X-static vs some other similar kits

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petemoss

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X-static vs some other similar kits
« on: 16 Jul 2017, 12:49 pm »
I was wondering if anyone here had the ability to compare the X-statics to some of the Campbell - Holtz designs (anthology, statement)...they seem similar in philosophy.  The execution is different for sure.  Just wondering how they compare?  The x-static kits are very intriguing to me..the family of speakers that can be made seem great in that line.

I recently  heard a variant of the Cambell holtz design (at least the base section with the two dayton drivers and was totally blown away.  Just wondering if anyone here has had the opportunity to compare the two families?

nickd

Re: X-static vs some other similar kits
« Reply #1 on: 16 Jul 2017, 06:45 pm »
2 very different speakers and different design approaches. The Dayton woofers have more output and go lower in response. In the bass department the X Statics really need a good sub to help out down low.

The rest is room and taste dependent. The X static needs 3 plus feet of room behind them to really sing. Diffusion on the wall behind them takes it up another level. The X Static is also friendly to narrow rooms and rooms with hard or reflective side walls.

The dome VS ribbon debate also ads to the complexity. I just know with all but the best recordings, the domes sound more natural. They are a bit forgiving of often poor recordings and streaming that most of us enjoy because a lot of artists don't record for us audiophiles.

If resolution and bass slam are your priorities, the  Campbell Holtz design may best the X Statix. However, with some room behind them and a good sub, the X Statics are more likely to satisfy you long term with more software (music) available to enjoy.

Just an opinion from a long time X Static owner. I have bought and sold about 10 pair of speakers since I bought the X Static's. They sound great, look really cool and I don't have enough money in them to really matter. They are here to stay.

S Clark

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Re: X-static vs some other similar kits
« Reply #2 on: 16 Jul 2017, 07:29 pm »
The X statik was designed to hand off the last octave to a sub, but are not especially bass weak.  I find them sufficient for everything except large orchestra and the fullness of the lowest octave on a 9 foot grand piano... and for that I have a single two 12" OB servo sub.  In a medium/small room, that is more than enough bass. 
They make just about every short list of great value speakers. 

Danny Richie

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Re: X-static vs some other similar kits
« Reply #3 on: 17 Jul 2017, 05:08 pm »
I have a few customers that went from their Statements models to X-Statik's. Maybe they'll chime it.

The design philosophies couldn't be more different actually. They go in directions that I avoid like the plague.

I don't care for the metal cone drivers and especially the Dayton reference line. They sound very veiled and muddy to me, and they have sever ringing in the upper ranges. They could be used for low bass only, buy in their designs the high crossover points allow them well into the mid-range.

They also use very high crossover points. This doesn't allow the drivers to blend very well and causes out of phase cancellation effects in the vertical off axis that cause un-even room responses. It also diminishes the cohesiveness of the speaker and allows one to easily pin point locations of the tweeter, mids, and woofers. I tend to focus on transparency, sound stage layering, imaging, and presentation. Their design goes against those things by design.

And while the ribbon that they use is very nice, crossing it to the mid at 3.5kHz means it isn't even handling the delicate upper fundamentals. It is limited to only upper level harmonics. The mid is having to handle all the fundamentals. The tweeter in the X-Statik crosses in the 1.8kHz range. So the much more delicate details are handled by a much faster and more capable driver than a mid-range driver.

The low crossover point of the X-Statik also produces a much more accurate vertical off axis response.

And the vocal region of the open baffle X-Statik is on another level all together. You just can't get there in a boxed speaker even using the same high quality drivers let alone the drivers used in those designs.

I also tend to focus more on parts quality, wire, connectors, and everything that effects the signal transfer.

Danny Richie

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Re: X-static vs some other similar kits
« Reply #4 on: 17 Jul 2017, 05:25 pm »
I also make sure that the impedance loads of our designs are such that they can be easily driven by anything including tube amps. Even our multiple driver models are nominally 8 ohms. Impedance levels in the 3 ohm range or less really limit what they can be driven with.

petemoss

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Re: X-static vs some other similar kits
« Reply #5 on: 18 Jul 2017, 04:30 pm »
Thanks all for your feedback.  I really appreciate it.  It is such a shame that written words are so inadequate in representing the aural and emotional experience of hearing a set of speakers.   

Keithh

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Re: X-static vs some other similar kits
« Reply #6 on: 18 Jul 2017, 07:05 pm »
I have been listening to my X-Statiks while I have been refinishing my Wedgies.
It says a lot for a speaker when you go from something as good as the Wedgies and
still can be completely satisfied with the performance.

Have never heard any of Curt's speakers but I have built speakers using the drivers he
uses. I don't like metal cone drivers either. They are just grating on my ears. Maybe
that is the ringing Danny is talking about.

The X-Statiks have to be one best values in audio and the most well rounded speaker out
for the money. They are quite good with the stock crossover and with the Sonicap upgrade
and NoRez they can compete with many much higher priced speakers.
One of my favorite looking speakers too.



Danny Richie

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Re: X-static vs some other similar kits
« Reply #7 on: 18 Jul 2017, 09:23 pm »
Keith yours are gorgeous.

dlynch34

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Re: X-static vs some other similar kits
« Reply #8 on: 16 Oct 2017, 07:16 pm »
I have been listening to my X-Statiks while I have been refinishing my Wedgies.
It says a lot for a speaker when you go from something as good as the Wedgies and
still can be completely satisfied with the performance.

Have never heard any of Curt's speakers but I have built speakers using the drivers he
uses. I don't like metal cone drivers either. They are just grating on my ears. Maybe
that is the ringing Danny is talking about.

The X-Statiks have to be one best values in audio and the most well rounded speaker out
for the money. They are quite good with the stock crossover and with the Sonicap upgrade
and NoRez they can compete with many much higher priced speakers.
One of my favorite looking speakers too.




Do you have some pics of your build?  I am building the x-statiks myself and would like some guidance on the norez installation and even veneers or what other options I have for finishing the MDF ?..
Thanks

Keithh

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Re: X-static vs some other similar kits
« Reply #9 on: 16 Oct 2017, 09:38 pm »
Sorry no pictures of this build.

Quote
would like some guidance on the norez installation

There are quite a few builds showing the installation of No Rez. It is easy, it cuts like plywood
on a table saw. Just draw some plans to maximize the use of the sheet and since it goes on the inside
you can also use scraps to fill in areas.
The number of sheets Danny recommended was a little short so the bottom 3-4" of the cabinet was not covered.

Quote
veneers or what other options I have for finishing the MDF

I consider speakers as furniture so veneer is the only option for me. I am not really a fan of painted speakers but that
is up to the individual as what they think they can do a nicer job with.

My X-Statiks were made with raw veneer from Veneersupplies.com and applied with Heat-Lock glue. Although raw veneer
is harder to apply than paper backed veneer, I think the ability to see the raw veneer you are buying makes the effort worth it.
The base and the baffle are actually 2 different types of walnut veneer. Solid walnut was put in the corners so they could
have a small round-over on the edges. The base and baffle were veneered first and then assembled afterwards.

The plans for the X-Statik have the 1.5" front baffle going all the way down to the bottom. I changed them and put a 10" L
piece of 3/4" MDF on the bottom front of the base and made the 1.5" baffle 10" shorter. I think the offset baffle looks much better than the full
length baffle.

S Clark

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Re: X-static vs some other similar kits
« Reply #10 on: 16 Oct 2017, 09:45 pm »

I used a combination of paint and finished wood.  My front and back panels were figured maple plywood with a light cherry stain, strips were a matching mahogany that I already had. The sides were truck bed liner with a light dusting of "granite" spray paint.  Turned out better than expected.



dlynch34

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Re: X-static vs some other similar kits
« Reply #11 on: 17 Oct 2017, 12:52 pm »
I used a combination of paint and finished wood.  My front and back panels were figured maple plywood with a light cherry stain, strips were a matching mahogany that I already had. The sides were truck bed liner with a light dusting of "granite" spray paint.  Turned out better than expected.



With the xstatiks how did this make the sound using actual wood as opposed to MDF?  I am trying to decide what type of wood would be best for this design.... 

S Clark

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Re: X-static vs some other similar kits
« Reply #12 on: 17 Oct 2017, 03:40 pm »
Understand that the construction was a combination of MDF sides, top, and bottom  and maple 3/4" plywood for the front and back baffle. The edge stripping is mahogany veneer.  Personally, I like plywood for front baffles as it is stiffer than MDF.  Since the top of those speakers are extended, I like the strength of 1 1/2" of plywood vs MDF. 
No solid hardwood was used.  Unless your last name is Stradivarius or Steinway , resonating woods are to be avoided.

Keithh

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Re: X-static vs some other similar kits
« Reply #13 on: 18 Oct 2017, 05:02 pm »
My X-Statiks are made out of 18mm Baltic Birch. I remember before I built them playing around with
a 1-1/2 x 8"-4' piece of MDF at work and felt it just flexed too much to use as a baffle.
After seeing the picture of the other X-Statik, I remember that I changed the plans to make the baffle 1-1/2"
thick the full length of the baffle. It just seems that it would be much stronger.

I have rebuilt speakers made of MDF with BB in the past. Can't say for sure they were better, but they definitely
were not worse. And those speakers were made of pre CARB MDF not todays junk. I really like working with BB.
Cuts beautifully with hardly any dust.

I think that there are really only two practical choices for building quality speakers today. True Baltic Birch, which comes
in 5x5 sheets and in metric thicknesses, and MDF from Sierrapine/Ampine or Plum Creek. You will need to go to a
speciality lumber yard to find these and pay a little more, but it is worth it for any of Dannys speakers.
Stay away from 4x8 BB lookalikes if you don't know plywoods. Some are great but many are terrible. Stay away from other
plywoods and MDF from Home Depot and Lowes and those type stores. They rarely have anything in stock that is suitable
for a quality speaker cabinet. Any plywood, other than BB, that is suitable for speaker building is going to be quite a bit
more expensive than BB, so why not use BB.

S Clark

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Re: X-static vs some other similar kits
« Reply #14 on: 18 Oct 2017, 08:35 pm »
I got my maple plywood from a local family owned cabinet/furniture shop.  I went through a ton of their scrap and only found a very few voids... better than the Home Depot baltic birch stuff.  It's probably expensive, but they gave it to me for free.  When I was teaching they used to sponsor a lot of my students speaker projects.   

Keithh

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Re: X-static vs some other similar kits
« Reply #15 on: 18 Oct 2017, 10:14 pm »
Quote
only found a very few voids.


That is why you should stay away from plywoods other than BB for speaker cabinets. If the plywood grade
you are using has voids, that also means it can contain loose pieces within the plies that will rattle
and buzz when using the speaker. Plywood used for speakers must be void free like Baltic Birch.
And when I say Baltic Birch I am talking about true BB that comes in 5' x 5' sheets and is in metric thicknesses.
Not the imitation BB from China HD sells.

For any kit Danny sells it is well worth it to go down to a speciality hardwoods store and get some quality MDF or BB
rather than taking a chance at a big box or hardware store.

mlundy57

Re: X-static vs some other similar kits
« Reply #16 on: 18 Oct 2017, 11:50 pm »
Around here HD and Lowes carry furniture grade birch plywood. However they do not stock  Baltic Birch. I can special order BB plywood but I have to drive to the distributer and pick it up.

S Clark

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Re: X-static vs some other similar kits
« Reply #17 on: 19 Oct 2017, 02:24 am »
I bet that if you looked at enough of any BB ply, you'd find a void---specialty store stuff included.  And it's unlikely to have something loose in it.  I'm not worried about one or two.  The point is that it is likely a step up from MDF when used in the X-Statik.   
And for some of us, to drive down to the specialty hardwood store is about a 6-7 hour round trip.

LittleWoodenBoy

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Re: X-static vs some other similar kits
« Reply #18 on: 19 Oct 2017, 02:47 am »
Hey, here's a conversation I can contribute to.  As far as some guy with a saw in his basement goes, I run through a fair amount of BB ply.  The good BB you get at an actual lumberyard like Austin's or Frank Paxton is better than anything you'll get at the big box stores.  It is not voidless, but pretty close.  I make a lot of exposed plywood edge things and have only very very rarely had it be an issue.  BB dust is much less annoying than MDF.  BB is I think much lighter as well which is important for a solo guy like myself. 

It is available in both 5x5 sheets and 4x8, but the 5x5 is generally significantly cheaper on a sq ft basis.  I'm told that is because it packs into shipping containers more efficiently.

BB is much stronger than MDF for something like speaker building.  It is stiffer.  It holds screws much better.  It may not be as acoustically dead, though, I don't know how I'd measure that or even what I'd search for. 

MDF is much easier to get a nice smooth finish on.  BB has grain that needs to be dealt with.  You can get a nice smooth finish on it, but it takes more work. And, I've found in general, your seams on BB will eventually telegraph through.  A piano-black finish will bring out all shortcomings.  If you really want a smooth seamless finish, veneer it first or basically encase the whole thing in Bond-o before spraying.
 On the other hand, if you procrastinate and just leave your BB projects unfinished for a while, people begin to assume you're making a modern fashion choice.  They never think anything good about unfinished MDF. 

But this is off topic and I'd love to hear more about the X-Statik's from people with them.

Mike

dlynch34

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Re: X-static vs some other similar kits
« Reply #19 on: 21 Oct 2017, 07:39 pm »
well I got my kit from GR so now I am going to select the cabinet material and go from there.  I am leaning toward the BB as recommended by a few in here.  I do not have the tools needed to make the cuts from the plans so I am going to get a local carpenter to help me with that...