3-way active dedicated stereo listening

Guiria

Guiria

Senior Audioholic
First off, it's been too long since I've been on the forum. I was a regular back in the day but as life would have it I decided to become a doctor and was very busy and essentially lifeless outside of medicine and family. Now that I'm wrapping up my last year of residency things are a little different and I'm finding time to get back into some hobbies. My desire for good sound has never left, despite having to sell some of my favorite DIY speakers over the past years due to moves and downsizing.

I am currently researching how to revitalize an old design proposed to me by TLS_Guy, which by the way, the 2-way speakers I built per his recommendations still put a smile on my face today when I listen to them. The old design takes my 2-way speaker and adds a Peerless SLS 10" to it. I have drawn up some ideas, following the recs of TLS making it a wide base with narrowing top. The internal volume being close to 3.0 cubic feet would give me an F3 of 30hz with a 4" x 9.25" long port. This is slightly smaller than the specs per TLS but from a size standpoint, it works better.

The link to the old thread is here. These speakers would be built for dedicated 2-channel listening. I also would like to make this design active, which will be a new experience for me and a departure from the original design. Being an active setup I am not opposed to other bass drivers if they would fit/ work better. Getting that Peerless 10" driver into 4 cubic feet requires a very large tower speaker. To the original thread's credit, it was mentioned that I should do the setup active. The draws to an active design are potential power efficiency, lower distortion, ease of crossover adjustment, tailored EQ response to the listening room (although this could be done with parametric eq on a passive design I suppose). I am going for more of sound quality design with full audible spectrum coverage without the use of a separate subwoofer.

A few questions:
I've thought about using amplifiers from Parts Express that I can place inside the speaker itself, but if I do that I would need a power supply to run 3 amps per speaker, and I haven't sorted out how I would set gain on each amplifier if it is already in the speaker when I go to set up the crossover? It seems there are a few devices that would work for the crossover. Behringer DCX2496 would be one of them. Another that I think would work is the Dayton DSP408, it seems like the Dayton would handle the sources and outputs and it has programmable crossover points. Is there a good resource for setting up active designs? It seems the information on the internet is spread out, some good stuff here, some there. I was anticipating a 50-100 watt amp for the tweeter, a 100-200 watt amp for the midrange and woofer each. I would use something like REW and a UMM-6 microphone for testing and calibration. Would I need other calibration hardware/software?

I picture the setup to include a stereo receiver that can handle airplay and Bluetooth, also phono input as I plan on buying a record player. The setup needs to be as easy as turning on the stereo and selecting the source. Amplification and DSP power need to all feed off the receiver or a smart strip of some kind.

Any tips, hints, criticisms, suggestions are welcome. This is a project I am currently hoping to have completed before Christmas season 2020.
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
IMO, there is not much advantage in bi-amping between the midrange and tweeter drivers. At those higher crossover frequencies, the cost of rather small value inductors is not high and the power required at the filter point is low compared to that at low frequencies below 250 Hz, so there is practically no valid reason to proceed with active crossovers.
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
For the power amplifiers driving the midrange and woofer drivers, I would suggest a 5 channel Monolith amplifier (or 4 Outlaw 2200 Monoblocks which would most likely cost more).
 
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lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
For the power amplifiers driving the midrange and woofer drivers, I would suggest a 4 channel Monolith amplifier (or 4 Outlaw 2200 Monoblocks which would most likely cost more).
LOL made me look. Couldn't remember there being a 4ch version of the Monolith and don't see one, closest is the 5ch for $1300 but about 40 bucks shipping to me in Oregon but over 100 for a NY zip. Four of the 2200s at one time would be USD 1359 shipping included.
 
lovinthehd

lovinthehd

Audioholic Jedi
Or you could get a pair of Crown XLS1502s for even less and they have a built in crossover. Might give an "audiophile" a conniption fit, tho.
 
Verdinut

Verdinut

Audioholic Ninja
LOL made me look. Couldn't remember there being a 4ch version of the Monolith and don't see one, closest is the 5ch for $1300 but about 40 bucks shipping to me in Oregon but over 100 for a NY zip. Four of the 2200s at one time would be USD 1359 shipping included.
You're right. Monoprice doesn't seem to have a 4 channel version. The OP could purchase the 5 channel one for only $1299 and benefit from a spare channel for possible future use. However, the 4 Monoblocks could cost about the same if there was a special deal on them.
 
R

Russdawg1

Full Audioholic
Grab an older Denon 380(X) receiver which has external inputs.

Cheap, quality 7 channel amp.

They are built like a brick and I have two :)

No doubt in my mind they would work great for your application.
 
Guiria

Guiria

Senior Audioholic
I like the outlaw idea if I went with external amplification. 4 of those would certainly be plenty but that would involve using passive crossover from tweeter - midrange. I already have a two way built and working so I could technically integrate an active crossover for the woofers only.

I'm trying to avoid amplifiers with fans since inevitably, the fans get louder over time.

With using an old 7 channel receiver I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around how I can coordinate the 4-6 channels I need for the speakers. Would the DSP be in line after the amp? From what I was planning on doing the DSP would come before amplication.

I’m less concerned about what amplification to use as there are plenty of options out there.

Anyone with active crossover experience weigh in on their design challenges, driver integration, things they learned along the way, etc, etc...
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Welcome back! It is nice to hear you are now a fellow "man of the cloth". What residency are you in? Are you still in Idaho?

If you still like those 2 ways, you can add a sub. There are many crossovers that can do that job for you.

A big problem going active for the cross to tweeters, is protecting the tweeter. One turn on thump guarantees are couple of blown tweeters. If you still like your current tweeters, then leave them alone and add a sub, which is best done active.

We moved from Lake Benedict in May. We have just moved into a new home we have built. We moved a month ago today. I'm now getting into the final stretch of my new studio build. There are three systems in this place. I have my wife's system up and running, and the family room system.

The studio is getting close. I have just started populating the racks and we have the video up and I hope the audio in some fashion by the end of the week. There are 32 drivers, and 20 speaker connections back to the amp case. So that means forty terminations. They are all in and the powering of the amps and the relays. I will start hooking up the first and second AV racks today.

This is the build thread. It needs some updating since the last post.

The main reason for the house build has been nursing home prevention. There are no steps in or out and there is an elevator. Bathroom is fully handicapped accessible.

I had to have a left total hip arthroplasty two years ago. All went well for nearly a year and then I got aseptic loosening. That was very painful and disabling last winter.
Fortunately I realized I had hyperparathyroidism and had a parathyroidectomy at Mayo in March. I'm glad to report the stem is now recalcifying and things are fine, except for the right hip starting on its inevitable decline. Otherwise things are fine.
 
Guiria

Guiria

Senior Audioholic
I have been through your build thread recently. It looks extensive. Your space is coming along well from what I can see. Sorry to hear about the health issues. I hope all is going well there.

I am doing Family Medicine residency in Arkansas and we will be sticking around for the foreseeable future. I secured a job in town after residency about 10 minutes from my home. Looking forward to a minimal commute and no longer working residency hours, I only have 2 more months throughout the remainder of the residency year where work hours will be super intense.

I actually enjoy the sound from my 2-way speakers now. They were one of the first pair of speakers I built and are a bit of an eyesore so I've always wanted to rebuild them. I am not opposed to the idea of rebuilding the 2-way speakers as is, keeping the passive crossover, and adding a bass driver in a separate cabinet as a stand for my 2-way. I would still use a DSP for the bass/mid tuning and apply some parametric eq to tame room modes.

The speakers are going in a room upstairs that has a sloped ceiling that follows the pitch of the roof. I think a triangular prism type speaker would look great up there.

In the original design of the 3-way, the mid-woofer F3 was 125 Hz with a Qtc = 0.707. Crossing over to the bass driver would be at 350 Hz. The Peerless still seems like a good choice with an active setup, and as I mentioned above I'd probably be shooting for a net 3.0 cubic foot build.

All that being said, another option would be to keep my 2-ways ported, which they currently have an F3 of 87 Hz, and build a high quality 12" or 15" subwoofer.

From an SQ standpoint the dual 10" Peerless seems like it would be higher quality sound, more accurate and detailed, however, at what point are the returns I'd be getting from that setup vs. a sub diminished to a nondiscriminatory point? I guess that is always the question...
 
Alex2507

Alex2507

Audioholic Slumlord
With using an old 7 channel receiver I'm having trouble wrapping my brain around how I can coordinate the 4-6 channels I need for the speakers.
You'd need analog audio inputs on that rec'r and a splitter scheme for your L&R pre-out signal.

EDIT: Can you do that? Use a pre-out signal as an analog audio input on a surround input and then use the surround amp to drive that signal? /edit

Or maybe you could pull it off with an A/B speaker connection.

I use a 7 channel amp but you have opened up my eyes, young man!

BTW, here's what Dennis did with that driver in a 2'^3 sealed cabinet. I have the Peerless 10" the SLS replaced in the same cabinets and currently they're stacked one on top of the other (temporary storage). With my space constraints, a 4' cabinet would never work although an F3 of 25Hz does sound tempting. Not that I ever had a plan but the drivers I have are suppose to be good to the mid 40's in the 2' cabinets. Then subs got added. Maybe it was the other way around with the subs first (TLS aligned, BTW) and the 3-ways being added later.

So ... I just peaked in on the original thread you linked and see that Swerd actually beat me to it and probably before I ever even heard of that driver. Now I gotta go psychoanalyze that thread. I already saw Chris Wolfe had stuff to say in it.

I better find some pic's over there! In that regard, this thread has been a complete disappointment. :)

EDIT: No pic's? Ever? :D

Somewhere or other I got the idea that my discontinued 10" is better than your currently available10". TLS already spoke to power and xmax concerns for the SLS. Even so, in hindsight with my space constraints, my 2^3 bass cabinets would have been more useful as subwoofer cabinets but sometimes you get what you get.

... and I never saw a LP xo for the SLS. I did try to do a quick comparison of Dennis' and Mark's xo's. I found out pretty quick what some of the higher value caps go for. Between all that and the work itself, an active cross to a sub from a 2-way is a gift of sorts.
 
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Guiria

Guiria

Senior Audioholic
Can you do that? Use a pre-out signal as an analog audio input on a surround input and then use the surround amp to drive that signal?
In theory this is how I imagine it working. I would run a set of analog outputs to my DSP/XO then outputs back to the receiver's inputs and use the receiver amplifier channels. My guess is that would not bypass the dsp within the receiver so lack of crossover is where this idea would be shot down, if not for other reasons I'm missing.


EDIT: No pic's? Ever? :D
I thought I had pictures of the original build. Actually I just checked it and they no longer appear. This one will be slow in the making but I'll make sure and properly document it when I do.


... and I never saw a LP xo for the SLS. I did try to do a quick comparison of Dennis' and Mark's xo's. I found out pretty quick what some of the higher value caps go for. Between all that and the work itself, an active cross to a sub from a 2-way is a gift of sorts.
The crossover file on TLS_Guy's blog post had all the parts at one point. The link doesn't work anymore but since I plan on going active and keeping my existing 2-way passive crossver it's not a big deal. The crossover was going to be at 350 Hz. I see Dennis' design on the MBOW1 3-way was crossed at 450 Hz.
 
Alex2507

Alex2507

Audioholic Slumlord
since I plan on going active and keeping my existing 2-way passive crossver it's not a big deal.
You're gonna tackle a DCX 2496 (iirc)? You're a better man than me. I had a steep learning curve ... well, with everything but there was a DEQ 2496 that I used and what a non intuitive POS that thankfully crapped out on me. I may have needed a verb or something in that last sentence.

Having seen a DCX used on a DIY electro stat, I'm a little bit in awe of what it can do. The owner seemed all happy about its versatility and utility I guess. That guy's speakers were best in show that day. Anyway, if you do get one, sharing is caring with all the info you're gonna need to run it. Yep, I've got that techno-fear pretty bad.

Now that I think about it ... I don't want the complexity of an active cross, the gear itself, something else to plug in etc. I just covet the idea of being able to use one. Maybe one day.

The crossover was going to be at 350 Hz. I see Dennis' design on the MBOW1 3-way was crossed at 450 Hz.
I bet both mids are plenty capable but TLS has his '3 octave in between xo points' he likes to strive for. I bet that's the reason for the lower xo. I bet Dennis stayed at 450 Hz because it didn't cost $1,000,000 for the passive LP @ 350 Hz.

Having rebuilt the passive xo's for an MBOW1 3-way, I wouldn't mind seeing how TLS handled it. Actually, I ought to compare my original LP with the revised SLS LP to see what variance Dennis made and then look at TLS' LP for the SLS.

The driver choices made by those two are interesting to look at. I'm a little koo-koo for coco puffs over the OW1 tweet Dennis uses and really curious what the more expensive mid used in a CAOW1 sounds like. Swerd says they're similar but ... MOAR !!!
 
Guiria

Guiria

Senior Audioholic
You're gonna tackle a DCX 2496 (iirc)? You're a better man than me. I had a steep learning curve ... well, with everything but there was a DEQ 2496 that I used and what a non intuitive POS that thankfully crapped out on me. I may have needed a verb or something in that last sentence.
I'm actually going to try the Dayton DSP-408, it has a GUI interface and plenty of in/outputs to do the 4 channels of amplification and XO/DSP that I need. The complexity of the project of course went way down after realizing that I don't have a strong need to go active on a passive crossover already designed and built.

When looking at the specs. My 2-ways ported have an F3 of 87 Hz. What am I gaining by adding 10" woofers that crossover around 350 Hz vs. throwing a sub or two with plate amps that crossover in the 150-180 Hz range?

There is something about having the increased surface area of the drivers reproducing the sound that makes me think lower distortion and more dynamics (which might be a creation of my imagination). I anticipate while listening to a walking bass line that transitioning from upper frequencies to lower will not change the clarity of the music as it shifts from midrange to bass driver, this is where clean driver selection, an optimized cabinet and post production parametric EQ will come into play.
 
Alex2507

Alex2507

Audioholic Slumlord
There is something about having the increased surface area of the drivers reproducing the sound that makes me think lower distortion and more dynamics
Gotcha. But then you're still gonna get subs. :D

I'm actually going to try the Dayton DSP-408
And then a resolution to the amp problem. Make sure you have a bucket of water in case anything lights on fire. What rec'r, btw?
 
Guiria

Guiria

Senior Audioholic
And then a resolution to the amp problem. Make sure you have a bucket of water in case anything lights on fire. What rec'r, btw?
Tell me how you really feel...haha. How do you determine the resolution issue you talk about? Is that where DAC quality comes in to play?
I haven't decided on what stereo receiver. I already have a yamaha HT receiver so I lean towards getting another yamaha that would have music cast and the same app on the phone but that's not an absolute. I've looked into the Emotiva stereo prepro as well. I'm not looking to drop $1000 on a receiver.
 
Alex2507

Alex2507

Audioholic Slumlord
How do you determine the resolution issue you talk about?
I meant resolution like solution ... meaning your still going to need an amp or a weird wiring scheme to run the SLS 10s off a rec'r. It'll be interesting seeing what you end up with because you are more tech oriented than I am.
 
Guiria

Guiria

Senior Audioholic
I meant resolution like solution ... meaning your still going to need an amp or a weird wiring scheme to run the SLS 10s off a rec'r. It'll be interesting seeing what you end up with because you are more tech oriented than I am.
Any receiver I use will be used as a pre-pro. The receiver adds simplicity to the system for those that want to use a remote for volume, airplay or Bluetooth, record player without need for external phono input, radio, etc. The equipment lineup would be Receiver/pre-pro -> Dayton dsp-> external amps -> speakers.

I’ve used external parametric EQ for dual subwoofer channels in the past. This will be a little more involved but I think I can handle it.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Guiria

Guiria

Senior Audioholic
Well hell... @ryanosaur just posted a thread about Outlaw's Black Friday deal. Pretty smokin' deal for three 2200s for $777, shipped.
That outlaw price is pretty nice...maybe if they are doing it next year when I need the amplification. Design and build will probably take that long, setting up the crossover and components will be the last of the process.
 
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