SPEAKER FORUMS >> ZOB >> Listening impressions

Message started by Nelson Bass on 03/29/10 at 23:36:16

Title: Listening impressions
Post by Nelson Bass on 03/29/10 at 23:36:16

Hello everyone,

I've build the ZOB and used the recommended DFR8s.
This speaker first came out thin sounding and very bass shy. After some measurements and tweaking the adjustable slot the bass output came up but I'm not satisfied yet.

No matter what kind of music (** see references at the bottom)  I play the bass output is several dBs too low. I'm used to an open baffle bass system so I'm not asking for boom bass from a reflex system.

As I'm using a mac mini booted into Windows where Foobar is running as mediaplayer I used the software equalizer within Foobar to make a BSC (+5dB below 440 Hz). I'm using an external non oversampling USBDAC of my own design (the very best digital dac I ever auditioned... yes, my own children are the best in class...)

With this compensation in the bass region this loudspeaker is indeed something very special. They present a left to right wall image reproduction and the ZOBs disappear in this image field.

Huge amount of details are presented totally effortless and the ZOBs sound very analog if you know what I mean!? I now understand why Steve compare them with electrostatic speakers like the Acoustat.
I just want to play music music music and the vacuum cleaner can stay in the closet a day or two longer... ;-)

But for now I've to investigate the reason for this speaker not having the nice bass Steve is writing about without using the BSC.

** references (all CDs ripped to FLAC-files using EAC):
1. Nils Lofgren - Acoustic Live
2. Marcus Miller - M2
3. Larry Carlton (several records)
4. Pink Floyd - The dark side of the moon (20 & 30 years anniversary editions)
5. Roger Waters - Amused to death (Gold Edition)*
6. Jazz at the Pawnshop
7. Kari Bremnes (several records)
8. Diana Krall (several records)

* Q-sound recorded - the very best reproduction I've heard using the compensated ZOBs. Very impressive 3D imaging in the room.

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by big L on 03/30/10 at 16:37:59

I am in the process of building a pair as well , so please keep us posted. Did you take Steve's suggestion of using the 1/8"felt between the baffle and cabinet to increase the size of the slot?


Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by Nelson Bass on 03/30/10 at 17:47:24

Hello Larry,

No, I first used some temporary material (soft foam) and later changed it into a sealing made of rubber. It's thin (1/16) so it does not add the suggested distance (that should be included in the original design in the first place if needed IMO).

That said I'm happy to hear the bass level is gone up quite a bit but not enough IME.
So I've  added a passive BSC today and removed the software-based BSC. I now have plenty of nice fast bass now.  :)
The cost is of course I need more power to drive the speaker but no big deal.

I don't have the hammer effect in the low register as I've from my CS2 clones but the ZOB is the clear winner in coherency for now. That said I'm not done tuning my CS2s but I'm skeptical that I reached the same performance as the ZOB in this category! :o

I need further listening before I'll a final conclusion about this speaker system. But, I'm deeply impressed about their performance taken the low price into account. ;D

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by big L on 03/31/10 at 00:03:51

I Plan to use the 1/8" felt between the baffle and cabinet and will let you know how it is. Do you think bass will increase as the drivers loosen up .....and what is BSC?

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by DirtDawg on 03/31/10 at 04:25:27

Is it possible that the drivers are still a little shy of a sufficient break-in period?

Maybe after running them for a couple more weeks, things might  "gel"  a bit better. My experience has been that almost all small drivers require a substantial break-in, unlike many larger drivers which generally respond well to a day-long romp or two.

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by Nelson Bass on 03/31/10 at 08:45:10

Hi Big L

BSC = Baffle Step Correction, normally used to compensate for the loss due to small baffles.

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by Nelson Bass on 03/31/10 at 08:48:22

Hello DirtDawg,

IME breaking in drivers will help break up nasties in the midrange and upwards not in the bass region.

That said the DFR8s sounds wonderful straight out the box and'll be happy to get further improvements during brake in.

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by Wakanda on 04/04/10 at 11:18:14

Hi NB,

What passive BSC did you use?


Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by Nelson Bass on 04/04/10 at 11:31:15

2.4mH air coil & 5.5 Ohm resistor.

After hooking up my PP1CS tube amps I've removed the BSC. The passive BSC suck out the magic of this speaker IME.

After the sealing of the speaker using rubber tape I'm satisfied with the bass response. It can't compete with my CS2 clones using two 15" Alpha 15a drivers then it comes to moving air but the ZOB sounds just wonderful as it is now.

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by Wakanda on 04/04/10 at 11:47:49

Sealing the speaker using rubber tape?

Steve mentioned miking the enclosure to enhance the lower bass.  Any thoughts?

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by big L on 04/05/10 at 11:58:41

I am right in the middle of building the enclosures now.....what exactly did you seal with rubber tape and why did you need to do it? Would you suggest some kind of sealing that is not mentioned in the plans or white papers? Would some kind of silicone sealing  of the box joints (as the resonator box was  glued and screwed together) have possibly eliminated the need for rubber tape (post assembly)? I had planned on lining the resonator box with felt also. Did you do that?

Feel free to jump in Steve, if you see this.


Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by Nelson Bass on 04/05/10 at 12:20:41

Wakanda: I'll try the broadcast system using my CS2 clones as the broadcast speakers.

Big L: I had screwed the front baffle to the cabinet and used the rubber sealing in between to make the box air tight. I did this because I want to hear the speaker before spending time and money on the finish (read paint and veneer).

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by big L on 04/05/10 at 12:31:34

Oh , I see what you meant now. Since my listening room is about 11'x12' , i am hoping to be able to use the speaker without augmentation , but of course am leaving my options open on sub or miked box as you are about to try. Could you share any listening impressions now that you are using tube amps ? Other than the lowest bass notes (which we all knew we were not going to get anyway without some kind of augmentation, are you happy with the rest of the range of the speaker?


Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by Wakanda on 04/05/10 at 13:59:08

I recently built a WO32 and used black 3/4 inch wide foam tape (from local hardware) to seal the top to the bottom assembly.  It compressed evenly under pressure from the screws, made a nice tight seal and looked great.

Thanks for the posts on your build!

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by Nelson Bass on 04/05/10 at 19:49:12

Big L,

My tube amps (modified Vacuumstate PP1CS using KT77) are known as neutral sounding, with lots of details, extreme good macro and micro dynamics.

The ZOB immediately show how much better my tube amps are than my Patek SE chipamp.

That said I've to break in the speakers and a pair of new tubes so I'll be back in a couple of weeks.

For now the ZOBs is playing on the bright side of the holy grail...  ;)

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by Steve Deckert on 04/06/10 at 03:23:04

Hi Nelson,

Thanks for jumping into the forum with your build results!  I've read your posts with some interest and look forward to the story as it continues.

If you're on the bright side of the holy grail, you may already be there.  It my experience just upgrading speaker wire can lead to another week of tube rolling with the final result being a completely different set of tubes.  That would indicate that a change as major as the speaker might demand the same type of system voicing.

Another thing I've noticed is that A) the DFR-8S (shielded version) has more bass than the DFR-8, and that some amps generate much more weight than others.  Our Torii MK II or MK III for example, has fooled me more than once into thinking I had bass augmentation on when in fact it was off.  

You've been trying different amplifiers so I expect you're already finding favorites.  I enjoyed your comment about being able to instantly hear how much better one amp was over another.  I use these type of speakers when I voice my amplifiers, as I know in 15 seconds what's up whereas if I used a normal pair of hi-fi speakers it takes 15 minutes and a fair amount of guessing.

Also, darkening the room a bit is a great way to pick up the low end.  Hang a couple moving blankets up over hard surfaces some night as an experiment...

It will be most interesting to hear what happens when you mic the chambers, but once you overcome the feedback none of what I've said above will be remembered.


Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by big L on 04/15/10 at 21:06:34

Steve or anyone,
Do you have a definitive way to mic the chambers? Any mic choices or mic preamp or amp choices ? Also, have you any experience with the Seas Exotic X1-08  8" full range which has a higher QT and more excursion and lower FS( but also costs a bunch more than DFR-S)? It looks to be an incredible driver on paper but then they all do on paper. Have been waiting for Part 5 of the white papers to see how you do going forward.

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by Nelson Bass on 04/15/10 at 21:45:39

I failed first attempt yesterday using a Behringer ECM-8000 and a mic preamp. Got acoustic feedback (boom boom) and too much noise from the preamp. I really need more gain (another preamp or a better mic preamp).

I also look forward to read Steves next article about the ZOBs.

I found the ZOB extremely detailed and open but to light/bright for my taste in the long run. I really nead more bass to balance the speakers for all my rock albums.

Though acoustic instruments and live recordings can sound absolutely life like. Stunning!  :)

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by big L on 04/15/10 at 22:17:12

I am in the final stages of completing my pair now....finishing the cabs etc. and hope to post some results soon of listening impressions. I also like Rock and heavier music besides acoustical type music and thats why I have been asking about other drivers for the ZOB Like the 8" Seas Exotic or maybe 8" PHY drivers. I believe the ZOB concept is incredibly clever and hope Steve continues to experiment with it and different drivers and Mic the chambers too. No sense in having a speaker cabinet smart enough to produce bass on a narrow OB out of this air and not try to optimize it with the best drivers possible(and hopefully for me affordable). Of course I am starting with Steves modified DFR8-S as a baseline too and am anxious to hear the results.

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by Nelson Bass on 04/15/10 at 22:27:04

Maybe the Tang Band W8-1808B 8" Neodymium Full Range Driver will fit? It does have a higher Q than the stock FE207E.

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by opnly_bafld on 04/16/10 at 03:34:19

You can always add a pair of OB subs, they don't take up much space, or you can try the 4 boxed subs scattered about the room approach.


Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by big L on 04/18/10 at 01:44:59

Who makes a good OB sub to use if you mic'd the chambers?

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by opnly_bafld on 04/18/10 at 03:12:54

"Who makes a good OB sub to use if you mic'd the chambers?"

Too many to name. Look at drivers with a high qt and low fs.

If you use OB subs mic'ing the chamber is not necessary.


Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by big L on 04/18/10 at 11:29:37

I was thinking if as Steve says the purest ,totally in snyc bass comes out of the chamber port, then using the chambered mic'd feed to some OB subs or even normal subs might be very interesting.

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by big L on 04/27/10 at 18:07:10

I have finally finished my pair of ZOB's and am breaking in the drivers. I honestly have never heard such immediacy in a speaker before, with lightning quick transients that will startle you. The imaging is lifelike and wide as your room with depth especially on well recorded media. I am using these in a fairly small room(11'x12") and trying to extract as much bass as possible without using any augmentation first.

Has anyone tried stuffing the chamber under the slider with wool to see the effects? Also, any other suggestions, Steve, to load the slots?

Steve, any feel for the break in period of the DFR8-s?

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by Steve Deckert on 05/08/10 at 00:43:43

Break in period for the DFR-8's is 40 - 50 hours before they're even usable.  200-500 hours before they are completely done. Base fills out in the 40-100 hour window.

The resonant cavity is usually lightly stuffed.  The more stuffing you use, the wider the "Q" and the lower the gain.  

The chamber under the slider should be left clear to maximize air flow.

Installing mics in the chamber is an interesting journey.

Suspended just below the port opening pointing straight down into the fiber fill is one way.  Adjusting the height of the mic allows it to pick up some ambient information at higher frequencies that are originating from the rear of the driver.

Placed in the port opening so that the mic body touches the cabinet is another way that had good results.

There are no rules yet, after enough people get it to work and compare notes we'll have some usable information.

Feedback is the main issue.  Just about the time you get the mic turned up so you can hear some bass coming out of the broadcast speakers, you get boom.  No matter what, you have to find the level where it booms and back it off some.  The trick is to get the highest level possible.

A simple mixer is a starting point.  It will have the mic preamps and the line level outs you need.  Most will also have a bass, mid, and treble control for each channel.  This can help to reduce feedback.  

The microphones I used were Sure 57's (general purpose instrument mics) although I suspect some small drum mics would be worth trying.

With this simple arrangement, work on placement and type of broadcast speaker and what adjustments you have to get the least feedback possible.  Right now the feedback is helping you to find the best set up.

The tendency is to want to hear the broadcast system too loud.  It should be almost silent to where you have to get your head down by it to see if it's on.  This is usually the right amount ambience.  Remember, low frequency ambience is harder to hear than midrange ambience, so by the time it feeds back you're probably louder than you realize.

When you achieve somewhat usable results, you can either explore a better signal path, ie., mic preamp to replace the mixer, or go for more bass with less feedback.  It the latter is required, you can try a notch filter at the feedback frequency, or even a digital feedback destroyer.

The ideal set up would be a tube mic preamp with and adjustable notch filter.  I will eventually make one of these for myself and then probably for everyone else if enough of these speakers are built.


Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by Evo on 05/16/10 at 10:50:33

Any chance of any pics of DIY efforts?

Also re: alternative drivers, what about Visaton B200? QTS= .75 and have successfully been used in open baffles before. Not too expensive. Would benefit from the some Decware mods though to be really good.



Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by big L on 05/16/10 at 11:08:44

Yes, or the seas exotic which has better xmax, lower fs which should allow the magical Zen enclosure to do even more of its magic.
I am positively stunned by the openness and spaciousness the zen delivers and think with a slight increase in weight and depth it could truly be used stand alone with no subs or miking needed. I am about 100 hours into break-in and like others have found that tube changes, cable changes are clearly heard. If any others have experimented with alternative 8" fullrangers in Steves Magical ZEN enclosure, Please share!!

I am afraid to better the performance of Steves modified DFR-8S is not going to be cheap though, but am coming to the realization that the enclosure has gigantic potential and deserves the best fullrange 8" you can find.

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by Evo on 05/16/10 at 11:31:50

Thanks Big L. Did you make yours? If you did, how hard was it? What were the most tricky parts? Either way I just know that I am going to have a crack at building this baby sometime - just got to convince the wife of the obviously need for more speakers!



Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by big L on 05/16/10 at 13:20:21

Its more complicated by far than a normal box to make, but with minimal skills and tools and a lot of paying attention to the details, can be done.
What is truly amazing and magical is the spaciousness and clarity you would expect to hear out of a crossoverless open baffle along with real bass and fullness you NEVER would hear out of a 12" wide open baffle.
So Steve has done the seemingly impossible with the Zen OB. He gives you a beautiful high WAF speaker, the incredible open baffle openness,imaging, and lack of box coloration you want PLUS with his genius resonant enclosure below the driver, gives you the fullness and cleanest tuneful bass I honestly have ever heard. And he does all this with an ingeniously simple resonant chamber enclosure/open baffle design that allows you to eliminate all the crossover problems and use a single 8" driver driven directly by a tube amp.
This is what makes me think that using the best possible driver would yield a speaker that is literally untouchable. Even Steve admits that there may be better speakers out there than his heavily modded $300/pair DFR8-S's but none he knows of that are reasonable in cost.
For me personally, this design works so well in so many different areas that there is a gut feeling listening to them that a world class 8" fullrange would truly make the Zen OB the last pair of speakers you ever owned.  Still hoping Steve and others experiment and share their findings with other driver variants in this amazing design.

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by Evo on 05/16/10 at 13:47:55

Thanks Big L. I'm inspired - hope the wife will be too ;D

Good chance these might be your last speakers because if a better driver comes along it should still be an 8" so you should be able to swap drivers over as the hole required should be (fingers crossed) the same size.


Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by big L on 05/16/10 at 15:37:23

Yes true and even if it doesn't fit, a very simple replacement baffle could be made . Steve was also ingenious in how he designed the baffle to be removable and replaceable on the Zen OB.

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by BoilermakerFan on 06/16/10 at 00:55:00

I downloaded my plans and the cutsheet is off to my custom cabinet builder for a quote in natural oiled bamboo front baffle with figured walnut trim and black piano lacquer finish for the back.  Base will be bamboo, walnut, or black as I have yet to decide.

I'm going with the TB W8-1808s that are off to Planet 10 for enABL'ing and basket mods.  

I can't wait!  

My amps will be a balanced Cavalli Audio Liquid Gold or AudioSector F5 clone.  A future balanced P-P 6V6 is in the planning stage right now.  With strong inspiration from Steve's Mini Torri for grid regulation, an Aikido front end and SuperTriode outputs from Van Der Veen as the primary topology though the Plitron iron allows multiple connection configurations.  I hope to have it done in September.  

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by DPC on 06/16/10 at 11:35:02

Your project sounds great!  Pictures will be required.

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by Nelson Bass on 06/16/10 at 12:12:24

I'm happy that I just used plain MDF for my ZOB build.

I gave my DFR8s a serious burn in and even that I got way more bass and a more smooth midrange I still find the ZOB unbalanced.

The midrange is too pronounced IMO. With a wideband notch filter made with my software based equalizer I can balance the speaker to sound great. But the bass never turns out to be great regarding power and punch. The life size scale is missing in the bass area IME.
My reference is a clone of the Emerald Physics CS2.

I've the feeling that I just got a set of big earphones with the ZOBs...
I've finished the HDTs with alternative tuning and I find that speaker way more balanced than the ZOBs and they have more power in the bass. But still not anywhere near my reference.

I look forward to read about the experiences with the TangBand driver in the ZOB.

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by big L on 06/16/10 at 13:38:59

I am awaiting shipment of some Seas X1-08 exotics for the drivers on my ZOB's. I will post impressions as soon as i have them installed in some new baffles. I got a good tip online to use titebond melamine glue as a very high loss adhesive between the two 3/4' sheets of MDF on the front baffle. This will reduce baffle vibration and allow for a clean rock solid launch for the drivers. I also used Medex instead of MDF for the baffle as it is significantly stronger as a driver mounting material than normal MDF. Anyone interested in some brand new almost broken in DFR-8S can contact me.

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by BoilermakerFan on 06/17/10 at 04:07:37

big L went BIG!  

I look forward to hearing your impressions with the SEAS, but for now, they're out of my acceptable price range as I have other audio gear I need to build and a set of Audez'e LCD-2 headphones to fund.  

I can't use MDF or even HDF.  It's too full of poisons and the off gassing triggers migraine headaches in my wife, but I was also told that good old Baltic Birch or the bamboo "plywood" would be a better material to use too.  

Would a constrained dampening layer like EAR products between the front bezel layers help or hurt?

I was seriously considering using the bamboo for the front, a EAR constrained dampening layer, and a hardwood (walnut in my case) plywood for the back layer. I'm planning to use brass inserts in the back so I can use bronze hex cap screws to mount the front bezel sealing it with a great felt I use for tuning orthodynamic headphones.  This felt has the best acoustic properties I've ever heard and is very effective and killing the resonances while not sucking the life out of the music like many other felts I've tried tend to do.

If the general opinion is that it will do more harm than good, I'll change the plan, otherwise, I'll carry on.  

The TB has a Xmas of 5mm vs. the Fostex's 1.5mm and the Qts is almost 2 times higher than the FE207 (and 3 times higher than the FE206, which is why the shielded FE207 is working better), so improvements should help load the horn more effectively, but I'm sure some tweaking will be involved.  The upper end of the TB driver is better on paper too.  The enABL'ing process will smooth it out some as well.  

DPC, I'll definitely post pics.  

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by big L on 06/17/10 at 11:46:57

The Medex I mentioned is a green, formaldehyde free product that when bonded face to face with titebond melamine glue produces an outstanding baffle at a very reasonable price. You could then veneer with any wood you want . Using the titebond melamine makes a very lossy layer between the sandwich which can actually absorb vibration like using an EAR product. Using 2 - 3/4" sheets face to face gives you the strongest, most dense 1.5" thick baffle on earth.

Medex is a "green", super high end, much stronger, version of MDF. It is somewhat harder to find , but is available and for not much more than standard headache causing, weaker MDF.

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by Evo on 06/17/10 at 12:26:27

Thanks for the info. Al.

I am potentially interested in those DFR drivers. Can you PM me a price?



Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by Evo on 06/17/10 at 12:33:43

big L, sorry to call you Al - not sure what I was thinking there.

Out of interest, what is it like to venear MDF/Medex. I haven't ever tried veneering and I heard it wasn't pleasant or easy. How do you find it? Any tips?



Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by Evo on 06/17/10 at 13:00:31

Jeez, I'm having a doozy - Just realised its BoilermakerFan that's selling the drivers - sorry bigL.

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by big L on 06/17/10 at 18:18:29

it veneers up easy and beautiful because it is perfectly smooth

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by BoilermakerFan on 06/18/10 at 02:32:03

Sorry EVO, not me, but perhaps Nelson Bass.  I'm using the TB W8-1808s.

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by BoilermakerFan on 06/18/10 at 02:33:42

Thanks for the Medex info big L.  I'll look into it.  I might use it for the back baffle and rear cabinet.  

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by BoilermakerFan on 06/20/10 at 17:37:16

A quick update.  My drivers will soon be at Plant 10 for mods and my buddy who makes the custom cabinets is on board to make my cabinets in trade for a good P-P 10W-15W tube amp, so I'm we're trading skills.   ;D

He's going through his stock of old growth figured woods to find nice figured walnut, figured Douglas fir, or figured cherry boards for the front baffles that we'll back with Medex.  

I will fab up the stock ZOB cabinets in drywall and test with the modded TBs.  Then we'll decide if the slots or any other dimensions need to be tweaked.  

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by Doorman on 06/20/10 at 19:36:29

Keep us posted on your project!
BTW, I've got a couple pairs of Dave's (P-10) eNABled drivers. The cost is well worth it, IMHO!
Best, Don

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by BoilermakerFan on 06/21/10 at 02:35:14

Glad to hear that.  I have read that it really is audible from enough peeps on diyA that trust to believe in it, but I have to admit, I just like the look too.   ;)

I've talked to Dave for years on other projects and I was working on my own OB loaded horn FR design when I first read about the ZOB.  I shelved my project to wait and see where Steve took the ZOB.  There was no question I'd use them in my ZOBs, it was just a matter of which driver.  

I will use Dave's Fostex in a Fonken GR and a pair of CSS SDX7s as the subs in a full custom console for our next house.  The amps are sitting on the shelf waiting to be refurbished (a set of 6SL7/quad 6V6GT monoblocks for field coil speakers from a church) and I have the console pretty well designed out as far as dimensions and such, but how I will finish it and in what style remain to be determined.  

I'll definitely keep you posted, but right now I just have to wait the 3-4 weeks for the drivers.  

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by BoilermakerFan on 09/29/10 at 16:35:01

Guess what is ready to ship back to the US?

He had a set of the other W8s too, but he said the 1808s are better than the 1772s.  

And my carpenter buddy will build the cabinets for the cost of materials.   ;D

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by Doorman on 09/29/10 at 20:36:41

BF: Having had some opportunity at various G to G's, including more than a few at Dave's, to hear both treated & untreated drivers, the positive effects of the eNAbled treatment, firstly, is very similar to the difference between drivers with many hours on them, and those straight out of the box. Also noticeable, is the ability in a SD speaker system, to go louder with much less break-up. YMMV, of course!
I'm currently veneering a pair of CHR-KEN cabs with MarkAudio chr70eN drivers, which I won this summer @ Daves--)
Keep us posted of your progress.
I'm also very interested in ZOB impressions!
Best, Don

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by BoilermakerFan on 09/29/10 at 21:22:46

Cool.  I didn't even listen to them stock.  I had Dave buy them new and mod them straight out of the box.  He took about three weeks of listening to them to dial them in.  These were the first pairs of the W8 twins he had eNAbled so he took care of me and the other peep, or should I say peepette since she was a repeat customer for Dave too.  

I was about to go with the MarkAudio chr70eN drivers for the Castles design, but Steve finally came through and published the ZOB plans for us, so I went with the ZOBs.  

I think the cool magnet structure of the W8s will only enhance the killer looks of the ZOBs too.  I'm going to use an 8-wire silver/copper hybrid braid for the connecting wires down to the speaker binding posts and I'll invest in really nice binding posts to keep the aesthetics killer.  

I'm really jazzed and looking forward to finally getting my ZOBs built and finishing my new little listening area.  Rearranged the house and moved the home office down to the basement.  I got rid of a ton of crap so I could make room for a little niche and plan to add a couple of Ikea Poang chairs and custom end table/amp rack to hold two of my diy headphone/speaker amps.  They put out about 7W-15W each so they're perfect for my orthodynamic cans and the ZOBs.  

I still need to add the insulation and drop ceiling, then do some smaller Decware traps, but I'll get there.  The journey is 3/4'ers of the fun for me.  

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by Doorman on 09/30/10 at 03:00:36

If the ZOB sounds as killer as it looks, which I don't doubt, it'll be on quite a few short lists to build, mine included. Keep us informed!
Best, Don

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by BoilermakerFan on 09/30/10 at 03:15:30

Oh, I will.  I need to mock it up in drywall to make sure the added extension and lower freq. response doesn't require tweaks inside the cabinet.. but I think it will be ok.  I just don't want to have all the internal bits fabbed up in Corian only to realize it could use some tweaks.  

I have some spectacular 4mm thick natural, 100% wool felt from Oz that has the best acoustic properties I have ever heard in felt.  It dampens beautifully without sucking out too much midrange energy.  

I just noticed you have Frugalhorns and Fonkens.  My next set of speakers will probably be 8" Fonken GRs with these same drivers if Dave doesn't get the Castle design scaled up for 8" drivers.  

That second set of speakers will be a ways off though.  We bought a 2006 Honda pilot 12 days ago and it is first in line for sonic upgrades.  The Pioneer DEH-P800PRS deck is going tonight.  Speakers, amp, and sub have to wait for a large SecondSkin order to placed and installed.  Reading Steve's minibook on the secrets of car audio too.  ;-)  

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by Doorman on 09/30/10 at 18:46:36

The Onken/Fonken style cabinets have very satisfying, well controlled bass. I've built 3 of the above cabs for different drivers and have had ample opportunity to compare the same drivers in different enclosures.
For me its a "no-brainer" as always, YMMV!
Currently finishing a pair of Onken style cabs for the MarkAudio chr70 drivers. These are keepers.
Still like to build a pair of ZOB's though!
Best, Don

Title: Re: FRX in ZOB  reviews
Post by 4krow on 05/22/11 at 15:43:41

I know that it may have been discussed already, but I would like to know what seems to be the general recommendations about the distance from the back and side walls that works with these speakers. I have the FRX drivers coming next week, and want to get a head start on positioning.

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by opnly_bafld on 05/22/11 at 18:24:56

While less will work, 5-6 ft is optimal.


Title: Re: FRX troubles
Post by 4krow on 05/26/11 at 04:45:51

Just an update: the FRX speakers arrived today(after running down the UPS woman), and everything looked good. Both speakers tested at 6.5 ohms, and no physical problems were seen. You all probably know where I'm headed with this, so I will just say it. One speaker is MUCH louder than the other. Yes, of course, I changed interconnects/speaker cables/amp channels, and anything else I could think of. I have been in this hobby four decades now and had my share of trouble shooting. The only thing I can come up with is that there is some kind of internal damage within 'the black can' on the back of the speaker. Any thoughts?    :'(

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by 4krow on 05/27/11 at 19:36:50

[size=16][/size]Update II: Talked to Steve today about the speaker problem, and we decided to ship it back for a replacement. It should arrive at Decware next Tuesday.
 The first impression that I have from the 'good' speaker is that I really like the treble that I am hearing, and think I have never in 40+ years of audio, heard anything better. Better yet, I hear no shout, something I am especially sensitive to in my middle years. Bass was there, even though for the moment these speakers are mounted on a very small test baffle until the cabinets are finished. This experience is by no means conclusive since I was more involved inlistening to the troubled speaker more than the music. More in a couple of weeks.....Greg 8-)

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by 4krow on 06/07/11 at 16:21:56

update III:   The one FRX that I have(the other is being shipped to me today from Decware/was damaged in shipping by UPS), is breaking in. I have probably 20 hours on it, but I do not play it loud, just a medium volume. I will be real about this and not gush praise. Just the facts. Right now I notice that the speaker is balanced just the way that I had hoped for, i.e., violins do not screech, voices have no added sibilance, and the treble is still remarkable. It reminds me of horn treble except not harsh. The bass is almost non existent due to the fact that I am using the ZOB baffle board only until the cabinet is complete. I am really hoping for the bass to be as good as the rest of the balance in sound that this speaker offers. Also, I do not have the speaker positioned properly at this time, as it will become viable when the project is complete. Sometimes I use a subwoofer just to hear the difference in presentation. It is  a fair balance, but I must adjust the crossover point of the sub to better blend with the speaker. Keep in mind that so far, I am only listening to one speaker in mono, and even more importantly, I am using a class 'D'       'T' amp because my class 'A' amp produces a lot of heat and I feel that the t  amp is all that is necc. at this time. Of course, I am aware that the amp itself lacks in areas that are important to me, so I will not make any concrete statements about these speakers yet. Still, they do have some inherent qualities that shine through regardless of this amp choice. Next week, I should have the cabinet ready, have the new speaker to break in, and begin building the second cabinet. I am very interested in the result, as this has been my hobby for decades. 8-)

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by 4krow on 06/15/11 at 01:17:36

To get right to the point, my second FRX driver came in today, and of course I hooked it right up. One cabinet is playable, and both baffles are ready to accept a driver. So now I have one driver in a cabinet(Decware OB), and the other mounted in a baffle(for the next cabinet). So see, I still don't have optimum accomadations to listen to these speakers. In spite of all this, it is easy to tell that these have that acoustic sound that I am looking for. I am using a single sub and it is blending very well. The bass from the Decware cabinet is as claimed; Not for rock and roll but very musical.  If there is enough interest in this post, I will add to these observations, otherwise, I am the winner here whether anyone is brave enough to take the leap or not.  Good luck all in your listening endeavors.....Greg

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by proud_indian on 08/26/11 at 14:11:52

"I have about 120 hours on the DFR's and they are loaded on to the ZOB. No bass as yet.
I have been listening at regular volume and still need the sub in, or else it sounds too thin. For those of you who have gone through the break in process pl educate."

I posted the above on the DFR8 forum. I have read what Steve says about the bass kicking in between the 40 to 100 hr time line, but since it has not happened, I wanted some feedback from some of you.

shreekant :)

Title: Re: Listening impressions
Post by proud_indian on 09/07/11 at 05:18:21

300+ hours...the mids and highs are better and the stage has opened up, buy I am still using the sub. It could do with some more bass, maybe after some more break in.

shreekant :)

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