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Steve's BIG BETSY Project (Read 424056 times)
HockessinKid
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #850 - 10/13/19 at 12:53:26
 
Steve,

I think adding this F15 medium baffle option is a smart decision. I was really wowed by the large baffled version at Decfest. But, the large size and very heavy weight make it impractical for my listening room. The large baffle version is a real statement speaker, along with the Crystal 10 offerings.

My guess is that the medium baffle F-15 will sound superb and be a big hit amongst Decware fans/customers. The fact that all these speakers can be driven loud & clear with a 2 watt amplifier, well that's just crazy in the best way.

Good luck with the new speaker offerings and thanks for sharing them with us at Decfest.

HK
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HDDR1
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #851 - 10/13/19 at 12:53:27
 
Nice idea re F15 in a medium baffle.  Back to your large plywood baffles for the F15 - how do they sonically compare to your hardwood baffles?
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Archie
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #852 - 10/13/19 at 18:26:16
 
Steve, I'm sure there is a sweet spot between the BB and Rnady's F15 in the Betsy baffle.  I hope you nail it.  Of course, you'll have to go the other way too.  Otherwise you'll never be sure what lives up there!
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Palomino
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #853 - 10/14/19 at 13:59:28
 
I had some time to sand and put a coat of linseed oil on the baffles. For not knowing what I am doing, they turned out pretty nice.  Still need to do the plugs.  I left the backs unfinished in case I want to add a second layer of wood to make them 2".

An interesting discovery.  When I was installing the supports on the back I did the old knock test on the bottom of the baffle to see how the wood sounded before and after adding the red oak mass that is bolted to the bottom inside lag screws in the picture below.  Then I did it again after and the sound change was pretty substantial.  Much deeper, less ringing.  

Then I listened to them with the 25th and they sounded much closer to what I heard at the fest.  Denser, more full bass for sure.  It just shows you that wood matters and mass matters as well.  I know Steve talked about this in the thread, but to see it have that much impact was a learning moment for me.

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Palomino
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #854 - 10/14/19 at 14:03:29
 
Oh, and since I have gone this far, what wax do you recommend?  

I have this liquid was that I bought when I bought my natural finish cherry dining room table which I was thinking of trying on a scrap first, but suggestions are appreciated.
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #855 - 10/14/19 at 15:59:57
 
Beautiful work!
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Archie
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #856 - 10/14/19 at 16:22:28
 
Pal, can you post a picture of the backs?

I use Minwax paste wax.  Wax on, wax off!  I love that oiled oak.  BTW, I never wax over oil, just stain.  The oil is the finish and you can always freshen with a light coat.  The oil has its own patina.
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Palomino
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #857 - 10/14/19 at 17:16:28
 
Yeah, I can get a picture tonight.  

I didn't add that much mass.  Certainly not as much as Steve adds.  But it was enough to affect the sound.

If I don't need to wax, I won't.  I like the finish, just thought wax might help it stay that way.
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Donnie
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #858 - 10/14/19 at 22:40:24
 
So now the question is if the sound got better because of the mass or from breaking up the vibrations with support?
Yes I know that it is basically changing the mass but it is also changing how much cantilever the baffle has.
I will ask another question, what if between the baffles and the base there was a layer of damping material? Would the sound change? Maybe better, maybe worse?
I really hate it when I get thinking about things, it hurts my head.
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Geno
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #859 - 10/14/19 at 22:42:02
 
Very nice, Pal.  I love the finish!  Glad the support made that much difference in the sound.  I'm like Archie - I want to see what the back looks like...
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Palomino
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #860 - 10/14/19 at 23:03:49
 
I am of the opinion now that anything you do to the baffle alters the sound.  I think of it as stiffening the platform the driver moves in AND changing the tone of the wood.

Don’t expect any great revelations on the photo.  I just went to Home Depot and bought some red oak boards.     Chopped them up into four pieces and glued them together.  Then used stainless lag screws to secure them to the bottom of the baffle.

Based on how the baffle sounded before and after. I am not sure I want to do more.  I don’t want to over deaden the baffle.  I like it a little lively.
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Palomino
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #861 - 10/14/19 at 23:08:37
 
Btw I also did the highly scientific knock test before and after I re-attached the handles to the top.  Not nearly as much change in the tone but a change none the less.  I think too much deadening of the wood with thickness, mass, weights etc can make the drivers sound too mellow.

With Decware equipment Steve keeps it less warm than traditional tube amps and I want that characteristic to stay.
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HockessinKid
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #862 - 10/14/19 at 23:52:34
 
Pal,

Great job on the open baffles, they look super nice. Enjoy your listening.

HK
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Archie
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #863 - 10/15/19 at 00:13:24
 
Pal, I can't remember what your footers looked like originally but I assume you've got more to Steve's version?
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Steve Deckert
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #864 - 10/15/19 at 02:46:26
 

Feeling really good about this medium size baffle for the F15 per Randy's suggestion. This one has a really good size and shape. I like the thickness, and the base is meatier as well. It just has that "rightness" about it's size and shape.  

Also to the point about how plywood will sound, I didn't get a chance to hear the pair Bob and I built as someone bought them before I could finish them. Since I had enough Baltic Birch left to make this medium size baffle I used it. This way I can hear the Birch plywoods effect on midrange timbre and compare it to the harder Wenge and Paduke. Also, this will be THE ONE that most people will D.I.Y. so I'll be able to develop the plans for it and have a working sample.



So far I have one coat of linseed oil on them, which looks really good - actually a lot better than the picture would suggest.



One of the things that make this model different is the offset. In this model the F15 driver rides just 3/4 of an inch above center. That's just enough to prevent ringing*. This also puts the driver a lot closer to the high-mass base so I expect a real solidness to the sound hopefully similar to the large hardwood baffle. Also of note is the close proximity to the base could have a desirable sound board effect to reflect sound upward toward the front wall. That means that you will hear a bigger difference with and without the 2 inch foam absorber that I grew to like on the other two baffles who's woofers are farther away from the base.

*ringing - by that I mean having a symmetrical shape around the woofer would create a ring of high pressure that stands on the boundary of the baffle. That would make the imaging more shifty when you move around.


Steve
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will
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #865 - 10/15/19 at 04:15:11
 
I agree with the rightness of the look Steve. Pleasing and comfortable. Making pots most of my life, when the pots went beyond clay, fire, form, maker, etc.— natural mystery, lively beauty, and function seemed to be reflections of one another...or maybe better put, aspects of one another. When natural and complete enough to enhance daily life, beauty is function.

Can't wait to hear what the medium baffles sound like to you!
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ScottNC
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #866 - 10/15/19 at 05:04:24
 
As always, well put Will, I completely agree they look really well balanced and just appear they will sound good! Steve, I’m excited to hear your thoughts on the sound also. It promises to be an exciting option, what a year in development for Decware.
Best,
Scott
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Lon
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #867 - 10/15/19 at 12:22:14
 
You know, one big takeaway for me from this whole big and medium Betsy unveiling and high praise is. . . Randy has certainly earned, beyond dispute, his DEMIGOD status in the Decware audio world, and it's extending BEYOND in the future will not surprise me.

I'm a solid user for over a decade and into the future of the Steve and Bob radial designs, and would rather spend imaginary or future money on the fullest upgraded HR-1 than a Betsy, but DAMN this Betsy design remains a masterstroke that has born wonderful fruit!
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Palomino
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #868 - 10/15/19 at 13:54:12
 
I think you would enjoy Bob’s latest offering Lon. Big full sound with even better bass.  

That said, I have been rotating speakers lately given that I got multiple drivers delivered within weeks and I am always amazed when the Big Betsy’s go in.

I hope all three of them continue to create things that amaze me.
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Lon
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #869 - 10/15/19 at 13:59:34
 
I'd be a lot more interested in the Betsy's if . . .

I didn't already have one more pair of speakers than I can use (ERR). . .

And if they would fit somewhere in my house for the two systems I have. They won't unless I were living alone. . . which I don't want to do!

I'm sure I'd love the newest edition of the HR-1s but I can't afford them right now. Maybe one day! I'm happy otherwise, very much so, with the two pair I have.

All praise to the Demigod of Caintuck! He has come into his own. Smiley
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Palomino
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #870 - 10/15/19 at 14:07:08
 
As promised, not much to see here, but as I tightened down the lag screws, I could hear the tone of the baffle changing.  I think you can tune the baffles by adding more/less mass to them.


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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #871 - 10/15/19 at 15:10:04
 


Lon wrote .....

Quote:
You know, one big takeaway for me from this whole big and medium Betsy unveiling and high praise is. . . Randy has certainly earned, beyond dispute, his DEMIGOD status in the Decware audio world, and it's extending BEYOND in the future will not surprise me.


Hi Lon,

Many thanks for the kind words ..... but I much prefer the more accurate designation of "the blind squirrel that found the occassional acorn" .....

There is certainly true genius that exists in this world, such as that of your relative who built the amazing instrument played by Jack Mitchener on the Dulcet Tones album you introduced us to.
I play that album on a regular basis and use it as a "demo disk" when someone wants to hear my audio system ..... it's amazing .....

Best wishes,
Randy

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Lon
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #872 - 10/15/19 at 15:28:05
 
You're too modest Randy. You can't shrug of Decware Demigod status that easily!

Glad you are enjoying that disc. I have a few other discs of Tannenberg organs played that I enjoy. And I can still remember pumping a few of the organs as they were played when we traveled to see them as my Dad was researching his biography of Tannenberg, more than fifty years ago.
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #873 - 10/15/19 at 16:36:26
 
I really like the look, very clean, “simple” and effective.
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #874 - 10/15/19 at 16:37:02
 
Thanks for the look Pal.  That looks more analogous to my footers than Steves in that our's both have heavy stiffeners between the rear feet.  I added the 25 pounds of lead shot as well.

When I do a knuckle wrap test on my baffles I can definitely hear the  pitch change as I run over the rear weights and in and out of the "free wood" zones of different sizes.  My weights were place with the idea of breaking up symmetries and they probably do just that.  

So far, with the various baffles we've built using different materials, thicknesses and now sizes, its amazing how consistently good the general design seems to be.
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Steve Deckert
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #875 - 10/15/19 at 19:30:00
 

Finished the last coat of oil today, and should be able to get some drivers installed this evening.

Steve
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Reply #876 - 10/15/19 at 19:42:17
 
Awesome - looking forward to your assessment of the sound.
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Reply #877 - 10/15/19 at 20:40:49
 
Nice! Eagerly awaiting your impressions and then of course, how they break-in.  :)
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #878 - 10/16/19 at 02:18:16
 

Here are a few more pics as they come together...



Last coat of oil.  These things are smooth as a babies ass, such an improvement over my first attempt when I tried to get this look with amber shellac.  ::)
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #879 - 10/16/19 at 02:20:07
 
 


Side View with the F15 driver installed.

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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #880 - 10/16/19 at 02:28:49
 






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Steve Deckert
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #881 - 10/16/19 at 02:53:21
 



So now we wait for the handles...  meanwhile I drug them into the listening room to start breaking in the drivers.

Going from memory, when the original Big Betsy baffle was breaking-in, I can safely say that these Medium Baffles seem to have all the hit and bass of the big ones.  At this stage I can't tell any difference. Once they are burned-in for a few weeks, I will do some A/B tests to figure out what is different. The fact that I will have to "figure it out" should tell you something.

They look beautiful in the listening room. Way beyond my expectations. Also, I was not only able to lift them, I actually carried the first one into the listening room from my shop. I felt like that was probably a poor idea at about the half-way point. The second one I was torn about carrying it in left handed to balance out the pain from the first one, or just using my two-wheeler. I went with the later. So yea, they can be moved around similarly to the Crystal 10 baffles.

I can't wait for the handles to arrive to I can hear what these are actually going to sound like. Then I'll be able to figure out the difference in sound between the baltic birch plywood and the hardwood baffles I made.  

This reminds me of something I've been wanting to mention... during the fest someone grabbed a scrap of Wenge when we were out in the shop and tapped it. It sounded like glass.  A good way to listen to wood, is to size it all the same, preferably flat and wide and perhaps 3/8 inch thick so you can strike it like an instrument. The Paduke is a far warmer tone. Mixing the Paduke and the Wenge may be where the refined magic comes from. In the case of the Crystal 10 baffles, I used white oak which is closer to the Wenge, and then Walnut which is actually softer than Paduke. Point is, contrasting woods are going to have a dramatic effect on how that baffle resonates and where.

Steve


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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #882 - 10/16/19 at 03:12:01
 
Thanks for the update - good to hear there does not appear to be an obvious sound difference between the large and medium baffle.  Will be interesting once they are broken in.  How many hours do you think you need to log on both the F-15s and Crystal 10s to really break them in do you think?
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #883 - 10/16/19 at 03:37:20
 

BTW, I agree with Lon about Randy : )



I keep waiting for the dual 6x9 to come out, then we'll all know for sure Wink

Steve


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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #884 - 10/16/19 at 03:39:58
 
Quote:
good to hear there does not appear to be an obvious sound difference between the large and medium baffle.  Will be interesting once they are broken in.  How many hours do you think you need to log on both the F-15s and Crystal 10s to really break them in do you think?


250 hours.

Steve
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #885 - 10/16/19 at 03:46:32
 
Smiley

On the medium baffles, nice grain! Nice to hear 1st impressions are so good too. These speakers are still pretty big right? Guessing something like ± 35 x 30?
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #886 - 10/16/19 at 15:43:42
 
Steve, it appears you didn't radius the back side of the baffle hole?
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Homemade Big Betsy Speakers (F15s)
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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BillW
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #887 - 10/16/19 at 16:46:31
 
Quick noob question: why no tilt back on these and similar style (Randy’s) baffles since often they are fairly low to the floor, even if slight, i.e. 5 degrees?  How does that help or hurt the sound of the units?

No intent to take this thread off track, rather to add some additional information regarding this design.

Appreciate any insights.
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Steve Deckert
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #888 - 10/16/19 at 17:12:08
 

With regards to tilt, remember that there is as much sound coming off the rear as there is off the front.  Firing the rear into the floor or low on the front wall from tilting seems to have more negative effect on perceived image height than would seem intuitive.
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Rivieraranch
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #889 - 10/16/19 at 17:14:42
 
Although there are more knowledgeable persons here than I, it has to do with bass response. When set on the floor, the sound "floats" above the baffles so they don't really need to be tilted. I was there at Decfest when Randy's 15" baffles were lifted. The sound was "higher" but the bass was diminished.
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ZZuZZaXX
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #890 - 10/16/19 at 21:14:54
 
Is bigger better?
I work in a small office and I have an older SE84C that I think should be able to power a version of the Betsy jewels.

What is recommended?
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #891 - 10/16/19 at 21:37:58
 
People heard Randy's Betsy speakers w/woofer and his version of his baffles with the F-15s at Decfest and everyone was impressed.  Randy's speakers on his Caintuck Audio website are much smaller if size is an issue.
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #892 - 10/16/19 at 22:06:33
 
I want to add Randy to legend status at Decware. I ordered one of his Lii 15 baffles which coincided getting some of Steve's speaker cables. Other than doing a little more tube rolling of my driver tube, I've mostly been listening a lot and letting them break in. They look modest but they are magnificent sounding and I'm just enjoying the hell out of them. Being reasonably light and small, if you can find a 15" driver small, they are very easy to move around. I am as happy as a clam.
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #893 - 10/17/19 at 03:49:43
 
Steve,
Using a shelf or boxlike structure in back instead of open feet or open legs, was this influenced by the box on the back of your original Open Baffle speaker?

Brian
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #894 - 10/17/19 at 14:19:25
 
I have posted about getting the Crystal 10s on the Palomino Audio thread but I have a couple of Betsy Baffle thoughts.  

I currently have the Crystal 10s in my three-way open baffle with the AMT (disabled), the Crystal 10 and the Acoustic Elegance LO15 woofer.  I have it in this configuration for break in and while I make a baffle.

In this setup, the listening experience is completely different from the Big Betsy’s.  For one, it leans more towards the “you are there” vs the “they are here” sound.  Both presentations are good, but right now I prefer the Big Betsy.  Perhaps because its new to me.  This could change if I migrate to a Big Betsy Baffle.

Also, I was actually concerned in listening to the Crystal 10s during break-in. I expected some initial edge but after 40 hours I thought it would subside more.  It didn’t so I looked at the 25th and saw that I had it in the higher bias setting.  I like it this way with the Big Betsy’s.  Once I flipped to the lower bias setting, I noticed that I ran the volume closer to where I run the Big Betsy’s and everything smoothed out.   This was the last thing I did before I called it a night so I will spend some more time with this setting tonight.

The Crystal 10s are definitely a more sophisticated driver but I feel more engagement with the Big Betsy.  The sound popping off the baffle/tactile feel and the “they are here” presentation brings you more into the music.  While the bass goes nowhere as low on the Big Betsy’s, it has more pop. I have played with the crossover point for the LO15s and have closed the gap but the Big Betsy’s still hold the edge.

I am not out to choose one speaker over another, but the jury will be out on the Crystals until I get them in a medium to big Betsy shaped baffle.
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #895 - 10/17/19 at 15:02:10
 


Rivieraranch wrote .....

Quote:
Although there are more knowledgeable persons here than I, it has to do with bass response. When set on the floor, the sound "floats" above the baffles so they don't really need to be tilted. I was there at Decfest when Randy's 15" baffles were lifted. The sound was "higher" but the bass was diminished.


Yep ..... you nailed it.
The "received wisdom" states that the primary driver of a loudspeaker needs to be at ear level of the seated listener. While there may be some benefit to this with many speakers, it appears that full range drivers in open baffles are not "captive" to this rule.
By having the drivers closer to the floor, it couples the floor to the speaker and enhances the bass and lower midrange. You can actually "tune" the frequency balance by tilting the speakers by varying degrees.

I know that quite a few of my customers do tilt the speakers back in their listening rooms ..... YMMV.

In my listening room, I am content with the height of the stereo image with the baffles sitting flat on the floor ..... but it's a matter of personal taste.

Best wishes,
Randy

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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #896 - 10/17/19 at 15:14:55
 


Hi HDDR1 and ArtMan,

Many thanks for the positive comments .....

As I mentioned in a previous post, we are currently living in one of the "Golden Ages of audio". There is so much good sounding audio equipment available and a second mortgage on the home isn't needed to own a very satisfying audio system.

I'm very happy to be a small contributor to this situation and the fact that these speakers work well with all of the Decware amplifiers (including the low powered ones) has made my small "retirement hobby / business" a lot of fun for me .....

Best wishes,
Randy

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CEC TL5N belt drive CD transport
Cambridge Audio Azur 851N DAC / Streamer
Decware SE84UFO amplifier
Caintuck Audio Betsy Open Baffles
Caintuck Audio Lii Silver-10 Open Baffles
Caintuck Audio Lii 15 Open Bass Baffle
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Steve Deckert
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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #897 - 10/17/19 at 21:56:43
 

EPIPHANY:

About the handle, vibration, and how this baffle works.

So today the handles came in for the medium baffles I just completed. I have been listening to them for a couple days without the handles, struggling with the break-in of the new drivers. In that state the speakers sounded somewhat congested and had a bass peak I didn't care for.

As I've noticed on both other baffles, when I place my hand on the handle, the sound changes. It gets softer. Today I realized what is happening as I did it over and over. My heavy arm is a vibration sink connected to the handle which is connected to the baffle. That means the baffle goes from live to dead which would be similar to creating a baffle made from two stiff layers with a soft sandwich in-between.

Without having built one to see for certain, I am 90% certain it will suck. When I say putting my hand on the handle makes the sound softer, I mean that immediacy goes away, sounding more like a conventional speaker than a live experience.

So as I have been suspecting all along, it is the stiffness and mass of the baffle that controls the energy in it. That energy is released into the air literally as fast as it is created. There is no phase angle discrepancy that I can hear. With my hand on the handle, the baffles ability to move in phase is ruined and the sound becomes softer and less distinct.

Also, the bass peak that has been difficult to deal with over the past two days is gone, replaced by an ultra tight hit.  This is solely due to the cast iron handle.

The DIY plywood version medium baffle with the F15 driver sounds very close to the hardwood, enough so that you would have to A/B to hear it.  So this should be encouraging to the DIY speaker builders who do not have planers and jointers.  

With these baffles, that I can lift without much trouble, I can now move to spikes and see if that ruins the sound or makes it better.  My floor is concrete with carpet.

-Steve

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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #898 - 10/17/19 at 21:59:07
 
Archie,

I didn't radius the back, because the thickness is just shy of 1.5 inches whereas the large ones are just proud of 1.75 inches.  I figured on this baffle with that distance it wasn't going to make enough difference to fuss with.  I'm sure the DIY builders will enjoy not having to buy a carbide 1 inch round over bit for their router!

Steve

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Re: Steve's BIG BETSY Project
Reply #899 - 10/17/19 at 22:01:46
 
Quote:
Steve,
Using a shelf or boxlike structure in back instead of open feet or open legs, was this influenced by the box on the back of your original Open Baffle speaker?

Brian


It was influenced by Randy's original design.  If you were to remove that thick base (2x thicker than the baffle thickness), the sound would be ruined.  It and the handle placement are two of the tricks that make these speakers work.  You'll notice I don't skimp on the mass of this base, and there is a reason for it ; )

Steve
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