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Full Range Opinions vs. 2/3 way

5684 Views 11 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Binary
Preface: Apologies for my long winded post...

I haven't had the pleasure to listen to a good FR system with a quality tube amp setup. That being said...tube amps would appear to be too rich for my blood. I bring this up because I've been doing a good amount of reading on a wide variety of projects and some of these full range horn, h-frames, open baffle designs peak my interest. Truth be told I've been looking for a "project"...a reason to build something and I've found a very good one.

The speakers I use in my computer room are the remnants of an old Aiwa mini-theater setup. I've always just tolerated them because they were handy. I recently went to a powered subwoofer that I had laying around after I swapped out receivers so I no longer use the passive subs built-in the Aiwa speakers. At any rate it's time for some grown up speakers.

MY SETUP: I have a computer in my home office which is a glorified ipod (because I don't really do anything else with the computer), I use a toslink cable from the computer to an old dolby digital receiver currently set to 3.1. The powered subwoofer I use is an Atlantic Technologies 8'' (don't know what model)...it's actually fairly musical as far as mass produced subs go. This setup could also be used as a HTPC in short order.

Listening Tastes: I listen to a wide range of music, but mainly alternative rock. From what I have gathered full range doesn't necessarily jive with my musical tastes (Smashing Pumpkins, NIN, Keane, Silversun Pickups, Foo Fighters, etc) so I may be barking up the wrong tree. Is it a cardinal sin to build a nice full range set up like say a Zigmahornet or fonken and use them with a regular home theater receiver?

I don't really have a budget set just yet...I just want to get steered in the right direction. If full range doesn't sound like it's for me then please suggest some projects I can look at. I'm of the mind of possibly looking at building a couple towers using a small 6.5'' sub driver in a lower chamber. I want a nice clean mix of highs, mids, and low as I guess we all do...it's just a matter of how to go about it. They will be put in a small room approx 10 x 10 which currently features zero room treatments.

Again sorry for the long winded post...I didn't mean to give my life story but I felt I needed to share enough for everyone to get a decent understanding of what I'm trying to do and I hope I did that. :help:
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I prefer 2 way myself.
I've had great success with my ML TQWT.
It might not be "High-End" but it sounds good and I'm happy with it.

Now, it might or might not be the perfect match for a home theater rig depending on how you set it up.
If you want the BIG BASS experience you'll definately need subs but my little 4½" driver is delivering an amazing bass despite of it's size.
I prefer 2 way myself.

I am leaning in that direction. I want to do something quirky with PVC and sonotube. PVC for the tweeter and something like 8'' Sonotube for the mains. I know I've seen projects like that but I don't know that seen one exactly like what I want to do.
I would maybe use a pre assembled kit with built crossover n just build the sonotube to the same cu ft n tuning as the design. Like something from madisound maybe? I duno.
Zaph Audio SR71 KIT

I would maybe use a pre assembled kit with built crossover n just build the sonotube to the same cu ft n tuning as the design. Like something from madisound maybe? I duno.
I think I've settled on the Zaph Audio SR71 kit. This would appear to be a very solidly designed DIY kit and should be good for me to start with. That being said I am still open to other suggestions.

I have plenty of MDF to build the cabs. I still wouldn't mind a tube design but I'm just concerned about using a larger tube to fit the tweeter in would mess up the baffle parameters this kit was intended to have. I may just have to play it straight.
Ive been looking around and think im going to get the zaph kits for my 7.1. They seam to be a good mix of value and quality.
You should be able to acheive good full-range with a 2 or 3-way. Designing a crossover will be significantly easier for the 2-ways, and if you're going to use active Xovers 2-ways will save amps. Are you restricting your self to someone else's kit or are you considering DIY?

Have you considered an MTM design with 8" or 10" drivers? That's something that's interested me and I haven't seen it done before. There is a sonotube MTM I've seen before, it'd pretty much be the same but bigger woofers. There are several budget friendly woofer candidates I can think of for such a project.
You might also want to keep in mind that you might like more or less bass for certain songs or for certain days when your tastes are different. That is why I would always recommend a separate subwoofer. You can make the subwoofer tunable, and can manage it better that way. Since the sub should be powered with its own amp, you don't need that great of an amp to run your main speakers. It really doesn't matter if you have a 2 way or 3 way design if you have a sub. The speaker crossover design is more important than whether the crossover is a 2 or 3 way. Also, most decent 2 way speakers will run full range very well for all but the very loudest volumes.
I would maybe use a pre assembled kit with built crossover n just build the sonotube to the same cu ft n tuning as the design. Like something from madisound maybe? I duno.
You should consider a Mini-DSP in this case, and not worry too much about crossover, as digital is AMAZING for freedom.

You will need extra amp channels, but if you intend to play around with more speakers in the future, its definitely worth the investment for an active crossover.

I personally like the sound of 2 or 3 way better than a full range. The full range drivers ALMOST always have some inherent breakup when you want anything more than low listening level out of them. I believe its the distortion caused by the cone needing to move further for the bass than for the highs. Plus, how can you control the highs when the lows are more demanding?

2 way is simpler than 3 way, and much cheaper to experiment with. MINI dsp will do an active pair of 2 ways. Where you'd need something bigger or more minidsps to do a 3 way.

I went active, Its an investment, but one thats well worth every penny.

a Behringer DCX2496 and a dayton ma1240 amplifier is about $700 US.
A MiniDSP is about $200, and that can also work with the ma-1240 at about $400.

40w rms/channel, 80wrms bridged @ 8 ohm, 60wrms at 4 ohm. 12 channels.
And I guarantee it has more clean power than my THX Select2 certified @120w rms -In stereo- Pioneer VSX-1015TX.
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I am pretty much locked in on the SR-71 design but I'm going to wait and do some more reading. I'm going to build them for my home theater setup and put my PSB towers in my computer room for my music setup. The towers don't match the SVS center channel (SCS) I have and neither will the SR-71's but I'm not that discerning about such matters...I think I'll paint the SR-71's to match my white center channel.

This seems to make the most sense at least from an aesthetics point of view. I also believe the Seas drivers will be an improvement over the PSB's which I've never been overly impressed with. It looks like the SCS mains from SVS wouldn't be that much more already built but I kinda wanted to do a project and not just buy something preassembled.

Perhaps someone can shift me to more of a DIY version of the SCS design from SVS?
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What kind of output are you looking for? How low does your sub go? how high does the sub go cleanly?

With these questions answered, we can steer you in the direction of whatever you're looking for, as well as help blend the bass to the subwoofer. Granted, the only 8" subwoofers that i've been able to call that are usually in flh or tapped horn format.

If you want reasonable fidelity, there are a few projects available on the parts-express project database.


The AviaTrix is probably what you would want to try to stay close to the SCS line.

If you want something a little more robust,


The TriTrix will do.

Both of those designs are built and tested by more than just the original creator. and the results have been that they are complete over-achievers, capable of sound way out of the price range of their parts.

Edit: I also noticed they actually have MORE output than the SCS and better bass extension to help cross over to that sub.
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