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Stentorians NS6 - First time speaker build

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  • Stentorians NS6 - First time speaker build

    I'm new to the PE mailings and got the latest catalog with the Stentorians on the cover and immediately fell in absolute love. I've never seen speakers so awesome before (not an audiophile by any stretch). My current front home theater speakers are some cheezy outdoor Yamaha speakers leftover from my last move surrounded by really cheezy 3" bargain speakers which came with an all-in-one box set at Wally World. So, we're not talking a guy who knows his music, here.

    My receiver is what I believe is a mid-low range model, a Yamaha HTR-5630, which I'm hoping will power these new towers reasonably well. Though if I'm wrong, please let me know!

    I saved my pennies and ordered up the required product (and 2 extra speakers for spares) and ran off to Lowes for the MDF. I noticed a few of the panels in the design drawing looked thinner, so I bought 3/4" MDF and 5/8" particle board. Note, I had no idea what I was doing and hadn't found this forum yet, so everything you'll see is out of sheer ignorance, so please don't yell at me. Constructive criticism is entirely encouraged, though!

    On to the build:


    Here is the design I used. It is the same one featured in the fall 2011 catalog. Link is here


    Used 5/8" particle board and 3/4" MDF cut using a clamped level and my skill saw using a plywood blade.


    I tried to do as many cuts at once as I could to simplify the build, that way I could build them in tandem instead of one-off. This rarely works out well for me, but I was feeling lucky.


    Cutting perfect in-line circles turned out to be much more difficult than I thought. The eye can easily pick up even a 1/8" misalignment, so perfection was key.


    I couldn't figure out a decent method to cut out the perfect circles, so I ended up free-handing the first one with a sabre saw, then fine tuning it with my spindle sander, then using that one as a template for the rest by using my router and a bearing. It worked out very well, though keeping the router level with the board was difficult.


    First look at the tweeters once the package arrived.


    Can't say I've ever bought an entire row of speakers before! 16 of them! (2 spares)


    The crossover components and the backs (for connecting the wires to the amplifier)


    My magical router bit set. I love this kit. If anyone is interested in it, it was pretty cheap, only $80 or something from amazon and it is fabulous! Even has 1/2" shanks.


    Recessed the speakers using the router.


    Biscuits at a 90 degree angle.. friggin impossible. The seams never lined up perfectly, so I ended up widening the slots enough to render them pointless, but stuck them in there anyway, just on principle. I ended up using glue and stainless screws I had from a different project.


    1st view of how tall they will be. I'm still amazed at how much overkill this appears to me. Seven speakers in each tower.. it's awesome!


    One down, one to go. It is recommended to get a friend to help you hold this while you glue and screw, seeing as it constantly wanted to flop over and I ended up holding it at a tiny angle, making the box not completely square, which really made screwing the top on with just two hands difficult, as I had to manhandle it square while screwing it down.


    Recess for the crossovers. I ended up changing the design a little cosmetically i order to use the wire clips I bought. The clip is mounted in a raised portion which will partially hide the crossover board. This makes it easier to alter the design later on if need be without dismantling any parts of the speaker box itself. In theory anyway..


    Both assembled, rounded over, sanded and ready for paint. I sealed each enclosure using silicone caulking, but left the holes I drilled between each enclosure (for wire runs) unsealed, as the designer noted it isn't needed. I haven't drilled any port holes yet (the 3/8" hole called for by the directions), as that is a one way trip and I'm afraid of shooting myself in the foot after all this effort.


    Painted with oil based enamel in semi-gloss black. Sprayed w/HVLP from over a foot away in order to add that well-known rough speaker stipple. I didn't use any crack filler, so they didn't turn out great looking (the seams are obvious). Being my first build, I'm happy enough.


    One down. Notice the wood plugs are now installed. I got them from some dowel maker online a while back for another project. They add a nice contrast to the black. I wasn't sure if they looked good or not, but they grew on me, so I left them unpainted (they are oak plugs).


    All speakers are mounted and speaker holes stuffed using roughly 2 lbs of fiberglass batting per pair of speakers. Turns out fiberglass batting is pretty lightweight and ended up filling the entire void of each box. They may need even more, but I was conservative to start, as I didn't want to risk the batting brushing against the backs of the speakers and making vibrating noises.

    I also didn't seal the speakers when I mounted them, though I may need to. We'll see once I get them tested. Still waiting on the inductors, so testing has to wait.

    Once I get the crossover parts and build the crossover, I'll post pics of the completed project. For now, please let me know what you think and what I could have done better (or easier) for next time.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by Domush; 11-13-2011, 08:26 PM. Reason: Finished!

  • #2
    Re: Stentorians NS6 - First time speaker build

    GREAT JOB!!!!

    surely a very ambitious first build. Cannot wait to hear your impressions when the inductor arrives because my best bud is dying to build a set and he would love input from another person new to DIY.

    Lemme say this, you did a heck of a job... but since you know the finish work has flaws---- it is going to drive you crazy to look at them if you end up loving the sound. Begin researching proven finishing ideas, you will need them sooner than you think.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Stentorians NS6 - First time speaker build

      You are a brave man my friend the WAF on those is -1 I think. They'd never make it past my front door threshold. Have fun!!!

      BTW- I can't believe you got all those router bits for $80 -- if you have a link, can you post it? Thanx. :D
      Bryan K.

      Midwest Audio Club

      Speedster | Sub Attachť | The Wildeman | Sean's NLA Towers | CO‹GAR, COUGAR II and CO‹GAR JR | Triton | Lithium | J-Boom | Trym MLTL | Docere MLTL

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Stentorians NS6 - First time speaker build

        That's pretty sweet man. I kinda want to build those just for the Hell Yeah factor.

        रेतुर्न तो थे स्रोत
        return to the source
        leviathan system thread
        deadhorse thread
        shockwave build thread

        instagram :: greywarden_13

        in war, victory . . . in peace, vigilance . . . in death, sacrifice.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Stentorians NS6 - First time speaker build

          My friend you entered the DIY world with a bang!
          Good luck with your next projects.

          I agree with bkeane on the WAF issue. Brave lad indeed ;)

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Stentorians NS6 - First time speaker build

            Originally posted by bkeane1259 View Post
            You are a brave man my friend the WAF on those is -1 I think. They'd never make it past my front door threshold. Have fun!!!

            BTW- I can't believe you got all those router bits for $80 -- if you have a link, can you post it? Thanx. :D
            The bit set is now $100, but still easily worth the money. The bearings appear better quality than the Whiteside brand ones ($30/bit). The case is great, too. Every time I pick it up I feel as though it should be handcuffed to my wrist

            Neiko 80-Piece Premium-Grade 1/2 Inch Tungsten Carbide Router Bit Set - 3 and 2 Blade - Aluminum Case

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Stentorians NS6 - First time speaker build

              Are they all 1/2" that's pretty awesome.

              रेतुर्न तो थे स्रोत
              return to the source
              leviathan system thread
              deadhorse thread
              shockwave build thread

              instagram :: greywarden_13

              in war, victory . . . in peace, vigilance . . . in death, sacrifice.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Stentorians NS6 - First time speaker build

                That is a great first build.
                My Statement monitors
                My Piccolatas
                My LM3886 amp

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Stentorians NS6 - First time speaker build

                  Your router work is pretty dang good, especially considering you didn't use a circle jig. Great job, and great writeup! Have you considered putting a veneer on these? I'm no expert, but I imagine a heavy paper backed veneer would hide the joints as long as the panels are all flush, as it looks like they are.
                  My modest builds:
                  Armadillo TM, A.K.A. Lil' Dillo
                  Tarkus/Armadillo build #2
                  Armadillo Center Channel
                  Au-Rock-O Sub
                  Tarkus
                  Staining MDF tutorial

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Stentorians NS6 - First time speaker build

                    Originally posted by bolland83 View Post
                    Your router work is pretty dang good, especially considering you didn't use a circle jig.
                    When I realized I had to freehand the circles and couldn't figure out an easy way to make them with a jig, I looked up circle jigs and they look either A: expensive or B: time consuming to make, so free hand and spindle sander it was.

                    I figure the money factor comes in for anyone making these.

                    Here is my cost breakdown for what I made:

                    $194 for the parts-express components (not including spare speakers)
                    $51 in lumber for a 5/8" particle board panel and a 3/4" MDF panel
                    $10 for a quart of black paint (used 3/4 of it)
                    $5 for screws (used 1/2 of them)
                    $3 for silicone
                    I had the biscuits and wood glue already as well as all tools needed, so add what you need to cut and assemble them.
                    I didn't know to use it, but I'd recommend crack filler to make the joints invisible and fill in the pits on the edges of the particle board.

                    For tools, I used:

                    Oscillating spindle sander (to smooth out the router cuts and fine tune the circles)
                    Jointer (to level edges of cut pieces)
                    circular saw with plywood blade (to cut the 4x8 panels into bite size portions)
                    router w/roundover, template + straight bits (template bit allows you to cut one hole and use a clamp of the first hole to make all the other holes)
                    palm orbital sander (to even out the joints so they are all flush and smooth out for painting)
                    drill/screwdriver (for holes and screws)
                    hole saw (for the back spring clip)
                    drill press (for the hole saw)
                    plenty of clamps (at least 4)
                    HVLP gun (for spraying the paint)
                    straight edge (I used a 6' machined level from HF) (to make decently straight cuts with the circular saw)
                    less time than you would think (took 12 hours total, I think) - Keep in mind, this was my first build, although I don't see it taking much less time even as a second build.

                    You can obviously do it with way less tools, but a router is easily the most helpful tool of this project.
                    I spent pretty much the bare minimum for supplies, so my costs will likely be your bare minimum costs as well.

                    I hope to see someone else post these speakers as well. Looks like it'll be Monday for the inductors to get here.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Stentorians NS6 - First time speaker build

                      Nice job on the Stentorians. Although it's a pretty ambitious build, I'm sure you picked a good one. Curt Campbell is a very well respected designer.

                      The biscuit joiner is difficult to use when you're joining two pieces at 90 degrees. You'll need to build a small jig to hold the plate joiner and the panel at the correct angles. A lot of guys here swear by the method -- you'll find that everyone has their own favorite method. Using screws is hard to beat, if you're not going to round over the edges where the screws are.

                      Anyway -- congratulations on a great build. Be careful you don't get the bug.
                      Last edited by Soundslike; 11-12-2011, 05:29 PM.
                      Tritrix HT:http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...d.php?t=222519
                      Dayton 12" Subwoofer: http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...d.php?t=222930
                      Overnight Sensations: http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...d.php?t=223751
                      Cerberus sub: http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...hlight=cerebus
                      Duellatis: http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...d.php?t=224943
                      NTN's: http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...d.php?t=227902

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Stentorians NS6 - First time speaker build

                        Impressive first build you are unlikely to better any time soon. You may not want to. Way to go and they look great!

                        Dan
                        "guitar polygamy is a satisfying and socially acceptable alternative lifestyle."~Tony Woolley
                        http://dtmblabber.blogspot.com/
                        http://soundcloud.com/dantheman-10

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Stentorians NS6 - First time speaker build

                          Originally posted by Soundslike View Post
                          Nice job on the Stentorians. Although it's a pretty ambitious build, I'm sure you picked a good one. Curt Campbell is a very well respected designer.

                          The biscuit joiner is difficult to use when you're joining two pieces at 90 degrees. You'll need to build a small jig to hold the plate joiner and the panel a the correct angles. A lot of guys here swear by the method -- you'll find that everyone has their own favorite method. Using screws is hard to beat, if you're not going to round over the edges where the screws are.

                          Anyway -- congratulations on a great build. Be careful you don't get the bug.
                          I use the surface of my table saw as a true-plane, and the Ryobi jointer I have has a setting at 90 degrees. I set the panel on edge against the router for the 90's, and lay flat for the edges. Works great!

                          Once you figure out which dimension is not cut perfectly in the middle of 3/4", as most cutters are not right in the middle, it gets easier to orient the boards. As long as you know which plane and from what edge the jointer is cutting the slot, you can translate that to the next board.

                          Later,
                          Wolf
                          "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:
                          https://app.photobucket.com/u/wolf_teeth_speaker

                          My blog/writeups/thoughts here at PE:
                          http://techtalk.parts-express.com/blog.php?u=4102

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Stentorians NS6 - First time speaker build

                            Originally posted by dantheman View Post
                            Impressive first build you are unlikely to better any time soon. You may not want to. Way to go and they look great!

                            Dan
                            +1
                            .

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Stentorians NS6 - First time speaker build

                              Well, I got the inductors on Saturday, so I found some time today to build the crossovers and finish the speakers.


                              All the parts are here and I'm ready to begin.


                              The wires for each pair of speakers.


                              Arranging the wires to interconnect the various components.


                              All soldered up and ready to connect the speaker wires. Note the spacers to allow for the connectors to fir snugly, and hidden, behind the mounting block when installed.


                              The finished crossover, ain't she purdy? One more to go.


                              And I'm finished! I almost messed up one of the soldered connections and found the error just in time. Moved the wire to its proper home and installed as usual.


                              Here you can see how the crossover block is still recessed into the speaker, so unless you are looking to see the crossover, it remains hidden from view.

                              I tried to test the towers in my workshop with a Cambridge Soundworks amp, but these were simply too low impedance for it and I didn't want to push my luck.

                              So, I moved them inside to their new home..


                              That is my computer monitor (don't watch television), but I do watch movies on it, and Iron Man 720p is spectacular with these!

                              I had some rock playing on them up to a volume of -17 (goes to 0) and I think I may have lost a little of my hearing. These things are really, really LOUD

                              Set on -40 they are like every other speaker set with better treble. Turned up to -25 you begin to hear what these towers are capable of, with perfectly clear reproduction in every frequency but the 100hz and lower. At volume -17 these speakers perform at though you are at a dance club with the single exception of the clarity being awe inspiring! I'm betting I can crank my amp all the way to 0 and these speakers will still be barely breaking a sweat (I wouldn't be able to be inside the house if i did).

                              Overall, I'm flabbergasted at how these towers can have such clarity and chest thumping power at the same time, even without a subwoofer! You couldn't pry these speakers from my cold dead hands.

                              I'm thrilled!

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