My Low Budget Stereo Build - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 13 Old 07-04-16, 12:22 PM Thread Starter
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My Low Budget Stereo Build

Hi everyone, I have been lurking on the forum for awhile now. I am glad to see this new area of the forum. I don't really have much to contribute to most of the threads, but thought I would share my low budget stereo build.

My listening room does double duty as a home gym. It is a very small room by most people's standard. But I built it as just a place to workout that wouldn't disturb the rest of the household. So I built a separate A-Frame building in my backyard. Because it was built to be a gym, it has rubber flooring, no real sound proofing, and a really large air conditioning unit (noisy). I am the only person who ever goes into the "gym". So I don't really care what it looks like.

The stereo in the "gym" started as something made of leftover stuff that was retired from the house theater. Or old components that I have moved from house to house without ever unboxing. Old Sony receiver (really powerful) , old Sony CD player and my trusty Yamaha ns1000 speakers. Later I found a powered velodyne subwoofer in a free pile of stuff in someone's front yard. I took it home and of course it didn't work. But it was a simple repair and it sounded really good.

Then it happened.... My friend gave me a set of Klipsch La Scala bass bins. I really didn't need them but they looked like a fun project to put together. I told another friend who always has a lot of hi-fi stuff that I needed to find some 15" drivers. He just happened to have a pair of new EV EVM-15L speakers. We have known each other for 25 plus years so he gave me the speakers. I put the La Scala bass bins together with the new speakers but still needed something for the highs and crossovers. The same friend who gave me the La Scalas also had a pair of EV HP940 horns he gave me without drivers. I found on eBay a pair of new old stock EV dh1a drivers for $150. My first money spent on my budget stereo. Then a little bit of money for crossover components and some wood to make boxes to house the horns on top of the La Scalas and my "new" speakers are playing! So I put the ns-1000 speakers back in storage. The next upgrade was replacing my Sony receiver with something newer with a remote so I could adjust the volume without having to get off the treadmill. I found a Yamaha DSP-A1 integrated amp on Craigslist for $150. After I got it home and played it for awhile I discovered the display would go out intermittently. Tapping on it would bring it back. I brought it back to the guy I bought it from and he apologized and offered me another receiver (Denon AVR 2808CI). So I got the Denon and he offered to sell me the intermittent Yamaha for $50. So I brought both home. $200 total. I used the Denon and it worked great.

But the next issue I wanted to deal with was the mismatch in efficiency between my EV horns and Klipsch bass bins. My DIY passive crossovers were not getting the levels right. So I decided to go with an active crossover. From a friend I picked up a Mini DSP 2x4 for $100. But no way to use it with just the Denon AVR I had... So I decided to try and fix the Intermittent Yamaha amp. Thankfully there was a YouTube video showing how to fix the exact issue I had. So I was able to fix the amp and use the mini DSP active crossover between the Denon AVR and the amp eliminating my DIY passive crossovers.

Now with some adjustability and Audyssey, my system was starting to sound better. But I needed to do something about the subwoofer. Being a square room with no sound treatment it had extreme hot spots and nulls in the bass. My first solution was gathering four powered sub's and putting one in each corner of the gym. It actually worked pretty well. The subs were all mismatched and didn't cost me anything but were a real pain to adjust. And now my already too small gym was smaller. I looked around and found a pair of Triad in-wall sub's with the Triad in-wall plate amp for $125 (I think). I mounted those subs on the back of the La Scalas facing the corners of the room and was able to remove the four other subs and reclaim some space. They sound really good too.

The Sony CD player was retired and replaced with a Samsung BluRay player ($100) and a toshiba hd DVD (free) player. Also for most of my music I stream it from my home network using a SolidRun CuBoxTv running Kodi ($100). I also added a Visio led tv (forget the price $400?). And some garage sale infinity bookshelf speakers ($15) for surround, and a no name center channel speaker to ( found in my garage) I had to add a tweeter to the center channel because the cheap speaker was missing the highs. I have a much nicer theater in the house for watching movies. So the surround audio of this system is not important.

The last part of the build and what I am still working on is room treatments. I put egg crate foam acoustic panels behind the front speakers and on the cabinets above them. As well as the door between the front speakers. I did not want to absorb the bass from the subs pointed into the corners. But I needed to get rid of the highs being reflected off the back wall. I managed to get five Roxul 2ft X 4ft pieces of insulation for $20. Plus a little bit of money for wood and fabric to finish them. Those panels are on the sides at the first reflection points. And one is overhead on the ceiling. After installing the sound treatments a strange ringing sound showed up. I tracked it down by doing the loud clap test. The ringing almost sounded like a bell. My son and I were able identify the sound as coming from my treadmill. The metal vertical supports were making the noise. If I tapped them with a finger it would make the same noise. So as a quick fix I wrapped them with pipe insulation. It completely stopped the ringing.

Because I am the only person who uses the gym, I only needed one chair. The person who lives behind me gave me two automotive racing bucket seats. I used those and the bases from some old office chairs and Made a MLP seat and an extra. Not super comfy, but they don't take up much room,and are fine with me. Plus they are easy to move out of the way when the room is serving as a gym.

I am now working on getting better at using REW and trying to tune the system. There are still a few things I need to work on but it's getting there..

For a total cost of about $1500 it sounds pretty good to me. I am lucky to have generous friends too or it would have cost much more. If anyone is interested I will post a few pictures.

Travis

Denon AVR 2808CI $150
Yamaha DSP-A1 $50
Mini DSP 2 X4 $100
Klipsch La Scala Bass bins Free
EV EVM-15L 15 Inch Bass Drivers Free
EV 940 horns Free
EV dh1a drivers $150
Infinity Bookshelf Speakers for Surround RS1001 $15
No name Center channel with no name tweeter added on. $6 for the tweeter at Fry Electronics
Visio led tv. I forgot the price from Costco. $400?
Samsung BluRay player BD-J7500 $100
Toshiba HD DVD player Free
CuBoxTv Media player $100
Roxul acoustic insulation $20 Plus a little for fabric and wood for frames.
Triad in wall plate amp and pair of 10 inch in wall woofers. $125
Furman power conditioner. $45
REW microphone $80
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post #2 of 13 Old 07-04-16, 12:36 PM
 
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Re: My Low Budget Stereo Build

Def a nice budget setup! Pics, we love pics.

Ron

My Home Theater
Yamaha CX-A5100, (3) JBL 2360A/EV DHA-1s, (3) 1/4 Pie bass bins, (2 pr) JBL 8340As, (2 pr) JBL 8320s, PS3, XBox One, (2) Intel NUCs, Redmere HDMI cables, Monster Signature HTPS7000, (2) Furman Power Conditioners, (2) DTS-10 subs, Panasonic AE8000, SeymourAV 180 (195" diag) scope screen, Darbee Darcet, Panamorph UH-480 lens, (2) Crest Audio 2208, Yamaha XM-4080 & P7000s, (2) MiniDSP DDRC-88M, Oppo UDP-203

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post #3 of 13 Old 07-04-16, 03:30 PM
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Re: My Low Budget Stereo Build

PICS!!!


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post #4 of 13 Old 07-04-16, 04:25 PM
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Re: My Low Budget Stereo Build

Where's the Pic's......We want Pics, We want Pics, We want Pics, We want Pics, We want Pics, .
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post #5 of 13 Old 07-08-16, 08:56 AM
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Re: My Low Budget Stereo Build

Definitely, let's see some pics!
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post #6 of 13 Old 07-10-16, 11:18 PM Thread Starter
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Re: My Low Budget Stereo Build

Ok guys remember this building started as just a room to put my bicycle trainer and treadmill into. But it has evolved into a too tiny room for a bicycle trainer, treadmill and growing addiction to two channel audio. It makes me nervous to post pictures of my cave, but here goes...

This is the front. The tiny building has no windows. The small door above the main door is for storage. Kind of a loft area. I am in the middle of some repairs and repainting the outside.

[IMG][/IMG]


This is one of the speakers I tried in the La Scala bass cabinets. It was a Kicker car audio subwoofer. I didn't like the sound, so they were replaced with the EV's.

[IMG][/IMG]

This is my MLP.... and only LP. I have another seat exactly the same that I bring in from the garage when my wife wants to listen. All the race numbers and jerseys from some of my old teams help with the motivation during long workouts. Movies and music help too!!

[IMG][/IMG]

This cluttered mess is what I lock at. And yes, the TV is in front of the door. But it flips up above the door when not in use. The door opens out. Most of the time I don't have the TV down. You can actually hear the difference when the TV is flipped up. It gets rid of a huge reflective surface while up. The other small screen is for the computerized bicycle trainer. (Computrainer) It looks like the horns are being blocked by the treadmill, bicycle, and small table in front of the bike. But when I remove those items and re-run REW it does not show much change. Plus I have to make the best of a tiny space that has to do double duty.



This one panel made a shocking change to the sound for some reason. I am still figuring out if I like it or not. Not sure why the change was so drastic? That is a giant fan to the right. The no name center channel speaker is above the steel beam above the TV.



Front of the right main speaker. Not even sure what to call these anymore. La Scala bass cabinet, EV HP940 horn.



Mix and match hardware. MiniDSP and a few other goodies are hidden in the back. Xbox and USB mic are on the bottom.



Front speakers are half finished. Still need to finish the box around the horns.



This is one of the Triad subs mounted behind the EV horns. The person I bought them from had his daughter do a little artwork. I didn't have the heart to clean it off :-)



I had some issues with heat causing problems with my media server. So this is my DIY cooling. Just an old heatsink and cooling fan from a cpu. Works great, no more problems. It sits behind the other equipment so I never hear the fan.



Ok, so there it is. The worlds smallest and messiest listening room. But I am happy with the results considering the challenges. Low budget, tiny space, and a dual purpose room. After the latest room tune (Audyssey) it is sounding pretty good to my ears.

Cheers,
Travis
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Last edited by RF Guy; 07-10-16 at 11:43 PM.
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post #7 of 13 Old 07-11-16, 11:49 AM
 
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Re: My Low Budget Stereo Build

I am glad you finally posted up your tiny setup. I know that this is a budget system, and it shows you don't have to have a lot of cash or space to be able to enjoy music!
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Ron

My Home Theater
Yamaha CX-A5100, (3) JBL 2360A/EV DHA-1s, (3) 1/4 Pie bass bins, (2 pr) JBL 8340As, (2 pr) JBL 8320s, PS3, XBox One, (2) Intel NUCs, Redmere HDMI cables, Monster Signature HTPS7000, (2) Furman Power Conditioners, (2) DTS-10 subs, Panasonic AE8000, SeymourAV 180 (195" diag) scope screen, Darbee Darcet, Panamorph UH-480 lens, (2) Crest Audio 2208, Yamaha XM-4080 & P7000s, (2) MiniDSP DDRC-88M, Oppo UDP-203

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post #8 of 13 Old 07-11-16, 12:20 PM
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Re: My Low Budget Stereo Build

Love the space, in the end its how you enjoy the room and others negative opinions does not matter.
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Home theater:
Onkyo 805, Yamaha YDP2006EQ, Samson Servo 600 amp
3 EV Sentry 500 monitors across the front, 4 Mission 762i's Surrounds, SVS PB13U sub, Panasonic BDT220, Harmony 1100, Nintendo WiiU
Panasonic PT-AE8000 on a 120" 2,35:1 fixed screen

Living room system:
Sherwood/Newcastle R972, Mission 765's, SVS SBS02's, A/D/S MS3u sub, Yamaha YDG2030EQ
Yamaha KX-393 Tape deck, CDC 805 CD changer, Panasonic BD60, Sony turntable PS-T20
Panasonic TC-P50ST60, HD-PVR & WDTV Live, Harmony 900

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post #9 of 13 Old 07-13-16, 08:39 AM
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Re: My Low Budget Stereo Build

Quote:
RF Guy wrote: View Post
This is the front. The tiny building has no windows. The small door above the main door is for storage. Kind of a loft area. I am in the middle of some repairs and repainting the outside.
It's not the size of the space that matters, it's what you do with it!

Quote:
RF Guy wrote: View Post
This is my MLP.... and only LP. I have another seat exactly the same that I bring in from the garage when my wife wants to listen.
Cool listening chairs! Much more functional in a small space than mine.


Quote:
RF Guy wrote: View Post
This cluttered mess is what I lock at. And yes, the TV is in front of the door. But it flips up above the door when not in use. The door opens out. Most of the time I don't have the TV down. You can actually hear the difference when the TV is flipped up. It gets rid of a huge reflective surface while up.
I had the same idea for a setup that needed to be in front of a sliding glass door. Never built it, but it's nice to know it works for someone - good job! And congrats for recognizing why the reflective screen needs to be out of the way for better listening!.

Quote:
RF Guy wrote: View Post
This one panel made a shocking change to the sound for some reason. I am still figuring out if I like it or not. Not sure why the change was so drastic? That is a giant fan to the right. The no name center channel speaker is above the steel beam above the TV.
Could it have something to do with eliminating reflections between the center channel and the LP? Maybe even absorbing some of the fan noise?

Quote:
RF Guy wrote: View Post
I had some issues with heat causing problems with my media server. So this is my DIY cooling. Just an old heatsink and cooling fan from a cpu. Works great, no more problems. It sits behind the other equipment so I never hear the fan.
Very creative!

Quote:
RF Guy wrote: View Post
Ok, so there it is. The worlds smallest and messiest listening room. But I am happy with the results considering the challenges. Low budget, tiny space, and a dual purpose room. After the latest room tune (Audyssey) it is sounding pretty good to my ears.
And that's what ultimately counts: are you happy with it? You could bring 10 different people in, and each may have their own opinion of the sound. So relax and enjoy, you've earned it!
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post #10 of 13 Old 07-21-16, 10:21 AM
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Re: My Low Budget Stereo Build

Travis... this is awesome! I absolutely love your system and the story behind it. This might be one of my favorite build stories that I've read over the years.

Have to say... nice effort!
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