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The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style (Read 10349 times)
Randy in Caintuck
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The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
07/21/19 at 03:25:38
 


It seemed proper to start a thread concerning my experience with the Lii Audio F15 drivers in the forum that Steve generously created for Caintuck Audio products ..... rather than post my comments in the "Steve's BIG BETSY Project" thread of the General Discussion and Support forum.

I am certainly looking forward to Decware Fest 2019 and being able to experience the BIG BAFFLES and hope that Steve and Zygi will be offering these state of the art beauties to the public in some form ...

Based on the enthusiastic comments that Steve made about these drivers when mounted in his BIG BAFFLES, my curiosity got the better of me and I had to hear a pair mounted in the "low boy" barrel shaped baffles that I use for the WBAL Betsy and Eminence Alpha bass drivers.

Having heard the Audio Nirvana 12" alnico drivers in a pair of my baffles, I knew that there were full range drivers larger than 8" that sounded very good ..... but at 1,000.00 a pair they were a bit more than most of my customers wanted to part with.
The F15 drivers are a little more reasonable.

I must admit being a bit skeptical because a couple of years ago I heard a pair of open baffle speakers with drivers that looked very similar to the F15s. They were 15" drivers with a large whizzer cone and a phase plug and I don't even remember what brand they were because the sound was totally forgettable ..... pretty much "Pro Audio" without the finesse that is needed for good home audio .....

Now that I think of it, the whizzer cone looked to be made of heavy plastic. The whizzer cone on the F15 appears to be made from paper and is not nearly as thick and stiff as the appearance would indicate.

I mounted the F15 drivers in a pair of baffles that originally housed some Alpha 15" drivers and placed them in my listening room where my Betsy baffles normally reside.
Having no idea what to expect, I popped one of my compilation CDs into the transport with a variety of well recorded music that I am very familiar with. My trusty SE84UFO was used to power the speakers.







From the first note, what I heard was not what I expected to hear.
I expected a 15" driver to beam like a banshee and draw attention to itself with no high frequency finesse and detail and a less than impressive soundstage.

Man .... were my preconceptions off base .....
The soundstage floated above the baffles like it does with the Betsy drivers, both wide and deep and very well focused.
One of the amazing strengths of the Betsy drivers is what they do for human voice and surprisingly the F15s do very much the same.
Wonderful presence and palpability.
The high frequency harmonics of guitar and other instruments are easily heard and very natural sounding.
The lower midrange is a real treat ..... and instruments like cello have a weight and authority that is excellent from the top string to the bottom.

The bass ?
Ah yes ..... the bass. Many Betsy baffle owners supplement the low frequencies with an additional baffle (or two) with larger drivers powered by a plate amp (or two) or another amplifier with variable volume and crossover controls ..... or use a subwoofer.
Since the Betsy drivers roll off pretty quickly below 80 to 100 HZ, music lovers who need "deep bass" have one of these options to create a "full range" system.
With the F15 drivers in the low boy baffles, there will be no need for any supplemental bass components ..... unless the listener is a real "bass monster" .....
The bass is full and rich and instruments such as acoustic double bass, the lower registers of piano, pipe organ, baritone sax and kick drum all sound natural with good weight.

Admittedly, there is more flexibility and control of the bass with a pair of Betsy baffles and a subwoofer or bass baffles ..... but for a single pair of small baffles the bass is pretty impressive.

So ..... do I like these drivers ? Yes
I like them well enough that I will be offering them as an option on my website in the near future.

Does this mean that the Betsy (and Betsy alnico) drivers are now obsolete ? Not at all.
The Betsy drivers are still one of the most musical audio components I know of and the price is well within the reach of almost any music lover. When paired with a very affordable Decware SE84UFO, they make music ..... it's as simple as that. Even without supplementing the lower frequencies, they are excellent speakers and the retail price of a pair of Betsy drivers is about 1/5 of the normal retail price of the F15 drivers.

The WBAL alnico drivers are still a wonderful bargain and have that "alnico sound" that is highly valued and appreciated by music lovers. If you haven't heard a pair, you will be in for a treat at Decware Fest 2019.

You can be sure that there will always be a pair of Betsy baffles in my listening room and they will be making music and putting a smile on my face.

But, it's good to have options ..... and the baffles with the F15 drivers are legitimate "full range" speakers that will meet the needs of most music lovers. As Steve has mentioned in the BIG BAFFLE thread, these drivers have amazing "slam" because of the efficiency / sensitivity and will light up a room with an SE84UFO or 25th Anniversary amplifier.

I will have a pair of them at Decware Fest 2019 in October for the evaluation of those attending.

As soon as I have a few things worked out, the F15 baffles will be available on my website and I will announce that in this forum.
Pricing is still being worked out ..... but they will be reasonable in keeping with my "mission statement" of providing musical loudspeakers at a price that doesn't result in bankruptcy.

Which brings me to a final thought ..... I have no idea yet what to call these things. I'm afraid that if I use the name "F15", there will be confusion among some who think that I am selling jet fighter planes. I'm open to suggestions ..... maybe I should have a contest to come up with a suitable name .....  

Happy listening,
Randy

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Bottlehead
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #1 - 07/21/19 at 03:59:47
 
Hey, Randy!

How about "Betsy's Big Brother" for the name?

Randy
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #2 - 07/21/19 at 04:25:27
 
What about naming them Frank?
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #3 - 07/21/19 at 06:04:10
 

My suggestion would be to name them after the creator... Mr. Lii. Call it the BetsyLii.

Steve
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #4 - 07/21/19 at 06:29:21
 

So Randy, your post is encouraging and exciting!  

It stands to reason that if you can get a 15 inch driver with a small voice coil to sound like the 8 inch driver in the Betsy Baffle that it's going to have bass like the Alpha 15 making bass augmentation redundant. Also there is the bonus of a rather huge difference in efficiency so as you pointed out a win on many fronts!

Kinda fun to see your introduction to the F15 driver took a similarity to my own.  I definitely wasn't expecting what I heard either.  I knew when I examined the driver and felt the paper that it was going to be good, but the bass slam was completely unexpected.  I don't actually know where it comes from!

Happy listening!

- Steve



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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #5 - 07/21/19 at 13:45:20
 
Abby sounds like Betsy's big sister to me.
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #6 - 07/21/19 at 14:02:05
 


Thanks for the suggestions guys .....  

After sleeping on it, I think that I will use a variation of Steve's suggestion .....

From the beginning, I never tried to hide the source of the driver components that were used in my speakers.

So, it seems logical to just call the new offering the "Lii 15" .....

That name gives credit to the designer of the driver and the size of the driver as well ..... easy peasy .....

Stay tuned .....

Happy listening,
Randy

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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #7 - 07/21/19 at 15:30:13
 
I’m so glad to hear reviews of this new driver. Sounds like a winner! Nothing like having different options.

Slightly off topic, all of this publicity for Randy’s design and the Betsy Alnico driver, makes me very happy to be part of that club. I have a pair of the 12” Bass Baffles and a subwoofer to get below 80hz, and the overall sound is just wonderful.

I recently added a Zstage to my phono setup, and a Zbit to my digital setup. Also, I had the anniversary mods done to my ZP3 and Zen, and the combination of all of this has really gelled lately as these have reached break in. As great as the Zstage is, what the Zbit has done is nothing short of amazing!  All of this thru the Betsy combo is awesome!

My brother was over yesterday, and had not heard the Alnico drivers, or the Z components. I put on one of my reference discs, and waited for a reaction. He sat there and listened for a few minutes, then looked at me and said, “I thought it sounded great last time, but now it’s perfect”.  Nothing like affirmation from an innocent bystander Cool

Sorry for the long post, but also, here lately, I have really put these speakers to the test, playing all kinds of music. Everything from Deep Purple to Randy Travis to Miles Davis to Bach. I just don’t hear a weakness. Randy states on his website that these speakers are more suited for acoustic music and small combo jazz, and are not “party speakers”.  I agree that the speakers sound best with that type of music (I’ve never heard an acoustic guitar sound more natural) but they also sound great with classic R&B and Rock, from Earth, Wind and Fire to Black Sabbath. The Betsy’s have handled everything I’ve thrown at them, and handled it well!  

As I type this, I’m listening to Wagner - Ride of the Valkyries, and have a big smile on my face. Like I said, happy to be part of the Betsy club!

Geno
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #8 - 07/21/19 at 15:32:51
 
I like the name “Lii 15” for the new driver.  How about “Big Ben” as a nickname?  ;)

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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #9 - 07/21/19 at 16:39:52
 
Randy, I'm wondering if the baffle for the F15 will be 22.5"H or 20.5"? These maybe will fill my desire to hear these speakers. I vote for the size of the original Betsy's which you list on the website as 22.5". I certainly don't possess the woodworking skills to make the larger one like Steve made.
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #10 - 07/21/19 at 19:09:20
 
Randy, I was hoping for Completely Baffled as the name.
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #11 - 07/21/19 at 23:19:14
 


Geno,

I'm happy to hear that your system is working so well for you .....

The comment I make on the "Questions" page of my website concerning the fact that these are not "party speakers" is primarily intended for the Betsy baffles by themselves without any bass supplementation.

A couple of years ago at the Decware Fest, our friend Mike (maddog07) and I sat up until the wee hours with his Torii MK 3 hooked up to a pair of Betsy baffles. We also had a 15" bass baffle connected with a plate amp driving it.
One of the songs we played was a snappy Cajun sounding tune and the impact nearly caved in my chest .....
The Betsy drivers took it all in stride without a whimper .....

I have always been a proponent of "under promise and over perform" so you are certainly correct about the ability of the Betsy baffles to "rock" ..... especially with your twin bass baffles in the mix.

Hi Showme,

The F15 based speakers I will be offering to the public will use the same baffle size that I use for the Betsy drivers and the Alpha bass drivers ..... 22.5" tall and 17.75" wide at the center.

The speakers in the photo are exactly what will be produced ..... and will be available in plywood with various stains and a two tone hardwood version. This pair is rift sawn red oak plywood with a walnut stain.



When I first installed the drivers and viewed them from my listening chair, they looked a bit "unusual" to me because of the sheer size of the drivers ..... but the more I looked at them, the more they grew on me.
Since they sit so low to the ground and the image "floats" above them. they don't draw attention to themselves and totally disappear with most of the music I played through them.



The soundstage is huge with a good recording ..... the image reaching well behind the front wall and past the side walls of the room.

I'm really hoping that there will be some folks who take a "leap of faith" and give them a try in their audio systems.
My guess is that they will be pleasantly surprised and very, very happy.

Best wishes,
Randy

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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #12 - 07/21/19 at 23:20:25
 


Quote:
Randy, I was hoping for Completely Baffled as the name.




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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #13 - 07/24/19 at 22:09:57
 


The Lii Audio F15 drivers are on order and I have created a page on the Caintuck Audio website for the Lii 15 baffles.
I'm hoping to have the drivers in house in the near future .....

The website page can be viewed here.

If anyone has questions that are not answered on the website, please email me at the provided address and I will do my best to answer them.

Happy listening,
Randy

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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #14 - 07/25/19 at 16:41:36
 
Randy, I appreciate that you have the baffle build down pat but unless you're getting a special rate on the drivers, your price sure looks low.
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #15 - 07/25/19 at 21:52:17
 


Hi Archie,

You know ..... this is one of the things I treasure about being part of the "cottage" audio industry ..... the majority of the folks involved are truly "straight up" people and have a sense of honor and fairness .....

Thank you so much for your thoughts .....

A couple of things -

First - I actually do get a discount as a "reseller", and by purchasing multiple pairs of drivers there is a price break.

Second - the Lii 15 speakers themselves are actually cheaper to build because I don't have to spend almost 25.00 for the acrylic brackets I am using now for mounting the binding posts. The F15 drivers have very sturdy built in binding posts.

Third - since Caintuck Audio is my "retirement hobby / business", I'm not depending on it to feed a wife and a pack of kids .....

In addition to those things, I'm not sharing whatever profit I make with a distributor or retailer.

When I first came in contact with Decware Audio, Steve's "mission statement" of "great sounding audio for the sincere but (financially) broke music lover" touched a special place in my thinking process ..... and I decided that I would adopt that sentiment as the mission statement for Caintuck Audio.

The dozens of very positive emails that I have received from customers who have purchased the Betsy baffles mean more to me than pieces of paper with pictures of dead presidents  .....

As you know, right now Lii Audio is selling the F15 driver for 399.00 a pair + shipping, which is about 50.00 a pair (from California).
So ..... I think my pricing is fair.

If someone wants a pair of baffles made from solid two tone hardwood, the price will be a bit more.

Thanks again for your "golden rule" mindset.

Best wishes,
Randy

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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #16 - 07/26/19 at 01:18:37
 
You're awesome!

I think I have a hangover from building these big baffles.  They follow the cube law at least.
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #17 - 07/26/19 at 14:41:10
 


Quote:
I think I have a hangover from building these big baffles.  They follow the cube law at least.




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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #18 - 07/26/19 at 19:56:43
 
I've been looking for an OB project (my first) and these speakers looking appealing.  I understand that they excel with 'acoustic' material, but what about more aggressive stuff like fuzzed out, distorted electric guitars?   Is the Lii 15 good with a wide variety of music from classical to jazz to rock?

I'm running a DIY First Watt M2 amp with M&K 750THX speakers (can't include link since this is my first post).  I love a big, 3D soundstage with precise imaging and the ability to resolve multiple layers of electric guitars, for example.

Does it sound like the Lii 15 would make me happy?

TIA.
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #19 - 07/26/19 at 21:04:37
 


Hi slk23,

Open baffle sound is different than typical "boxed speaker" sound.
The F15 drivers are very robust and versatile.

However, after retiring from 25 years in the IT industry I am quick to remind people of the "garbage in - garbage out" principle.
In my experience, a lot of "rock" music isn't well recorded.
A sow's ear usually doesn't make a very good silk purse .....

I also spent several years playing in a band standing in front of an amplifier stack playing guitar with various "fuzz boxes" and it's no longer a big part of my music library ..... tastes change.

I consider "Tin Pan Alley" by SRV well recorded electric guitar and it sounds fabulous through the Lii 15s in my listening room ..... the 2 watt per channel Decware SE84UFO providing plenty of power to suit my needs.

Classical and jazz are usually well recorded and both sound very good with the Lii 15s.

If you can attend the Decware Audio Fest in October, I will have a pair of these speakers for audition and that would be the very best way to know if they would work for you. You are certainly welcome to bring your amplifier.

I hope this helps .....

Best wishes,
Randy

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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #20 - 07/26/19 at 21:52:56
 
I second for "Tin Pan Alley".  One of my reference tracks on my open baffles.  Sounds amazing!!!
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #21 - 07/26/19 at 22:22:25
 
Thanks Randy.  I should have mentioned that I own a pair of Magnepan MMGs which I enjoy very much for certain music (e.g. acoustic guitar) but ultimately found lacking in resolution and dynamics.  I listen to a variety of genres and styles, ranging from string quartets to Hawaiian slack key guitar to jazz piano to 'shoe gaze' guitar rock.

I worked for many years as a sound recordist/editor in film post production and do appreciate quality recordings.  I lean toward speakers that are accurate and revealing but that doesn't prevent me from liking mediocre recordings if the music is good.

Thanks for the invite to Decware Audio Fest.  However I'm in California and in early October will be just back from a 3 week trip.  

By the way, do you think 3/4" birch ply would be a good choice for the F15 baffles?
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #22 - 07/26/19 at 22:35:39
 


Hi slk23,

Baltic birch has pretty much been the "standard" for plywood used for audio purposes ..... it has more layers and fewer voids than most other types of plywood (which you are probably already aware of).
Because of the greater number of "plys", there is more glue used and if you pick up one of my speakers made from Baltic birch (using the rear mounted convenience handle), it is noticeably heavier than a speaker made from a different type of plywood.

Despite the fact that I consider my audio rig to be pretty revealing, I don't notice a huge difference in sound ..... but I'm sure that it would be noticeable if the baffles were larger and had more surface area.

Happy listening,
Randy

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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #23 - 07/26/19 at 22:44:29
 


BTW ..... I am a big fan of Maggie speakers.
I used to own a pair of 1.6s and  kicked myself a few times after selling them.

I think that open baffle speakers are an interesting compromise ..... combining dynamic drivers which are more efficient (and dynamic) than planar ribbons and a dipole configuration which produces a wonderful stereo image. Being able to use a low powered amplifier is something that I couldn't do with my Maggies .....  

Randy

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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #24 - 07/26/19 at 22:53:41
 
I built a number of furniture projects with birch ply when I was in college in the '80s.  I guess I was on to something  :)  I don't remember it being specified as 'baltic' but I assume it's similar.

I may try a mid-size baffle, with dimensions between what you're using and Steve's. BTW does the 'barrel' shape, as opposed to a disc, contribute anything sonically?  Or is the flat bottom there simply to make it stable when sitting on the floor?  
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #25 - 07/27/19 at 05:06:26
 


Hi slk23,

My lumber supplier carries a standard type plywood with a birch veneer and the "Baltic birch" variety which looks quite a bit different than most other plywoods when viewing the edge.  Once you see it, the difference is pretty obvious .....

I read somewhere a few years ago that a "round" baffle was not the best option for sound ..... from some "numbers guy" that obviously knows more about these things than I do ..... however, I started using the barrel shape primarily because it was aesthetically pleasing to me.
The fact that it also sounds good was a bonus .....

Best wishes,
Randy

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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #26 - 07/27/19 at 06:04:59
 


I just received the first order for a pair of Lii 15s today .....

Woo Hoo !!!

Hopefully, many more to follow.
I'm thinking that the buyer will be one happy camper.
I enjoyed a three hour listening session yesterday with my personal pair, playing a wide variety of music ..... and it all sounded very good.

The drivers still don't have a lot of hours on them, but they are already making music .....

Happy listening,
Randy

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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #27 - 07/27/19 at 17:26:10
 
Congratulations, Randy!  Happy to hear that 😊
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #28 - 08/14/19 at 12:35:58
 
Mr. Randy,

Have you tried the Lii Crystal driver in an open baffle?
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #29 - 08/14/19 at 22:19:36
 


Hi Crowes,

No, I haven't at this point in time .....

My normal process is only to try things that I think might be interesting to my intended customer base.

The cost of the Crystal 10 is quite a bit above what I think might work for the music lovers that have supported Caintuck Audio in the past.

The F-15 driver in a plywood baffle is at 699.00 + shipping and the Crystal 10 in the same baffle would push the price to well over 1000.00.

However ..... I have learned to "never say never" .....

In the BIG BETSY thread, Jeff of Arabica is getting ready to mount Crystal 10s in some solid Bubinga baffles that I made for him which originally housed Hawthorne Audio 15" Augie drivers.

If he reports that the sound is really, really good ..... I might order a pair of the Crystal 10s and let the chips fall where they may .....

So ..... stay tuned.

The audio hobby is an ever moving target .....

Best wishes,
Randy

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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #30 - 08/18/19 at 06:00:58
 


Well ..... the first orders for the Lii 15 baffles will be shipping out this coming week .....

The very first pair are red oak plywood with a dark ebony stain .....



They look very much at home in my "he shed" listening room ..... and sound great, as well.



A couple of two tone hardwood versions will be ready in a few days .....

Happy listening,
Randy

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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #31 - 08/18/19 at 06:10:17
 
Those are some sexy looking F15's Caintuck Audio style!  Nice work Randy!!
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #32 - 08/18/19 at 12:02:53
 
WOW Randy,

Those Betsy Lii Audio F15's look wonderful.  Can't wait to see these in two tone hardwoods.

HK
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #33 - 08/18/19 at 13:42:07
 


Thanks guys .....

They definitely have the "Darth Vader" thing going .....

Best wishes,
Randy

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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #34 - 08/19/19 at 02:49:46
 

Today saw the completion of the first pair of two tone hardwood Lii 15 baffles .....



They are already promised to a customer and I have two more pairs to build ..... one pair like these with walnut end panels and a hard maple center panel and the other reversed with the hard maple to the outside and walnut in the center .....

The whizzer cone on the F-15 driver compliments the hard maple very nicely.

Whatever happened to the audio hobby slowing down during the summer months when most folks are doing the "outdoor activity" thing ?

It's good to see that music is important to a lot of folks during every month of the year .....

Happy listening,
Randy

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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #35 - 08/20/19 at 14:48:58
 
Beautiful!!!
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #36 - 08/20/19 at 18:16:21
 


Thanks, John ..... !!!

Looking forward to seeing you again in October .....  

Best wishes,
Randy

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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #37 - 08/23/19 at 11:08:42
 
Hi, new to the forums and don't really know if this should go here, or in the Big Betsy thread?

Anyway, I've been getting into DIY and have built a pair of semi OB using the Dayton Audio PS220-8 as the "main driver". I've also snuck in a HiVi RT2C to help with the upper registers, and a pair of Goldwood GW-8PC-8 woofers, in a roughly 3.5cu enclosure to fill in the low end. These are powered by a Crown XLS1000 crossed over internally at around 200hz. I've loved the sound of the 220's, but something tells me there is more out there. I've seen the F15's on sale on the Lii Audio site, and read through both this and the Big Betsy threads.

My question would be; has anyone heard BOTH of these drivers? I know Steve has a heavily modified 220, or sister speaker, for sale on the site. I've hear that the F15's aren't very good past 14khz as well, which makes me hesitant to drop $450 on them. I would probably go the route others have and get some 1.5" butcher block countertop from Home Depot for the baffles. I also have a pair of Eminence Alpha 15"s taking up space, but don't know if it would make sense to add them to the baffles. Finally, I do have an 18" sub powered by a QSC ISA280 to fill in the "loooow" end. I just don't know if the F15's would be a real step up from the current setup.

Any thoughts? I wouldn't be building the traditional Besty baffle, but trying something more conventional and rectangular, probably with the Alphas included.
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #38 - 08/23/19 at 14:54:28
 
Don't go rectangle.  Just like a beautiful woman, the magic is in the curve...
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #39 - 08/23/19 at 15:15:23
 


Hi Nixxuz,

Just my thoughts on your understanding that " the F15's aren't very good past 14khz" .....

I know that many in the audio community have had a love affair with loudspeakers that cover a frequency range of 20 HZ to 20,000 HZ (and beyond).
However, it has been my experience that many of these speakers with a lot of high frequency ability end up causing listener fatigue during a long listening session. Sometimes the fatigue sets in pretty quickly ...

In the past, I offered my Betsy baffles with a "super tweeter" to extend the top end with a toggle switch to enable / disable the tweeter.
I found myself using the tweeter so infrequently that I stopped offering it as an option.

To my ears, both the WBAL Betsy driver and the Lii Audio F-15 driver produce more than enough top end.  Instruments such as cymbals, chimes, the upper registers of piano, etc. are rendered well with the upper harmonics intact.

They also have sufficient "air" with music that is well recorded.

More importantly than that ..... they are "musical".
I have owned and heard many loudspeakers that were "impressive" at first listen but the listener fatigue and absence of long term enjoyment disqualified them from permanent residency in my listening room ....

Just my opinion ..... everybody has one .....

You will probably get a lot more input in the "Big Baffle" thread than in this thread .....

Best wishes,
Randy

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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #40 - 08/23/19 at 16:23:18
 
I'm with Randy on this.  I don't find anything lacking with the top end of the F15s.  I originally thought a "super tweeter" might be necessary based on the specs but in practice, not at all.  The low end might need some help.  
The big baffles do produce good bass but it can be enhanced to good effect.
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #41 - 08/24/19 at 01:19:09
 
Hey Nixxuz,

Two things:

I started out having Randy make rectangular baffles for me, but after hearing the curved baffle, I switched, and I'm glad that I did. More magic, for sure.

I also started with the standard Betsy driver, but when the Alnico came out, I tried it (and the modification that Doug from Wild Burro Audio suggested that you can find else where in this topic), and found the spectrum extended by quite a bit. Especially the top end, and it sounds like you wouldn't have any problem shoring up the bass. I tried it in the standard-size baffle, but I'm itching to try the Alnico in a scaled-up curved baffle, like Steve did with the Big Betsy. I'm thinking that I'll get more bass that way.

Just my .02.

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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #42 - 08/27/19 at 16:30:05
 


Another pair of Lii 15 baffles is shipping tomorrow ....

This pair turned out very nicely ..... hard maple with a walnut center panel.
Obviously, my cell phone photo doesn't even begin to do justice to the grain patterns of the hardwoods .....



All of the versions of builds up to this point in time can be seen on the Lii 15 page of my website.

Happy listening,
Randy

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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #43 - 08/30/19 at 05:09:34
 
Nice! Cool
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #44 - 09/16/19 at 02:01:18
 


Thanks Steve .....

Another variation ..... rotary sawn red oak plywood - linseed oil / beeswax finish.



Larger photo here.

Eighteen days and counting .....

Randy

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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #45 - 09/17/19 at 00:53:10
 
I think that is the best looking one so far, Randy!
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #46 - 09/17/19 at 14:26:26
 
I'm anxious to hear these at Decfest
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #47 - 09/20/19 at 06:27:17
 


Randy,

I just had a picture in my mind that the contrasts of this wood triggered... the gray frame of the F15 and black cone would look pretty damn good in a kevlar speaker baffle.  There is an affordable technique of dipping the baffle into water with a film floating on it's surface that can reproduce the look so convincingly you will think it is real.  Probably be a lot of fun.  Not to mention all the other decals available, could start a real thing... remind me when you're here and I'll show you what the films look like.

Steve
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #48 - 09/20/19 at 06:31:47
 

BTW, God Bless Lii Audio for such an incredible driver.   100dB is some serious OB!  

Steve
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #49 - 09/20/19 at 14:32:57
 
Steve, are you talking about a black carbon fiber decal? I think that would look good with those drivers. Also if trying that you might also look into a car theme. Candy apple red paint or candy blue with fender stripes or race stripes in red or white. I think that would look great with these.
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #50 - 09/20/19 at 18:02:25
 
Hydro dipping
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48jFJnuvE4g

I've seen it done, semi magical.
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #51 - 09/21/19 at 19:24:00
 


Hi Steve,

I have been giving some thought to possible additional finishes ..... we will definitely have to discuss the options when I'm in East Peoria.

So far, everything I have done has turned out pretty well ..... but the "Darth Vader" look is very appealing in my he shed listening room .....



I made another pair with contrasting (light colored) base screw buttons and they look pretty nice as well. That is probably the pair I will bring for audition to the Decware Fest.

Happy listening,
Randy

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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #52 - 11/15/19 at 02:25:03
 
I've had my pair of Lii 15" OB from Caintuck  for a couple of weeks now and I can't imagine getting more speaker for the money.  They sound great, Randys craftsmanship is top notch,  they look exotic, they're user friendly, and one man portable.   I started out driving them with a couple of mono strapped ZKit1 amps and they were really impressive, then I hooked up the bigger  mono blocks and excellent became excellent-er with another 40-50 watts. I would definitely recommend these to a friend.  I predict that some day, when they don't make 'em anymore, the Lii 15" will be one of those legendary 'barn-find' type drivers people dream of getting their hands on.
JC
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #53 - 11/15/19 at 13:03:31
 
Greetings Everyone,

I thought I'd post my exploration and listening impressions of the Lii Audio F-15 drivers and purchase of a pair of Caintuck Audio Lii 15 baffles.

To begin I highly recommend the Caintuck Audio Lii 15 OB speakers. I listened extensively to the Lii Audio F-15 and Crystal 10 drivers at this years Decfest. The majority of the time was focused on Steve's wonderful Zen Master baffles, with an all 25th Anniversary Zen amplifier and CSP3 preamplifier. Some additional time was spent with a combination of a 25th Anniversary modified Mystery amplifier and 25th Anniversary CSP3. I also spent more limited time (a few hours early Saturday morning) listening to Randy's Lii 15 speakers with the same amp & preamp combinations as noted above. 

I really became enamored with the sound of the F-15 drivers, particularly in the open baffles. They handled all types of music and source equipment extremely well. Tonally these speakers sounded very natural on acoustical music and vocals. They also provided a solid bass foundation to the music which is sometimes lacking in single driver speakers. Steve's larger, 2" thick open baffles were absolutely amazing, but pretty large and heavy. The Zen Masters are definetly statement speakers anyone would be proud to own. Randy's smaller Lii Audio 15 baffles exhibited the same musical qualities, excepting the huge soundstage compared with Steve's Zen Master baffles. Soundstage height in particular seemed affected by the smaller baffle.

Given my interest in getting a second pair of speakers for my main system, I asked Randy to build me a pair of the Lii F-15's with sapele hardwood sides and a center maple board. The speakers look terrific and most importantly sound AMAZING in my small listening room (13.5'W x 15.5'L x 7.5'H).

I now have about 120 hours on the drivers, so they aren't fully broken in yet. In my listening room, the speakers present a super wide & deep soundstage with very realistic soundstage height. So any of my initial concerns about soundstage height were eliveated. Also, I tried placing the speakers on 10" high sand filled MDF boxes to see what would happen. Soundstage height did increase a bit, but the speakers simply lost their magic. These speakers need to be coupled to the floor to sound there best, right Randy😊.

In closing the Caintuck Audio Lii 15 OB speakers are one of the most satisfying stereo equipment purchases I've ever made. They represent an incredible value proposition for those wanting to simply hear great sounding music. Coupled with a Decware amplifier (mine being a Decware Mystery amp) and good source equipment you have system that sonically rivals the very best available at a cost most of us can afford.

HK
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #54 - 11/15/19 at 14:44:50
 


Hi waxburger and HK,

Many thanks for the kind words concerning the Lii 15 baffles .....

I have shipped several pairs to customers and received very positive feedback on all of them .....

HK is absolutely correct about the "driver / floor" relationship.
In a larger baffle (with more surface area) like the ones Decware is offering, the drivers can be a greater distance from the floor ..... but in the smaller baffles the coupling to the floor is an integral component of the low frequency tonal balance.

The stereo image / soundstage "floating" above the smaller baffles is a pretty amazing sonic illusion, for sure.

My hat is off to the designers and engineers at Lii Audio and to Steve for turning the Decware forum members on to these amazing drivers.

Happy listening,
Randy

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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #55 - 11/15/19 at 16:19:35
 
Waxburger and HK - Thank you for the informative reviews - lots of good information there.  I am curious about a couple of things:

(1) Have you used a ZROCK with the speakers, and if so how did the speakers respond?  Or is there plenty of bass without the ZROCK?

(2) Are the "high end" frequencies satisfying?  I believe that the Lii-15 frequency response is pretty flat up to about 14,000 hz.  From what I read, that is about as high as a "mature persons" hearing goes, but am curious about your thoughts.

Again, thanks for providing these reviews
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #56 - 11/15/19 at 17:51:10
 
Tone-Deaf,

(1) Have you used a ZROCK with the speakers, and if so how did the speakers respond?  Or is there plenty of bass without the ZROCK? Yes, I use the ZROCK2 between my phono preamp and CSP3+ preamp. Adds plenty of bass and lower midrange emphasis. Sounds great. My ZDAC has a built in ZBIT, so I don't use the ZROCK2 in my digital (PC, CD transport & DAC) chain. I have plenty of bass with this option as well.

(2) Are the "high end" frequencies satisfying?  I believe that the Lii-15 frequency response is pretty flat up to about 14,000 hz.  From what I read, that is about as high as a "mature persons" hearing goes, but am curious about your thoughts. These speakers have plenty of smooth treble and high frequency response. I haven't measured the frequency response in my room.  The Lii-15's ssem to have just as much high frequency response as my Omega SAHO-XRS speakers, which claim a 40Hz - 20,000 Hz response.  Also, I have played around a lot with toe-in of the Lii-15's.  I don't notice any loss of treble with the speakers firing straight ahead or pointed directly at my listening position. These speakers appear to have have a very wide dispersion of all frequencies, my guess a characteristic of the OB design.

HK
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LR Audio PC (or) TEAC PD-600H > ZDAC2 > Nottingham Interspace TT w/ Dynavector 20x2 LO cart + P75 MKII phono pre > ZROCK2-25th > CSP3-25th preamp > ZMA-25th amp > PI Audio Group UberBUSS PC > Omega SAHO XRS or Caintuck Audio Lii 15 speakers > various cables.
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #57 - 11/16/19 at 01:39:54
 
HockessinKid - Thank you for the reply - very useful information!

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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #58 - 11/22/19 at 05:00:52
 
I've been talking with Randy about a center channel, my mains are 4 way speakers with a woofer in a cabinet and the mid in another cabinet with a mid tweeter and super tweeter in an OB. Any thoughts on how a Lii15 would do as a center channel? I know it's tough to know but lets see what everone thinks, thanks
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HockessinKid
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #59 - 11/23/19 at 19:10:21
 
I am closing in on 200 hours with Randy's Lii-15's. They just keep sounding better. The treble has really smoothed out. The bass, well that is something truly amazing.

I spun my new 45RPM MoFi Dire Straits "Love Over Gold" release yesterday. I was simply overcome with the intensity of deep bass notes on several songs. These speakers sound so incredibly fast with Decware 25th modded amplification that nothing gets lost in complex musical passages. It's absolutely magical.

I am looking forward to blowing a few minds of family members on Thanksgiving. Something tells me few guests will be watching football games here on Thursday.

HK
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LR Audio PC (or) TEAC PD-600H > ZDAC2 > Nottingham Interspace TT w/ Dynavector 20x2 LO cart + P75 MKII phono pre > ZROCK2-25th > CSP3-25th preamp > ZMA-25th amp > PI Audio Group UberBUSS PC > Omega SAHO XRS or Caintuck Audio Lii 15 speakers > various cables.
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Casey
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #60 - 12/05/19 at 04:16:44
 
Okay was approaching 100 hours on my Lii15 Caintucks and honestly not super happy.  Had this midrange glare that no matter what got swapped - preamps, source, cables, never fully went away except with great recordings.  Thinking the Lii15 and Decware amp were probably a mistake.
took
Yesterday morning I tore it all apart and built things back up from real minimal system level.  Wasn't really expecting much

took out the preamp (s) and used the Exogal dac playing dsd straight into the Decware amp
pulled out cheapish dueland interconnects and ran them from dac to amp
replaced expensive cat8 ethernet cables with affordable blue jeans cat 7
put a herbies tube damper on the decware driver tube
put a hardcover book about UK golf courses on top and feet under lumin streamer (which has a new power supply breaking in too)
ditched the lampizator dac

the sound - don't think my jaw dropped but if I thought about it it would.  Detail, seperation, dynamics, tone.  Affraid to turn things off they sound so good - even xmas music for my granddaughter.

Not sure what which change is responsible.  This hobby can be frustrating!

have EtherRegan coming and improved power supply for Exogal and have been reading about Sophia Electric 274B for the rectifier on amp but am I going to mess with this fine art of balance I have found.  Just listening for now - Andrew Bird and Molly Burch sounding sweet tonight and no not a mistake - lovin this sound and presentation in my small room.
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #61 - 12/05/19 at 14:58:08
 


Hi Casey,

First of all ..... many thanks for taking the time to experiment with your system setup. Component matching and system setup can make a HUGE difference in the overall sound .....

The customer feedback on the Lii 15 baffles has been very positive.

Based on the emails I have received from customers, the Decware ZROCK can be a very useful addition to the Lii 15 baffles to customize the tonal balance.

Another option for those who are considering components for a new system is the Decware Rachael amplifier. The EL34 tubes give you a totally different sound than the EL84 / SV83 tubes in the lower powered Decware amps and the Rachael sounds superb with either the Betsy baffles or the Lii 15 baffles.

Just something to think about ..... it's good to have options .....

Happy listening,
Randy

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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #62 - 12/05/19 at 18:29:53
 
I wonder if any of it has to do with better isolation?
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ArtMan
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #63 - 12/06/19 at 01:00:53
 
I also have Randy's Lii 15 speakers and have the Sophia Electric 274B Aqua's in my system. Everything sounds better in my system with the Aqua as my rectifier tube. I highly recommend it.
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #64 - 12/06/19 at 17:09:01
 
Thanks for the feedback everyone

seems clear to me that the Lii15 and UFO combo are a lot more revealing about problems upstream and/or poorly recorded music.  I had a big power Class D amp with KEF ls50s in exact same place before.  

Some of my thoughts:

The Exogal dac never got to play as preamp direct into amp in past - seems to really enjoy this elevated role direct to the Decware amp.

cabling might be really important with this increased sensitivity

I really like the UFO - in fact will think about the 25th anniversary in future

I have some really good gear sitting on sidelines - over next month will rotate some of that through.  Especially my much loved Lampizator dac that doesnt do upsampling or volume control but just always sounds great.

Will be curious how a higher power amp will play with the Lii F15s - have been curious about something like the Schiit Aegir.

going to order one of SE 274bs rectifier

Speakers only have about 100 hours, played at pretty low volumes - they seem to be great low volume speaker.  Will have to crank some Chieftans Christmas music soon.
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #65 - 12/15/19 at 18:12:04
 
I thought it might be helpful to share some suggestions based on advanced listening observations of the Lii Audio F15 speakers. Suffice to say this open baffle speaker and Steve's offerings have simply been revelatory.

Suggestion One: My 13.5' x 15.5' listening room had some limited Eighth Nerve room treatments prior to purchasing a pair of open baffle speakers. The room worked fine with my Omega SAHO XRS box speakers, which have a rear firing back port. The Lii Audio F15's really benefited from a set of good diffuser panels.

I used a set of 4 Pi Audio Group 2'x4' high density foam diffusers to start. One set placed directly behind the speakers and the other centered on the rear wall behind the speakers. I played around with several positions of the panels, this worked best in my room. The result was a super clean sound from my system, along with pin point voice and instrument placement with the expanded listening soundstage.

The diffusers seem to reduce/eliminate time smearing from the OB speakers. Diffusers made such a huge difference, I ordered a second set as previously recommended by Lonely Raven.

Suggestion Two: This morning I inserted a Pi Audio Group uberBUSS power conditioner. I seasoned it for 10 days with various appliances plugged in per recommendation of Dave Elledge (Pi Audio Group guru). All of my source equipment is plugged into the uberBUSS now. While the new power conditioner caps are not yet fully seasoned, I experienced the most enjoyable Holy Crap listening session of my life this morning. It's pretty amazing what room treatments and power conditioning improvements bring to a system and listening room.

My system sound quality now rivals what I heard at this years Decfest. With the possible exception of an upgraded turntable and phono preamp, I have reached that seemingly unobtainable level of listening pleasure that I really never thought possible. The level of true audio Zen.

Thanks to Steve, Randy, and so many Decware forum posters for the invaluable advice and guidance along my journey.  It's been an incredible ride and most enjoyable hobby pursuit for sure.

Enjoy the journey my friends. Hoping you all find your audio Zen moments.

HK
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LR Audio PC (or) TEAC PD-600H > ZDAC2 > Nottingham Interspace TT w/ Dynavector 20x2 LO cart + P75 MKII phono pre > ZROCK2-25th > CSP3-25th preamp > ZMA-25th amp > PI Audio Group UberBUSS PC > Omega SAHO XRS or Caintuck Audio Lii 15 speakers > various cables.
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #66 - 12/15/19 at 18:50:06
 
Hock, can you post a picture showing the speakers and diffuser panels?
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Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods)
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
ZLC
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #67 - 12/16/19 at 00:01:01
 
Archie,

Here you go. I plan on mounting the panels above the floorboard when my 2nd set comes this week.

HK
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LR Audio PC (or) TEAC PD-600H > ZDAC2 > Nottingham Interspace TT w/ Dynavector 20x2 LO cart + P75 MKII phono pre > ZROCK2-25th > CSP3-25th preamp > ZMA-25th amp > PI Audio Group UberBUSS PC > Omega SAHO XRS or Caintuck Audio Lii 15 speakers > various cables.
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #68 - 12/16/19 at 00:57:51
 
Thanks!  I was curious to see the set up since I've always maintained that I couldn't pull off treatment in my space.  I could possibly do some of what you've done but not in the center.

BTW, love the garden hose powering the ZMA!   Cheesy    Do the pucks under the ICs and speaker cables do much for the sound?  I could imagine static charge in the carpet.
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Technics 1200G TT w/ Ortofon Jubilee MC cart
ZMC1
ZP3 (25th A Mods)
ZR2 (25th A Mods)
CSP3 (25th A mods)
ZMA (25th A mods)
ZLC
Homemade Big Betsy Speakers
Silver Cabling
DIY Isolation platforms under amps & TT.
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HockessinKid
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #69 - 12/16/19 at 01:24:43
 
Hockey pucks under the IC's and speaker cables??? Who knows Grin

HK
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LR Audio PC (or) TEAC PD-600H > ZDAC2 > Nottingham Interspace TT w/ Dynavector 20x2 LO cart + P75 MKII phono pre > ZROCK2-25th > CSP3-25th preamp > ZMA-25th amp > PI Audio Group UberBUSS PC > Omega SAHO XRS or Caintuck Audio Lii 15 speakers > various cables.
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Randy in Caintuck
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Re: The Lii Audio F15 driver - Caintuck Audio style
Reply #70 - 12/17/19 at 15:21:21
 


Thanks for sharing, HK .....

Here is a smaller photo of the HockessinKid listening room that doesn't require scrolling .....



For a fact, diffusers work very well with open baffle loudspeakers.

I have a section of panels on the front wall of my listening room and am very happy with the sound.
These panels were originally found on the original Decware forum many years ago. I built them from plans that were provided (and no longer available, unfortunately) and they are perfect for my room.



Happy listening,
Randy

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CEC TL5N belt drive CD transport
Camelot Uther / Anagram DAC
U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus turntable
AudioQuest DragonFly Red USB DAC / tablet
Schiit Audio Eitr USB to RCA converter
Decware SE84UFO amplifier
Caintuck Audio Betsy Open Baffles and Alpha bass baffles
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