My first Visaton floorstander build

Terra

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Thought I'd make a general discussion of my Visaton Alto 3C build for the forumites that don't follow the DIY thread. You can skip the blah blah first paragraph on the story on how I got to build them if you want.

I got to a point with my HT system earlier this year where I required to improve on my sound setup, some you might laugh at this, as I got tired of management constantly asking to turn down the volume as our first born was going to wake up. I had to turn up the volume due to the dialogue of movies and tv shows that's constantly at a low volume, but still I required the effects of the movie/show as well. The setup at that stage was old Sansui floorstanders with 2x 8inch drivers and a tweeter each as main left and right and oldish Sansui bookshelves for rear left and right. It worked well but only at high volumes. The 8inch's of the floorstanders just couldn't give me higher frequencies ie, dialogue, at low volumes as the drivers just was too much. So I did some research on HT and found that dialogue is mainly produced through your centre channel which I did not have. So I went on the search for a cheap and old centre speaker to test this. I found a cheap Mission center speaker and hooked it up at my pc's 5.1 sub/amp and had a good listen to movies and shows and found it to be just that! Great, so I have a solution for my problem, went to Audiovision and purchased a brand mission centre channel, sommer a size one, M3C2i, as luck would have it, they had a brand new one that was hidden way back in their storage as these were discontinued a while ago. So a new problem then arose. The Sansui's and Mission didn't blend sound wise, damn! another problem. So I went back to Audiovision and listened to the Boston A26's and A225 centre and brought them back home. Oh fantastic! But alas, I missed the bass reproduction of my Sansui's and got myself the Jamo J10 sub that was on a lekker special at Dionwired. Sorted! Well....uhm.... after a few months the aesthetics of the bookshelf left and right started bothering me as I adore and missed the aesthetical appeal of a floorstander but buying the A360 was not an option as these guys are out my price range and first have to upgrade my receiver. So I started looking into second hand options and also discovered the world of diy. Never knew that this world is so big. My knowledge on diy speaker build go as far building my car speaker stuff back in the day when my cars came with crap tape decks and shoddy full range brandless drivers. Today my vehicle consist of a fantastic 14 speaker B&O system which I believe is a main contributor to my need for proper sound quality!

Anyway, up and down between second hand options on floorstanders, possible diy builds backwards and forwards, maybe upgrading the Sansui's, it consumed my life and it was irritating me out the walls! Enter Mister Blizzard and his Visatons after I contacted him regarding some drivers. He eventually convinced me to get the Alto 3C kit and build this into the Sansui cabs as the dimensions are fairly close. So I decided to go for it!
Doing some CAD designs and assessing the amount of work and precision that was required to produce a baffle that can be attached to a modified baffle of the Sansui's just got too tricky and risky. So I opted to build the cabs from scratch rather. I made peace with myself that I will most definitely build them twice as I'm, unfortunately  :facepalm:, one those people with little patience and when I want something I want it now! So I kinda rushed the build to get it done. And over time, bit by bit I'll rebuild the cabs at a slow and detailed pace as I already have the Alto up and running!



So the build begins. Had the panels cut by The Board Store here in Durbanville, highly recommended if anyone in the area require some board cutting, they cut precise!
Having limited large clamping equipment I made my way with heavy steel weights and gas bottels to pressurize the glued areas. Worked quite well, I know its not the right way, but next time! I discovered later in the build that my neighbour have some lekker big clamps that I can borrow.



Years ago I built myself a 20ton bearing press from heavy structural profile steel off-cuts which I mainly use to press out dings and smileys on my m/cycle rims. Comes in handy for application as in the picture as well!



Got the cabs done without the front baffle. One of the cabs came out slightly miss-aligned by working with my improvised steel and gas bottle weights. Luckilly only about 1.5mm, but even this tolerance is not acceptable to me. Precision and neatness is key in my life. Buuuut, I made peace yet again as I know that I will rebuild them again.



Initial thoughts were to paint the complete cab as the finish render, but halfway through the build I saw one of JimGore's builds (thanks for the inspiration JimGore, your builds are out of this world!) and thought that I'd give the timber look with a black baffle finish a go. By cladding the cabs with exotic timber was not a option as this would've made the width of the cab too wide to my liking due to the baffle/driver width ratio. Some speakers can pull it off I suppose, but I wanted the slanted edges in the corner, and the ration just wouldn't work. So opted to give 4mm plywood a go. Had some sections cut after struggling to find a shop that is willing to cut them. They are all to scared as they say its too risky as I required them to be chamfered at 45? to fit neatly at the joints. Long story short, I had to scrap all the panels because the shop that did it couldn't understand measurements properly as it seemed. Anyway...
Up and down with machinery on how to cut the 3.6mm ply panels I bought the second time around, I eventually got them cut sufficiently. (Check my DIY thread on how I did it with my Dremel)

So I stuck them on, again with the improvised weights.



Woodoc'ed and ready..



The front baffles was quite a challenge making them by hand. I had a quote on the table for R2k to have them cnc'd but I opted to attempt them myself as R2k is a lot and I have a high quality router and access to a radial arm saw. The radial arm saw unfortunately limited my cutting angles for the slants but worked out well in the end. The initial design for the bottom slants was to continue all the way up to the bottom 6.5" driver to match the 4" driver slant termination, but as said, the radial arm saw was limited. So I matched the slants in all four corners. Looks okay, not as planned, but I'm happy...next time  :giggle:



With some kop krap and clear thinking, I eventually got the wires soldered up on the xover as I didn't have a schematic drawing on where the wires go, well, I had one, only found it in the bottom of the box the next day after I finished the soldering already!  :walled: Could've saved myself a whole hour of figuring it out from the electrical diagram drawing. I'm not an electrical engineer, I'm a structural engineering technician so electrics is not my fort?, but I got it sorted with some ingenuity in the end! The wires on the xover is soldered as a mirrored image of the diagram! Looks funny on the xover, but hey, it works!  :BWAHAHAH:



So, I got them done in the end. Turned the last screw 11pm at night.

Prior to this I had to still fit the dampening and do you think I had any idea how this works! No! Got to chatting with Blizzard on Whatsapp during that evenings works. Technology is really lekker sometimes! He guided me all through the night with all the bits and pieces including the dampening. Luckily I sent him a picture of me pointing to a specific area to ask him about damping behind the mid/tweeter enclosure and he picked up that I got the dampening wrong for the 6.5" drivers. He explained to me how the dampening works and I moved it in the right place. Thank goodness he saw it before I closed it, as I can really hear in the sound why it is done this way. As my understanding goes (Blizzard, jump in if I'm wrong), the cab also produces resonance by sound waves at the rear side of the driver. By placing the dampening directly behind the driver and not leaving a void between the driver and dampening you lessen the cab resonance and create a tighter bass reproduction, basically removing the 'echo' if I can call it that.
So after I turned the last screw at 11pm, Blizzard informed me that he's on his way to me to come and have a listen at my creations. Unfortunately management and mini-me already went to bed so we couldn't step on the gas pedal too much that evening. We sat drinking honey induced white Muscadel till 2am that morning.

It's been almost three weeks now with these guys running every evening at a steady pace and whole day on the weekends with music filling our home. I'm amazed, just absolutely amazed! Even with my cheapie Sansui 50W receiver'tjie. These guys really warms my heart with the joy by sitting back and listening to these DIY's. I'm confident that with some proper amplification giving these guys food I'll kick some serious commercial speaker butt. As days go by and the drivers get settled, they sound better and better and you know what, I can really hear them settling and improving as I watch series and listen to the same music and I can hear it just getting better and better.
Funny thing, I changed the audio setup from my sources as well over the weekend, moved my Android box to have the audio run through the hdmi into my tv and utilize the aux out from the tv into the receiver. Big difference already. The tv's DAC is slightly better quality than the receiver so it assists in cleaning the sound. I also changed my Bray player to run a genuine digital coax cable, and also, biiig improvement!

Overall, the Alto 3C, recommended to all! Natural sound reproduction with a lekker wide dispersion. So that, I chucked all the HT stuff and I'm running only these two guys now. No need for any centre or surround speakers or subwoofer for that matter. Being a 3-way, I found that I can increase my bass setting without compromising the mid and tweeter treble. Dialogue is awesome and clear and the explosions and gun shots from the movies are controlled with great effects. From sitting with the remote in my hand all night previously to setting one volume and putting the remote aside for the remainder of my TV experience, priceless!! People, 3 way speakers are the right way! Look, I'm no fundi on all things audio, but heck, with my little knowledge and little years around the block on this, I can hear the difference between quality and sommer net gou aanmekaar geslaan om geld te maak speakers! These Visatons cry for attention and they will give you something special in return!
The sound quality combined with the knowing that my hands typing these words now built these, absolutely fantastic! Can't wait to start and rebuild the cabs to a very high spec and finish render!!

Blizzard, my appreciation for your knowledge and guidance and convincing me to go this way! Anyone is more than welcome to come have a listen at these guys if you are in the same boat as I was a while ago. My speakers, I'm sorted now for years to come! Now it's onto source upgrades, well, when my ship docks at CT harbour one day!










 

PaganMcLoud

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These look the business.  Whenever I think DIY builds I start seeing flashes of raw chipboard, uneven corners and a lot of rush-work to get the job done.  Your finishing here is of a very high standard though, and looks more like a labour of love.  :thumbs:
 

Terra

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Thanks PaganMcloud!

Well, genuine labour of love will go in the next set of cabs I build for the drivers. This one was a rush job! Took me a period over three weeks. In the evenings and weekends.

Did you ever upgrade the tweeters on your Hardworking South African man speakers?? (think that's what you called it..)
 

blizzard

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@ Terra

Thank you for the kind words. I must say, I was highly impressed with your wood working skills for someone who had never tackled a DIY speaker build.

The Visaton products have a typical German approach. No fancy looking products with flashy cones,baskets and over sized looking magnets (most of inferior magnet material). Instead you get a product that uses tried and tested materials,very tight production tolerances and exact engineering. That's why they sound so good out of the box. If one sticks to one of their tried and trusted kit designs,the end result is always guaranteed.

As for Jim Gore. What an inspiration !!! If only I can convince him to build one of the Visaton kits  :groovy:.
And as Jim says in one of his posts, get off your behind and go build em, and that is exactly what you did. :thumbs:
Now imagine how the Atlas mk5, VOX 300 or Experience range sound like if they are built correctly  :2thumbs:.
I still have many kits,drivers and high end cross overs and components available for those that are interested.
Blizzard
 
 

Terra

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One day, when I'm older, I'll get one of the even larger kits from you and build some more. Just image having these Alto's as rear speakers and running two even larger ones upfront!! woohoo!

Jim Jim Jim  :clap:  Jim Jim Jim, come-on Jim! Let's see what you can make out of a Visaton!
 

Nirvana

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Fantastic skills shown by a 'layman'!  :clap:
Helped no doubt by input from some very knowledgeable forum members  :notworthy:

Congrats,and enjoy your handiwork Terra!  :thumbs:
 

Terra

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Speaker build layman definitely! I'm actually quite good with my hands, not that I'm bragging but I think that this will help me to gain skills faster in the speaker building department, as it becomes a art and craft eventually when you start following the JimGore route! My weak point is little patience and that causes havoc when it comes to the painting and sealing of timber! Like Axl Rose once said, just a little patience  :giggle:
 

blizzard

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Trust me. If you call that a rush job I'm very excited to see what your next creation will  look / sound like  :thumbs:

Blizzard
 

PaganMcLoud

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Terra said:
Did you ever upgrade the tweeters on your Hardworking South African man speakers?? (think that's what you called it..)
Have not got around to doing this yet.  I'm being threatened with divorce in this fantastic soap opera that is my life...  so these are the days of a hard-working South African man.  :-\
 

Terra

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Thanks for the kind words Blizzard! My gat jeuk op hierdie stadium, maar ek moet maar eers relax vir nou! Nou eers ander dinge wat voorl?!

Paganmcloud, hope you just joking about the divorce!
 

Terra

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pic host

So the work on these cabs are now done. Changed the front baffle to flat black and paired it with the plinths which I fitted with dowels. Has 10mm raised void between the cabs and plinth. Gives it a much richer feel. The gloss black started working on my nerves! One day I'll scratch the time together to start rebuilding the cabs slowly with a lot more precision and render finishes. But for now, just sitting back and listening to the fantastic sounds it creates!
 

blizzard

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Wow Terra looking even better! :2thumbs:
I'm going to commission you on building me some sets,then I can offer them complete! Seriously .
I bet they are sounding even better now after some running in.
Now I can send you your spike set for the plinths
blizzard
 

Kemosabe

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PaganMcLoud said:
Have not got around to doing this yet.  I'm being threatened with divorce in this fantastic soap opera that is my life...  so these are the days of a hard-working South African man.  :-\
Well if you have to spend your money on something at least a divorce is something you'll always have.
 

Terra

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blizzard said:
Wow Terra looking even better! :2thumbs:
I'm going to commission you on building me some sets,then I can offer them complete! Seriously .
I bet they are sounding even better now after some running in.
Now I can send you your spike set for the plinths
blizzard

Oh yes! You should seriously swing by soon and come have listen! That goes to everyone that wants to know what these kits sound like. I've since paired them with a old NAD T752 and a Asus Xonar U3 USB stick Dac. Oh my oh my!
It would be dream come true if I spend time on building speakers and earning some profit on it! So ja, let's talk!
 

naughty

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the baffle looks very nice with the flat black ..... congrats on the redone work .... you have definitely improved the look of the speakers ie they now look factory made  :thumbs:
 

SeanS

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Well done, the flat black is a winner... I would love to hear these one day. If you ever rebuild, bring some angles into the back to balance the front.

We need to have a CT speaker GTG again sometime.
 

Mongoose

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Awesome build bud. Best part about it all is, YOU BUILT IT! Hope it brings you many years of pleasure  :2thumbs:
 

Terra

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Thanks guys! Yes, I agree, the flat black does improve the look and yes, like naughty said, gives it a factory look. I should've done this from the get go!
SeanS, your welcome to swing by! Ja, we need to do a CT one soon, I would love to hear other forumites systems and gear.

Below is a small project I did a few weekends ago. Built from my old Mission M2S satellites. I bumped down the low-end frequency by increasing the cab volume and adding the bass reflex tube. Goodness gracious me, you must hear the reproduction of these little guys now!

DIY is really something! Really wish I could dedicate more time into it. Can I ask of other forumites that's reading this to post some pics of their hand build speakers on this thread please. I would love to see.
Mongoose, how far is yours?

upload photo
 

Andre Vermeulen

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PaganMcLoud said:
Have not got around to doing this yet.  I'm being threatened with divorce in this fantastic soap opera that is my life...  so these are the days of a hard-working South African man.  :-\
Sorry to hear that Pagan.....Work at it,all too often we tend to neglect priorities and become self involved in life at the expense of the true pleasures.....you fit those tweeters and break the  cycle!
 
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