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My dream desktop speakers


Siavash
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I'm embarking on a new journey to make a set of new desktop speakers. When I make a good prototype, I'm gonna demo it to people, and if I feel there is demand, I may crowdfund it. I have some rough ideas, but I'd love to get the input of the community here.

I want a very low distortion, and clear sounding speaker that has a very deep bass for its size. I think something like the Audio Engine A2 is too small for deep satisfying bass and something like A5 or JBL LS305 is too big for desktop use. So I'm thinking of a 4" woofer in a compact enclosure. With the magic of DSP, you can make a 4" woofer to play really deep while sounding tight and clear :)

 

As for the connectivity options, I can't really make my mind. I personally like to have a USB or optical input (24bit/48Khz al least), but also balanced inputs for use in a home recording studio (A couple of friends and I have small home recording setups so that would be nice)

On the other hand, bluetooth and wifi make a lot of sense too, because a lot of the time I take my laptop and go sit on a couch across the room. It would be nice to be still be able to play music through some sort of wireless connection.

 

What does your ideal set of compact speakers would look like? What features are nice to have? what are necessary?

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1) I would like 5 inch minimum and no dsp

2) separate amps and active xovers in each speaker.

3) no need for dac or b.tooth for me

4) of course rca as long as balanced ins.

5) an attractive but not over exaggerated design..

6) may be closed design..

7) and above all high quality drivers

 

 

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

Mac Mini with JRMC26 or Audirvana  / Raspberry4B_4GB(GentooPlayer_LMS) / Raspberry Rpi3B+: Allo DigiOne(GentooPlayer) - M2Tech Evo DAC Two Plus/iPurifier2 - Schiit Vali 2 - Densen DM20pre/30pwr amps - Spendor SP2/3E, Sennheiser HD600 & HD25Aluminum - Audeze Sine

Cables: Vovox, DIY, Furutech. 

Portable sources: iPad, DELL Laptop with JRiver MC26

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You described pretty much what I like to do. Personally for me first and foremost is the acoustic performance as opposed to various connectivity options. I'm planning to do some acoustic modeling soon, and once I have something that looks promising, I'll start a design thread in DIYAudio where I document the design.

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1) I would like 5 inch minimum and no dsp

2) separate amps and active xovers in each speaker.

3) no need for dac or b.tooth for me

4) of course rca as long as balanced ins.

5) an attractive but not over exaggerated design..

6) may be closed design..

7) and above all high quality drivers

 

 

Sent from my Nexus 5 using Tapatalk

 

+1

 

I have been enjoying the Adam A7 active monitors ($1,500) on my desk for the past 5 years but they are most likely too big and expensive for most desktops.

 

Their little brother the relatively new A5X ($1,000 pair) would in my opinion be perfect to base your design on as it sets the bar for sound quality or maybe the cheaper Adam F5 ($500 pair).

 

A5X - Description | ADAM Audio GmbH

 

With the recent advances in DAC technology set to continue I would be loathed to have a DAC included within the speaker and as it is a desktop there is no need for wireless as only short cable runs required. Put the money saved into high quality components - 5" woofer and ribbon tweeter with active crossover and appropriate amplification.

LOUNGE: Mac Mini - Audirvana - Devialet 200 - ATOHM GT1 Speakers

OFFICE : Mac Mini - Audirvana - Benchmark DAC1HDR - ADAM A7 Active Monitors

TRAVEL : MacBook Air - Dragonfly V1.2 DAC - Sennheiser HD 650

BEACH : iPhone 6 - HRT iStreamer DAC - Akimate Micro + powered speakers

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+1

 

With the recent advances in DAC technology set to continue I would be loathed to have a DAC included within the speaker and as it is a desktop there is no need for wireless as only short cable runs required. Put the money saved into high quality components - 5" woofer and ribbon tweeter with active crossover and appropriate amplification.

 

Thanks for your input. One thing I like about having a USB input is that if I use a digital amp, the signal can remain in the digital domain all the way through right until the power stage of the amp. I think this will achieve better results than converting the signal to analog (using a DAC) and then amplifying it with an analog amp.

 

I haven't played with ribbon tweeters myself, but the measurements I've seen so far not that impressive. How do you characterize sound of the tweeter on your Adam A7?

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Thanks for your input. One thing I like about having a USB input is that if I use a digital amp, the signal can remain in the digital domain all the way through right until the power stage of the amp. I think this will achieve better results than converting the signal to analog (using a DAC) and then amplifying it with an analog amp.

 

I haven't played with ribbon tweeters myself, but the measurements I've seen so far not that impressive. How do you characterize sound of the tweeter on your Adam A7?

 

Hi Slavash,

 

I certainly get your point about leaving everything in the digital domain - I believe the excellent Genelc speakers have a similar approach. If you want some more information check out the current thread here at CA started by Digipete who is an expert and self confessed fan boy.

 

Studio Monitors | Genelec.com

 

I love the sound of the Adam ribbon tweeter and would describe it as very clean with incredible clarity and transparency. I'm not sure what measurements you are referring to as the tweeter in the Adam A5X is rated up to 50kHz?

 

A ribbon tweeter is manufactured from an aluminium foil diaphragm between two magnetic poles. The diaphragm is very fragile and about 20 to 30 microns thick. It’s about 2 to 3 inches long and 1/2-inch wide. It looks like a ribbon, and the diaphragm is a current conductor. Signal current passing through the diaphragm makes it vibrate. The absence of voice coil inductance and extremely light diaphragm create the exceptional sound quality. They are expensive and require transformers for impedance matching.

 

From Wikipedia:

 

A ribbon speaker consists of a thin metal-film ribbon suspended in a magnetic field. The electrical signal is applied to the ribbon, which moves with it to create the sound. The advantage of a ribbon driver is that the ribbon has very little mass; thus, it can accelerate very quickly, yielding very good high-frequency response. Most ribbon tweeters emit sound in a dipole pattern.

 

Ribbon designs generally require exceptionally powerful magnets, which makes them costly to manufacture. Ribbons have a very low resistance that most amplifiers cannot drive directly. As a result, a step down transformer is typically used to increase the current through the ribbon. The amplifier "sees" a load that is the ribbon's resistance times the transformer turns ratio squared. The transformer must be carefully designed so that its frequency response and parasitic losses do not degrade the sound, further increasing cost and complication relative to conventional designs.

 

From Adam:

 

X-ART | ADAM Audio GmbH

 

If you are serious about sound quality I would certainly do some more research into ribbon tweeters and also the Genelec range, if you want to remain in the digital domain as long as possible.

 

Good luck,

 

 

Ajax

LOUNGE: Mac Mini - Audirvana - Devialet 200 - ATOHM GT1 Speakers

OFFICE : Mac Mini - Audirvana - Benchmark DAC1HDR - ADAM A7 Active Monitors

TRAVEL : MacBook Air - Dragonfly V1.2 DAC - Sennheiser HD 650

BEACH : iPhone 6 - HRT iStreamer DAC - Akimate Micro + powered speakers

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I'm embarking on a new journey to make a set of new desktop speakers.

When I make a good prototype, I'm gonna demo it to people, and if I feel there is demand, I may crowdfund it.

I have some rough ideas, but I'd love to get the input of the community here. . .

 

Hi Siavash

 

Welcome to CA, hope you have fun and learn stuff here!

 

 

I am the self-confessed resident Genelec fanboy ;-)

An for a lot of good reasons.

 

I got tired of listing and relisting the good arguments, so I summed it all up in:

 

Genelec - What is the rave about? the blog

Genelec - What is the rave about? thread with comments about the blog.

 

Lets dig deeper with that out of the way:

 

 

The goal.

 

The ultimate goal, desktop or not, is to have an acoustically invisible speaker.

Necessary but not sufficient specs. would be:

 

- Effortless 20-20kHz

- Linear in any listening position within physics (as in DSP room correction)

- Equidistance to all drivers in listening position (as is concentric drivers)

- No weak links in signal lines, i.e. digital all the way to the driver

 

Now all this would translate into further points and solutions mentioned in my blog.

There may be other ways, but the goals remain.

 

 

My dream desktop speakers - existing products.

 

I really only have two that qualify:

 

Genelec 8351 - USD 8600 a pair

 

Steinway Lyngdorf - USD 25,000 a pair

 

 

My dream desktop speakers - existing technology

 

My dream would be a healthy marriage of the two existing products, enhanced by:

 

- Wireless connection with a USB dongle or something (as in using the WISA standard).

- Active digital amplification with instant feedback from both room and speaker drivers.

- Low energy consumption active and in stand-by.

- Low price due to high production numbers and smart engineering.

 

 

Just my 5 cents

ALAC/FLAC 16/44 - 24/192 stereo/surround on Promise Pegasus2 R6 12TB -> Thunderbolt ->
MacBook Pro -> Firewire -> Weiss AFI-1 DDC -> AES/EBU ->
Genelec 5 x 8260A + 7271A sub

iPhone SE 2 -> Philips Fidelio X2 or Sennheiser PXC 550 on BT
Blog: “Confessions of a DigiPhile” at http://www.computeraudiophile.com/blogs/digipete

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I'm embarking on a new journey to make a set of new desktop speakers. When I make a good prototype, I'm gonna demo it to people, and if I feel there is demand, I may crowdfund it. I have some rough ideas, but I'd love to get the input of the community here.

I want a very low distortion, and clear sounding speaker that has a very deep bass for its size. I think something like the Audio Engine A2 is too small for deep satisfying bass and something like A5 or JBL LS305 is too big for desktop use. So I'm thinking of a 4" woofer in a compact enclosure. With the magic of DSP, you can make a 4" woofer to play really deep while sounding tight and clear :)

 

As for the connectivity options, I can't really make my mind. I personally like to have a USB or optical input (24bit/48Khz al least), but also balanced inputs for use in a home recording studio (A couple of friends and I have small home recording setups so that would be nice)

On the other hand, bluetooth and wifi make a lot of sense too, because a lot of the time I take my laptop and go sit on a couch across the room. It would be nice to be still be able to play music through some sort of wireless connection.

 

What does your ideal set of compact speakers would look like? What features are nice to have? what are necessary?

To me, sound comes first, features second and in my opinion, the best true desktop speakers on the planet are the Harbeth P3ESR. If you could make a speaker sound like those for under $1000, the world will beat a path to your door, and I'll be first in line.

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  • 2 weeks later...
To me, sound comes first, features second and in my opinion, the best true desktop speakers on the planet are the Harbeth P3ESR. If you could make a speaker sound like those for under $1000, the world will beat a path to your door, and I'll be first in line.

+1!!!

Mac Mini with JRMC26 or Audirvana  / Raspberry4B_4GB(GentooPlayer_LMS) / Raspberry Rpi3B+: Allo DigiOne(GentooPlayer) - M2Tech Evo DAC Two Plus/iPurifier2 - Schiit Vali 2 - Densen DM20pre/30pwr amps - Spendor SP2/3E, Sennheiser HD600 & HD25Aluminum - Audeze Sine

Cables: Vovox, DIY, Furutech. 

Portable sources: iPad, DELL Laptop with JRiver MC26

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I'm embarking on a new journey to make a set of new desktop speakers. When I make a good prototype, I'm gonna demo it to people, and if I feel there is demand, I may crowdfund it. I have some rough ideas, but I'd love to get the input of the community here.

I want a very low distortion, and clear sounding speaker that has a very deep bass for its size. I think something like the Audio Engine A2 is too small for deep satisfying bass and something like A5 or JBL LS305 is too big for desktop use. So I'm thinking of a 4" woofer in a compact enclosure. With the magic of DSP, you can make a 4" woofer to play really deep while sounding tight and clear :)

 

As for the connectivity options, I can't really make my mind. I personally like to have a USB or optical input (24bit/48Khz al least), but also balanced inputs for use in a home recording studio (A couple of friends and I have small home recording setups so that would be nice)

On the other hand, bluetooth and wifi make a lot of sense too, because a lot of the time I take my laptop and go sit on a couch across the room. It would be nice to be still be able to play music through some sort of wireless connection.

 

What does your ideal set of compact speakers would look like? What features are nice to have? what are necessary?

 

In my opinion you can't get deep bass with a small enclosure and a small diameter mid-woofer, and this topology will have limited dynamic range.

If you want to keep the main speaker enclosure small then consider adding a pair of subs.

 

R

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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