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Steve's BIG BETSY Project (Read 39265 times)
Palomino
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #550 - 08/15/19 at 17:22:52
 
Thanks Steve.

I totally believe that the wave off the baffle is more than 2X my size.  It feels like it fills the room.

I could easily add hardwood across the two braces, making contact with the bottom of the baffle.  I could even add a box of sorts (two pieces plus a bottom) which could be filled if that makes sense.
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Archie
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #551 - 08/15/19 at 21:58:01
 
Quote:
My advice would be to just fill it in with hardwood (glued in place). Tossing a bag of sand or shot on the base when it's all finished could only help.


That's pretty much what I had in mind to try.  I'd build a box with the side that attaches to the baffle being maybe 2 1/2"X1 1/2"X the space between the footers.  The rest of the box would be just to hold lead shot in a clean looking way.  By the time I do this, my speakers will weight over 100 lbs each.  I'll either take them off the isolation platforms entirely or beef those up considerably.  I have heavy felt pads on the footers already so they will still slide on my wood floors fairly easily.

As I posted before, I missed the original remark about base function and mass.  Doh!   Smiley
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #552 - 08/15/19 at 23:10:02
 

Archie, it is good that you missed it, because we got to find out what happens as a result., while the jury is still obviously out on that, we have found out that the  baffle still works and sounds very good which is to say the design seems to be a forgiving one.  I think that's helpful to anyone reading this thread who might be considering building a pair.

Steve
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #553 - 08/16/19 at 04:41:11
 

Tonight I decided enough casual / handicapped listening.  Time to clear some speakers out and put the new Anniversary edition CSP325 preamp into the mix.



By placing the Big Betsy next to instead of 90 degrees behind as you saw in the previous picture, and adding the preamp, everything has transformed into a wonderfully full, wide sound.  The bass came up with the Big Betsys moved to the new location.  Normally of course they wouldn't even be in the room, but right now I have nowhere else to put them.  

The preamp really takes the 25th Anniversary Zen Triode to the next level, as it should since the combo is double the price of the amplifier alone.  If it didn't make you go "holy crap" then it really wouldn't be worth the money.

So this evening as I randomly browse through material, nearly everything is sounding better than ever!  It's like nothing can get dry now, and the detail and presence is simply exquisite.  

Right now I am listening to the Bach Cello Suite 1 (prelude) by the Stanley Clarke Band from their album titled "The Message" in 24bit and I have to tell you the Cello in this recording - the sound shouldn't be possible from even 24 bit digital but yet I'm hearing it sound like tape. I attribute this primarily to the addition of the CSP325 preamp. I am certain had I played this last night before the changes I wouldn't have thought anything about it. Tonight however, I hear it and it's like seeing a leaf up close for the first time. Just incredible. The texture and tone and the imaging is so dimensional that before I could hear the face and sides of each sound source, but now I can hear a wrap around effect that just breaths making everything more sharply focused in 3D space.  The effect is when you move your head instead of hearing the performer move left or right, you now just hear more behind him on one side or the other and he doesn't move, just like in real life.  As you move your head, your perspective changes, not the position of the performer.

I knew to make these changes before I ever even auditioned these speakers, but I like to work from handicaps to see what it might sound like in less ideal circumstances. The frequency balance was right on the edge of being great and more recording / ZROCK dependent than I would have liked, but the other baffles were cancelling a lot of the bass which is what caused this condition. Now that they have been moved there is significantly more bass and overall warmth and of course the imaging is now boundless.  

This is really good, and I mean REALLY good. I'm pretty sure the Big Betsy baffles setting next to the Crystal 10 baffles are sympathetically contributing a touch of 50Hz body, and I don't even care because I'm delirious with sonic pleasure and if that's what it actually took than so be it. Time will tell, hell, they might still be killing bass for all I know. You wanted to take this journey in real time with me, so there you go.

I haven't listened to the preamp for the past few weeks to clear my head of it so I can do an objective final evaluation before we start production next week. I am so glad to have it back! Wow, it just fixes everything. I didn't even know half the recordings I had were as good as they are! That's the scary part. There are many recordings that got to go set in the corner after having offended at least one of my sensibilities on some evening... Then I try them again, like now, and I have to waste a lot of time researching the label of the actual track release to see if it is the same recording because it sounds so different. We're right in there with my vinyl rig now, which is rare. That really is worth the price of a preamp if it's the right one.  At least it is to me.

Also, I have never heard the preamp on drivers this good, so I feel like I'm hearing it for the first time tonight and I'm damn impressed. It's just so amazing how it takes a somewhat chaotic sound quality and just tightens everything up, organizes it, and fixes it so that the amp can be played as though it had over twice the power with no danger of clipping whatsoever. It actually does what a ZROCK2 does to restore body and tone but in a completely different way.

In total, this system is pretty expensive, probably 6 or 7 grand for the speakers and ZROCK2. Another 6 or 7 grand for the amp and preamp.  But I can tell as someone who has heard a few systems including those at ten times this price point, this delivers the goods.  It's is exactly the famous Decware Zen Triode sound that anyone can buy for $998. and a pair of speakers, but the sound has been magnified in the same way the Hubble Telescope transformed astronomy. There are no earth based telescopes that can even get close.  


Low volume listening has improved by 60% or more since my last posts on that topic. I attribute that to both changes, but am surprised nonetheless by the rather dramatic improvement. Possibly everything I said earlier about having to be played loud was complete crap. We'll see. Tonight might just be a dream for all I know... a damn fine one I can tell ya.



Steve
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #554 - 08/16/19 at 05:01:11
 

I swear to God, I just felt the scorn of a jealous woman that had been cheated on by my favorite overall daily driver speakers, the DNA2's. Wow, that was really weird. I get it though. I think they are pissed.

I explained to them they got nothing to be jealous about, just as the 72 Monte gets more looks and attention than any Porsche which is many times it's price.

Steve
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #555 - 08/16/19 at 15:39:03
 
Long post coming up:  F15 OB vs Beolab 8000 shootout

About 4 months ago I offered to repair a speaker that belonged to a friend of my wife.  What showed up was a pair of Bang & Olufsen 8000's, also referred to as Beolab 8000's, one not working and one fully functional.  They are a pencil shaped powered speaker that is going for about $1000 a pair on Ebay.  When I first saw them I figured they couldn't possibly sound good - small volume aluminum enclosure with a port - how could that work?

I dove in and fixed the problem - decomposing foam, due to age, turns acidic and eats away the 120 vac trace that powers the main transformer - easy fix (although fairly messy due to the foam goo).  Once working, I was quite impressed with their sound.  So impressed, that I bought a single, not working, speaker that was on auction on Ebay.  That one had a bad standby transformer, $17 for a suitable non-OEM replacement part (including shipping).  I then started looking for a 2nd speaker.  Two months ago, a broken amp/power supply showed up on Ebay at a price I couldn't turn down, so I bought it for spare parts.  It also had a bad standby transformer.  Finally, a second non-working speaker appeared on Ebay and I got it.  It came two days ago, and I got it fixed in about half an hour - same eroded foil on the circuit board due to decomposing foam.  Now the Beolab 8000's are set up next to the big F15 OB's for some serious listening.







The Beolab 8000 speakers take a line level input, so it was just a matter of turning down the volume (way down) on the Zkit60 amp I'm using to power the F15 OB's to get equal volume for A/B testing.  What I heard shocked and surprised me.  The Beolab speaker is a good speaker, very good.  It was sold from 1992 to 2010 (18 years) without significant change and still commands about $1000/pair on Ebay.

But...

I never would have bought them if I had the F15's in the big OB's to compare them to when I first heard them.  Note:  I did have the corner horns.

The detail of the F15's is sooo superior that its not even debatable.  And, of coarse, the sound stage is quite a bit bigger.  I found myself listening to songs on the F15 OB's, picking out something - like the strike of a cymbal, and then going to the Beolab's.  It was there - but you really wouldn't pick it out unless you were listening for it.  With the F15 OB's it was right there in your face.

I next configured the spectrum analyzer and white noise generator to see if that would tell me anything more.  If it does, I'm not really seeing it.  If anything, I would say the Beolabs should sound better than the F15 OB's.  But they don't, not even close.


Beolab frequency response:




F15 big OB frequency response:



Note:  subwoofer in place for both speakers.


Just another testament as to how good the F15's in the big OB's are sounding.

Dan

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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #556 - 08/16/19 at 15:56:04
 
Dan, I was wondering about that low end for both on the graphs.  That's the subwoofer then.  You haven't posted much about your F15s but is sounds like you're getting similar results as Steve, Pal and me.  4 different baffle builds too!

Steve, just to be clear, your write up is for the CR-10 drivers, yes?
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #557 - 08/16/19 at 16:38:55
 
Thanks for the comparison dank.  Yeah I saw that chart and said “what???”
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #558 - 08/16/19 at 17:32:58
 
Yes, the Crystal 10 baffles are what I was writing about.

Steve
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #559 - 08/16/19 at 18:35:42
 

Dan,  it's really a great illustration of just how useless frequency balance measurements are ; ).  Or put another way, how nearly impossible it is to tell how something sounds from looking at one.

Steve
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #560 - 08/17/19 at 03:49:13
 

So It's Friday, and I'm back online with the Crystal 10 baffles... Big Betsy Juniors perhaps... and things are sounding sublime. This despite an attack from the underworld that tried to derail things.

You can read about it here:  http://www.decware.com/cgi-bin/yabb22/YaBB.pl?num=1408725911/787#787.

It is a post about why I believe in father Murphy and what I know about him.

This morning I had a listening session where the DNA2's were to be paired with an SE34I.5.  No irony there. They sounded extra good. No irony there either ; )

We actually did a few side by side comparisons with the Crystal 10's and the DNA2's that I found interesting. The Crystal 10's actually came off as having more hit and more base weight, and that was volume matched. 6dB more efficient wouldn't be a fair fight, so I turned the amp down when the Crystal 10's were in play. When we would put the DNA2 back in, there was a sense of loss in the overall bass although the DNA2 had lower bass that was easily appreciated, it didn't matter because it was just too polite. Anyone reading this who has heard DNA2, there is no deficiencies in the bass or anything else.  It's a nearly perfectly balanced speaker with nearly perfect imaging. I have to admit I was surprised by this comparison. The SE34I.5 was used with 6L6 tubes and no problems driving either pair of speakers to the same volume that we wanted to hear in the room.

I think I will call these the Big Betsy Juniors (BBJ) so that like the Big Betsy, the name honors Caintuck Audio's Betsy baffle shape. And speaking of which this couple wanted to hear the 'little ones' referring to my personal pair of Wenge/Paduke Betsy baffles with the alnico drivers. I told them that the "little ones" will actually create an identical size soundstage as the BBJ they just heard and have a similarly refined sound. Hehe... you should have seen the look on their faces when I was right.

In fact I thought that was the best Betsy Baffle speaker demo I've ever given. First setting the bar at the very top with the BBJ and DNA2 and HR1 speakers and then setting the Betsy Baffles down there and literally sounding equally good. I just found it interesting and impressive as I know they did as well.

I am starting to have little doubt that this baffle design of Randy's is likely the best open baffle design in the world. It looks deceptively simple but it really isn't. I know one thing, and Randy knows this as well, and that is that this baffle design will slowly get under your skin and you will become less and less tolerant of lessor speakers until you are so spoiled that you don't want to listen to anything else. Or should I say can't listen to anything else.

It is amazing to me that this entire project came from simply wanting to have some fun scaling up the baffles Randy made for me and sticking a 15 inch woofer in them for some subtle bass augmentation. It was wildly successful. But in the process of looking for the perfect 15 inch driver for bass augmentation I cam across the Lii Audio F15 driver and knew instantly that was going to be really good. Even though I had no use for it, I had to get them. I knew I could put them in the Big Betsy Baffles I just built and have some fun listening to a giant version of my "little ones" as my guest this morning calls them. Of course I had no idea how insane that was going to actually sound, but it has set a new benchmark so far as I've never heard a speaker do the Big Betsy Baffles do or be so satisfying on such a deep and complete level across such a wide range of music.

So because of this incredible result, I had to try the "expensive drivers" from the same company, their reference 10 inch full range called the Crystal 10. So now here I sit with two new references, both 100dB with 1 watt and interestingly enough, my original Betsy Baffles now have the exact same added bass texture that the original plan was intended to give, only now it's even better because instead of having a supplemental baffle driven by the same amplifier, we have a supplemental baffle being driven by sympathetic resonance, which is always perfectly in phase across the entire angle and requires nothing but the air in your room... no amplifier is used.

That is why this morning when we put them on, they literally sounded as big as the BBJ and had the same bass output! See, I couldn't have predicted this outcome, having all three pairs of speakers work so well together is like having your cake and eating it too! I can now go back and forth between the original Betsy with the Alnico drivers from Caintuck Audio and the BBJ with equal pleasure. It's like tube rolling only with speakers.





Steve
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #561 - 08/17/19 at 14:14:57
 
I have to wonder what the designer's Crystal 10's sounds like in the enclosure they designed and offer it in? They look pretty interesting.
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #562 - 08/17/19 at 17:42:18
 
Quote:
... interestingly enough, my original Betsy Baffles now have the exact same added bass texture that the original plan was intended to give, only now it's even better because instead of having a supplemental baffle driven by the same amplifier, we have a supplemental baffle being driven by sympathetic resonance ...


Am I understanding this correctly in that the big baffles, just being near the Betsys but not powered, augments the bass?
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #563 - 08/18/19 at 01:31:53
 
Yes, I'm pretty sure it does.  Time will tell when I take them out of the room.   I'd really be impressed with the BBJ if the bass stays the same without the BB in there.

Steve
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #564 - 08/18/19 at 01:55:02
 
I wonder how much burnin plays into this? One of the Crystal reviews on the Lii site said his were still changing after a couple months and it does seem bass would be a pretty big player as the drivers loosen up.
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #565 - 08/18/19 at 03:54:58
 

Will,

If that's true it can only get better. I am so used to gauging break-in by hearing the fibers in the cone loosen up and relax enough to minimize the "cone sound". I always thought that took longer than the suspension loosening up, but I suppose I'm guilty of not wanting to realize that every driver will be different. In the case of this one, since I couldn't hear the cone on minute one it has really thrown me off. I'm listening to some simply recorded Elvis music right now and am really impressed with the sound.  

My favorite thing about these Big Betsy baffles with the Lii Audio drivers is the efficiency.  It allows me to 'rock out' sort of speak with a 2 watt Zen amp in exactly the same way that the 94dB speakers did on the TORII or ZMA amps. Because it is the same, it is not the same.  It is far more satisfying to constantly remind yourself that this is happening with 2 watts than it is to know it's happening with 40 watts.


Steve
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #566 - 08/18/19 at 04:10:11
 

Quote:
I have to wonder what the designer's Crystal 10's sounds like in the enclosure they designed and offer it in? They look pretty interesting.


I have the plans for those, and they do look very interesting. More of a vintage ducted cabinet design.  Of course the curved panels would reduce panel resonance. Anyway I have the same curiosity. And considering what the Betsy Junior's could cost done in hardwood and with a ZROCK2, it would be easily half the price.  I may look into a pair before it's over.  Then again, even with lower bass, it's getting harder and harder to imagine them sounding better than they do in these thick hardwood baffles.

Steve
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #567 - 08/18/19 at 04:31:38
 

I can see where this odd shape would actually reflect all the internal waves to the center where the energy would be get canceled.



Very little would actually ever hit the back of the cone, which is what you want with any full-range driver.



Hey Bob, ever seen a wood veneer bent around an 1/8" radius?  

-Steve
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #568 - 08/18/19 at 05:48:40
 


Steve wrote -

Quote:
I am starting to have little doubt that this baffle design of Randy's is likely the best open baffle design in the world. It looks deceptively simple but it really isn't. I know one thing, and Randy knows this as well, and that is that this baffle design will slowly get under your skin and you will become less and less tolerant of lessor speakers until you are so spoiled that you don't want to listen to anything else. Or should I say can't listen to anything else.


Wow !!! ..... that is high praise from someone who has forgotten more about loudspeakers and loudspeaker design than I will EVER know .....

After building literally dozens of open baffles via the trial and error method, the "barrel" shape seemed pleasing to the eye and musical to my ears ..... it appears that the sum is greater than the individual parts, by several orders of magnitude.

I have never made it a secret that the low powered Decware amplifiers are still my favorites out of all the amplifiers in the line. From the first time I heard a "Zen model B" in my listening room and a "Select" was purchased, it totally changed my perception of what a really good amplifier sounded like ..... tonality, speed, a three dimensional soundstage, etc.

The only requirement is a pair of loudspeakers efficient enough to reveal what the amplifier is providing. A high efficiency full range driver with no crossover components in an open baffle fills this requirement very nicely.

The synergy between both the Wild Burro Audio Labs and Lii Audio drivers and the SE84UFO has kept me pinned in my listening seat for the past few weeks ..... and Steve is right ..... I have no desire to search for other loudspeakers. I certainly realize that there are many fine loudspeakers available ..... but there is music in my listening room and I can't ask for more than that .....

The first orders for the "baby" Lii F-15 baffles will ship this coming week.
I'm hoping that the recipients enjoy these speakers as much as I am.



I'm really looking forward to being in East Peoria in October to see what effect the ZR2 has on these baffles .....

This will be a Decware Fest to remember .....

Happy listening,
Randy

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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #569 - 08/18/19 at 17:56:01
 
Quote:
Yes, I'm pretty sure it does.  Time will tell when I take them out of the room.   I'd really be impressed with the BBJ if the bass stays the same without the BB in there.


This got me thinking about telescopes.  Large observatory telescopes don't depend on huge primary single mirrors anymore like the Palomar but rather use arrays of smaller mirrors like the Keck.  I wonder if a driver surrounded by smaller baffles ...   Smiley
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #570 - 08/19/19 at 04:27:12
 

Tonight I played the Big Betsy F15 combo and it was like a welcome friend. The frequency balance is so nice in the low end as we all know. But after having listened to the Big Betsy Jr. with the Crystal 10 driver for the past couple weeks, the Big Betsy sounded a little dull/muffled by comparison. That's OK, because I told myself if I had to choose one or the other, I would have to choose the Big Betsy.

Less than 1 hour later, I found myself craving the sound of the Big Betsy Jr so I switched over. I had turned off the ZROCK2 during the Big Betsy audition, so to be fair, I left it off. Yes, the BBJ was leaner but more open sounding. I created a cardboard box (12x12x14) with a slot in it and placed it just below the driver. It actually worked somewhat but I abandoned it rather quickly. It's as if I knew it was creating a disturbance in the force or something.

I imagine the marble pool of water the Audio Gods look into when they are watching me probably had pretty good ripple in it catching their attention. Then you would have heard one of them yell out, "Hey, look what this idiot is doing to our speaker design!!! Holy Crap, we have to do something!"

About that time a vision flashed into my head of what I should be doing there. My guess is they fell asleep waiting for me to figure it out on my own. Anyway I have this pick-n-pluk foam that is 1/2 x 1/2 x 2 inch squares cut 98% of the way through a solid block of foam. It's like a super absorber.

So I simply set it place and was stunned at the difference it made. It did more to even out the frequency balance and warm things up than I was expecting. I am experiencing (the illusion of) more bass than I was from the tuned cavity box experiment that caused such a ripple.

I've been listening to it for nearly an hour without the ZROCK2 and have forgotten repeatably that it's not on.  I love this solution, sad I didn't think of it, but nevertheless it's so Zen.  It just sets there.





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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #571 - 08/19/19 at 04:28:16
 

Here is another view of the foam block



Steve
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #572 - 08/19/19 at 04:51:20
 

So as the evening progresses with the foam blocks I am really surprised at how much better I like the sound. It's stunning really. My first impression is that this was a scale tipper. The Big Betsys are probably in trouble. Time will tell, but man...  

You know if this close proximity reflector being eliminated and replaced with a mid-bass and high frequency absorber can make such a huge difference in a room that is fully carpeted...

It really demonstrates my desire to hear this driver in a top tier open baffle design so there is zero sound hitting the back of the cone from a box or nearby surface. From what I am hearing tonight, going to a well designed enclosure like Lii Audio makes for this driver would trade low bass and mid bass hit for openness.   Hehe, just a few posts ago I was contemplating buying a pair and now I'm contemplating not buying a pair... all because of a divine block of foam.

Steve


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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #573 - 08/19/19 at 05:58:21
 
Love the experimentation, Steve. It seems like it just keeps getting better and better. Can't wait for the next installment.
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #574 - 08/19/19 at 06:18:59
 
Great news Steve! Nice discovery.
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #575 - 08/19/19 at 06:57:07
 
Steve, I'm envisioning a resonator box on the back of the baffle, ZOB-style, with the top surface covered in the same absorbing foam around the sound hole. A bass reinforcer. Thoughts?
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #576 - 08/19/19 at 13:58:34
 
So I went to the cottage in Michigan this weekend.  I have a nice second system there: Macbook to Chord Qute DAC to modified Rachael with 807 tubes.  The speakers are Betsy drivers on top of Augies in a traditional shape baffle.  Augies are run by a plate amp.

It took me a while to get it dialed in but once I did, it produced decent sound.

Then I came home and listened to the Big Bestsy Baffles.  My first thought was how easily these speakers produce such good sound.  No fuss, no muss.  Granted, I have a 25th at home and a treated room but still….just effortless.

Big Betsy’s for the cottage would never pass the WAF so I need something smaller and certainly no larger than what I already have in place.  Those are even pushing it.

On the Big Betsys I also have weights now on all 4 of my braces.  About 5 lbs each.  These will do until I can build a structure to attach to the baffle.  I also put a piece of foam down below the driver.  I felt the weight helped the slam a bit.  Not sure about the foam.  I’ll need to do some comparisons.

My son did stop by to test his most recent EDM creation.  Sounded good.  I did turn on the subs for this one.  He liked the drivers overall and loved the soundstage.  He did feel it missed a little something at the top end.  Of course, he can still hear and he was used to the speakers with the AMT/supertweeters.
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #577 - 08/19/19 at 14:57:14
 
Steve, I put thick felt all over the back of my Lil' Betsys a few weeks ago, and this has made a very definite difference. So much so that I have more felt ready to put on the new Crystal 10 baffles when they arrive.
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #578 - 08/19/19 at 15:17:42
 
Hi Geno,

What was your source for the felt?  Fabric store?  How thick?
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #579 - 08/19/19 at 15:43:59
 
Pal, I just ordered 3 or 4 (6 sheet pack) of 3/16” felt on amazon. Any thicker than that and it is hard to cut to shape. You will just have to figure the area to know how much you need. As big as the Big Betsy’s are, the reflection that is present now would be greatly reduced.
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #580 - 08/19/19 at 15:45:36
 
Thanks Geno!
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #581 - 08/19/19 at 20:40:56
 

As I mentioned earlier in this thread, the frame of the betsy driver is the only problem with sound coming off the back of the Betsy Baffle, not the rear of the baffle itself.

As far as reflections go, any sound that hits the back of the baffle from room reflections, will reflect back away from the listener actually enhancing the ambience and have no effect on imaging focus except to possibly improve it.

The sound of these baffles is directly tied to the wood itself. Putting felt on it would be somewhat like putting felt on the speaker cone.  

None of this should be confused with the foam absorber placed on the base of the speaker. I would rather see people gluing felt to the walls of the listening room ; )

All of this is of course based on the assumption that a "live" baffle is going to sound better than a "dead" baffle. We sill need to make a co-mass-layer-dampened baffle to compare and see what happens, or de-couple the driver from the baffle or some degree of both to really find out.

I just don't want the 4700 lurkers of this thread to get felt happy without some degree of caution. The science is simple if you want to really find out.  It only take two speakers. You do something to one an not to the other and then objectively compare the two.  

Tweaking a stereo system is like going for a hike in the woods.  It is all to easy to make big changes without the comparisons and then loose track of where you came from and ultimately end up lost. This is what is meant when audiophiles who have been in it for 40 years or more say that they had it once or twice but lost it along the way and never got it back.  (Had it not been for Decware they would have died in the woods.)

Steve
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #582 - 08/20/19 at 04:01:50
 

ZROCK2 EFFECT : )

So last night, and you'll probably love this, I allowed myself to fully experience the potential of a ZROCK2.  Which sounds silly considering I am the designer of it.  That said, the majority of testing I've done with it over the years has been on speakers that didn't actually need any help in the base, so when I adjusted the ZROCK2, I would always find the magic point of the highest treble at about 2 o'clock and just tease the signal a bit with it. In other words, I was just fixing recordings with it.

Last night I reminded myself, that it's OK to actually use the damn thing, so just turn it up and see what happens!  

The tone became so large that music sounds like a Normal Rockwell painting just dripping with tone and liquidity... the exact opposite of what we usually get with razor fast full range 100dB speakers!!!  

And when you hear it, that the rich warm full round wet sound with the ZROCK2 turned up a bit more has easily allowed these speakers to come into their own in this particular design. Add to this the incredible benefit of being able to actively adjust this sound with a pure class A zero negative-feedback single-stage single-tube EQ instead of getting involved with multiple drivers or passive networks, we persevere the holy grail of a single-voice-coil full-range experience.

We're talking about the Big Betsy Jr (BBJ) with the Crystal 10 drivers just to be clear.  Set like this no-one would believe these were open baffle speakers.  Same thing that happens when people hear a Big Betsy, and that was after all the goal, to downsize the Big Betsy but maintain much of it's low end effect while increasing the Treble transparency.

The speaker will pass on it's own without a ZROCK2, especially on good analog systems or digital systems with a really great preamp. That said, the ZROCK2 is an insurance policy and can be adjusted to your taste while you listen. It allows you to not only in this case fix your speakers by giving them more bass, but going beyond that and fixing bass shy recordings on the fly as needed. This is because the room speaker combination is fixed at a certain setting and thin recordings played on this system are fixed on the fly with additional correction.

In practice, since I usually listen to well recorded music, once I find a setting on the ZROCK2 that works, I leave it alone.  The exception is when I want to hear something that sounds too lean to be enjoyable, then I can just fix it.  It turns out that this fully opens up your music library.  The pile of music you don't care for vs. the pile you like can be defined by the weight of the music. Being able to fix that issue so easily leaves only content so now your pile of music that sucks just shrunk to half of it's original size, and your pile of music you like just grew by the same amount.

I can be certain that a ZROCK2 would be helpful for any open baffle design that uses drivers with a QTS below 1. Drivers with a high QTS around 1 or more can still benefit from it, the lower Q just magnifies the ZROCK2 effect so less correction is needed.

When you consider the alternative, subwoofers, bass augmentation, partial enclosures or stupidly large baffles or horns, this not only makes financial sense but common sense as well.  

Steve
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #583 - 08/20/19 at 04:35:26
 

So in marveling about the shape of the Betsy Baffle from Caintuck Audio which I scaled up to really understand -- and how it outperforms the same sized rectangular baffle that by the math isn't possible... you know when you hear this kind of bass coming out of a flat boxless device that looks this good it bends your mind pretty hard -- those curved sides and offset driver.... then it struck me!

It's an egg.

The driver is the yoke.

It's all starting to make sense now...  

Leave it to a hillbilly wood-butcher, to duplicate nature. I was trying to do it a year or two ago with the EGG omni speaker, and here were are once again, dealing with an egg. This one is flat and sounds round. The round one you expect to sound round. When the flat one sounds round, you wonder how.

Never underestimate eggs.

Steve
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #584 - 08/20/19 at 14:38:24
 


Quote:
Leave it to a hillbilly wood-butcher, to duplicate nature. I was trying to do it a year or two ago with the EGG omni speaker, and here were are once again, dealing with an egg. This one is flat and sounds round. The round one you expect to sound round. When the flat one sounds round, you wonder how.


I resemble that remark .....

Happy listening,
Randy the Hillbilly Wood Butcher

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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #585 - 08/20/19 at 15:09:49
 
Any advice on finishing these baffles?  I usually just hit them with a dark (almost black) stain to cover my imperfections and let it dry and then a couple coats of poly.

I don't want to do a golden oak kind of thing.  I may want to leave them as natural as possible.  I guess I want to bring out the grain but not color them too much.

I have never worked with linseed or tung oils of any kind.  Any suggestions are appreciated.
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #586 - 08/20/19 at 16:23:52
 
Steve, It's good to see you enjoying YOUR ZROCK2 ... Finally!   Grin

I have the stiffened shot boxes installed on my BBs (waiting for the shot) and I think that's improved the bass response already.  I find that I am turning down my ZR2, even compared to where I had it with my HR1s.  I was listening to Pink Floyd's The Final Cut last night and I think I was hearing about 30% more in the music.  Really incredible.  The extra texture and sound I was getting was unbelievable.  I kept expecting things to break apart with the huge impact from the sound but the BBs just kept on giving.

Pal, I recommend linseed oil if you want a no nonsense natural finish.  Just wipe it on and keep everything wet with it for 15 to 30 minutes (keep applying with a wet rag).  You'll really see it getting absorbed by the end grain.  Then buff it off.  You can add more coats in a day but I rarely do.  Make sure you dilute the oil with 30% to 50% paint thinner to allow it to penetrate better.  You can tint the oil with stain but I rarely do that.  Linseed gives a natural golden hue due to the color of the oil and how light effects it after it cures.  You have to see what it does to cherry to really appreciate how beautiful a finish it can give.  BTW, eiter submerge the used rags in water, burn them or spread them out flat to dry.  Crumpled up, they WILL start a fire.  Ask me how I know!   Tongue
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #587 - 08/20/19 at 16:25:38
 
Thanks Archie.  I think I will give it a try.  I loved that look on Steve's baffles.
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #588 - 08/20/19 at 16:44:19
 
Sometimes oil will seep out in the first day so keep a rag around to do a little occasional buffing.  The only thing to watch for with an oil finish is that if you leave a film to dry it will get hard like shellac.  You can always buff with 0000 steel wool at any time too.  I'd stick with 100% linseed or tung oil -- not "oil finishes."
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #589 - 08/21/19 at 00:53:16
 
Doesn't surprise me that the ZROCK2 ha a profound effect on the sound with these speakers.

I've been hamfisted with mine in both systems, and I get addicted to the creamy textures and body to the sound, making the small combo jazz I mostly listen to sound so full and rich and the instrumental images so vivid and closer to real.

I won't let mine loose and I'll have one more for my third system one day I'm sure. This device, along with the ZBIT, have changed the game in my istenening world.
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #590 - 08/21/19 at 02:43:18
 

Lon, it's particularly nice with fast and unforgiving speakers I've noticed.  Glad you're enjoying them as much as I do!

Steve
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #591 - 08/21/19 at 02:53:38
 

Still digging the foam absorber.  Today I noticed another result from it.



All of these open baffles I spend some time listening to from the back side and comparing what comes out of that as opposed to the front side.  Not only frequency balance, but sound quality and imaging.

The frame design of the Crystal 10 is the best I have used. The way the spider comes to a seamless edge and the sound just rolls down the magnet cover is as diffractionless as a speaker can be made. And I have been noticing over the past weeks how good the Big Betsy Jr. sounds from the rear with this amazing driver.  It sparkles!  

Today I stood in the doorway behind the speakers and listened and it was truly spectacular, some would confuse it for the sound coming off the front. Identical sound in fact, just a tiny bit rolled in the rear. The foam really made things better from this perspective which is good since this is the sound that hits your walls and then hits your face. You hear it, believe me.

On a completely different note, I made an astounding discovery that confirms my suspicions about the wood becoming an transducer. In the picture above you can see the large cast iron handle. When standing with an ear biased to the front side of the cabinet at standing height, putting my hand on the handle makes an obvious difference in the sound of the high frequencies. The highs sound noticeably better with my hand off the handle. When the hand is on the handle the highs diminish from this extreme off axis perspective.  This is on the Big Betsy Jr., Crystal 10 baffle.

Steve
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #592 - 08/21/19 at 03:28:01
 

Randy,  I'm so happy that you have this free-standing zen space in your back yard!



I got serious about listening and this hobby when I was living alone after my first wife dumped me ; ) I had about 17 years of total silence and total focus to work from so music was a glorious distraction free experience.  I have a similar experience now in the Decware listening room / shop which is why I have never spent even one hour listening to my stereo in the house.  I guess, I'm saying I know what it's like to have a listening chapel that is just yours and I really enjoy seeing the pictures.  If we didn't know better we would think this was in Japan.



Steve
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #593 - 08/21/19 at 03:40:20
 

Quote:
Steve, I'm envisioning a resonator box on the back of the baffle, ZOB-style, with the top surface covered in the same absorbing foam around the sound hole. A bass reinforcer. Thoughts?


Had to ponder this awhile.  As mentioned I did model this out of cardboard and it did have an additive effect like it does on the ZOB.  My thoughts are that on this baffle it really isn't needed and while it would likely increase the bass and texture it would really kludge up the design and as delicate as the sound is coming off the rear you have to ask yourself would you put a box just under the driver with a hole in it and foam in the front of cabinet?  Same thing.

I do have an idea for a way that it could be done that might work a lot better than what I did with the ZOB and be largely invisible.  To do it in hardwood would take a CNC machine, but layered MDF or plywood could make it possible to do with normal tools so we will see.  Right now it's just way less expensive and a cleaner look to just add a ZROCK2 which gives numerous other benefits beyond bass correction and is adjustable.

Steve


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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #594 - 08/21/19 at 05:38:46
 
Well then, I see another ZRock 2 in my future, as the one that you just modified for me is in my Betsy Alnico system, and it's NOT coming out.
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #595 - 08/21/19 at 16:54:38
 
I finally got the lead shot installed at the base of my BBs.  I built a box with a 3 1/2"X1 1/2" piece of maple on the baffle side to act as a stiffener and I screwed it into the baffle.  Before doing that, I lined the free floating contact surfaces with cork.  I filled the box with 25 lbs (each) of lead shot and put a cover (edges also cork lined) on it.  My BBs now weigh about 105 lbs each!  I took them off of the isolation platforms since they couldn't take the weight anyway.

This sounds metaphorical but the sound now has a more solid bass to it.  Even without the isolation platforms I'm getting strong clean bass with a very hard hit and as much or more separation and detail up and down the scale.

I think my BBs are now closer to Steve's at the base although mine have more mass there.  I don't know what else I could do to these at this point so it's a good thing I'm happy with how they sound.  I researched hardwoods a bit and if I were ever to build another, better looking pair of BBs, I'd likely use 8/4 Hickory and follow more closely Steve's design.  Hickory is the hardest and densest American hardwood.

Here are a few pictures of my shot-box build.

Cork lining:

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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #596 - 08/21/19 at 16:55:45
 
Box with cut outs for baffle footers:

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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #597 - 08/21/19 at 16:57:44
 
Box installed and filled with lead shot:

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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #598 - 08/21/19 at 16:57:55
 
Thanks Archie, this is what I had in mind as well.  I also have not put my handles on yet.  

I think I am going to do everything when I put a finish on the baffles so they will be out of commission for a week or more.  It will give me a chance to put my old OBs back in for comparison purposes.
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #599 - 08/21/19 at 16:59:07
 
Box with cover -- all done:  (linseed oil finish, BTW)

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