Those of us who like speaker building are aware that you can build a pair of speakers that outperfom commercial offerings for a great deal less money, BUT it takes a lot of work, particularly to achieve a high standard of finish. Over the years we have offered kits to make the process easier and dozens of customers have built our Jordan based and Omni designs.
I have built many speakers over the 40 years that I have been interested in hi fi and have gained an understanding of what are the key factors in a successful design. Lately I have been thinking of a new design that incorporates those factors.
Firstly, the cabinets need to be very strong and non-resonant.
Secondly, the dimensions need to be pleasing so that the speakers will not overpower the decor of a room. Larger cabinets enable better bass output and floorstanding speakers provide the extra volume without the need for stands.
Thirdly, wide range drivers mean crossover networks can be simpler or avoided thereby eliminating one of the most difficult aspects of multi-driver speaker design. Jordan's JX92 is an outstanding example of what can be achieved with a single wide range driver in a variety of enclosure designs. In this new design I am using two Jordan drivers that extend the frequency range below and above what the JX92 can achieve. The JX125 driver has a usable frequency range of 40 to 10KHz. The E60 (revised version of the JXr6HD) goes from about 100 to 30KHz. By crossing over between them at about 600Hz with very simple 6dB per octave filters a very smooth response from 40 to 30KHz can be achieved. The E60 is more sensitive than the JX125 so a variable resistor enables its output to be lowered to match and also provide an adjustment for room acoustics.
I built the prototypes using 30mm thick laminated pine panels for the sides and this has resulted in a tall,elegant and very strong enclosure. The front and back panels are also braced. A separate cavity for the E60 ensures there is no back radiation from the JX125 which is in a sealed enclosure to provide non-boomy bass.
And the result ... even better than I was hoping. Clean extended bass with no hint of boominess and excellent transients. The midrange is smooth making voices sound very natural. Treble is extended producing excellent instrument definition and placement. Overall these speakers outperform any commercial ones that I have heard selling under $2000. And the cost of the four drivers and crossover components is just $550.
I have a preference for omni-directional speakers like the Ohm Acoustics range, but these FS kits are conventional with forward facing drivers, EXCEPT, pinching an idea from the Linkwitz Orion design I realised that I could use two E60s as they are 4 ohm whereas the JX125 is 8 ohm and mount one E60 on the rear panel so it produces a dipole effect. This creates a more live sensation with better room dispersion without affecting the stereo image to any degree. So this becomes one option for the design. Another option could be to use two JX125 with one E60 and move the crossover point higher. This will create more bass and higher power handling, the cabinet volume is large enough to allow this. I haven't tried this option yet. Another option would be to bi-amp them using the Harrison Lab high and low pass FMOD filters to divide the frequencies between the drivers.
I intend to produce enclosure kits for this design, probably using 25mm MDF to maintain the strength, if there is enough interest. But the enclosure plans are available to anyone interested. Only basic woodworking equipment is needed to make them as I have kept the construction simple. Phone on 07 3344 5756 or email me at email@example.com .
There are several variations possible to this design so I have made the front panel removable on the prototypes, but the enclosure kits would not have that, so the screws visible in the photo would not be there. To finish them I intend to use a white lime wash over the pine then several coats of clear polyurethane. Obviously they could be stained or painted to suit your decor preferences. Grilles are optional. Speaker spikes can be added or MagicHexa or Vibrapods used under them to prevent vibrations through to the floor.
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