After waiting a day for these to fully dry, I carefully wet sanded the cabinets to remove dust and any unevenness in the finish. I used 1200 grit paper for this. Next was rubbing compound with the random orbit, and lastly 3m Finesse It to polish them up.
Time for assembly...
This went well, although the tweeters were a little tight and their holes needed some sanding. Make sure the drivers fit in easily, because if you force them the paint will chip when you pull them out. Don't ask how I know one of the tweeters was too tight. You can see in the pic that in this light you can see some striping. Depending on the angle of the light this is less noticeable.
Drumrolll here...we got them upstairs and did one final listen of the Aerial 6s these were going to replace, so we could compare them a little. Subjective tests aren't the best...but you have to do it.
Overall the finish is such that they match what we wanted them to and they have a slightly industrial look to them. In the light we have, you don't really notice the issues so much (but I do, being the builder).
This project was a risk, and one I (we) were willing to take. The DIY hope is that if you are willing to do the work, you get four to one or five to one against retail. That would put these in the $12-$15k neighborhood.
We were not disappointed when we fired them up to say the least. My wife teared up and exclaimed "You did it!". They sound absolutely amazing. I had been considering the Aerial 7t, and glad I didn't fork out the $11k for those. When I spoke to Rick and we discussed what I was looking for, he was quite familiar with both the Aerial house sound and Micheal Kelly, so as we listened and they broke in, we found them to be detailed yet smooth. The tweeter and midrange combo is fantastic. I went with the Scan/Morel combo because I'm used to dome tweeters and didn't want to put anything radically new to me in the mix. They reach lower than our old speakers, so the subs needed to be dialed in. They aren't really necessary, but after years and years of less punch and kick, this is really fun. My wife was into the $14k Focals at last years Axpona, and she said she likes these better. I don't see myself wanting or needing to replace these.
Thanks Rick, you really delivered on these!
If any of you are hesitant because you can't hear them, don't worry too much about it. If you happen to be in the Chicago area and want to hear these, I may be tempted to work something about with a nice-bottle-of-red bribe. You can email Rick to get in contact if I don't pop in here enough.