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December 26, 2008 / consort3

Loudspeaker projects

This is a blog about  DIY loudspeaker building.  I hope to publish some reasonably priced projects.  One of the best sites in that genre was Zaphaudio.com but from UK eyes at least most drive units Zaph mentions are not easily available to UK residents.  Big change from the 1970’s when KEF made arguably the best drive units and they were available at cheap prices. From memory in 1971 about £6 for a T27 tweeter, £8 for a B200 woofer and £6 for a KEF crossover, which gave you the components for a Chorale! About £75 for a built pair of Cadenzas (the forerunner of the renowned 104) Listening to Led Zep or Deep Purple with the Cadenza’s going full chat was awesome. Mind you we did blow up a few T27s. For the uninitiated the Cadenza was an ABR design and full chat means with the ABR at max excursion. It was lucky that the reasonable price,  reasonable fidelity Shure M75 pickup and Akai 4000D tape deck came out at the same time enabling one to have a decent system at a reasonable price. I got taken back to those times with this song by the Moody Blues (not Knights in White satin!):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPEMZteFjWc

Psychedelic music rools!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oIAzQ6M2Bow

Here I try to use drive units readily available with cheap shipping from UK, EU or Ebay suppliers. Among possible suppliers are:

http://www.falconacoustics.co.uk/

CPC a Farnell company (shame they do not offer the entire MTM range which Farnell also own)

Wilmslow audio

Rapid electronics

www.lautsprechershop.de

IPL

Blue Aran

I am grateful to Hoge for pointing out Beranek’s Law (1954):”It has been remarked that if one selects his own components, builds his own enclosure, and is convinced that he has made a wise choice of design, then his own loudspeaker sounds better to him than does anyone else’s loudspeaker. In this case, the frequency response of the loudspeaker seems to play only a minor part in forming a person’s opinion.”

I have been recently mainly influenced by Jeff Bagby, the 2 John K’s, (Krutke and Krekovsky) Roman Bednarek, Jon Marsh, Troels Gravesen,  Lynn Olson and Wolf,  all of whom have published work on the internet. The best forums for DIY speakers are the Parts-express, the Diyaudio, HTguide and the AVS DIY speakers and subs, also Hometheatershack. Nice thread by Jeff Bagby on the background:

http://techtalk.parts-express.com/showthread.php?232888-Personal-Commentary-on-the-State-of-DIY-Speakerbuilding

Note only one European ( Troels) in the list. I forgot to mention Tony Gee Humblehomemadehifi in Holland hardly humble!  I am sure this is because the US suppliers,  Partsexpress and Madisound who have a wide range of drive units avaliable at reasonable prices, do not have equivalents in the UK. Recently even Zaph is complaining about drive unit prices and looking at whole speakers as a source, a thought which had occurred to me. Before them were Thiele, Small  Keele  Fincham, Linkwitz and many others who have contributed to this difficult art. Much thanks to Don Keele for publishing his monumental works on the internet. Not a lot of people know that Laurie Fincham was a bass player which may explain why Kefs had good bass.

This blog also reflects my eclectic musical taste, my interest in unusual cars and other random stuff.

The blog assumes some  knowledge of speaker and electronic design, This blog is good introduction

http://audiojudgement.com/

A little known speaker-building website is here:

http://www.lampizator.eu/SPEAKERS/PROJECTS/Speaker%20projects.html

For those of us of a certain age this site will bring back memories:

http://www.saturn-sound.com/history/the%20hi-fi%20section.htm

Back in the day one speaker chassis that was readily available but not highly regarded was the EMI 13X8 There was a better version 14X9 used on Monitor Audio MA3 and B&W DM3 I found a curious homage to the 13X8 here:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/gds/EMI-13-x-8-92390-speaker-Marconi-Clairtone-HMV-DECCA-/10000000019705140/g.html/

I had an idea to use 2 Tangband W69-1042 ellipticals to replace the 14X9 if you are interested contact me.

Another speaker blog which is worth exploring:

http://redspade-audio.blogspot.com/

Excellent site on McIntosh by its chief engineer

http://www.roger-russell.com/

New French site which is worth a look:

http://www.justdiyit.com/

Good Swedish DIY speaker site

www.audioexcite.com

Curts Speakerdesignworks

http://speakerdesignworks.com/index.html

Mark Hennessy’s website, good on BBC speakers and Musical fidelity amps

http://www.markhennessy.co.uk/index.htm

Jim Lesurf’s website, good on Sugden amps

http://www.audiomisc.co.uk/index.html

Jim is also working on a Hi-fi database

http://www.torrens.org.uk/ukhhsoc/AudioDocs.html

Good theoretical DIY site

http://waynestegall.com/audio/home-audio.htm

Good site by an electronic engineer

http://stephan.win31.de/music.htm

Good review site for small speakers

http://www.oluvsgadgets.net/

Internal photos of Hi-Fi gear

http://www.hifishock.org/

Good objective blog, mostly digital stuff

http://archimago.blogspot.co.uk/

As they say in Cornwall (the place that taught the world mining and steam engineering) , proper job done on the 3886 power op amp

http://www.neurochrome.com/taming-the-lm3886-chip-amplifier/

Amusing definition of Cornish phrases

http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Proper-job-andsome-22-words-different-meaning/story-21644841-detail/story.html

Considering the pleasant laid back pastoral vibe of Cornwall now it is strange to consider that in the 1790’s it was the Start up of Start ups with Murdock and Trevithick inventing the Steam Loco and the hot technology of the time being strong steam. Cugnot had beaten them to it but his machine was not practical. Incidentally, the Davies Gilbert who was Trevithicks scientific mentor was also the man who collected Cornish Christmas carols.

LM3886 power op amps in parallel good analysis

http://www.edn.com/design/analog/4333482/Current-sharing-IC-audio-power-amplifiers-drive-heavier-loads

Excellent blog on headphones etc.

http://seanolive.blogspot.co.uk/

The comic genius of Mel Smith et al in Hifi shop

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSINO6MKtco

The Hi-Fi trade used to call us tech-geeks “anoraks” This blog should be re-titled “Confessions of an Anorak”

KEF having been going for 50 years! I am thinking of doing a clone of the Blade

http://www.kef.com/en/release/bladeloudspeaker/blade

celestion
If you thought KEF were old Celestion are 90 years old! Must be one of the oldest speaker companies still going. Celestion specialists:

http://carpwrangleronline.weebly.com/

Incredible DIY Nautilus speakers

http://gizmodo.com/5685235/building-a-pair-of-knock-off-bw-nautilus-speakers

Talking of old stuff, I recently went to a trad jazz concert. My interest in jazz was awakened around 1967 when a teacher livened up a general studies class by telling us the history of jazz and playing early recordings. Later about 1970 I went to the local pub and there was a band the Washboard syncopaters playing. Amazingly the band is still playing in the same pub.

http://www.facebook.com/washboardsyncopators

Stan Getz Desafinado
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kO1oB9fgpFc

For those that like their jazz more trad or dixieland Louis Armstrong:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YTS9jFB084

Why Jazz is exhilarating

http://sciencenordic.com/why-jazz-so-intoxicating

Lou on the parts express forum has  come up with the 7 stages of DIY speaker addiction. I would say I am somewhere between 6 and 7 Here:

http://techtalk.parts-express.com/showthread.php?t=227080

It is uncanny how  that describes my speaker design experience. Your first one works, your second one is fantastic, then you spend 10 years tryng to make one as good as your second one. These days I just hook up the DCX2496 and tweak that until I get what I want. But there is a lot of knowhow in coming up with a simple crossover so I have played with PCD to get a feel of what I need to do. Another guy on the Parts express forum whose postings I like is Johnny Richards, especially as he started with a Radio-Shack drive unit like me (Tandy in the UK)

http://techtalk.parts-express.com/showthread.php?246509-Irish-Rose-a-20-year-quest-originating-in-the-back-aisle-of-Radio-Shack

Interesting article on the acoustics of small rooms:

http://www.audioholics.com/room-acoustics/small-room-acoustics

How to hi-jack power and bandwidth from your mobile phone

http://web.eecs.umich.edu/~prabal/projects/hijack/
http://www.nxp.com/demoboard/OM13069.html

I have just watched the BBC documentary on Jim Marshall of amplification fame. He copied the Fender Bassmaster, Legend has it that he took the feedback resistor off. If its there. presumably it is a high value!

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b04c3l7j/play-it-loud-the-story-of-the-marshall-amp

Marshall are moving with the times, here is a Marshall smartphone:

http://www.wired.com/2015/07/marshalls-first-smartphone-built-music-junkies/

Another pioneer recently departed is Charlie Watkins of WEM. John Lennons 5 watt WEM Clubman amplifier sold at Sotherbys for £54,000 and all Charlie got for it originally was 14 guineas!

http://www.wemwatkins.co.uk/65years/65years1.htm

Another guy with a similar background to Jim Marshall and Charlie Watkins was Ivor Arbiter, but his forte was drums. More on Arbiter including the legendary Fuzz-face :

http://soundcitysite.com/history_2.htm

Technology of the Fuzz-face

http://geofex.com/Article_Folders/fuzzface/fffram.htm

I mentioned Marshall and Wem,  the other British amp makers are here:

http://www.vintagehofner.co.uk/britamps/restof.html

Last but not least, perhaps the progenitor of British guitar amps, the Vox

http://www.vintageguitar.com/3424/50-years-of-vox/

The legendary Elpico/Vox combination used by Dave Davies of the Kinks

elpicoelpicobackAbove: the back of the Elpico. If Dave used this as a preamp surely slashing the cone would not make much difference?

More on using small amps

http://archive.gibson.com/en-us/Lifestyle/ProductSpotlight/GearAndInstruments/10-huge-sounds-recorded-521/

Good article on guitar effects

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/03/what-makes-an-electric-guitar-sound-like-an-electric-guitar/386441/

Keep your classic old hardware running:

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/28/technology/personaltech/keeping-your-classic-tech-devices-running.html?ref=technology&_r=0

Wonder where your neodynium magnets come from?

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20150402-the-worst-place-on-earth

Methinks this article applies to HI-Fi:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2013/09/the-science-of-snobbery-how-were-duped-into-thinking-fancy-things-are-better/279571/

What are Veblen goods? Hi-Fi fits the bill apparently

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veblen_good

A tractor beam of sound

http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/a17955/scientists-invent-a-tractor-beam-made-of-sound/

Interesting article about Cymbal maker founded in 1623

https://zildjian.com/information/about-zildjian

Vintage Consort tape recorder
consort_1399104

A little footnote to the Consort tape recorder picture. Courtesy Radiomuseum.org. Dansette (1951-1969) were the iconic make of record players back in the 50’s and 60’s in the UK. I was not aware that they made tape recorders as well. There is even a Consort3 model! If anyone has a picture of that model please let me know. They used a BSR TD2 deck. There was a slightly later TD10 model used in language labs, remember those?
http://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/showthread.php?t=86328

The designs presented on this blog may not be used for commercial purposes without my written consent.

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3 Comments

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