cut to size, so once you have a design in mind, you could contact them for a quote. They should also be able to cut and rebate the holes for the speakers.

      You will have to finish the MDF or ply, of course but if you get CNC cut wood, fitting and assembly shouldn't be that hard. I don't think there are many kits available which include knock-down and finished cabinets but I'm happy to be corrected.

      As to the design, there are many high quality speakers and excellent designers around, I'm sure members will suggest some options. Do you plan to buy a new amp, use a sub etc or keep the setup in the photo?

      Your budget is about A$2200, for that price you could get a great set of high end, DIY speakers. I can't recommend anything as I didn't spend that much on our Slapshot MTM 'reference' speakers, which were also designed by Curt Campbell. They sound great!

      I haven't heard them of course, but your ESS speakers seem very well regarded: what do you like/not like about the sound apart from the 'hole in the mid-range? And by 'slow' bass, do you mean that it's a bit fuzzy and lacks definition?

      Good luck!

      Geoff


      Thanks Geoff,

      Definitely won't be shipping knockdown cabs, that would work out too expensive unfortunately. Woodworking will be done by myself.

      Wouldn't say I'm unhappy with what I've got and sure, the low end could be better defined but I guess the bug has bitten me and I'd like to try a higher end DIY build.

      I'd be using the same setup for them for the preamp and amp. Would like to stick to a 2 channel setup if possible but not closed to other suggestions.

      The statements seem to fit the bill but they're a rather full on build so anything to make this easier is good.

      Cheers!



      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by basilbrush View Post



        Thanks Geoff,

        Definitely won't be shipping knockdown cabs, that would work out too expensive unfortunately. Woodworking will be done by myself.

        Wouldn't say I'm unhappy with what I've got and sure, the low end could be better defined but I guess the bug has bitten me and I'd like to try a higher end DIY build.

        I'd be using the same setup for them for the preamp and amp. Would like to stick to a 2 channel setup if possible but not closed to other suggestions.

        The statements seem to fit the bill but they're a rather full on build so anything to make this easier is good.

        Cheers!


        That makes sense, I misunderstood what you were after cabinet-wise. Depending on the cabinet design, I'd budget about A$250 for CNC cut MDF. That leaves you plenty of $$ for the goodies. Costs in NZ may be different, of course.

        There are some excellent options, I look forward to members' suggestions: you may not have to spend all of your budget.

        Geoff
        Last edited by Geoff Millar; 01-11-2020, 07:50 AM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Geoff Millar View Post

          That makes sense, I misunderstood what you were after cabinet-wise. Depending on the cabinet design, I'd budget about A$250 for CNC cut MDF. That leaves you plenty of $$ for the goodies. Costs in NZ may be different, of course.

          There are some excellent options, I look forward to members' suggestions: you may not have to spend all of your budget.

          Geoff

          Thanks Geoff, much appreciated!!

          Comment


          • #6
            Jeff Bagby's Solstice is the highest end PE kit. It is a complete kit with flat pack. Evidently an excellent design.

            Other sources for kits are DIYSG, Meniscus, Madisound, Troels G. in Scandinavia. You'll have to search those, PE doesn't like hot links to competitors, hopefully they won't nuke this thread, just my reply.

            SB Acoustics is in Indonesia, closer to you. I have seen kits by them.

            Are you prepared for whatever you build to sound substantially different than your current gear?

            Solstice MLTL Reference Tower Speaker Kit

            Comment


            • #7
              Not all projects are available as "kits", I.e. with everything you need in one package, instructions, sometimes even an assembled crossover, but it's not difficult to assemble the items yourself, ideally from the same supplier to reduce shipping costs. Many designers will supply a Bill of Materials for their speakers on their website or project descriptions, for example.

              As well as the crossover parts, you'll need different size screws for the drivers and cabinet, connectors for the drivers, binding posts, wire, polyfill for stuffing and a swear jar (optional).

              When researching projects, make sure that drivers are still available as some will be years old. For example, there are many projects which use the Dayton RS tweeters which are NLA. I also suggest getting a spare tweeter in case little fingers decide to have a poke.

              As per djg's comments above, any project will sound different to your existing speakers; read reviews and designers' descriptions for ideas about how they sound. One issue about having 'better' speakers is that they will reveal shortcomings of recordings, whether that's through age and poor recording and mixing, or through ear shredding levels of limiting and compression.

              I spent a l-o-n-g time researching and reading before I built my first project and found that PETT members were just great in helping me along the way. You might want to have an optic at this discussion: http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...ference-towers


              Geoff
              Last edited by Geoff Millar; 01-11-2020, 07:13 PM.

              Comment


              • #8
                SUMO! I sold that stuff in the mid-90s. I always loved it.

                That's all I got..

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by djg View Post
                  Jeff Bagby's Solstice is the highest end PE kit. It is a complete kit with flat pack. Evidently an excellent design.

                  Other sources for kits are DIYSG, Meniscus, Madisound, Troels G. in Scandinavia. You'll have to search those, PE doesn't like hot links to competitors, hopefully they won't nuke this thread, just my reply.

                  SB Acoustics is in Indonesia, closer to you. I have seen kits by them.

                  Are you prepared for whatever you build to sound substantially different than your current gear?

                  Solstice MLTL Reference Tower Speaker Kit
                  Yeah the big thing is trying to keep the voicing? similar to what I have which is why the Statements with the open back mids caught my eye. The Solstice is also on the shortlist and might end up being worthwhile even with shipping for the knockdown cabs. Thanks again for the suggestion!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Geoff Millar View Post
                    Not all projects are available as "kits", I.e. with everything you need in one package, instructions, sometimes even an assembled crossover, but it's not difficult to assemble the items yourself, ideally from the same supplier to reduce shipping costs. Many designers will supply a Bill of Materials for their speakers on their website or project descriptions, for example.

                    As well as the crossover parts, you'll need different size screws for the drivers and cabinet, connectors for the drivers, binding posts, wire, polyfill for stuffing and a swear jar (optional).

                    When researching projects, make sure that drivers are still available as some will be years old. For example, there are many projects which use the Dayton RS tweeters which are NLA. I also suggest getting a spare tweeter in case little fingers decide to have a poke.

                    As per djg's comments above, any project will sound different to your existing speakers; read reviews and designers' descriptions for ideas about how they sound. One issue about having 'better' speakers is that they will reveal shortcomings of recordings, whether that's through age and poor recording and mixing, or through ear shredding levels of limiting and compression.

                    I spent a l-o-n-g time researching and reading before I built my first project and found that PETT members were just great in helping me along the way. You might want to have an optic at this discussion: http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...ference-towers


                    Geoff
                    A swear jar comes with the territory it seems haha! Yep, buying components is fine by me, thanks for the reference tower link, I'll go through that now.

                    So your first build was the Tritrix? What have you moved onto since?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Dukk View Post
                      SUMO! I sold that stuff in the mid-90s. I always loved it.

                      That's all I got..
                      Hah! yep it's an older one for sure but I like it and it's what I have! Bought it locally so was able to have a listen before paying and got it at a good price.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by basilbrush View Post

                        So your first build was the Tritrix? What have you moved onto since?
                        The first was Curt Campbell's Slapshots MTM (living room); the second, Curt's Tritrix MTM (garage) and the third, Paul Carmody's Classix II (garage). The next was a small VIFA and Peerless TM for a study.

                        I've done test builds of Ron E's "C-notes" MTM and a "Lark" SB Acoustics based transmission line, the TL with much help from Paul K on this Forum.

                        None of these were of my design, I should add. In all cases, the designers were extremely helpful and friendly.

                        There are a couple more projects which are in progress for other people, luckily they're not too fussy about cabinet finish.

                        The Slapshots have the highest sound quality, but the Tritrix and Classix are also excellent, especially for the $. Cabinets and crossovers for the Slapshots were done by other people, since then I've made my own.

                        As a rough guide to what you might spend, the Slapshots cost about A$1,100 all up, including $550 for beautifully made and finished cabinets by a family friend. However, that was before the A$ went down the S-bend: another $200 for the drivers would be needed today. Still a bargain.

                        I haven't heard the Solstice or Statements of course, but they are well-reviewed and their designers renowned.

                        You might also check out https://sites.google.com/site/undefinition/diy, Paul Carmody's site.

                        None of this is meant to confuse you, but if you're going to spend your $$ you want to be happy at the end of the process.


                        Geoff

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Geoff Millar View Post

                          The first was Curt Campbell's Slapshots MTM (living room); the second, Curt's Tritrix MTM (garage) and the third, Paul Carmody's Classix II (garage). The next was a small VIFA and Peerless TM for a study.

                          I've done test builds of Ron E's "C-notes" MTM and a "Lark" SB Acoustics based transmission line, the TL with much help from Paul K on this Forum.

                          None of these were of my design, I should add. In all cases, the designers were extremely helpful and friendly.

                          There are a couple more projects which are in progress for other people, luckily they're not too fussy about cabinet finish.

                          The Slapshots have the highest sound quality, but the Tritrix and Classix are also excellent, especially for the $. Cabinets and crossovers for the Slapshots were done by other people, since then I've made my own.

                          As a rough guide to what you might spend, the Slapshots cost about A$1,100 all up, including $550 for beautifully made and finished cabinets by a family friend. However, that was before the A$ went down the S-bend: another $200 for the drivers would be needed today. Still a bargain.

                          I haven't heard the Solstice or Statements of course, but they are well-reviewed and their designers renowned.

                          You might also check out https://sites.google.com/site/undefinition/diy, Paul Carmody's site.

                          None of this is meant to confuse you, but if you're going to spend your $$ you want to be happy at the end of the process.


                          Geoff
                          Thanks again Geoff for the suggestions. Paul has some nice designs, a lot to think about. I'm going to short list the snapshots too, looks like a high value build!

                          You've made a few builds there, what are you eyeing as your next?



                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by basilbrush View Post

                            Thanks again Geoff for the suggestions. Paul has some nice designs, a lot to think about. I'm going to short list the Slapshots too, looks like a high value build!

                            You've made a few builds there, what are you eyeing as your next?


                            Nothing for us, just a couple of budget projects for friends, again not my designs: I don't have the expertise or equipment to design my own. The Classix 2.5s are on my wish list to build.

                            PETT members are giving me a lot of help, especially with crossovers; they really are terrific.

                            I take it you've had a look at Paul's "Tarkus" - not expensive and way under your budget, but very well reviewed, many happy builders. Not available as kit as far as I know; a recent thread:

                            http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...f-wayne-j-lyra


                            Geoff

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              I would take a close look at this thread. Bass bins for Continuum and Kairos. A full range 3 way (2 piece) design that would take advantage of your high watt high current simple stereo amp. Like an upmarket Tarkus. Even though the bass bins are an add on and not part of the original design like the Tarkus, Mr. Bagby responded to many requests for a 3 way Continuum.

                              The link to his design paper in post #1 might interest you. The Continnums are quite affordable, the Kairos pricier.

                              Upon reflection, this to me seems like some of the very best DIY has to offer, and fits your system.

                              The Kairos and Continuum Three-Way Loudspeakers - Techtalk Speaker Building, Audio, Video Discussion Forum

                              Comment

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