Scan-Speak 1500/9700
built by Fokke/Holland

Hi Troels,
My W1500/97 monitors are finished!
I took my time finishing them with pear wood veneer and Danish Oil, and the result is stunning. Mirror smooth cabinets that feel softer than a babies bottom. ;-) At first, the sound was quite disappointing, but that's normal with new speakers as they need to break in. Also, the Audyn caps take quite some time to break in. So I let them thunder out loud during the day while working, and listened to them in the evenings using my audio-room setup consisting of Wadia 16 CD-player, ML 28 pre and Classé CAV-150 power amp. The little ones grew fast and after a week the sound was already quite mature. After breaking in I tuned the bass cabinet (that already contained pritex lining) with a hand full of long-hair sheep's wool between the woofer and the port. Of course, the port is left free. This gives a fairly dry bass, with sufficient extension and minimal compression.
I intended these speaker for my living room and they were to be teamed up with a TEAC VRDS-20 CD-player and Densen Beat B100 amplifier. After connecting that equipment it just didn't sound right anymore. Dull, uncontrolled bass, uninvolving. What the hell was happening??? Connecting the Wadia to the Densen brought back most of the magic: Apparently the VRDS-20 was the culprit. Luckily I found a guy who was looking for a VRDS player offering a Proceed PCD-3 instead. I love these little CD-players, having owned a PCD 2 for many years to great satisfaction. So I exchanged happily. The proceed really works in this combination, I even prefer it over the Wadia in the Densen / W1500/97 setup. In my reference system the Wadia stays the preferred choice. Then changing location between my audio room (with heavy carpet) to the living room (parquet) revealed yet another speaker. Because of the harder room, it freshened up the sound of these speakers and gave me the impression that you actually might have designed them bearing modern and acoustically somewhat harder listening environments in mind. It worked out fine in my case anyway. All these experiences showed me how sensitive these speakers are to their environment. They let you know when they're happy, and you'll definitely notice when they're not happy! So after all these backgrounds: how does it sound with the right set-up? In one word: absolutely stunning. This is way more than what I bargained for. Integration of woofer and tweeter is virtually seamless. No loose highs and so on. Just music. No over-enthousiastic speaker that tries to sell itself. The sound is really easy and allows for long listening sessions without any fatigue. As is well known, the bass performance of these scan speak woofers is downright breathtaking. Yet there is only bass when the program material says that there is bass. In that case, you get attacked in the back. I love it!
The soundstage and imaging is very realistic. Acoustical instruments have an almost tangible presence. The full bodied sound signature clearly contributes to this sensation. Of course a pair of 15 cm woofers have their dynamic limits, but stay within these limits and you're up for loads of fun! My house has wooden floors, which are a bit flexible, and when the speakers reproduce a big drum blow, the floor is actually shaking. Compared to big 3-way system with a 12" or 15" woofer these little wonders are audibly pulling some tricks to go this deep, and that's OK. If you want the bass of a 15" woofer, get a 15" woofer. If you want a small monitor, this speaker is definitely worth considering. I'm happy I did.
So all in all, these little babies are here to stay for a long while. My girlfriend is very happy with them too. She's quite critical when it comes to sound, and this sound combined with the looks and inobtrusiveness (you have to look twice to see where the sound is coming from) make them a real WAF winner. I had a slight concern regarding the size of my living room. Floor surface around 60 square meters, and 3,5 meters high ceilings. That's quite a volume to fill! No problems for these speakers. Even in the back of the room (15 meters away) sound is still full and enjoyable.
Are there things that should be different with these speakers? I don't think so. As said before, I think that they work best in a somewhat harder listening environment. When applied in a more dampened room, they might sound a bit rolled of in the highs, and a somewhat brighter set-up might be preferred. Personally I think that the choice to roll off the frequency response gradually by approx. 2 dB over the audible band is quite a sensitive thing to do. It flies a bit in the face of the current fashion to have over-brilliant speakers (because we have to hear all those highs from our SACD players) but people will come back from that. This is a really timeless design that guarantees years of enjoyment.
Included are some pics to give you an impression.
Troels, thanks again for this wonderful design. I will also show it in the DIY loudspeakershop (speaker en co) where I bought the materials because they were very curious about the sound of this design. Also some Dutch DIY persons were interested in comparing different "A4" type designs, so these speakers will definitely participate in that. Cheers, Fokke.


Groen, thanks a lot for the pictures and your comments on performance. Not many (can) take the time to try different front ends and acoustic environments. My listening room is not particular well damped - and only 24 m^2, however has ideal acoustic proportions. I live in a wooden house, so no hard concrete walls or tile floors. Your comments on size and soundstage is very wellcome. From many diy mails I know that getting a realistic sense of how loud a speaker can play is tough. Many people have much too high expectations from 75-95 cm^2 cone area.
My only worry with your set-up is the placement of coils on your crossover board. Considering the nice size of your rear chamber, I would have stuck the large coil in the middle as you have done, but taken the four other coils out in each corner with the same orientation as currently. I'm pretty sure you have coil interaction from the set-up.
Best regards, Troels