DIY AudioREVIEW Speaker kit Floorstanding Speakers

AudioREVIEW Speaker kit

Do it yourself kit brought to you by AudioREVIEW and EFE Speakers. Two-way stand mounted monitor loudspeaker with a 1" tweeter and 6.5" mid-woofer.

User Reviews (70)

Showing 1-10 of 70  
cleaneduphippy   Audio Enthusiast [May 20, 2007]
Strength:

Very detailed but delivered from more a musical perspective than a clinical one.

Soundstaging

Does well with a variety of different music

Good tuneful, tight bass. Not real deep, but more than adequate for most types of music (bass lovers might want to add a subwoofer)

Weakness:

None, especially considering the price.

Was looking for high quality monitor speaker to go with my Jolida SJ-502A tube integrated amp, but didn't want to spend a great deal of money. Found these speakers on Audiogon and am very impressed with their sound quality. With my amp, the AR.com speakers deliver a very detailed, but musical presentation. Soundstaging is fairly deep, imaging is good, and bass extention is quite good considering that this is a monitor type of speaker (note: these speakers like all good monitors, require a stable stand, preferrably one that can be loaded with sand or lead shot for added mass). Other speakers that I listened to and liked before purchasing the AR.com speakers have included the Energy RC-10, JMLab Chorus 706, Quad 11-L and the NHT Classic Two and Threes. I think AR.com speakers compare very well with these other speakers and to my ears actually sounded the most musical and detailed throughout it's frequency range. One more thing, I was quite surprised at the quality of the cabinets, very nice looking real wood finish (red oak). Whoever built this kit, did a very nice job.

Similar Products Used: Boston Acoustic A-60
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
pale   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 10, 2006]
Strength:

Dynamic, clean bass, beautiful highs, excellent detail, value that defies explanation.

Weakness:

you may want a subwoofer if you want really strong bass, I cross mine over at 60hz and it fills pefectly.

I had read all the reviews and I was very skeptical but also very curious, so I took the plunge. I am astonished, the reviews are true, they are the best speakers I have ever heard, period. I didn't expect they could beat my Paradigm 7se mark3s but they beat them handily in almost every area,( the 7s had a slight edge in the low bass).I don't have a huge amount of experience in high end audio, but I have some and these speakers are truly a marvel. Cymbals are metalic, pianos are not, great dynamics on Rush's r30 drum solo, solid clean bass, stunning detail, great imaging and soundstage. They reproduce piano better than anything I have heard. Anyone with less than $1000 to spend on speakers would be a fool to not consider these if you have any mechanical abilities at all. If you've got 2000 to spend you still should give these a look. they are that good.

Customer Service

I had no issues with them but I conversed with Ed Frias by email and he went way beyond what was required.

Similar Products Used: paradigm 7se mark3
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
jeechung   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 22, 2006]
Strength:

Good imaging (after mods). Nice and full balance for such a cheap and small monitor. Decent dynamics.

Weakness:

Slight lack of bass definition. Limited treble extension. Wimpy frame around the woofers (warped slightly when I tightened the scres, but no negative effect as a result)

This is my first venture into a DIY speaker kit. Having some background in physics, acoustics, and basic electronics, I was aware of how difficult it is to build a decent sounding set of speakers. However, the consistently good review on this web site prompted me to try this pair. Besides, how can I go wrong for $350/pr? Anyway, I built the kit in just a few hours, but with the following modifications: 1) Treated the inside surface of the side walls with 6x6x1/8 sheets of Sorbothane to try to reduce cabinet vibration. 2) For internal wiring, I used 20awg silver coated copper with Teflon insulation. The build process was extremely routine. The initial sound was characterized by bright treble and confused bass. Measurement in my modestly damped listening room revealed a significant peak around 4KHz. I figured the speakers needed some break in time. After about a week or so the speakers sounded smoother. However, imaging was still a bit diffuse and the treble peakiness around 4KHz was still there albeit to a lesser degree. That's when I did two more modifications: 3) Placed 3/8 inch layer of precisely cut felt around the tweeter, extending all the way out to the grill frame in order to try to reduce defraction and to reduce baffle loading effects. The hole around the tweeter dome was cut so that it effectively flared out. 4) Drilled holes into the bottom and screwed spikes into them so that I can tilt the speakers back when placed on my 24 inch stands. With these two new mods, there was a very noticable improvement in the tonal balance (treble peakiness gone) and imaging was now nearly holographic, but not quite the caliber of my Omega Super 3Rs (hardy to beat this little guys for imaging). Overall, the sound is well balanced, but with a bit of cabinet coloraction in the mids and less than crisp bass definition. The latter point makes me think that the box volume is a bit too small for the woofer. The high frequency is remarkably smooth for such an inexpensive tweeter, but the upper extreme is limited, but not in a negative way. I do use a Velodyne subwoofer (fed parallel from the amp) to supplement the bass and the overall effect of the 3-piece system is quite satisfying. These little guys can also play very loud without sounding too strained. Not bad for $350 (plus mods) per pair! I would recommend this kit to anyone who is starting to think about DIY speaker kits.

Similar Products Used: Thiels CS1.2, Omega Super 3R
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
MGS   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 05, 2005]
Strength:

The clarity and naturalness of the sound is clearly reconizable. Great lows, clear highs, natural vocals and at high volume you could listen for hours with no ear fatigue. A bookshelf speaker at a price and quality that far more expensive equipment can't even touch!

Just completed building a surround sound speaker system using a kit designed by Ed Frias of EFE TECHNOLOGY Speakers. Absolutely fantastic sound! What a value. My front,rear and center speakers are Ed's kit from Madisound Speaker Components. In addition I purchased from Ed a JBL E-Series E250P Woofer, Sherwood Audio Video Receiver #RD8109 and a Sherwood CD Player CDC-5090R. Fortunate for me I live in the same city as Ed and he helped me tune my speakers and then set them up in my home. The kit is so solid you need do nothing but follow Ed's instructions. The best part was being able to hear his entire line of speakers. I was absolutely blown away at the quality and realism of the sound. With each trial set I listened to it just got better. The ATI amp and Ed's speakers place you right in the middle of the concert. The Pearl Harbor movie on his big screen had me leaving my seat as those bombs exploded. Truly an amazing experience. Ed's kindness, attention to detail and love for what he does clearly transfer to his products. Great value and increadable sound. Thanks again Ed. My family and I are enjoying movies and music like never before.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
crashedout   Audio Enthusiast [Sep 05, 2005]
Strength:

Soundstage, imaging and clarity.

Weakness:

Nothing

What can I say, I waited way too long to put these together. At first I only finished one and was not impressed. After I completed the pair and let them break in I was blown away. I guesse I never really knew what soundstage, imaging and clear reproduction was. I do now. I can hear new textures to music that I never heard before. Don't wait, buy'em and build'em.

Similar Products Used: Adire 82, JBL Northridge, Bose 201.
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
mbkfab   AudioPhile [Jul 26, 2005]
Strength:

Precise, airy upper end; Smooth, sweet and accurate midrange. Tuneful & taut bass; Seemless image; ridiculously good price-to-perfomance ratio; flexibility of design

Weakness:

Absolutely NOTHING!

After many months of contemplating which DIY Speaker to indulge in, I surrendered to this on by Ed Frias. It's certainly an easy first-time project to get started with. Parts are abundant, crossovers are available pre-built. After hooking them up, I left it running for 5-6 hours while I stepped out with the family. Upon returning I was amazed at the sound projecting from the music room. My wife remarked, "After all that work, you still haven't hooked them up?" At this point she thought I still had my DALI Towers wired in. When I turned and replied with just a smile, she gives me the drop-jawed look of surprise. I have owned many speakers: B&W 602's & 805's; ProAC Tabs; Paradigm Studio 20s; MIRAGE M-595is'; JAMO 707i's; PSB's. All in the last decade. All the reviews about this DIY are nothing but true! My all-tube equipment did justice (for my taste, of course). If you're a midrange & upper-end junkie like me, you can put your contemplations to rest: THIS IS THE ONE! The subtlest breaths and tiny nuances that make it 'real' are all there. Voices are more human, acoustic instruments are less. One very inportant feature my wife pointed out is that the imaging is reminiscent of the B&W 805's. She pointed out that the seemlessness was beyond her expectations, after being spoiled with higher end units (both at stores, andpreviously owned). Diana Krall and Ella Fitzgerald recordings come to a vivid shine! It comes to life right there in your living room! Instrumental discs are delivered with all its fine detail without harshness. During the decision making process, and even through the build, I got the best possible support from Madisound. Equally helpful was the designer, Ed Frias himself. A genuine fellow, a true gentleman. The flexibility to tweak the tweeter response via the replaceable resistor is wonderful. This speaker was designed to fit the electronics YOU have in YOUR house. Too bright? No Problem! Too laid back? No Problem! The satisfaction-to-cost ratio is unbelievable. Any short comings a few have pointed out about this design is baseless. At this price, I would have been happy with half its capability. If you are still undecided, unsure or still on the fence, just do it. Build it to exact specifications, and you cannot fail. If you are unsatisfied, you will find a line of enthusiasts out there to take it off of your hands.

Similar Products Used: Mirage M-595is, DALI Suite 1.7, B&W 805, Paradigm Studio 20-V2, B&W 602-V2, PSB 300i,
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
JTDesigns   Audio Enthusiast [May 07, 2005]
Strength:

A very good speaker if driven with above average amplification.

Weakness:

None at the price

I built this speaker with the help of a friend for his home use. Speaker building and modifying has been my hobby for over twenty years. Construction We opted to build a 20-litre box enclosure rather than the standard 15 litres. This is a more optimal volume for the woofer. The 15 litre is a bit overdamped which can result in a tighter but sometimes more choked sound. This often impacts more on the midrange performance than the bass and I was wanting to achieve a free and open sounding midrange performance. The box was constructed from 18mm M.D.F with 60 mm wide bracing strips, one each across the front and back baffles. The front one is especially important as front baffle resonance can seriously impact on the drivers performance. The front, top and back were covered in leather applied using spray contact adhesive. Solid hardwood (Jarrah) cheeks were fitted to the sides using Ikea type furniture bolts. These can be screwed directly into a slightly undersize hole drilled into the M.D.F sides. The bolts will tap a thread into the M.D.F. sides that will hold very tight. Ensure oversized holes are drilled into the timber to allow for natural contraction and expansion. These solid cheeks look great and further reduce cabinet resonance. I made them 18mm thick and shaped the edges. Refer to Sonus Faber speakers for this look. Fine Tuning Refer to the Peerless website for the correct port volume for a 20 litre box. Damping used was 25mm thick mattress foam for the rear internal walls and 25mm thick polyester blanket for the sides and the bottom. It’s probably better to use slightly less damping than too much. In this design fibreglass insulation doesn’t seem to sound as good. The 2-ohm resistor was removed after much trial and error and bridged with copper wire. This was not too bright for most systems or rooms. Solid copper wire was used for internal wiring. Solid core lighting cable works well and is cheap. This tends to sound much better than the vast majority of stranded speaker cabling which tends to have a bright sound and poor timing. This cabling may also be used for your speaker wire as long as long runs aren’t used and will sound better than most quite expensive commercial wires. A commercial alternative is Axon brand cable which is also very good, and excellent value. It is also solid core. The Sound These speakers remind me a lot of some of the Spendor monitors. Like Spendors the two drivers are very well integrated. This shows first class crossover design, and it is this area that separates really good speakers from the simply adequate. The sandwich cone mid/bass has a very rich, warm tone and vocals are reproduced beautifully. Again this reminds me of some of the Bextrene coned speakers of the 1970’s but with much better speed and projection. Bass performance is surprisingly good for a speaker of this size, but a good quality, reasonably powerful transistor amplifier is needed to achieve this performance. Lower powered transistor and valve amps don’t seem to be up to the job. More power also seems to open the soundstage up and bring about a faster more expansive sound. I think something like a 60watt NAD amplifier would be the least amount of quality and amplification that these speakers deserve. These speakers are designed for long term, fatigue free listening and have a very refined sound that budget commercial speakers rarely achieve. They are not for head bangers or loud synthetic music, but seem to produce acoustic, roots, jazz and classical music very well.

Similar Products Used: Spendor Prelude Spendor BC1 Rogers Export Monitors EPOS ES 14
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
poneal   Audio Enthusiast [Apr 07, 2005]
Strength:

Fairly small with good SAF (spousal acceptance factor) Good bass reproduction for a 6.5" Nice drivers looks Readily available Premade crossovers from Madisound

Weakness:

In this price range none.

I built 5 of these for HT/Music use. This was my first foray into the DIY world of speaker building and I was excited. So excited that I decided to wait over a year before I wrote this review. Since then, I have built 6 different sets of speakers using different drivers and crossover topologies. Most were given away as presents or ones that someone wanted me to build. So how do they sound after a year of listening? Glad you asked! Overall, they are a pleasing speaker to listen too. I do not think they are to harsh and the bass is adequate but a subwoofer will be needed for the lower octave. These are best used on stands, about 24" away from the wall. I have mine facing straight ahead (no toe-in). I can clearly tell the difference between the left and right channel in stereo listening. What do I mean you ask? Well, in stereo not all sounds come from both speakers. Some gets routed to the left and some to the right. And then there is panning (from left to right such as an aircraft flying from your left to right). The AR.Coms perform very well in regards to the above. Overall, Peerless makes a good woofer and tweeter and the price is fair. So, is it the best speaker that I have ever heard? No. But for the price not bad. I mean come on. At $175.00 for a pair (not including boxes) what do you expect. Let's get back to reality here. I would have to say that they are on par with other designs costing the same amount. But, I can say that they sound as good or better than retail speakers costing around $500-$700 (i.e. Circuity City, Best Buy, etc.).

Similar Products Used: Kenwood, Bose, Infinity
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
5
dave_bullet   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 07, 2005]
Strength:

Quite impressed at the clarity and power these little speakers can handle - the Peerless drivers are worth their money Everything from 100Hz up until approx 4KHz (eg. male voices) are balanced and "full" Good overall balance between bass / mids / treble Cost effectiveness Simplicity to build and understand Overall tweeter balance

Weakness:

Slightly hot treble. Some recordings too sibilant. Peak around 5KHz - 8KHz? Can be fatiguing on some recordings Peerless tweeter loses on highest frequencies (eg. seems to drop off a few dB from 14KHz up?)

I decided to build speakers as I was interested in doing something with electronics as well as woodwork / cabinetry. I decided on these speakers for a simple way to start a hobby and get something proven / useful at the end. Due to the low cost investment, premade (and simple) xovers and reviews here, I settled on the AR.com DIY. I decided to build a tower version as the stands I had for my previous bookshelf speakers weren't robust nor put the tweeter at ear level at my seating position. The internal dimensions, port and driver placement on baffle / baffle geometry are exactly the same as a bookshelf with the exception of a 1/2" radius on the baffle front (the lower part of the tower is just a sealed off dummy enclosure acting as stand). I compared these speakers with the only other ones I've had extensive use of - some Wharfedale 505.2 bookshelfs (c. 1990 english made). The Wharfedales comprise an 8" long throw polycarb woofer with a 3/4" aluminium tweeter. I listed to mainly 80's music and some 90's. Mainly pop / rock and dance. I occasionly listen to jazz and classical. I'm not into hip-hop, rap, thrash or heavy metal. I built the cabinets myself. Each is heavy with a double thick baffle (1.5") and flush mounted drivers. Equipment used is: Pioneer DVD-535K with optical out or Denon 5-disc CD player (analag only) Marantz SR-6300 14ga speaker cable Standard RCA interconnects AR.com DIY speakers Home made Shiva 12" sub In summary, these speakers do some things better than the Wharfedales, and others not. Overall they are a better speaker. The Wharfedales have the edge on: - Uppermost air (maybe artificial as it is a little pronounced in the upper treble) - Less sibilance / peak in the upper voice register The AR.com DIYs have the edge in: - mid-bass / lower midrange (voices sound more complete / more realistic / not hollow like the wharfedales) - cymbals have more "shimmer" - so treble is more balanced than wharfedales - better off-axis / dispersion (ie. more consistent as you sit in different positions relative to speakers / walk across the room) - generally a more open / full sound compared to wharfedales. Wharfedales sounded slightly "veiled" Voices more real I find neither speaker images well - from what I understand imaging to be. I've tried various placements in the room, distance from walls, toe-ing in vs. straight ahead and seating positions. These speakers present a better soundstage than imaging (music fills the space between speakers evenly / well) and occaisionally outside the speakers) I think overall the speaker is excellent value for money. I don't know if I'd claim it could match speakers costing 5 times as much (as some reviewers claim). I've head similar commercial speakers costing twice as much and these speakers would certainly match them. I find the speakers a little fatiguing at moderate listening levels for the music I listen too. Either it is a "hot" recording / mix by the engineer, "hot" source or "hot" amplification. Either way for me the speaker is the easiest and cheapest way to tame / tune to the sound I can listen to for hours in a non-fatiguing way. I plan to measure the speakers performance and model different crossover characterstics as a learning exercise. No doubt taming the sibilance / upper vocal "peak" will probably come at a cost of another aspect of this speakers performance - but it is all the fun of DIY. I am happy I built this speaker. I'll post an update if I manage to improve the minor issues I see.

Similar Products Used: Wharfedale 505.2
OVERALL
RATING
4
VALUE
RATING
4
Rob H   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 01, 2004]
Strength:

Great midrange Authoritative bass Nice "airy" highs Loads (!) of detail

Weakness:

none

Years ago I fell in love with the sound of a good, two-way 6.5" stand mounted speaker. Something about the simplicity of having only two drivers and the incredible soundstage produced is very attractive. I have also prided myself on finding great speakers whose sound quality far exceeds the price paid. My first pair of decent "bookshelf" speakers were an Energy design from the 1980's. These were relatively inexpensive, yet sounded great at the time. I used those speakers for many years. Lately, I have been using a pair of Axiom M3Ti's. The Axioms are a very impressive speaker, especially at their price point. I really thought they were tops in the budget field. The Axioms though, are no match for the AR.com (Ed Frias DIY) speakers that I built this past weekend. Wow! The level of transparency and detail they produce is amazing. I am hearing subtle nuances in cd's that were hidden before. Highs are "airy", but never harsh. Midrange is excellent. I only have a few hours on them, and the bass is already clean and authoritative(I added some more Poly Fill after the first test which improved the bass response). Madisound has been great to deal with, as has Ed Frias, whose numerous emails answering questions were a tremendous help. I cannot recommend these speakers highly enough. A true "giant killer." FYI, here are some recommended cd's to really bring out the best of the AR.coms: Flight of the Cosmic Hippo-Bella Fleck and the Flecktones, Love Scenes & Live in Paris-Dianna Krall, Heart Shaped World-Chris Isaak, The Nightfly-Donald Fagen and Up,Up,Up,Up,Up-Ani DiFranco. Enjoy!

Similar Products Used: Axiom M3Ti
OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Showing 1-10 of 70  

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