I finally finished a new pair of 2-way bookshelf speakers for my home theater, a project that started over two years ago. It was back in March of 2006 that I bought a pair of Dayton RS-150S-8 6" Reference Series woofers and RS-28A-4 tweeters. The plan was to refinish an old pair of speakers that had some old MCM speakers in them that weren't worth the time I spent on the nice enclosures that housed them. They never sounded very good, and the tweeters somehow got completely destroyed, in spite of the plastic shield that was suppose to protect them. So I picked the new speakers to drop in to the old cabinets in hopes of doing it with little modifications.
Then the summer passed and I never got to them, winter came and went, then last summer came and went and the speakers still sat in their original boxes. I at least had plenty of time to stew over the crossover, which I would do from time to time, tweaking and modifying each value until I finally came up with something that looked really good and used a minimal amount of components.
After settling on a crossover design and having the boxes pretty much complete and getting ready to make this speaker happen, wouldn't you know that Parts Express showcased a brand new two-way speaker in their projects section designed by none other than speaker guru Darren Kuzma, which used the exact two drivers I had sitting on my shelf. And they called it Encore.
I read through his whole design and was happy to read that he was very pleased with how the speakers sounded. I compared my crossover design to his and modeled both using PCD and compared the two plots. The FR plots looked nothing alike, not surprising since the designs were very different. I don't claim to be a great crossover designer by any means, I just don't have some of the better tools and software to model them up properly, so it's a lot of trial and error for me. I considered buying the parts for his crossover and mine and comparing them to see which one I liked better. Then when it came down to actually buying the parts, I ended up just buying all the crossover parts for the Encores, since it was cheaper than trying to buy both, it accounted for baffle step compensation (mine didn't) and it's basically a proven
So what was once going to be a killer two-way speaker that I designed, turned into just a remake of these great Encore speakers. Which is fine with me, it's only a slight hit to my speaker-building ego. They look great, though my typical paint job is pretty lousy. I think black paint is the hardest color to paint. Fortunately they sound a lot better than look. (Except for the drivers, they alone do look amazing).
I do plan to change up the box a bit and do a 4th order vented enclosure as soon as I get around to buying some new ports from PE. The total net volume is about 8L which is a bit small for a ported box and this 6" driver, but it models well, slight 2 dB hump, and should give me some extra extension over the same volume sealed box. But for now, they are sealed and filled 100% with polyfil. They certainly need a sub to hit any of the low notes at all. But the bass isn't bad considering the size.
The match to my center channel is just a little bit off. I want to redo the crossover in my center channel, it's a bit too bright for the mains.
They sound close enough now, and with a slight tweak on the center's crossover, I think I can get them to all sound similar enough to be satisfying.
We watched a movie last night and my wife thought everything sounded great. Which I don't disagree, the whole setup does sound great, but the match to the center needs to be better. Today I popped on a little Harry Connick Jr. for just some 2-channel listening and was completely blown away. The detail and clarity were astonishing. Harry's voice sounded deep and rich, the piano sounded true, the high-hat was crisp, the sax so breathy and the big band brass just filled the living room. I couldn't believe such impressive and filling sound could come from such little speakers. I am ecstatic with their performance.
Check out some of the pictures below to see just how I took an old pair of bookshelf speakers and made them brand new again. Just wanted to say thanks to Darren for the great crossover design! The speakers sound awesome. And thanks to Parts Express for their exceptional products and continued support for the DIY community. I definitely recommend this speaker project to anyone looking for a great HT/music bookshelf speaker that offers exceptional sound in a compact and affordable package.
In addition to everything from the Encore's Part's List (minus the cabinets) here's what else I bought:
- 095-280 - 1/4" (16-14) Female Disconnect 50 Pcs.
- 081-440 - #6 x 1" Deep Thread Pan Head Screws Black (for tweeters)
- 081-425 - #8 x 1" Deep Thread Pan Head Screws Black (for woofers)
- 100-020 - Dayton SKRL-14-50 14 AWG OFC Speaker Wire
- 260-311 - Gold Speaker Cup Terminal Round
- Black Suede Behr Indoor Paint in Semi-gloss from Home Depot
- 100% Polyester Fill from JoAnne's
Click on the thumbnails below for full-res pictures of the complete makeover.
UPDATE: After several months of listening to these speakers, I
updated the crossovers and removed the baffle step compensation. I believe that
for my application, the baffle step was unnecessary and was causing the speakers
to sound muffled in their existing locations which was inside a bookcase. The
mod was pretty easy and once I can find the time I'll add the final crossover I
ended up with. For me it just worked out better and sounds better and as I
mentioned, matches the timbre of the center channel much better.