X-MTM Encore build log

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jeffwhetstone

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X-MTM Encore build log
« on: 6 Jul 2019, 02:48 am »
Hi all.   I tend to lurk around here more than post, but I thought I’d share some pics and details from my latest build:  two pair of X-MTM Encores....one for myself and one for a friend.     I started this project with some of the lessons learned from previous X-SLS Classic project which I posted here about two years ago:

https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=151895.msg1624159#msg1624159 

Hopefully I can share a few more tips I picked up throughout this one.

Of course, these projects start by covering the entire basement in a fine layer of MDF dust, courtesy of the table saw [still haven’t installed that dust collection system…].



A bit of time spent with the router + circle jig and the jigsaw and all the driver holes and brace holes were cut out.    The back of the woofer holes and all brace holes were given a generous roundover.



Next I cut out some base plates to widen the footprint of these cabinets.   Note the 3D printed corner radius template.    Of course, this was by no means the most practical way to draw matching radii on all the corners, but a good excuse to use the 3D printer.



Then I put ¼-20 threaded inserts in the bottoms of the cabinets, and matching clearance holes with counterbores for pan head screws in the base plates.



Time for glue.    I decided the best place to start was with the bottom, back, and 1 side of the cabinets.      When these were complete, I glued up the rest.     The 23ga pin nailer was very helpful keeping all the braces in place while getting everything clamped up.







As I was taught by some wise folks here, I left the front and back of the cabinets slightly oversized and hit with a flush trim bit.   This saved a ton of sanding with the 80 grit.  Since these cabinets were getting an automotive finish, I hid the seams with body filler like I did on the previous project.   The channels were routed with a ½”R round nose bit set to a depth of about 0.080”   The difference this time was the use of Rage Ultra filler instead of Bondo.   In my opinion it was so much easier to work with, and sand in particular, that it was worth the extra $.   Everything was then sanded with 150 grit.



As before, I sealed the cabinets with Zinsser BIN shellac pimer.   The huge improvement this time was to sand everything using a powder guide coat and a 16” long block.  This is essential to highlight any defects, waviness, or low spots in the cabinets.  Despite my best efforts to get everything as flat as possible prior to sealing, it still took 3 applications of shellac, blocking in between, until I could remove all the guide coat with 320 grit and not sand through the BIN





This was followed up with 2 medium coats of gray 2K primer.  At this point I didn’t bother with more guide coat because I knew they were flat, but I still block sanded them with 600 grit.




Fortunately, the weather was great last weekend and I got the opportunity to spray the base and clear coat on one of the pairs.      The first pair is for a friend of mine, and he chose House of Kolor Orion Silver (S2-BC02) for the base coat.    I’ve heard metallics can be fussy, so I was extra careful with my pattern overlaps.   3 medium coats 5 minutes apart and I had a nice even silver base.     Per instructions, I waited 30 minutes before applying 3 coats of 2K clear.

I am absolutely thrilled with the results, particularly because for the first time I can see no defects or seams in the cabinets.   Every other time I thought I did solid surface prep until the reflections in the clearcoat demonstrated otherwise.      Practice and patience, I suppose.











As can be seen in the background of the pics I’m just painting in my garage (with doors open for ventilation) so I got the inevitable dust nib here or there, but you have to look pretty hard for them.   The HOK silver looks ridiculously awesome in the sun…it’s almost a shame they’ll be relegated to my buddy’s media room with little to no natural light.

So more importantly, after giving the finish a few days to cure, I got to assemble the speakers yesterday.   This time all the drivers fit perfectly (owing to the previous lesson learned about oversizing the counterbores slightly to allow for paint film build up!   Oh yes, and breaking all the sharp edges to help prevent chipping the paint).








So I have them breaking in, treating the whole neighborhood to a righteous mix of tunes from my garage….ZZ Top’s First Album right now.  Compared to the X-LS and X-SLS Classics I’ve built before, these tweeters are clearly a step up to my rookie ears.    I can’t wait to finish the 2nd pair for my own use as this pair will be delivered to my friend this weekend.     Anyway, thanks for reading, thanks to Danny for sharing the design, and also thanks to all the craftsmen around here who have shared their builds over the years.    I never would’ve considered a rewarding DIY project like this if it wasn’t for the inspiration I found when I stumbled across this site.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments.      Thanks.

- Jeff

sumoking

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Re: X-MTM Encore build log
« Reply #1 on: 6 Jul 2019, 03:08 am »
Well done!
They look really nice!

mlundy57

Re: X-MTM Encore build log
« Reply #2 on: 6 Jul 2019, 03:43 am »
Nice Job!  :thumb:

Danny Richie

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Re: X-MTM Encore build log
« Reply #3 on: 6 Jul 2019, 03:19 pm »
Wow, super nice job.

Captainhemo

Re: X-MTM Encore build log
« Reply #4 on: 6 Jul 2019, 03:34 pm »
Hey Jeff
They look great man, nicely done.  I can only imagine how good  the   look in person and in natural light.... the  natural light and  HOK  products go hand in hand  !
Really  like  how you   commented on  prep, it is the key  to a  good finish  and  most  don't realize  how much time it actually  takes.

Can I ask what  your  color choice is for the  2nd  pair   ?  More   HOK  ?

jay

Nick77

Re: X-MTM Encore build log
« Reply #5 on: 6 Jul 2019, 03:59 pm »
Nice work!    :thumb:

jeffwhetstone

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Re: X-MTM Encore build log
« Reply #6 on: 6 Jul 2019, 04:37 pm »
Thanks guys.

Jay, you ask an excellent question, and the answer is tied up in a jurisdictional dispute over the aesthetic choices for the yet to be finished basement room where my pair will be going!     For some reason, I have an unhealthy fascination with old school metal flake finishes, and was leaning towards some not so subtle colors.      I suspect there will be a compromise where I stand firm on the flakes, but settle on a smaller flake size in a less obnoxious color like black flake on a jet black base.

I will be building a matching X-CS Encore and X-LS Encore pair for a 5.1 setup in that room so I will most likely defer the color choice until those are also complete. 

Jeff

mlundy57

Re: X-MTM Encore build log
« Reply #7 on: 6 Jul 2019, 04:37 pm »
Where do you get the sandpaper to use with those blocks?

Mike

mlundy57

Re: X-MTM Encore build log
« Reply #8 on: 6 Jul 2019, 04:40 pm »
Thanks guys.

Jay, you ask an excellent question, and the answer is tied up in a jurisdictional dispute over the aesthetic choices for the yet to be finished basement room where my pair will be going!     For some reason, I have an unhealthy fascination with old school metal flake finishes, and was leaning towards some not so subtle colors.      I suspect there will be a compromise where I stand firm on the flakes, but settle on a smaller flake size in a less obnoxious color like black flake on a jet black base.

I will be building a matching X-CS Encore and X-LS Encore pair for a 5.1 setup in that room so I will most likely defer the color choice until those are also complete. 

Jeff

Jeff,

Strongly consider the AV1RS for your surround speakers. Danny specifically designed these for surround use and they do a fantastic job.

Mike

jeffwhetstone

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Re: X-MTM Encore build log
« Reply #9 on: 6 Jul 2019, 04:47 pm »
Hi Mike,

I picked up the rolls on Amazon.      Just cut to length with a scissors.

https://www.amazon.com/Dura-Gold-Continuous-Stickyback-Automotive-Woodworking/dp/B001AVC8ZI/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=duragold+roll&qid=1562431161&s=gateway&sr=8-2

The abrasive held up real well and the PSA seems to just the right amount of 'stick' to the EVA foam blocks I got (Dura-Block).   

Jeff

Jonathon Janusz

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Re: X-MTM Encore build log
« Reply #10 on: 6 Jul 2019, 04:57 pm »
For some reason, I have an unhealthy fascination with old school metal flake finishes, and was leaning towards some not so subtle colors.      I suspect there will be a compromise where I stand firm on the flakes, but settle on a smaller flake size in a less obnoxious color like black flake on a jet black base.

Not to shake the ground of domestic tranquility, but burying a colored flake deep in the finish (like a gold or a copper for example) could get your wild color fix on while keeping it subtle and buttoned-up for day to day domestic consumption.  I might be remembering it wrong, but I thought Jay did a pair of something once that was all but black under normal conditions, but when the light hit it just right a crazy deep purple popped out and faded down the side of the speaker as the light moved around it.

Beautiful finish work on the pair you posted pictures of!  I've said it before, but I really admire folks who are good at this kind of thing.  I'm honest enough with myself to know that I am really not, and thus I guess my lot is to be a patron of the arts rather than an artist myself.  :lol:

Have a great weekend!

Jon

Captainhemo

Re: X-MTM Encore build log
« Reply #11 on: 6 Jul 2019, 05:19 pm »
Not to shake the ground of domestic tranquility, but burying a colored flake deep in the finish (like a gold or a copper for example) could get your wild color fix on while keeping it subtle and buttoned-up for day to day domestic consumption.  I might be remembering it wrong, but I thought Jay did a pair of something once that was all but black under normal conditions, but when the light hit it just right a crazy deep purple popped out and faded down the side of the speaker as the light moved around it.

Beautiful finish work on the pair you posted pictures of!  I've said it before, but I really admire folks who are good at this kind of thing.  I'm honest enough with myself to know that I am really not, and thus I guess my lot is to be a patron of the arts rather than an artist myself.  :lol:

Have a great weekend!

Jon

 :thumb: :thumb:   can't  wait to see what  you do.
Kany's / translucents  are   HOK's  specialty... they make some really  cool   stuff

jay

mlundy57

Re: X-MTM Encore build log
« Reply #12 on: 6 Jul 2019, 05:24 pm »
Hi Mike,

I picked up the rolls on Amazon.      Just cut to length with a scissors.

https://www.amazon.com/Dura-Gold-Continuous-Stickyback-Automotive-Woodworking/dp/B001AVC8ZI/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=duragold+roll&qid=1562431161&s=gateway&sr=8-2

The abrasive held up real well and the PSA seems to just the right amount of 'stick' to the EVA foam blocks I got (Dura-Block).   

Jeff

Jeff,

Thanks.

Another question, what are you using for the powder guide coat?

Mike

jeffwhetstone

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 16
Re: X-MTM Encore build log
« Reply #13 on: 6 Jul 2019, 08:09 pm »
Mike - the guide coat I used was Blackjack:
https://www.amazon.com/Blackjack-Guide-Coat-100-gram/dp/B00LADGP0A/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1WIR9P4WJQQUL&keywords=blackjack+guide+coat&qid=1562442923&s=gateway&sprefix=black+jack+guide+%2Caps%2C148&sr=8-2

I have no idea how it compares to the bigger brands like 3M or Mirka.   I thought it worked well, and that 100g container will last through a bunch of speakers projects.

Jay -  yeah, HOK's Kandy colors are super cool.     I'm going to use some of the leftover BC02 silver and a ground coat on some Overnight Sensations I built for my office, and I will attempt to top that with Cobalt candy.   It that turns out slick it may open my color palette for the X-MTMs

Jeff

ntjetsmoke

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  • Posts: 55
Re: X-MTM Encore build log
« Reply #14 on: 6 Jul 2019, 08:49 pm »
Hi Jeff, fantastic build! I am waiting on shipment of my GR Research NX-Oticas. I want to attempt to have a quality finish such as yours.
I get the part about prep of sealing and flatting / sanding. The hole in my game will be the application where spraying of the product is required.

I do not have a spray gun or rig; I do see most of the products available in aerosol cans. What method did you use to apply the products?

Again, well done!

jeffwhetstone

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 16
Re: X-MTM Encore build log
« Reply #15 on: 6 Jul 2019, 10:14 pm »
Thanks ntjetsmoke!       I did use an HVLP spray gun...albeit a very, very cheap one (often on sale for $8.99):

https://www.harborfreight.com/20-fl-oz-HVLP-Gravity-Feed-Air-Spray-Gun-62300.html?ccdenc=eyJjb2RlIjoiOTA3NzEzMzgiLCJza3UiOiI2MjMwMCIsImlzIjoiOC45OSIsInByb2R1Y3RfaWQi%0D%0AOiIxMTY3NSJ9%0D%0A

You just need to have enough air to run it.     They claim 6 CFM @ 40.   I have no idea if that's accurate, but I know my 60 gal compressor usually kicked on before I could finish a coat on a pair of speakers.

I understand there are some excellent quality aerosol cans out there, including House of Kolor, but I was soured on rattle cans when I tried putting a black Rustoleum lacquer on my first pair of X-LS.     Halfway through the can the pressure would drop (as it cooled) and the pattern would go to crap.   I just wasn't able to get an even glossy finish.   Perhaps the better brands don't have that problem, but something to be aware of.

Look forward to seeing how your NX-Oticas turn out.

Jeff


AlexH

Re: X-MTM Encore build log
« Reply #16 on: 6 Jul 2019, 10:17 pm »
So much work. So nicely done. When a speaker sounds great its amazing, but when they look this good, :icon_twisted: well it gives me a.... Never mind.

nrenter

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Re: X-MTM Encore build log
« Reply #17 on: 7 Jul 2019, 12:19 am »

Jon L

Re: X-MTM Encore build log
« Reply #18 on: 7 Jul 2019, 05:00 pm »
As a former X-Statik owner, I've also listened to X-LS, X-SLS, X-MTM, and it would interest me to see the crossover design/components.  There's been so much improvement in available crossover components since these speakers were first designed, e.g. Jupiter copper capacitor, which I would have loved in my X-Statik if available at the time   :green:

Captainhemo

Re: X-MTM Encore build log
« Reply #19 on: 7 Jul 2019, 06:18 pm »
Thanks ntjetsmoke!       I did use an HVLP spray gun...albeit a very, very cheap one (often on sale for $8.99):

https://www.harborfreight.com/20-fl-oz-HVLP-Gravity-Feed-Air-Spray-Gun-62300.html?ccdenc=eyJjb2RlIjoiOTA3NzEzMzgiLCJza3UiOiI2MjMwMCIsImlzIjoiOC45OSIsInByb2R1Y3RfaWQi%0D%0AOiIxMTY3NSJ9%0D%0A

You just need to have enough air to run it.     They claim 6 CFM @ 40.   I have no idea if that's accurate, but I know my 60 gal compressor usually kicked on before I could finish a coat on a pair of speakers.

I understand there are some excellent quality aerosol cans out there, including House of Kolor, but I was soured on rattle cans when I tried putting a black Rustoleum lacquer on my first pair of X-LS.     Halfway through the can the pressure would drop (as it cooled) and the pattern would go to crap.   I just wasn't able to get an even glossy finish.   Perhaps the better brands don't have that problem, but something to be aware of.

Look forward to seeing how your NX-Oticas turn out.

Jeff

Remember too, when you  are  dealing with Kany's or translucents,  you  want   a base coat  followed by multiple layers of the  Kandy.  the more  layers and the more  consistent the layers, the  more  depth and richness you'll get  out of the   finish.   Might be  tough  with  rattle cans although,  I have seen  some pretty  amazing  jobs   from   them

jay