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Irish Rose - a 20 year quest originating in the back aisle of Radio Shack...

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  • Irish Rose - a 20 year quest originating in the back aisle of Radio Shack...

    So I, much like many others here, got my taste for DIY audio from a variety of sources - not the least of which was Radio Shack when they still sold drivers direct. I always had plans to build a massive 4-way system using the drivers they sold, but circumstances never lined up. During various intervals I was flush with time, but not cash or the other way around, or I had time and cash but could not locate the drivers I wanted until I ran out of time or money - then I became a father and found an entirely new way to spend time (gladly). Over the years, though, I never let go of that vision in my mind of the first big, serious speaker I ever wanted to build.

    Passing time brings with it nostalgia and its rose colored effect on our memories - and I am fully aware that this project is nothing more than a harmless, mildly self-indulgent and futile attempt at recapturing my late teens. At the same time, those projects are probably the most fulfilling and important - at least to a guy like me. Regardless my motivations, this project has literally been on the blocks, off and on, for over two decades. Think of that - over 20 years of waiting for everything to align in order to accomplish it. It has only been in the last few years that I have located the two most elusive components - the dome midrange and the 12" DVC. I was particularly picky on the DVC - the drivers with a Radio Shack logo are quite inferior to the earlier, Realistic models. Almost anything 12" in diameter is a better choice these days - but that is not the point of the project. For that matter, the tweeter is out of a Minimus 7, and the midbass is a Realistic 6.5" poly model. There are modern counterparts for every component in this system that represent a much higher performance potential.

    That is not at all on my mind as I go through this project.

    What is on my mind is the day in 1992 I found the 6.5" poly woofers on sale at one of the local Radio Shacks and I splurged what was, to me anyways, a significant chunk of my dishwashers wages for two of them. I do not recall exactly the amount, but I imagine they were on sale for $20 or so. I made $4.35/hr at the time, washing dished, bussing tables, occasionally line cooking and prepping at a local truck stop. The place was called Rentschlers and we made the kind of food places like Perkins and Dennys and Friendlys etc can only dream about. We used lard in our fryers and our pie crusts, the hamburger came from a meat locker down the road, we roasted all of our own beef for hot beef sandwiches (and made the gravy from scratch), sliced whole sides of smoked pork, ground and seasoned hundreds of pounds of pork for breakfast sausage, peeled and mashed/shredded potatoes by the crateload... I digress (and am now hungry).

    To get back to the point at hand - music has always been an integral part of my life. Whether it was sitting in the kitchen at my grammas house while all of those drunken old Irish aunts and uncles waked one of us out of this world by singing any of dozens of Irish ballads (some of them were born in Ireland and were old enough to speak and sing in old Irish - some of those songs take on a haunting quality that Anglicization cannot recreate), reclining on the couch with my dad (only 1/2 Irish unlike my mother) listening to everything from Hank Sr to AC/DC to John Denver to Blood, Sweat, and Tears ,or just singing to myself out in the yard as I practiced throwing a baseball around. It is an inseparable part of my being.

    I also grew up in an environment where building things was the norm - not necessarily out of necessity, but because it can be fun. It really should come as no surprise, then, that I very soon found myself trying to build my own speakers to replace the monstrous quad of Mach I in my bedroom.

    Given my ancestry, my open admission of what this project is predicated on, and the implication that I may well be "under an influence" for pursuing it I have named it "Irish Rose". Easy enough to figure out how the name was derived, I imagine.

    Today I glued cabinets up, and took a snapshot of one of them with the drivers set in place. I tried to do things approximately as I would have when I was 17 - but some things I just cannot bring myself to do as I would have when I was an idiot. I did chamfer behind the woofer, for example. I used a PE flat pack because it fit perfectly, so there is a brace that would not have been there when I was 17. I also did all of the bass alignment calculations by hand, using my faint memories of algebra and some scratch paper.

    I will try to update this thread often enough to keep interest alive, but I am savoring this project - I cut the baffles six months ago, for example. I guess I just wanted to offer a viewpoint of DIY that does not have to be about making sure you have the first design using a new driver, or becoming obsessed with pursuing ever higher levels of performance, or winning contests, or getting designs published, or bragging rights through numbers... Those are all fine, perfectly legitimate motivations (and I engage in those too, of course) - but I find myself needing these intermissions to remind me why I am so passionate about this in the first place.

    My very good friend Nick stopped by today, and we had a quick chit chat about this project - and I explained that I like playing in the sandbox, even though there is a lot of ultra-modern playground equipment just a few yards away. He gets it. I think most of us do.

    Drivers in the top section are the 6.5" poly, the dome midrange and a Minimus tweeter. As noted, the bass bin will utilize the 12" DVC. Those who have helped me acquire the drivers to finally get to this point know who you are - and I am eternally grateful for it. To anyone else reading this - know that any of the knowledge I may possess is only because all of you have been so open in not only sharing your knowledge, but asking questions that really forces me to re-examine things. Thank you.

    Image 1:
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    Speaking of doing things differently today... Does anyone have one of the Radio Shack 3-way crossovers sitting around? I would like a schematic for it so I can do some testing using the values available to me then. I would have used the pre-built for sure.
    Don't listen to me - I have not sold any $150,000 speakers.

  • #2
    Re: Irish Rose - a 20 year quest originating in the back aisle of Radio Shack...

    I like it. I had a set of those 6.5" woofers in my '88 Nissan Pickup. With essentially no crossover, they had a lower treble peak that drove me nuts. I'm sure you know what to do about fixing that.

    I also remember looking at those midranges, but never bought them. I'm impressed by the hand calc's. In '92, I think I had at least Lotus 1,2,3 to help things along. Myself, MDF was from Mars. I would have build them out of pine planks or cheap plywood, using wood screws and a ton of cheap caulking to seal things up. Speaker terminals - what are those? I'd knot the wire as strain relief, poke it through a hole, and glob on more caulking to hold it in place.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Irish Rose - a 20 year quest originating in the back aisle of Radio Shack...

      Originally posted by johnnyrichards View Post
      Speaking of doing things differently today... Does anyone have one of the Radio Shack 3-way crossovers sitting around? I would like a schematic for it so I can do some testing using the values available to me then. I would have used the pre-built for sure.
      Hope this helps you in your quest. The 3-way xovers I dismantled a long time ago, and I don't think I still have them. I never new the coil values, as I never measured them.

      I included the spec-sheets for the 6.5" and mid in case you didn't have them. The drivers also have info in the old 'Advanced Speaker Systems' book I have if you want that info as well.

      Let me know,
      Wolf
      Attached Files
      "Wolf, you shall now be known as "King of the Zip ties." -Pete00t
      "Wolf and speakers equivalent to Picasso and 'Blue'" -dantheman
      "He is a true ambassador for this forum and speaker DIY in general." -Ed Froste
      "We're all in this together, so keep your stick on the ice!" - Red Green aka Steve Smith

      *InDIYana event website*

      Photobucket pages:
      https://app.photobucket.com/u/wolf_teeth_speaker

      My blog/writeups/thoughts here at PE:
      http://techtalk.parts-express.com/blog.php?u=4102

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Irish Rose - a 20 year quest originating in the back aisle of Radio Shack...

        I've got a pair of the Realistic 40-1375 ribbon tweeters. I think they are still good, but they probably have some silicon glue you would have to scrape off. Do you want them?

        The tweeters were from a 3-way that I made for my mom many, many years ago. The mids were KEF B110's, The SP1003 version, I think. I was going to send them to Jeff B some day just for grins. The 10" drivers in those 3-ways were "acoustic suspension" drivers made by Jensen-Rola. They were used in the Lowry organ (SCT), probably from 1978 or so. They are available to a good home. Too much stuff in the attic...time to clean up.
        Free Passive Speaker Designer Lite (PSD-Lite) -- http://www.audiodevelopers.com/Softw...Lite/setup.exe

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Irish Rose - a 20 year quest originating in the back aisle of Radio Shack...

          Originally posted by neildavis View Post
          I've got a pair of the Realistic 40-1375 ribbon tweeters. I think they are still good, but they probably have some silicon glue you would have to scrape off. Do you want them?
          Linaeums or the older leaf-tweeters ala Fostex/Phillips?
          Later,
          Wolf
          "Wolf, you shall now be known as "King of the Zip ties." -Pete00t
          "Wolf and speakers equivalent to Picasso and 'Blue'" -dantheman
          "He is a true ambassador for this forum and speaker DIY in general." -Ed Froste
          "We're all in this together, so keep your stick on the ice!" - Red Green aka Steve Smith

          *InDIYana event website*

          Photobucket pages:
          https://app.photobucket.com/u/wolf_teeth_speaker

          My blog/writeups/thoughts here at PE:
          http://techtalk.parts-express.com/blog.php?u=4102

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Irish Rose - a 20 year quest originating in the back aisle of Radio Shack...

            Originally posted by Wolf View Post
            Linaeums or the older leaf-tweeters ala Fostex/Phillips?
            Later,
            Wolf
            Actually, both. The older leaf tweeters were Panasonic, I believe. The part number on the back starts with EA..., so I think that's Panasonic. But I've also got a pair of the Linaeums.

            I don't want anything for them, but I don't really want to spend a lot of time and money shipping them. Any ideas?
            Free Passive Speaker Designer Lite (PSD-Lite) -- http://www.audiodevelopers.com/Softw...Lite/setup.exe

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Irish Rose - a 20 year quest originating in the back aisle of Radio Shack...

              Beautiful story Johnny. Appreciate you sharing your feelings, history, people.

              I think many of us have strong feelings about speakers we heard when we were young.

              I think I hear a difference - wow, it's amazing!" Ethan Winer: audio myths
              "As God is my witness I'll never be without a good pair of speakers!" Scarlett O'Hara

              High value, high quality RS150/TB28-537SH bookshelf - TARGAS NLA!
              SB13/Vifa BC25SC06 MTM DCR Galeons-SB13-MTM
              My Voxel min sub Yet-another-Voxel-build

              Tangband W6-sub

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              • #8
                Re: Irish Rose - a 20 year quest originating in the back aisle of Radio Shack...

                Looking nice JR! I hope I get the chance to hear them sometime.

                Side Note: It also says a lot about a man when he just lets the glue run down the sides and dry in little drops
                Audio: Media PC -> Sabre ESS 9023 DAC -> Behringer EP2500 -> (insert speakers of the moment)
                Sites: Jupiter Audioworks - Flicker Stream - Proud Member of Midwest Audio Club

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Irish Rose - a 20 year quest originating in the back aisle of Radio Shack...

                  I have a pair of 20+ year old Rat Shack 2-way crossovers you are more than welcome to. Love the trip to your past. Thanks for sharing, stories and designs.
                  still lurking...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Irish Rose - a 20 year quest originating in the back aisle of Radio Shack...

                    Johnny are you in need of the crossovers that Ben linked? With the first order circuits and multi tap coils? If so, I have 2 pairs of them. Your's for the asking.
                    https://www.facebook.com/Mosaic-Audi...7373763888294/

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Irish Rose - a 20 year quest originating in the back aisle of Radio Shack...

                      John,

                      You may be aware of this, but Radio Shack catalogues are all available online from approximately 1940 something until the last year they were made. You can literally page through them. (I used them for inspiration on the design of some large floor standers I made several years ago using the Golden Boys project specs. They remind me of stereo speakers from the 70's {my childhood years} when speakers and consoles were beautiful furniture as well as audio technology.) The crossovers may well be in one of the old catalogues.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Irish Rose - a 20 year quest originating in the back aisle of Radio Shack...

                        This is an interesting theme for build, and I guess I understand the motivation. Back in high school I spent a lot more time browsing the Heathkit manuals than Radio Shack catalogs, and I had a similar lust for that equipment. But I was lucky--some of my friends had audiophile parents, and they bought the kits and let me put them together. I made one AR-15 while in high school and two AR-1500's. Also had several Eico, Knight and Dyna's through the years.

                        About 15 years ago I picked up an AR-15 at a hamfest, and was using it until it blew the fuse a couple of months back. It's nice to rekindle those fond memories. But it's funny how things have to change. Two weeks ago I left the AR-15 with the walnut case at the dump. Kinda sad. But I always keep the knobs--I've been reusing the old knobs for years.
                        Free Passive Speaker Designer Lite (PSD-Lite) -- http://www.audiodevelopers.com/Softw...Lite/setup.exe

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Irish Rose - a 20 year quest originating in the back aisle of Radio Shack...

                          Originally posted by chad1376 View Post
                          I like it. I had a set of those 6.5" woofers in my '88 Nissan Pickup. With essentially no crossover, they had a lower treble peak that drove me nuts. I'm sure you know what to do about fixing that.

                          I also remember looking at those midranges, but never bought them. I'm impressed by the hand calc's. In '92, I think I had at least Lotus 1,2,3 to help things along. Myself, MDF was from Mars. I would have build them out of pine planks or cheap plywood, using wood screws and a ton of cheap caulking to seal things up. Speaker terminals - what are those? I'd knot the wire as strain relief, poke it through a hole, and glob on more caulking to hold it in place.
                          Haha awesome (and accurate!!) memories on the cabinet construction! For testing purposes I still use the knotted leader method

                          I do some work with casinos in Henderson, by the way. One of my running projects is managing install/removal/service of several different casino gaming companies product lines. Hope to make it down there one of these days - I'll look you up.
                          Don't listen to me - I have not sold any $150,000 speakers.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Irish Rose - a 20 year quest originating in the back aisle of Radio Shack...

                            Originally posted by Wolf View Post
                            Hope this helps you in your quest. The 3-way xovers I dismantled a long time ago, and I don't think I still have them. I never new the coil values, as I never measured them.

                            I included the spec-sheets for the 6.5" and mid in case you didn't have them. The drivers also have info in the old 'Advanced Speaker Systems' book I have if you want that info as well.

                            Let me know,
                            Wolf
                            Thanks, Ben. I have those old books as well - I still enjoy breaking them out from time to time. I think I have most of them at this point - sometime I will have to take pictures of them all.
                            Don't listen to me - I have not sold any $150,000 speakers.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Irish Rose - a 20 year quest originating in the back aisle of Radio Shack...

                              Originally posted by neildavis View Post
                              Actually, both. The older leaf tweeters were Panasonic, I believe. The part number on the back starts with EA..., so I think that's Panasonic. But I've also got a pair of the Linaeums.

                              I don't want anything for them, but I don't really want to spend a lot of time and money shipping them. Any ideas?
                              I'll cover the shipping, Neil - especially if you can find some PC hardware to sell me along with them.

                              (I think at least one version of the Leaf Tweeter was built by JVC)
                              Don't listen to me - I have not sold any $150,000 speakers.

                              Comment

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