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Solstice MLTL in Small Room? Other suggestions?

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  • Solstice MLTL in Small Room? Other suggestions?

    I've been looking for a DIY speaker project for my office. It's a fairly small room: 10x11, with 9 a foot ceiling. I'm currently using Paul Carmody's Speedsters on stands. No complaints! In fact, we only recently moved to this house, and these speakers were previously on my desk. I can't believe what a difference there is in sound regarding nearfield (old setup) versus not. Having these speakers out on stands made the bass in particular really open up. (Also, in the old house, with the desktop/nearfield setup, the Speedsters replaced a set of Mark Audio Alpair 7.3 based speakers. I didn't hear too much of a difference when I went from one design to the next. But last weekend I pulled out those MA speakers and put them on the stands in place of the Speedsters... dramatic difference! Besides the obvious physical limitations of putting speakers on a desk, this little experiment shows there's a lot of acoustic limitations when working on the desktop.)

    So the only itch I'm really looking to scratch is just to build some new speakers. For years I've been constrained to small designs that would work well on a desk in a nearfield application. So I want to take advantage of the newfound luxury of space! I'd like to have a "reference quality", neutral-but-detailed set of speakers that work well on all kinds of music. I'd prefer to stay 2.0 so I can avoid a sub woofer. I don't have a budget in mind, but all-in for $1500 or less feels right to me. Naturally I want to maximize the value per dollar.

    I've been looking at all kinds of DIY designs, and only tonight ran across Jeff Bagby's Solstice MLTL. Based on the cost of the drivers alone, PE's price on the kit (with the cabinet flat packs!) seems like a great deal. Not a ton of reviews on these, but the ones I've found are overwhelmingly positive.

    So my only concern is if my room is too small for these speakers. I know this room is probably terrible for acoustics: wood floor (will get a rug some day), huge window on one wall, big all-glass double-doors on another wall. Treatments are probably out, as I doubt the wife will let me cover up the woodwork on the walls. Best I can hope for is a rug and maybe some padded curtains instead of the sheer ones we have now.

    If you think the Solstices are too much for this room, I'm curious to hear other suggestions, given my stated goals. They don't have to be floorstanders, stand mounts are OK too.


  • #2

    The Solstice get excellent reviews, but I haven't heard them, of course.

    I'm sitting in my garage/workshop, which is about the size of your office: I use a pair of Paul Carmody's Classix II on stands. I think they work fine in this situation, and produce more than enough sound to fill the room.

    Like your office, this room has hard floor surfaces, plus a metal roller door. So, not ideal for hi fi sound. To me, a speaker with a slightly relaxed treble and not too 'clinical' a sound is ideal for such a situation, this is certainly the case with the Classix.

    The aesthetics are entirely up to you of course, but I would find a pair of MTM floor standers visually too big for the space. Sound wise, I have no expertise on room size and sound waves, floor bounce etc. But I think I know what sounds good to my ears, in this situation.

    Our main (living room) speakers are Curt Campbell's 'Slapshot' MTMs with Dayton RS180Ps and Morel tweeters: marvellous speakers with very natural sound and enough bass for almost all our recordings. We listen to a mix of pop/rock, jazz and classical (no metal, rap, dub etc) and we're very happy indeed with the sound.

    Budget wise, you'd have to build the cabinets but the cost of drivers and crossovers is very low considering the quality of the sound. I'm not sure if the knock down cabinets from PE could work, but I know someone has used the 1.0 cu ft curved PE cabinets for his project.

    Hope this helps

    Last edited by Geoff Millar; 08-08-2017, 07:11 AM.


    • #3
      They are a little big for the room, but not horribly so either. My main listening/testing room is only about 8ft wide and 14ft deep with 7ft ceilings. I've run my 12" 3way Intrepids in this space and never felt like they were too much. My wife on the other hand lol....

      The Solstice is an excellent kit. Articulate, well defined. Good bass extension.


      • #4
        Thank you for the feedback!

        So far no one saying "No, that's a terrible idea!" so that's good.

        As far as aesthetics... yeah, they might look a little wacky in the office. But their footprint is actually slightly smaller than the footprint of my current speaker stands, so actual consumed space will be roughly the same. But, there may be a silver lining to looking wacky: I can slowly lower my wife's expectations for how the room should look, and start to set the stage for acoustic treatments and such.

        The Morel drivers don't seem to be as popular in DIY circles, but what feedback I can find on them is really good. And being a Jeff Bagby design speaks for itself.

        The only thing that's curious to my non-expert eyes is the high-frequency rolloff. Usually people refer to the bass end of a speaker when they mention the F3... The Solstice looks to have a high frequency F3 around 15k, and maybe -6dB around 20k. I haven't measured the frequency response of my ears, but at nearly 40, I doubt I'm likely to have stellar hearing above 15kHz anyway... and my small, untreated room might add some "heat".

        Thanks again! Any other comments?


        • #5
          I've heard the Solstice and liked them very much! I do not think they would be too big for any room your likely to be listening to music in.

          Good luck in your search! Mark


          • #6
            My first thought is that you have nearly the same footprint with many speakers on stands. But the optimum distance for these from the rear wall might be something to investigate too.
            Co-conspirator in the development of the "CR Gnarly Fidelity Reduction Unit" - Registered Trademark, Patent Pending.


            • #7
              FYI, I bought, built and am now enjoying these speakers very much. Just posted a writeup with pictures in the project gallery forum.


              • #8
                I used to have Solstics in the similar size room like yours. I think you will be fine .


                • #9
                  I also have the Solstice. In fact, the design is on YouTube as an entry to the InDIYana meet a couple of years back. You can sort of hear it that way, but that's in a large room where I thought it did fairly well. Jeff was there and talked about the design aspects.
                  The design doesn't seem as room sensitive to me as some others I've heard. I have used it both up against the walls and pulled out several feet into the room, and thought the differences were minor. I have not heard it in a smallish room though.
                  I have not felt that it was rolled off in the highs, but my high frequency hearing is a lot worse than you are talking about.
                  I remember long ago when my dad was playing a cassette tape (that dates the memory!) for me, and it was mechanically making a horrible, loud, high pitched squeal, and he couldn't hear it and was completely oblivious to it. It was driving me crazy. I had high frequency hearing then. I think I began to lose it during college (66-70) courtesy of loud bands (notably Cream).