April 16, 2010

Opening up some budget speakers

I recently bought some Diva loudspeakers for the tweeters:

Diva loudspeakers on StereoNET

Thought some might find this interesting, so I'll write just a tad more about them.

Very surprising sound indeed. Better than they have a right to sound. Apparently, according to Troels Gravesen, the midwoofer is one where "things just come together, and the performance is beyond the price." I'm inclined to agree. The tweeter is a little cheaper than we are used to seeing in DIY projects, but actually does a pretty good job. The photos here give a hint to the balsa wood that was stuck on the cones, very much like Scan Speak.

In the past I've suggested that people needed to spend a certain amount to get good sound, but some recent experiences have challenged that. A reasonably handy person could put together something like these VERY CHEAPLY. These would suit a student struggling to scrape together a few hundred. Previously I'd thought around $1k or maybe $800 with a bit of corner cutting. Scratch that. You don't even need to spend that much. Set up correctly, these cheapies could shock seasoned ears. I've heard much more pricey high end speakers with more obvious faults.

So why the balsa wood?
The idea is to increase the rigidity of a light paper cone without adding much weight. Sadly they didn't do a good job and the foam surround is damaged. Hidden behind the grille you can't tell and they still work fine.

Now this would be interesting. If I were to set up a blind test with these hooked up with the subs, I wonder how much people would guess as a price for the speakers!

So what is the future of these? Well with the tweeters gone to repair another speaker, I plan to keep the boxes with the woofers. I'll see if they pass for surrounds, at least until I build some serious ones.

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