Ellam XT, built
by Robert Kettel/UK
Here are some words and pictures for your web site, if you wish. Let me know if you prefer some other resolution on the jpegs.
My EllamXTs are finally finished, after 18 months and over 200 hours of work. The cabinet design is based on a cross between the Magico Mini and Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor. Each speaker is constructed from 13 layers of 24mm Baltic birch ply, dowelled to help alignment while glueing (very worthwhile), outside edges cut with a router using a template and inner edges cut freehand with a jigsaw. Front panels 35mm thick and sides 35 to 40mm. Final weight about 15kg each. The most nerve-wracking part was routing the speaker rebates in the front panel - one slip and a huge amount of work cutting, routing and glueing up the layers would have been ruined. The back panel work was almost as tricky, and had to be done before the top and bottom layers were glued on to give a flat back to work on. I wanted to route the outside part of the port hole rather than being able to see a plastic tube as I like the look of curved cuts in the ply - shame it will be hidden round the back! If I ever did another similar speaker, to make life easier I would use a separate vertical sheet for the front, and have a flat back without the curves top and bottom. Talking of which, I have noticed the scrap pieces of ply from the middle are just the right size for some "Eekels minis"..!
The sound - they have a very sweet and natural treble, and an amazing amount of bass for a small speaker. Careful room placement is needed though to avoid booming - I seem to have a bad room resonance at about 50Hz - and I have been experimenting with lightly stuffing the ports. I'll get some decent stands made before any final tweaking so they have a good solid support.
Thanks Troels for a brilliant web site and I'm looking forward to choosing the next speaker to build.
Best regards, Robert (from England)
I've made some stands to match my EllamXTs, see attached picture. Uprights are an anodised aluminium and birch ply sandwich, with a 25mm thick aluminium base and 27mm thick ply top plate. Some early trials without spikes showed these gave a better sound than my old square cross-section steel stands shown in the original pictures, cleaning up the bass quite a bit. The speaker mounts to the top plate on 3 spikes that rest in the heads of allen bolts fixed into the top plate. Other alternatives would be to bolt the speaker to the top plate or rest it on sorbothane pads or blue-tak, but I haven't tried those yet. Currently I have some fancy isolation spikes on the base from Track Audio. They have some damping built in and allow the speaker to rock very slightly when pushed. Compared to basic steel spikes they create a better stereo image with more depth and a much nicer midrange. Their downside seems to be a slightly looser bass. I also have a selection of Finite Elemente ceraballs and cerapucs I've acquired over the years, these give a tighter bass but collapse the stereo image a bit like the plain spikes. With all the different options to try I'm not sure I'll ever manage to decide on which one is best, however it has shown that how the speaker is supported can noticeably change certain aspects of the sound.
Looking forward to choosing the next project - perhaps Jenzen Accu. Thanks for sharing all your ideas and hard work.