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Custom main monitors complete! Equalisers (HW)
Old 6th April 2009
  #1
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Custom main monitors complete!

My first post here....Hopefully these are 'high-end' enough for you all.

After many months of design work, building and testing they are finally in place. The concept for these studio monitors began last year as an exercise to see what could be done to improve upon our current monitoring situation at Phat Planet Recording Studios - Orlando, FL At the time, we were running Quested mid fields.

See here: VS3208

They were never resolving enough for critical work and ran out of steam very quickly at high levels. We needed something quite a bit more dynamic, but at the same time, detailed and very "hi-fi" sounding. In my experience, many studio main monitors are just loud, with harsh treble and no finess or the ones that I like just cost too damn much. My goal was to have huge dynamic capability along with the sound quality and tonality usually associated with the best mastering monitors. Bob Katz will be stopping buy in a few weeks time, so hopefully we get his blessing.

I was pretty much settled on AE/Lambda TD12M's (better than TAD for much less $) right from the outset, but the tweeter was a tough choice. We needed high sensitivity to mate up with dual TDs, ability to crossover low enough and be able to handle whatever abuse a recording engineer or intern might create. We tried a Fountek NeoPro 5 without success. Down anywhere below 2Khz is bad news for that guy. We tried a Beyma CP380 on a waveguide. This was better, but we were still not pleased. Finally, I up'ed the budget and went the TPL-150, also from Beyma. Now that was the ticket! Handles below 2 Khz with ease, high sensitivity of 99dB spl and is very robust mechanically. This driver works on the same priciple as the ones in the Adam monitors, but is much more durable and has quite a bit higher sensitivity.

What we ended up with is a 2.5 way design. The inner woofer in each pair is crossed over at appox. 250Hz while the outer one works up to around 1.8Khz. The box is sealed, so accordingly the response drops off below around 60Hz in room. This was the design goal, because coming up next is a dedicated pair of subs. The signal is processed using a BSS Omnidrive 366 with a Crown K2 for the lows and a Bryston 4B for the highs.

The enclosure is an inner layer of 3/4" MDF covered on all sides by an outer layer of 18mm Plywood. All work except the red automotive paint on the baffles was done by myself and our lead engineer at the studio, Aaron Gandia. Each monitor is 185lbs as finished. These babies are very inert even at levels upwards of 110 dB spl. For absorbtion inside, there is rigid fiberglass as well as Bonded Logic Ultratouch insulation which I highly recommend. Great for making panels or clouds in a studio too!

Bonded Logic - Natural Cotton Fiber Insulation

Works amazingly well and it's friendly to your lungs AND the environment.

The end result has far exceeded my expectations! All of our engineers that work out of Phat Planet have been blown away with the clarity and detail that these things have and the dynamics are just shocking. No more guessing on compressor settings or kick drum micing. If it's in the recording, you will hear it now...

Kudos to John and Nick of AE/Lambda for designing and crafting large woofers that allow one to still create a 2 way design.

Greg Begland - technician for Phat Planet Studios
Attached Thumbnails
Custom main monitors complete!-speakersdone_small.jpg   Custom main monitors complete!-mains_in_place_small.jpg   Custom main monitors complete!-speakersinplace_small.jpg  
Old 6th April 2009
  #2
nice!
thanks for sharing.
what made you decide for 2,5 way plus sub? instead of 3 way?
Old 7th April 2009
  #3
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Well, in order to get a full-range 3 way with the drivers we wanted to use, it would have been too large to fit suspended in those mounts. Our control room is a little tight on space.

Also, going with a true 3 way added to the complexity of the crossover and would require yet another amp.

I'll be doing a 3 way for myself at home though, also using these Lambda brand woofers.

Greg
Old 7th April 2009
  #4
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Tim Farrant's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by studiotech View Post
My first post here....Hopefully these are 'high-end' enough for you all.
Nice job, but this comment made me laugh!

No doubt about it IMO, ribbon tweeters offer the best transient response available.

Old 7th April 2009
  #5
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Wouldn't it be safer to soffit those or at least find a more stable looking mount? I'd hate to see them crashing down on that beatiful console heh
Old 7th April 2009
  #6
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JoaT's Avatar
Interesting... And they look ace!

How much was the cost of building those?
Old 7th April 2009
  #7
Looking sharp Greg!
Old 7th April 2009
  #8
Dan
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Dan's Avatar
 

Cool project, congrats on finishing.


I bet it was a little scary hanging two 185 lb. speakers over a Legacy.
Old 8th April 2009
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The_Controllers View Post
Wouldn't it be safer to soffit those or at least find a more stable looking mount? I'd hate to see them crashing down on that beatiful console heh
Funny you should mention that......there WAS a soffitt there years ago. Ripped it out during a renovation to the control room almost 10 years ago.

If you look closely, you can see that I "rigged" them up there with 1/4 steel cable
that runs up through the pole and around the joists in the attic. Took a lot of work, but I do commercial audio/visual installations as a "day job", so I'm pretty familiar with mounting and rigging heavy objects. The mounts themselves are rated for up to 36" oldschool CRT TV's so they can handle more than what is up there. Rated for over 300 lbs. The monitors are also bolted to the bottom of the mounts, so the API is safe and happy!

Greg
Old 8th April 2009
  #10
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Thanks for the nice commments you guys. This was a long time goal of mine. I've been building speakers since I was 13, but never had this kind of budget at my disposal. We really spared no expense with the drivers and box construction.

As I mentioned earlier, Orlando is fortunate enough to have Bob Katz living in town. I was an assitant of his many years ago, so we are very excited to get him buy the studio soon for a little listening party. He never pulls any punches when it comes to telling it like her hears it, so I am a little apprehensive, but its all good and he will help out if he feels there is any aspect that may be lacking. Adjust the processor and listen again. We've done so much measuring and listening so far though, that I'm very pleased and any further adjustments are more for taste, not neccesarily accuracy. Thats the beauty of digital proccessing. We can even have different presets....say one called "flat", one called "hyped" and so forth.

It was a little scary to have these in the air finally, but actually getting them up there was not too bad. The boss built a platform that covers the entire API. Here he is right after both mains were hung! The other shot is me doing something that might be illegal in a few states....enjoy.

Greg
Attached Thumbnails
Custom main monitors complete!-ed-meditates-small.jpg   Custom main monitors complete!-greg-molesting-speakers-small.jpg  
Old 8th April 2009
  #11
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studjo's Avatar
 

ähem you both look a bit ähem "thrilled" hehhehheh

congrats to that project. The speakers look first class.


Jo
Old 18th April 2009
  #12
Registered User
 

nice one
Old 18th April 2009
  #13
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flutter thorn's Avatar
 

really nice lookin' monitors. been using 3208 and must say Im quite satisfied w/ them thou Im going to sell them for taking a leap towards the custom made Questeds

love the budha pikshure
Old 18th April 2009
  #14
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TornadoTed's Avatar
Awesome work, good to know that I am not the only one mad enough to take on a project like that!

The build thread for my monitors is here
Ted's Main Monitor Build
Old 20th April 2009
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TornadoTed View Post
Awesome work, good to know that I am not the only one mad enough to take on a project like that!

The build thread for my monitors is here
Ted's Main Monitor Build
Thanks Ted! Your build is not too shabby either. I love the vacuum bag trick. We had a hell of a time getting the front baffle glued up. It was made and finished last, so had to be attahced AFTER it was painted. Bad idea. I knew the areas that were clamped would show in the finish not matter what soft material we used under clamps. Oh well, about 2 hours with an electric buffer and several interns and we were back to shiny and new! That's what good interns are for, right? Better than making coffee or cleaning the bathroom.

Pretty funny how similar our boxes ended up looking. Of course yours has higher quality joints and craftsmenship underneath. How heavy did they end up being? Any problems since then with cracks developing in the oak, or since they are in the wall, you haven't seen the other sides?

Are you running them fully active? Wasn't sure from the build thread....

I have a friend who builds custom mains and he swears by the Volt woofers, but has been curious to try the AE Lambdas. He will be coming down soon to have a listen.
Old 20th April 2009
  #16
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Ted, here's the inside from the back. Like I mentioned above, inner box of 3/4" MDF covered on all sides with high quality 18MM plywood. I've similar bracing and a recessed back. Is your back panel removable?

Greg
Attached Thumbnails
Custom main monitors complete!-speakerback-small.jpg  
Old 20th April 2009
  #17
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TornadoTed's Avatar
Hey Greg,

Thanks for the feedback. The vaccum bag was fantastic, I brought it just for this project but have found quite a few uses for it since.

There are a couple of small cracks in the oak but nothing major and of course there is still 18mm MDF behind so still air tight.

I'm not sure how much the weigh but I am pretty strong and I struggled to lift them on my own so I would guess 80-90Kg each.

The back panel isn't removable, it is all glued with the polyurethane expanding glue, everything is front loaded.

It is a complete travesty I know but I am running a Behringer active crossover and 3 amps. I will as soon as I can afford it upgrade to a better crossover, I'm tempted by the DEQX or possibly a totally modded Behringer DCX2496. Despite the $60 crossover they really do sound great. My friend and I have spent hours measuring and tweaking everything with his Neutrik analyzer.

I have several free lance producers through here and they all say they are some of the best and flatest main monitors they have heard. I can't wait to really push them to their full potential with a decent crossover.
Old 23rd July 2010
  #18
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glazunov's Avatar
 

Plans?

thumbsup

Is it possible to get the build plans of these nice ones?

cheers
g
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