Vortex Speaker Kits

Discussion in 'Home Theater Speaker Kit Information' started by Erich H, Jul 20, 2019.

  1. I believe only 2 people ordered the Vortex-12's in the 1.5 years they were on the site. I'll likely put them back up at some point but I probably need to document them better with a better explanation on why they were made up and what makes them good.
    Brinkman likes this.
  2. I purchased votex15's back in aug. and was wondering if they will be available to order again in the future ?

  3. I am also curious. I am hoping that they will be again be available as they would be a perfect fit for my new EL34 rig...
  4. You asked about the Vortex failure?

    A few thoughts and ponderings about them--why the resistance to purchasing 12 and 15 inch coax drivers?

    The first reason is they are large speakers, that stongly limits their use. A few years back you mentioned that a 10 inch Vortex would be rolling out which makes more sense.

    Second reason is they are coax, they have inherent advantages and disadvantages such as IMD distortion and the waveguide is too small to properly load the compression driver. Not an issue, the same problem with all of them going back to 1948 Tannoys. Using a stout compression driver to get the treble right and adding a woofer crossing at 250 Hz or so to prevent IMD distortion works very well. Of course, adding that woofer really increases the size of the box so you really want to have something like that.

    For really high outputs, I prefer to have some form of control over dispersion with various horns and waveguides used to limit dispersion to prevent chaos in untreated rooms. Coax don't offer that option so an issue.

    OK, say I wanted to build a Vortex 12 with a 15" PA woofer crossing at 250Hz or so and go for broke. Uhhhh, you got T/S parameters with that? For some odd reason, the site contains no real T/S parameters or a few or....missing ones. (See the Anarchy drivers for less information) For years people having been emailing you for T/S parameters and generally don't get a response or no parameters. This is the damnation of purchasing proprietary drivers from you--you sell kits--NOT DIY! Parts Express and every other vendor either lists the T/S parameters on their site or will tell you if they are not available. This is a fatal blow to your business, you don't sell DIY--you sell kits and for some reason refuse to off T/S parameters for your drivers. Not a big deal if you use them in a kit but not advised to use drivers with no parameters with them. Nothing personal, just business. Not sure why either, Dayton Audio sells test kits just down the road to test drivers and there are ways to figure it out.

    Personally, I was looking forward to the Vortex 10 because it can be a very small speaker--think laying it on it's side and use 1/2" baltic birch and bracing to make a 12" tall "horizontal center channel". Load the T/S parameters and model it sealed, ported or whatever for a small, reasonably efficient system for those that have a hard limit for size. Get that driver shallow--make it as wide as it needs to be and it will fit well with TVs for the win. The Vortex 12 very large, I modeled the Emnence version as they provide the specs I need to play around with the sizes and it is a very large enclosure! The Vortex 10 would not be small but reasonable for the performance obtained. Alas, it is a unicorn so cancel that idea.

    I do offer this as an idea to get the Vortex known--build up a pair and send it to Amir over at Audio Science Review. He has tested DIY kits and one of them in particular is outstanding. If it tests well, you will open up to the engineering types of audio and ASR is linked in many forums for proven performance. Why not? Of course, the Klippel robot is not forgiving but I'm sure you would test it before shipping them to make sure everything was up to snuff.

    One last thing, you should post the status of all your kits on the home page of DIYSG. Vendors I use for everything have increased their communication due to the corona virus disrupting supply chains so people have a clue what is going on. In reality, business' are failing so it would look better if you provided more information concerning status of kits/parts etc. At this point, the site looks like it is more along the lines of going out of business VS moving and expanding.

    Good to hear the dual 8" center channel will be rolling out, the dual 10" had to compete against the 1099 and that did not help at all! The dual 8" looks interesting, the HT-88... shades Jeff Bagby's special creation... hmmmm.
  5. The Vortex-15 has a bigger 'waveguide' than most speakers or speaker kits you can buy so it does a decent job of loading the driver. And even when played very loud the cone hardly moves at all. That was part of the design process. The 10" coaxial prototypes didn't test as good as the 12" and 15" so I went with the larger models first. I considered making some changes to it, but it seems most 10" coaxials don't work as well as other sizes.

    Kits don't have detailed woofer/tweeter specs because the kits are supposed to be built the way the designer built them or in the cabinet options the designer recommends. If you want to design your own speaker using a 12" coaxial and 15" pro woofer......Eminence does make their house brand that is similar to the Vortex models and they list all the specs.
    Brinkman likes this.
  6. On/off axis frequency response measurements of both drivers are on page 1 of this thread, T/S parameters for both drivers are on page 2 and distortion measurements are on page 3.

    I agree having these specs on the actual DIYSG site at the time they were introduced would have been helpful but I disagree with the assertion that the Vortex failed to serve DIYers by prioritizing kits instead. In this case it was the *lack* of a kit - the exact opposite of what you claim - that stalled purchases.

    Again, I agree with the overall point that T/S parameters should be posted at the point of purchase for all the Denovo drivers but if Erich has 80 flatpacks, he also needs to set aside 80 drivers plus a few as replacements. He’s not looking to manage inventory so a handful of folks can buy drivers ala carte; he’s looking to sell enough kits to break even on the custom driver run.

    In the case of the Vortex drivers, there were no flat packs to manage, the measurements were available with minimal googling and the drivers could be purchased essentially ala carte. And still no sales.

    I don’t think this scenario was the one to choose to make the argument you’re trying to make.
  7. I was very interested in the Vortex-12 but had a mix of some of 18Hurts's concerns. Initially I was hoping for flatpacks, and when those didn't manifest, finding the T-S parameters took some time (the posts in page 2 were only made in February.) I can see the argument for not posting T-S parameters for flatpacked kits, but without either T-S or flatpacks you kinda need pretty specific (i.e. just posting sketchup files) diagrams/dimensions.

    The -12 needs a relatively big box to get close to full range, and still needs sub support, and modeling it low introduces xmax concerns that reduce the benefit of the higher sensitivity / power handling higher up. It did seem like it'd be better in a 3-way but that's beyond my skill level. Severian's measurements on page 3 had me concerned about a box smaller than intended being too midbass-heavy and needing a lot of EQ. It's a shame the smaller driver variants didn't work out well, they would've been much easier to fit in my space.

    I second the recommendation to send an example to Amir at ASR, or encourage a DIY'er to send theirs (esp if they're near Seattle anyway), good performance there is tremendous advertising, but Amir has said there's reduced value in measuring DIY projects without explicit kits, instructions or flatpacks, due to repeatability concerns. ASR tends to be big fans of coaxials and controlled-directivity designs.

    Here's some of the design variants I tried, trying to get something more in the large bookshelf / stand mount size.

  8. One thing I've seen that seriously hurts the DIY audio community is 'Analysis Paralysis'. Basically looking for anything about a product that might make it 'not so perfect' on paper even though most never actually build the item to enjoy it. Jeff Bagby used to tell people "Every speaker is build on compromises and none are perfect or there'd just be a single speaker model sold everywhere."

    There was a guy on the Parts Express forum that used to help others with speaker designs and offer his input. Guys would come out of the woodwork saying that 'scientifically' it doesn't work so well and it goes against what they once read in a speaker building book or some paper they read on the interwebs. Finally someone chimed in and reminded people "Hey, this guy trying to help you sells $20,000 speakers.....literally to musicians and audio engineers and you're telling him that his idea might not work. Really? How many $20k speakers do you sell to musicians?"

    So here's where the problem comes in: DIY guys that don't know all the scientific terms will read about why speaker-X might not be "perfect" and decide he's not going to buy or build it. Nine times out of ten that kit is dead in the water. The only time I've ever seen that not happen was with the 1099. But when it was first designed people that had never heard it said side by side mids won't work, never seen anything like it, goes against science, comb filtering, lobing, woofers spaced out too far, oh no. Well there was no other similar 3 way kits so people didn't have much choice if they wanted something like that. Guess what? All those issues that a computer mic must be able to show on a graph were nonexistent and people loved the speaker and others kept buying and building them.

    Another example: The Volt-10 coaxial kit was one of the best sellers. It actually had more 5 star reviews than any other kit on the site by far (I haven't copied ones over from the old site yet). People loved it, especially for it's price. There were people waiting to order them. Then one guy makes a Youtube video about how scientifically it can't be a great speaker because of directivity with coaxials and then posts it on the AVS forum. The two guys that were waiting to order? Nah, they changed their mind and one actually sent me the video link. Sales completely tanked for that kit. They got so low afterwards that I figured it wouldn't even make sense to order another run of them. I decided to order more but it might have to be the last run, not sure. Unfortunately our very, very small DIY speaker community can be it's own worst enemy. Zu Audio has sold tens of thousands of the same 10" coaxial in a pretty cabinet. But man, if only their happy customers knew about IMD distortion and directivity........

    The audio science guys explain things but they forget that most people don't know the terms and likely just learned that speakers have strange things called crossovers inside them. So they read a couple posts above and see 'IMD distortion' and have no idea what that means and just assume 'this speaker has distortion, why would I build it?' As mentioned, DIY audio can be it's own worst enemy which is why you rarely see anything 'unusual' make headway and the traditional Overnight Sensations will always be the best selling speaker kits.
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  9. The T/S parameters for the Vortex-15 on page 2 were taken from an AVSForum post made by Erich two years ago, before the introductory thread here was started.

    Post #1 of the introductory thread has measurements that look superb for both drivers and build notes on around what size cabinet can be expected for a given tuning. Most companies don’t even provide off axis measurements for their drivers but Erich even provided those as well.The exterior dimensions of the enclosures were provided in a follow-up post.

    I agree with the rest of what you’re saying but I think Erich is correct as well; hobbyists love to do the armchair engineer thing where they take the factory T/S as gospel and then model until their hearts content so they can play show and tell online and reach some sort of virtual consensus before a single hobbyist has even heard the thing.

    I would be happy to collaborate with (pay) someone versed in CAD to design a flatpack and/or cut-list for my planned Vortex-15 build and provide the file(s) here for free. Unfortunately I don’t think my project will appeal to more than a handful of people; it will be a rather large folded transmission line style enclosure with a wide, chamfered baffle and a slightly reworked crossover to address the lower baffle step frequency and impedance vs frequency of the compression driver. It will be a tube amplifier friendly design for primarily music listening. The f3 will be between 35 and 40Hz which is absolutely fine for the music I listen to.
  10. The Overnight Sensations are small, cheap, and have a birch plywood kit all the way around instead of ugly MDF. You can glue it together, give it a basic finish and you're good. MDF baffles are hard to veneer so you're stuck painting the fronts instead of getting a wood grain to look at. Those HiVi drivers also look kinda cool.

    Easy sells. Cheap sells. Pretty sells. Specs say they go down to 45hz. The OS kits are all that combined with the fact that they just plain sound good. They're cheap enough to hand out as finished gifts, or at least make it so that everybody who does the DIYSG thing should probably also pick up a pair. I wanted Apollos, but the OSs are such a fantastic deal.

    As for Volts, I know exactly what video is being talked about and that was influencing me towards the HT-8s instead for my surrounds. The reality is that the Volts sound good and the packaging is just too good to not use them as surrounds. So I bought a second pair of Volts and now I'm waiting on the Volt 6s to show up again. Other than height considerations I wouldn't Volts as mains when the HTM and HTs exist though, and that's just fine. The Volts are high efficiency and that angled kit solves a lot of problems.
  11. Well, I missed the Fusion15's when they were available. Now have apparently missed the closeout Fusion 15. It would be really nice to snag 3 of the Vortex 15 if they ever become available now that I've read this entire thread. I listen to 99% acoustic music. Orchestral, concert band, brass band, jazz, percussion ensemble, drum corps, small wind ensembles, etc. If Matt Grant believes the Vortex 15 is better than HT or HTM or Fusion for music, maybe it's just as well i "missed out".

    Maybe, just maybe, they will give me the same thrill some nice Tannoy's did at a WCES some years ago. Pinpoint imaging and beautifully natural vocal reproduction (Ronstadt/Neville duet).

    Obviously, I need to discipline myself to keep checking all parts of the site to see if the Vortex 15 is offered again. Sounds like excess woofers and crossovers are available, but compression drivers are the hangup? But since the CD isn't discontinued there's hope???

    And...it's a heckuva lot easier to make a one hole front panel than a perfect flush cut out for a SEOS...
  12. Do coaxials have a time coherence advantage since the tweeter is backset? They're kinda backset a lot though, nothing like how far back the tweeters on Green Mountain Audio speakers are/were.
  13. The Vortex-15's aren't gone yet, they are just off the site at the moment. This is due to a couple of factors, very low sales being one (with Erich wanting to focus on getting other better selling kits back in stock first).

    But also from what Erich has told me he found that some of the 15" coaxial cones are what he would mark as b-stock, not because of any kind of damage but because the cone coating or surface finish can be seen as uneven under certain lighting. Obviously a cosmetic issue only but not what you want when a large chunk of change is spent on custom drivers. Eminence didn't offer to remedy the issue so he is unsure if the 15" coaxial drivers will ever get reordered not knowing if any future order will have the same issue. So when they do get relisted future availability may be limited to the drivers on hand.
    Pradeep likes this.
  14. #89 Matt Grant, Nov 2, 2020
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2020
    You obviously get the point source advantage with coaxials, since the woofer and tweeter are concentric there is no change in the time alignment between the two drivers when you move off axis in any direction vs on axis. This means any reflected sound has matching time and driver phase alignment of the direct sound.

    In regards to the time alignment between the drivers themselves passive high and low pass crossovers introduce inherent phase shift and delay to the signal. Normally the crossovers slopes and frequency are chosen so that alignment of the phase response of the two drivers at the crossover point is achieved for a seamless transition.

    Since this design uses decent slopes to prevent too much overlap between the drivers (there is only a small range where they can overlap comfortably) the LF delay introduced in the crossover is greater then that taken up by the offset.

    The tweeter placement behind the woofer does counter some of the delay added from the crossover but in modeling it appears the tweeter would need to be placed an additional 5 inches further back to achieve true time alignment and give what would be closer to a linear phase response. However that kind of dramatic spacing wreaks havoc on the natural phase overlap/alignment between the drivers resulting in less ideal frequency response. This is because the phase shift/wrap from the high and lowpass crossovers is still occurring so the phase overlap looks more like an X rather then then two overlapped curves.

    The ideal solution when perfect phase and time alignment is desired would be a DSP capable of using FIR filters to correct the natural time/phase shift of the speaker. When applied this would result in a near perfect phase response/time alignment and with the benefit of the point source that the coaxial gives you.
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  15. Hi!

    I don't know enough about DIY speakers to have any idea where to begin, but have looked the DIYSG as a curiosity that could bring amazing sounding speakers within my reach if I ever made up my mind. The amount of speaker kits and their short runs has made this a little more confusing. As just an end level consumer, my main objection to DIY is a fear that it would lead to speaker hoarding.

    That being said, I don't care about HT or reference volume but would love to have speakers that sound like being at a real concert. For some reason I must have completely glanced over these and nothing jumped out and said that they sound better than everything else for this application. So i am sad to see them go.
  16. There aren't really any 'short runs' of speaker kits unless they don't sell very well. Pretty much any industry is the same way.....if a company comes out with a new product that doesn't sell they don't continue to carry it. Seriously, there were two Vortex-12's ordered in 1.5 years, possibly 4, but I'm 98% sure it was two. A couple months after they were taken down someone did want 14 of them for surrounds in a very high end theater and I shipped those out.

    Generally speaking anything that gets ordered on a fairly regular basis stays on the site. Of course there can be updates or tweaks to speakers just like other industries update their products through the years.

    The Fusion-8 might be an exception to that because it was taken down so the designer could rework the kit into a more 'full range' type design. But he passed away before it was completed.
  17. Wow thanks for replying so quick!

    I didn't mean to complain about it; it just appears that in the pursuit of progress and seeing what sticks, one line advances to another and then fades away.
    The reviews always say "5 stars - AMAMZING quality, sound, dynamics, packaging, and extra thanks for Erich's outstanding customer service!" for pretty much everything. Which they should. But they rarely say 'this speaker sounds a lot better than X speaker and a little better than Y speaker' in the current line to point a novice towards a good place to start.
    The prices are so low that it opens the possibility of starting with something that is TOTL and really special as a first purchase instead of beginning with a mid level line. I'm currently in the market for front speakers and was leaning towards JBL studio 580s for a 14X20 basement room but am afraid that would be missing out on DIYSG speakers that would walk all over them.
  18. oops sorry i'll enter a double return instead of three spaces to break paragraphs in the future.
  19. I sure hope the Vortex Line isn't done. I've been dreaming of the 15's since their inception, but I knew I wouldn't be able to get them until I started building my dedicated basement theater. As you can see in the pic, I've got a long way to go. I just hope I'll be able to snag 3 for the LCR before they're gone.

    Attached Files:

  20. I'm another who is interested in the Vortex 15, was waiting on the flat-pack cabinets as building cabinets from scratch is beyond my ability. I do hope you reconsider on these and get them back on your site. As an alternative, could you let us know the comparable components and crossover design?
  21. I watched the aforementioned video, a few times. I will say that initially I was concerned that I had selected an inferior product for my theater. I researched the Volts everywhere that I could, especially AVSForums... and everyone - EVERYONE - seemed really happy with them. So I agree with the sentiments above, a little chart and some fancy synopsis of how a certain speaker works, and you can cause a lot of damage to the product - unintentional or otherwise. I’m still sold on a room full of Volts to compliment my Titans, and I can’t wait to order them.
    Now, if I could just get some 21” subs to compliment them, that would be great. (Hint hint).
    BTW - for anyone who hasn’t bought yet, I glued up my first Titan this evening and I’m still blown away by the quality of the product. The packaging, the tolerances, everything... very impressive.
  22. While it would be folly to ignore the IKEA effect the fact still remains that people who have the Volts are really happy with them. More telling is that when they get shown off they're well-received.
  23. In my case, the number one reason I didn't build a vortex is the lack of flat packs.
    Ron Grzywacz and Jack H Toepfer like this.
  24. Any update on availability for the Vortex 15?
  25. I would Like to order 3 of the vortex 15 kits or even the 12s . Is there any availability?
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