Considering a Baffle Wall setup... seeking speaker insight.

Discussion in 'Room Set Up, Audio Theory, and Measurements' started by Erinh, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. Guys, this is my first post here but I know most of you from the other forums (diy, avs, tech-talk, etc). So, howdy! This is going to be a long post, so I’ll try to be as brief as I can be, but please bear with me as this is essentially a congregated brain dump and plea for resolution to the (in)sanity. ;)

    I have a dedicated HT room upstairs. The room is upstairs, and is roughly 17ft wide, 26ft deep, and 8ft high ceilings. I have knee walls that are about 5ft tall. I currently own a set of Kef R500 L/R towers, Kef R200C center, Kef Q100 bookshelves (surrounds), as well as (4) AE IB15HTs. I also own a Denon 2313ci. I do not have any video as of yet (projector/screen); saving up funds.

    For a while now I’ve been tinkering with the notion of building a baffle wall in my HT. It offers the ability to go have all the speakers up front and namely blend in to the room (the level of blend depends on the level of my construction). Though, I know it’s not a trivial build and requires research (I’ve put in weeks already).

    I’m a car audio dude. I actually look forward to driving my car because of it. Crazy, huh!? It just… rocks. There’s nothing I love more about it than the sheer dynamicism (not just LFE). And to obtain that in home audio, you either need efficiency or power… or sit 3 feet away from the speakers. ;)
    As much as I love my Kef towers’ ability to relay such awesome space and tonality, I really miss that dynamic ability that the medial sensitivity relative to HE drivers don’t provide without some powah. I tested my notion out with one of my QSC Klippel-purposed amps and realized that’s what I was missing. I had considered ordering up some serious power but then my mind got brought back to high efficiency (HE) drivers which then took me to this site, which then leap frogged in to the baffle wall design again.

    I started doing some excel math, thinking of different layouts and believe I may have come to a workable system. At the moment, my thinking is this:
    Baffle Wall about 2-3ft off rear wall with L/C/R consisting of something like the Alpha-8’s (or some other HE combo with waveguide). Each of these would likely have to be passive to save costs, which would also allow me to use my current Denon receiver. Going active would raise the cost significantly but would give me more control. I’d then use my AE IB15HT’s in mono, but placed under the Left/Right speakers in a manifold to help cut down wall vibrations and keep the HE speakers at proper ear level. Looking at the wall, the left and right speakers would have approximately a 15 inch square cut below them for the IB manifold and the center would just be in line with the Left/Right speakers with no sub manifold below them. (I have a behringer ep2500 for sub power).

    With all that said, let’s assume that I have a pretty solid handle on the baffle wall construction aspects and let me ask you guys some questions regarding speaker options:
    1) My main concern is ditching the Kefs in lieu of the 8/10”+waveguide design. I’m a bit concerned over the polar response issues that typically plague mid+tweeter designs, ESPECIALLY with such a large midwoofer as some of the 10”+ designs I’ve seen. This is where the Kef concentrics excel. I did see the polar plot of the Alpha-8 which looks quite nice, though. And this particular model has a nice price with the kit only clocking in around $215, though I would love it if that B&C driver could get the combo to 96dB efficiency just for that added volume.
    2) Branching off #1, are there any designs or suggestions you would recommend? I like the kits because they have the baffle and they include the crossover pieces. On the crossovers, do they implement any BSC? If not, great! If so, how easy would it be to bypass this? Just don’t wire in the components?
    3) It may be stupid, but I was hoping to not have to use an enclosure and keep the back side of the speaker as open as possible (sans the wall behind the baffle wall).

    And, finally, a general question:
    1) What are your thoughts on this overall change from a ‘conventional’ tower speaker based setup to a baffle wall build. Anyone here gone that route? Have any comments? Did you feel it was worth it or no?

    I have more questions but I’m going to stop there. I don’t want to drive you guys nuts. :(

    Thanks in advance,
  2. Forgot to mention this: I plan on having a curve to the baffle wall. That means the speakers would *not* be aimed straight out in to the room, but rather aimed inward toward the center of the room. The degree of aiming is likely going to be no more than 30 degrees, and this is likely to be dictated by the room aesthetics to some degree.
  3. Hi Erin,

    Here are a few of my thoughts, in no particular order:

    Seriously consider building your own acoustically transparent ("AT") projection screen with spandex. For $100, you can have a great 110" screen and spend more of your budget on the projector and speakers. Also, with an AT screen, you can toe-in your speakers as much as needed to get the broad stereo image these speakers are so good at reproducing. You want to aim them so their axes intersect in front of the listening position.

    For high efficiency and strong dynamics, take a look look at some of the designs with the SEOS 12" waveguide and a 12-15" woofer. I think Erich has sold out the DNA-350's and that may be why the larger Karma series speakers are Out of Stock, but the DNA-360 is a drop-in substitution with no crossover changes required. If you are craving those car audio body slams, then drop down a notch or two on the driver quality to go up a notch or two on woofer size.

    You will need enclosures for your L-C-R speakers, but you can go infinite baffle for your subwoofers.
    Without enclosures, there will be a significant loss of channel separation below the crossover point between the woofers and the compression drivers.


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