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  • Best Speakers for DIY Tube Amp

    I am going to build the K-12 Tube Amp kit from S5 electronics and will want to build some speakers to go along with it but am not sure which ones to go with. The amp will be 8 watts per channel so a highly efficient speaker would be best. Any suggestions for a good build?
    My Build Blog: LHark Audio

  • #2
    Re: Best Speakers for DIY Tube Amp

    This is my current favorite (the OB version). I use it in a wide and low baffle. They are remarkably good with EQ, and certainly at least worth their price without EQ; just add any old tweeter to fill in the top octave. They beam less than a 6" fullranger I have with a bigger wihizzer cone, and they reach lower than most people might expect. It's so difficult to convey how something sounds on a forum, but my best shot is to say that they are "very engaging" when paired with your (my) amp. Highly recommended; give it a try.

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    • #3
      Re: Best Speakers for DIY Tube Amp

      How big is your room and how loud do you play your music? Any speaker size constraints? Do a search on the Dayton PS220 (build) as a starting point.

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      • #4
        Re: Best Speakers for DIY Tube Amp

        I'm about half done with a pair of Curt Campbell's and Wayne Wendel's Singularities to go with my Dynakitparts ST-35. They use the Dayton PS220-8, a full range 8" speaker. 95.5 db. Not done yet, so I can't recommend them, but I expect great things.

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        • #5
          Re: Best Speakers for DIY Tube Amp

          I'm smack in the middle of my tube preamp project. It's going quite well and has been a ton of fun. When it is done I'm going to build my first tube amp from scratch. I haven't decided which amp design to build yet but my goal is something around 15 Watts per channel. Anyway my point is that my plan is to build the amp first and try it on all the different speakers I have already built. If 15 wpc doesn't cut it with what I've got... there is my excuse to go build a higher efficiency set of speakers Maybe you already have a set of speaker that will work well.

          I have read good things about the K-12 kits. And there are even tweeks you can make to improve it. Here is one link I found: http://www.diyaudioprojects.com/Tubes/K-12M_bh/

          Enjoy the fun of tubes but please be very careful working with the high voltages.
          Craig

          I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.

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          • #6
            Re: Best Speakers for DIY Tube Amp

            Thanks for the pointers so far. Is there a reason most tube amps are paired with a single full range driver speaker? My listening room will be pretty small and i am not going to be "pounding" any music. The amp will be mostly for my record player and most of my records are 50-60's jazz and then some mellow acoustic stuff.

            I think the only mod I am going to do on my k-12 kit to start with is upgrading the cap's, i have read that is the "best bang for the buck" upgrade. I was tempted to upgrade the transformers but then the total price of the build was getting a little high. Oh yes, and of course adding some bleeder resistors to the cap to I dont get zapped! :eek:

            The speakers I have made so far are a pair of TriTrix 22L vented, I am in the middle of a Dayton 8 MTM build, and I was going to build a pair of Paul C's Overnight Sensations to use with this amp, but I am now re-thinking that.
            My Build Blog: LHark Audio

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            • #7
              Re: Best Speakers for DIY Tube Amp

              I'm not a bottlehead, but I've built designs for a couple. While sensitivity is certainly a consideration. If your amp is 4 ohm stable, you'll have more choices. I'm told a relatively flat impedance profile is considered desirable.

              Single driver designs are usually pretty flat, one can find high sensitivity drivers, and are consistent with the "do more with less" that many tube folks have adopted.
              Lou's Speaker Site [speakers.lonesaguaro.com]
              "Different" is objective, "better" is subjective. Taste is not a provable fact.
              Where are you John Galt? I may not be worthy, but I'm ready.

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              • #8
                Re: Best Speakers for DIY Tube Amp

                Check out one of the Econowave variants in the Flex Your PCD Mettle thread here on the techtalk board.

                They're higher sensitivity designs employing controlled directivity compression tweeters and larger woofers. They'll let you squeeze the most performance possible from the limited tube power available.
                R = h/(2*pi*m*c) and don't you forget it! || Periodic Table as redrawn by Marshall Freerks and Ignatius Schumacher || King Crimson Radio
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                95% of Climate Models Agree: The Observations Must be Wrong
                "Gravitational systems are the ashes of prior electrical systems.". - Hannes Alfven, Nobel Laureate, Plasma physicist.

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                • #9
                  Re: Best Speakers for DIY Tube Amp

                  Originally posted by fezzywigger View Post
                  I am going to build the K-12 Tube Amp kit from S5 electronics and will want to build some speakers to go along with it but am not sure which ones to go with. The amp will be 8 watts per channel so a highly efficient speaker would be best. Any suggestions for a good build?
                  For Monitor there's Zaph's SR-71 with tube flattening circuit. Sensitivity is so-so but depending on your room size those 8 watts can go farther than you think.

                  There's Jay's MTM w/ the same drivers, again with tube circuit. Simple as heck crossover too. Probably best bet for tube/ss amp flexibility. Will have a lot of slam.

                  Maybe you can even ask Zaph or someone on the forum for a flattening circuit for his ZA5 kits, since they seem relatively benign as is.

                  For full range the popular Mark Audio drivers are the way to go. No peaks typical of other full rangers, bsc built into the response so (usually) no circuit or xo required, trade-off is lower sensitivity but they are designed to be easily driven from 4 watts and up ( I have used them with Miniwatt N3 and thats only 3w). And no tweeter needed. I am an admitted fanboy as they can sound as good as any of the two ways I have built.

                  There is also his paper EL70. You can do 2 per cab. They go 40hz no problem. Inexpensive.

                  My only comment about full range is that if you're not looking to hit mad spls, they are worth considering. Good ones like the Mark Audio, Omegas, etc will bring more out of the music than you thought was there. Very different and very addictive presentation.

                  Watts is watts, but with a crossover out of the mix you can get more out of 8 watts than you think. I have used those full rangers above rated at 86 (some a little lower or higher) with a 6w SimpleSe amp in a modest living room, with plenty of volume left to spare.

                  Good luck with the tube amp build. Having just finished the Tubelab SimpleSe kit, I am converted to tubes all the way for the foreseeable future.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Best Speakers for DIY Tube Amp

                    I am more leaning towards the single full range driver, especially the Fostex FE166En. The looks are a big part of it, I admit. I will look into some of the other full rangers mentioned in this thread.
                    My Build Blog: LHark Audio

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                    • #11
                      Re: Best Speakers for DIY Tube Amp

                      Originally posted by fezzywigger View Post
                      I am more leaning towards the single full range driver, especially the Fostex FE166En. The looks are a big part of it, I admit. I will look into some of the other full rangers mentioned in this thread.
                      Try out http://www.planet10-hifi.com/ He's got a lot of full-range offerings.
                      Another option is Bob Brines http://www.brinesacoustics.com/
                      Also, check out diyaudio.com for high efficiency, full range, and otherwise tube-friendly forums.
                      - Dave R
                      the 200% Norske

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                      • #12
                        Re: Best Speakers for DIY Tube Amp

                        Check out the Chang and Spawn family of speakers at:

                        www.frugal-horn.com.

                        Ed La Fontaine built some Curvy Changs, he is a member here and posted pics a while back.

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