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Classix II + Dayton WF60PA 'terrible baffle idea' build

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  • Classix II + Dayton WF60PA 'terrible baffle idea' build

    Has anyone actually IRL built active Classix IIs using the WF60PA, burned them in sufficiently, and generated listening impressions?

    There's a lot of math talk and "maybe it's like this other thing, but entirely different" commentary out there on building active Classix IIs with the stupid-cheap, does-it-all Dayton WF60PA. I'm interested to hear from anyone that's actually done it, burned the combo in for the rule-of-thumb ~40 hours, and came away with an opinion. Good, bad, or ugly - I'm interested in your observations.

    I'm building front-port Classix IIs with this amp for a friend. The cabinets are cut, the parts are here. This is happening. On a whim I decided on the 'terrible idea' baffle (I talk about it some here: http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...28#post1469228

    The upshot is: instead of routing the baffle edges or doing the LS3/5a felt-around-the-tweeter routine I hit the 'what the hell' button and am doing these with the leading edge of the cabinet fronts a literal edge (or four) with a 3/4" recessed baffle and the sides flaring out from baffle to outer cabinet edge at 45*. At this price, who gives a hoot if I have to build them again.

    Building these for a friend who will be listening to classic rock at moderate volume about 25% of the time ~3m away and the rest of the time walking around the (small) living area of her house. She was budget conscious so Paul's time-honored design was an easy choice and this comically inexpensive amp offers features galore. What I'm assuming it doesn't offer is Mark Levinson sound quality, but she's connecting these to a horrifyingly cheap turntable and probably streaming Spotify. So I have to assume the 320kbps compressed garbage that service provides, or the $99 turntable will be the weak link. But I digress...

    If you've actually paired these items together (mine are an extra 0.25" D internally to compensate for extra corner bracing and the amp displacement, other than that and the wacky baffle experiment they're stock front-ports) I'd love to know what you think of the combo.

    Thanks!

    MacLaren Pavemaker
    Audio enthusiast since 1995, DIY |\|008 since 2020, irritating my wife with an unreasonable amount of entry level hi-fi gear since 2002




  • #2
    How an active setup turns out depends entirely on the driver EQ. A passive network does all that for you, but with active, you're on your own. Just throwing a standard filter (say, LR4) on a driver seldom works out well.
    Francis

    Comment


    • MacLaren816
      MacLaren816 commented
      Editing a comment
      Good point, I should have specified. I will be installing the Paul-spec passive XO in each speaker, the amp will not be responsible for any signal processing or eq, it will just be run like an integrated amp with tone defeat set to ‘on’.

      Appreciate the catch!

  • #3
    Originally posted by fpitas View Post
    How an active setup turns out depends entirely on the driver EQ. A passive network does all that for you, but with active, you're on your own. Just throwing a standard filter (say, LR4) on a driver seldom works out well.
    You'll still need a passive network for these active speakers....the amp doesn't have DSP and I assume the OP is only going to use one of them in any case.

    Originally posted by MacLaren816 View Post
    What I'm assuming it doesn't offer is Mark Levinson sound quality, but she's connecting these to a horrifyingly cheap turntable and probably streaming Spotify. So I have to assume the 320kbps compressed garbage that service provides, or the $99 turntable will be the weak link. But I digress...
    I think you know perfectly well what your dealing with here. The final acoustic result is ultimately as good as the sum of all the parts. This is a cheaply built low power class d amp that won't even be able to produce it's rated power without horrendous THD/SNR.

    Is it the same thing that powers all the popular current Bluetooth, soundbar offerings? Yep.

    Is it 'hifi'? Certainly not. Might your customer be simply delighted with the result? Probably.
    Constructions: Dayton+SB 2-Way v1 | Dayton+SB 2-Way v2 | Fabios (SB Monitors)
    Refurbs: KLH 2 | Rega Ela Mk1

    Comment


    • MacLaren816
      MacLaren816 commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks! As I realized a minute ago when seeing another reply, I will be putting the spec XOs in here, with minor component upgrades to in-line C and L components

  • #4
    Originally posted by DeZZar View Post

    You'll still need a passive network for these active speakers....the amp doesn't have DSP and I assume the OP is only going to use one of them in any case.
    Hmmm. So, these are "active" speakers
    Francis

    Comment


    • #5
      I know zero about active speakers, but I found that my Classix II like about 50 watts RMS; I tried powering them with my Dayton DTA-120 (specs says it's 60 watts, but that's into 4 ohms with 1% THD) and the output was pretty miserable.

      Geoff

      Comment


      • MacLaren816
        MacLaren816 commented
        Editing a comment
        Very helpful. And the only real difference between active and passive is amplifier location. Supposedly there’s some physics associated with bottom half-octave (20-30Hz) and infrasonic performance where wire length from amp to driver “matters”, but I’ve never seen anyone prove it, or even talk about it in the last 20 years.

        Thanks for the intel on the preferred RMS. I’m going to build these with socket cap bolts and insert nuts front and back (with thread locker, of course) so it won’t be a big deal to convert these to passive or swap in another amp later on. And you make The Point regarding how happy the end user will be: 90% of audio is subjective psychoacoustics.

        Thanks again!

    • #6
      Originally posted by Geoff Millar View Post
      I know zero about active speakers
      ​​​​​​Here's everything important: they are just normal speakers that have their own amplifiers built in...
      Constructions: Dayton+SB 2-Way v1 | Dayton+SB 2-Way v2 | Fabios (SB Monitors)
      Refurbs: KLH 2 | Rega Ela Mk1

      Comment


      • Geoff Millar
        Geoff Millar commented
        Editing a comment
        I think I was getting 'active speakers' with 'active crossovers', my mistake

        Geoff

    • #7
      Johnny Richards built a project with an earlier version of this amp that impressed a lot of people.

      Comment


      • #8
        I've heard that plan called "powered speakers". Kind of confusing to call them active, but whatever. In any event, just a normal passive xover.
        Francis

        Comment


        • MacLaren816
          MacLaren816 commented
          Editing a comment
          Traditionally in audio dorkdom loudspeakers and monitors are referred to as passive or active (external amp, internal amp) and ‘powered’ is typically associated with subwoofers. But I’m just throwing that out there FYI, take it or leave it, as a long time enthusiast. It all means the same thing - there’s an amp physically connected to the cabinet or there isn’t.

      • #9
        Powdered/Active - the terms get used interchangeably with no guarantee they mean anything specifically in terms of marketing/categorisation of speakers.

        You could argue that passive speakers bundled with their own amplifier on board should simply be classified as 'powered' or 'self-powered'.

        And to meet a 'fully active' definition this setup would require four separate channels of amplification with DSP applied to each.

        Personally, for me, I detest the idea of active speakers with DSP in a hifi setup as the additional A-D-A conversion using an almost certainly crap by comparison on-board DAC completely invalidates any quality DAC you would have might have in your system upstream. Not to mention being utterly pointless to anyone looking to achieve a completely analogue signal path.
        Constructions: Dayton+SB 2-Way v1 | Dayton+SB 2-Way v2 | Fabios (SB Monitors)
        Refurbs: KLH 2 | Rega Ela Mk1

        Comment


        • djg
          djg commented
          Editing a comment
          The Kali LP-6 monitors I had sounded pretty good to me, and tons of reviewers.

        • DeZZar
          DeZZar commented
          Editing a comment
          I'm sure they do, and they have their place. For me, I don't think that place is in a hifi setup particularly where someone has already carefully chosen a quality DAC just to feed the signal into a DSP based active speaker (or crossover for that matter).

        • MacLaren816
          MacLaren816 commented
          Editing a comment
          Agreed. Adding an ADA to the signal path is madness unless absolutely necessary. For example, I have a miniDSP 2x4 HD, a popular inexpensive toy that has its uses (hooking up 2-way builds with no passive XO and running four channels to zero in on dB variations between W and T, finding a start point for XO fq, and doing it in-room) but it’s never permanently installed in my dedicated stereo setup because even compared to an inexpensive DAC like my Schiit Modi Multibit the DAC function is palpably poor. And that’s if you feed it straight digital from a Cambridge transport or Tidal on MacBook. I can’t imagine how bad things would get if you went source to DAC, and then ADA through the miniDSP, onto the amp (or god forbid an integrated amp). Without spending recording-studio money the signal distortion just from quantization aliasing alone would be somewhere between immediately noticeable and painful to listen to.

          TLDR - I’m with you. It’ll be a cold day in hell when I use an active speaker in my own setup, and a blizzard down there when I use a loudspeaker with on-board amplification AND DSP. I won’t use tone controls, much less some $5 DSP chip built into a $20 amplifier module.

          Thanks!

      • #10
        Originally posted by DeZZar View Post
        Powdered/Active - the terms get used interchangeably with no guarantee they mean anything specifically in terms of marketing/categorisation of speakers.

        You could argue that passive speakers bundled with their own amplifier on board should simply be classified as 'powered' or 'self-powered'.

        And to meet a 'fully active' definition this setup would require four separate channels of amplification with DSP applied to each.

        Personally, for me, I detest the idea of active speakers with DSP in a hifi setup as the additional A-D-A conversion using an almost certainly crap by comparison on-board DAC completely invalidates any quality DAC you would have might have in your system upstream. Not to mention being utterly pointless to anyone looking to achieve a completely analogue signal path.
        Modern digital loudspeaker management systems are a far cry from those even 10 years ago. The latest one I have, an RCF DX-2006, is seamless. Consider also that in the recording process the sound has already run through substantial digital processing.
        Francis

        Comment


        • MacLaren816
          MacLaren816 commented
          Editing a comment
          The technology has come a long way, and a lot of it is down to the listener. If someone likes Bose or Polk I’m not going to ridicule them because those products hurt my ears. It’s subjective.

          But I will say that, yeah, there’s a lot of ADA going on in a studio, but we’re talking 24- or 32-bit 96-192 Hz, true multibit (no delta sigma) technology on every discrete track. Like a lot of things, if you throw $50-100k at the solution the results are going to be better and the shortcomings much less pronounced.

          At the end of the day, if someone’s setup sounds seamless to them, that’s what matters. None of the rest of us have to listen to it. Go with what sounds good to you and F the internet engineers and spec sheet jockeys.

      • #11
        This system certainly is easy for your non tech to deploy. Plug into wall, run one two conductor cable to the "passive" speaker. Only one chance, (reverse polarity) to screw up. Bluetooth in, wonderful stereo sound out, with a remote for volume. I was going to make a gift using this module, but it was out of stock. I gave a pair of Edifier powered speakers with essentially the same setup instead.

        This was the recipients first experience with decent sound reproduction, she was absolutely overwhelmed. I introduced a whole world of quality listening. Lot of very low quality sound out there.

        Comment


        • MacLaren816
          MacLaren816 commented
          Editing a comment
          Ha, that’s what I was going for - easy setup, connectivity options, and the chance to lure her into the expensive hobby I’ve enjoyed for 25+ years. I’m even building the speaker wire pair and interconnect for her. What I don’t want is them to clip and low levels, turn her off to dedicated listening, or, god forbid, think I make junky speakers. I’m doing these at cost just for the hope of referrals. I’ve put enough money into PSB, M&K, and Wharfedale’s pockets since1995. What I want to do now is feed this newfound urge to keep building my own! So it will be a good thing when she says “let’s upgrade the amp”

      • #12
        Thanks to all who replied in the last 20 hours, and keep em coming if you have experience. My take away today: I’m still going to go ahead and build, test, burn in, and listen. If it’s just a garbage combo I’ll get a different amp. If it’s good enough I’ll let her know “this is what you get for $400 in parts, but it’s not the target state. Let me know when you want a grown-up amp”.

        Either way I’ll post my Umic/REW measurements from 1-3m short-window and in-room tests, “my” plans, and post burn-in listening impressions because (amazingly) it doesn’t seem like many people have tried this combo. Although maybe that should be telling me something...

        Comment


        • #13
          PS if you’re considering the WP60PA for a project, the spec cutout size is not super helpful. There’s a serious protrusion on the plastic-shielded side below the mid-horizontal bolt hole that seriously affects the mounting. I’m on my third rear-panel MDF mock-up and that’s when I realized I need to route a relief on that side to accommodate the unit, while hopefully not affecting the area the nearby insert nut needs to seat.

          And if I’m the only one who’s experienced this, please let me know so I can return and replace. I didn’t pull the shield but it’s a bump a good 1/4” past the inside edge of the gasket. Not ideal.

          Comment


          • #14
            I think you'll find as others have mentioned, the ClassixII's need more horsepower than you're really feeding them. The little Leipei 8-ish watt-per-channel chip amp will tickle them to very low levels, and a real 35 WPC discreet transistor driver receiver from The Salvation Army does a pretty good job, while a 50-65 WPC discreet receiver does a GREAT job (good ol' Sansui's with burned-out dial lamps) as good as 105 WPC AVR's if the PS caps are OK. I dunno, Class D and Class T amps don't deliver the same KIND of amperage as class AB amps and Class AB amps don't perform like Class A amps, if you can stand the heat and the electric bill. Right about now, garage sales are blooming, and GREAT old turntables and HEAVY 45-year-old 80+ WPC receivers come out of the corners of the garage and attic with $10 and $25 price tags you can "negotiate down". The TT dust cover will be cracked, broken or missing, the amp needs a good cleaning and dial bulbs(replaced with LEDS) and a squirt of DE-OXIT in the pots, and for a little of nothing you have a top-notch stereo system.

            Comment


            • MacLaren816
              MacLaren816 commented
              Editing a comment
              Good points, thanks for the assist. As this is for someone else the garage sale note is a good one, as her price range for audio is different than mine, and bargain upgrades are a great way to lure someone into hi-fi. Frankly, I hope she's not satisfied with these speakers very long - just so I can get her into a more grown-up front end rather than doing it on a shoestring. Based on feedback here and what little else I've seen about the combo, it sounds like this amp might not make it past the prototype stage. I can't deliver powered speakers that clip 3dB above room tone, it benefits no one. Might have to bump in an upgrade before she even gets the first version, and I'll throw this guy on the shelf until I build a set of high efficiency (and forgiving) one-way full-rangers, or a 2.1 soundbase for one of my wife's TVs. In this hobby, buy or build, we (almost)always sacrifice sound quality when we increase features or decrease price. Big reason I have a bunch of simple NAD integrateds and receivers, and Marantz MA-500 monoblocks floating around here, some of which are >25 years old. No features = a lot longer in-service time before they age out. I started this thread because plate amps aren't something I'd buy for myself, and thus my experience with this kinda gear is theoretical.

              Amp-specific notes are really appreciated! Coincidentally, the next upgrade for my 2-channel system will be a Schiit Aegir. Yeah, class A is a hog, and I'll admit seven A/B amps in my 11.2 setup never get turned off. I'm sure I can deal with the energy/heat involved in putting an all-the-voltage all-the-time class A on the stereo rack, but it's a dedicated listening setup so, after burn-in, I can probably deal with actually using the power button and 20-minute warm up before a session. But, for the home theater A/Bs it's just not feasible to warm up seven amps every time you want to turn on the TV

              The only thing I'd argue with is the class D situation. (non-dorks can stop reading here) Agreed - for a long time these designs were (take your pick) bright/glassy/clinical/harsh.. Many (this Dayton probably included, we'll see) still sound awful (to me, it's subjective) BUT, even with my preference for a solid-state-warm sound, I rolled the dice on a class D NAD 3020 mkII a couple years back and it's been in my 2-channel rack ever since. It opened my eyes to the availability, even at its crazy-low price point, of pulsed-power amps that don't sound like metal on metal in a concrete room, especially in the upper midrange. This comically small 3020 drives nothing-fancy 5.25-6.5" 2-way PSBs or Wharfedales like a champ for a ~11ft listening position. Not shrill, no listening fatigue at 80-90dB in 900ft^2 stereo room. Some products' engineering have caught up with the fundamental design. It's not a pair of Mark Levinson 33s or a VAC, but it genuinely doesn't have 95% of the sound most of us associate with high-speed binary rail-switching technology, but did I mention they're only like $400?!? All I'm nerding out on here is: if you haven't auditioned a decent class D amp in a while, you might be surprised. I'm not trying to pump up NAD - e.g. I'll go on the record as saying the on-board DAC is unacceptable (a Schiit Modi Multibit has been a strong, and bargain-priced, upgrade). But like everything audio: it's literally all in our head. The only thing that matters is how it sounds to the listener.

              Thanks!

          • #15
            Originally posted by MacLaren816 View Post
            So it will be a good thing when she says “let’s upgrade the amp”.
            If that's likely.....could you maybe just make the speakers completely passive and either a) just get a cheap second hand amp to go with them (check ebay - literally anything is going to be as good as this plate amp) or b) if you must have this plate amp etc place it in its own container instead of embedding in the speaker cabinet?

            It sounds to me like the speakers themselves could last the longest in this increasingly enthusiastic stereo listening journey for your customer. So why not make them last the longest without the need to modify?

            Thankfully they are described as rather forgiving speakers so quite appropriate for low quality couplings in the early stages.
            Constructions: Dayton+SB 2-Way v1 | Dayton+SB 2-Way v2 | Fabios (SB Monitors)
            Refurbs: KLH 2 | Rega Ela Mk1

            Comment


            • MacLaren816
              MacLaren816 commented
              Editing a comment
              Agreed, I've thought the same thing. That's part of why the inset rear panel will be flat black MDF, amp mounting will be M4 cap head socket screws on insert nuts, while everything else will be gloss poly on birch ply. When she's ready to step up I'll be in a position to pull the amp and reseal the cabinet at appropriate volume without affecting the in-room look. Just need another pair of binding posts. Also there is some space consideration which is one reason I went with a plate.

              Problem is she doesn't have a preamp or an integrated or power amp(s). I'm getting her foot in the door for $400 here, and it's a balancing act to try and sway someone to rediscovering actually listening to music while sitting in a room, without giving them sticker shock in the process. But your point is well made - if i get these together and they sound like junk, everyone loses if I don't call an audible on the integrated amp (and probably DAC) portion of the solution.

              And, LOL, you're probably right. When I get this hooked up I'm now 90% convinced "anything will be better". As I was typing a few minutes ago, if these come out clipping at 3dB above ambient noise, I'm not going to deliver them. For another $260 she could have a competent, small, integrated amp with a (not-great) DAC built in. If I can't sell the long-term value vs straight penny pinching, then I've clearly learned nothing in ~26 years-, six tons-, and untold dollars-worth of being an audio geek.

              Much appreciated!
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