In a nutshell: They sound great. On par with ~£1k speakers, but they are not without a few specific drawbacks but none are 'dealbreakers', Let me explain:Setup:
Dayton Thruster on Cheap Black (!) 3.5mm A1 foamboard, paper backed & untreated x2.
Wharfdale sub xo @ 55Hz
Cyrus 7 amp (30wpc), Cyrus Stream XA (24 192 DAC)
(Written listening to Black Sabbath)The Good:
The most striking thing for me is the way these speakers can 'teleport'* you into a recording. Live music recordings can seem unnervingly real .
As I have mentioned before, I often find myself being surprised by a sound or instrument on a recording - as if it were in the room. The effect feels similar to listening to bin-aural recordings on headphones.
This phenomenon is not limited to a sweet spot in the room either - one can move around and this still occurs - and you almost feel like you can move and stand 'next to' an instrument (I know this makes no sense).The Bad:
The good mid-range performance payed for by loss at either end of the spectrum.
Bass comes off better than treble, though: One can turn up the volume and the bass is 'there' - but no low-lows. If you want 'slam' then you need to turn the sub on. At higher volumes though there is additional noise added lower down which I think is due to internal resonance of the panel. I THINK better adhesion between panel material may fix this.
Incidentally, I have arbitrarily decided that bass response is best if the panels are AT LEAST the panels height away from any wall or large area surface - this does preclude wall mounting which may be most people's main reason for using such panels.
Treble somehow falls off a cliff. This means that cymbals sound indistinct and 'smeary'. I find it odd that the panels can present such a convincing sound stage with relatively little treble response. The Ugly:
Well actually they are not, even in their current superminimalist prototype stage the panels are not aesthetically displeasing.
They are super-fragile; and highly sensitive to any contact from surrounding objects - which will create noise or effect sound directly.
Only a couple of weeks into this project and the panels have already suffered a few gouges - although they have been handled more frequently than I would a normal pair of speakers (in the course of finding best position, moving around, changing exciters etc).
TBH I love they way they SOUND. Even in their prototypical foamboard guise, I would reasonably happily keep them as-is. My first thought was to keep the exciters and replace the foamboard when it gets too bashed up: simply treating these panels as 'disposables'. That being said, I am interested to quantify the influence of the following factors makes on sound:
Less flexible sandwich skin
Higher core rigidity
If my next sandwich prototype sounds significantly better (Stiff Black A1 paper skin + 1 cm paper honeycomb sandwiched with PVA glue) I may reconsider my disposable panel philosophy.
BenOther Disorganised Ponderings
1. I notice that the panels sound 'not so good' when I first power them up, then better as I use them more: Is it just me or has anybody else thought this?
2. Seen these?: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/vetr/panl1-speaker-system-by-vetr-audio-ditch-the-box/description
Note their frequency response curve - do they get those highs by using small stiff panels? Do you think they have sandwiched, or just plain CF plates?
as an example