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Why does everyone hammer on parts express? I’ve purchased many replacement drivers from them and found no problem with anything I bought there.If there was a problem they were real quick to take it back. Somebody must be buying there because the place is huge and has one of the best inventories in the United States and Canada.
I don't think the OP really "hammered" on Parts Express. I think he's just looking for the higher end of DIY speaker parts. I have purchased several things from Parts Express and they are an excellent company. Their "Dayton" series of drivers are very excellent for the money and sound damn good for what you are paying. They are not the highest resolution parts, but they definitely don't sound bad. I have used other types of drivers from Parts Express when I need a specific type of driver. They do carry Janzen caps which are also good as well as Solen caps. They also have an excellent level of subwoofers and full range drivers.
But they don't carry stuff like Seas, Accuton, ScanSpeak, Mundorf, etc.
Really if you look at what you're buying and know what your doing Parts Express has supplied a LOT of speaker manufactures through the years.
The manufactures that don't use off the shelf drivers, like what PE has in stock, usually try to sell the buyer on their special driver when in fact it is to corner parts replacement in the future.. In other words, buy from me, BUT when I say they are out of stock and cost 700.00 a pop for a bass driver... or 2k for a pair of tweeters.. WRONG ANSWER...
Give me a break.. There isn't a 700.00 dollar driver made on EARTH...
Much less some of the freaky high prices on tweeters...
I don't know 30" sub with a 60lb magnet..
I love it when the excuse is we had to modify the this or the that on the driver. I can see something adjustable like phase plug length or taper. BUT to just make it "FROM US ONLY"... No thanks...
I am a huge fan of DIY speakers. It is quite easy these days, to build a high end speaker from a kit, that will rival commercially sold speakers for, quite a bit less $$. Ending up with something that sounds as good as a commercially available speaker for a fifth the cost (or less) is not the exception, it is the norm.
Just as one example, my Jeff Bagby designed Auricles, sitting on a pair of Bagby’s woofer modules, have a total of about $2000 invested, but could easily rival high end speakers that would cost over $10,000. They spec and sound as good.
It’s a wonder how much less one has to spend, when there is no: advertising, marketing, fancy shipping boxes, etc., etc., one has to pay for in the cost of their speakers.
These kits use many of the same drivers and crossover components, or better, as all those high end speaker manufacturers use.
And it is also not too hard to incorporate some pretty
Check out Meniscus Audio for sure!
They have quite a few high end kits, designed by many well respected designers. Jeff Bagby, Kurt Campbell-Jim Holtz, Paul Carmody, and others.
Jeff Bagby’s Kairos, Testarrosa, and Auricle are all fantastic.
Campbell and Holtz Bordeaux are quite incredible, using Accuton mids and Arum Cantus ribbon tweeters.
Paul Carmody’s Carrera’s are also extremely good.
As previously mentioned, GR Research is another great company. Not to mention, many of their best kits come with ’flat packs’, which are knock down fully cut cabinets, that just need to be glued up, and finished how you like.
And another site, not mentioned yet, is Troel Graveson’s site. He’s got many great designs on his site. Sone of hsi designs are not for the faint of heart, requiring some pretty advanced woodworking skills.
Also, check out Speaker Design Works. They make flat packs for some of Campbell and Holtz’ kits.
Let me also recommend, joining DIY Audio forums.
Lots of great resources over there, extremely knowledgeable people, some people that will cut your wood for you, and industry people.
Let me also refer you to YouTube.
Another great speaker designer, Javad Shadzi has some good vids of his designs and builds, measurements, special construction methods, etc.
Remember, building great speakers, is a lot more than buying great drivers, and throwing them in the correct sized box.
Voicing crossovers, is critical. Just plugging in the correct driver parameters into speaker design software, and expecting it to be right without quite a bit of tweaking, is not practical. Knowing how to brace cabinets is also important, as well as how to damp and remove resonances for cabinets.
That is why all the speakers I have built in the last decade, have been from kits. The DIY design community has the time, knowledge, measuring devices, and experience, to get it right.
And lastly, while Meniscus and Madisound carry lots of world class drivers and crossover components, so does Parts Express. If you Are looking for kits, by all means, get them elsewhere. But for drivers and caps and coils, Parts Express caries many of the top brands. No reason to avoid them.
Well, I do agree that Parts Express does not carry many of the better brands, none the less. For $1200 or less with a promo, I find this one of the best kit values out there.... Period. Of course, it stays sold out. They only sell about a dozen at a time, then you have to wait for parts to come in again. And regardless of the brands they don't sell, you can't knock Morel, which they do stock.
Solstice MLTL Reference Tower Speaker Kit (parts-express.com)
Raw drivers from Solen. That's 'stolen.ca'.
Just put together a sub using a Scanspeak (Danish - Scandinavian Speaker) Revelator 4557. Their prices are in Canadian $, so subtract a quarter. That's about $400 for a tremendous speaker: fast, articulate.
I judge a speaker, in part, by how well it differentiates similar frequencies. The 4557 easily discriminated 35Hz from 32, about a tone, which is what I want working with (and not against!) a system of planars.
I'll add my vote for GR-Research and Madisound.
GR has kits that deliver pretty amazing performance with high quality parts, starting at a few hundred dollars. I've lived with the NX-Oticas for about 16mo now, and I've very impressed with the overall performance. In my fairly large listening room, they deliver a deep, wide soundstage with excellent detail, dynamics and tone.
For a total investment of about $7K (including a pair of 3 driver servo open-baffle subs) and 40-50 hours of time, they deliver the best sound I've had in any system I've owned which have included several Magnepans and Revels (up to the Studios) and Duntech Sovereigns.
My experience with Madisound is pretty dated at this point, but they provided good value and fast shipping. I never had an issue so can't comment on how they deal with problems.
Oh, and for the subwoofer DIYer, Rythmik offers some of their models as kits. The kit includes a plate amp and driver(s), you build the enclosure (or H-frame for the OB). The cool thing about that is, in the case of the F15HP model, the factory enclosure is 3cu.ft. (to keep shipping costs down). Brian Ding recommends a 4cu.ft. enclosure to produce the F15HP’s maximum possible output.
GR Research provides enclosure plans for his F12G sub, and both H-frame and W-frame plans for the OB sub, all viewable on the company website.