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JonFo

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Hi everyone,

Ever wonder what a truly great center channel speaker can do for movies and High Def Surround Sound ?

I sure did, and after thinking about it long and hard, I decided that the best route was to do it myself.

Therefore I designed and built my own ESL based center. If you want all the gory details including dozens of build phase photos, read my thread on what I call the SL3-eXtreeme Center speaker.

This thread is to talk about the results and to share the good times (and I’m sure some challenges) around this new speaker.

First, now that it’s up and running, I’m simply amazed. I expected better than the Logos just based on sheer square footage of radiating surfaces and Line Array principles, but I was not prepared for the quality I’m hearing now.

As I sit here listening to the Sting ‘Sacred Love’ album in SACD, my jaw keeps hitting the keyboard …

Drum dynamics like I’ve never heard in my rig. The vocals (which are almost 100% anchored in the center channel) are now razor sharp, and they are the same volume as the L/R at ‘high’ (avg 90db) volumes.

That big Infinite Baffle is the bomb as well. It keeps up with the Martin Logans like nothing I’ve ever heard. Tight, accurate and ‘infinite’ in depth ;)

Here’s the pic of the beast (note that the screen is removed in this shot).
 

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roberto

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JonFo said:
Hi everyone,

Ever wonder what a truly great center channel speaker can do for movies and High Def Surround Sound ?

I sure did, and after thinking about it long and hard, I decided that the best route was to do it myself.

Therefore I designed and built my own ESL based center. If you want all the gory details including dozens of build phase photos, read my thread on what I call the SL3-eXtreeme Center speaker.

This thread is to talk about the results and to share the good times (and I’m sure some challenges) around this new speaker.

First, now that it’s up and running, I’m simply amazed. I expected better than the Logos just based on sheer square footage of radiating surfaces and Line Array principles, but I was not prepared for the quality I’m hearing now.

As I sit here listening to the Sting ‘Sacred Love’ album in SACD, my jaw keeps hitting the keyboard …

Drum dynamics like I’ve never heard in my rig. The vocals (which are almost 100% anchored in the center channel) are now razor sharp, and they are the same volume as the L/R at ‘high’ (avg 90db) volumes.

That big Infinite Baffle is the bomb as well. It keeps up with the Martin Logans like nothing I’ve ever heard. Tight, accurate and ‘infinite’ in depth ;)

Here’s the pic of the beast (note that the screen is removed in this shot).
Hola Jonathan and congrats with your new design and built of the center channel speaker. As I can see, it is a truly full range. Please don´t get me wrong here, but it looks like a small Statement. I had the pleasure to be in Mr. Gayle Sander´s house, listening to them in 2001. Reading your posts, I know that you do like the good sound and of course you do know what your are doing at the design of a such complicated speaker and the most important, your liking and needs. All I can say is that I envy you (the good one of couse :D )...I wish you a very happy listening,
Pura vida,
Roberto.
 

JonFo

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Thanks Roberto.

I was inspired to achieve as high a level of audio reproduction as possible by someone who was an inspiration to many musicians and music lovers in Costa Rica. You might even have attended some of his concerts in the Teatro Nacional.
I’m speaking of my late father, the Dr. Ricardo Foulkes, who lived in Costa Rica until his passing a few weeks ago. Here is a write up by Dr. Araya on him in the Prensa:
http://www.prensalibre.co.cr/2006/mayo/01/opinion09.php

As a kid, I’d read all the audio magazines he had, then draw in my notebooks all sorts of intricate systems using then current or announced equipment.
As I got older, I’d build Dynaco amps, and mess with his Quad setup. Turns out I was the one who could figure out how to make CD-4 discs work ;)

But always, I’d marvel at the sounds of the Steinway grand played by this Julliard grad in our living room, sometimes accompanied by local national orchestra musicians in trios or quartets.
I was very lucky to have had that experience.

It’s that sound of Steinway in the room that led me to Martin Logans. Only they could even approximate the sounds of a piano.

Happily, I believe we are really close to achieving that now with all five speakers. The Monoliths could do it, especially after the active crossovers. But the center was always weaker. Now with the SL3XC, I finally have something that can keep up and when driven by DVD-A or even the marvelous TriField of my Meridian pre-pro, it all hangs together well now.

Regards from another Tico,
 

roberto

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JonFo said:
Thanks Roberto.

I was inspired to achieve as high a level of audio reproduction as possible by someone who was an inspiration to many musicians and music lovers in Costa Rica. You might even have attended some of his concerts in the Teatro Nacional.
I’m speaking of my late father, the Dr. Ricardo Foulkes, who lived in Costa Rica until his passing a few weeks ago. Here is a write up by Dr. Araya on him in the Prensa:
http://www.prensalibre.co.cr/2006/mayo/01/opinion09.php

As a kid, I’d read all the audio magazines he had, then draw in my notebooks all sorts of intricate systems using then current or announced equipment.
As I got older, I’d build Dynaco amps, and mess with his Quad setup. Turns out I was the one who could figure out how to make CD-4 discs work ;)

But always, I’d marvel at the sounds of the Steinway grand played by this Julliard grad in our living room, sometimes accompanied by local national orchestra musicians in trios or quartets.
I was very lucky to have had that experience.

It’s that sound of Steinway in the room that led me to Martin Logans. Only they could even approximate the sounds of a piano.

Happily, I believe we are really close to achieving that now with all five speakers. The Monoliths could do it, especially after the active crossovers. But the center was always weaker. Now with the SL3XC, I finally have something that can keep up and when driven by DVD-A or even the marvelous TriField of my Meridian pre-pro, it all hangs together well now.

Regards from another Tico,
Hola Jonathan...please receive my deepest feelings regarding Mr. Foulkes. He was an angel that God gave us for good. And he became a tico too. My grandparents were from U.S...they also were anglicans. They felt in love with the country and the ticos, and decided to live here for the rest of their lives, and became ticos too, same as Mr. Foulkes. It is good to know that you had the great music chance with such a great pianist and musician. And yes, I knew him...we all know everybody here...this is a very small town. And know I do understand why you are with Martin Logan sound. And I agreed with you...the closest thing to my guitar, are my CLS IIz...and to you, your Monoliths to a piano. Happy listening tico,
Pura vida,
Roberto.
 

jfm

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JonFo said:
the marvelous TriField of my Meridian pre-pro
Ahh, there's the inspiration. I've heard marvelous things about Trifield but have yet to hear TriField itself.

Congrats on your creation!
 

JonFo

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Build thread updated

For those who are interested, the build thread has been updated

Here's a link that will take you to the third page. Post 43 on is new.

As I've been doing the updates this morning, I've been enjoying Trifield processed music. Mostly rediscovering all the great prog rock I have on the music server.

Steve Hacket Voyage of the acolyte (remastered) playing now.

Loving every minute of it :cool:
 

JonFo

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clear as a bell

As I listen to music this morning, several of the recordings feature bells and other struck percussive instruments that have high-frequency harmonics. It’s clear that the effort to obtain maximum time-alignment is absolutely critical to the correct reproduction of instruments such a triangle.

There is a reason people say ‘clear as a bell’. I now hear these instruments with a level of cohesion across the front soundstage that I had not heard before.

As I describe in the build thread, getting this time alignment right is not simple, but very much worth it.
 

Robin

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Excellent Center Speaker

JonFo said:
As I listen to music this morning, several of the recordings feature bells and other struck percussive instruments that have high-frequency harmonics. It’s clear that the effort to obtain maximum time-alignment is absolutely critical to the correct reproduction of instruments such a triangle.

There is a reason people say ‘clear as a bell’. I now hear these instruments with a level of cohesion across the front soundstage that I had not heard before.

As I describe in the build thread, getting this time alignment right is not simple, but very much worth it.
Jon,

What a beautiful job you did on building a terrific looking and (I'm sure your quite correct) sounding center channel speaker. :D If you don't mind my asking how much did it finally cost to design and completely build your new center channel speaker? The total cost? Also the total time involved as well?
Is your wife happy with the outcome as well?

It sure is beautiful. You did a superalitive, super fine job and it really shows Jon... ;)
 

JonFo

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Robin said:
Jon,

What a beautiful job you did on building a terrific looking and (I'm sure your quite correct) sounding center channel speaker. :D If you don't mind my asking how much did it finally cost to design and completely build your new center channel speaker? The total cost? Also the total time involved as well?
Is your wife happy with the outcome as well?

It sure is beautiful. You did a superalitive, super fine job and it really shows Jon... ;)
Thanks Robin. Wish I could share the experience with more of you. It really is unique.

I was just over at a friends house last night, and he has a Lexicon MC-12B, Audio Research tubes and Theta SS amplification, a Velodyne ULD18 sub and a full suite of top of the line Vandersteen speakers. All in a custom designed and acoustically treated theater as well, and while nice, it just was not quite the level of what I now have.

As for cost, well let’s just say that in terms of parts, it cost me about what a Stage will cost (>$3K). In terms of labor, somewhere around 200+ person-hours to design, build and tune.

The wife and everyone else that has heard it is absolutely amazed. Like I said elsewhere, time-coherence is key. So are great mid-bass abilities.
But the hardest person to please, me, is very happy as well :D
 

Robin

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Fascinating Center Channel Odyssey (no pun intended)...

JonFo said:
Thanks Robin. Wish I could share the experience with more of you. It really is unique.

I was just over at a friends house last night, and he has a Lexicon MC-12B, Audio Research tubes and Theta SS amplification, a Velodyne ULD18 sub and a full suite of top of the line Vandersteen speakers. All in a custom designed and acoustically treated theater as well, and while nice, it just was not quite the level of what I now have.

As for cost, well let’s just say that in terms of parts, it cost me about what a Stage will cost (>$3K). In terms of labor, somewhere around 200+ person-hours to design, build and tune.

The wife and everyone else that has heard it is absolutely amazed. Like I said elsewhere, time-coherence is key. So are great mid-bass abilities.
But the hardest person to please, me, is very happy as well :D
Jon,

Thank you for all your candid information, insights and point of view, it means a lot to me. You have given us all hope, what can be done with a team of committed hard working people with a vision of beautiful sound and the tenacity to go and pursue that dream successfully... What you've done it truly inspiring. I appreciate your sharing what you've accomplished. It's just so awesome... :D
 

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