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First Build: Overnight Sensation MTMs

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  • First Build: Overnight Sensation MTMs

    First let me say that I'm not posting this because I'm proud of my build. In fact I'm a little embarrassed, especially at the finish quality.

    But I'm posting it anyway for two reasons: First, because when a guy takes the time to draft instructions and post diagrams on the web at no charge, just to be helpful, he deserves to know that people are putting them to good use and appreciate it; and second, because when I was trying to decide what speakers to build, it was helpful to see what other people had written about the ones they had built. The more information the better when you're trying to make that decision.

    So Paul (Carmody), thank you very much. It's a great design and I love my new speakers, even if they look a little crappy on the outside.

    The only thing I think came out good in terms of build quality and finish, is that they are very sturdy and solid, and I think the brown paint looks good with the black rims and the copper-colored drivers. Plus it matches the paint in my bedroom. I may decide to do a nicer finish one of these days when I have the time and inclination.

    Paul's design calls for either 3/4-inch MDF or 1/2-inch MDF. But in the interest of economy -- I had a strict budget of about $150, including all parts, materials and a few minor tools -- I chose 5/8-inch particle board, which was about $13 cheaper than MDF for a 4x8 sheet. I did not brace them but as I said, they feel good and solid to me.

    Listening impressions:

    I chose this design because I suddenly noticed one day that what was lacking in my store-bought living room speakers, was detail. I also realized that I hardly ever got to sit and listen to music in my living room because people were always watching TV there. So I had to have a setup in my bedroom. In the bedroom there is not room for "full-size" speakers so they had to be relatively small.

    The main impressions I got from people who had built the Overnight Sensation TMs and MTMs, was that they had a "full" sound, they filled the room, surprising bass for their size, and excellent soundstage, imaging and detail. I considered the Tritrix and Dayton IIIs, but the MTMs' modest size won me over, plus the cool-looking copper mid-bass drivers. Also they are among the most inexpensive builds out there.

    What can I say, I am not disappointed. I am not an educated audiophile and don't have much experience hearing truly great or expensive speakers. But I can hook up two pairs of speakers in an A/B configuration and hear the difference.

    I had bought some Insignia 2111s from Best Buy, since they had got rave reviews for their price, and were the right size for my needs. I hadn't returned them yet, so I was able to run a comparison between them and the OSMTMs.

    The OSMTMs' bass is better. Bass extension is about equal but the Insignias' bass is boomy whereas the OS's is cleaner. The Insignias sound "constricted" or something. All the sounds are there, but by comparison with the OS, they sound like they are coming out of a small area right in the middle of the speaker. Whereas the sounds coming out of the OS sound open and natural. "Soundstage" and "imaging" are relatively new terms to me, but I'm pretty sure that must be what they mean: The sound doesn't seem like it's restricted to the area of the speaker itself, but sounds "spread out", so to speak.

    They sound great with any kind of music. With rock and R&B they put out good solid bass. With live jazz recordings it sounds like you're right in the room. With classical the instruments come alive.

    With any kind of music the detail is amazing. I not only hear sounds I had never noticed before, but also detect new qualities in the instruments that I had been hearing all along. For example I may have heard a certain bass line a hundred times, but now I hear not only the bass and the notes being played, but also the texture or timbre of the striking of each note: Sometimes notes are struck hard, sometimes soft, sometimes you climb up into a note or drop down into it, if you know what I mean. (Good examples are the first few bars of "Online Songs" by Blink 182, or "Heard It Through The Grapevine" by Creedence.)

    I thought of building a subwoofer to use with these eventually, but so far I have the feeling I'm going to be satisfied with what they put out on their own.

    And that's it. If you're thinking of building these, and you want excellent sound at a budget price, and you don't want huge monster speakers, I highly recommend them. If I had to sum them up in three words I would say, clean, strong and natural.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    Re: First Build: Overnight Sensation MTMs

    Thanks for the review; I've got parts for a pair of these burning a hole in my bench right now. Just need a weekend that's in the low 80's to start cutting. (MDF and 95F don't mix well with me) As far as your finishing job goes; I think we've all seen much worse! Every build gets better, and I think I would speak for everyone in saying "don't stop here". Seeing a project come to an end and seeing an improvement in build quality every time makes it addictive to me. Wish I had better funding.

    Stuff I've builded


    • #3
      Re: First Build: Overnight Sensation MTMs

      Sounds like you have the bug!

      "Soundstage" is the expansive size of the recording, and how large it feels.

      "Imaging" is when you can audibly hear WHERE the musicians are placed within that soundstage, and how defined they are in their respective places acoustically.

      Glad you are enjoying them!
      ....and welcome to the hobby....
      "Wolf, you shall now be known as "King of the Zip ties." -Pete00t
      "Wolf and speakers equivalent to Picasso and 'Blue'" -dantheman
      "He is a true ambassador for this forum and speaker DIY in general." -Ed Froste
      "We're all in this together, so keep your stick on the ice!" - Red Green aka Steve Smith

      *InDIYana event website*

      Photobucket pages:

      My blog/writeups/thoughts here at PE:


      • #4
        Re: First Build: Overnight Sensation MTMs

        Great job on the build. I built a pair of the OSs and was impressed by the little speaker. Now go ahead and build that sub, it will really add to your listening experience.


        • #5
          Re: First Build: Overnight Sensation MTMs

          when you are through saying ahhhhhhh, sand them fill the gaps, and paint them again. you'll get better.
          " To me, the soundstage presentation is more about phase and distortion and less about size. However, when you talk about bass extension, there's no replacement for displacement". Tyger23. 4.2015

          Quote Originally Posted by hongrn. Oct 2014
          Do you realize that being an American is like winning the biggest jackpot ever??


          • #6
            Re: First Build: Overnight Sensation MTMs

            Building a sub would still be a good idea. You don't have to play the bass any louder than it plays right now just because you have a sub; but, instead, the sub takes over a difficult task (playing the high energy low notes) that opens up the monitors to do the rest of the musical range better and with less distortion. I think you'd be pleased with the addition of a small subwoofer down the road.

            And refinishing them wouldn't be a bad weekend project down the road if you're not happy with how they look. As it was said, sand them down, put a little bondo and elbo grease to them and a new paint job would hide all the first-build oopses that we make.

            Nicely done, and it's nice to hear how great they sound!


            • #7
              Re: First Build: Overnight Sensation MTMs

              I'm glad your enjoying them for the sound. You can always finish them later , believe me I have seen alot worse for first builds. Only bad thing now , your going to want to build more. :D
              Thanks ,


              • #8
                Re: First Build: Overnight Sensation MTMs

                Thanks for the review. Check's in the mail. ;) I'm very glad the project came together so well for you, and within budget. Yeah, you got the bug now.
                Isn't it about time we started answering rhetorical questions?

                Paul Carmody's DIY Audio Projects
                Twitter: @undefinition1


                • #9
                  Re: First Build: Overnight Sensation MTMs

                  Thanks guys for the advice and encouragement.

                  I definitely have the bug. I think my wife was afraid she might walk in and catch me kissing and caressing them. If I get this excited over a $150 pair of DYI speakers, I hate to think what would happen if I built something REALLY nice. I might have a heart attack.

                  By the way, Paul, that problem I e-mailed you about privately -- where they would cut out suddenly at very low volume -- turned out to be a receiver issue. It had a "notchy" volume knob rather than a smooth-turning one, so at one notch the sound would be there and at the next notch it would be gone. I am using a different receiver now and the problem is solved.