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    Thread: Home Audio Build-up

    1. #1

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      Home Audio Build-up

      After spending a long time on car audio and reaching a level of satisfaction I decided to shift allegiance to home audio.
      The challenge first was to identify a decent listening space.
      The only corner granted to me was the not too music friendly dining area.
      The right speaker side has a side wall within 6 feet with windows. There is no wall on the immediacy of the left speaker side at it extends into the hall. A curtain is used as a separator for the hall and dining space on the left side.
      A fridge and dining table occupy a portion of the right side while the left side is totally bare.
      Of course heavy curtains provide relief from the windows.

      Hardware
      End of Chain: Tower speakers (custom drivers)
      DAC and Amplifier: Yamaha RXV-671
      Music Source: Laptop
      External Soundcard: ASUS Xonar U7 USB
      Cables: Belkin toslink, 16 awg speaker cables, good quality 10-foot USB extender with signal gain
      A basic pioneer mike for room correction
      Might add an active subwoofer

      Software:
      Predominantly Foobar2000 and also JRiver
      VAT and Plugins:
      Crossover, DRCD, Mathaudio Room EQ, Ambiophonics with Foobar
      Parametric EQ, Output Format, DRCD, Ambiophonics with JRiver

      Pics and details to follow.
      Last edited by gkannan; 3rd Sep 2014 at 11:32.
      ICE, 4-way active - Eclipse CD7200mkii Head Unit, Ref. MX cables, Kenwood KOS-300, Two Pioneer GM-X944 4-channel amps, Dayton Reference 7 inch midbass, Dayton 4 inch reference midrange and Dayton AMT Tweeters, Infinity Kappa 10 inch subwoofer
      Home Audio, 3-way active - Dune Media Player, Parasound DAC, Behringer 32-band equalizer, DBX 3-way analogue crossover, Dayton Audio 3-way tower speakers.

    2. #2
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      Are your custom built speakers 2 way or 3 way? Nice setup by the way. The only quality audio i have is through my computer onboard audio solution(called supremefx- exclusive to asus rog motherboards) which does 192KHz/24bit(if i remember well) and a 2.1 setup which is thx certified. Your build is something to get me started but space constraint in my home has my hands tied
      Sometimes, It is better to count our blessings than think about what we didn't get.

    3. #3
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      Thats Great gkannan.

      Whats the Raw Driver & Other parts used for Tower Speakers.
      - JKB

    4. #4

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      Quote Originally Posted by Arch-Angel View Post
      Are your custom built speakers 2 way or 3 way? Nice setup by the way. The only quality audio i have is through my computer onboard audio solution(called supremefx- exclusive to asus rog motherboards) which does 192KHz/24bit(if i remember well) and a 2.1 setup which is thx certified. Your build is something to get me started but space constraint in my home has my hands tied
      I had built the towers (3-way) many years ago with the help of Late Mr. Murugesan of Craftel. However over the period of time, the crossovers got damaged and the speakers were almost in cold storage as just show pieces and occupying real estate. The woofer is a 10 inch Peerless driver, 5 inch bolton midrange and philips silk dome tweeters.

      Quote Originally Posted by balaji.jkb View Post
      Thats Great gkannan.
      Whats the Raw Driver & Other parts used for Tower Speakers.
      The current setup I am experimenting with uses the same towers excluding the Bolton midrange.
      For woofer I have the option of both the Peerless and a vintage pair of alnico magnet based 10 inch drivers.

      Since I am experimenting a fully active driven setup, I don't have to bother about passive crossovers.

      Pics of the drivers:

      The peerless 10 inch
      Click image for larger version. 

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      Tonegon PH-10 alnico full range driver with whizzer cone
      Click image for larger version. 

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      Philips silk dome tweeters
      Click image for larger version. 

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      Last edited by gkannan; 3rd Sep 2014 at 18:45.
      ICE, 4-way active - Eclipse CD7200mkii Head Unit, Ref. MX cables, Kenwood KOS-300, Two Pioneer GM-X944 4-channel amps, Dayton Reference 7 inch midbass, Dayton 4 inch reference midrange and Dayton AMT Tweeters, Infinity Kappa 10 inch subwoofer
      Home Audio, 3-way active - Dune Media Player, Parasound DAC, Behringer 32-band equalizer, DBX 3-way analogue crossover, Dayton Audio 3-way tower speakers.

    5. #5
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      Superb sir.. Good Luck in experimenting Hope Philips are not manufacturing the Raw Drivers any now a days..
      - JKB

    6. #6
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      I used build box speakers at one time (when i was 15-16) using woofers from bolton and crossovers from some brand. Had good results from a techniks amplifier(this was the cheapest at the time). You wont need passive radiators on such a setup unless you really dislike ported designs(they have restrictions as to how they need to be positioned) or you have a spare woofer which you would like to utilize. Are your boxes made of MDF? peerless woofers(as in the brand?)
      Last edited by Arch-Angel; 3rd Sep 2014 at 22:36.
      Sometimes, It is better to count our blessings than think about what we didn't get.

    7. #7

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      Quote Originally Posted by Arch-Angel View Post
      I used build box speakers at one time (when i was 15-16) using woofers from bolton and crossovers from some brand. Had good results from a techniks amplifier(this was the cheapest at the time). You wont need passive radiators on such a setup unless you really dislike ported designs(they have restrictions as to how they need to be positioned) or you have a spare woofer which you would like to utilize. Are your boxes made of MDF? peerless woofers(as in the brand?)
      Yeah, the speaker boxes are made with MDF. Yes the woofers are Peerless (unmarked) had procured them long ago through a friend who was working in their Mumbai office.
      However I am not using the Peerless in the current setup. It is more suited for a 3-way design.
      I am going with the alnico 10 inch full range drivers and the Philips tweeters.
      ICE, 4-way active - Eclipse CD7200mkii Head Unit, Ref. MX cables, Kenwood KOS-300, Two Pioneer GM-X944 4-channel amps, Dayton Reference 7 inch midbass, Dayton 4 inch reference midrange and Dayton AMT Tweeters, Infinity Kappa 10 inch subwoofer
      Home Audio, 3-way active - Dune Media Player, Parasound DAC, Behringer 32-band equalizer, DBX 3-way analogue crossover, Dayton Audio 3-way tower speakers.

    8. #8

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      The reason for choosing laptop to stream music was because of a combination of simplicity, versatility, convenience and cost. Though I was looking for a wifi driven wireless music streaming solution, I later dropped it because I had to invest additionally both on the computer side and receiver side.

      The onboard Sigmatel sound card is quite basic but functional on laptop speakers.
      Since the onboard DAC on my yamaha receiver is very good, I decided not to invest in a DAC based USB device.
      So the first upgrade was to a basic USB to coaxial converter.

      Picked a decent one from ebay. It has both analogue and digital outputs (both coaxial and S/Pdif).

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      The receiver supports both coaxial and S/Pdif.

      Click image for larger version. 

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      SPDIF can cause jitter issues but coax has its own problems of line noise. I tried both and found SPDIF to be marginally better.

      USB Extension cable:

      Click image for larger version. 

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      So the initial chain was simple and straight:

      PC > foobar > USB extension cable > USB/toslink conveter > Yamaha DAC cum power amplifier > speakers.

      The downside here were the 3-way tower speakers. Its crossovers were screaming for a change. The midrange drivers were also in a pretty bad shape and needed either reconing or replacement. I hunted for some both new and used speakers, but could not find anything within a decent budget.

      So it was time for some out-of-the box trials. I had read a lot about using software based pre-amp crossovers based on VST plugins. After some read-ups, I short listed the following.

      Paid Ones:
      ((Acourate)) is an audio tool box which offers a number of functions including pre-amp active crossover, room correction and more. it is considered one of the best but is very expensive.
      Thuneau frequency allocator is another excellent program, but again expensive.
      All these prefer ASIO as audio renderer.
      JRiver has an inbuilt DSP for generating active crossover (I will discuss this later).
      Free tools:
      Foobar has a decent free component called crossover
      http://xover.sourceforge.net/

      It allows to split digitally the source into 4-way frequency bands with low pass, high pass, band pass and band stop on all the outputs. The frequency band is limited from 20hz to 22049 hz. One can also choose filter algorithms (Butterworth, Bessel, Chebyshev) and slopes. Full details are available in the link.

      Ofcourse the pre-requisite is a sound card that supports multiple outputs. I short listed ASUS Xonar U7 as it best suited my requirements.
      It is truly a versatile sound card.

      Click image for larger version. 

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      To be continued..................
      Last edited by gkannan; 4th Sep 2014 at 12:20.
      ICE, 4-way active - Eclipse CD7200mkii Head Unit, Ref. MX cables, Kenwood KOS-300, Two Pioneer GM-X944 4-channel amps, Dayton Reference 7 inch midbass, Dayton 4 inch reference midrange and Dayton AMT Tweeters, Infinity Kappa 10 inch subwoofer
      Home Audio, 3-way active - Dune Media Player, Parasound DAC, Behringer 32-band equalizer, DBX 3-way analogue crossover, Dayton Audio 3-way tower speakers.

    9. #9

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      aah, Bolton & Philips drivers. brings back fond memories of speaker projects from 2 - 3 decades back. pls continue to update us of the progress.

      Quote Originally Posted by gkannan View Post

      SPDIF can cause jitter issues but coax has its own problems of line noise. I tried both and found SPDIF to be marginally better.
      I think you are using the terms S/PDIF and TOSLINK interchangeably. Both of your outputs are S/PDIF. the output connectors are TOSLINK and co-axial. This TOSLINK can't be better than the co-ax output as it will always have higher jitter than the co-ax. I think you should re-look at the co-ax cable you used. even the ones which are meant for CATV use will give better results than the usual stranded core RCA cables meant to be used as audio interconnects. look for one which has 75 ohm impedance, a crimped connection and uses copper as a solid core conductor.

      secondly, here's an implementation idea for you to toy around with - use the built in high pass of the Yammy to power the bolton midrange and philips silk dome with a simple first order XO.
      use the sub out with a separate outboard amp to drive the 10" peerless in a separate enclosure. i have a sneaking suspicion that it might sound better than a 3 way active setup.

    10. #10

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      Quote Originally Posted by outofthebox View Post
      aah, Bolton & Philips drivers. brings back fond memories of speaker projects from 2 - 3 decades back. pls continue to update us of the progress.
      I am pursuing with the alnico 10 inch drivers. They sound really good just as full rangers. However with tweeters added and crossed above 8 khz at 6db/FO butterworth, they add a good spark.

      Quote Originally Posted by outofthebox View Post
      I think you are using the terms S/PDIF and TOSLINK interchangeably. Both of your outputs are S/PDIF. the output connectors are TOSLINK and co-axial. This TOSLINK can't be better than the co-ax output as it will always have higher jitter than the co-ax. I think you should re-look at the co-ax cable you used. even the ones which are meant for CATV use will give better results than the usual stranded core RCA cables meant to be used as audio interconnects. look for one which has 75 ohm impedance, a crimped connection and uses copper as a solid core conductor.
      Yes, I stand corrected regarding the toslink. I did use a very good reference coax cable. Actually the difference is pretty marginal and both the digital outputs sound quite good.

      Quote Originally Posted by outofthebox View Post
      secondly, here's an implementation idea for you to toy around with - use the built in high pass of the Yammy to power the bolton midrange and philips silk dome with a simple first order XO.
      use the sub out with a separate outboard amp to drive the 10" peerless in a separate enclosure. i have a sneaking suspicion that it might sound better than a 3 way active setup.
      I will try a 4.97mfd capacitor to run the tweeters passive. The tweeters are 4 ohm nominal and the alnico 10 inch woofers 16 ohm. I guess I am going to stick to 2-way as the midranges are in quite a bad shape. The peerless woofer struggles beyond 3khz.

      Regarding the foobar active DSP, I did hit a roadblock as WASAPI over S/PDIF is restricted to 2-channel PCM. It works on Direct Sound S/Pdif but the mixer adds its own artefacts.
      There are no issues over WASAPI/ASIO over the sound card's analogue outputs, but sadly my Yammy does not have multi-channel analogue inputs (only optical/coax and HDMI).
      I tried the foobar activeDSP mode over a 4-channel car audio amplifier (have a 220/12 volt converter) and it sounded quite good.
      Sound Card was set to quadrophonic (left-right and SL-SR)
      The left/right analogue outputs from sound card was fed to one pair of channel on the amplifier to drive the woofers and the SR/SL outputs of the sound card fed to the remaining 2-channels of the amplifier to drive the tweeters.
      The crossover/slope/delay/attenuation were defined in the crossoverDSP.
      However the amps signature is more dominant of the lower midrange and below.
      I however prefer the signature of the Yammy better.

      I will post the images later.
      Last edited by gkannan; 9th Sep 2014 at 14:55.
      ICE, 4-way active - Eclipse CD7200mkii Head Unit, Ref. MX cables, Kenwood KOS-300, Two Pioneer GM-X944 4-channel amps, Dayton Reference 7 inch midbass, Dayton 4 inch reference midrange and Dayton AMT Tweeters, Infinity Kappa 10 inch subwoofer
      Home Audio, 3-way active - Dune Media Player, Parasound DAC, Behringer 32-band equalizer, DBX 3-way analogue crossover, Dayton Audio 3-way tower speakers.

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