'Vista'

Another project underway, whew thats 3 in one month!

Addictive stuff this DIY business and the simple fact is that the more you do the more you learn. Anybody can do it.

Well after being left in limbo mid build on my XXX subwoofer project, I decided to keep my spare time filled with some thing I've wanted to do for a long time, yes thats right, build a full range speaker or more specifically a 2 way floor standing design.

Like most people I wanted to build something special, something that did things a little differently to the run of the mill DIY stuff and so the 'Vista' was born. I always name my projects since it tends to give them a personality as they develop - call me mad but it just makes sense to me.

I knew what cabinet shape I wanted and the fact that I wanted a 2-way Transmission Line design featuring a HF unit alongside a mid/bass unit. But driver selection was everything but simple with so many designs available. To cut a long story short I choose 2 drive units from the same manufacturer and both with the same nominal impedance or Z, this was done in the hope that it may bring better integration between the two units when designing the crossover.

Heres the two I eventually went for:
mht12.jpg


The MHT-12 from Visaton is a Ribbon Treble unit and clearly fitted my design ideology of 'special'. It was mainly influenced by a demo of a design featuring the Raven R-1 Ribbon Tweeter and it was simple in another league to anything I have *ever* heard. Beautiful imaging, masses of 'air' and 'space' to the whole sound, very involving - even at low levels and revealing. The MHT is very similar to the Raven and has plenty of acclaim in real hi-end audiophile circles. Not cheap at £130 each but is quality ever?

Heres the ideal partner to the Visaton Ribbon:
ti100.jpg


The £120(each) TI-100 Mid/Bass unit, again from Visaton. Its only 10cm or 4" in diameter so this clearly isn't going to shake any houses down but then thats were the XXX comes in. With some careful cabinet design and the help of Transmission Line loading, something special - there's that word again :), can be achieved.

Well onto the pictures of the cabinet, which features gently contoured sides, I let the pictures speak for themselves and I'll post more as construction progresses.

Shinobiwan3264-spk01.JPG


Shinobiwan3264-spk02.JPG


Shinobiwan3264-spk03.JPG
 
E

Exeter Man

Guest
Excellent work ShinObiWAN, i'm looking forward to seeing how this one pans out.

You're obviously well motivated for this kind of stuff at the moment, whereas i'm unfortunately in a bit of a lull. I'm planning on building some speakers using Fostex full range drivers, and i've had all of the parts for ages, but just can't get around to building them. Similar story with my headphone amp i'm afraid.

Keep up the good work :smashin:

Regards
 

GJC

Active Member
I'm sure there are many people willing to pay for skills that you have!!

Have you considered selling bespoke custom one offs?

Regards,

Graham.
 
More pictures of the progress:

Drive units have arrived, both are nice units with a high degree of build, have just done a test fire up with no crossovers in place and all is OK. Even with just this wet test its clear that these are very nice sounding units and I can't wait to hear them combined in cabinet and with the crossovers in place.
Shinobiwan3264-drivers.JPG


Picture of the cabinet from the side
Shinobiwan3264-vista01.JPG


The rear end with copious amounts of filler where the screws have been countersunk, that will be sanded smooth later.
Shinobiwan3264-vista02.JPG


View from the front, note the holes down the sides were the plyboard has been curved, this entire area will be filled with sand to add mass and stop the plyboard resonating with the music.
Shinobiwan3264-vista03.JPG


Thanks to the kind words and there still lots to do not to mention start on the other cabinet :rolleyes:
 
Originally posted by GJC
I'm sure there are many people willing to pay for skills that you have!!

Have you considered selling bespoke custom one offs?

Regards,

Graham.

You haven't seen them close up yet - you may retract that if you did ;)

But seriously, if you enjoy something it generally shows in the quality of your work, I just take my time and learn as I go.

The second cabinet will go together quicker as I've basically nailed what I need to from the first one I've build.

After they are finished I'm getting the compressor out and spray them.
 
Its now starting to take shape and heres a couple more pictures:

Here you can clearly see the Transmission Line and the internal wadding.
Shinobiwan3264-wadding.JPG


And one with the front baffle in a dry test fixing.
Shinobiwan3264-baffle.JPG
 

mrg

Active Member
exellent work cant wait to see the finished job
 

mrg

Active Member
how do you get the routing shapes for the drivers so neat i just cant seem to do it
 
Originally posted by mrg
how do you get the routing shapes for the drivers so neat i just cant seem to do it

For the circles I made a circular jig - very easy to do, just a bit of wood, attach the router to it at one end, then fix the wood with the router attached to the piece of wood you want to cut and then simply rotate the router around the fixing point.

For the more tricker irregular shapes I used a router table which makes the whole job much easier and quicker than free hand. You can pick up a half decent table for around £40 and they are worth it just for the time they save you.

However its possible to do it without simply by making guide rails to cut the straight bits and then do the other bits free hand.
 
Well I've managed to finish one cabinet, not bad for a weeks or so's work. I'm very pleased with the finished product and the pictures do it no justice whatsoever no thanks to my cheap digital camera. This really does look beautiful in the flesh.

Shinobiwan3264-spkr01.JPG


I've put the crossovers into the plinth so as to keep them away from the drivers magnetic fields and resonances, the binding posts are also on there too.
Shinobiwan3264-spkr02.JPG


It was a hell of a job lifting 60kg of speaker up into the HT room! Thank god my brother was on hand to help!
Shinobiwan3264-spkr03.JPG


Shinobiwan3264-spkr04.JPG


Shinobiwan3264-spkr05.JPG


When I rigged the speaker up I was astonished at the improvement over my £500 KEF RDM Ones, frankly it made them sound very silly indeed.
I did a little test whereby I rigged the Vista upto the right channel and the RDM One to the left then simply switched back and forth between the two whilst listening.

I cannot begin to describe the total night and day difference. I can tell you that I now realise what I've been missing all this time - a decent and realistic sound stage. The KEF's sound very 'boxy' in comparison to the Vista's and the midrange on the KEF's is unatural and overly bright with no space between the various sounds, it all just seemed mashed together as a wash of sound.

For me the highlight and biggest surprise is the quality of bass from the Vista. Its deep, dynamic and textured, possibly the highest calibre bass (not quantity!) I've ever heard and I'm talking about a design featuring a single 4" mid-bass driver.

I could go on about the amazing treble and midrange which is again the best I've ever heard. So natural and everything just comes to you without you even needing to listen, something I've never experienced before.

One area that is dissappointing is ultimate loudness, to put simply these will never do for a serious HT setup but for moderate volumes they are the business. I like them so much that after I'm finished with the pair I'm making a matching center and surrounds for HT and multichannel duties.
 
Just had to post back here again with some more thoughts after a more serious listening session. Before I go on I should add that I am listening to only one speaker so effectively I'm reviewing in mono.

In the last couple of hours I've been going through all my collection from traditional chinese/Japanese to classical, pop, trance and breakbeat, everything really.

And I've been noticing things that I'd never heard before, even with a few pieces that I'm famaliar with from listening to on a friends system featuring B&W N804's. Tiny things like subtle sound reflections and reverbs that have been recorded at the mixing stage, these were lost before but now I can clearly hear them now. Its also so easy to 'see' the layers in the soundstage now. I good example is the third track from the 'Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon' soundtrack. Basically they make the room seem larger than it is, with sounds comming from beyond the boundaries of the room. One thing that I find really strange is that how does a single speaker create a soundstage but believe me this does.

It would be very difficult to go back to a convention dome tweeter, especially the horrible ferrofluid ones which kill every micro detail in the music. Everybody who loves music should hear a good ribbon, there isn't a sound like it to be had anywhere and at any price.

I personally find it amusing that £800 worth of drivers, crossover bits and MDF can shame £3000 speakers. Of course I haven't included all the man hours for construction but we do this out of love so that doesn't count :)

Another downside I have discovered is that the ribbon tweeter is very directional! You have to be seated in a very small sweet spot so this speaker is clearly for solo listening enjoyment but its not really a problem for more as most of my serious listening is done in solitude where I can have the best seat in the house ;)
 
Hehe,

The perfectionist has gotten the better of me!

I'm going to scrap the one cabinet that I've made in favour of a more streamlined design, the front baffle is just to big for the size of speakers I'm using in there at the minute and consequently it looks stupid. Also it was stupidly heavy at around 60kg because of the amount of sand in the outer cavity so I plan to cut that back drastically to a more realistic ~30kg.

I'll put this one down to experience and busy myself on the streamlined version.
 

wytco0

Novice Member
ShinObiWAN, have you build/designed your own crossovers for this speaker? How are yoiu driving them?
 

wytco0

Novice Member
Looking forward to an undate on this project. These Speakers look as though they could be very good indeed as well as looking good. I am tempted to build something similar as my main speakers and retire my Ruarks to rear duties. Having looked up these drivers it looks as though you could build a new cabinet that is very slim and pretty.

Update soon please ;-)
 
The crossovers are pre-built by Visaton themselves. They use very good components throughout including air cored inductors and polypropolene foil type capacitors. I simply am not at a stage where I would be able to build a crossover that would do the speakers justice.

If you take a look at Wilmslow Audio and look up the Visaton Topas kit. Here's a picture:

topas.jpg


This is what I bought in the end, the cabinets in the picture are simple enough to make and are a good starting point but I'd advise more internal bracing, or as I did a complete redesign, keeping the essence of what Visaton researched but radically changing the appearance .Its also a very reasonably priced kit at just £550 for the drivers and crossovers only. You'd be looking at £2000-3000 for ready built designs that can match these.

You see with ready-made speakers, you have to pay for the overheads of the company that produces the speakers ie. the wages of staff, the research and development of the product you have bought not to mention the running costs of the factory and machinery used to make the speakers.
After this they then have to make a decent profit on what it cost to make them and after this the retailer that bought the speakers from the manufacturer then also adds profit onto what you pay!
So in the end you might pay £1000 for a speaker but the net worth of the drivers and crossovers is probably only £150-200. Then the cabinet materials and finish are usually double this at around £300-400. Its a well know fact that the cabinets are the most expensive part of a loudspeaker.

The new 'slimline' version of the original Vista is comming along very nicely. I'm building both in tandem so that they'll both be finished around the same time. Also working on a real wood veneer for the sides this time around which I'll stain and then add a Shellac film finish over that for a deep glossy look. The front, top and plinth will be matt black.

I will get some pictures done when the cabinets are finished, they are essentially identical to the originals but just slimmer on the front and more rounded, so its a waste of time posting pictures of the build as its the same as before.
 

wytco0

Novice Member
ShinObiWAN, thanks for the update, that topas kit looks as though its just what I need. One other question about the finish, I would like mine to be mostly matt balck but I am not sure how to get that finish, I have seen a nice matt gray on some speakers but it seemed to be more t
han just a paint?

My prime requirements are excellent stereo with the AV surround stuff just being nice to have, do you or anyone else know if using my Ruarks as rear speakers would be any good? I am not convinced that rears need to be very good and the Ruarks could be overkill. The other thing that worries me is is it OK to use speakers with different characteritics in a surround sound setup?

I am going to start off with the Ruarks as front and some old speakers as rears and use the Philips 30PF9975 as centre (I know the TV will not be very good as a centre) as I am only going to use a cheap surround sound amp (and keep my hifi for stereo). In a few months I would like to use something like the topas as fronts and at that point i would either sell the ruarks or use them as rears.
 

mrg

Active Member
ShinObiWAN you have inpired me i am having a go at some diy floorstander all because i watched your thread. I cant afford the driver and tweeters you have used but i have sourced some and i will start a thread and post pics as soon as i can. no doubt i will learn by my mistakes but i am confident i can make a quality speaker for a fraction of the retail price thanks.
 
Originally posted by wytco0
ShinObiWAN, thanks for the update, that topas kit looks as though its just what I need. One other question about the finish, I would like mine to be mostly matt balck but I am not sure how to get that finish, I have seen a nice matt gray on some speakers but it seemed to be more than just a paint?

The matt black finish you are describing sounds more like a vinyl or fablon finish. These are readily available and cheap enough. It could also be truck bed coating, which is very similar to the 'Grittex' finish the Rel Q Series use - this surface is textured with tiny bits of sand.

My prime requirements are excellent stereo with the AV surround stuff just being nice to have, do you or anyone else know if using my Ruarks as rear speakers would be any good? I am not convinced that rears need to be very good and the Ruarks could be overkill. The other thing that worries me is is it OK to use speakers with different characteritics in a surround sound setup?

The Topas kit is most definitely stereo orientated but also sounds great with AV, spacial effects in particular are fantastic.

The ruarks would be good as rears but tonal matching is prefered but not absolutely essential for a more realistic AV experience.
 
Originally posted by mrg
ShinObiWAN you have inpired me i am having a go at some diy floorstander all because i watched your thread. I cant afford the driver and tweeters you have used but i have sourced some and i will start a thread and post pics as soon as i can. no doubt i will learn by my mistakes but i am confident i can make a quality speaker for a fraction of the retail price thanks.

Look forward to seeing your project take shape :smashin:
 
Just wanted to post that I have now finished both speakers with one in complete veneered and painted state, whilst the other is just in the primer stage.

Unfortunately no pictures just yet as I'm without a digital camera at the moment since mine is on loan to a friend who is away over easter.

But I can tell you that I'm gobsmacked with the end result, better than I could have ever hoped for. The old design looks plain nasty in comparison. And the old saying that you can never spend to much time preping before finishing is very true. Its almost cetainly because I spent a hell of a lot of time sanding, priming and filling, that it really has come together nicely. In fact I'd say that around 20% of the total time has been spent on construction and the other 80% on finishing.

Even though the internal dimensions have not been changed the narrowing of the baffle has created a better sound, its hard to pinpoint what exactely has changed but it just sounds even more airy and perhaps focused this time around. It could of course be my imagination but I like to think it isn't ;)

I did brace the internals far more extensively this time around with a matrix type arrangement but to be honest the difference is unnoticable to my ears or perhaps its the more airy sound I'm hearing, eitherway at least I know they are good and sturdy so its not been a waste of time.

Pictures to come when I get my digital camera back - I'm sure you won't be dissappointed :suicide: :hiya:
 

Pulsar

Well-known Member
ShinObiWAN,

I have been following this and you sub project quite closely. I can't wait to see some finished pics of the vista's, and read a full review when you get chance.

Cheers

Rob
 
Pictures of the finished speaker:

Shinobiwan3264-visfr.JPG


Shinobiwan3264-vis03.JPG


Shinobiwan3264-vis04.JPG


Shinobiwan3264-vis05.JPG
 

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