New Member looking for opinions

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MW6006

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New Member looking for opinions
« on: 17 Mar 2020, 12:49 am »
Hi Everyone,
    I've been reading these forums for awhile but just recently joined since I'm interested in building a new set of speakers for my room.  Here's the details of the room and equipment
-10x13 room
-emotiva dac and pre amp
-ASL tube monoblock amps
-Music hall 2.1 turntable
-HSU sub in custom cabinet
-budget ~$1000
    I have a pretty broad range of music that I listen to which will be either FLAC files, spotify and records.  I'd like whatever speakers I get to generally be decent with any of those sources and be a bit forgiving of some of the poor recordings streamed from spotify.  I am able to pull the speakers roughly 3' out into the room and have been interested in trying some of the open baffle speakers. I have no issue building cabs for the speakers and have the tools do so.  Here are some of the speaker kits that I have been debating:
-X-static kit
-Nx-studio
-original X-otica (if its available)
-Statement 2 (since it has open back midrange)

Thanks for any input!

Phil A

Re: New Member looking for opinions
« Reply #1 on: 17 Mar 2020, 12:47 pm »
Welcome to AC!  The GR Research Circle might be a place to start.  If you're not opposed to buying something used and already built, one can go to HiFiShark and see what's available - e.g. - https://www.hifishark.com/search?q=GR+Research

Wind Chaser

Re: New Member looking for opinions
« Reply #2 on: 17 Mar 2020, 01:57 pm »
Welcome to Audio Circle.  :D

The only problem with going down the DIY route might be acquiring MDF and other materials as everything is slowly to shutting down.  :(

OTOH if you have everything, it will help keep you occupied for the time being.  :D

JLM

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Re: New Member looking for opinions
« Reply #3 on: 17 Mar 2020, 04:01 pm »
Welcome!

The DIY challenges:

- Poor value proposal versus many pre-built speakers

- Can't know how they'll sound

- Hard to know if you've built them right due to not knowing how they should sound

- Possible screw ups

- Proud papa syndrome (hard to be objective on how they sound)

- Count on resale value to be poor

Jaytor

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Re: New Member looking for opinions
« Reply #4 on: 17 Mar 2020, 05:19 pm »
Welcome!

The DIY challenges:

- Poor value proposal versus many pre-built speakers

- Can't know how they'll sound

- Hard to know if you've built them right due to not knowing how they should sound

- Possible screw ups

- Proud papa syndrome (hard to be objective on how they sound)

- Count on resale value to be poor

From my experience, I find the value proposition of my NX-Oticas as tremendous compared to every pre-built speaker I've owned (probably 20 or so over the years ranging from $1K to $20K/pair), many of which were very highly rated by well known reviewers. By far the best performance/$, and in fact the best performance (with the subs) of any speaker I've owned. I've had quite a few people over to listen to them that concur with my perceptions.

While it may be less convenient or practical to hear them first, it is often possible if their is someone in your area that has built them or something similar. I have demo'ed my to a half dozen people since I completed them a few months ago.

Building the flat-packs is quite easy - no more difficult than putting together an Ikea product, for example. If flat-packs are not available, it's obviously more work. You could have a local cabinet shop cut the boards for you and do the rest of the construction and finishing yourself.

Building the cross-overs is a bit more complex, but there are plenty of people on AudioCircle that can help with guidance and feedback. It is possible to screw up, but it's more likely the screw-ups will be with finish quality, not sound quality.

I don't think "Proud papa syndrome" is relevant, even if it exists. If you like the way they sound, that's all that really counts.

Your last point is probably the biggest issue, but if you do a respectable job building them, it probably won't be hard to find someone that will buy them for your out of pocket expenses (or close) to avoid the time to build them. But you are right that you will never get a reasonable price for your time.

That said, I'm waiting for Danny's next masterpiece (Line Forces) to be available, and will jump at the chance to build them given the experience I have had with the NX-Oticas and subs.

Wind Chaser

Re: New Member looking for opinions
« Reply #5 on: 17 Mar 2020, 05:52 pm »
Great post Jaytor, all very valid points. You can spend the equivalent on a brand name product, but the same money spent on DIY will give you far greater value as far as the ears are concerned.  :thumb:

mlundy57

Re: New Member looking for opinions
« Reply #6 on: 17 Mar 2020, 06:42 pm »
Something else about the resale value of DIY speakers vs brand name speakers is the amount of money lost from purchase to resale. While it is true you can get more for a name brand speaker on the resale market vs a DIY speaker, in the long run the DIY can be the better value.

Say you purchase a name brand speaker for $2,000. On the used market you will be lucky to get $1,000 for it. That's a loss of $1,000.

Now say you build a DIY speaker of equivalent or better sound quality for $500. Even if you gave this speaker away, resale value of $0 (you lost your entire $500 investment), you're still $500 better off. Granted, you are not paying yourself wages for building the speaker, but that isn't why you built it in the first place.

Even if you spent $1,000 on the DIY speaker and gave it away, you still broke even compared to a commercial speaker.

Good DIY speakers aren't about resale, they are about value and no matter how you slice it, you come out ahead with a good DIY speaker.

MW6006

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Re: New Member looking for opinions
« Reply #7 on: 17 Mar 2020, 10:40 pm »
@ Phil A. and JLM I appreciate the feedback but I have already decided that the next set of speakers for me will be DIY. 
   I've built a number of speakers and subs now for myself as well as others and the price to performance ratio in my eyes is just too good for me to buy another set of manufactured speakers.  I became interested in the offerings from gr-research after watching the videos from Danny and reading many very positive reviews from people who have built his products. 
@Windchaser I do have a decent amount of material laying around to build stuff although a majority of it is meant for 2 subwoofers I'm building for people. I plan on picking up a couple more sheets of material this week. 
@Jaytor Thanks for the feedback! I would really love to build the nx-oticas but I'm thinking that's just a bit too much for my budget. 
@mlundy57  I agree with this 100%

So out of the choices I listed above and I suppose I should also throw in the nx-otica mtm what would be people's choice that they would build and why?

Peter J

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Re: New Member looking for opinions
« Reply #8 on: 18 Mar 2020, 12:49 am »
FWIW, I built the X-Oticas and you can see my epic thread in the "GR Research Build Threads" sticky. I don't know if a flat pack is of interest to you but Jay (Captiainhemo) has one (I think) designed and ready for production. He just needs commitments for a number of them to produce.

Those who've heard mine were impressed, but I think the NX Oticas kinda threw some shade their direction.

Door's always open for a listen if you're in the area.

mlundy57

Re: New Member looking for opinions
« Reply #9 on: 18 Mar 2020, 12:56 am »
The NX-Otica MTMs on top of dual servo subs would be my recommendation but that is outside your budget. You could start with the MTMs and use your current subs but you will want the OB servo subs to blend properly with the Oticas. I did this when I built my Wedgies while I saved up enough to build the OB subs. This two step approach would be my recommendation over my next choice in your list which is the studio monitors with your current sub

Jaytor

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Re: New Member looking for opinions
« Reply #10 on: 18 Mar 2020, 03:48 am »
I agree with Mike. If you think you might be able to afford the OB subs down the road, I'd recommend the MTM NX-Oticas. Otherwise the NX-Studio monitors which will probably mate better with your current subs.

MW6006

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Re: New Member looking for opinions
« Reply #11 on: 18 Mar 2020, 12:58 pm »
@Peter You're build for the x-oticas was what made me add them to the list.  You did an amazing job building them and I'm sure they sound fantastic too.

@mlundy @Jaytor  I've thought about getting the OB subs but I've never heard any and especially not servo controlled ones so its hard for me to comprehend the sound difference between them and a normal subwoofer design.  I understand the concept and the benefits though which definitely make me curious about trying one.  So based on both of your input you'd go Nx-otica mtm>studio monitor>X-otica?  Is the mtm and studio monitor that much of a step up over the x-otica? I'd think the x-otica would be more dymanic than the others seeing as it has quite  bit more cone area.

Sonicjoy

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Re: New Member looking for opinions
« Reply #12 on: 18 Mar 2020, 02:15 pm »
Hello and welcome MW6006.

 That's a small room for open Baffle speakers and subs. You won't likely be able to fit them in there and have room to have them away the walls far enough to allow them to really open up. 3 feet is a minimum. You didn't list a ceiling height but I'm assuming 8'? You should list that when asking questions as well as length and width, the volume of a room matters (bigger is better and higher ceilings are too) as much as just space for seating and equipment. You can over load a room that size with too much bass (a common mistake) from big boomy box subs and speakers. It's also good to keep your listening position away from the back wall as far as possible. You don't want a reflective surface right behind your head. All that will be very hard to do in a room that size. Small rooms are really not well suited for audio playback. It can work but requires a lot of careful consideration of equipment choices.

With that in mind I think the NX-Studio's would work best for you. They will work closer to the walls better than the OB's and take up less space.  I also recommend trying them without subs. You may just be surprised. That sub you have may over energize the room and make for a boomy muddy sound, so at least try without it.

Also these are world class high fidelity speakers and will likely be very re-veiling of poor source's and recordings. These can and should be paired with very high performance upstream gear. But you can work up to that as time goes on and they will just keep sounding better as you make upgrades.

On my build that I just finished, with the stands, grill cloth and all the little extras like veneer, paint and finish supplies, glue hardware etc. I spent closer to $1,500. But if you just paint them and made some wood stands you could keep them around a grand.

Good luck with your decisions.


Metfit77@gmail.com

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Re: New Member looking for opinions
« Reply #13 on: 18 Mar 2020, 03:54 pm »
How about the floor standing version of the studios using 3 x sealed M165-16 drivers powered by a cheap plate amp (as recommended by Danny)? The improvement vs the studio monitors should be comparable to the difference between the MTM vs Full Nx-otica.

Jaytor

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Re: New Member looking for opinions
« Reply #14 on: 18 Mar 2020, 04:30 pm »
That's a small room for open Baffle speakers and subs.

Good point. I hadn't looked at the room size. I have my NX-Oticas in a 17' x 27' room (ceiling just shy of 8'), with the speakers 6' from the front wall and 4' from the side walls.

With a small room I think the studio monitors would be the best choice. From what I understand (I haven't heard them myself, although mine use the same drivers), they can be placed much closer to the walls. If I were you, I'd build a set and use them with your current sub to start with.

If you find the bass has problems, you could look at other options. The triple sealed M165s would certainly be one good option. Stereo subs can really help, particularly used with primary speakers that don't go down that low.

Another option would be to add another couple of inexpensive powered subs (in addition to your HSU sub) placed at different locations around the room (creating a swarm approach) which tends to smooth out the peaks and valleys due to room modes.

mlundy57

Re: New Member looking for opinions
« Reply #15 on: 18 Mar 2020, 05:50 pm »
My NX-Otica MTM/dual sub H-frames are currently in a 12'x14'x8' room. They used to be in an 11'x12'x8' room. They definitely sound better in a bigger room (bigger than what they are in now) but do work in my rooms. Room treatment was a necessity though. Bass traps in the front corners, diffusion in the center behind the speakers and at first reflection points, and absorption behind the listening position. In this size room the LP is almost on the back wall so absorption is needed there.

MW6006

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Re: New Member looking for opinions
« Reply #16 on: 18 Mar 2020, 07:06 pm »
You guys all are making very good points here as far as the room impacting my choice. I am currently combating the subwoofer being a little bit overbearing in the room.  My plan is to add 2 bass traps as well as some diffuser/absorption panels to the room and help tame the sound.  I'm also not opposed to trying them without subs as sonicjoy suggested. I wouldn't be opposed to some OB subs down the line, just not sure when that would happen as I'd like to upgrade my turntable next. 
I've seen mention what metfit suggested a couple times in the studio monitor thread but it doesn't appear that anyone has actually gone that route. I'd be more inclined to build at least another sub and try to distribute the bass in the room.  This method has worked very well in my home theater. 
So, at this point the studio monitor seems to be the choice that fits best for my room although mlundy is tempting me to still consider the mtm since it worked ok for his small room.   

Jaytor

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Re: New Member looking for opinions
« Reply #17 on: 18 Mar 2020, 07:26 pm »
I used to have my system in a smaller room (about 13'x14') although this is before I had the OB speakers. I was using GoldenEar Triton 2+ speakers which have good bass response. I found using some room treatments made a big difference in the imaging and smoothness of the bass.

My front wall was the long wall (although the room was close to square) with 6'x16" DIY tube traps in the front corners, GIK 2'x2' 6A Diffusor/Absorbers behind the speakers which were about 3' out from the wall (measured from the front baffle). My listening position was right up against the rear wall, so I used three 2'x4' 4" art panels with scatter plates behind the couch. This worked surprisingly well.

MW6006

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Re: New Member looking for opinions
« Reply #18 on: 18 Mar 2020, 08:02 pm »
I used to have my system in a smaller room (about 13'x14') although this is before I had the OB speakers. I was using GoldenEar Triton 2+ speakers which have good bass response. I found using some room treatments made a big difference in the imaging and smoothness of the bass.

My front wall was the long wall (although the room was close to square) with 6'x16" DIY tube traps in the front corners, GIK 2'x2' 6A Diffusor/Absorbers behind the speakers which were about 3' out from the wall (measured from the front baffle). My listening position was right up against the rear wall, so I used three 2'x4' 4" art panels with scatter plates behind the couch. This worked surprisingly well.

Thanks for the info! Do you have a link to the tube traps you built? I've seen a couple different videos of people building them and it seems pretty simple just unsure how effective they are compared to a thick corner bass trap. 

Jaytor

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Re: New Member looking for opinions
« Reply #19 on: 18 Mar 2020, 08:31 pm »
Thanks for the info! Do you have a link to the tube traps you built? I've seen a couple different videos of people building them and it seems pretty simple just unsure how effective they are compared to a thick corner bass trap. 

I think the thick corner bass traps, such as what GIK offers, provide a bit more bass absorption, but less diffusion. The downside of using these is that your room corners have to be free of incursions, such as windows, closet doors, etc. In my previous listening room, I had a window and closet door close to one of the corners, so by placing the tube traps a few inches out from the corner, I still got the benefit of the bass trapping while having access to the window and closet. In my current room, I have surface mounted outlets that I need to get to behind where the tube traps are.

Here's how I made them. For each tube trap, I used two of these (3’ x 16 ¾” fiberglass pipe insulation). https://www.mcmaster.com/5556k85

I removed the wrap on half the circumference and left it on the other half. This allows you to get some diffraction from the front of the tube traps while absorbing from the back.

I wrapped these two pieces with ¼” steel cloth (like you’d use for a rabbit cage) from home depot to hold them together. The steel cloth also helps keep the form.

I then wrapped them with Guilford of Maine FR701 fabric. I folded over and sewed the overlapped edge so it would provide a nice finish, and used a hot glue gun to secure everything.

I purchased 12.75 diameter x 3” foam rounds from buyfoam.com and inserted one of these in the middle and one on each end. This helps keep the fiberglass insulation nicely shaped and also holds the fabric tight. 

I bought some ¼” thick wood rounds (found them on Amazon) which I wrapped with the fabric and glued to the top and bottom.

They came out pretty nice - from a few feet away, they look like just like the ASC products. But given how long they took to make and the cost of all the parts, I think if I was doing it again, I’d just buy them from ASC, or buy corner bass traps from GIK.