The Puget Sound! diy speaker contest

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Re: The Puget Sound! diy speaker contest

Postby TerryO » Fri Aug 15, 2008 9:02 pm

Hi again,

There are 21 days left until the Contest (9:00am on Sept. 6th)!

Just a note about how it's shaping up, although there are a few matters yet to be settled. Our judges for the Contest will be Winston Ma of FIM, Mike Lavigne (Positive Feedback), Renan Jefferies and Bruce Brown. Gary L. Koh of Genesis Loudspeakers was interested, but his schedule is such as he may be out of the country. All of our judges have served in that capacity in previous Contests, so they volunteered knowing full well what they're getting into.

John Nail, well known speakerbuilder from Eastern Washington, will be measuring the Frequency Response of the Contestant's entries and, of course, presenting them with a printout of the FR. He's a really nice guy, as well as being extremely knowledgeable, so if anyone has questions on speaker design he can probably give you some good ideas on how to proceed. John will also be serving on our Technical Committee.

The Tech. Committee will consist of not only John, but Kevin Haskins of Exodus Audio, Dave Rosgaard (the 200% Norwegian) a Boeing Engineer as well as accomplished speakerbuilder and finally, Myself as the "Expert" on Bad Design and Bondo Technology. :mrgreen:

The system for the Contest will consist of a Sony 777 deck and a Genesis I-60 tube amp. Music to be used will be the Judge's choice (2-3 minutes per Judge) as well as a 1000Hz test tone at the beginning of the disk for setting the spl level of the entry prior to the start of judging. I have been assured by the people at the mastering lab that are mastering the disk to used for the contest that it will be of the absolute highest quality, having a Block Error Rate (BLER) on the order of between .5 and .3!!! The recording industry considers a BLER of 200 as acceptable. High grade Audiophile recordings can be between 20 and 50 with the Mercedes/AMG's "Passion" having the lowest BLER so far of any recording at 10.

For people just attending the Contest we will have in a separate room a duplicate (or nearly duplicate) system, with a copy of the judge's disk, for listening to the speakers waiting to be judged. Of course, you're welcome to bring your own Cd's as well. If you are unfamiliar with our Contest, the evaluation/judging room is off limits to the public during the contest except for the setup crew (who leave before the judging of an entry), the judges themselves and the technician who sets the levels and passes out and collects the evaluation forms.

The builders will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about their speakers (DIY guys just seem to enjoy talking about speakers, and just about anything else for that matter).

I will be filling in more details as the days go by, if you have any questions about entering a speaker, or the contest, just email me or post here.

Best Regards,
TerryO
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Re: The Puget Sound! diy speaker contest

Postby Brian Steele » Fri Aug 15, 2008 10:05 pm

The system for the Contest will consist of a Sony 777 deck and a Genesis I-60 tube amp. Music to be used will be the Judge's choice (2-3 minutes per Judge) as well as a 1000Hz test tone at the beginning of the disk for setting the spl level of the entry prior to the start of judging


Hmm... Isn't it possible that the speakers with a dip at that frequency may end up with a looudness advantage over the others if the source is adjusted to ensure that all entrants have the same SPL level at that frequency during the tests?
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Re: The Puget Sound! diy speaker contest

Postby TerryO » Fri Aug 15, 2008 11:59 pm

Brian Steele wrote:
The system for the Contest will consist of a Sony 777 deck and a Genesis I-60 tube amp. Music to be used will be the Judge's choice (2-3 minutes per Judge) as well as a 1000Hz test tone at the beginning of the disk for setting the spl level of the entry prior to the start of judging


Hmm... Isn't it possible that the speakers with a dip at that frequency may end up with a looudness advantage over the others if the source is adjusted to ensure that all entrants have the same SPL level at that frequency during the tests?


Hi Brian,
It is possible, although the Frequency Response measurements from previous contests have never shown this to any extent. Our judges are all "extremely" experienced listeners and would almost certainly note a recessed mid. But, just the same, we'll keep an eye on this. Thanks for reminding me.

Best Regards,
TerryO
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Re: The Puget Sound! diy speaker contest

Postby scooter » Mon Aug 18, 2008 6:31 pm

Brian Steele wrote:
The system for the Contest will consist of a Sony 777 deck and a Genesis I-60 tube amp. Music to be used will be the Judge's choice (2-3 minutes per Judge) as well as a 1000Hz test tone at the beginning of the disk for setting the spl level of the entry prior to the start of judging


Hmm... Isn't it possible that the speakers with a dip at that frequency may end up with a looudness advantage over the others if the source is adjusted to ensure that all entrants have the same SPL level at that frequency during the tests?


Shhh! don't tell them about the 1000hz 48db notch filter!
Scott Newkirk
KS Sound and Speaker Repair
Kent, WA
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Re: The Puget Sound! diy speaker contest

Postby TerryO » Tue Aug 19, 2008 3:26 am

scooter wrote:
Shhh! don't tell them about the 1000hz 48db notch filter!


So Dr. Moriarty, you thought that you'd outwit Sherlock Olson! Hahahaha!!!

We are subjecting each entry to a preliminary 5 minute session connected to our highly modified cable burn-in device that has been transformed into precision 1000hz notch zapper! :twisted:
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Re: The Puget Sound! diy speaker contest

Postby TerryO » Wed Aug 27, 2008 4:15 am

With just eleven more days before "The Puget Sound! DIY Speaker Contest" (Sept. 6th) it would help if we could get an idea of how many entries we can anticipate. If you're considering or are sure you will have an entry for the contest would you let me know? It helps with the planning and so forth.

Another note, if your speaker uses stands, it would be a real help if you brought them along with you. This would help in insuring that your entry is presented in the best possible manner and won't be compromised by an ill fitting, jury-rigged last minute substitute.

Thanks,
TerryO
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Re: The Puget Sound! diy speaker contest

Postby TerryO » Tue Sep 02, 2008 4:48 am

Quick Note:

It's this next Saturday (Sept. 6th). We'll open the doors @ 9:00am and should start the judging at about 9:30.

Hope you can make it. :mrgreen:

Best Regards,
TerryO
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Re: The Puget Sound! diy speaker contest

Postby badzy » Wed Sep 03, 2008 5:32 am

woohoo! :D
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Re: The Puget Sound! diy speaker contest

Postby TerryO » Sun Sep 14, 2008 12:16 am

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I know that people have been waiting for the results of the Contest, so now that I've had a few days to actually get caught up.... here tiz:

This year "The Puget Sound! DIY Speaker Contest" was pretty successful, except for losing the amp and CD player in the "Public" listening room. Luckily for us, Mike Mardis (Panomaniac) jumped in and we able to figure out that both componets had departed to the Stereo Graveyard. We have requested a post-mortem autopsy to find out what happened.

When Mike had certified the component's demise, we sprang into action to find replacements. We were able to substitute a Conrad-Johnson preamp and my LM 7480 Chip amp for power and a Slim Devices music server (I think it was) and were back in business.

It seemed like only a minute or two later when the fellows on the speaker setup crew came in and told us that one of the channels of the amp in the Judging room was making a weird sound.
About this time I'm wondering what's going on, as the recently failed amp and the Judge's amp are the same model and they both reportedly had the problem with the Left Channel. Upon entering the Evaluation Room we had them play some music through the speakers that had been brought in for judging. A few notes and it was obvious that the moron who owned the black-box speakers had hastily unpacked the speakers and in doing so, Mr. Klutzo has knocked the phase plug off center and it was rubbing. I re-centered the plug and the problem was solved, to the infinite relief of the Multitudes gathered round. We never discovered who had caused the problem, although the speakers bore a striking resemblance to a pair that I had entered. They say everyone has a twin somewhere, and evidently this applies to speakers as well!

The rest of the Contest went fairly well with few problems.

"Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?"

Once again the speakers entered were, without exception, very nice sounding and perhaps even better overall than those in the 2006 contest.

Starting with the modest 1-way/fullrange (under $75 total) class, we saw some real competition. When the dust finally settled, Howard Grim's Fostex (126?) Trapezoid TL/Horn ($71 total) took 1st place. Howard usually runs them with subwoofers (which aren't allowed for the Contest) and was apprehensive that they wouldn't sound very good. Evidently he fooled the judges, as they awarded him enough points to edge out the Radio Shack 1197 driven "Hi-Tweek Black Box Speakers" ($27) which came in 2nd.

The 1-way/fullrange (over $75) class winner was Doug Nash with his absolutely beautiful Fostex 108 Sigma/Frugalhorns($170 total). These actually are BLH designed to used in the corners of a room, but they still sounded pretty good away from any boundaries in the Judging Room. Doug does wonderful cabinet work and these certainly lived up to his reputation.

The next class is, in some ways, the favorite as listeners are constantly amazed with how good these can be. The 2-way (under $200) class had to be the most competitive one in the entire contest. I might add that the Pacific Northwest has some of the most talented (and cheapest!) speaker builders anywhere.

Mike Curtis took 1st place with his MTM featuring AR 5.25 inch mid-woofers and a Tangband Q-1 silk dome tweeter with 3rd order Butterworth crossover. His detailed checklist indicates that he spent a grand total of $128.00 on these. Very fine speakers that looked as good as they sounded.

Dave Rosgaard's 2nd place TM entry was right behind Mike with Definitive Technology drivers, utilizing 2nd order series crossovers that he designs using his own proprietary software. As usual, Dave's speakers sounded superb. (He noted that he had spent $150)

Jim Giblin took the 2-way (over $200) class with his Hawthorne Audio Silver Iris Coax drivers (2nd order crossover) mounted on open baffles. I didn't get a chance to hear them myself, but comments by several people that had were very complimentary. Jim listed a total cost of $290.

With the preliminary matches out of the way, it was time for the Heavyweight Division Bareknuckle Main Event. I'm not sure if any side bets were being made, but there was a lot of speculation as to the outcome of the 3-way (under $300) class.

In one corner was "The Blond Giant," John Nail from the cattle country of Eastern Washington. John is a "scientific" fighter, able to utilize deft moves and feints before delivering a knockout blow.

In the other corner was "Terrible Todd" Lee, a street brawler from the Northlands. Unorthodox and brutal, Todd is both completely unpredictable and blatantly ignores conventional methods. Powerful and Intelligent, he's able to drive opponents into the ground with an earthshaking roundhouse punch delivered with incredible accuracy.

John carefully selects and measures the worth of each component, ever watchful that they fit precisely into his carefully orchestrated plan. No false steps here, everything is factored into his overall strategy to achieve victory.
He has chosen a Vifa D19AD-05-06 tweeter, NHT 4.5 inch midrange driver and a pair of Recoton 6.5 Polymineral drivers for the woofers. He's using a 3rd order Butterworth "hi-Lo" filter on top and a 2nd order "mid/bass" crossover. His cabinet is constructed with all mitered joints and are seamless in appearance, even under the Clearcoated Imperial Purple paint.
John has spent $266.00 on his speakers.



Todd wastes no effort on nuances and delicate preparation. His cabinets are bailed out of the local pawn shop and immediately gutted without further fanfare! He reaches over and grabs a Radio Shack tweeter and immediately decides that it's good enough for "the job." Once again he grabs a driver, this time a Radio Shack midrange and then, with lightening speed, he selects and installs a pair of MCM woofers. He follows this with 1st order crossovers at 400Hz and 10kHz that sound right to his practiced ear.
Todd's entry weighs in at an estimated $80.00!

When the Contest is at last concluded, both contestants are bloodied, but unbowed. There has been no KO, or even a TKO, in this match, both are willing to continue and neither will consider, much less admit, defeat.

The outcome will be decided on points and everyone waits for the Judges' scores to be tallied....

Finally comes the decision...John Nail, the Blond Giant, wins the 3-way class. With a possible 300 points, John has beaten Todd by 5 points to win both the class and "Best Sound of Show." Todd takes second place in class and also for "Best Sound."

Mike Curtis is third highest for "Best Sound" with his 2-way (under $200) entry.

There were also two "Kit" speakers entered in the Contest and both received class wins.

In the $175 and under Kit class, a pair of Dave Rosgaard's DR-1 (2-way) were constructed my myself. A total of $68.00 was spent on these.

In the $326 and up class, a pair of Exodus Audio "Kepler" kit speakers took 1st place in class and "Best Sounding Kit."
These were also entered by myself and cost $499 for the pair.

Chad Kirby brought a pair of desktop/computer speakers that had fantastic wood working and were said to sound pretty darn nice as well! He was also presented with a certificate.

The Pacific NorthWest Audio Society (PNWAS) had their Photographer, Joe Pittman, there taking pictures and we hope to have them available soon.

"The Puget Sound! DIY Speaker Contest" for 2008 is now history, and I'd like to congratulate all the winners, as well as the people that helped make it not only possible, but a success as well.
Special thanks to our panel of judges: Winston Ma, Mike Lavigne and Bruce Brown for staying the course and insuring that the speakers were carefully evaluated.


Best Regards,
TerryO
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