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  • New Here. Going to attempt an Epique Build.

     ajc9988 updated 2 weeks ago 1 Member · 8 Posts
  • Trevor

    Member
    December 14, 2021 at 1:18 pm

    Like the title says, I’m going to try and build my first set of speakers. My current set-up is basically nothing. I have been using a Jabra Soulmate Bluetooth speaker for almost 10 years and it’s time to upgrade. 

    This all started at Best Buy, I was going to snag a receiver and set of speakers for about $700. I hadn’t read any reviews or shopped around because anything would have been better than nothing. My phone is my only radio other than what’s in my truck. I thought having a stereo in the house would be fun as my kids are getting more into music (boy 11, girl 8). Anyway, back to Best Buy. I couldn’t close the deal on the set-up they had because it honestly sounded terrible. The speakers sounded like they were struggling to produce sounds that weren’t painful to listen to. There had to be a better way. 

    This began my internet search for “top bookshelf speakers”. Wow, big mistake. 400 YouTube video’s later, and I’m here. 

    My uneducated and misguided plan is the following:

    Dayton Audio HTA100BT tube amplifier – Because I like the way it looks. 

    For the speakers:

    Dayton Audio Epique E180HE-44 7″ – Because I figure go big or go home right!

    Dayton Audio Peerless DA25TX00-08 Tweeter – Because it was recommended in Toid’s links in a video. 

    That’s as far as I can go on my own. The rest I’m going to need a little help with, unless I’m already in trouble. 

    Thanks,

  • TVOR-Ceasar

    Member
    December 14, 2021 at 1:40 pm

    Welcome to the forum and this addictive hobby (I wasn’t supposed to say that, was I? 😉 ).

    All nice gear and choices. We’ll help you along the way.

    2 things you should get are free pieces of software:
    WinISD, this helps you design an enclosure. There are links to tutorials here, just use the Search function.
    XSim, to design your crossover. Again, plenty of tutorials and questions here.

    There’s some hardware you could buy, but unless you are going to really get into the hobby, you won’t need, yet. 2 things you will need: a multimeter and a soldering iron. No need to go all out, just some decent quality units are all you’ll need for just about all of what you’ll be doing.

    Plus, just ask your question(s) and someone will chime in.

    Again, welcome, and jump on in.

  • ajc9988

    Member
    December 14, 2021 at 3:52 pm
    Posted by: @trevor

    Like the title says, I’m going to try and build my first set of speakers. My current set-up is basically nothing. I have been using a Jabra Soulmate Bluetooth speaker for almost 10 years and it’s time to upgrade. 

    This all started at Best Buy, I was going to snag a receiver and set of speakers for about $700. I hadn’t read any reviews or shopped around because anything would have been better than nothing. My phone is my only radio other than what’s in my truck. I thought having a stereo in the house would be fun as my kids are getting more into music (boy 11, girl 8). Anyway, back to Best Buy. I couldn’t close the deal on the set-up they had because it honestly sounded terrible. The speakers sounded like they were struggling to produce sounds that weren’t painful to listen to. There had to be a better way. 

    This began my internet search for “top bookshelf speakers”. Wow, big mistake. 400 YouTube video’s later, and I’m here. 

    My uneducated and misguided plan is the following:

    Dayton Audio HTA100BT tube amplifier – Because I like the way it looks. 

    For the speakers:

    Dayton Audio Epique E180HE-44 7″ – Because I figure go big or go home right!

    Dayton Audio Peerless DA25TX00-08 Tweeter – Because it was recommended in Toid’s links in a video. 

    That’s as far as I can go on my own. The rest I’m going to need a little help with, unless I’m already in trouble. 

    Thanks,

    OK, to let you know, the top limit on that setup is approximately 97dB. If that is good for you… Also, you will be wiring it to 8 Ohm, and the manual of that amp only gives the 50W@4Ohm/channel rating. I haven’t checked if it is one that can play at higher ohms, but it being a tube amp, it may. But, at 8Ohm, that likely means 25W, and that is a low gain amount. Combined with a speaker with a sensitivity of 83dB and an RMS of 200W (so it can play an additional 23dB over the sensitivity if it has an amplifier that can drive it, meaning top continuous level of 106, before any other factors), and you can only get an additional 14dB at most (for reference, every multiple of 10 is an additional 10dB, so 10W = 10dB, 100W = 20dB, 1000W = 30dB; for doubling power, you get 3dB, so 2W = 3dB, 4W=6dB, 8W=9dB, 16W=12dB, 32W=15dB, 64W=18dB). All of those measures are at 1W/1M or 2.83V/1m (which is equivalent to 1W/1M under a very specific situation). So, 97dB at 3 feet, unless you are trying to be right up on the speaker, may be a bad choice.

    This can be fixed through selection of a different, more sensitive, driver OR selecting a different AMP. I’d go with the latter as the THD+N rating on it is 0.5%, which is -46dB, meaning that if you are listening to the speaker at 97dB, the Total Harmonic Distortion is at 51dB. Will you hear that with the music? I cannot tell you for sure, but I can tell you I would feel better with the distortion at levels of 30dB and below. There is some masking with the music, but this is just giving you an idea of what will be going on with your selected speakers and amp.

    20*Log(%/100) = dB

    That is the equation to change THD+N values from percent into -dB. Source: https://benchmarkmedia.com/blogs/application_notes/interpreting-thd-measurements-think-db-not-percent

    Now, you do not have to go overboard and get the THD+N below 0dB when playing at a loud volume. In fact, a noise floor needs considered. A quiet house without HVAC running, etc., is said to be in the mid-20dB range. And that is QUIET house. As soon as you add in HVAC, etc., you are talking a noise floor over 30dB. If the THD+N value is in that range (0.1% THD+N=-60dB, which compared to 97dB would put the noise level at 37dB, arguably able to blend into the ambient noise of a house without a problem, meaning that with music playing, you are not likely to hear it much, if at all; although we are in a range where if you look for it, you may very well hear it; also, the response along the frequency range varies, and the values are often given for an average or at 1kHz frequency being played at different wattage through the amplifier, meaning that higher frequencies may have even higher THD+N values than those seen on the 1kHz test, and thereby may cause hiss or other issues being audible in your tweeter), then you may be fine.

    So, it is finding the balance. Also, there are studies that suggest people do not rate distortion highly as a reason they do not like a speaker, so concerns regarding distortion may be overblown. Have to add that as a caveat. But, I did want to explain more about how your selection of components will likely interact.

     

    New Here. Going to attempt an Epique Build.

  • 123Toid

    Administrator
    December 14, 2021 at 4:50 pm

    @trevor

    That sounds like a great setup!  I am a huge fan of all of those drivers.  In fact, it really reminds me of my Uglies build. Still one of my favorite speakers I built to date.

    This sounds like this is your first time building and we will definitely help you out along the way.  Out of curiosity, do you have any measurement equipment? If not, you will want to see if someone local has any or just pick up a cheap measurement microphone and DATS. Most people use the Umik-1, but you could also use the UMM-6 USB or something similar. 

  • Trevor

    Member
    December 14, 2021 at 8:08 pm

    Thanks to everyone for the welcome. I’ll try and reply to my replies here so bear with me.

     

    TVOR-Ceasar (Charlie) – I have just downloaded the software you mentioned. I had first seen these in a video series by Kirby Meets Audio. To be honest, I hadn’t intended to use them. I don’t understand the input values or what they represent, so interpretation of the results is beyond my technical capabilities. I was going to purchase a pre-built crossover that best matched the speakers. I do have soldering irons & a Fluke DMM but that’s about it.

     

     Ajc9988 – I had to look up a chart for relative noise comparisons to see where 97db is. It looks like it’s on the higher end between a hairdryer and a helicopter. I have never measured sound before, therefore I do not have a practical working knowledge of how this would translate into a listening experience. Onto the resistance of the speaker, I had read in the specifications that it is a dual 4ohm voice coil. I thought that there is an option to wire it up as either 4ohms or 8ohms. Is this not true? I was trying to take the speaker impedance into consideration after seeing that the wattage of amplifiers is greater, the lower the speaker impedance (which makes sense to me). Thank you for explaining the THD of the amplifier. I have been looking for an explanation on that for a while.

     

    123Toid – It was actually your DINAS build that first got me interested in this. I had started looking at speaker build plans or kits available to just assemble. Nothing seemed to check all my boxes without going so overboard that this would be cost prohibitive. The room these are going into is large, and dollars to watts seem to add up fast.

    I’ve spent hours on various websites adding things to the shopping cart, only to start second guessing my choices. TBH this process, which brought me here has been exhausting. When I first saw the Epique speakers you and Chris P discussed I was intrigued because of its outward performance. I didn’t want to go through the trouble to build speakers and not be able to see them actually move. So I guess, if the 8ohm resistance of the speaker will reduce it’s ability to perform with the amplifier I’ll need to rethink this. Thx.

  • ajc9988

    Member
    December 14, 2021 at 9:27 pm

    @trevor – OK, so with a Dual Voice Coil (DVC), you have 2x4Ohm coils you have to hook up. That means, depending on hooking them up in series or in parallel, you wind up with 8Ohm or 2Ohms, respectively. Now, the lower the Ohms, the harder it is for some amplifiers to drive. In fact, at 2 Ohms, you could burn out many amps. So if looking for a 4 Ohm speaker, you would want either a 4 Ohm, or a DVC of 8 Ohm so that in parallel it drops it to 4 Ohm, or a DVC of 2×2 Ohms, so that when you run it in series, it increases to 4 Ohm.

     

    The Epique you chose is dual 4 ohm, so you would want to go series, most likely, with the home deployment.

  • Zarbo Audio Projects

    Member
    January 12, 2022 at 1:27 am

    @trevor

    I took a peek at the frequency response graphs for your two driver choices and I’m no expert but… I like ’em!  The Corundum tweeter appears to be excellent with the ability to cross low, and the Epique 7″ driver — if it’s anything like the 5.5″ driver — is probably excellent as well. 

    My only hesitation is similar to what others have mentioned, the Epique is a very inefficient driver. We pad down tweeters to match the lower sensitivity of smaller woofers all the time and it’s no problem to do so… but in this case, I feel you’ll really need more watts than the Dayton tube amp at 50 per channel will provide. I built a subwoofer using the smaller 5.5″ Epique driver and it is literally a beast that moves so much air it’s hard to believe…. but it takes serious watts to get to that point. 

    Like you said, having such a nifty, high-excursion driver just loafing along with a few watts would probably somewhat disappointing in the end. 

    My thinking is… (and I’m going to spend some of your money here)  Go with two 7″ Epique drivers per side (they’re almost $10 cheaper each once you go over 4 in quantity) and then go with the new Aiyima A07 Amps Preamps and Dacs (padlet.com) 300 watt per channel amp that Nick reviewed for your amp, then one of his tube amp DACS or preamps that he’s reviewed — if you just have to have that tube amp sound.

    I think that setup or one similar will give you enough watts combined with the greater speaker output due to the ability to have a 4 ohm load for the woofer section on each speaker as opposed to 8 ohms which you’re really stuck with with a single woofer per side since most amps won’t like 2 ohms. I have a Nobsound 300 watt sub amplifier that uses the same chip that’s in the Aiyima A07 and it really is powerful… seriously. 

    Yes, it’s more money, but if you’re going to put some half-decent coin into this project, I say make sure it succeeds. That’s what I’d do… and… I don’t think you’d need a subwoofer if you tuned it right!

    TomZ (Zarbo Audio Projects)

  • ajc9988

    Member
    January 12, 2022 at 4:13 am

    @zarbo-audio-projects – At that point, you could do the two drivers in MTM, or WTW rather, which if crossed with third or fourth order crossover, then you really could have some nice clean sound.

    Another work around is to build an active speaker with DSP. Then the DSP can mitigate the signal strength, thereby not adding extra voltage to overcome the resistor that arrests the sensitivity of the tweeter. But at that point, you need an amp per driver of the speaker, and talk about increasing money. LOL.

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