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Topic: DIY active speakers - resources & suppliers

We've had a few people on here talking about DIY active speakers, so I thought it was time to pull together some of the information on one thread. If you have any links to active crossover designs, plate amps, power amps or the like, please post them here.

Note that this isn't a playpen for another active vs passive fight. We've plenty of primers in the reference section on HDD or try this one from Rod Elliot

http://sound.westhost.com/biamp-vs-passive.htm

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Re: DIY active speakers - resources & suppliers

ACTIVE CROSSOVERS

The kit market isn't exactly awash with these but here are two solder-it-yourself solutions, with full PCB and support for construction available.

Rod Elliot's design:

http://sound.westhost.com/project09.htm

and the SKA Audio design by Greg Ball design:

http://www.ska-audio.com/


Slightly unusual but maybe a sign of things to come, here is the Mini-DSP design which is a fully-built module which you program yourself

http://www.minidsp.com/products/the-product-concept

There's much more on the website about what their products can do. They are coming up with new applications all the time. They also do a plate amplifier but the pricing is high (as is the claimed output - 2400w!)

Last edited by shenzi (2011-06-13 16:43:53)

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Re: DIY active speakers - resources & suppliers

PLATE AMPS

These are the full power amp/power supply mounted on a panel to fit into the loudspeaker enclosure. Subwoofers have them.

The Hypex Hypex AS2.100 is a complete solution, incorporating a remote-control preamp and 2 x 100w power amps per plate. There is also a version with a digital DAC incoporated. So to do a stereo active system, you need two of these plate amps (current cost £260 to £300 each). If going for the digital DAC option, they both have to incorporate it - so you can't have the DAC in only one plate amp to save a few quid. (I asked.)

https://www.hypexshop.com/

BK also make a plate amp which is interesting BUT only features one 50w power amp. So it would be ok for powering a passive speaker or turning a single-driver speaker into a one-box system. (Of course, some marketing departments would call this an activated speaker.)

http://www.bkelec.com/HiFi/Amps/pp50.htm

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Re: DIY active speakers - resources & suppliers

READY BUILT AMPLIFIER MODULES

These are fully-built but may need power supplies, heatsinks etc.

BK offer a wide range of outputs

http://www.bkelec.com/Modules/Amplifiers.htm

This company used to make Class-D (hence the name) but their current range are linear amplifiers (class AB). This one looked reasonable but I haven't seen many reports amongst the DIY crowd:


http://www.class-d.com/Mosfets/Modules/ … 20904.html

And this is a very well-priced 100w Velleman module (about £13 a mono board for 100w - so two boards needed per speaker for a 2-way design)

http://cpc.farnell.com/jsp/level5/modul … 471884.xml

Last edited by shenzi (2011-06-13 17:00:35)

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Re: DIY active speakers - resources & suppliers

AMPLIFIERS - SOLDERING REQUIRED

Several on Greg Ball's site

http://www.ska-audio.com/

Rod Elliot's site has a number of designs but his latest looks very inteesting

http://sound.westhost.com/project101.htm

And there are various Gainclone kits out there. These are based (usually) on National Semiconductors power amp chips. The benefit is that very few external components are required. So few, you can build without a PCB if happy to have an amplifier looking like a rat's nest. I'd go for one of the PCB kits. This supplier is good:

http://www.audiosector.com

(PS Called Gainclone because they're a DIY copy of the Japanese hi-end 47 Labs Gaincard design but at 100th the price and often better engineered.)

Last edited by shenzi (2011-06-13 17:01:03)

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Re: DIY active speakers - resources & suppliers

DRIVE UNITS

Rather an important component of the active speaker system. There are a number of suppliers. One I recently found (but haven't used) is Europe Audio. They look useful for tricky-to-locate exotic bits and pieces.

http://www.europe-audio.com/intro.asp

I've used Wilmslow Audio and they're quite good

http://www.wilmslow-audio.co.uk

And IPL supply drivers as well as their own kit designs

http://www.iplacoustics.co.uk/

Over in the US of A DIYers are well served by

http://www.madisound.com/

They will supply the UK but watch out for carriage charges and VAT/import duty.

Last edited by shenzi (2011-06-13 17:17:55)

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Re: DIY active speakers - resources & suppliers

http://www.sbacoustics.com/

Their drive units are available on this page: http://www.madisound.com/manufacturers/ … /index.php

Last edited by Carlos (2011-06-13 20:11:13)

Google Nexus 10/Fiio E11/Spotify Premium/Denon AH-D600 :-)

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Re: DIY active speakers - resources & suppliers

Not Active Speakers, but the build quality of the kit's and modules looks tops.

http://www.aussieamplifiers.com/

AVI Amp, AVI CD, AVI Pro Nine Plus, AVI Brios, AVI 9.1T, Benchmark DAC, Apple Macbook Pro

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Re: DIY active speakers - resources & suppliers

These guys do Volt drivers cheaper than Wilmslow. You have to log in to get the prices but the last time I looked they had the 18 incher at £230 when Wilmslow were £440.

http://www.cld-dist.co.uk/shop/speakers … ro_pa.html

Google Nexus 10/Fiio E11/Spotify Premium/Denon AH-D600 :-)

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Re: DIY active speakers - resources & suppliers

Not forgetting the essential speaker builders tool.

http://www.linearteam.dk/default.aspx?pageid=winisd

And one of the best forums on the net for building up your knowledge base.

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/

Google Nexus 10/Fiio E11/Spotify Premium/Denon AH-D600 :-)

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Re: DIY active speakers - resources & suppliers

Yes, I was being cautious about Wilmslow.

Re DIYaudio - good DIY forum but there is an awful lot of nonsense posted there (I abandoned it for here). That said, it doesn't take long for you to spot the knowledgeable ones.

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Re: DIY active speakers - resources & suppliers

And if all the heavy reading gets too much, this site can provide some light relief and much comedy material.

http://forums.naimaudio.com/forums

Suitable for ages 6 years and above.

Google Nexus 10/Fiio E11/Spotify Premium/Denon AH-D600 :-)

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Re: DIY active speakers - resources & suppliers

Naughty Carlos. I'm trying to keep this thread a spat-free zone ;-)

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Re: DIY active speakers - resources & suppliers

ACTIVE CROSSOVERS

Another option - especially at the development stage - is to use a stand-alone active crossover system, such as the DCX 2496 from Behringer at around £250

http://www.behringer.com/EN/images/products/DCX2496_P0036_FrontTop_web.jpg


http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/DCX2496.aspx

You gain a lot in versatility and fine tuning at the expense of another box to find a home for - and a rather daunting array of controls!

A simpler alternative is the CX 2310 which you can get for £60 to £80

http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/CX2310.aspx

and there are similar designs from other manufacturers, such as DBX. These are available from pro-audio stores.

If you are going this route of separate boxes, it may also make sense to look at separate power amps. Studio power amps are much cheaper per watt than their hi-fi counterparts and designed for prolonged use at higher outputs.

Good pro-audio stores to prowl around are

http://www.studiospares.co.uk

http://www.absolutemusic.co.uk

http://www.DV247.com

http://www.dolphinmusic.co.uk

Last edited by shenzi (2011-06-14 16:19:08)

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Re: DIY active speakers - resources & suppliers

Analogue crossovers.

http://www.rane.com/

http://www.ashly.com/xrseriescrossove.html

Google Nexus 10/Fiio E11/Spotify Premium/Denon AH-D600 :-)

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Re: DIY active speakers - resources & suppliers

Here's a pro-supplier listing multi-channel power amps, which would reduce the box count:

http://www.audio4av.com/pricelist.php?id=9


They have a separate section for two-channel amps, if stacking up for that Mission Control look:

http://www.audio4av.com/pricelist.php?id=10


Interesting to note the prices for Marantz and Yamaha professional ranges. The Maranz MM8003 8 channel power amp looks expensive at £1200 until you realise that's 4 x 140 wpc stereo amps. Meanwhile the cheapest Yamaha 2-channel amp is £330 - but that's for 2 x 275 watts.

On their loudspeaker management page, there are a number of active crossovers, including makes already emntioned:

http://www.audio4av.com/pricelist.php?id=45

The DBX ones are worth noting as they are available with (XL version) and without XLR connectors.

(btw, thanks to Wolfgang on another thread for linking to this dealer)

Last edited by shenzi (2011-06-15 08:39:39)

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Re: DIY active speakers - resources & suppliers

Anyone considering using a digital crossover such as the Behringer DCX will need some way of adjusting the volume since the stock volume controls on these are usually quite limited and pretty crude. There are 3 options.

1) Use pro amps that have level controls.

2) Attach some stepped attenuators to your power amps: http://mysite.verizon.net/vze4c5pt/id2.html

3) Use a 6 channel volume control in this configuration: http://www.dcx2496.fr/en/configuration_en.php

Google Nexus 10/Fiio E11/Spotify Premium/Denon AH-D600 :-)

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Re: DIY active speakers - resources & suppliers

Thanks guys.  I'm really interested in a project like this as you know.  I just need some time away from client work to get on with it.

Peter

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Re: DIY active speakers - resources & suppliers

Ha ha, it's not all for your benefit, Peter. It's so I can find stuff again as well!

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Re: DIY active speakers - resources & suppliers

Lol, I guessed that. Still; thanks.

Peter

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Re: DIY active speakers - resources & suppliers

Yes, this is developing into a useful resource collection.

Shenzi, have you thought of using four Jordan divers in a vertical line (times two for a stereo pair) but, rather than putting them in  series parallel, driving each with it's own Gainclone?

What advantages would accrue?

Brian
Quad 77 Int Amp > AVI Neutron 4
Quad 520f > MB Quart 980s
Squeezebox Classic, Beresford Caiman-Gator DAC, Sony MDR-F1 Headphones

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Re: DIY active speakers - resources & suppliers

Might be a bit louder, . . .


. . . and you could put your Aspidistra on the top.

JC

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Re: DIY active speakers - resources & suppliers

Labarum wrote:

Yes, this is developing into a useful resource collection.

Shenzi, have you thought of using four Jordan divers in a vertical line (times two for a stereo pair) but, rather than putting them in  series parallel, driving each with it's own Gainclone?

What advantages would accrue?

Yes, I'd considered that. You'd gain more output and individual amps would avoid the loss of control from using drivers in series (and the Gainclones are about the right match for an individual 2" Jordan mid/tweeter). The other advantage of an array of 4 mid/tweeters is lateral image stability, which I've talked about before. But I'd rather not derail a resources thread.

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Re: DIY active speakers - resources & suppliers

A couple of useful articles on going DIY active from TNT-Audio (one of the slightly less bonkers hi-fi sites, although they do seem to like their valve amps and horns)

http://www.tnt-audio.com/casse/active_s … ro1_e.html

http://www.tnt-audio.com/casse/active_s … ro2_e.html

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Re: DIY active speakers - resources & suppliers

Marchand are quite well-known for electronic crossover kits. The XM1 looks a neat little design, 24dB/octave slope and is a PCB kit rather than a standalone box with lots of knobs to twiddle.

http://www.marchandelec.com/

warning: some items may contain thermionic devices (which is nuts).

If you're unsure about building one of their kits, you can download the manuals ahead of time (a useful resource I wish more manufacturers would provide). A manual for the XM1 is available

http://www.marchandelec.com/manuals.html

Last edited by shenzi (2011-06-17 08:25:58)