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Bryston-like DIY-ish Active Speakers


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Bryston's approach to active speakers seems to be wasteful and completely behind the times - big metal boxes with expensive heat sinking and A/D/A processing (meaning D/A/D/A for those of us who are primarily focused digitally stored music. However, the approach the preamp/crossover/amp combos outside of the speaker boxes offers great flexibility and opens up myriad potential upgrade paths.  One could start with a simple 2 or three way system, with a capable multichannel digital crossover/preamp, and over time, independently upgrade: 1) speakers ; 2) crossovers; 3) digital filters; 4) D/A conversion; 5) preamplification; and 6) amplification.  Of course, many of these functions might be combined (crossover + digital filters in and HQ player server, or Exasound 8 channel DAC straight to amplifiers, for example).  I am intrigued by the possibility of just such a sytem, but the interesting question to me is "what passive speakers" would I want to try this out on, i.e., who has a great box and great divers with an OK, not great crossover?

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It is relatively easy to do with JRMC (which has built-in tools for channel processing, DSP and VST plug-ins) or Roon (lacks plug-ins) and a multichannel DAC.  No preamp needed except for personal convenience.

 

OTOH, it is hard to find a finished speaker without a crossover so your options are to build one (many good kit projects out there) or buy a good speaker and remove the crossover.  In terms of asset management, perhaps a used pair would be the way to go.

Kal Rubinson

Senior Contributing Editor, Stereophile

 

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A budget DIY idea that caught my eye was to utilize a miniDSP ICE250 plate amp in each cab. Those who have completed active cab builds seem to like the flexibility and quality of power at their given price point. I'm a little in love with idea of going this route so I have started a fair amount of research to hopefully launch a build soon. 

Garage Rig- iMac 27-Topping D90-SVS Prime Wireless-SVS SB2000 sub

IMG_3751.HEIC

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1 hour ago, CKehoe said:

Looked at that, and the NCORE plate amps, but kind of don't want to build cabinets.

 

I get it...sans knockdown cab kits, the build process with custom cabs requires time, more tools and dedication to maintain a high level of production detail. It's a task, for sure. 

Garage Rig- iMac 27-Topping D90-SVS Prime Wireless-SVS SB2000 sub

IMG_3751.HEIC

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I'm thinking of maybe picking up some Vandersteens 2Ces or 3As as mules for this project.  I've had Vandy's before, and liked them, so I could use them normally untill I was ready to modify them. The drivers are supposed to be capable well beyond their crossover points, based on their use in 1st order crossovers. But they are 4 ways - meaning 8 channels of amplification!

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