Poll: What would you like to see in a passive FRFR kit?

Discussion in 'Digital & Modeling Gear' started by DukeLeJeune, Feb 25, 2012.

What would you like to see in a passive FRFR kit?

Poll closed Dec 31, 1969.
  1. Cost-conscious/coffeehouse: ballpark 115 dB broadband output, 8 ohms, about 30 pounds

    1 vote(s)
    14.3%
  2. Good all-around: ballpark 120 dB broadband, 8 ohms, about 50 pounds

    1 vote(s)
    14.3%
  3. Goes Deeper: ballpark 118 dB broadband, 4 ohms, about 55 pounds

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. Lightweight: ballpark 120 dB broadband, 8 ohms, about 30 pounds, and twice the price of "good-all-a

    1 vote(s)
    14.3%
  5. Deeper Lightweight: ballpark 120 dB broadband, 8 ohms, about 40 pounds, and a bit more expensive th

    2 vote(s)
    28.6%
  6. Something completely different (please post what you'd like to see in the thread)

    2 vote(s)
    28.6%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. DukeLeJeune

    DukeLeJeune Member

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    If you were interested in a high quality FRFR system where you'd save some money by assembling the box and installing the parts yourself, what would you like to see in such a kit?

    I realize the choices I've posted in the poll don't answer the most important question, which is "how does it sound", but that's beyond the scope here. And obviously the number of choices presented is limited - so feel free to write-in what you'd like to see.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Pietro

    Pietro 2-Voice Guitar Junkie and All-Around Awesome Guy

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    I would never trust myself to put it together myself, and I'll never use a non-powered one again...

    I'd rather get something very small and light and loud that will be easy to transport and use. That's what I did... with a verve 8ma
     
  3. ltkojak

    ltkojak Member

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    You want an ACTIVE FRFR.

    The best-sounding are the coaxial type ones.

    HTH,
     
  4. dspellman

    dspellman Senior Member

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    I like both actives *and* passives. I don't think an active FRFR necessarily offers a major advantage; this is something like the "All in one stereo systems vs the component stereos" debate that went on for years. An active FRFR is heavier by the weight of the built-in amp, and there are always heat considerations (the fans on these can often be picked up by mikes used to go to FOH systems).

    There have always been arguments for coaxial systems (probably since before the days of the Altec 604s, which were the standard for studio monitors for years), but they don't always sound the best. In fact, few coaxial systems are well-enough designed to sound "the best." And few coaxial systems exhibit good sound dispersion patterns.

    Finally, you don't want something that "sounds the best." You want something that doesn't "sound" at all. Ideally an FRFR speaker should just transmit whatever goes into it with no coloration at all.

    My "ideal" specs would include a system that went low cleanly, that had really good power handling, that had a set of speakers that maintained a fairly wide dispersion, that didn't have glitches due to badly designed crossovers or funky wave guides, that had very good efficiency. In a kit system, the ability to assemble it easily and accurately would be first on my list, and a kit that contained *all* the bits and pieces necessary (so that I don't have to leave it sit while I hunted down some exotic not-included part) would be a definite plus.

    And finally, it should be something lightweight. I realize impact resistance can be a concern, but there are fiberglass over foam cabinets going together out there, and I was waving some aircraft construction honeycomb material at a manufacturer just the other day...
     
  5. Jay Mitchell

    Jay Mitchell Member

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    No. An active FRFR is heavier by the weight of the built-in amp less the weight of the passive crossover.

    Many active FRFR systems dont' have fans, and nobody in their right mind ever mics one.

    If minimizing weight is a high priority, all it takes is massive sums of money. Aircraft-targeted composites are a good way to spend many times the cost of a normal speaker just to buy the raw materials needed to construct the enclosure. By comparison, the few bucks to be saved by doing final assembly yourself would be a drop in the bucket.
     
  6. DukeLeJeune

    DukeLeJeune Member

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    Thanks for posting, dspellman!

    In the world of double-bass, where the goal is usually to sound just like the natural acoustic instrument, only louder, we find more separates than combo amps.

    Agreed. But if perfection cannot be attained (and it can't, at least not yet), then the designer has to juggle the tradeoffs carefully.

    How low is low, in this context? (I'm sure you're aware that "very good efficiency" + "low" = a really big box, which works against lightweight.)

    About a year or so ago I investigated lightweight polymer-based honeycomb panels used in the aerospace industry, and found that building a speaker cab out of them was very labor-intensive, called for some specialized skills, and did not offer as much weight savings as hoped. Fiberglass over foamcore is superior, but not practical for a DIY kit because the skills required are well beyond that of the casual woodwooker.

    I think lightweight plywood is probably the best bet for a lightweight kit; anything significantly more exotic is just too labor and skill intensive.
     
  7. dspellman

    dspellman Senior Member

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    Yup. I've been helping a friend build a plane that requires a bit of vacuum bagged carbon fiber work (and a lot of traditional glassing). That's fine for an airplane project (and he's probably going to be at it another year or two at his rate of progress), but I don't think I'd want to go through that for a speaker cab.
     
  8. dspellman

    dspellman Senior Member

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    Good point.

    Good point #2. I'm thinking of the K-series QSCs and of my old Atomic Reactor actives, both of which have fans that can be noisy. I've had sound guys mike them (but no one said they were in their right minds...).

    And....good point #3. I hate it when you do that. I've already made that assessment; I'm firmly down on the side of "light weight," but having said that, there are degrees of it and weight/cost ratios to be considered. Friends of mine built a Rutan Long-EZ, largely in the living room of their townhouse. Mostly foam and glass construction, and they ended up with a very high-performance airplane that suited them. But they paid for it with a LOT of work and mess. Sweat equity. I'm not sure that DIY projects are always about money savings; sometimes it's the fact that you can get higher performance that simply isn't available in a production item.
     
  9. Jay Mitchell

    Jay Mitchell Member

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    I've used a laminate of Rutan S-glass/epoxy resin with foam core to build automotive parts. I also use fiberglass parts in some of my speaker designs. Due to the shapes, I had to develop special tooling for the purpose of fabricating those parts. I wouldn't consider replacing wood-based materials with composites for general-use loudspeakers, however, as the cost (materials plus labor) is huge for a modest reduction in weight. With aircraft and competition cars, composites are highly viable. For loudspeakers, not so much.
     
  10. DukeLeJeune

    DukeLeJeune Member

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    My thanks to those who participated in the poll and dialogue here, and to those who did not. I'll be doing one or more kits for other markets, and wanted to see if guitar modellers would be interested in a kit as well. The poll has been up for more than a week and only three people have voted in favor of anything I proposed, so that tells me to focus elsewhere. Again thank you, because that is valuable information.
     
  11. paulmapp8306

    paulmapp8306 Member

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    You could always add a Matrix GM50 power module (at 2Kg its not heavey) to the kit and build an active cab.
     
  12. DukeLeJeune

    DukeLeJeune Member

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    I'm not an amp technician so I'm reluctant to offer an active kit, as then I'd be at the mercy of the amp module manufacturer for service, both in and out of warranty.
     

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