1001 projects going on at once. But here's a really good one...

Post date: Nov 6, 2010 5:18:52 AM

I'm up to my ass in alligators. I don't know how I got to this spot, but I currently have a zillion projects going on, some for other people, some just for my own curiosity. Some exist only in sketches and half-finished cabinets. Some of them are finished, just waiting for a writeup. (My brain is over-active, and keeps coming up with these wild ideas: "Wouldn't it be cool to combine this driver and this driver into a cabinet that looks like this?" or "What would it sound like if I used this driver in this way...?") Over time, I will get through 90% of them, and I look forward to sharing them.

For now, I have a cool design that I just finished I'd like to share. This design was done as a custom job for someone. The client supplied the drivers, while I designed the cabinets and crossover. The cabinets were built by Delmond Won, and as you can tell, they look really nice!

The drivers are the Scan-Speak 15W/8530K00 5.5" midwoofer and Hiquphon OWIII tweeter, and they sound wonderful! The cabinet is 15 Liters, vented, tuned to 44 Hz--I think (I should really write these things down. If you've ever heard the 5.5" Revelators in a design, you'd know; the bass is crazy good for a bookshelf speaker. In addition, the 8530 also has a very flat frequency response until roll-off, which allows it to be crossed to a tweeter in a variety of ways. And overall, it's just an amazing driver, able to resolve incredible amounts of detail through the bass and midrange, yet not get that "cold" sound that metal cone drivers sometimes do. (But it'll cost ya. That's one 'spensive driver!)

I have enjoyed the Hiquphon OW series tweeters whenever I've heard them in designs, but I'd never gotten a chance to work with them myself, or hear them in my own house. Now that I have spent a good deal of time with them and heard them in my own room, I can gladly tell you that these are my favorite tweeters. I don't fully understand what magic they contain that lets them do what they do, but they are without a doubt the most "musical" tweeters I've ever heard. Cymbals sound just right; not too splashy or ping-y, and somehow they decay far more naturally than I've ever heard on other tweeters. Imaging and soundstage are both excellent. Sounds are placed very precisely in the soundstage, and do not wander.

So how do the speakers sound? Well, it's all opinion after a certain point, but I will say this: there is a particular sound I've wished to hear from a 2-way bookshelf for the past few years, and these speakers nail it. I wanted something that sounded very large and spacious yet still imaged precisely. It can resolve tiny details in recordings, but not come across as "overly analytical."

I think the temptation a lot of speaker designers get when working with top-of-the-line drivers is to voice the speakers for top-of-the-line recordings. But how often does one actually listen to that stuff? So instead, I voiced these for "normal" music; you know, recorded with close mics, in a studio, with Pro Tools and other studio wizardry. It was worth it; I can't stop listening to these, and I will be building myself a pair--it might take a bit of time to save up, but it's worth it. I'm not saying all expensive drivers are worth it, but this speaker is really "what I always wanted" (from a 2-way, anyway).

This particular tweeter is no longer available. Oskar has claimed to have improved upon it, and re-released it as the OW3. And if you were wondering, the dome isn't actually metallic. It's just the color used in the doping compound he applies to the tweeter; all the OW tweeters are based on the same silk dome; the only thing that changes is the type of doping he uses for each one. But I digress. When I build my own pair, I will be using the OWI. Then I will officially publish the design on my page. Until then, I'd consider this sort of a one-off project.