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  • I'm just a simple caveman...

    Hi All -
    I've been lurking for a while and learning a lot from everyone's convos. If you recall the old SNL skit - the unfrozen caveman lawyer - that's how I feel about what's going on in the audio world today. When I was growing up, I was spoiled. My dad was an audiophile, and my room was decked out with his "hand-me-downs" from the 70's - his Kenwood receiver, Crown AB+B amp, and AR speakers. I was spoiled for beautiful sound, and I abused the hell out of that system while I learned what good sound was.

    But after I left home, and especially after my dad passed away, life got in the way. I made sure I had good headphones (I heart Grado), but for home audio, a HTIB had to suffice due to budget. Well now I've got the pocket book for a modest but quality system, and it's time to invest. To be clear, I'm only in planning and saving right now - I don't plan on buying anything for at least 6 months because I want to have everything figured out first. That's where I need some help

    So, I'm just a simple caveman, I've been frozen in ice for Millenia, and I've woken up to not understand what the hell has happened to the home A/V market since I was in high school some 20 years ago. I want a system that will provide excellent music listening and pretty good home theater.

    My plan so far is to build a 5.1 system with 3-ways for the front L/R, 2-ways for the center and rear channels, and a powered sub. On the 3-ways I'm thinking tweeter/6.5"/8" combo. On the 2-ways I'm thinking a matched tweeter/6.5" combo. On the sub I'm thinking of a 12" or 15" crossed out above 100. I want to use a good receiver to combine all my HDMI cables into one. I also am going to build my own phono preamp...cause it sounds fun.

    Naturally, cause I'm posting this, I have some questions:
    • Any thoughts on my planned speaker build? Is there enough separation between 6.5 and 8? Or should I go 6.5 and 10?
    • What's a good resource to learn about crossover design?
    • What the hell happened to receivers? Why do so few offer preamp outs?
    • It seems like if I want to spend under $2,000 on receiver and amp components, I'm outta luck. Is that accurate?
    • Do I have cause to be concerned about the response frequency of modern receivers introducing coloration? I don't see any mention online of what class amps they're including in receivers...I assume they're class D??


    These are my questions off the top of my head right now. Any other advise/input for someone who's been "out of the game" for 20 years would be appreciated. Thanks!
    Last edited by kiro; 12-12-2014, 04:52 PM.

  • #2
    Re: I'm just a simple caveman...

    Just go 2 ways for the mains since you're crossing to the sub (at 80Hz or less). Plenty of great kits / designs. Also, since you've been "out of the loop", you will likely be surprised at the bas coming from modern 6.5 - 7" drivers and designs.

    Check www.mensicusaudio.com for any of the Bagby or Carmody kits to start. They'll give you a good spectrum to start. Many other talented designers and designs. Standard advice to build a kit first before you tackle modern XO design. Way beyond single cap tweeter / full range woofer now.

    No one listens to the radio, thus no one cares about tuners. Music streaming via internet, all your music served via a PC and your network and so on.

    So few receivers offer pre-amp outs because you're either going to go w/ a Home Theater receiver ($300 - $2000) and stay with the single box, or you're going w/ a preamp-processor (pre-pro) and a separate multi-channel amp ($1000 t0 $$$$$$ for the prepro, $1000- $$$$$$$$$$ for the 5 to 7 to 9 to 11 channel amp).

    Good luck and fasten your seatbelt.
    I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.
    OS MTMs http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...d.php?t=220388
    Swope TM http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...d.php?t=221818
    Econowave and Audio Nirvana AN10 fullrange http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...d.php?t=216841
    Imperial Russian Stouts http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...=1#post1840444
    LECBOS. http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...ghlight=lecbos

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: I'm just a simple caveman...

      Originally posted by fastbike1 View Post
      Just go 2 ways for the mains since you're crossing to the sub (at 80Hz or less). Plenty of great kits / designs. Also, since you've been "out of the loop", you will likely be surprised at the bas coming from modern 6.5 - 7" drivers and designs.

      Check www.mensicusaudio.com for any of the Bagby or Carmody kits to start. They'll give you a good spectrum to start. Many other talented designers and designs. Standard advice to build a kit first before you tackle modern XO design. Way beyond single cap tweeter / full range woofer now.

      No one listens to the radio, thus no one cares about tuners. Music streaming via internet, all your music served via a PC and your network and so on.

      So few receivers offer pre-amp outs because you're either going to go w/ a Home Theater receiver ($300 - $2000) and stay with the single box, or you're going w/ a preamp-processor (pre-pro) and a separate multi-channel amp ($1000 t0 $$$$$$ for the prepro, $1000- $$$$$$$$$$ for the 5 to 7 to 9 to 11 channel amp).

      Good luck and fasten your seatbelt.
      Thanks FastBike - I mistakenly wrote "tuner" when I meant "receiver" - a nasty habit for sure. My concern with what I see in modern receivers is they don't tell anything about the included amp. Just marketing gibberish. No mention of the amp class or frequency response. You also confirmed my suspicion - making the jump into focusing on sound quality instead of stupid bells and whistles is an exponential increase in cost. Similar to photography where if you want something that does everything mediocre it's cheap, but if you want something that does one thing right, it'll be an arm and a leg.

      I'd still like to try designing my own XO, even if it means I have to tear it out 5x and retry it 6x.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: I'm just a simple caveman...

        If you need a traditional center (horizontally long box below your screen) there's no reason not to pursue a Wt/mW arrangement that matches the L/R speakers. A typical MTM is a poor center due to off axis lobbing between the woofers. A well thought out MTM (Curt C's Aviatrix) can work very well when used within their capabilities.

        Even 3 vertical TM monitors could be a great choice depending on output requirements and size restrictions. When paired with subs your low end is not an issue.
        http://jaysspeakerpage.weebly.com/

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        • #5
          Re: I'm just a simple caveman...

          Originally posted by Jay1 View Post
          Even 3 vertical TM monitors could be a great choice depending on output requirements and size restrictions.
          Agree whole-heartedly. I run a 5 Speedster set for 5.1 with a 15" Rythmik Audio sub crossed at 80Hz. Its absolutely glorious!

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: I'm just a simple caveman...

            What is "Wt/mW arrangement", "MTM", and "TM monitor"? I think what you say makes sense but I'm lost on those terms.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: I'm just a simple caveman...

              Originally posted by kiro View Post
              What is "Wt/mW arrangement", "MTM", and "TM monitor"? I think what you say makes sense but I'm lost on those terms.
              Woofer Tweeter/Mid Woofer - WtmW

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              MTM - mid tweeter mid
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              TM - tweeter mid
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              http://jaysspeakerpage.weebly.com/

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              • #8
                Re: I'm just a simple caveman...

                Welcome to the addiction, I mean excellent forum. Lots of ways for you to achieve your desires. XO designing will take time and has a certain learning curve to get familiar with, and comfortable using, the programs required and the specific data they need. It's not just regular algebra, as I found out the hard way. There are way too many variables regarding individual driver specs and characteristics and how they interact with each other.

                A 3-way up front for the L&R, with good response down to approx. 40-60Hz means a sub could be crossed lower than 100Hz. The higher you cross, the easier it is to locate/hear the sub itself. With a good 3-way, you could easily cross at 80Hz or below. If you like to read, Ray Alden has a great book for those starting out called "Speaker Building 201". For learning XO design, you'll have to play around with Jeff Bagby's PCD to become comfortable and proficient with it. It won't happen overnight, but using it and asking ?'s leads to learning it. Lots of the guys here use it, with excellent results. You can still start with a proven design, while learning how to use PCD. WinISD and Unibox are enclosure design tools, using the driver's T/S parameters. Jeff has a box design program that is part of the PCD suite also. Receivers like Yamaha, Onkyo, HK, Emotiva, etc. have the more reliable specs, and not the peak-power ratings with all channels combined to inflate the wattage claims.

                It depends on your budget for the electronics part of the system. Do you want one unit (receiver) to handle all the switching and amplification duties, or would you want a pre-amp (some can accomplish the component/HDMI switching too) set up with separate amps (obviously the more expensive route)? If you live near one of the guys, they might be willing to let you come by and take a listen to what they've built. I've done that here in the NW for some of the guys. My set-up is just 2-channel, but I'm not much of a movie watcher, more about music, but it still opens many eyes as to the performance compared to a Best Buy speaker option. Good luck with the process, and don't hesitate to ask any questions, even if they seem redundant or simple. The guys here really know their stuff and can offer up great advice about what you're thinking or planning.


                John A.
                "Children play with b-a-l-l-s and sticks, men race, and real men race motorcycles"-John Surtees
                Emotiva UPA-2, USP-1, ERC-1 CD
                Yamaha KX-390 HX-Pro
                Pioneer TX-9500 II
                Yamaha YP-211 w/Grado GF3E+
                Statement Monitors
                Vintage system: Yamaha CR-420, Technics SL-PG100, Pioneer CT-F8282, Akai X-1800, Morel(T)/Vifa(W) DIY 2-way in .5 ft3
                Photos: http://custom.smugmug.com/Electronic...#4114714_cGTBx
                Blogs: http://techtalk.parts-express.com/blog.php?u=2003

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: I'm just a simple caveman...

                  Awesome info guys! I think I've always been biased against TM's with a single sub cause it's not what I was raised on. Maybe I should reconsider it for simplicity's sake.

                  Awesome hobby in deed! A month ago I didn't even know that people built their own speakers, crossovers, and some other components! I've been like a little schoolgirl exploring this new world.

                  Thanks for the awesome references to the speaker and XO design info. That's very helpful. I don't mind starting from someone else's published plan either and tweaking to make my own. I just don't want to paint by numbers is all. I should mention that I have a computer science background and spent a fair amount of time in the electrical engineering lab, so circuitry doesn't scare me. I've just never applied it to audio stuff, so there inlies my learning curve.

                  Granted Crutchfield, B&H, etc aren't the only games in town, but looking at what they have going on, I think I'll probably start with a midrange home theater receiver. And then in a couple years I can upgrade to a preamp and amp setup. The ones that offer the specs I like are going to be outta my budget for now, so I might as well do what I can now and save and splurge on componentry later. I need to buy a new turntable also, but that's another convo for another day.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: I'm just a simple caveman...

                    Hint: Lots of DIY speakers are a tough load on the amp. Research compatibility between your "budget" receiver and the speakers you build. Some inexpensive receivers will specify 8 ohm only loads. Also, look for designs with compatible center designs and surrounds too, if you can do that. Many new builders make a beautiful stereo pair, and then look for a center design to go with them.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: I'm just a simple caveman...

                      A lot depends on the room that the system will be in, and how close to the walls the speakers will be. If you taylor your system to the room, you will get more bang for the buck. I have a 5.1 system, but currently I don't use a center speaker. I sit dead center in the sweet spot, and there really is no need for a center. I watch alone 99% of the time. When someone else watches with me, I usually give them the good seat. As for HDMI switching, I manually switch the cables, and the HDMI is used only for the picture. My Blu-ray player has a decoder, and 5.1 analog outputs. These are sent to a pre-pro, and then to the amps. I have a projector. It will switch between multiple inputs. Some TV sets will allow multiple HDMI inputs, and will also send out a digital signal for the sound. So, all your switching could be handled by the TV. I only have the one long HDMI cable. I could buy another, but I only switch the cable about once a month on average, and it takes all of about 20 seconds. You could get a setup that switches digital inputs for sound, and switch the tv input separately. If family members are going to operate the system, then that changes things. They may be totally lost trying to make things work.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: I'm just a simple caveman...

                        Originally posted by kiro View Post
                        ...My plan so far is to build a 5.1 system with 3-ways for the front L/R, 2-ways for the center and rear channels, and a powered sub. On the 3-ways I'm thinking tweeter/6.5"/8" combo. On the 2-ways I'm thinking a matched tweeter/6.5" combo. On the sub I'm thinking of a 12" or 15" crossed out above 100. I want to use a good receiver to combine all my HDMI cables into one. I also am going to build my own phono preamp...cause it sounds fun.
                        I see a few potential problems the above paragraph.

                        #1, IMO, your L/C/F should ideally all be the same speaker. An MTM configuration is fine for added SPL, but not on it's side due to lobing. Also, the MTM tweeters should be right at ear level in order to minimize lobing. The measurements for vertical MTM speakers are vastly superior to horizontal MTM speakers. Vertical 2-way speakers would work well also and would be my preference.

                        http://www.audioholics.com/loudspeak...peaker-designs

                        #2, You're better off with dual subs and NOT in a stereo configuration.

                        http://www.harman.com/EN-US/OurCompa...s/multsubs.pdf

                        #3, I'll bet your subwoofer's low pass frequency would integrate/sound better if it were around 80 Hz or even a skosh lower.
                        1: Sony DVP-S7000 | Denon DVD-2900 | Laptop > Parasound Zdac > Denon AVR-5700 > Focal 826V | Def Tech BP2000 | (2) DIY 15" Subs

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: I'm just a simple caveman...

                          Here's a set of what I mean, compatible mains, center and surrounds by a leading DIY designer. These would provide excellent sound, plenty of challenge for a new builder, and are a benign load on the amp. The excellent tweeter that allows for a low crossover frequency negates the sideways MTM problem of comb filtering for the center speaker. Curt says so. I believe him, that settles it.

                          http://speakerdesignworks.com/AviaTrix_1.html

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: I'm just a simple caveman...

                            This one has the potential to fill your requirements :
                            http://www.diysoundgroup.com/forum/i...hp?topic=345.0
                            It took 3rd place (Dayton Drivers) at a recent audio get together.

                            I am looking to do something very similar but using a different mid, and a much more complex cross-over. but you get the idea about a matching setup.

                            Above all Have fun

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: I'm just a simple caveman...

                              Originally posted by kiro View Post
                              ....My concern with what I see in modern receivers is they don't tell anything about the included amp. Just marketing gibberish. No mention of the amp class or frequency response
                              In many cases, there's not much to talk about. They're almost all Class AB, with very little class A. They're all rated 80 to 125 wpc, but that is not like days of yore, where power ratings were continuous, both channels driven, 20 - 20kHz. Power supplies are small-ish, too.

                              To get some beef back in the burger, you need a prepro with separate amps. But, you'll quickly discover that prepros can be insanely expensive, with the exceptions of Emotiva and Outlaw Audio. Or, find a receiver with pre amp outputs - they do exist.

                              It is worth taking a close look at some of the bells and whistles. Good bass management, auto EQ, and parametric EQ can be very helpful.

                              Comment

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