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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
With the new house comes new challenges.

I finally have nearly finished the install of the home automation system and am now working on the family room stereo. Through some help here (Thank you!) I have finalized my receiver and sub plans and now need to narrow down my speaker choices. I am going to pick a well known and respected DIY design and build myself some speakers. To start off with I am going to build the center channel as at least I currently have mains, but then after listening to the center will decide what my next steps for the mains are.

I have a fair amount of experience with drivers and active implementation but not a whole lot of passive experience. For this reason I am picking a pre-made design. This project is also meant to be my stepping stone to use the current drivers I have in other implementations. Currently in my basement I have a few pairs of 7” drivers: Dayton RS180’s, Seas W18E, Scan Speak Revelators, & Seas CA18RNX. I also have some LPG 26na, XT19 neo’s, Scan D2904-6000, Dayton RS28’s and Seas 27 (H1189). This is not including the list of what isn’t worth posting. Those drivers I will use for other projects, but have decided to pursue some Dayton plans as I really enjoy the Daytons in particular once you include cost into the equation.

I have narrowed my kit choices down to:

a) Zaph’s Audio ZDT3.5
b) Jon Marsh’s Modula MTM or Natalie P
c) Dennis Murphy’s TMWW

The Khanspire’s I eliminated due to their size, Roman’s 2.5’s based on a concern that they might lack in midbass (I play the bass and this is really important to me), the Statements based on non-matching cones (ie cosmetic reasons), and Dr. K’s MTM because of Jon’s solutions.

So here is my current logic, I am sure all of these designs sound superb.

Zaph – ZDT
- I like the size and profile as they will look nice in the room and not dominate my TV stand
- The center is not a sideways MTM and should not have the associated FR issues. Great that it uses the same drivers as the mains.
- The concern I have is output in the midbass range and the low cost tweeter

Marsh - Modula MTM/Natalie P
- Again the size is great
- Jon’s center is a sideways MTM although I am sure he designed appropriately around it
- I will learn less with the Modula as I am having a hard time grasping the crossovers
- Higher cost, which of course defeats some of the reason for the choice of the Daytons
- Midbass output
- Not sure that in my room the benefit of the MTM will be all that much as the floor is very well padded and the ceiling is vaulted and a long way away

Murphy – TMWW
- These are big, in particular the center channel will require me to modify the TV stand that I built. The shelf will go and a mini-stand for it will need to happen
- I love the price, the potential for midbass, and the fact that all three speakers will voice the same.
- Bigger is better, isn’t it?

Here is my current setup. I took these 5 minutes ago and as you can see I haven’t managed to hide all the wires yet. I can pull the TV out a little further from the wall to space the speakers further apart, but not a whole lot without the WAF going down. I would “like” to keep the TV stand as I built it, but have been bouncing around other options as well.

This picture was taken from the top of the stairs. The ceiling slopes down to above the speaker by the wall to 8’ and up to 22’ across the room. The room you see behind the speakers is my sun room and the doors always stay open. Lots of glass and hard surfaces behind and to the side though.


I didn’t post this at the HTGuide since I thought comparing to Zaph’s design it would be best to do at another location. What I’d like to know is what you think I should do as hopefully I am missing something that will help make my decision easier. (I am also open to other options)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The wall behind the tv is 14' (the section right behind the TV is 5') and the other dimension of the room is 20'. It is very open into the sun room, upstairs, the foyer and the other living room though. The volume of the room (if it were completely closed off) is 4200ft^3.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
A target height of < 45" would be better for the wife. Budget of $500 per speaker, but willing to stretch just not an order of magnitude (LCR) and needs to only include drivers and crossover. Rears I would prefer to spend less on, but also listen to a lot of music in this room so the mains have to be something that makes me smile.

As a reference that is a 46" Panny. The DVD player will be moved to the basement where the electronics are so the space under the TV is 100% available for the Center.
 

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I vote for ZDT3. (Although I might be slightly biased after building a set of those myself :whistling:) If you look at the plans you'll see that they can easily be adjusted by height to fit the 45" requirement. They only cost about $300 per speaker finished and the low cost tweeter is just fine for this application. You don't want to use it in a 2-way though.
 

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I vote for ZDT3. (Although I might be slightly biased after building a set of those myself :whistling:) ...
Showing the same bias, I'll recommend the NatPs. Mine are 44" tall in bottom-ported 65L enclosures and they are not lacking in any way. Bass extends to subsonics, transient response is fantastic and they were $400 in parts for the pair (albeit lasst year). OK, they only spec out to 105dB max SPL, but that's THX reference level for 100% modulation, and I'll never play them that loud, even the peaks.

My CC is a sideways NatP (albeit with the on-wall/in-wall XO) because I didn't know better, can't hear the problem and have better places for the extra $$$ that Jon's choice of CC tweeter requires. Having learned a lot since then, this specific CC design brings the RS180's 25% closer (9" vs 12")and lowers the XO frequency ~1KHz (in-wall XO frequency is 2.2KHz), all of which help with the sideways MTM lobing issue. I may upgrade just to see if I can hear it, and the replacement tweeter's only 2/3 the original's cost (Jon's original choice was discontinued).

I also can't see a reason to use 5 identicals; that's one reason to use the Modula as it has an MT version as well. Personally, I'm finding I like low-directivity designs for surrounds, currently using DIY omnis, which is beyond the scope of the thread.

HAve fun,
Frank
 
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