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Thread: Zaph 5.3 In-Walls

  1. #1
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    Zaph 5.3 In-Walls

    I'm getting ready to build some Zaph 5.3s into an entertainment center. The entertainment center will look like this:



    So I have more than enough room for the 5.3s. The question is: would I use the in-wall crossovers, and just build the same enclosures as I would for the stand-alone versions, and mount them inside the cabinet?

    I figure I have two choices: use the 5.3 MTM and 5.3c for their respective purposes. Or build three 5.3c for use as left, center, and right, with the in-wall crossover.

    Any suggestions?

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    Thanks for the response.

    Quote Originally Posted by SciFiDogSD View Post
    Personally..I would build the cabs and install them in the ET center, in case you decide to do something different down the road or want to more easily remove & facilitate maintenance on the speakers etc.! I would mount the x-overs in the cab if possible. I take it the center channel will be mounted/placed below the TV! You have a couple of options for sure, some head scratching required?
    Yeah. I'm scratching my head. Placement is obviously not ideal. The front of the cabinet is at a 15 degree angle, so I'm thinking about creating enclosures that have the same angles. Parallelograms, not rectangles. I'd like to get as much low-end extension as reasonable--but sound quality is still my top priority. Would porting in the front be out of the question? Would using the in-wall crossover to eliminate baffle-step compensation eliminate my ability to port them? I don't think so, but I'm not sure.

    Quote Originally Posted by SciFiDogSD View Post
    Other options for build...follow the path of least resistance or make it complicated! Which one, will give you the best appearence/performance?
    I'm looking for the best performance I can get given the limitations imposed by the cabinet. I guess that means in this case, appearance is winning over performance. I'm hoping I'll be happy with the trade-off...

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    Jeff,
    Hoping that John will chime in here. My experience has been anytime I added speakers directly into a cabinet, wether angled or not...imaging has been a test. My best results ended up being with very directional designs (horns). With the best of in walls (B&W) just have not had the imaging I am looking for. I hope Johns design can accomplish that (may be on my test list here).
    What I can tell you about is I ordered 2 center channel 5.3's and built them as a pair. I also built a pair of 5.2's concurrently. I can tell you that the difference in sound when both are out in the room is minimal. If anything just the vertical dispersion (when I sit vs when i stand and walk around). When I move them close to the wall, on the side of a dresser and one is in the corner (curtain to it's right), the 5.3's did not stand out. I find that beautiful! No pull to the corner, no boomy sound.... They worked like a champ. I will have to play with this setup on a nice receiver when I get a chance.

    As we speak I am using a Yamaha 4100 sound bar and while it does an amazing job for what it is, you still do not feel the wide soundstage of the Zaph's out in the room. I only use 16 watts and have found that it's more than loud enough for anything outside of rocking out a very loud movie. Check out my thread on 5.2 and 5.3 designs with. A tube amp.

    I guess if i had to go on record, I would say build 3 5.3c's. At least you ar all common on crossover, front ported, and any crossover tweaks you can just apply x3.

    How big is your room? What's the listening distance? What do you plan on using to drive the speakers?


    Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lunester View Post
    Jeff,
    Hoping that John will chime in here. My experience has been anytime I added speakers directly into a cabinet, wether angled or not...imaging has been a test. My best results ended up being with very directional designs (horns). With the best of in walls (B&W) just have not had the imaging I am looking for. I hope Johns design can accomplish that (may be on my test list here).

    ...

    I guess if i had to go on record, I would say build 3 5.3c's. At least you ar all common on crossover, front ported, and any crossover tweaks you can just apply x3.

    How big is your room? What's the listening distance? What do you plan on using to drive the speakers?


    Brian
    Hi Brian,

    I initially thought about building some pi speakers (either 3 pi or 4 pi) because of their off-axis performance. But the cost is higher than I'd like and they'll require more space than I want for the family room. The Zaph's look pretty good for off-axis performance, the price is reasonable, and the size is fine.

    The cabinet will actually be built-in to a corner of a 25'x25' family room that is mostly open on two sides, with wood floors, and a window wall covered by a drape. Treatments in the room will be limited to curtains and an area rug. I won't get away with anything more than that. I'll be driving them with a Denon AVR-1909 (90 w/channel), and I have a cheap Yamaha sub that I'll eventually replace with a low-profile DIY sub. I have a couple of low-end Polk 6.5" in-ceilings that do dual duty as surrounds and whole-house audio. I'll probably use the Zaph's for 60% music, 40% movies. Primary listening position is about 8 feet from the speakers, but off-center, so soundstage will definitely be a challenge. I have a cheap set of Boston Acoustics LCRs in the room now, but I'm looking for something a bit more accurate than those.

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    Jeff,
    Sounds like you are throwing plenty of power at them. The Audyssey is a good processor for its class. It has a lil bit of everything... from phase, frequency, and reflection processing built in so it should help a lot with your configuration. I am wondering if you would do better creating a cubby hole for the speakers, then damping the inside of the cabinet. Then covering the whole area with a grill. This would give you flexibility in changing speakers and aiming them. You could push them up to the front of the grill, but a lot of room for experimentation.

    I suspect your cabinet depth to be somewhere between 16-24" (16 works well as 3 sides from a 4x8 sheet after you treat the edges), with the flat screens depth is determined by equipment and what you store these days. I would think that 12-14" width where the speakers go would give you TONS of width to work with. I would break apart the area into 3 regions, a lower for sub, middle for speaker, and upper for storage. Then you get more space out of the cabinet that's usable.

    Don't forget to route you some 1/2-1" slots above your equipment and make sure that heat is not going up and baking your TV. You also need that on the bottom, cause hot air cannot leave unless cool air has a way to come in. I typically put 1/2 to 1" wide slots 20" wide under my equipment, and sometimes more in the back panel. Every now and then have to use fans (usually computer fans driven by 12v wall wart). There are so many silent inexpensive fans on the market, just make sure you leave adequate room for air to flow without making any noise. Once you hear the bearings wear out on the fans, replace them. Just pick a standard sized fan like 80 or 120mm fans.

    I have done similar arrangements using everything from Mirage Satellites (I think micro-stats), to near field monitors. I typically use 1" Owens Corning 803 acoustic insulation inside the cabinet to kill off any reflections hitting the cabinet walls. I then push the speaker forward so it may be 1/4" behind the grill, and make the grill frame from 3/4" MDF routing a big enough hole for the cabinet to slide through. I paint the MDF to match the cloth, and then staple the cloth around it. I put a strip on the back of the bottom edge, and a dado in the divider, and use a few neodymium magnets up top to hold the grill in place. I typically make the grill frame 1/8-3/16" under size, as the material eats about 1/8". There is a stoper strip behind the grill on the cabinet which holds my insulation in and gives the frame something to seal against. Usually not continuous., so I notch the insulation. The 803 cuts easily with the snap off hobby knives.

    Alternatively with how HDMI cables are so reasonable these days I put my equipment away from the TV. I hate being distracted by lots of little lights and screens when watching TV. Solves a lot of cooling issues. I have seen reliable 30ft cables going for less than $30 a piece. I have tested a gamut of them, and for the most part.....they either work, ghost, or die. Easy to find a good cable at a reasonable price.

    Assuming space works out, I could see some nice 8-10" front firing subs below, and 3 Zaph 5.3's in a corner cab sounding wonderful. BTW, if it is going 45 degrees in corner, extend your box and make the ends storage on a 45 degree shelf. The joiner is not bad, and the SWMBO loves the nick knack space!

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    Brian,

    I thought about doing just that: lining the inside of all three speaker compartments with OC-703. That should hopefully take care of some of what I would call "corner loading" of the bass, right? I will cover all three speaker compartments completely with speaker cloth, but the components will go in the center compartment beneath the center speaker. I'll be sure to ventilate the cabinet--possibly even with a fan or two through the back of the cabinet--blowing into a hallway. The cabinet depth changes from about 13" at the left side, to about 29" at the left side. I guess I'll go ahead and order three ZA5.3c with ports. I suppose I can always switch out components on the crossovers if it's too heavy on the bass.

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    Jeff,
    Good plan. I doubt you will have any issues with too much bass. These are tuned for use with a sub, and I expected the worse when I stuck one in the corner and was pleasantly surprised when that was not the case.
    Love to see some construction photos as you go. I get the impression you have built a cabinet or two through the years?

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    I received three kits this week, getting ready to start building. As I think I mentioned earlier, I want to modify the enclosure to turn it into a parallelepiped (a 3d parallelogram). I mocked it up in Sketchup. Here's a screenshot:



    Basically, the enclosure is angled by 15 degrees so it will fit well within the cabinet, where the front is also angled by 15 degrees. I adjusted the volume of the enclosure to bring it just above the recommended enclosure design (it is .03 liters larger) by increasing the height from 21 to 21.5 inches. Does that sound reasonable? Any reason to worry about negative effects from the angled enclosure?

    Thanks, Jeff

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    Thats a good question! First time I've seen angled cabs like that, maybe some issues if sides are not damped in some manner with acoustic foam etc!

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    I doubt that the angle would effect anything. Simple rule of thumb from math, is add back what you take off on the sides (pivoting the middle) leads to the same volume. Just get them pushed to the edge as much as possible and I bet you will be in good shape.
    I have found that with a 3/4" sides, and a 1.25" baffle (and 2 cross braces) ........when they are working hard I do not feel even the lightest sense of any vibration. For all purposes its a DEAD cabinet.

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