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  • 8 channel speaker setup - Advise needed please!

    Hi DIYers!
    New to this forum, but I have been reading through threads like mad!! Went to school for Music Tech, but we didn't focus much on the electronic DIY side of things. In school, I always had an interest in composing electronic pieces that would immerse listeners in sound environments. Lately, I have been researching 'ambisonics' and it's true-3D soundfield. In short, it basically adds a height component to an existing surround soundfield. I am needing to come up with an 8 identical speaker system to develop my ambisonic installation.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think I could get the same bang for the buck buying off-the-shelf speakers as I could with DIY builds, so could someone please offer some advice on how to come up with such a system/an 8 channel speaker setup?

    I will need 8 identical speakers. So far, it seems like these are the top builds for small DIY speakers:

    Paul Carmody's Overnight Sensations

    Zaph Audio Hi-Vi B3S single driver system

    Zaph Audio ZBM4

    Zaph Audio ZMV5

    Which design would be the best to go with?

    Also, I have no idea where to even begin then with driving these 8 speakers. I can't purchase a regular surround sound amplifier because each speaker will need it's own unique channel sent from my computer audio's i/o. Purchasing 1 or 2 channel Crown or Pioneer amplifiers seems expensive. Has anyone ever done an install similar to this and built their own amplifiers to drive the speakers? I tried looking through the forum, but I don't even know really what to look for.

    Is there a part from PE that I need such as thisthis?

    I'm thinking the Dayton B652 Speakers are probably junk in sound quality compared to a few of the DIY custom-built models I linked above. However, would going with 4 T-Amps be a considerable off-the-shelf solution for amplifying the custom speaker build I settle on?

    It would be AWESOME to custom build an 8 channel amplifier (housed in one unit) that drives all 8 speakers, however I wouldn't know the first thing about building such a device. Are there any amplifier tutorials similar to the DIY speaker builds?

    Another approach would be to install amplifiers into the actual speakers themselves so they would be active vs. passive, although I wouldn't know the first thing about doing this either.

    It'd be great if someone could steer me in the right direction. I have a very, very tight budget, but also don't want to skimp on sound quality necessarily. I don't need the best hifi speakers, but also don't want 2" bookcase woofers.

    Any and all help would be appreciated. Thanks so much guys!

    -Kyle
    Last edited by kdaffolder; 02-29-2012, 02:52 PM. Reason: Changed title to hopefully draw more reads

  • #2
    Re: 8 channel speaker setup - Advise needed please!

    Just get 8 Behringer B2030A or Mackie MR5 if you want to make music rather than make speakers (and amplifiers). Or, for really "on the cheap" get 4 pair Behringer MS16 http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...umber=248-6300 and a subwoofer. Or something similar.

    You don't learn to play piano by first building a piano.
    "It suggests that there is something that is happening in the real system that is not quite captured in the models."

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: 8 channel speaker setup - Advise needed please!

      Originally posted by kdaffolder View Post
      Hi DIYers!
      New to this forum, but I have been reading through threads like mad!! Went to school for Music Tech, but we didn't focus much on the electronic DIY side of things. In school, I always had an interest in composing electronic pieces that would immerse listeners in sound environments. Lately, I have been researching 'ambisonics' and it's true-3D soundfield. In short, it basically adds a height component to an existing surround soundfield. I am needing to come up with an 8 identical speaker system to develop my ambisonic installation.

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think I could get the same bang for the buck buying off-the-shelf speakers as I could with DIY builds, so could someone please offer some advice on how to come up with such a system/an 8 channel speaker setup?

      I will need 8 identical speakers. So far, it seems like these are the top builds for small DIY speakers:

      Paul Carmody's Overnight Sensations

      Zaph Audio Hi-Vi B3S single driver system

      Zaph Audio ZBM4

      Zaph Audio ZMV5

      Which design would be the best to go with?

      Also, I have no idea where to even begin then with driving these 8 speakers. I can't purchase a regular surround sound amplifier because each speaker will need it's own unique channel sent from my computer audio's i/o. Purchasing 1 or 2 channel Crown or Pioneer amplifiers seems expensive. Has anyone ever done an install similar to this and built their own amplifiers to drive the speakers? I tried looking through the forum, but I don't even know really what to look for.

      Is there a part from PE that I need such as thisthis?

      I'm thinking the Dayton B652 Speakers are probably junk in sound quality compared to a few of the DIY custom-built models I linked above. However, would going with 4 T-Amps be a considerable off-the-shelf solution for amplifying the custom speaker build I settle on?

      It would be AWESOME to custom build an 8 channel amplifier (housed in one unit) that drives all 8 speakers, however I wouldn't know the first thing about building such a device. Are there any amplifier tutorials similar to the DIY speaker builds?

      Another approach would be to install amplifiers into the actual speakers themselves so they would be active vs. passive, although I wouldn't know the first thing about doing this either.

      It'd be great if someone could steer me in the right direction. I have a very, very tight budget, but also don't want to skimp on sound quality necessarily. I don't need the best hifi speakers, but also don't want 2" bookcase woofers.

      Any and all help would be appreciated. Thanks so much guys!

      -Kyle
      If you're going for a 7.1 setup, the ".1" is a sub, so NOT the same as the other 7.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: 8 channel speaker setup - Advise needed please!

        Originally posted by Chris Roemer View Post
        If you're going for a 7.1 setup, the ".1" is a sub, so NOT the same as the other 7.
        As stated, he isn't.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: 8 channel speaker setup - Advise needed please!

          Originally posted by kdaffolder View Post
          [I][B]

          Also, I have no idea where to even begin then with driving these 8 speakers. I can't purchase a regular surround sound amplifier because each speaker will need it's own unique channel sent from my computer audio's i/o. Purchasing 1 or 2 channel Crown or Pioneer amplifiers seems expensive. Has anyone ever done an install similar to this and built their own amplifiers to drive the speakers? I tried looking through the forum, but I don't even know really what to look for.
          You could purchase 2 old HT receivers that have multi channel inputs. Then you'd have at least 10 channels of amplification. You can often find pre-HDMI avrs for very cheap used that included multi channel inputs. And you get the added advantage of a volume control and possibly some basic DSP depending on how old the unit is.

          It's how I do my active setup.
          https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCm2...oSKdB448TTVEnQ

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: 8 channel speaker setup - Advise needed please!

            Originally posted by ryanbouma View Post
            You could purchase 2 old HT receivers that have multi channel inputs. Then you'd have at least 10 channels of amplification. You can often find pre-HDMI avrs for very cheap used that included multi channel inputs. And you get the added advantage of a volume control and possibly some basic DSP depending on how old the unit is.

            It's how I do my active setup.
            +1
            You can get two old 5.1 Denon, pioneer elite, etc AVRs off craigslist for $100 each or so. Far more economical than what you've listed so far.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: 8 channel speaker setup - Advise needed please!

              Is your goal to actually build something or just have something?
              How tight is the budget?
              How much time & skill do you have to be building 8 speakers ? cutting mdf/wood from scratch?

              Considering the Overnight Sensations are now a complete knock down kit , it'd be hard to beat 4 pair of these @$99/pr as a starter DIY project:
              http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...06&FTR=300-706

              But its still a lot of work before you can start floating in 3D ambeince
              BEER: Proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy

              I've measured many things I cannot hear; and heard things I cannot measure...

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: 8 channel speaker setup - Advise needed please!

                This seems like a really cool project. I am assuming that each speaker would represent one corner of a cube?

                I will throw in another vote for OS, but you might actually want something more full range if you are really trying to simulated how directionality and reflection can impact both high and low frequency sound. If you are not interested in a true representation, but rather than an effect the OS and a sub somewhere in the middle might be great. It will be a fair amount of work, however.

                As for the amp, I would get two of the sure 100x4 amplifier modules. You will need power supplies as well, but you could get 8 good sounding unprocessed channels for pretty cheap. This seems to be well worth the DIY effort.

                If you want to go super simple and get this done quickly I will also throw my hat in with 8 individually powered monitors (although you will have chords everywhere). What kind of soundcard are you planning on hooking these up to?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: 8 channel speaker setup - Advise needed please!

                  Originally posted by NickJ View Post
                  you could get 8 good sounding unprocessed channels
                  What power amplifiers process the sounds? Unless you're referring to what you get with an avr. Most any decent avr's dsp is all defeatable. So that wouldn't be a problem. The advantage of the avr is that he could control channel level, total level, possibly eq and dsp, and other features if he desired. A stand alone amplifier can't do that.

                  Having said that, the sure 4x is a good suggestion. I wouldn't mind having one for my active setup. This solution would be more straight forward in the sense, he hooks it up and goes. No fussing with volume control and avr setup.
                  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCm2...oSKdB448TTVEnQ

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: 8 channel speaker setup - Advise needed please!

                    Originally posted by ryanbouma View Post
                    What power amplifiers process the sounds? Unless you're referring to what you get with an avr. Most any decent avr's dsp is all defeatable. So that wouldn't be a problem. The advantage of the avr is that he could control channel level, total level, possibly eq and dsp, and other features if he desired. A stand alone amplifier can't do that.

                    Having said that, the sure 4x is a good suggestion. I wouldn't mind having one for my active setup. This solution would be more straight forward in the sense, he hooks it up and goes. No fussing with volume control and avr setup.
                    I think we are on the same page. Like you said most decent AVR's do have some sort of sound processing, but it can be turned off. That said, there are plenty of crappy AVRs that it might be difficult to avoid unless you do a bunch of research on each. Regardless, I have never been impressed by the amps in my cheapo receivers (they are mostly selling based on features he would be turning off), so the Sure solution would be simpler, cost about the same and sound better. That was my reasoning.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: 8 channel speaker setup - Advise needed please!

                      Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU everyone for your helpful insight!!

                      Deward, you make a very valid point concerning going with off-the-shelf units, however, my budget is on the smaller side and I would rather go with something a little more affordable. Yes, it would be great to go with the B2030's or Mackie's, but a student has to start somewhere. Yes, you don't learn to play piano by first building a piano, but you also don't learn by not taking risks and exploring un-chartered territory. I like a challenge!!

                      ryanbouma & Sidi, love the idea of going with AVRs or HT receivers...only a couple reservations though on that route, could these adequately drive any of the DIY designs I listed? I'm also concerned about the differences in impedances and how would I control the power output from an AVR? Aren't those made to work solely with their packaged speakers, or can the watt output be controlled from the system? ie. I don't want the receiver overdriving my custom builds.
                      ryanbouma &/or NickJ-- You guys both mentioned either go with a couple AVRs or a couple sure 100x4's. Let's say I go with a couple avrs...I'd definitely want them to be the same unit. I'm hesitant in purchasing a couple off of Craigslist/eBay only because it's hard to find identical models and they may only work for a short time before dying. I was looking around on Amazon, and it appears that you can still purchase new avrs with the multi-channel ins. Would something like this work... Yamaha HTR-5850? ...or a better AVR that you would recommend? Looks like there's 6 used devices being sold there right now. Seems like this HTR-5850 has multi-channel inputs.

                      However, you both mentioned that the sure 100x4's would be better? I basically wanting to go with the best quality per dollar here. I know that an avr would provide dsp and some nice EQ advantages, but couldn't that all be done software-side? Basically I'm on the fence about whether or not I should go with the Sures or a couple AVRs.

                      jeff_free69, didn't know that PE was selling a knock down kit of the Overnight Sensations...this is awesome!!! I'm really leaning towards those and would more than likely go with a kit as it's just cheaper and there's less for me to mess up on the woodworking end of things. ;)

                      NickJ, so helpful! You are correct...I am planning on placing a speaker in each corner of a cube. I believe the minimum speakers required for an ambisonic setup is 6, however 8 is a better starting point. Usually with these types of systems, the more speakers, the better as the better represented the soundfield is, the better sounds can be localized in that space. My limited budget will only afford me with 8 starting speakers. You mentioned that I should go with something more full range than the OS'? What other design would you recommend? You also mentioned that I could go with a sub, but I'm not even sure how I would set that up. I have a Presonus Firestudio Project with 8 outputs.

                      Also, could you please point me to the sure 100x4 amplifier modules? Does PE carry those? I couldn't seem to find them on their website. Will I need to put these together and if so, is there a decent tutorial/schematic documenting the process?


                      Thanks again for all your help guys!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: 8 channel speaker setup - Advise needed please!

                        Yup. The Yamaha would do it. It wouldn't have a problem driver Overnight sensations. And you'd get 2 spare channels going that root. Maybe a couple modest subs?

                        PE sells the sure 4x100. At least last I check. And you're right, the eq can be done on your front end with your computer in your case. There are clearly advantages to both. You'll have to decide.
                        https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCm2...oSKdB448TTVEnQ

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: 8 channel speaker setup - Advise needed please!

                          2 way vs. full range

                          2 Way

                          how much is your tweeter and your woofer and all your crossover parts going to cost per speaker? X 8

                          Full Range

                          For the amount of money you spend on a 2 way speaker you could have a really nice Full Range driver.

                          There are some great deals on either side here.

                          One really neat driver I just picked up the other day was a FOUNTEK FE 85 3" full range. There a very sexy fr for only $12.98. Again these are ideas.

                          This is just something I would look at if I was on a budget. Dont get me wrong either way you go would be nice. But if I was doing a 2 way I would go with a bigger woofer.

                          Personally Im a full range guy. I fell in love with the idea and cocenpt of no crossover. Folded horns, rear loaded horns, tl's are all fun to build. Either way I would go with some folded horns with a nice fr driver. TB makes nice stuff. Stick to a 4 to 5" Full range. There fs is around 60 hz so you can get decent bass out of them. You would be amazed how horns and there not to hard to build if you got a nice table saw.

                          As for an amp, do what you think you would be happy with. But get a amp that has some power. To me its nice to have alittle too much power. But we all know we dont have to turn it up as much to get the results that we need. Check out the Harman Kardon products and look them up on ebay.

                          There pricing but look at the hk 3390. Its a good amp. And if you did it right you could drive yourself out of the room with that amp. Got one the other day and love it.

                          BR,

                          BART
                          I love Diy audio, because its just me and my ideas and my shop. I can make and mold my ideas and put them to play, its an amazing thing to be able to do!!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: 8 channel speaker setup - Advise needed please!

                            Originally posted by kdaffolder View Post

                            jeff_free69, didn't know that PE was selling a knock down kit of the Overnight Sensations...this is awesome!!! I'm really leaning towards those and would more than likely go with a kit as it's just cheaper and there's less for me to mess up on the woodworking end of things. ;)
                            PE is out of stock till April....but Erich @ DIY Sound Group does have these in stock. I'm all for PE and everything, but if you go this route and can't wait till April, try here ---> http://www.diysoundgroup.com/speaker...eaker-kit.html

                            Erich is a very reputable source.

                            Good luck!!
                            Bryan K.

                            Midwest Audio Club

                            Speedster | | The Wildeman | Sean's NLA Towers | , COUGAR II and | Triton | Lithium | J-Boom | Trym MLTL | Docere MLTL

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: 8 channel speaker setup - Advise needed please!

                              Originally posted by kdaffolder View Post
                              my budget is on the smaller side and I would rather go with something a little more affordable.
                              Two used receivers $350, 8 Overnight Sensations $520 . . . already $870 and you don't have anything that works. You still have to build the kits. And with all due respect for the OS, they're not in the same league as either the much bigger Behringers or the Mackies, at 8 for $1,200 ready to go. And with some resale value.

                              The OS might be comparable to the Behringer MS16, but you get those, assembled and with amps, for $300 for all eight of them, complete and ready to go. That's less than just those used receivers . . . for something that works right out of the box.
                              "It suggests that there is something that is happening in the real system that is not quite captured in the models."

                              Comment

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