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DIY Speaker Recommendations with Specific Questions RE: Hivi 3.1, Helix Dome

Application:  Stand mount speakers to be positioned relatively near my computer desk.  They will not be backed from a wall, my desk faces outwards towards the middle of the room so the only boundary issue of note is the sound coming at my desk and monitor themselves.

What I have now in that category: 

AR11 (doesn't image well or work well near field), C-Note, Classix II (excellent), Econowave (doing duty elsewhere but probably also not great near field, mine has a 12" woofer)

What I'm looking for: 

Another fun DIY build in the upgrade path i.e. what's next to try and listen to that would either be different from or an improvement on the Classix II - not that the Classix II is bad...I love it and it reproduces anything well...just because I love audio project and audio in general.  I will be leveraging the system in a 2.1 configuration with a rolls high pass/low pass (and a Behringer crossover to sub in if needed) with a M&K 70B sub to supplement the low end.  I like to listen at moderate volumes because my 46 year old ears like/need them and I enjoy some dynamics to the music.  I'm preferring to spend $500 or less for this project iteration which eliminates Adelphos/Kairos for the most part.  I will be driving the speakers with a McCormack DNA .5 so 4 ohm load based designs are wholly within scope.  I'd prefer a bookshelf for stand mount form factor rather than mini monitors due to my desire to have some larger midbass drivers 6" or larger unless there is compelling reason to go smaller and maintain output/dynamics.

Under Consideration: 
DIY Sound Group Helix Dome Kit (Bagby), Hivi 3.1 (intrigued by the ribbon), Carmody Spitfire, anything that is well documented and out there sold as a kit.  Not married to ruler flat response, I want something that sounds good and can reproduce music beyond only music fit for critical listening.  After some research those are the two that pique my interest the most but it's not out of the question to look at other items.

Some Specific Questions: 
1.  Just how good is the Hivi 3.1 kit?  The price and comprehensive inclusion of the kit is compelling, I've never owned something leveraging a tweeter of that type (closest I've owned is EMIT on an Infinity RSII), and having a stand mounted 3 way might be interesting.  Are there better DIY options i.e. for over 100 more would the helix dome be a better choice?  I see all the crossover mods which are compelling as well i.e. that it's well documented and I can tweak it in a number of ways.  In optimal condition, just how good of a deal and performer is it?  This is one of the main reasons I joined the group, MAC seems to have spent the most time dissecting and solutioning on the 3.1.

2.  Helix Dome...how does it stand against other similarly priced and aligned Bagby designs i.e. Piccolo, Soprano, Docere, etc.  I like the idea of the Continuum II but I'm concerned that it might be too small and not have enough output even with bass supplementation.

Thanks in advance for all your help!  If I was still living in Indiana I'd just attend one of your events...but it's only 5 hours away from Nashville so I'd absolutely consider driving up I still have family in Indy.

Let me add that if anyone wants to audition any of my speakers feel free to reach out to me and have a beer at my home in Mount Juliet TN a few miles away from Nashville.  Audio people are always welcome!!








Comments

  • I really like the Bromo kit from SB acoustics I don't know if anyone has it listed as a kit but I know Meniscus stocks the parts.  That ceramic cone material is pretty nice. I think that kit will compete well among any in its price range. 
      At a certain point I feel like you need to move to a 3 way to have significant gains in sound quality over most well implemented stand mount bookshelf speakers. Like all statements there are exceptions.
    BrannigansLaw
  • What about a coaxial? 
  • kenrhodes said:
    I really like the Bromo kit from SB acoustics I don't know if anyone has it listed as a kit but I know Meniscus stocks the parts.  That ceramic cone material is pretty nice. I think that kit will compete well among any in its price range. 
      At a certain point I feel like you need to move to a 3 way to have significant gains in sound quality over most well implemented stand mount bookshelf speakers. Like all statements there are exceptions.
    I looked up the drivers, not too pricey looks like a sum total of $240 dollars but no baffle boards out there, would be a totally scratch build for me and I'd prefer to go with a more known design and prefab kit in that scenario.  I kind of thought the same about potentially having to move to a 3 way as well which is why I really have been taking a hard look at the Hivi 3.1a.  Did you attend any of the events that featured it?
  • Kornbread said:
    What about a coaxial? 
    I've never done one before but I've thought about it but I'm not seeing any compelling designs out there with baffle boards or flat packs.  I could likely work around and build a cabinet but the baffle board is the piece that would require me to buy the router, jig, etc.  I did get a recommendation regarding the Seas Loki kit on Madisound.  DIY sound group seems to have some larger ones like the Vortex that may or may not be suitable for stand mounting but the cabinets look like they'd be big...the smallest 12" model calls for 3.5' cabinet.

    I also had a recommendation for Mark Audio Alpair 11s's which are full rangers on sale right now at madisound but the 100% box construction from specs sounded time consuming.  What are your thoughts?
  • edited October 2
    The stock HiVi 3.1 had some problems with the stock crossover.  Scott Sehlin did some crossover mods for it in a thread here.  Here's the link:  https://diy.midwestaudio.club/discussion/550/hivi-diy-3-1-revisited#latest

    PS - you'll have to scroll to the beginning of the thread as the link goes near to the end
  • I have not heard the hivi kit but I have heard Scott's work befor and I am sure that they would be great with his crossover.
      What time frame are you thinking for building a kit? Someone might be able to make a baffle for you.
  • The stock HiVi 3.1 had some problems with the stock crossover.  Scott Sehlin did some crossover mods for it in a thread here.  Here's the link:  https://diy.midwestaudio.club/discussion/550/hivi-diy-3-1-revisited#latest

    PS - you'll have to scroll to the beginning of the thread as the link goes near to the end
    The stock HiVi 3.1 had some problems with the stock crossover.  Scott Sehlin did some crossover mods for it in a thread here.  Here's the link:  https://diy.midwestaudio.club/discussion/550/hivi-diy-3-1-revisited#latest

    PS - you'll have to scroll to the beginning of the thread as the link goes near to the end
    Yes sir, that entire thread is what led me here to get listening impressions, I definitely read through it completely it was super informative.
  • kenrhodes said:
    I have not heard the hivi kit but I have heard Scott's work befor and I am sure that they would be great with his crossover.
      What time frame are you thinking for building a kit? Someone might be able to make a baffle for you.
    I actually could build at any time, the only sense or urgency is my desire to play with another toy.  I have considered buying the modest cost in wood working equipment to give it a shot.  Likely just a router and jig and harbor freight has really cost reasonable plunge routers since my application is literally just a baffle now and again.
  •   I forgot to mention that the Bromo kit was played at the Meniscus CSS get together. I have heard them 2 times now and love them. JR has made some favorable comments about that series of woofers. Mattsk8 has given the Bromo's an extended test and liked them. Javad has used this series of drivers and the results sounded increadable.
      I have heard hivi drivers from those product lines as well and they are good quality. 
  • kenrhodes said:
      I forgot to mention that the Bromo kit was played at the Meniscus CSS get together. I have heard them 2 times now and love them. JR has made some favorable comments about that series of woofers. Mattsk8 has given the Bromo's an extended test and liked them. Javad has used this series of drivers and the results sounded increadable.

    The statements above all apply to the Bromo right?  While the statement below relates to the Hivi 3.1 kit?  Just need to clarify.  I'm going to read up on that SB kit and see if there is more documentation on it, etc. and at minimum see what hits I get with Bromo as the search keyword.

      I have heard hivi drivers from those product lines as well and they are good quality. 

  • Ugh...bad news.  Read about the drivers used in it, became interested enough to try to read all the documentation and every single link is broken on the sb acoustics website pertaining to it.  Cabinet drawings, spec sheets, etc.  I'll email the site admin is see if they'll actually fix it.
  • Follow up on the Bromo, even thought the links are broken for now and it's un-buildable for now (I did contact the site admin about this) from what I can tell there are two options for drivers that will work in the same crossover. One option is for aluminum based and the other for ceramic based. Which one did you guys hear at the show, the ceramic based ones? Is that the general recommendation?
  • Were you a fan of the Bromo as well?  Did you also by chance hear the Hivi 3.1 when it was played?



  • The Ceramic drivers I am a fan of, period, and this is a very good sounding kit. I heard them at InDIYana in the Spring as well. I have not heard the aluminum version.

    The 3.1 kit as it sits out of the box is a bit bright and anemic. With Scott's xover, it's a lot better.
  • Man...maybe they'll respond to me and update their documents so that I can take a good hard look at them.  Are ceramic drivers more dynamic in sound?  What do they impart?

    As for the 3.1 kit with Scott's xover (the only way I'd do it) is the end product really good or just better than the default?  At the end of the day do you really like that speaker when optimized compared to other options under $500?

    BTW, I was just reading your write up on your Zingers on Meniscus (I've read up on all your designs that have kit forms behind them) and just as a heads up some of the text got cut off on the bottom of page 4 when you were doing your September 2005 update.
  • What 2005 update? The Zingers weren't around in 2005. You mean the Stances? They weren't around in 2005. Nope, the Nephila weren't either. I have no idea what you are trying to say.
  • The write-up you did on the Zingers that was in PDF format ended up running off the bottom of page 4 for some reason like it got cut off.  The last thing on the page was mentioned something regarding Sept 2005...perhaps this was a thread you cut and pasted into the write-up from Parts Express technical forums and that was your join date or some such?  Sorry...I didn't articulate myself very well.  A picture is worth a thousand words, I have attached a snippet of what was cut off.


  • That 2005 date is the year Wolf joined PETT if I’m not mistaken. It has nothing to do with the date of the write up. It was just snipped from a PETT post. I can see how it would be misleading. 
    My signature goes here
  • Man...maybe they'll respond to me and update their documents so that I can take a good hard look at them.  Are ceramic drivers more dynamic in sound?  What do they impart?

    As for the 3.1 kit with Scott's xover (the only way I'd do it) is the end product really good or just better than the default?  At the end of the day do you really like that speaker when optimized compared to other options under $500?

    BTW, I was just reading your write up on your Zingers on Meniscus (I've read up on all your designs that have kit forms behind them) and just as a heads up some of the text got cut off on the bottom of page 4 when you were doing your September 2005 update.
    I know this was directed to Wolf but I'm going to chime in on the 3.1 anyway. I built the kit with my own xo mods BEFORE Scott's definitive version was fully hatched. After a thoroughly embarrassing experience presenting it at DIY Iowa, I managed to get mine to a happy place. Anyway, regarding the kit, the parts and ease of assembly are all top notch. The drivers are all capable. I wouldn't hesitate from recommending it. Just follow Scott's lead. The stock iteration is less than the sum of it's parts.
  • You got it.  And I was just letting him know that it looked like the content got clipped at the bottom of page 4 because the last sentence on page 4 doesn't flow into the first one on page 5

    My replies are directed to anyone in the forum since most of them have heard the speakers, it's one of the main reasons I joined the forum.  So I read that as an endorsement but only if I use one of Scott's crossover mods which is flat out the only way I would proceed.  I'd likely shoot for the resistor mad as it's the easiest/cheapest unless there were signficant audible differences to go to the full boat 'perfect' crossover...I mean...it's 25 dollars I could easily go that way if there were audible gains but the impression I got was that the resistor mod was equally as effective.  I like the summary of 'less than the sum of it's parts' i.e. I read that as 'you'd think this would sound good from the driver selection and components but the crossover was so off target they managed to screw that up with everything else going for the kit'.  This doesn't surprise me, chifi iem's are often tuned bright as well, it's almost a 'house sound signature' for chifi.
  • Okay, what Zinger PDF file? I have officially no clue what you are talking about. Where did you see this other than PETT?

    The Sept 2005 date was the date of a forum software reboot for PETT, and was the the first version after BBS software if I'm not mistaken. It's on version 4 now I think. I actually joined PETT around 2002, and was posting there and the now gone old Mad-board. Mad died an internet death, and then most of use migrated over to PETT naturally.

  • What the!? I apparently have a Zingers kit up on Meniscus, and I didn't even know about it!!  =)

    Apparently it's 'highly asked for' too!? I guess I know what you mean now. You have to click the link to the PETT pages to read the whole thread about them, sans truncations.
    S7910
  • Yes!  I assumed you had commission on such things etc.  I'm kind of shocked that they would post a kit you designed without permission.  NOW it's all make sense right?  This entire time I assumed you put it up there and posted the write up and that you were getting some compensation for it so I thought I was helping you out in finding an error in the 'write up' created by the designer.  This explains everything.  Wow.  

    Yes...I discovered all of this in looking at your designs to see if there was one in Kit Form that fit the bill for me and this is how I stumbled upon it.  Madness right?
  • With respect to the 3.1 mods, I generally recommend the perfectionist mod if you haven't built the crossover yet.  The other mods are more quick fixes that take the balance from "anemic" as Wolf put it to "neutral" but are still somewhat uneven in the tweeter range of operation.  The resistor mods will sound pretty good on most material, but on a few tracks will either be missing a little or have a little extra emphasis on a certain note.
    Keep an open mind, but don't let your brain fall out.

    Sehlin Sound Solutions
  • Thanks for the elaboration.  So if I choose to proceed with the hivi's I should go straight to the perfectionist crossover.  Point taken and $25 in parts is negligible.  Much appreciated.  
  • BTW, to close the loop I have decided to quit pussy footing around and buy a router and jasper jig.  I bought a 8 x 4 sheet of 3/4 inch baltic birch.  I don't like being constrained by buying only things that have flat packs...time for me to learn how to build these from the ground up.

    Let me also add that if I could get SB to respond to my emails and provide the plans for the Bromo's I would be purchasing those drivers based on the recommendations in the thread and proceeding.  Maybe some time down the road I'll get a response but so far I'm getting crickets and there is no email or phone number on the sb acoustics site, you can only contact them via form.

    In the interim I'm likely going to take advantage of the madisound sale on Mark Audio's new Alpair MS's as I've had little experience with full range drivers and the cost of entry is pretty cheap for an experimental build.  Anyone here have any experience with those drivers or heard anything based on Mark Audio's full range drivers?  I haven't pulled the trigger yet but likely will at some point today.


  • kenrhodes said:
      I forgot to mention that the Bromo kit was played at the Meniscus CSS get together. I have heard them 2 times now and love them. JR has made some favorable comments about that series of woofers. Mattsk8 has given the Bromo's an extended test and liked them. Javad has used this series of drivers and the results sounded increadable.

    I'm watching Javad's video of the 'ceramicos' I'm assuming those are his tower build with similar drivers. I love the look of the ceramic drivers.  I contacted Madisound and spoke to Brian, he said I am the second request this week for the Bromo documentation.  Since they are the only US distributor they have taken ownership of pestering SB Acoustics so at some point I'll likely buy the drivers as soon as I am provided the docs.
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