ScanSpeak W15/9700, built by Patrick, Canada
Copyright 2014 © Troels Gravesen


Hi Troels,
Please find attached photos of my first construction, your ScanSpeak W1500/97, and notes on the process of building them.

Construction of the Cabinets
These speakers came into being when I accompanied a friend to a woodworking shop on one of his weekend excursions.  While he was working on a furniture project, I quickly went online and found this design.  I chose it only because I had a pair of 97000 tweeters already and I needed a small cabinet design because I was limited to the scraps of wood that I could find at the woodworking shop.  It was that spontaneous!  This is definitely not the best criteria by which to choose a speaker project, but nonetheless it worked.  Since I had never built anything before out of wood – not even a birdhouse – I really didn't expect to actually make a pair of functional cabinets; I just thought I would try to build the boxes and if it worked out, it would be a bonus.  With my friend's guidance and tireless patience, I was able to cut all the pieces and biscuit join them in a single afternoon and evening – including cutting the holes and rabbets for the drivers (and remembering to chamfer the back of the driver holes).  The reason I wrote this brief account is to encourage others who may feel that they would like to build some DIY speakers but who are hesitant to try.  Simply put, if someone with my lack of experience and skill can make a pair of survivable cabinets, anyone can.  The important thing is to get some guidance and to jump in and try it.  While I don't expect that I'm going to threaten the livelihood of speaker builders like John Eekels, I was pleasantly surprised when all my corners turned out to be flush and square.  I did have them professionally veneered by a local woodworker; the finish is oil.
I made a few notable errors along the way.  First, I did not have the speaker drivers with me when I cut the holes and rabbets for them.  You will notice from the attached photos that the rabbets are slightly too large.  I also thought that I would like to have drivers that I could readily remove so I chose to use threaded inserts.  To quote your Tips and Tricks page, “Threaded inserts are a pain to mount correctly and most often there is not enough space to mount them properly due to chamfering of driver hole.”  I certainly learned that the hard way, as I ended up filing open the mounting holes of the drivers to accommodate the slight errors I made in placing the threaded inserts.  No matter how careful one is in drilling them, one or two holes inevitably seem not to line-up. Never again!
Crossovers and Drivers
I used Mundorf capacitors and Solen coils for the crossovers as a previous builder commented that the sonic presentation of this design sounded a bit reserved, particularly in a well-dampened room.  In my experience, I've found Mundorf caps to be very revealing and extended when they have been substituted in place of other capacitors in commercial speakers.  I used Cardas Litz wire for the internal wiring and went a bit overboard with Cardas copper binding posts.  I used GE silicone glue for the crossovers and found it worked very well.  The only problem I encountered was that the crossover for this speaker is very large and involved, and I almost chose a board to put it on that was too large to fit into the speaker.  As it is, it takes up the whole bottom of the inside of the cabinets.  Also, I used Velcro adhesive strips to affix the crossovers to the cabinets in the event that I needed to remove them for modifications.
You will notice that the midwoofers are brown and textured.  I purchased them used as OEM drivers made by ScanSpeak.  I was told that they measured the same as the originals and I also have a brand new pair that will eventually settle into the speakers.
If the speakers made any sound at all, I'm sure that I would have been overjoyed considering they were the first pair I ever tried to make.  However, while making them, the mind naturally wanders to how they may sound and by the time that I was ready to play them, I was expecting that they would never be able to realistically come close to the idealized image I had, by then, developed in my mind of how good they would be.  Much to my surprise, they not only met my expectations but they surpassed them!  Very few things in life surprise me anymore in this way, and I was happy for it.  I was worried that the treble would be too polite or possibly rolled off at the very top.  While I would not describe these speakers as bright, they are certainly very extended.  I also was a bit worried that the 97000 tweeter may lack body as people don't seem to like it and prefer the 95000 tweeter instead.  In this design I certainly did not find this at all.  The treble sounded both rich and detailed.
The bass from these speakers goes surprisingly low and I felt no need to add my subwoofers to them.  More importantly, there was great detail in the bass region, just as there had been in the upper registers.  I was originally going to build your 8+1 design next but now that this one plays so low, I'm not sure that I need to.  Most impressive of all is how well integrated the tweeters and woofers are in the ease with which they articulate the midrange.  Notes on a piano just simply flow naturally up and down the scale without any hint of where the speaker is crossing over.  The speaker just sounds very open and lyrical as music retains its natural ebb and flow.
Lastly, I'd be remiss if I did not mention how well these speakers image.  In my room, pulled out about two meters from the back wall and about a meter from the side walls, they throw a huge soundstage with great depth and width that extends beyond the outside edge of the speakers.  They simply sonically disappear in the room.  Perhaps it is because I have not used a small, 2-way design for a long time but there is something to be said sonically for a speaker that takes up so little physical space.
Final Thoughts
I know that since it was designed, few people have built the ScanSpeak W1500/97 and it has been surpassed by more recent designs such as the Ellam Flex and it has since been removed from the list of Scan-Speak Constructions posted on your website.  I personally found that this design is a real “sleeper” and it is too bad that more folks have not discovered it.  Also, one advantage your older designs have over the newest ones is that for the more frugal among us who seek out used drivers, I suspect that they will have more luck sourcing drivers from the older Revelator line, compared to the Illuminator drivers.  The other advantage that some of your older designs have is that their cabinets are very easy to make compared to those with stepped baffles, etc.  I know that you have moved well beyond simple 2-ways, but it was certainly a good place for a beginner like me to start.
I would heartily recommend this design to anyone who is interested in a first-time project or someone who is looking to build a good quality, mid-efficiency mini-monitor.  Even if you are not looking for a mini-monitor design, this speaker is worth building simply because it just sounds so good (as long as it is used with similar quality upstream components and a reasonably strong amplifier).  Like others, I'm grateful that you take the time and effort to build these designs and share them so freely.
Many thanks,
Patrick Burek, Toronto, Canada
My Stereo (the equipment that I used with the speakers):
Benz Mico Ruby Cartridge
Rega RB300 Arm with Michelle Weight and Cardas Wiring
JVC QL-5 Direct Drive TT with Custom Plinth
Blue Circle BC707 Phono Preamp
Linn Unidisk 1.1 CD Player
Emotive Audio Sira Preamp and Atma-Sphere MP-3 with Phono and V-Caps
Wavelength Audio Duetto SET Amp
Actinote Speaker Cables
Alternative Speakers:
SEAS Thor's
Tannoy Golds in Bass Reflex Cabinets
Vaughn Triode II's
Fostex FE163 En-S Drivers in BLH Cabinets