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January 23, 2020, 01:03:14 AM

Author Topic: Speaker kit experiments - an archive of the Jäger Speaker development  (Read 22120 times)

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Offline Doc B.

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It seems to me like a good time to share some info about a project we have been working on sporadically for the past few months. It started when PB was still working for us more or less full time. He put together a speaker setup based upon some design parameters we agreed upon. The initial requirements were that it be efficient enough to perform extremely well with our more powerful amps and reasonably well with our lower powered amps. It also had to be able to work with a single amp, i.e. it could not be a multi-amp-only design like my reference system.

PB built a roughly 1 cubic foot vented cabinet with two 8" woofers and a fairly inexpensive dome tweeter. The woofers showed a lot of promise, the tweeter not so much. The next iteration replaced the dome tweeter with a horn loaded planar tweeter, and PB and PJ worked out a rough cut crossover for evaluation. At this point the design started to sound like something we could refine into a very listenable setup.

Our new tech Kelvin spent some time getting our clip lead kludged crossover assembled into a more manageable form earlier this week. We've been doing some fairly intensive measurement and testing of different aspects of the design since then, analyzing the advantages and learning to work around the compromises that one finds in every speaker design. PJ, Josh, Kelvin and I were all focused on this project the last couple of days and made a great deal of headway in the process. As it stands now (and subject to change) it looks like we are talking about a tower speaker about 4.5-5 feet tall, about 9" wide and maybe 10-13" deep. There are two woofers that should be able to get down to around 40 Hz when using an amp with a damping factor in the range typical for zero global feedback single ended tube amps. The sensitivity should be in the [email protected] range. We've tested this prototype with every amp we make and they all work quite nicely with it. With a Kaiju the speaker ROCKS, loud and clean. I had to run the levels fairly high to listen for any oddball resonances we need to address and at one point I noticed Josh had earplugs in.

The passive crossover will be somewhat complex. This is a necessity to get the speaker to perform at a level similar to my reference system. Currently it features the crossover elements, a zobel for the woofers and a notch filter. We are also looking at ways to improve the HF extension of the horn a bit and to employ some baffle step correction.

Yesterday we nailed down exactly how much padding the very efficient horn tweeter needs to match the woofers. That allowed us to remove an adjustable pad we had in the crossover, and the fixed pad requires us to slightly adjust the crossover component values the keep it at the desired frequency. We will get this reconfigured next week, and then our next step is to move the drivers into the larger cabinet and verify the bass performance of the box and the effect of BSC.

Release date - I don't know, but definitely after we finish the design and not before.

Price - maybe $1500-2K? not sure yet. Depends greatly upon the cabinet design and material and the final crossover configuration and component cost.

To be clear, this design is intended to be a setup for those who want speakers that will be truly optimized to work with our premium amps in a living room sized environment, and who don't mind putting a kit together. It's not intended to be a compact setup, or a nearfield rig, and it's not intended to be a finished product. For those requirements I highly recommend Blumenstein Audio products. Clark has an excellent handle on that aspect.

Unless we come across some heretofore undiscovered, insurmountable obstacle, I will post here when we have any more news about the development of this speaker. Cross your fingers - we've been searching for this grail for 20 years!
« Last Edit: September 05, 2017, 03:50:00 PM by Doc B. »
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
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Bottlehead Corp.

Offline Bonzo

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Re: Speaker kit experiments
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2016, 10:41:40 AM »
What a good new!  8)

Well...no fullrange?  ;)
Bisogna avere orecchio!

Offline Doc B.

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Re: Speaker kit experiments
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2016, 11:09:57 AM »
If it works out it will be a pretty full range speaker, hopefully from around 37Hz to maybe 18kHz, with very smooth response in between and a capability to hit 103dB or so peaks with a Kaiju. If anyone makes a true full range single driver some day - with flat response and that can play at speaker levels rather than headphone levels - I will be interested to hear it.
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.

Offline tdogzthmn

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Re: Speaker kit experiments
« Reply #3 on: July 22, 2016, 12:49:55 PM »
Sounds really exciting! I've been researching some various DIY horn speakers with high efficiency 15" woofers paired with compression drivers.  Hope you can upload pics of the test speakers you've built. 

Offline Brent

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Re: Speaker kit experiments
« Reply #4 on: July 22, 2016, 01:13:44 PM »
High(ish) efficiency, designed specifically for Bottlehead amps? Awesome. Although it's a retired BH product, I'm assuming my Paramounts would work great with them too.  I don't have the right space for speakers this big at the moment, but I expect to relatively soon. Following with interest.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2016, 03:46:50 PM by Brent »

Offline Doc B.

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Re: Speaker kit experiments
« Reply #5 on: July 22, 2016, 04:05:11 PM »
The test speakers are so different than what we are planning for a production cabinet that I don't think it would be prudent to spend too much effort showing them. I will be happy to share images when we get cabinets that are similar to what we hope to sell.

We lucked out and had the parts needed to update the crossover today. That went well and allowed us to try out a Fix for baffle step correction and treble EQ. It definitely did some very positive things for the sound. So we are getting close to being ready to have prototype cabinets made.
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.

Offline 2wo

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Re: Speaker kit experiments
« Reply #6 on: July 22, 2016, 05:21:09 PM »
I am interested, being a purchaser of the Straight 8's back in the day.

I still have them, they make awesome home theater mains...John       
John Scanlon

Offline Doc B.

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Re: Speaker kit experiments
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2016, 05:42:47 PM »
Thank you for the kind words. I think this speaker would be a marked improvement over the S8. We've learned a bit in the last 16 or 17 years.
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
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Bottlehead Corp.

Offline Sugar Man

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Re: Speaker kit experiments
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2016, 05:56:51 AM »
Very exciting news!  ;D
Mike "Stein" Ayotte

Current Gear:

Elekit TU-8600 300B w/Lundahl Trannies
Audio Note R Zero II Phono Pre
Rega RP8 w/ Audio Note IQ3 (MM)
Audio Note E Speaker Kit-04 w/ AlNiCo drivers

Stereomour II w/ Jupiters
Eros w/ Mundorf Silver Oils
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Offline Rocketman248

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Re: Speaker kit experiments
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2016, 06:10:45 AM »
Definitely looking forward to learning more about this project.
Nick DeBrita
Yokosuka, Japan

Offline Mike F1

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Re: Speaker kit experiments
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2016, 08:07:08 PM »
Very cool! Been waiting for this for a while.

I am a very capable wood worker.. and I'm sure others are as well. 
Would it be possible to get the "electronic parts" and the cabinet plans so one could make their own cabs?
This would save also on the shipping costs.

Regards

Mike

Offline kgoss

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Re: Speaker kit experiments
« Reply #11 on: July 24, 2016, 05:19:40 AM »
I agree with Mike although I think we are in the minority. I love woodworking and would prefer to buy the plans, crossover, and drivers if that is an option.  I'm not saying I wouldn't buy if that is not an option, but it would be my preference.
Ken Goss

Offline Doc B.

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Re: Speaker kit experiments
« Reply #12 on: July 24, 2016, 05:52:14 AM »
What you guys are describing sounds like some of the projects that Parts Express and Madisound publish. You might want to take a look at their offerings.

My plan at this time is to offer a full kit. That will keep materials, dimensions, and fastening methods consistent. This would assure us that the sound of the speaker is what we intend it to be. That's not meant to denigrate anyone's woodworking skill. It's simply that we are building, testing, adjusting, testing, etc., and will have a large database of what small changes do to the sound. Sometimes the best method in terms of woodworking might not yield the best sound.

This is all assuming we end up with what I consider to be a worthy product. I think we are headed in that direction. We will know a lot more after we get some cabinets in the desired proportions built and tested.
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.

Offline kgoss

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Re: Speaker kit experiments
« Reply #13 on: July 24, 2016, 09:08:27 AM »
I understand your point Doc, and I appreciate the amount of testing and science that goes into all the Bottlehead products.  The stock kits sound awesome which is a direct result of that solid research.  I'm looking forward to this precisely because you guys are excited about it. Hopefully it will be ready for release soon.
Ken Goss

Offline tsingle999

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Re: Speaker kit experiments
« Reply #14 on: July 24, 2016, 09:15:35 AM »
Very exciting news!
I am in for a pair! You guys always create great stuff! I have never gotten to hear the straight 8's but I like the wall speakers.
I know this may be a "too early" question but are you thinking the cabinet as a flat pack?
I would prefer non mdf wood too...
I am in the camp of the least woodworking possible by me the better the cabinet will be made:-)
Good luck with the development.
Its going to be pretty cool to have an official bottlehead stereo from the dac through to the speaker!

Taran
Taran
Macmini tidal masters to BH DAC to Fix to BeePre to SR45BN (with mq dowdy n tfa2004sr) to Abby with fostex FE 166esr and Blumenstein Max Subs