Speaker Talk 2014-16
13th December 2016
This Autumn/Winter has been busy on client work and some projects have been postponed, but this SBA MTM should emerge some time in January 2017. As mentioned in the SBA-10 construction file I initially set up a small 2-way from MW16 and TW29 and was surprised from what I heard. So how about two MW16 and we have some 238 cm^2 membrane area, more than most 8" drivers. Initial simulation suggests a very simple crossover. Cabinet will be easy, a skinny rectangular box that should be easy for most diy'ers having a handheld saw and a router. I only used tape and a few clamps for gluing cabinets, so very few tools needed.
To reduce my stock drivers, I made the above 3-Way Classic kits for sale
incl. front panels and ready made crossovers. I made three kits, all sold
by now, with premium components, HDF front panels and Superior-Z in
critical places of the crossover. Wires, terminals, ports, all ready for
I recently went to a client from last winter to fine-tune/check his
gigantic 4-way system. These are not speakers you bring in the trunk of
your car to my workshop! 18" bass driver, 12" midrange and horns for the
rest. 115 kgs/ea. Active crossover at 200 Hz and the rest is passive. I
brought my laptop and DAC and finally heard a few tracks as they
should sound. With a system sensitivity of 100 dB/2.8V the dynamics
are scary! These speakers can cause tinnitus you'll have to live with
for the rest of your life!
I guess it's time to wish you all some happy holidays ahead. Thanks for all mails and suggestions coming in this year. It's been an exiting year and should I point to some highlights it will be the SBA-10, Illuminator-4 and not least the Munich exhibition i May. Go there and find out how different we think reproduced music should sound, from tiny 3" drivers to gigantic horns. It's a treat and Munich can be really nice in May.
It has been busy times and a new Up-Grade filter for the vintage B&W 802 s3 has been launched. Click image above to go to page. Next in line is an Up-Grade kit for the successor of JBL-L100, the L112. Click images to go to websites.
To the right a new speaker, the SBA MW19. This features the SBAcoustics MW19-8 driver, which is large 7" driver and delivers a credible bass from only 20 litres and one of the most transparent midrange I've ever done. Having such a large driver requires a good tweeter that can handle a low point of crossover and like the SBA-10, I use the SBA TW29RN-B, which has become one of my favorite tweeters. In reality a ring-radiator due to the fixation of the membrane at the center. This speaker features a healthy 8 Ohm impedance, minimum 6 Ohms, and my GlowMaster tube amp loves it. The SBA MW19 was perceived as a studio monitor, but is equally suited for domestic use. Highly recommended if you want a big small speaker.
Pleased to present my first construction dedicated for corner/near-wall
placement. Based on the fact that most people have to place speakers
near walls or close to corners due to simple lack of space or spouse
having specific ideas on living room decor. And also based on the fact
that most people enjoy music while doing other things, they hear
music while others (few) listen to music (audiophiles). Now,
I'm also sure the latter group do not necessarily enjoy
music more than the former group. Quality is highly subjective.
We're into the Autumn months now and during the summer months I have
made plans for the rest of the year and probably into 2017. Six speaker
projects where preliminary modeling suggests interesting 2-to 3-way
speakers for smaller systems. No big speakers in pipeline. Two of the
projects are mkII versions of former constructions, an Ekta mkII and a
NOMEX-164 mkII also. The reason for these mkII version is that I think I
can do better today than 10+ years ago.
It's summertime and time for house maintenance and fighting vegetable
garden weeds. It's time for harvesting greenhouse cucumbers and
tomatoes. The taste is unbelievable! It's time for bicycle rides and
beech picnics and all the things we enjoy about summer here high up on
the Northern hemisphere. The sun goes down a quarter to ten in the
If the Illuminator-4 is above your budget you may take a look at the SBA-10. It's been in my living room for three months not and I don't even miss my ATS-4 reference speakers. For the price it's unbeatable and the only thing that makes a (very little) difference to the ATS-4 and Illuminator-4 is the dedicated 8" upper-bass driver. The SBA-10 even goes a bit deeper and the Satori tweeter for sure puts a question mark to the use of beryllium domes, that's how good it is. Working down to 1.5 kHz it handles all of the treble range - and it pays off. Pays off big time! One thing I was pleased to hear from visitors was how small it is. This was my intention with the cabinet design. It's a potent 10+6+1 speaker and level 2 is 2200 EUR! Frankly, you have to spend serious money on any commercial design to match the performance of this speaker.
Finally I have some 10" high-efficiency drivers suitable for 3-ways for sale. Check my sales page: http://www.troelsgravesen.dk/sale.htm
Guess it's been a while since last update. The cabinets for the
SBA61-NAC gave the opportunity to launch three monitors with different
flavours due to cone materials and crossovers. Click images above to go
I've had samples of all SBAcoustics Satori drivers and if successful,
there will be a relatively compact 3-way from 10+6+1. Probably a couple
of months from now.
Download the history of Danish Loudspeakers
28 December 2015
Thanks to all for reporting back on your constructions in 2015! Always exciting to see ones work in the hands of others.
Christmas holidays have been busy and some updates on AudioTechnology 3WC and Illuminator-5 featuring the SS D3004/604010 Be dome have been launched. This was really quite easy as I only needed to adjust tweeter attenuation and didn't have to make basic changes to the crossover. Only the mini Discovery 12W took a whole new tweeter section - and I'm not expecting many builders here, but should you want the best from a mini, it's worth while.
Tests on two SBAcoustics tweeters have been launched here. In particular the 1" alu dome has impressed me by exceptional low distortion.
The subwoofers have been finished and will be reported soon. Perfect partners for AT-3WC as seen on photo below.
Currently a 3-Way Classic from SBA drivers is under construction. To be launched in January.
Happy New Year!
13 November 2015
It's been quite a while since last posting. The OBL-15s have been on the agenda and also some rather complicated client work including compression drivers and horn-loaded tweeters. Compression drivers are tricky and need careful time-alignment to make crossovers work properly. Whenever I needed a break, I would blow my brains out with the OBLs seen below. These can make whatever can rattle in my workshop - rattle!
22-11-2015: Now launched here.
I'm waiting for crossover components to make the final boards and it shouldn't be long before launch. Please do not ask for details before launch. Thanks.
Next I've had some 26W/4558T00 subwoofers from ScanSpeak and I hope to launch my experiences before the Christmas holidays. Not that there will be any news here as the 26W drivers and the Hypex 4.0 plate amps have been reported elsewhere, but I want to report some experiences from mating the subs with my Discovery 12W, my Ellam 98 mkII and the AudioTechnology 3WC to pick a range of speakers from being very small to what I see as middle-sized (AT-3WC). Subs don't make a pair of shoe-box speakers big but for some the very low-end oommph is enough.
I've had a pair of the new ScanSpeak Be domes, the D3004/604010, and have reported here. I'm looking forward to make versions of the Illuminator-5 and the AudioTechnology 3WC with these domes. And why not the Discovery 12W as already done? The ultimate mini.
Last, but not least, Director of Sales and Marketing, Bo Albrectsen, SB Acoustics, paid me a visit to hear my stock speakers - and offered sponsorship of their drivers. I couldn't be more pleased. I've done a few SB Acoustic drivers for clients and I'm looking forward to try out their products in 2016. Below a selection of drivers I picked for 2-3 constructions. Primary target is a classic 3-Way, an "8+4+1". Normally I would be hesitant to dig into alu cone drivers. I did some NNNN alu cone drivers 10+ years ago and they were horrible, but the 6" here from SBA looked very promising from specs. Initial testing looks promising too and this driver may very well find its way into future constructions. The 1" alu tweeter has been tested and will be reported soon (read here). Exceptionally low distortion all the way down to 1 kHz and exceptional dispersion too. Really impressive.
06 September 2015
As discussed on the
pages, drivers' dispersion characteristics has been on my mind lately as
it has such an immense impact on perceived sound. We may have a 2-way
(6" + 1") and a 3-way (e.g. 6" + 3" + 1") and they may have exactly the
same frequency response and they may very well have identical horizontal
dispersion and yet sound like night and day. There are many reasons for
this being partly the intrinsic dispersion characteristic of the
drivers, the crossover topology and drivers' overlap. The latter I find
interesting as a 6" like the ScanSpeak 18WU, having a rather large and
deep cone, soon starts beaming toward higher frequences (Beaming: Put
your hand around your mouth like a conical horn and say something.
You'll notice the change in sound as you prevent horizontal dispersion.
This is what drivers do when we reach a frequency having a wavelength
equal to the diameter of the cone).
Above my most recent construction, a powerful 3-way from AudioTechnology
drivers and the superb ScanSpeak R3004/602010 tweeter. I've really come
to love these small tweeters, R3004/602010 (R for ring-radiator) and
D3004/602010 (D for conventional dome). The 15H52-0613-SDKAM midrange
has a tremendous midrange projection and the level of transparency
equals any fancy new cone material like ceramics, composite
carbon-whatever, Rohacel, etc. This midrange driver spews music into the
room and I never thought I'd say you can place this speaker up against a
wall and not get that usual "closed-in" sound from boosting the bass due
to room-gain leaving the midrange distant and with lack of detail. The
15H52 will still help making a credible soundstage. Now, don't get too
exited, the speaker will still sound better being on stands out on the
08 July 2015
The summer holidays are ahead and with the speaker shown below, I very much feel like taking a few weeks off. This has been the longest project ever, not least due to the woodwork.
Cost-efficiency, contrary to the Discovery-4, has not been an issue
here. All the best ScanSpeak can produce is going into this 5-way
speaker. Besides a potent bass system, the primary aim here is to do
something about dispersion in upper-mid/lower treble. Thus, the 12MU has
entered the system, providing a dispersion and a presence quality the
usual "6+1" rarely manage, unless special drivers and low point of
crossover is used.
01 May 2015
Buying is easy! A couple of clicks and you have made your purchase.
Selling takes ages! I'm having a
some of the stuff accumulated over the last ten years. I didn't realise
I had that much surplus hifi on the shelves!
Some of my surplus components went into the the design above, the Revelator 4R, featuring the more sensitive, un-coated and more lively version of the ScanSpeak 5" Revelator bass drivers. Click image to go to page. I've had a few requests on this driver and here it is. For tweeter I picked the R2604/832000.
27th March 2015
With the two center speakers above I hope to fill a gap in the portfolio
of floor-standers suitable for surround sound. The Prestige version can
be build for a modest investment, where the Excel version will take you
a little further in sound quality. Key parametre for center speakers is
even horizontal dispersion, thus is must be 3-ways and 4th order LR
between mid and tweeter.
This micro from Discovery W12/8524G00 and R3004/602010 is meant to be
used for desktop application and where space is seriously limited. And
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.
7th Februar 2015
Finding second hand 50 EUR old Lenco turntable has become a hobby and
the dark winter evenings are fine for doing some restoration work. These
two above are the 3rd and 4th and I have two more in store, both L75s. I
found an L78 on eBay at reasonably price and wanted to see how it may
differ from the L75. The basics are the same, only the arrangement
around on-off button and the brake function is different. I'd still
recommend the L75 if you have the choice as it is simpler to renovate.
My second L75 was made for a client, here seen above with a Moerch DP 8
Precision tonearm. Having both a 9" and 12" Moerch tonearm it's obvious
to make comparison and I'm afraid the 12" is more of a theoretical
advantage over the 9". Are we really able to the hear the slightly
increased tracking error from a 9"? Time will tell when I make a more
systematic comparison of the two arms with the same cartridge.
I had hoped to launch a bigger 3½-way system in December but two months
of work on the crossover just left me more and more frustrated with the
treble performance, hence the project was ditched. Sometimes we just
have to give in and start all over. Well, the bass drivers stayed the
same, only this time I used the ScanSpeak 18W/8535-01 for mid and the
R2604/833000 for treble. One afternoon of work and the crossover was
done! The mid and tweeter appeared to be a match in heaven. The rest was
fine-tuning and the overall voicing of the speaker. The bass drivers are
from the ScanSpeak Discovery series, 8" and 10". Basically it's an
ATS4 from modest
priced drivers, except for the midrange drivers, the most important of
13th December 2014
Ellam Disc 15 and
the latter at the photoshoot. This was the finale for 2014. Eight new
speakers and two updates,
QUATTRO mkII. I
had hoped to launch the new ScanSpeak 12WU mini/Be dome, but it seems it
will have to wait for the new year.
Launching a new high-effiency driver is a daunting task and it's taken
almost a year before the first production batch reached Jantzen Audio.
In particular the edge coating took time; the right glue, the right
amount, the right place, etc.
The new 8008-HMQ driver is not compatible with the old JA8008, thus new TQWT and DTQWT crossovers are in prepartion and will be released this November.
Restoring an old turntable, making the plinth and setting up a new arm is at least as much fun as mounting new cabinets with drivers for the next speaker. Click image above and read why I love turntables and vinyls.
Three new speakers are finished and one already launched, the Ellam-98 mkII. The other two speakers are waiting for the main speaker driver to be released from the factory. One is the 12WU fra ScanSpeak mentioned in the June 2014 speaker-talk. I hope the 12 WU will soon be ready. The third speaker...time will tell.
The Ellam 98 mkII is one I've wanted to do for a long time as I think
the 9800 dome deserves much more attention. It's been around for many
years and I don't think any alu dome has been made that does it better
than this one. To my ears it does as well as the Accuton C30 ceramic
After the ScanSpeak Discovery Classic 3-Way, I just had to do an upgrade of the popular SEAS 3-Way Classic, thus the SEAS 3-Way Classic mkII, delivering increased sensitivity and a better and simpler crossover from retracting the tweeter some 20 mm. This allows implementation of a true LR2 filter and adds smoothness to the treble performance and mid-tweeter integration.
Please do not ask which one is the best. Thanks! And enjoy!
The last three of months have been busy. Two speakers from ScanSpeak drivers. A capable 3-way from Discovery drivers delivering an awful lot of good sound for a very modest price tag - and the other a very small and rather expensive mini-monitor from new drivers not even ready for release yet. The ScanSpeak Classic 3-Way has been on the to-do list for a very long time and the Discovery drivers were not even developed at the time as my initial thinking was around the Classic series of 22W/13M/1" dome. However, these affordable drivers deliver quality we didn't dream about some 20 years ago. Better voice coils, more linear response, etc. The level of transparency these Discovery can deliver is quite remarkable and it's all up to low-loss suspensions and rigid cone materials with modest - and ear-friendly - break-up modes. The ScanSpeak 3-Way Classic will be launched soon. The mini features all-new drivers, a 12WU-something (final name not decided yet) and the small-size beryllium dome, D3004/604050 (not on the ScanSpeak website yet). The speaker was developed for the ScanSpeak exhibition at High-End Munich 2014. If you need cost-no-object minis for your laptop system - or smaller rooms - this might be an option. The 12WU is made from a combination of PP and alu cut up in the pattern of the Illuminator cones and glued together again, delivering extended linear response and the best sound I've ever heard from a 4". The Be dome, well, does what we expect from such a construction. A stepped baffle allows LR2 filter and transparency is exceptional. The 12WU features 2.5 litre volume and it was quite a challenge to fit in ports and crossover in such small volume as can be seen below.
Music last, but not least, a lot of time has been spent installing a new tonearm on my Lenco L75 turntable and getting to know proper set-up better by doing actual measurements. A protractor has been acquired and the Adjust+ software from Feickert Analogue is currently being tested. An article on why I listen to vinyl rather than digital is in preparation.