DIY. Whose speakers would you use?

If you could pick and choose from any parts out there, which tweeters mids and woofers would you spec for a DIY set of speakers? What about the crossover electronics? Which caps, etc? Crossovers to be internal. Amps SS.
Thinking caps on please!!
Emphasis on boxes for serious listening.
Thanks. Have fun with this!!
Here is link to some pretty good information. I would probably buy a kit then change parts "caps/coils/wire" I built some Dynaudio kit speakers from Madisound years ago, when they still sold there drivers. It was a lot of fun and they sounded very good. Many different diy projects, you may want to define your needs a little more. Full range, high efficiency etc.
I use ATC(mids),Scanspeak 9700(tweeters),Volt 3143(midbass)and 2/side-12" Audio Technology)
Solen has provided me with crossovers as well.I have had great service from Solen,Canada and will look into more Audio Technology drivers for upgrades(midbass first) and maybe some cap upgrades(dueland) in the mid/hi section later
SEAS drivers.Visit Madisound for all your speaker building needs.
Thanks for the link. Tons of information there. That will keep me busy for a while.
Looking for a speaker for classical jazz, acoustic listening. Probably a little on the loud side for most peoples tastes, so efficiency is important. Full range for orchestral. I want to put on a CD and have the string quartet in the room.
Solen's name has popped up several times in my readings. Did they custom build the crossovers or match your driver specs to an existing stock unit? I will look more closely at them. Thank you.
They, (SEAS), were on my preliminary short list for drivers. Madisound and Parts Express seem to have everything you could want/need for a project of this type.
(except of course ambition and cash!! :)
Senior moment I think!
You were saying you used the Solen caps to construct your own crossovers, correct?
While there are excellent parts available, in order to have an "audiophile grade" speaker, you will need an engineer to design the crossover.
GR Research, not a doubt in my mind. Danny sells complete kits, or you can by pieces and do you own thing, and he seems to know very well what sounds good. He also designs drivers for his and other speaker vendors.
Most audiophiles are aware of the varying degrees of "good".
I agree with Dan_ed. I own Gr's N2X monitors and couldn't be happier.
If you are going to build a speaker, you should go all the way. You would begin by auditioning top favorite speakers with your favorite CD's in hand, next you would carefully note which speakers you liked best and why.

The place you buy parts for this project may have an engineer on staff. He will aid in getting the best sound for you and your music, after you give him the results you derived from speaker auditions. This speaker should be the same as a custom pair of shoes for your feet only; this speaker should be for your ears only.
>If you could pick and choose from any parts out there, which tweeters mids and woofers would you spec for a DIY set of speakers? What about the crossover electronics? Which caps, etc? Crossovers to be internal. Amps SS.

Whatever an experienced and respected designer specified.

Apart from maximum SPL and bass extension there's surprisingly little difference between drivers once you get a properly executed cross-over and uniform polar response.

Without that you can spend as much as you want on drivers (I was not impressed with the $40,000 Feastrex field coil full-range units and have heard a few bad speakers pairing an expensive RAAL ribbon tweeter to a mid-range that was too large) and the results will be mediocre.
I assembled the speakers in my bedroom from a kit. I do not believe there is any kit suitable for the "main room". It's all about "relativity".
hi edge
Yes,Chris at Solen has helped me out alot.Being the only North American distributor for Volt and ATC drivers,he knows what the driver should do and where to cross it for your goal.I have owned $20,000 PMC MB2's,$15,000 IB2's and $10,000 IB1's and I will give them the tip of the hat but I get close enough for what my goal is for alot less $$$,but thats me.
DIY is all about your goal,dont forget.
For example
If I want hi fidelity
120-127db this would cost you between $20,000 to $75,000
110-119db $10-$20,000
90-109db $3000- $10,000
DIY is much less and can be fun(and frustrating).But its your work and pride that is satisfied.
Contact Chris at Solen Canada and tell him I sent you(LOL)and he will set you on a good path.
"I do not believe there is any kit suitable for the "main room".

Check back with this thread from time to time. I think you may have reason to change your mind. :)
Orpheus, you can take "audiophile" and shove it up your attitude. Most audiophiles like you only know what they are told sounds good.

I believe drivers, parts, and boxes should be viewed as a sum rather than parts. Example, a ribbon tweeters may be great, but its xover point my be high and requires a mid range that can reach higher frequencies. Conversely, some of the Scanspeak tweeters are awesome and may allow for a lower xover point, allowing you to pick a different mid. A great diy speaker site is linked below. All the parts interact together, so it is the best integrated system is what you are looking for. Enjoy.
Dan ED,
I welcome all comments relevant to the topic. That is more than a bit off the mark.
I would consider using:
German Physiks Troubadour 80's
Huff Sub One's
TacT Boz 216/2200's
Alpha-Core Goertz AG2's
Choose your own clocks, drive, server, etc.

That is, if I could afford it.:-)
Whao-up, Edge. You and I are both saying good kits, well engineered kits, are every bit as good. Some folk are trying to say that no matter what kit you get it won't be as good as an "audiophile" level speaker. It ain't me saying that.
Hi Edgecreek209, I have built many many speakers. To accurately answer your question we all should know the answer to a couple of questions.
Are you capable of crossover design or are you looking for a pre designed product? If you have a good design, can you do the crossover build or are you looking for pre built crossover? What size room will they play in? How much power do you have for them? I see that you will be using solid state so phase angles should not be a problem, but will your current amp drive 4 ohm ok or are you limited to 6 ohms and above. What type of music do you listen to? How loud do you listen? Are you looking for a floor standing speaker or are you ok with stands? Budget?
Once you answer all of these questions, we can narrow your choice down to 400 combinations or so, but truly, once you answer those questions, I will give you a couple of solid recommendations either from Zalytron, Madisound or Parts express. Good Listening, Tim
Using a "simulated" crossover may get you close, but will not be perfect, as measurements should be taken on the finished speaker baffle.

Check out Clearwave Audio Design and Selah Audio. Both offer quality kits that sound exceptional. Madisound's ScanSpeak kits are also worth checking out.
Think of a loudspeaker as a total design. If you have skills DIY is a possibility if not so gifted and most are not. A kit might be a good idea. If 1st build K.I.S.S.

when I got into the high end, there were many high end emporiums, it was possible to audition the equipment they wrote about in stereophile. The first thing I discovered was the world of difference between "mid fi" and "high end": Koetsu, ARC, CJ, Thiel, Sota and many other brands, are not just names bandied about by audiphiles; but are products that deliver very high quality audio.

Unfortunately, those places no longer exist; consequently, many have never heard sound that you can see. When I could see the points in space where the sound emanated from invisible instruments, I knew this was the "high end".

"Good" that "Mid fi" good, or is that "High end" good? Good as compared to what? When I made the assumption that everyone posting was either an audiophile or an aspiring audiophile, I was wrong; there is a third category. I believe it defines it self.

The original premise stated DIY, summing up everything I said; DIY state of the art is impossible, unless you happen to be a "crossover design engineer".
How about the Audio Note Speaker Kit 04 (AlNiCo). The cost is $7K but you can purchase the cabinet (unfinished) for $950 so for about $8K you can have a close proximity of their AN-E/SEC Silver except the kit has silver voice coils and AlNiCo magnets on both HF and LF drivers, and hemp cones on the woofers, but not the silver wire unless you add it. So the kit actually has the better drivers but lacks about a foot of silver hook up wire (just buy it yourself) and also lacks some of the better crossover components used on the higher end line. You could upgrade caps but you still wouldn't have the silver inductors, which they do not offer with the kits.

Although they say the kit has "precisely matched and calibrated crossovers" they also compare their kits with their regular line (and justify the higher price of the regular line) by saying;
It is important to appreciate that a finished AN-E is always likely to be better that any equivalent kit version, no matter which one, as the drivers we use in the kits have a slightly wider "spread" in performance than the ones used in the finished products, basically the kits get the drivers which cannot be matched within the very tight criteria used in our finished products.
Also we do not spend anywhere near the amount of time setting up the Kit speaker's driver/crossover matching, we allow a tolerance on the finished products of 0.2dB plus or minus, in the kits this is increased to 0.6dB plus or minus, mind you this is still several dB better than anything done by other manufacturers, but it is audible in the overall performance of the speakers, if you do a direct comparison on very good equipment. This and the fact that it is necessary to rematch the driver/crossovers to the actual cabinets when assembled to maintain the tightest possible match, this is not possible for any hobbyist building a kit and means that a kit can never get close to the consistency of a finished product.
Seems if someone wanted the sound and efficiency of an Audio Note speaker, you could do quite well for about $8K with the all-out kit and their own cabinet, plus add about a foot of silver wire per cabinet and maybe upgrade some of the x-over parts like changing the caps to their AN Copper or Silver foil paper in oil caps. Your end result should (in theory) sound simlar (or better than) to their $20K plus speakers for less than half the cost.
Unless it's horn loaded, the transition between a 1" dome tweeter and 8" woofer is not a smooth one, off axis response will suffer in the crossover region.
If I were starting from scratch and considering 3-way, I would be looking at digital/computer crossovers with multi amps. Even an inexpensive Behringer 24/96 can be upgraded later. Perhaps even translate developed active crossover to passive to reduce overhead, once dialed in.

Found some more. With the exception of Visaton (German driver mfr) virtually no 3-way. Some interesting line arrays. No clue of your goals and budget.
American distributor?

Parts Express/Dayton
Mitch, there ain't no way I would pay that kind of money for a kit.

Take some relatively cheap speakers like "Polk". I went out to buy computer parts and came home with a pair of Polk speakers because they were so cheap. I'm in the basement listening to them now. They look cheap, they're made out of cheap material, but they are the best sounding cheap speakers I've ever heard. My point is this "The engineers at Polk know something I don't know".
Orpheus, What makes you think kits are not as well engineered as Polk or other products?

Johnk, that's a good question, and I will elaborate in order to answer it.

A kit for the family room or a bed room is fine, but I do serious listening in "the main room", and serious questions must be answered before I install a new speaker. How does it sound to my ears? A kit has to be assembled, I won't know the answer to any of my questions until after assembly. If the sound does not meet my expectations, was it my fault; or was something wrong with the kit. Too many risks involved for 7K, which was the cost of Mitch's kit. I hope this answers your question.
Orpheus 10, I have heard the Polk's are good sounding speakers for the money. So are Paradigm and others.

The Audio Note kit is primarily for those wanting to use relatively low power tube amps, or maybe low power SS Class A amps, so a different market.

Regarding quality, you should check out the website and detailed manual and build link. These kits are already designed and, if you purchase their cabinets (a no-brainer for $950) then all you have to do is assemble - much different than starting from scratch.
Audio Note Speaker Kit 4

BTW - have you ever looked inside of a manufactured speaker, just parts and wires, cabinet work and maybe some damping material. Other than a few who use high end cabinet materials like Wilson, Hanson, and some others, most are rather ordinary. In addition to using high quality drivers and parts, what makes a good speaker is the crossover/driver/cabinet design, and component matching, all of which are already done with the Audio Note kit. In this case, the kit would be an alternative for those considering purchasing one of their very similar manufactured products costing double or more.
Not really only answers why you would not want a kit not why it would offer less performance or be engineered to a lesser degree. Most a kit wouldn't even be a option but there are some very well thought out and designed kits available most are not so costly. And many kits are a very easy build. Like SEA X-1 kit from madisound.

If I were to build a speaker, I would use a Heil Air Motion tweeter, a Vifa midrange, and a 12" neodymium woofer. The crossover would be a 3-way, 4th order, T-type. Crossover frequencies would be 400/2500, 94DB efficiency.

Capacitors for the midrange and tweeter would be Jentzen Superior Series Z-caps,and Solen Metallized Polypropelene for the woofer, which would be side firing.

A zebra wood finish and the project is complete.
If I were seriously looking for a recommendation for a kit, Audiogon would not be where I would ask this question. Some of the posts on this thread are excellent examples of why I say this. A lot of opinions from some who probably don't know which end of a screw driver to hold.
An interesting assembly Orpheus10. The finish would not be my taste, but otherwise, not bad at all.
Hi Dan ed,
No offense meant, but If you could not decern which comments to take seriously, you probably should not be building yourself. I asked the op several questions that really need to be answered to choose any diy speakers. No answers. To properly design yourself, you must be able to look at frequency, impedance and phase curves and know where to cross, what different slopes will sound like, how to handle impedence or frequency rises, etc... But for someone to build a kit, you simply need to be able to follow a simple speaker schematic and be handy with a soldering iron for the crossovers... Cabinets are another story... I've been building for 32 years, I still build a mediocre cabinet. My current speakers are completely mine and will compete at around $4 to $5K. I have around $900. in them.
Very good points Orpheus10. Gets to the reason for the thread. What speakers have we heard, maybe in multiple product lines, that keep coming back as good sound in a well executed design? Certainly the engineering is as critical as the components. The best speaker in an ill designed enclosure may sound terrible.
That said, I believe that with correct design, and the specified parts, the only remaining limitation of a kit is the skill of the DIY'er.
Oh, I get it. You want to know what WE would like. For sheer dynamics and compatibility with low powered tube amps, I'm tempted by the Zalytron, Selah and Occam line arrays. For less cost, size and something more conventional, the Selahs with the Morel 2" soft dome midranges and ribbon tweeters would be my choice. I've liked dome midranges for female voice and sax and the crossover between ribbon and dome mid is livable. Then again... always liked Dunlavy's, so maybe a MTM but with a ribbon tweeter?

None of the above would satisfy my deep bass needs. In the case of the latter Selahs, I would keep them sealed and add stack them on a sealed active sub. However, I would probably start with a multi-driver passive sub and use a PA amp (QSC, Crown, Carver Pro or even W4S) and a NHT X2 active xover.

At one point, I was considering something like a DIY Genesis clone, using the big BG ribbons. Turned out I could buy a used G350 for less than it would cost to build half-assed.

Years ago, decades actually, worked with Bessel-type passive filters on commercial projects. Never been popular but I liked them for their linear phase response. Long forgotten. Wouldn't know where to start now. Vaguely remember endless tables, spec sheets and calculations. Stronger memories of late nights smelling solder flux and burnt components.
>04-01-11: Orpheus10
>I assembled the speakers in my bedroom from a kit. I do not believe there is any kit suitable for the "main room". It's all about "relativity".

Siegfried Linkwitz designed the Audio Artistry line of dynamic dipoles, including the $25,000 Beethoven which Stereophile recognized as its 1998 Loudspeaker of the Year.

Since then he's learned more about hearing and used better drivers to produce the Orion, better in all ways but maximum low frequency SPL which can be addressed with a pair of sub-woofers.

A license to build them for personal use, plans, drivers, cross-over parts, and lumber are somewhere under $3000. Parts flat packs and even completed cabinets are available from Wood Artistry (Don Naples does exceptional work as a furniture maker, with book matched panels machined from figured hardwood, ebony accent strips, etc) if you can't use power tools.

There are hundreds of pairs around the world and finding a set to audition should not be a problem - just post on the official Orions auditions thread

Earl Geddes designed the only speakers more than one or two Orion owners have preferred; you could probably find a pair of those too.

John Krevosky's NaO Note looks compelling on paper with its more uniform polar response.

There are also plenty of popular conventional designs out there; although there's no reason to constrain yourself to designs with inherently flawed physics when you're not limited to selling the market what it expects.
Tim, I know exactly who's comments to take seriously on this thread. One guy has already slapped the veneer on his "design" and completely glosses over the box his drivers will be in. It certainly won't be audiophile approved without a proper box. ;-) Why not ask this question where serious DIY folks hang out?
Hi Dan,
As I said, no offense intended, I really should have said "If someone could not decern" and not used "you". The comment was not meant to be personal. I have spent a fair amount of time on the diy forums through the years. I made a poor assumption that the op wanted help choosing drivers, crossover parts ect. My first response was based on that assumption. My mama always said, "don't assume".
Good Listening, Tim
Your assumption was correct.
I may not have made that obvious at the beggining of the thread. My thoughts in the design of a speaker were to begin with good parts and develope the enclosure and crossovers to exemplify their ability. Am I capable of doing that? We shall see!
The posts presented have brought out the foibles associated the with process, and I thank everyone for their input so far. Lots of great information.

Tim, I made the same assumption. It seems, I think, that all the op wants to say is that all things being equal there is still a lot of work beyond the engineering. Well, yeah. Obviously. :-) This is true of all things audio, if the goal is better sound. If the goal is a price point, going no further than crunching numbers is fine. Electronics, speakers, DACS, tonearms, etc. Most times we buy a product that has been filtered through the designer's ears.
Fostex RAAL SEAS GOTO ALE GPA BMS Mundorf Eminence Tone Tubby JBL Fatail Pro 18 sound HI-VI Accuton fountek TAD Raven PHY
Thanks for the clarification Jim... To start, decide on the total picture that you want to achieve. Do you want a full size or full range speaker. That typically requires a 3 way or more design. Do you want a smaller or stand mount. How much power do you have and how loud do you listen and how big is your room, will give you an idea of the type of sensitivity that you'll need to look for.
I will say, that in a 6 inch 2way, there are several diy designs that compete in the high end world available to order in kits. If you want an easier design, I'd look in that direction. Outside of that What type of music do you listen to, what type of sound are you after... For instance. Morel tweeters are smooth, easy to listen to, on extremely detailed equipment are very nice, but on most tend to be overly smooth and not detailed enough. Focal tweeters are very detailed and on the wrong equipment or crossover can sound quite edgey. Then there is Seas, Dyn Audio, Usher, Audax, ScanSpeak, HiVi, Raal, Vifa/Peerless, Hiquphon, SB,etc, etc, etc and that is just tweeters. One of the more well known diy'ers is Zaph. John's kits are resonance and impedance compensated, time aligned all fairly accurate... Might not be a bad place to start. If you want to do the whole kiboodle by yourself, Jeff Bagby has done some programing that is as good as 90% of what the pro's use... It was stated by someone earlier about predicted responses in programs. I have found that when I measured my own parts and accurately inputed info into Jeff's program that the predicted response was "Right On" with the finished product. I would find his free ware.
Good Luck, Tim

Edgecreek, after visualizing a room that would have to look like "Wild Animal Kingdom", in order for the "zebra wood" speakers to fit, I put that finish on hold.

Ngjockey,I like many of your ideas; Selah looks especially interesting, they could meet my requirements for the next speaker.

As Timlub pointed out, building speaker cabinets is no fun, and Selah has some beautiful speakers. Having input in regard to the final product is important. I could go there, audition drivers, and speak to the crossover designer in regard to "timbre"; that's important to me.

This takes a stretch of imagination, but if you look at the "music forum" as an "equipment forum", you will realize we all have very different needs and requirements. Since I've built speakers from scratch, I'm acutely aware of mine.

Although I want a speaker to fit my specification, I have no desire to build one; Selah could solve both problems.
I've been researching this for a while now, as I am going to build some next year. I am going to build single driver (aka no crossover), rear-loaded horn speakers, with a bass augmentor to fill out the bottom end (Curvy Chang). Check out for some amazing free designs.

The designs have a forum of people that have actually build them to help with process. There are several companies out there using these free designs to build and sell commercially, for a pretty penny I might add...and they get fantastic reviews.

Hope this helps in your process.