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DIYSG 893 'easy' build

Ringnut

Distinguished Member
There have been a few DIYSG build threads being put up on the forum recently so I thought I’d add my experience to the pot for any considering going down that increasingly popular route.

Having heard demos of some of the larger cinema speaker systems coming to market of late I have been spoilt by that ‘BIG’ cinema sound that only larger speakers give. The problem for me though with all of the commercial offerings I have seen so far is that they are just that bit too large for my living room in one critical dimension or another and only seem to come in black. Fine if I had a dedicated room but not suitable for me in my living room setup. What I needed were speakers that had the appearance of Hi-Fi speakers but the performance of cinema speakers.

In addition I find that as speakers get larger they never quite seem to have the ‘clarity’ of their smaller counterparts in that vital mid-range area, and by ‘clarity’ I don’t mean ‘detail’ which I see as more of a high frequency component, I mean mid-range intelligibility for want of a better description. I sometimes find speech intelligibility is better on a common or garden TV set than with some home cinema setups. I guess it’s the ability of a speaker to project voices that I’m really looking for, some might describe it as a more ‘forward’ type of presentation. The XTZ M6s I had previously were excellent in that respect, walls just seemed to disappear and it was as if the person speaking was right there in front of you, so I guess I was looking for that, but with more headroom.

If you're reading this far then you probably already know something about DIYSG and their aim of providing kits to enable customers to build their own speakers at a fraction of the cost of commercial offerings. The big problem with their speaker range as far as I see it is that while it's quite easy to have demos of commercially available speakers – even a home demo in some cases – unless you have been able to demo DIY offerings it requires an awful lot of faith in the end result to embark on such a project. On top of that there is also the time element not to mention the necessary skills needed in woodworking and electronics (for the crossovers).


While I'd heard of DIYSG I'd never actually had an opportunity to hear any of their offerings until @markymiles gave me that chance here following his build of the DIYSG Cinema 8s. To say I was impressed would be an understatement. I have attended demos of some really excellent systems from most of the major names but despite their very low price these were right up there with the best that I’d heard. My only reservations of the Cinema 8s in my room was some difficulty I had integrating them with my sealed LMSU subs due, I presume, to their ported design, and what I felt was a mid-range that didn’t quite have the clarity of my beloved XTZ M6s.

So, with all that in mind, I decided to give the three-way DIYSG 893s a try. The big attraction for me with this kit was that although it has similar (though not identical) twin 8” mid bass units and CD to the Cinema 8s, it also has twin 4” Celestion drivers handling that critical mid-range. The other big advantage for me was that unlike the Cinema 8s they were sealed and so were likely to be much easier to integrate with my sealed LMSUs. The price you pay for that is a lower efficiency of 93db. Better than most of the commercial offerings but nothing like the 98db efficiency of the Cinema 8s. Decision made then, time to give the 893s a try and an order for three 893s was duly placed.
 
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Ringnut

Distinguished Member
My woodworking skills are marginal at best and I’m also basically lazy so I thought I’d leave the building of the enclosures to somebody else and what I know about electronics and soldering can be written on the back of a postage stamp. So with that in mind I had Gordy build me three enclosures for the grand sum of £110, plus an extra horizontal enclosure should I ever need something to go under a TV or non-AT screen at any point. Just buying the wood would likely have cost me nearly that! Given that they would be on show I also got Gordy to make me three grille frames @ £24 each. I also got Matt Grant (mtg90 on the AVS Forums) to build me the crossovers for $24 each (the components for these are included in the kit) which were then shipped over fully assembled with the rest of the kits. Mark kindly let me use his Shipito account and from ordering to collecting the packages including the three fully-assembled crossovers took just 32 days.

Expertly packaged thanks to Erich at the DIY Sound Group, the 893s arrived unscathed.

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The crossovers were beautifully made and weighed in at over 1Kg each!

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Ringnut

Distinguished Member
I supplied Gordy with the baffles from the kit and in just over a week he had finished building the enclosures. Three vertically orientated enclosures with an additional horizontal option should I ever need it. (Seen here with the centre enclosure sitting on a separate base I had Gordy make in order to get it to the same height when in situ as the wall-mounted left and right channels) All grilles are interchangeable and as always Gordy did a really excellent job with the building of these.

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I had specified a slightly different alignment for the central braces in order to accommodate the crossovers on the back wall of the enclosures, so just to make sure the panels surrounding the 8” bass drivers were sufficiently braced I made up additional bracing rods from some spare lengths of dowel I had lying around.

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Dowel bracing glued and screwed in place with rear terminals fitted.

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Ringnut

Distinguished Member
All that was left now was to seal the enclosures with mdf sealant, fit the crossovers, line them with egg crate style foam

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…fill with hollowfill, fit the baffles in place…

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…and fit the drivers. Job done! A couple of days work maximum. :thumbsup:

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Because these were going to be on show I needed grilles for them so Neodynium magnets were recessed into the baffles…

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Below with the neodymium magnets fitted and grilles covered with black grille cloth from here.

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Liammonty123

Well-known Member
Those look really excellent, and I can bet they sound very impressive when paired with those subs. Your first post was almost exactly my experience, the commerial offerings offered clarity and detail but little to no headroom, which is all down to the low sensitivities, something that the DIYSG designs combat. My HTM-12's are and probably for a while will be the best speakers I've listened to! OH and for £110 those enclosures are an absolute steal, wish I'd got someone to build mine for me!
 

markymiles

Distinguished Member
An ideal demonstration of how easy a DIYSG build can be done. If there were any people wondering if they can do it then yours is the one to show them that they can with very little skills/effort needed.

The fact that they sound so good and also end up being finished so well is just the cherry on top.
 

Ringnut

Distinguished Member
Now for the acid test, how would they actually sound? I started by running them in for around 10 hours with music at progressively higher levels while I was out, then I listened to the TV with them for a similar period but without any calibration. While the mid-bass and treble seemed good, the mid-range sounded somewhat ‘coloured’ which was more than a little disappointing given that an accurate mid-range was one of my main aims. :(

However not to be daunted I then calibrated them with DIRAC – what a transformation, everything just snapped into place. :) The mid-range was now excellent, clarity of dialogue was superb and easily up to the standard of the XTZ M6s. The screenshot below shows the culprit of that ‘coloured’ sounding mid-range, a nasty peak from 500hz to nearly 2khz that is predominantly room induced. Looking back over my graphs of the M6s they had a similar, though not quite so pronounced, 8db rise from 500hz to nearly 2Khz, so the room was clearly playing a large part here. Unfortunately with the 893s it also coincided with a similar 4-5db peak that they have naturally. :(

Placement options in my room are severely limited given that it is also my lounge and having them placed hard up against two pillars flanking a floor to ceiling bay window is also not ideal. Fortunately Dirac came to the rescue.

This is what Dirac said it would do, a gently sloping FR from 500hz to 15khz.

Dirac - 893 sweep 1.jpg


And this is what it did in practice as measured at the MLP in REW. :clap:

V4.31 post Dirac.jpg


Do bear in mind though that the Dirac plot is averaged whereas the REW plot is one single point. The two slight dips at 500hz and 2k are presumably the crossovers but that previous 12db hump at 1K has all but gone. It was just a little more level than Dirac had suggested it would be and whether my imagination or not it did sound a touch on the bright side so I added a -2db slope via the Arcam’s tone control which seemed to work perfectly.

At the same time I had also upgraded the firmware in the Arcam to the latest v4.31 and I carried out calibrations both level, as demonstrated in Arcam’s video, and with variable height placements as suggested by Dirac. Whilst the level calibration gave me a marginally flatter response the variable height calibration sounded better to my ears. The other thing I found was that whereas before, adding some treble cut via the Arcam’s tone control also had an effect on the bass frequencies, now with version 4.31 of the firmware it seemed to have no effect at all below 2Khz but introduced a gradual slope from there up. Perfect for what I wanted.

Also, not surprisingly given the twin 8” mid-bass drivers of the 893s when compared with twin 5.25” drivers of my previous XTZ M6s, the mid-bass output of these was significantly better and they sounded effortless with clips such as MMFR and FOTP played at close to ‘Reference’. In short, once calibrated, I simply loved them! Decision made then, they were definitely going to be keepers. :)
 
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Ringnut

Distinguished Member
Up until then everything had been surprisingly easy, it had been just a matter of fitting the drivers and crossovers into the completed boxes. But now came the more tricky bit, how exactly to finish them?

I hadn’t wanted to go to any great lengths until I was happy with how they sounded and was sure I would actually be keeping them. My intention was to take them apart if I wasn’t completely happy with them, sell the kits on and go back to my XTZ Cinema setup. However now that I knew they would be staying I considered the various finishes. If I were using them in a dedicated room then no problem, they wouldn’t be visible so I’d have been happy just to just spray them matt black or paint them with TuffCab as per my subs and have done with it.

But I was going to be using them in my living room and they are pretty large in comparison with the M6s they would be replacing.

So, while I could get away with matt black in my lounge on the much smaller M6s, a more room friendly finish was needed with these much larger speakers. I had been impressed with Mark’s veneered Cinema 8s in the flesh and so I decided to give veneering a go despite never having done any before, Mark assured me it was pretty straightforward. J I used the same supplier as Mark for the veneers S.L. Hardwoods of Croydon who supplied me with a full sheet of cherry veneer for a little under £60 plus some contact adhesive and some Poly-X oil.

With the veneers cut and having watched various YouTube videos on how to veneer, I set about experimenting starting with the base of one of the units. If I made a mistake there it would be unlikely to be seen. Happily all went well…

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One of the tricky bits about veneering is trimming the edges so that they are flush. If you use a normal Stanley knife the body of the knife doesn’t allow for a 90 degree cut so I made this up to allow for a flush cut and despite appearances it worked perfectly! :)

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That seemed to go pretty well so I continued with the rest…

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12harry

Well-known Member
Very nice constructions - but 1), what does yr misses think?
& - 2), does she appreciate the audio - or its improvement?

Those graphs: can you say what the bass is in the 20-80Hz region?

I'm slowly building a sub for 20-80Hz with a 24dB/octave filter, it's about 2' high with a Peerless 10" speaker in the top, The cabinet is the right volume, with a slight taper towards the top about 1", so its look appeals to me. Not really thought about external veneer, though. Still waiting to fix the electronics filter and PSU is an issue, requiring +35-0-35 volts to drive the power-amp. +I'm somewhat lazy doesn't help.

Cheers...
 
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Ringnut

Distinguished Member
Very nice constructions - but 1), what does yr misses think?
& - 2), does she appreciate the audio - or its improvement?

Those graphs: can you say what the bass is in the 20-80Hz region?

I'm slowly building a sub for 20-80Hz with a 24dB/octave filter, it's about 2' high with a Peerless 10" speaker in the top, The cabinet is the right volume, with a slight taper towards the top about 1", so its look appeals to me. Not really thought about external veneer, though. Still waiting to fix the electronics filter and PSU is an issue, requiring +35-0-35 volts to drive the power-amp. +I'm somewhat lazy doesn't help.

Cheers...
They were never designed to be used full range, they are designed to be set to 'Small' and used with a subwoofer; nevertheless being sealed they extend surprisingly well if kept at moderate volume levels. They sound quite good for music when set to 'Large' but their headroom would be limited. Fine for undemanding music but not for movies unless keeping to low SPLs.

Edit: My missus says she doesn't notice them, :thumbsup: but she also says that about two 50cm ^3 subs as well...! ;)
 
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Ringnut

Distinguished Member
Next came the problem of what colour to stain them. I read up on staining only to find that Cherry can be a difficult wood to stain due to its tendency towards blotchiness. That can clearly be seen here in the bottom test piece.

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So, I ordered some pre-stain and decided on Ronseal ‘Rich Teak as the best match to the rest of my room.

Just one coat of pre-stain followed 30 minutes later by one coat of ‘Rich Teak’ applied with a cloth and then wiped off to prevent it going too dark followed by two coats of Poly-X oil resulted in this. Not a blotch in sight. :)

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Then I applied some spare TuffCab I had left over from my earlier twin subs build (two years old but still usable. :)) to the baffles…

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And finally here with the grilles back in place…

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I’m really pleased with how these have turned out, not only do they fit in with the furnishings in my lounge perfectly but they sound amazing once EQ’d via Dirac. I’d go so far as to say they are amongst the best speakers I have heard regardless of price. Their combination of clarity, detail, dynamics and headroom are better than anything I could have purchased commercially at anywhere near their price and I also wouldn’t have been able to specify both their dimensions and finish in the way that I have here. They fit in with the rest of the décor in my lounge perfectly.

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And here a comparison for size with the XTZ M6s I had previously.

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If anyone is seriously thinking of going down the DIYSG route but needs the chance to hear them before actually committing, (which I would strongly advise) then please feel free to PM me for a demo of these. I confidently predict you will be amazed at quite just how good they are.
 

KelvinS1965

Distinguished Member
Those are looking really nice. :thumbsup: A very professional end result I reckon and much better than just painting them black.

Seems we were both updating to V4.31 yesterday and playing with REW. :D
 

neo_2009

Member
Amazing work.
I was very curious about a comparison between these and the XTZ M6, and it seems that these are better than the M6 in every way.
 

dinoprada2003

Distinguished Member
Blimey Jon they look amazing !!

Awesome work my friend [emoji106]
 

Ringnut

Distinguished Member
Amazing work.
I was very curious about a comparison between these and the XTZ M6, and it seems that these are better than the M6 in every way.
Thanks, unquestionably, yes. It was the mid-range I was most concerned about and I'm pleased to say that once EQ'd that's possibly even better. The high frequencies are a little 'sweeter', no doubt because they are more comfortably within the range of these at the levels I normally play them, the mid-bass has more authority but it's the sheer headroom they have that really impresses.

I had both the M6s and the 893s for a while and I was all set to sell the 893 kits on if they weren't as good, but fortunately I never needed to. :)
 

scoobysmiff

Active Member
Inspired. Thank you. I have been mulling for a long time over a speaker upgrade and have considered DIY in the past but have never brought it to fruition for many reasons however, I now have an itch to produce something similar (as best as my capabilities will allow) to your outstanding efforts in order to get a substantial improvement in sound in my AV system. Nothing will be done yet for me as I have too many things going on at the moment but for now, my mind is settled - I will build my own.
 

Peter Parker

Distinguished Member
I meant to post here a while back, just after Ringnut had been kind enough to let me pop round for a listen, but better late than never :)

They're pretty impressive speakers - great vocal range while being laid back and giving the impression of just ticking over, even at high volumes. When turned up the compression drivers become 'crunchy', delivering the treble in a very positive way. That's probably a tad louder than some people will have them but i like they way they can attack the senses in action scenes. :)

I had built some pre Fusion 8s based on Zilch's design (pre DIYSG) and liked those a lot, so this was my first time hearing some genuine DIYSG speakers in the wild, and they didn't disappoint.

I'm no audiophile, but I really like my 8's and Ringnuts 893s are a step up, so if anyone else is thinking of going the DIYSG route, just do it!
 

Ringnut

Distinguished Member
Thanks, glad you liked them. :)

I simply love them. Once Dirac has done its thing they are all that I had hoped from them. The midrange was the most important part for me and I'm pleased to say it's detailed without being overly analytical. Voices sound so natural and imaging is excellent. The HF is 'crunchy' like you say such as for breaking glass or bullet ricochets when it needs to be, yet smooth and sweet at other times and the mid-bass has plenty of 'punch' when needed.

There are certainly no upgrades in my forseeable future as far as my mains go. :)
 

swiftpete

Well-known Member
They look really great. From checking the website you can’t get these any more. Just curious why you went for these instead of the HTM12?
 

Ringnut

Distinguished Member
They look really great. From checking the website you can’t get these any more. Just curious why you went for these instead of the HTM12?
Thanks. :)

Without specifically mentioning the HTM12s, I pretty much covered that in the last two paragraphs of my initial post. DIYSG 893 'easy' build But in relation to the HTM12 specifically, I would have been concerned about asking a 12" driver to cover up to 1400hz and then cross over to a CD without actually being able to hear one for myself.

It's not easy to demo DIYSG speakers and I would not have been likely to take the gamble of ordering any of their range unheard so to speak in the first place had I not been able to demo MarkyMiles' excellent Cinema 8s. DIYSG Fusion 8 Tower and Centre Build

My only concern with those was I didn't feel they covered the critical 'speech' area quite as well as I would have liked and hence my going for a three way design. The
DIYSG 1099s were getting (and still get) rave reviews at the time but were just a little too big for my lounge hence me then going for these. Plus the fact that I ideally wanted sealed for my mains when crossing over to my sealed subs.

The other factor would have been the appearance of the HTM12s, fine if you are using them hidden away behind an AT screen, but mine are on show in my lounge hence needing them to blend in.

I believe the reason for the 893 to no longer be offered is that while a 93db efficiency and twin 8" drivers is considered both large and efficient over here, in the States they are considered quite small and relatively inefficient when compared to the original 1099 with its 10" drivers and 99db efficiency. However they were just a little too large for my lounge. I'd still love to hear that speaker though as it gets consistently rave reviews. This post is worth reading as just one person’s experience comparing the 1099 to his previous speakers costing more than four times as much, followed by this, and this taken from the original 1099 design thread. The 893 was then a development of the 1099.
 

Ringnut

Distinguished Member
If you are considering building someting like the 893, you have a better option: BMS4550 SEOS 10/ BMS 5N160/ Faital Pro 8PR200
While the DIY 893 are excellent, almost 50% of the cost is for shipping/taxes, while on the above, everything is spent in better drivers.
Building a brilliant speaker isn't just a case of getting some good drivers together and putting them into a suitable box, there's a lot more to it than that. A much bigger factor in the performance of the final outcome is the crossover.

The DIYSG offerings have all that done for you, including the option of having the crossovers pre-assembled and included with the kits. Designing a good crossover is well beyond the capability of most mortal beings and with the DIYSG kits everything is done for you other than to build the box. In fact they will even provide that, though the postage and import costs on that makes it not worthwhile.

Excluding veneers mine worked out at just £480 each including having the enclosures built for me and all import tax, customs and postage costs. :)
 

Ringnut

Distinguished Member
Between the the Cinema 8s and the 893s?

If so then yes, in the sense that I had both of them set up in the exact same locations and with the same ancillary equipment. The 893s gave me exactly what I was after, while not quite as efficient as the Cinema 8s the clarity and dynamics of the 893s were exactly what I was looking for.

However, if I was going for a predominantly music setup it would have been the other way round. Despite their name, I found the Cinema 8s to be superb with music. The 893s are great with music if it's a good recording but their additional clarity over the Cinema 8s makes them less forgiving of poor recordings IMO.
 

neo_2009

Member
Building a brilliant speaker isn't just a case of getting some good drivers together and putting them into a suitable box, there's a lot more to it than that. A much bigger factor in the performance of the final outcome is the crossover.
Did you read the whole thread from the beginning? There was an exhaustive process in designing those speakers from the ground :)
 

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