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Copyright 2023 © Troels Gravesen
ScanSpeak Illuminator kit series
ScanSpeak Revelator kit series
ScanSpeak Discovery kit series
ScanSpeak Ellipticor kit series
I have made a lot
of these 3-way classics - and for good reason. Easy cabinet
construction is an important issue as a lot of people do not have
sophisticated workshops, rather hand tools and basic workshop
facilities. Does this mean we can only build lesser quality
speakers? Not at all! A classic 3-way may prove just as good as any
fancy looking speaker with high-gloss lacquer, etc.
Click heading or image to go to website.
In hindsight, my
ATELL-3 was a keeper, but I was desperate for space and had to
let it go. Actually I may have to lend these to friends to have some
space at home.... Anyway, since then I wanted to make a semi-active
version together with a fully passive version, thus the 8 Ohms
Ellipticor 18WE/8542T00 for mid-bass in order to keep final system
impedance relatively high.
Simply the best speaker I have ever made.
The sandwich cones and non-reflective magnet
systems of the Illuminator range of drivers have something to offer
in terms of dynamic headroom, uncoloured sound - and well, here it
is, the GRANDE's update.
Time for an update on my old
construction. New tweeter, new and simpler crossover, time-aligned
drivers, etc. The Revelator-4R will be discontinued from Jantzen
Audio, but should you still prefer the ring-radiator and 4th order
crossover, you can buy the schematics directly from me.
With high-quality crossover components and
design, we can turn medium priced drivers into the high-end
It has been many years since I did a two-way from the 18W Revelator series. Since last, the 18W/4531G01 has come along. A variant of the 18W/4531G00, where some wood fibers have been added to the cone. Not sure what it is supposed to do, ScanSpeak doesn't tell, but probably adding further strength to the cone - or just another way of making a cone with the two opposite targets of cone rigidness and self-damping, the inevitable compromis. Whatever, the 18W/4531G01 does not appear to have lost resolution, while maintaining a frequency response that makes this 7" driver the easiest driver when it comes to crossover design that I know of. Well, except for the Ellipticor 18WE :-)
After making an illustrations of the various
ScanSpeak family of speakers, I couldn't help seeing something
missing in the Illuminator range of speakers. A center speaker based
on Illuminator drivers. I wanted it to look like the drawing below.
Exploring new drivers can be revelatory and having spent some 50-200
hours on your newest creation you go through your record
collection and discover new things you hadn't heard before. The tonal
palette of instruments may get a new colour, maybe more true to what you
think it should be, maybe lower distortion means higher resolution and
better holographic soundstage. In the pursuit of resolution and low
distortion we have seen fancy motor (magnets) systems and we have today an
abundance of cone materials - I don't think
we ever had so many. From paper to diamonds - and everything in between.
Paper pulp never seems to go out of fashion as it can be made in all kind
of ways with additives, coatings, etc. Very rigid cones have the downside
of ringing, break-up modes, etc. They may have superior resolution but
often require steeper crossovers to eliminate the ringing. All
I have picked three drivers I really like to make a fairly small and powerful 3-way floor-stander. It may not be revelatory - to me - but I know all these drivers from previous constructions and client work, and they're all just so damned good that I wanted to put them together in a classic 3-way, thus Revelator-851. Actually the tweeter is an Illuminator, but Revelator has the upper hand here, so Revelator-851 it is.
I wasn't quite prepared for getting the
finished speakers into our living room in front of my bridged
EAR-861 amps - and the Anna-D cartridge. Tin Pan Alley came through
with a deep powerful bass - as should. Vocals, cello and Vestbo Trio
- all came trough with a credible power and soundstage thanks to the
7" Illuminator bass driver. My always-first-to-hear friend just
couldn't believe the scale and power of Tin Pan Alley when he sat
down on the couch to have his first listen.
Simplicity has always been a driver in the
speaker DIY community. How little can we get away with and how do we
keep cost at a minimum too. Not always easy because there are
compromises in any design.
This is the logical successor of the Ekta
Grande, which has been around for more than ten year - and built by
introduced back in the 60'ies and became popular after the concept
was further developed by Joseph d'Appolito in the 80'ies (?) and
have been used by many commercial manufacturers, e.g. Dali and
Living Voice. Various crossovers have been used with MTMs, all with
the aim of reducing
The benefit of running an 8" and 6" in a
2½-way fashion is the increase in membrane area to around 370 cm^2,
more than most 10" bass drivers and while the 8" bass driver from
its vented cabinet delivers the low-end, the 6" in its closed
cabinet delivers the punch in upper bass as needed.
Discovery 3WC mkII
The thing I can say is that had I built
this speaker 15 years ago when I started my website, there
wouldn't have been as many speakers as there is today.
A ScanSpeak center speaker has been on the to-do
list for a long time, so here it is. Initially I was thinking of
Illuminator drivers, but my recent experience the
convinced me of using the Discovery drivers as they offer exceptional
performance. I wouldn't hesitate to use this center speaker with the
Ekta-mkII, The Ekta Grande, Ekta-25 or any middle sized floor-stander or
the 3-way classics, being ScanSpeak or other brands.
mkII is a keeper! If it must be small and not cost a fortune, this
speaker does it. With the updated 18W/8542-00 driver, now 18W/8542-10,
we have the tools together with the 9130 tweeter to make extraordinary
quality for a modest investment.
Making an mkII version of the popular Studio
101 has been on my to-do list for a long time. The Studio 101 has sold
steadily over the years and here's an updated version with an updated
18W woofer, better tweeter and optimised crossover.
The special thing about this Ellipticor-3 is
that we do not have a high-pass section for the two midrange drivers as
is standard for larger speaker systems and the two drivers are working
in a 2½-way fashion, where the 21WE adds to the low-end weight of the
18WE. And due to inherent smooth response, we only have a single coil to
each of these two drivers, creating target roll-off. I've never before
had drivers that could do this. We are dealing with 1st order filters.
Ear-friendly is a dubious term. It may be taken
for being forgiving on troublesome recordings. The Ell-4 is anything but
forgiving, but I can't help thinking ear-friendly. The mid-tweeter
integration works particularly well here, and not just because we have a
perfect LR2 profile far beyond point of crossover, but - I think - these
two drivers just make a remarkable couple. We can have "the best" of
midranges and tweeters in the world, but to make a coherent sound, each
supplementing the other in the best possible way, is up to trial'n
error. Sometimes we can have excellent sound from low-cost drivers due
to good compatibility and good crossover design. We can't tell from
specs - and we can't even tell from experience. Each combination must be
tried and evaluated from various baffle and crossover designs.
The construction here displays new drivers never
seen before and to be honest, it's a daunting task being the first to
put these drivers together and see what has become of a serious
investment in time and money. Both mid-woofer and tweeter feature
elliptical voice coils, something - to my knowledge - never tried
The first Ekta construction dates back to 2005
and it was time for an update. The Ekta mkII features Illuminator
drivers like the world's best 4" midrange, increased sensitivity,
simpler crossover and lower price. Too good to be true? Follow link
above. Except for wood materials, the kit includes all from bitumen pads
to driver screws.
I dare say you can put the very best
amps money can buy in front of these speakers. From the level 1
kit you'll get quality you rarely find in any commercial design.
This will be my attempt to make the very
best we can get from ScanSpeak drivers*. Who knows what the
future will bring, but until then, these Revelator and
Illuminator drivers can make recorded music alive in our living
What's seen above is meant to be a seriously large speaker from modest investment. All drivers alone are 790 EUR. What I've tried is to spend the money where it counts: The midrange driver and the crossover components' quality. I haven't experienced any driver that didn't benefit from good quality crossover components. The cabinet is designed to be as easy as possible and something for any diy enthusiast with a little experience in wood working.
This speaker has been on my to-do list for along
time. The first Ellam 98 dates back to 2005 (can't believe it) and was
designed around the common 2nd/3rd order filter as needed when drivers
are placed on a flat baffle and the need to compensate for the lack of
time-alignment. Placing the 15W driver some 20 mm in front of the 9800
tweeter allows a time- and phase-coherent system based on an LR2 filter
improving mid-tweeter integration and overall sense of transparency.
Several months of work went into this design and it's so far the biggest ScanSpeak construction I've ever made. The Jenzen Illuminator features a stepped front panel to smooth midrange frequency response and to provide acoustical alignment of drivers for implementation of true LR2 crossovers. A simplified crossover can be realised with enhanced transparency and timbre quality.
This project started
Steen writing he'd acquired 2 x 26W/8861T00 bass drivers
and after the usual some 20+ mails, the top part of this
big 3-way became the 18W/8531G00 for mid and D2905/9900
for treble due to another diy'er giving up his
project. Not a bad choice! The 18W/8531G00 can go low in
a suitable top cabinet and possibly a simple crossover
could be implemented to mate bass and mid.
This speaker is heavy and I do not have a
large photo studio, hence some white sheets and two lamps
in my workshop. I hope it provides an impression of the
sculptural beauty of Jesper's latest creation, the Ekta
ScanSpeak Revelator 4R
Discontinued, crossover schematics can be bought from me: firstname.lastname@example.org
15W/4531G00 is the more lively sibling in
the Revelator 15W family of drivers. "30" means coated, "31" is
un-coated. "45" means 4 Ohms version, hence the increased
sensitivity compared to the "8530" driver used in
and Ellam 98
mkII. Un-coated means its cone
has a different sonic impact on the overall presentation. A little
more lively, more lush, if you will. To balance this I picked the
classic ring-radiator, providing a balanced and very neutral
V3 crossover: Making the stepped baffle and implementing a true LR2 filter made a world of a difference. Suddenly music started flowing and sense of depth and perspective improved vastly. I never heard the difference between a flat baffle/2nd-3rd order crossover and a stepped baffle/true LR2 filter so clearly. It's night and day. It also made me think I have to do the Ellam XT once more with an easy stepped baffle because people continue building the Ellam XT speaker rather than the much better Ellam FLEX with its more complex front panel layout. There are more to be gained from these Ellam XT. And I would love to do the 9800 tweeter again in such set-up... well, well, back to the Discovery here. Check it out by clicking link above.
3-way from 22W/4851T00, 15W/8530K00, D3004/660000 and three other
Extend your Ellam FLEX with a bass module and experience a full-blown 3-way having a significant soundstage from a modest footprint.
2-way mini from
15W/8530K00 and four tweeter options:
Ellam Flex is just what the name suggests, flexible. The idea is to make a small two-way from the venerable 15W/8530K00 - still the best 5" I know of - as an upgrade/replacement to former Ellam 9800, Ellam XT and W1500/97 constructions. These constructions will disappear from my website as I think I can do better today with all experiences gained over the last eight years, not least the Jenzen speakers. This also means that there will be lesser-budget versions with the R2604/833000 and D2604/833000 tweeters.
Discontinued, open kit now
I'm really sorry having to retire this speaker, but apparently a little to expensive and complex for any kit sales to continue.
Experience a fully digital 2-way speaker with the options of 1st,
2nd and 4th filters from three presets. An unique opportunity to
compare crossover topology - and not as clear-cut as you may think!
Careful selection of drivers allow simplest possible crossover.
As for the Ellipticor-3, not having a high-pass filter on the midrange pays off. The coherence in upper-bass/lower-middle is hard to ignore, although is does not have quite the same fullness and bottom weight of the Ell-3. It can't - and it shouldn't. We have a significant smaller cabinet and we have saved 2.5 k€ on drivers. Yet, the ATELL-3 has qualities that made me go through record after record to hear yet another way of telling me what I may have overlooked before. Any new speaker will do things differently and hopefully give you new insight into your record collection. The ATELL, like the Ell-3, has a naturalness to the overall presentation, a transparency only limited by the source material and for the size, surprisingly dynamic. On top of this, deep dynamic bass from the 10C77 sandwich cone driver. I don't know of any 10" bass driver that comes even close to the 10C77. Not cheap, but I can't find alternatives unless we go to 12" bass drivers, but then we need a bigger sized cabinet and here the objective was to make the best of a smaller cabinet with higher WAF. And BTW, my wife loves it!
Compact Studio Monitor speaker
Why build small speakers when we can have bigger sound for the same money from a bigger cabinet? Well, the answer is simple: Because sometimes they must to be small due to how they will fit in with a given idea about how our living rooms are going to look. WAF is high from small speakers. Even if a slim floorstander doesn't not take more floor space compared to a mini on a stand, the WAF is higher for the latter. Not much we can do about it.
Why yet another 18W/8531G00 sliced paper construction? Didn't the SP95 and the SP98 do well? Why possibly a reduced cabinet volume? And why does USXX predict an optimum 22 litre cab for the 18W driver? Who is USXX and what has LspCAD to do with this? Well, first of all, this construction dates back to the SP95 where I tried the Scan-Speak D3806/8200 mid-dome from 1600 Hz and the HIQUPHON OWI on top from 13 kHz. Click heading to read more.
to mkII version
The sliced paper driver 18W/8531-G00 is a
driver you don't easily get over with. It's got the best
bass from any 6-7" midbass I have ever experienced.
It did great in the SP95 set-up. It did even better in
the SP38 construction and here's the best I have ever
heard from this driver and probably due to the cabinet
made from curved and laminated side panels producing the
most rigid enclosure I have tested. Thanks to Jesper who
came along with this construction.
What makes a "studio monitor" different to any other "hifi" loudspeaker? Well, a true studio monitor is supposed to have a reasonably flat on-axis response combined with an even power response, allowing studio engineers to make the best possible mix of the recording before the final master. But shouldn't all speakers be suitable for this? I guess the term "studio monitor" was derived from well engineered speakers in contrast to most home audio speakers a few decades ago, when domestic speakers certainly was a mixed blessing of drivers balanced by a few measurements and or by the ear alone.
I had great expectations from this monitor due to the long-fibre paper pulp cone and I wasn't disappointed. Click heading or image to read more.
Discontinued, see Ekta mkII
I always liked the SP38/13 and seeing the large ScanSpeak D3806/8200 dome getting out of stock here and there, John/US came in handy with a pair of Accuton C244-8 inverted domes and a pair of HIQUPHON OWI tweeters as well, thus the SP44 project was on track. We could also call it Ekta-Accu, but SP44 it will be. Comparing SP44 to the Ekta is obvious and despite not having them side by side, I'm afraid the SP44 will beat the Ekta from a less coloured upper mid/lower treble. These ceramic domes are something.
Now, what can the C44 do the D3806 can't? Well, it goes deeper and it goes higher and it has a remarkable flat response all up to 20 kHz where a serious cone break-up occurs. 20 kHz is really high and nothing to worry about in a 3-way system. The C44 is not particularly sensitive, around 85-86 dB/2.8 volts - but all the same a good match to the 18W/8531 driver that usually can be tuned to a system sensitivity of 86 dB/2.8 volts. Looking at C44 horizontal dispersion, 6 kHz seems like a good starting point for crossing over to the tweeter, thus the C44 is really able to handle all of the important treble range, because we can go even lower compared to the D3806. From simulation 900 Hz looks ideal, but no guarantee this will also sonically make the best transition to the 18W midbass. Has to be tried.
This speaker must be small to suit desk top application and small sound
systems. Why not make your kids get used to good sound from an e.g.
NAD 3020D amp, being fed from a laptop or other digital sources? The
DISC-12W may be a way to better sound culture.
2-way floorstander from ScanSpeak 18WU/4741T00 + D3004/660000 or R3004/662000
Simply the best
"6+1" 2-way floorstander I've made yet.
Explore the world of ScanSpeak Illuminator series and a fancy crossover design providing smooth mid/tweeter integration. Don't expect earthquake levels from a 20 liter monitor but be prepared to enjoyable hours with your favorite music played at sensible levels. The best small "6+1" I've made so far. Not cheap, but far less than a similar commercial design would cost.
Great small speaker - but unfortunately no one builds it...
This small 5" doesn't go particularly low, but what it does, it does
very well indeed. Very articulate (high Qm) and it doesn't die out at
low levels as experienced many times before with overly damped drivers.