I have a nice simple but very high quality, "high-end" two way speaker construction that i would like to share with you all.
These speakers where originally a project featured in a Hi-Fi magazine called High-Fidelety way back in 1995 to 1996..
They was called "Speak".
The DIY article also featured a subwoofer called Abyss, meant to supplement these speakers below 60 - 80 Hz. with active cross over. But i have chosen to here feature only the two way "top" speaker, in a slightly improved version. (also since the woofer has now been discontinued)
This construction featured the then brand new Scan Speak 9700 (mini Revelator) tweeter and a likewise back then new, hand build special bass/mid woofer, made by a former engineer and chief designer at Dynaco, and co founder of Scan Speak, later co founder and driver designer of Dynaudio, behind some of the most well renown Dynaudio drivers ever, Ejvind Skaaning. In his later years creating is own brand together with his son Per Skaaning. Their company is called Audio Technology.
These drivers works with just a very simple first order cross over in these speakers. And this without any problems, distortion or issues, since the drivers could handle more then 200 to 150 W. almost PA driver power handeling levels, and had extremely fine frequency response as well as very lov fs. for the tweeter.
The sound is so incredibly transparent, open and natural, neutral. And the word natural is the key world here, a reproduction that seems extremely real and effortless, free floating and unrestricted in every way. It’s speakers that is not there, they leaves the music, clean, effortless, natural, uncolored, organic, free and unrestrained, but with great precision and detail. A true monitor in the most positive sense, delivering things as they are, but in a nice and never ear tiring way.
To me this is the best two way speakers i have ever! heard to this day, and i have heard many over the past 30 years, they are totally unsurpassed for more then two decades. The same goes for the two used drivers.
This actually ended my quest for the perfect affordable speaker, and my long but very learning and interesting ordeal with searching for drivers to my DIY. These speakers simply blew all my previous references and favorite speakers as well as former driver references totally way, and they has now them self become my reference. I had never before heard so perfect and in tune with my own ideal sound, in any previous speakers, and neither have i since. From then on there where only bigger but not better sound to achieve. (Bigger sound can be achieved by adding a sub woofer with a bigger bass driver below 100 – 150 Hz. and i done so with a 12” sub,)
And regardless of how much money i would come into? i would actually stick with these speakers, i have no need or desire for bigger or better, neither different sound.
So i really want to share it with you here.
I have since myself worked a bit on it and improved it further, this with a better cabinet construction and a choice of even better cross over parts, as well as minor adjustments in the cross over. So it's still more then totally up to date and the standard of today, and surpasses a lot of newer and more expensive well renown speakers.
The speakers are very easy to make, and will give you great sound regardless if you are a beginner at DIY or have done it a lot before. It will give you great hi-fi sound at very high level.
I use it with a larger bass system, in 2½ way configuration, and with stuffed ports (aperiodic system) and here it become slightly more complicated and a larger system to have around, here by not for all listening rooms. But the basic top system can be a great stand alone 2 way, and will give your good bass right down to between 45 to 50 Hz.
You got to get some Audio Technology drivers designated 5H52-15-06 SD. and they are ordered direct from manufacture (Audio technology), and a pair of Scan Speak D2905/9700 tweeters.
These 9700 tweeters are quite old classics, from the Danish company Scan Speak, but despite this, not that many other and newer tweeters do much better. They are outstanding to this day.
Audio technology make the C-Quence series of drivers with fixed TS parameters and they have the even more expensive series called Flex Units, where costumers can have custom requested TS parameters. (not many driver manufacture offers this to private DIY customers, if any?) Tthe Flex Unit series has been chosen for these speakers, and these with factory suggested TS parameters.
The bass/mid woofer needs 15 liter volume and a Ø 50 mm. bass port of 12,2 cm length. You can use a Monacor MBR50. (that's what i used and the port length is calculated from) The bass reflex tuning will be around f-3 at around 45 Hz.
The baffle must be 10 dg. angle, and 24.4 cm wide. Else the cabinet design will be more or less up to you.
Round the edges of the baffle and flush mount the drivers for minimal diffraction. The baffle needs to be 24,4 cm wide and with rounded edges, the baffle surface is to be no less then 23 cm. wide.
On the internal sides you need to use 25 mm. egg tray foam for dampening together with 150 grams of genuine sheep wool in each speaker. Make sure it do not obstruct the bass port and that the drivers can "see" the port.
The cross over is quite simple, it’s just a first order with LCR. crossing over acoustically at around 2200 Hz.
The drivers behave so linear and well that this still will give you a very linear response and since tweeter fs. is very low, way down at around 500 Hz. and it can handle over 200W. power continuously (not peak) it will never despite such simple filter, be pressed, distort or in any danger of overload, with a cross over above 2 kHz. (This tweeter can handle to be crossed over as low as 1800 Hz. first order)
Also the bass/mid woofer is very smooth and linear with no aggressive cone breakup, just a smooth raise and an equal smooth roll off over 5 kHz. as well as a having very good off axis response. It handle 150W. power continuously (not just peak)
The cross over here will give the system an impedance at around 6 Ohm (+/- 0.5 Ohm)
On tweeter you use a single 5,6µF capacitor and a 2,2 Ohm (minimum 20 W.) resistor in series, and a 22 Ohm parallel (50 W.)
But you can actually dispense the L-pad and simply try using a single 3,3 Ohm, series resistor, this in my opinion gives a bit more substance and even more transparency, but now the tweeter impedance is no longer liner above 5 kHz.that though has no relevance on the cross over function, that lay below 5 kHz. where the LCR network keeps impedance where it's supposed to be, as well as flatten the fs. peak and the peak that the cross over it self normally make, giving a flat system impedance between 5,7 and 6,5 Ohm from woofer fs. all the way up.
On the bass/mid woofer you use a single 1,8 mH. (12 AWG) coil. nothing else. (if you want to? you can use bigger! 10 or 7 AWG Mundorf coils, the bigger the better) i prefer a CFAC type.
A 1 µF. bypass cap on the tweeter series dampening resistor is a small trick i picked up once, that opens up a bit from around 15 kHz and up, It gives a bit more open and free top, not all that noticeable on axis where this tweeter needs no help, but specially helping off axis, where you will notice it in a positive way. (for those who still can hear above 10 to 15 kHz.) It does so without any sensation of to much top or any sibilance. It's not something crucial, and is totally optional, but it's just a thing i like to do, since my old ears also needs all the help it can get above 12 - 14 kHz. this will compensate for our decreasing sensitivity to high frq. with age. You might like it or you might not? (It works as a tweak on all tweeters in all systems regardless of how good and frq. extended? i might add.)
Apart from this there must be, as mentioned, a LCR network acting on BOTH! drivers. So in the cross over you begin with this LCR, and after it you then branch out to tweeter and to bass/mid woofer. (this rule out bi-wiring, but i do not recommend that on two way systems anyhow.)
This LCR consists of a 0,33 mH. (14 AWG) coil, a 6,8 Ohm 20W. (minimum 20W.) resistor and 50 µF capacitor (use a 47 and a 3,3 µF that's close enough = 50,3µF.)
That's it. Very simple, and with so few components, use the beat you can get and or afford.
NB!! Tweeter must have reversed polarity.
The shown coil AWG seizes are important to follow since the coil resistance has to be what the wire seize provide, and most coils of the shown wire gauge will give the required resistance)
I recommend using components, such as Mundorf Supreme or Jantzen capacitors and their CFAC coils in the cross over. Myself i use Mundorf Supreme that i find by far good enough, (the Silver, Gold, Oil, i have tried and they are good, but the gain vs. price is not worth it) and i use Jantzen CFAC Cross coils, (they are as good as Mundorf's and a bit cheaper) And the resistors i use are induction free high power 50 W. Vishay in parallel, and 20W. M-resist from Mundorf in series with tweeter.
The cross over is so big that i won't fit in the speaker, so a box is needed for the cross over. This should be made same seize as the speakers footprint, so the speakers can stand on top of them. I suggest them being made of 16 or even 22 mm. MDF like the speakers.
The cross overs should be mounted on a 12 mm. plate, and i use copper nails that i then solder the components on to and connect the right way with speaker wire. The cap's and resistors can "float, only touching with their "connection legs", and the coils should be mounted with silicone, this will prevent viberations and microphonics reaching the components. Remember to place the coils in good distance from each other and in the right angles to each other. I use WBT silver solder for soldering.
The cross over box should then be filled with fine quartz sand, this will give a heavy and stable foundation for the speakers, and further isolate the cross over from any viberations and microphonics, also to some extend protect from magnetic influence and radiation of various types, this also from the driver magnets. (i now of one who have clad the box with copper and grounded it, that might be a bit in the extreme?)
For terminals on the cross over box i use some PCOCC Furutech types, but WBT will do fine, and with external cross over i use Neutrik Speakon 4 pole terminals and plugs between cross over and speaker.
Internal cabling is a matter of taste and belief. I use the same as i use as speaker cable, just stripped, in my "book" that makes sense, and im not one that changes cables very often i had mine more then 25 years. But if i should reckomend some with good and neutral quality's that fits this speaker, and that do not cost insanely much, it will be Van Den Hull, The Clear Water. And after the cross over, out to the drivers, this is by far good enough.
There you go.
This will give you a great little and very capable high-end "monitor" of extreme high quality with a very balanced and natural sound. Very fast, detailed, well controlled and extremely transparent with extreme resolution, exceptionel homogenety and good dynamics. Great perspective and a huge realistic soundstage. And a speaker that deserve nothing but the best gear you can put on it, it will grow with your system all the way into the highest high-end.
You should listen to these speakers 15 dg. off axis. Placed with the gap between tweeter and woofer at eye/ear level (approx 90 cm.) 2 m. apart and 2 - 2,5 m. from. Here they open up like a flower and gives you a sound stage that you feel you can actually walk into and that surrounds you. You can easily sit two or tree persons in "sweet spot" and all get almost the same good experience, since the sound stage is so large, and the perspective do not change as you move.
They are an easy load on a given amp. but do require some power (W.) to really thrive and open up, 50 to 100 W. will do. (i use a 50W. class A with a powerful power supply, and that's more then ample) The Sensitivity is between 86 and 87 db.
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