There is an older lady named Mary Lee that leads my Lifering meeting every Sunday (a sober living group). She is an amazing person that constantly gives to others and never asks for anything in return. I also know she's a big music lover as I've taken her to the symphony and the ballet several times.
She came over a few weeks ago to check out my new, post-divorce home (same home as before, but redone mad-men style, lol). Took her downstairs to show her the system with the Super 7s and my all-tube setup. Put on some Anna Netrebko on DSD. Within 2 minutes, Mary Lee was in tears at the sheer beauty of what she was hearing. Wow, I did not expect that much of a reaction! The Idea Percolates
Clearly music brings this woman joy! Unfortunately Mary Lee has a fixed income and very little savings. So telling her she needs to buy a tube amp is sort of out of the question.
On a side note, my parents recently moved to Colorado and brought with them a bunch of old speaker parts I'd totally forgotten I had. 2 of the drivers I had just sitting around in storage were the Peerless HDS Nomex woofer and the SEAS 27DFC tweeter, both are at the upper end of sound quality/performance, even compared to some very expensive drivers from Scan Speak. Here's what they look like:
I realized I was never, ever going to use these drivers for anything in my own life as I already have 2 amazing systems, the Super 7s downstairs and the Klipsch Forte IIIs upstairs. Hmmm, maybe I could use them to make a speaker for Mary Lee? But, what about the box, I don't really have the time or skills to build a speaker box from scratch. Well, as luck would have it, that very day I got an email from Parts Express is having a sale on these cabinets - CNC cut and only $35! What???!!! Well OK then:https://www.parts-express.com/denovo-audio-knock-down-mdf-056-cu-ft-bookshelf-speaker-cabinet--300-7064
Just need some holes cut, and my buddy Mike Galusha (mgalusha here on AC) just happens to have a badass workshop where we can router out the tweeter, midrange and port holes. Oh, so things are coming together. But then I hit a brick wall. The crossover. Crap. No way in hell I can build a crossover for these things, it's just way beyond my abilities. Danny is the Man!
I reached out to Danny here on AC to see if he'd be willing to take on doing a crossover for these speakers, he said yes (without hesitation). I just needed to pay for the parts, once the crossover was finished. WOW!!!!!!!! Thank you DANNY!!
OK, ship the speaker boxes and drivers to Danny and within a few days, he's not only got a working crossover, he's actually built it out to have some of the best measurements I've ever seen on a speaker using these drivers. Below are the graphs. Danny is da Man!!Sanding. Painting. Sanding. Painting. Sanding. Painting
These are going to be PURPLE!!! It is by far Mary Lee's favorite color. Now to get them assembled and prepped. Thanks to my dad for letting us use his 3 car garage as a temporary work space. And also, huge thanks to Jason (Pez) for help during the sanding/prep stage, there's NO WAY the speakers would have turned out as nice, without his involvement at this stage. Thanks buddy!
OK, here's a pic of the speakers after the prep and with their first coat of paint, hanging to dry. You can see they look pretty good but are a bit splotchy. The 2nd and 3rd coats of paint really gave me a completely smooth, beautiful finish.
The paint I picked was a glossy oil based paint, I don't think I will use that type again. Don't get me wrong, it looks great but it takes several days to fully dry and even after fully drying it's pretty soft and very prone to scratches and scuff. OK, lesson learned. Assembly
Painting is done! I did 3 layers so it took about 10 days to get it all finished and everything perfect. Luckily Mary Lee has no idea I'm making these for her, so I have the ability to take my time and do things right.
Now to get the crossover built, put some nice footers on the speakers, the No-Rez installed, the crossovers hot-glued into the speakers, the ports installed and the drivers soldered. If you look at the crossover, there's some bypass caps I used that I just happened to have laying around in my parts bin - Sonicap Platinums on the midrange caps and Audyn True Copper on the tweeters:But What About the Tubes?
So this all started with the realization that what Mary Lee really responded to in my system was the emotion that the tube amps are able to generate so easily. So went into hardcore research mode and I found a perfect amp for her. It's a small amp that uses a pair of 6AD10 tubes, which are dual pentodes (ie, they have 2 pentodes in one glass envelope). They were used back in the day for television sets. I found one on eBay that was an open box item for $110. Wow, that's freaking cheap. So I order it and just hope it doesn't sound like ass. Here's a pic of the amp:ALL DONE!!!!
Here it is, fully assembled. It took a long time and a lot more effort than I thought it would, and I was really nervous that either the speaker or the amp would only sound mediocre. But that worry was completely unjustified. These 2 sound phenomenal together! The speakers are brilliant - incredible clarity and detail, very good bass punch, and they sound BIG. The amp is amazing - it brings a ton of emotion to the table and controls the speakers very well. With 3.5 watts on tap, it actually goes quite loud. It'll go loud but not LOUD, if you get my meaning. But Mary Lee's in a fairly small apartment and prizes beauty over volume, so this will be perfect.
Final pic of the system, and next thing to do is drop it off at her place this weekend:
A BIG THANK YOU TO EVERYONE THAT HELPED ME PULL THIS OFF!!!!!!!!!!