Fusion-12 Tempest Build

Discussion in 'DIY Speakers and Subwoofers' started by MrBoat, Jan 2, 2017.

  1. I posted a query on this forum and in spite of no replies here, I did get one from Erich directly. Figure to post the results here so that perhaps those considering this model will have another to look at. I glued the cabinet cases first and left the fronts just tacked with screws to give them a trial first before committing to a finish for them. I ordered the entire kit consisting of all the available pre-made components. I have a nice Unisaw, routers and certainly enough other hand/power tools to start from scratch, but cutting MDF for a one-off project doesn't thrill me. If the kit was substandard and I could improve upon it, that would be different, but I was glad not to have to make extra sawdust, or have leftover MDF that I would never use on anything else. I plan on building subs in the near future, but then I would be using whatever drops from this project, and then cutting into another whole sheet, with perhaps even a larger drop leftover to move around from here on out.

    Here I have the front baffle/faceplate tack screwed with a couple drywall screws in the woofer recess. I left the crossovers floating for now. I did add the suggested damping foam.

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    Here is a picture of one being tried in the raw.
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    After listening and finding how awesome these speakers sound, I decided on cherry veneer for the main cases.
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  2. I forgot to order the terminal cups, so I routed them in the back and used 3/8" marine ply that I had leftover for the terminal backers. I used a homemade circle jig attached to the router base. It worked well.

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    Also used a roundover bit to relieve the corners.
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    While I was waiting for varnish to dry on the veneer, I epoxy saturated the MDF baffles. I have found that paint lasts a lot longer over epoxy sealed surfaces when it comes to wood or, wood byproducts, and it adds a certain feel of quality to the component. It also makes it a joy to paint. Epoxy makes a very good primer/surfacer for sanding as well. That and I have a good amount of epoxy from my boat building ventures.
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    Here is the baffles sanded and ready for paint. I don't need another paint primer under this. This will also assure that all edges/corners stay crisp in the future. The other idea behind the epoxy was to build the edges some to compensate for the added thickness to the cabs from the veneer process. It helped preserving the factory round-overs, being that the faces were to be painted.
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  3. Here is the cabinets varnished and ready for the faceplate treatment.

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    I attached the faceplates, and then masked the veneer with fine line tape, and the body line from the factory round-over process. Essentially the same as masking a 5/16" pinstripe. I then took 5 minute epoxy and mixed it with cabosil powder to create a slightly thickened mix to the consistency of peanut butter. This allowed me to flush the edges of the face plates with the veneer. Even though it's now essentially seamless, the thickness of the masking tape adds just enough differential to instead make it look like a perfectly fitted front, instead of a masked off paint line on a seamless box.
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    Here is the face baffles painted. I used matte black rustoleum. To paint the recesses, I sprayed some of the rustoleum into the lid of the can, and black washed the recesses with an acid brush.
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    Here's a photo that I hope shows the faked joint. It looks like a round-over that was on the verge of the cutter being set too deep that 'almost' transitions into an ogee. The look that I like with round-overs for this type of arrangement. The seeming separation of the two components looks more genuine to me somehow. Like a neatly done factory op, for lack of a better explanation.
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  4. Here is a picture of the crossovers installed in the bottoms of the boxes. I just used little pieces of marine ply glued in. It takes a #4 sheet metal screw to fit the mounting holes in the crossover boards.

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    Here, I am installing the drivers. I cut two 'helpers' out of scrap 1x to set int the recesses to hold them for me while I wired them. The paint was still pretty fresh. Didn't want to try and muscle the drivers around or balance them while I did this. Did the same for the horn tweeter. You can also see in this photo that the 1.5" foam is installed in the cabinets as well. I carefully cut it around the crossover components where needed.
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    The port tubes with this kit are a very nice fit.
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  5. #5 MrBoat, Jan 2, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2017
    Finally, here are the speakers all fit and finished and ready for action. I love these speakers. They sound absolutely amazing. The reviews on the order page are spot on across the board. I am listening to them without subs for the time being. I am firing them with a Denon 3805 AVR which pushes them beautifully. For the future subs, I have a separate Behringer amp, which should make this combination pretty hard to beat for music, which in my case, is their primary purpose. As a 2 channel configuration now, these things are really holding their own, as is. These are replacing a pair of JBL s312 3 way speakers that are formidable in their own right. The Tempests IMO, relay accurate, musical bass as recorded. It's just enough for the music I follow. I also auditioned more modern tower speakers and bookshelf offerings before these. It was the 'presence' of the large woofers I was after and these speakers deliver that perfectly. Kick drums and bass guitar licks are addicting to listen to with these. The high ranges are very clean as well.

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    Here they are in place. I am pleased with the way they turned out. When I get back to work, I intend to fabricate some aluminum shorty stands for them and some kind of grill system, perhaps integral to the stands as well if I can imagine something that looks cool.
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    I should also add a thank you to Erich for the correspondence and the great handling, not to mention all those involved in bringing this kit to us. I am extremely satisfied. I crunched the #'s with the kit and found that it would be tough for me to break even comparatively, considering my time and fuel running to get materials. It's a great value for a great kit.
     
  6. I built some grilles for these. Couldn't find anything I liked that didn't look like a cheap hubcap so I broke out the welder and went at it. Mulled a few designs and this was the first one I stopped twice on to think about a little more and just went with it. I have grandkids that stop by frequently and I was a bit paranoid with the exposed drivers and I didn't really want to conceal the woofer. This is probably not for everyone but I really like how they turned out.
    Started out with some 1/4" x 2" Aluminum flat bar.
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    Sculpted some bridge rails out of same and welded them onto the flanges.
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    Then went to work spot annealing some 1/4" aluminum rod so that they could be easily formed by hand. The rings were made from epoxy saturated MDF. I ended up silver soldering the rods where they meet the rails.
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    marc seals likes this.
  7. #7 MrBoat, Feb 18, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2017
    Can see by this photo in the cutaway of the recess for the grille flanges how far the thinned epoxy soaks into the MDF. This prevents any fuzzing of edges when sanding and makes for a good primer for paint.
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    I made these a twist-on/off fit to the woofers gaskets. They take a good bit of effort to remove.
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    Painted them matte black like the baffles. This should stop a stray ball or other freak accident that tends to dent dust caps etc.
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  8. I should add that I have had these playing pretty much constantly since they were finished. A truly remarkable sounding set of speakers. I recently found Jeff Bagby's assessment of them and he is correct as far as I can tell. I have since added a sealed sub (Dayton 12" Ultimax)woofer and a Behringer inuke 3000dsp amp. In my listening space, it's bass friendly and since these are music (2.1 arrangement) only, they weren't lacking much. I had initially planned on adding dual subs but it really doesn't need another. I have the cross over at 60 hz and I am getting the best of both worlds. Started with 80hz and it seemed a shame to rob the Tempests from what they do best in that range.

    I read a few (very few) unfavorable reviews on these speakers and it occurs to me that these few must have not spent any time getting to know these speakers, or are acting out on pure speculation. I have not been able to find any fault with them at all. A friend offered to buy them for double what I have in them which would have allowed me to pretty much choose any other kit over these since. At this point, I cannot imagine an improvement, which is why I bothered to put the work into the grilles. They just pour out incredibly beautiful sound for days. They're here to stay.

    If anyone is considering building these, the only thing I would tend to inflict upon them is that these may not exactly be plug and play for those looking for instant success. But for critical listeners, willing to really get to know them, They hint allover the place what they are capable of, and they'd be hard pressed to best them easily.
     
    wvu80 likes this.
  9. Nice build thread. You tell a terrific story with both words and pictures.

    I have a buddy looking for a kit that uses a 10 or 12 inch woofer. I've pointed him towards your posts. Thanks for taking the time to do that.
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    You might want to consider doing a little creative cut 'n paste and put your review on the DIYSG Review page. At the very list do a quick and dirty summary then post a link to this thread. It's good stuff, exactly what potential buyers want to know.
     
  10. #10 MrBoat, Feb 19, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2017
    Thank you, WVU80. I did indeed post a review (#54) on the DIYSG review page. I didn't know a lot about forums when I completed these speakers . I have a link to another forum for the build on that review, and in the same DIY section of that forum, is a build for my subwoofer. I didn't find this forum until after I had posted that review.
     
  11. I joined just so I could comment on your build, sir. I am a carpenter and the details and extra care you put into this build are really extraordinary, from fortifying the epoxy to build out that roundover seam to epoxying the mdf baffle--what great ideas! I have always turned my nose up at mdf because of its poor strength and extreme difficulty to paint--it's like a never-satisfied sponge--but your epoxy trick is a simply brilliant fix for this otherwise likeable speaker cabinet material. Do you use West System epoxy or will any decent two-part epoxy work? Do you thin it down so it really gets into the pores of the mdf? If so, what do you use to thin it? Beautiful build and thank you also for sharing your impressions of the sound of these speakers--we readers can get deterred by a bad review or two, without questioning the source. You are a source I feel like I can believe. Also, brilliant welding/soldering on those massive woofer cages. I really enjoyed seeing how you brought these together.
     
    marc seals likes this.
  12. Sorry for the late reply. Had forgotten about this forum for it being slow at times. Thank you for the kind words. Any two part, long cure epoxy will work. By "long cure," I mean an hr or more. All of these epoxy resins chemicals come from the same handful of chemical suppliers, such as Dow Corning, and other major chemical companies. They are formulated with different ratios of solvents, or what have you, but they are all pretty close in performance and pretty much overkill as far as wood is concerned. I mixed resin and hardener first (I use US Composites brand, btw) and then thinned with denatured alcohol so that it was watery thin. As you apply each coat, the MDF absorbs it quickly and as the alcohol slowly evaporates from your mix, the resin becomes thicker, right at about the time the MDF will take no more. Then you will get the build needed to have a well primed and sandable surface. This method has it penetrating 3/16" -1/4" deep, rendering the material pretty much waterproof. I applied this same epoxy to a wood boat I built in 2005 and it's still going strong today. Paint, even traditional alkyds, last 10:1 over more conventional primers.

    I am still using these speakers every day and they are really hard to beat. I have since hooked them up to my refurb'd Pioneer amp from the 70's and these speakers love that amp. I am using no sub and for music only use, the bass is perfect, IMO. I also run them with a pair of Pass DIY, 8 watt mono blocks and they perform well there too! I use these monsters for near field listening. You would be hard pressed to find a more potent speaker, especially with the mid bass punch they deliver. They are just an excellent performing speaker. I have found over time that any erroneous information as to their performance are either by those who have never really worked with them, or people who gave up too soon before figuring out how to set up SEOS horns properly. I have these toed in for a near field triangle arrangement and they are just flawless performers and they manage to ignore the room in this fashion.
     

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