I have finally finished the Illuminator Monitor's in Australian
Blackwood. All external panels are 25mm mitre joint with the front
baffle an extra 18mm MDF. I purchased the crossover parts and drivers
directly from Michael and Iwona at Jantzen Audio, the transaction was
smooth and communication was excellent. I left my order late in the
month, during the busy Christmas season, but Jantzen (Thanks!) rushed my
order and the package arrived in under a week.
While the front baffle is not exactly to your specification the sound
quality is absolutely fantastic. Having previously owned two well known
bookshelf speakers, namely the Sonus Faber Auditor M and B&W 805
Diamond; this speaker is another level of transparency and clarity. The
bass is far superior too (the Stealth Reflex Port is a winner). I would
love to hear these against the Sonus Faber Guarneri Evolution which
retails at AUD$21990.
The crossover layout was definitely the
hardest part to fit on the boards and ensure you can get it through the
hole to get it inside the cabinet, but in the end it all worked out.
My testing was done on my two channel system which comprises of:
Wilson Audio Sasha Series-2
McIntosh C220 + MC501s
PS Audio Transport + Directstream + Powerplant P10
WireWorld Silver SC + Gold IC + Platinum HDMI + USB
JL Audio Fathom F110
Macbook with Roon Labs
Starting out with my favorite artist, Diana Krall I thought the sound
was "OK", but not up to the level I was expecting. The mid's and high's
seem to be lacking, but the bass response was good. I then remembered
that I had the cables connected to the McIntosh MC501's 4ohm tap's and
changed them to the 8ohm tap, immediately an improvement. The treble is
much more focused, smooth and incredibly detailed. Integration with the
mid-range was greatly better, voices sound super organic and so lifelike
in a way I never heard in my room before with a bookshelf!
I then decided to enable my JL Audio F110 Subwoofer and play around with
the integration, finding a sweet spot with the crossover at 60hz and
approx 50% power, this gave a fantastic overall sound that final low end
punch. Having only recently upgraded from the B&W 802 Diamonds, their
sound was still fresh. These bookshelf's with a 10" subwoofer
combination is a clear winner, making the midrange of the 802 Diamond
sound muddy and the highs sound very coloured.
I am very impressed and would like to congratulate you on such a superb
design. IMO they are superior to any bookshelf speaker I have heard
under AUD$20k and matched with a quality 10" subwoofer they would
require some stiff competition from a 3-way floor-standing speaker.
Below are some more pictures from during the build with Harman Kardon
electronics and a Balvenie single malt. This shows that this speaker
design can allow to low-mid level electrics and still produce excellent