Introduction (and planning X-MTM build)

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aterphasma

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Introduction (and planning X-MTM build)
« on: 9 Oct 2022, 04:41 am »
Hey there!

Name's Jesse. Been really into audio since I was a kid and I've recently started diving back into it after a break. Started looking around at hifi stuff and ended up finding Chinese IEMs. Wandered around a bit in that rabbit hole and found a few things that are nicely suited to my taste. Buuuut, I wanted bigger sound and to be able to share the joy with more than my own ears at the same time.

So.

Speakers.

My partner has a pair of Bose 301 Series III that he likes. They're okay, but I've wanted something a little more... detailed, filled out, rich.
Picked up a pair of Sony SS-CS5 speakers on sale, started listening, loved them. A little bit muddy on the low end and kinda thin in the midrange. Nice and detailed, though. Definitely checks that box.

Found out about GR Research speakers through a YouTube review of the X-LS Encore, then spent like a week watching YouTube videos. Decided to pull the trigger and take a shot at upgrading the new speakers to get some more clarity out of them, so I got an upgrade kit for the Sonys.

After a few weeks of tinkering on the weekends, (and a hundred realizations of, "oh, right, I need a heat gun for heat shrink," and, "I should probably get solder... just the station won't do much good..."), I took a week off and finished them up. Yyyeah, there are pictures, but, uh................. horrible horrible terrible things were done inside these boxes that I can't, in good conscience, show to anyone.... Suffice to say it's rather an art project and it probably doesn't do itself much as far as avoiding RF. The important thing is they're back together and they sound LOVELY. My partner noticed the greatly improved midrange right away, and I was picking up details and sounds I'd never heard before. I figured, if Danny knows what he's about when it comes to upgrading, then he probably designs a good speaker.

To which end, I plan to build a pair of X-MTM Encore towers! I'm in the process of putting a build plan together, so I haven't started on them just yet, but... they're gonna happen this winter. :green:

I'll take pictures along the way and share them in this thread.

Look forward to meeting folks here!

Cheers!
« Last Edit: 18 Oct 2022, 02:51 am by aterphasma »

Tyson

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Re: Introduction to production (and X-MTM plans!)
« Reply #1 on: 9 Oct 2022, 02:57 pm »
Nice and welcome to the GR Research family!

nlitworld

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Re: Introduction to production (and X-MTM plans!)
« Reply #2 on: 9 Oct 2022, 04:07 pm »
Welcome to the club. When you're elbows deep in wood glue, and have burns on your fingers from the solderingn iron, just remember it's the journey, not just the destination. It'll be worth it for sure. There are loads of people here to help along the way. If you plan to paint them instead of veneer them, just hit me up and I'll walk you through the process. Good luck and have fun with your build.

If you wanted to peek through lots of others' build threads, check it out HERE

aterphasma

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Re: Introduction to production (and X-MTM plans!)
« Reply #3 on: 9 Oct 2022, 05:39 pm »
Thanks! I've been reading the threads in there pretty obsessively, the past couple days. There are some amazing boxes out there.

Makes me want to reconsider my idea of a semi-smooth Duratex finish and use something crazy like colorful fabric or faux leather. I don't think I've got the skills to veneer anything, but.... I'll be getting help from a friend who's got a wood shop and does some hobby woodworking, so I'll discuss ideas with him.

Cheers!

JWCoffman

Re: Introduction to production (and X-MTM plans!)
« Reply #4 on: 10 Oct 2022, 03:40 pm »
Good luck, I love my MTM's.  I look forward to seeing your build progress.

aterphasma

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Re: Introduction to production (and X-MTM plans!)
« Reply #5 on: 16 Oct 2022, 05:51 am »
So, before starting to cut, it's probably a good idea to have a plan, eh? I figured I'd toss it out there for posterity. And so I can go back and look at what I did wrong when I make my next build. :lol:

I did a quick bit of modeling and I think I'm feeling alright about how things will end up going.



Planning to dado everything so all the pieces are easy to guide into place, then glue and screw it all in place. I know screws aren't required and the glue is strong enough, but this seems easier to do than clamping a bunch of pieces of glue-covered MDF, unless there's some pressing reason to avoid screws.... It was a suggestion from a cabinet maker friend of mine. Bondo or some kind of filler to cover the screw holes.

The base is going to be a faff. Two layers of 3/4" MDF (I guess I could use plywood), a couple templates to route against, and a bit of careful alignment when gluing and clamping the two pieces together. Hopefully I don't mess up too bad on my first shot, and hopefully the DuraTex is very good at hiding imperfections. :no_see: I might make a cutout to slot the speaker box into... undecided.

After that, it'll be cutting and fitting No Rez and some loose insulation in the upper half behind where the woofers will go (or at least test fit to see how much I'll need and how to keep it from falling down). I think I'll probably want some covering the crossover, as well.

And then I wait for my order to come up in the GR queue so I can build the crossovers and get everything installed! (I say that as if I think it's possible for me to finish that part in a weekend... it's not! :roll: :lol:)

Once I start making interesting things happen in the real world, I'll take pictures and upload 'em as I progress.

Cheers!

nlitworld

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Re: Introduction to production (and X-MTM plans!)
« Reply #6 on: 16 Oct 2022, 05:31 pm »

Planning to dado everything so all the pieces are easy to guide into place, then glue and screw it all in place. I know screws aren't required and the glue is strong enough, but this seems easier to do than clamping a bunch of pieces of glue-covered MDF, unless there's some pressing reason to avoid screws.... It was a suggestion from a cabinet maker friend of mine. Bondo or some kind of filler to cover the screw holes.

No screws is definitely the better plan. Screws will map through all the layers in the finish, even over body filler, primer and lots of sanding. Glue will be more than strong enough. Trust me, I tested that theory on my NX-Studios.  :duh:

To smooth out seams super nice, a body filler is definitely helpful. If you need to fill gaps and really flush up the edges, then a regular filler is good. If it's just a thin skim coat layer you need, then look at a glazing putty. It's much thinner so you won't get the build, but it will lay out smoother and be easier to sand flat. Everything should be 2-part with the hardener. The single part fillers are hot garbage. If you do test the structural integrity of your speakers by dropping them on a corner and denting the mdf, then a reinforced filler (has fiberglass in it like rear in concrete) is what you need to square up the corners. Not that I know anything about that at all... If you need recommendations for filler/putty just let me know and I'll point you in the right direction.

Also I recommend get your template for NoRez prior to box assembly as it's much easier than after the fact.

Good luck!

JWCoffman

Re: Introduction (and X-MTM plans/build!)
« Reply #7 on: 16 Oct 2022, 06:59 pm »
I have to agree with the no screws plan.  You'll spend an inordinate amount of time trying to fill/sand/fill/sand all those screw holes, and still run a high likelihood of them telegraphing through the finish after a few months.  I used dado joints all around as well and the glue is plenty strong.
The downside is it requires a LOT of clamps and some speed depending on the type of glue used.  I did a couple dry runs before the main event to make sure I had all my bases covered.



Alternatively, you could go with a 2 part epoxy to give you longer pot life.
I use evercoat glazing putty on mine to smooth out any imperfections.  I highly recommend it but there are plenty of other options that will provide good results.
Finally, I installed my no-rez prior to installing the front baffle after the other 5 sides were assembled.  This also allowed me to install the xover and run wiring before completely closing it up.  That way you can also seal the interior before installing the no-rez.



aterphasma

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Re: Introduction to production (and X-MTM plans!)
« Reply #8 on: 16 Oct 2022, 07:24 pm »
Oof... well, I guess that's another few hundred or so on clamps...

On the upside, by the time I'm done with this, I'll have a full wood shop kit... without the space for a shop. I'm glad I have friends who let me use their space, as I just don't have the room at the moment. I guess that means I need to plan out a shed and build it!

Back to the drawing board for an assembly plan, then!

Edit:

Yeah... I think I'm going to need to reevaluate whether I actually need these speakers or if this is way too much for me to handle. I've already blown way past any semblance of budget, still apparently need to buy a ton of tools (clamps are expensive...), and I don't have a plan that will work.

This... was a mistake, I think. Yeah....

Thank you for the input, folks.... I appreciate the community and interaction. Maybe some day I'll change my mind. I'm gonna have a kit sitting around collecting dust, after all.
« Last Edit: 16 Oct 2022, 10:00 pm by aterphasma »

mflaming

Re: Introduction (and scrapped/canceled X-MTM plans)
« Reply #9 on: 16 Oct 2022, 11:45 pm »
If the MTM seems a bit intimidating, I’d strongly recommend you start with the X-LS. If you enjoy building them, you could move up to the X-SLS towers and save money by reusing the same crossover and drivers. From my own experience of doing this, the towers were significantly more difficult to build. The experience of building the X-LS prepared me though.

JWCoffman

Re: Introduction to production (and X-MTM plans!)
« Reply #10 on: 17 Oct 2022, 02:25 am »


Yeah... I think I'm going to need to reevaluate whether I actually need these speakers or if this is way too much for me to handle. I've already blown way past any semblance of budget, still apparently need to buy a ton of tools (clamps are expensive...), and I don't have a plan that will work.

This... was a mistake, I think. Yeah....

Thank you for the input, folks.... I appreciate the community and interaction. Maybe some day I'll change my mind. I'm gonna have a kit sitting around collecting dust, after all.

D'oh!  I don't want to discourage you from this build if this is what you want.  This was my first speaker build as well, and I also blew through my budget.  I also made plenty of mistakes, but my saving grace was that I took my time and didn't rush the build.
The suggestion of an X-LS is good if you feel the complexity and budget of the MTM are getting out of hand.  It only requires a few clamps and could give you a lot of insight into whether you want to tackle something bigger.  Peter's videos on Youtube are incredibly helpful for that specific speaker.  Chances are you'll be really happy with them and you may not feel a need to go bigger.
There are LOTS of folks here who have built these so please keep the questions coming.  Whichever you decide, you won't regret it.

nlitworld

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Re: Introduction (and scrapped/canceled X-MTM plans)
« Reply #11 on: 17 Oct 2022, 02:59 am »
Take your time with these. Nobody expects or even achieves building these in a month. I ordered my kit in Sept last year and didn't finish til Feb and I just had the Studios. If clamps are a thing needed to be sorted out, go check out pawn shops. They have tools galore for that kind of stuff. You could also use Home Depot's very liberal return policy provided you keep them in good condition through the project. Also I have seen several builds where people staged out their assembly so as not to require 126 clamps at once. More clamps will result in better finished product and quicker assembly, but you can get it together with 6 or 8 at a time if you stage it out. This was never meant to be a discouraging pep-talk, just some guiding advice to get you a speaker that will knock your socks off in looks as well as sound. All else fails you could duct tape and zip-tie the thing together and it will still sound amazing.

tom739

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Re: Introduction (and scrapped/canceled X-MTM plans)
« Reply #12 on: 17 Oct 2022, 06:33 pm »
If not doing a full build, I would recommend buying a used pair of speakers that GR Research has an upgrade kit for. Lots of Klipsch models and many others. Buy used, do the upgrade. Less work, but still a small amount of diy. You might even like the outcome better.

Tyson

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Re: Introduction (and scrapped/canceled X-MTM plans)
« Reply #13 on: 17 Oct 2022, 06:52 pm »
If the X-MTM is too intimidating, then the X-LS is a very easy build and will get you an excellent speaker.  In the future, if you decide to build the X-MTM, you can use the X-MTM's as your main speakers and move the X-LS to surround speakers in the back.  Assuming you have a HT setup.

Kaiju2189

Re: Introduction (and scrapped/canceled X-MTM plans)
« Reply #14 on: 17 Oct 2022, 07:29 pm »
Agree with Tyson. I just built the XLS as my first speaker build. Managed with just 4 clamps and an evening of soldering crossovers and wiring. Nice first build.

aterphasma

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Re: Introduction (and planning X-MTM build)
« Reply #15 on: 18 Oct 2022, 04:41 am »
Woah, okay, that's a lot to take in. Thank you, all.

First and most important: not giving up entirely. I'll be making these speakers one way or another. Some day. (I have to credit the responses I got for a lot of that--I'm humbled by the positivity, thank you.)

This situation is classic me: bite off way too much at first and freak out.

I've got literally everything but the MDF for these. The speaker kit just shipped from Texas today. It's not even a question of sunk cost, because I could recoup most of that. I just... gotta take some time and think about this.

If the MTM seems a bit intimidating, I’d strongly recommend you start with the X-LS. If you enjoy building them, you could move up to the X-SLS towers and save money by reusing the same crossover and drivers. From my own experience of doing this, the towers were significantly more difficult to build. The experience of building the X-LS prepared me though.
If the X-MTM is too intimidating, then the X-LS is a very easy build and will get you an excellent speaker.  In the future, if you decide to build the X-MTM, you can use the X-MTM's as your main speakers and move the X-LS to surround speakers in the back.  Assuming you have a HT setup.
Agree with Tyson. I just built the XLS as my first speaker build. Managed with just 4 clamps and an evening of soldering crossovers and wiring. Nice first build.

I appreciate the idea of a smaller speaker, thank you, but it's not the size, so much as resignation. I'd been trying to avoid a bunch of clamps, mostly. I used to sell tools, so I know how expensive workholding gets, even with cheap import quality.

I'll very likely do this kind of setup in my HT when I get there, but I'm not there yet. My house layout is a bit odd, so it'll take some planning and a remodel to get to where I can go for rear speakers. Two channel is great for now.

D'oh!  I don't want to discourage you from this build if this is what you want.  This was my first speaker build as well, and I also blew through my budget.  I also made plenty of mistakes, but my saving grace was that I took my time and didn't rush the build.
The suggestion of an X-LS is good if you feel the complexity and budget of the MTM are getting out of hand.  It only requires a few clamps and could give you a lot of insight into whether you want to tackle something bigger.  Peter's videos on Youtube are incredibly helpful for that specific speaker.  Chances are you'll be really happy with them and you may not feel a need to go bigger.
There are LOTS of folks here who have built these so please keep the questions coming.  Whichever you decide, you won't regret it.

Eh heh... I didn't take it as discouragement from the build itself. I get frustrated when I feel stupid, and I usually take it out on whatever project it is that I've been working on. I'm a bit of a thespian, sometimes, so uh... pardon the overreaction.

Take your time with these. Nobody expects or even achieves building these in a month. I ordered my kit in Sept last year and didn't finish til Feb and I just had the Studios. If clamps are a thing needed to be sorted out, go check out pawn shops. They have tools galore for that kind of stuff. You could also use Home Depot's very liberal return policy provided you keep them in good condition through the project. Also I have seen several builds where people staged out their assembly so as not to require 126 clamps at once. More clamps will result in better finished product and quicker assembly, but you can get it together with 6 or 8 at a time if you stage it out. This was never meant to be a discouraging pep-talk, just some guiding advice to get you a speaker that will knock your socks off in looks as well as sound. All else fails you could duct tape and zip-tie the thing together and it will still sound amazing.

Speed isn't the issue--though I do like to actually do what I intend to do when I'm able, I prefer to do the right thing, so... yeah. Thanks for the idea about pawn shops. Hadn't considered that one. Gives me a couple other ideas, too.

If not doing a full build, I would recommend buying a used pair of speakers that GR Research has an upgrade kit for. Lots of Klipsch models and many others. Buy used, do the upgrade. Less work, but still a small amount of diy. You might even like the outcome better.

I completely agree. I have a pair Sony SS-CS5 speakers that I got the upgrade kit for. I made a ton of mistakes on those things and they still sound great.

The weather around here is gonna to go toward crappy within a month, I don't have shop space of my own, and I don't intend to leave a half-started project sitting around in someone else's shop over the winter. This is going to take at least a couple months to finish, even if I had a working plan, because I only have weekends, and only part of each day on those. I have a long time to go over and over and over these plans and designs. I'll start things when the weather gets warmer again. I guess by then I'll probably have the dimensions practically memorized, but that's probably not a bad thing.

Thanks for the support, everybody. I'll get there sooner or later.

Tyson

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Re: Introduction (and planning X-MTM build)
« Reply #16 on: 18 Oct 2022, 04:49 am »
My one piece of advice is when you build the boxes, make them without the front baffles attached.  This gives you MUCH better access to put things in like the crossovers and the No Rez.  Only put the front baffle on as the final step of the build.

aterphasma

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Re: Introduction (and planning X-MTM build)
« Reply #17 on: 18 Oct 2022, 05:02 am »
That was an unmentioned detail in my initial post, but yes, I will mount the front baffle only at the very end.

I'm curious about what people do when it comes to the larger drivers and mounting them on a DuraTex-type finish. Does the stuff compress well enough to allow the speaker to make full face contact all around? I'd been thinking about masking beneath the drivers, mounting them in place, trimming the masking to the exact outer diameter of the mounting ring, then adding the coating on top of that. I was thinking it would be better to get the driver flush and flat and not have little air gaps all around.

Hobbsmeerkat

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Re: Introduction (and planning X-MTM build)
« Reply #18 on: 18 Oct 2022, 02:02 pm »
The X-MTM is also the same parts as a pair of X-CS kits
So you can also easily start with a pair of X-CS and then build the X-MTM cabinets down the line.
Only difference in performance is bass extension.
X-CS roll off around 70Hz and the MTM roll off around 30-35Hz in most rooms.

JWCoffman

Re: Introduction (and planning X-MTM build)
« Reply #19 on: 19 Oct 2022, 12:16 am »
That was an unmentioned detail in my initial post, but yes, I will mount the front baffle only at the very end.

I'm curious about what people do when it comes to the larger drivers and mounting them on a DuraTex-type finish. Does the stuff compress well enough to allow the speaker to make full face contact all around? I'd been thinking about masking beneath the drivers, mounting them in place, trimming the masking to the exact outer diameter of the mounting ring, then adding the coating on top of that. I was thinking it would be better to get the driver flush and flat and not have little air gaps all around.
aterphasma, I just pm'ed you about some possible help.