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My take on DIY2003 loudspeaker building event (long)

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First of all, thanks to Mark K for hosting the event. By the way Mark, I accidently left a folding metal chair at your house (garage). But you can keep it if you want, or I'll get it
next time. And thanks for that free pair of LINEAUM monopole tweeters.
Unlike last years (2002) event in Elk Grove, California, this years event in Rocklin had a significantly higher number of audiophile quality builds. I don't seem to recall there being
any 3 way loudspeakers last year. (but I do remember that great bar-b-que we had last year)
This year showed off several nice 3 way projects. I also thought it was nice to see/hear
someone using a horn. But still no electrostatics again. Barry?
I sat in (demanded) a front row seat for most of the listening sessions, and with only a few exceptions, they all sounded very well. Practically everyone there used better or even premium woofers and tweeters this time around. DOTD, only lasts for one day. But the pain of a lousy driver keeps on giving (ringing) in your ears the whole year long. Which agrees with what I've said in the past, USE GOOD DRIVERS. I personally don't believe that you can "crossover" fix
budget/cheap drivers. And if you do believe it, I'm not going to waste my time arguing with you
about it. No, crossovers are not the most important components. Drivers are! Maybe I'll be able to demonstrate a crossoverless pair next time. Full rangers anyone? Actually, I was thinking
of a 2 way with a piezo tweeter. Don't laugh just yet, I might just do it.
Also unlike last year, this year had us on hand a true audio dignitary -Seigfried Linkwitz.
Nice to meet you, sir. His ORIONS were 'clearly' the best of the whole bunch. However he had substantial (unfair) advantage in that his was a bi-amped setup with dedicated electronic crossovers and electronic correction! They wouldn't have sounded nearly as good had he been
using a single stereo amp and passive crossovers. For whatever reason, Mr. Linkwitz dislikes
tube amplifiers! With the exception of Mr. Linkwitz, everyone there who was using the SEAS W18's, seemed at least to me to have a little bit of, if even minor problem with them. Even though very revealing, the W18's are a difficult driver to use! Somebody was supposedly going to bring some FOCAL stuff along, but I don't think he showed up, or did he? I personally feel that FOCAL out does SEAS, but only by a little bit.
The most awesome and dynamic pair belonged to James Miyake. His line arrays were absolutely grand! They cost him $1,900 in parts. I liked the ingenious idea of using sleepings bags as protective covers. Obviously Jim Griffins research into line arrays, pans out. I would like
to have listened to them playing some serious (loud) rock-n-roll!
Give me some Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin or Van Halen please!
John Hancock (not the original) presented an exceptionally non fatiguing, low distortion pair
of 2 ways, but I couldn't get him to c r a n k them up either, to hear what they would really do! Southern California was aptly represented again, this year by Paul Kittinger. His white TL's were also very non fatiguing, especially for 4 ways! He had the best made-best looking grilles and the most excellent example of driver/crossover integration. But they sounded a bit lean to
me and could have used some more bass. Maybe a diffraction loss compensation problem?
The resulting limitation of using a series crossover? I would have swapped out his woofer and used a dual voice coil version, employing the second voice coil for some additional bass lift.
Honorable mention has to go to Ratch Higgins, the local high school physics teacher who volunteers a lot of his time and resources helping teenagers. His one student's example demonstrated very well. Fit and finish were lacking, but both the student's and his loudspeaker performed way better than they looked. Use some bigger ports next time Ratch. It was truly amazing how well he was able to integrate 3 way drivers into an enclosure with lower order crossovers!
The best looking (furniture) pair of enclosures belonged to Brian F. His hand rubbed "French finish" high gloss shellac over exotic wood veneer was truly beautiful. Dave Brown's finish was still a work in progress. His enclosures featured some handsome thick maple, on sloping angles. And they had a nice warm full bodied sound. One can only imagine how good they might actually look when he is finally finished finishing them.... Say that three times in a row.
OK, some of you out there are probably asking (again this year) what did I bring? First off,
not everyone who attended brought something to demonstrate. Second, there were probably twice
as many people listening as there were those with projects. Third, if it had not been for me teasing Dan Carroll about the Sacramento KINGS (loosers), I would never have even known about
the event. I barely found out in time. (thank you Dan) So when I contacted Mark K via e-mail,
he informed me that there probably would not be enough additional room or time in the scheduled lineup for me to demonstrate something. Next year, participants should be limited to time, or maybe only 2 pairs per person. One guy (Jim S) showed off 3 different pairs. All 3 pairs sounded really nice, but he played the same three identical tracks of music on each and every pair, hogging up time. His 2 way with the 7" SCAN-SPEAK Revelator woofer and the USHER tweeter was my favorite of his three demos.
Hardly anyone there used contemporary or really familiar music to demonstrate their loudspeakers. All those (old people) listening to opera and foreign language stuff, yech! It got to be so boring that I took to drinking wine (on an empty stomach) and eating strawberries. Someone did play some good James Taylor though. When my appetite finally kicked in, I scarfed down 3 or 4 slices of pizza. I understand people bringing their own favorite music selections, but program
unfamiliarity makes subjective evaluation even more difficult. Why do people always bring along music they think will favor their loudspeakers? For a change I'd like to hear someone play something that reveals their loudspeakers weaknesses!
Just about all the jazz selections played there were dull and lifeless. How come nobody brought anything from the MAPLESHADE catalog? Or maybe something from WINDHAM HILL or a SHEFFIELD LAB disc?
Or how about one of those STEREOPHILE magazine test CD's instead? PIERRE VERANY, anyone?
For those of you who don't know, the STEREOPHILE magazine test CD's feature selected tracks of live acoustical music, recorded classical music and various assorted test tones especially suited for subjective evaluation. I personally don't like Corey Greenburg, (formerly of STEREOPHILE magazine) but his recorded forwards played backwards direct-to-tape guitar cut named EDEN is a wonderful example of live music for listening sessions and evaluations! I found myself wishing someone would put on something by John Philip Sousa, (marching band music) just so that I'd have something to tap (stomp) my feet to.

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Topic - My take on DIY2003 loudspeaker building event (long) - Æ 18:46:45 06/4/03 ( 1)