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Affordable Accuracy Monitor Review

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Uh--what's a DROP? LYFT I know. DROP, not so much.
www.drop.com

They negotiate with manufacturers for large group buys. When they announce a drop, members can commit to buy, and once the threshold number of commitments is reached Drop makes the purchase and distributes the product. They do collaborations and limited runs too -- I have a pair of Sennheiser HD6XX headphones that are basically less expensive HD650s made exclusively for Drop.
 
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Uh--what's a DROP? LYFT I know. DROP, not so much.
Formerly MassDrop. The Website essentially thrives on taking ideas from creators, collaborating, and leveraging their relationships to get them down to as cheap as possible. Sennheiser, Focal, Fostext - etc. have all worked with them.

The other thing they have is a large Youtube / Influencer network. Pretty much - they can make a product an instant classic.


Anyway- sorry if the suggestion is out of line, I apologize Dennis.
 

mt196

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For the record, I would commit TODAY to a Philharmonic AAX through Drop.
I am building AAM+ my own with a lot of DIY and I actually cannot understand how Dennis sold them at around 300$, I paid 70+180 just for the Woofers and Tweeters, ok I am in EU and not in US so it is imported stuff and it costs more, but still that price was impressive
 

Dennis Murphy

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Formerly MassDrop. The Website essentially thrives on taking ideas from creators, collaborating, and leveraging their relationships to get them down to as cheap as possible. Sennheiser, Focal, Fostext - etc. have all worked with them.

The other thing they have is a large Youtube / Influencer network. Pretty much - they can make a product an instant classic.


Anyway- sorry if the suggestion is out of line, I apologize Dennis.
Certainly not out of line. And thanks for the explanation. I think my family members would disown me if I got involved in anything that complex. In any event, it looks like the entry-level mini monitor market is shifting pretty rapidly to active designs.
 

KEW

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I am building AAM+ my own with a lot of DIY and I actually cannot understand how Dennis sold them at around 300$, I paid 70+180 just for the Woofers and Tweeters, ok I am in EU and not in US so it is imported stuff and it costs more, but still that price was impressive
Your observation is totally legit!
Having been in communication with Dennis over the years, I think it is fair to say that he considered himself retired with a reasonable pension and Philharmonic Audio was more about sharing his "gift" (combination of aptitude and experience in crossover/speaker design) and passion for sound quality with others, than money!
He was not trying to put food on the table or build a business, just share quality audio with those who were in pursuit of it enough to find him via word of mouth, and hopefully not lose too much money along the way! I know he is around 80 years old and no longer inclined to endure the "get it out by Friday" grind of being a one man company; however, he still seems to be sharing what he can in whatever way he best can!
He put a lot of energy into setting up Meniscus audio and the flat pack for his BMR design, and I am sure he is disappointed that the price of this kit exceeds what he was selling the finished product for, but that reflects how he kept the price to a minimum (he is an accountant by profession). The providers of the kit are not gouging, but merely applying their normal markup required to be a successful business!

PS-Apologies to Dennis for talking about you in third person, but I know you are not inclined to "blow your own horn", but I am more than happy to blow it for you because of the joy your designs have provided to so many (including myself) who could not comfortably afford such high quality through normal retail channels!
 
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There are designs that explore what's possible when cost isn't much of a factor, and designs that explore what's possible within reasonable cost constraints. The latter can be particularly delightful IMHO especially when the designer's aesthetic isn't compromised by the marketers' product line requirements. There's something magical about designs like the AA and AA+ and the communal gratitude is appropriate!

On to a question, if that's OK... What would be an appropriate center speaker to use the the AA's or AA+'s? DIY would be especially satisfying. I asked over at the Home Theater forum but as a noob here possibly posed the question poorly or in the wrong place. Happy to accept advice re where the question belongs!
 

KEW

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There are designs that explore what's possible when cost isn't much of a factor, and designs that explore what's possible within reasonable cost constraints. The latter can be particularly delightful IMHO especially when the designer's aesthetic isn't compromised by the marketers' product line requirements. There's something magical about designs like the AA and AA+ and the communal gratitude is appropriate!

On to a question, if that's OK... What would be an appropriate center speaker to use the the AA's or AA+'s? DIY would be especially satisfying. I asked over at the Home Theater forum but as a noob here possibly posed the question poorly or in the wrong place. Happy to accept advice re where the question belongs!
I know Dennis recommended NHT SuperZeros for surrounds to go with the Dayton Audio version of the AA's (The DA AA is pretty heavy with a rear port so not an ideal candidate for mounting on the wall). However, while the NHT's are a good timbre match as surrounds, you may want a center capable of greater SPL - more in line with the AA.
Is building an AA not an option? That would, of course, give you the most perfect timbre match! The biggest reason I can think of not to use another AA is if it is too tall to fit under your TV.
Hopefully Dennis will respond.
 

Dennis Murphy

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Your observation is totally legit!
Having been in communication with Dennis over the years, I think it is fair to say that he considered himself retired with a reasonable pension and Philharmonic Audio was more about sharing his "gift" (combination of aptitude and experience in crossover/speaker design) and passion for sound quality with others, than money!
He was not trying to put food on the table or build a business, just share quality audio with those who were in pursuit of it enough to find him via word of mouth, and hopefully not lose too much money along the way! I know he is around 80 years old and no longer inclined to endure the "get it out by Friday" grind of being a one man company; however, he still seems to be sharing what he can in whatever way he best can!
He put a lot of energy into setting up Meniscus audio and the flat pack for his BMR design, and I am sure he is disappointed that the price of this kit exceeds what he was selling the finished product for, but that reflects how he kept the price to a minimum (he is an accountant by profession). The providers of the kit are not gouging, but merely applying their normal markup required to be a successful business!

PS-Apologies to Dennis for talking about you in third person, but I know you are not inclined to "blow your own horn", but I am more than happy to blow it for you because of the joy your designs have provided to so many (including myself) who could not comfortably afford such high quality through normal retail channels!
You can say anything you want talking in any person you wish if you continue in this vein. Thanks very much for the flattering words. I'm not quite up to 80 yet--I'm even younger than Biden, although less likely to be President. And I spent my professional life as an economist, making a lot less money than an accountant and giving a lot less valuable advice;.
 
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I know Dennis recommended NHT SuperZeros for surrounds to go with the Dayton Audio version of the AA's (The DA AA is pretty heavy with a rear port so not an ideal candidate for mounting on the wall). However, while the NHT's are a good timbre match as surrounds, you may want a center capable of greater SPL - more in line with the AA.
Is building an AA not an option? That would, of course, give you the most perfect timbre match! The biggest reason I can think of not to use another AA is if it is too tall to fit under your TV.
Hopefully Dennis will respond.
Hmmm... I could build a third AA or AA+ (I have a pair of BR-1's that can be modded or start from scratch, as well as a pair of to-be-modded Pioneers arriving tomorrow). It would probably have to go below the TV with the tweeter domes around 20" above the floor. Maybe I'll give it a try. Thanks for the tip on the NHT's as a possibility. "Diminutive" and tonal match are just what I'm looking for.
 
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I have some Pioneers coming, and I'm excited to give this mod a go. I just have to wait patiently for the tweeters to come back in stock at parts-express. For my last uncompleted speaker project, I actually put together a cabinet, but the drivers I was going to use went out of production forever.... I'm really looking forward to getting some real speakers again. Thanks for sharing and reintroducing the modded speakers.
 
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Madisound has them in stock right now, at a similar price.
I just bought the tweeters on Madisound and the only problem was the cutoff for free shipping was much higher than Parts Express so I ended paying an extra $15. If you have other projects going on you maybe get the free shipping.

Also, my BS22's that I just bought direct from Pioneer have a different arrangement to the stuffing than the write-up on Audiokarma. It now runs the full length of the two sides and the small bridge is between the port and the crossover. I guess I will just install the grey foam on the top, bottom, below the crossover, and above the port.

Does anyone have feedback on the BMR's built with the flatpack cabinets? The quality looks good although the panels appear to be a little thinner than the construction Jim Salk uses. With the possibility of a Purifi version I'm really stuck between getting something now and waiting to see what Dennis does next. Oh the agony! :)
 

stren

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I just bought the tweeters on Madisound and the only problem was the cutoff for free shipping was much higher than Parts Express so I ended paying an extra $15. If you have other projects going on you maybe get the free shipping.

Also, my BS22's that I just bought direct from Pioneer have a different arrangement to the stuffing than the write-up on Audiokarma. It now runs the full length of the two sides and the small bridge is between the port and the crossover. I guess I will just install the grey foam on the top, bottom, below the crossover, and above the port.

Does anyone have feedback on the BMR's built with the flatpack cabinets? The quality looks good although the panels appear to be a little thinner than the construction Jim Salk uses. With the possibility of a Purifi version I'm really stuck between getting something now and waiting to see what Dennis does next. Oh the agony! :)
Dennis already ruled out the purifi's for the BMR but it sounds like he's working on a version of the BMR with a 6" woofer that is built in china that will be good value if you don't want to build yourself. Also an 8" woofer in a floorstander version.
 
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Also, my BS22's that I just bought direct from Pioneer have a different arrangement to the stuffing than the write-up on Audiokarma. It now runs the full length of the two sides and the small bridge is between the port and the crossover. I guess I will just install the grey foam on the top, bottom, below the crossover, and above the port.
Yes - the ones I just received direct from Pioneer have batting in an "H" shape - both sides top to bottom and a piece across the middle of the back. So if covering the bottom half with Sonic Barrier there's more than enough of the original batting to cover the top half of the back and sides.
 
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Yes - the ones I just received direct from Pioneer have batting in an "H" shape - both sides top to bottom and a piece across the middle of the back. So if covering the bottom half with Sonic Barrier there's more than enough of the original batting to cover the top half of the back and sides.
I suppose it is expected that the acoustics will be better if the batting is used entirely in the upper half and the foam in the lower half as in Dennis' original description? The batting is very "light" and the foam is relatively "heavier" but I'm only guessing when I say that it seems like the goal was to absorb more lower frequency reflections just behind the woofer and higher frequency reflections in the upper half of the cabinet, so maybe it's worth the trouble to re-arrange the batting.
 

Severian

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Looks like you should be able to get some high resolution plots with that rig. I made all of my measurements on the tweeter axis. I think that's where most people would end up listening, and the tweeter doesn't have very wide vertical dispersion. I just finished dicing and splicing wires so I could measure each driver individually to import into my design software. I've done that and set everything up, and even did some trial crossover runs. The tweeter measures very well, which is a relief. The midrange--not so much. in fact, it's truly awful. It has it's own integrated metal enclosure, and it measures and sounds like there's no damping inside. I've never heard or measured anything quite like it. I''m pretty sure I'll end up tossing it and replacing it with a similar, but better engineered unit that costs less than $10. So far I haven't found a way to keep the woofer's output up in the lower midrange. But I haven't spent much time on it. I'll be very interested to see your measurements.
So, I still haven't gotten around to taking proper measurements of these speakers - I will, eventually, because I'm dying to know if my ears are useless and I'm just not hearing that huge woofer dip that you've observed - but I did try out a simple mod by replacing the stock midrange with this cheapo GRS G-SMB1-8 5 1/4" sealed back midrange that was conveniently the only appropriate driver Parts Express carries. Its sensitivity is 93dB so I figured it was worth a shot given the speaker's 95dB spec and the possibility that it could be slightly overstated as Amir's tests have shown is somewhat common for commercial designs.

It was ever so slightly large for the baffle cutout, but I "finessed" it into place with the mounting screws and ultimately it fit without much trouble.

Subjectively, it is a significant upgrade. I think the slightly lower sensitivity improves the tonal balance of the speaker, to the point where I was able to remove the +3dB bass shelf I was crudely adding with my Yamaha AVR's EQ curve. They still rattle my windows and the sound is now much smoother with none of the harshness in the lower treble that was my least favorite aspect of the speaker. I think for the price this midrange is a very solid performer, and for $15 it's a no-brainer upgrade that doesn't seem to require a corresponding crossover mod. It also reinforces my gut feeling that the tweeter is totally decent given the price and the possible pitfalls of the horn.

Even though the cabinets are unbraced, they don't seem terribly resonant to me. I'm currently playing around with modifying some 90s Sony monkey coffins that I rescued from my parents' dumpster (probably a fruitless endeavor) and the difference compared to the BICs is pretty striking. Nonetheless I will soon be gluing in some strips of MDF and adding batts of rockwool to see if I can take them just a bit further.
 

KEW

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So, I still haven't gotten around to taking proper measurements of these speakers - I will, eventually, because I'm dying to know if my ears are useless and I'm just not hearing that huge woofer dip that you've observed - but I did try out a simple mod by replacing the stock midrange with this cheapo GRS G-SMB1-8 5 1/4" sealed back midrange that was conveniently the only appropriate driver Parts Express carries. Its sensitivity is 93dB so I figured it was worth a shot given the speaker's 95dB spec and the possibility that it could be slightly overstated as Amir's tests have shown is somewhat common for commercial designs.

It was ever so slightly large for the baffle cutout, but I "finessed" it into place with the mounting screws and ultimately it fit without much trouble.

Subjectively, it is a significant upgrade. I think the slightly lower sensitivity improves the tonal balance of the speaker, to the point where I was able to remove the +3dB bass shelf I was crudely adding with my Yamaha AVR's EQ curve. They still rattle my windows and the sound is now much smoother with none of the harshness in the lower treble that was my least favorite aspect of the speaker. I think for the price this midrange is a very solid performer, and for $15 it's a no-brainer upgrade that doesn't seem to require a corresponding crossover mod. It also reinforces my gut feeling that the tweeter is totally decent given the price and the possible pitfalls of the horn.

Even though the cabinets are unbraced, they don't seem terribly resonant to me. I'm currently playing around with modifying some 90s Sony monkey coffins that I rescued from my parents' dumpster (probably a fruitless endeavor) and the difference compared to the BICs is pretty striking. Nonetheless I will soon be gluing in some strips of MDF and adding batts of rockwool to see if I can take them just a bit further.
It is cool that you are playing with this and letting us know, but please follow up with before/after measurements so we can know what really happened.
I have proven to myself that my expectations can, on occasion, cause my mind to alter the reality of what my ears actually hear (in my case, it was huge speaker having more presence than a small bookshelf ... a distinction which completely disappeared when I did the same comparison blind!).

I have also experienced a difference in HF extension between two speakers which Dennis corrected me by pointing out that the extension of those 2 speakers was very close to the same and it was actually a difference of the dispersion that I perceived as extension!

Your subjective experience is probably spot on, but since you can, measure to confirm and and also see just how good your simplified solution really is!
Thx!
 

Dennis Murphy

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So, I still haven't gotten around to taking proper measurements of these speakers - I will, eventually, because I'm dying to know if my ears are useless and I'm just not hearing that huge woofer dip that you've observed - but I did try out a simple mod by replacing the stock midrange with this cheapo GRS G-SMB1-8 5 1/4" sealed back midrange that was conveniently the only appropriate driver Parts Express carries. Its sensitivity is 93dB so I figured it was worth a shot given the speaker's 95dB spec and the possibility that it could be slightly overstated as Amir's tests have shown is somewhat common for commercial designs.

It was ever so slightly large for the baffle cutout, but I "finessed" it into place with the mounting screws and ultimately it fit without much trouble.

Subjectively, it is a significant upgrade. I think the slightly lower sensitivity improves the tonal balance of the speaker, to the point where I was able to remove the +3dB bass shelf I was crudely adding with my Yamaha AVR's EQ curve. They still rattle my windows and the sound is now much smoother with none of the harshness in the lower treble that was my least favorite aspect of the speaker. I think for the price this midrange is a very solid performer, and for $15 it's a no-brainer upgrade that doesn't seem to require a corresponding crossover mod. It also reinforces my gut feeling that the tweeter is totally decent given the price and the possible pitfalls of the horn.

Even though the cabinets are unbraced, they don't seem terribly resonant to me. I'm currently playing around with modifying some 90s Sony monkey coffins that I rescued from my parents' dumpster (probably a fruitless endeavor) and the difference compared to the BICs is pretty striking. Nonetheless I will soon be gluing in some strips of MDF and adding batts of rockwool to see if I can take them just a bit further.
I'm not sure how I missed that driver. I guess it didn't look like it had a closed back when I was scanning through possible candidates. The response above 1 kHz looks much smoother than the stock mid, but it has the same huge hump around its fs. I'll give it a try, but I would be amazed if it didn't require a pretty significant Xover adjustment to smooth things out.
 

Severian

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It is cool that you are playing with this and letting us know, but please follow up with before/after measurements so we can know what really happened.
I have proven to myself that my expectations can, on occasion, cause my mind to alter the reality of what my ears actually hear (in my case, it was huge speaker having more presence than a small bookshelf ... a distinction which completely disappeared when I did the same comparison blind!).

I have also experienced a difference in HF extension between two speakers which Dennis corrected me by pointing out that the extension of those 2 speakers was very close to the same and it was actually a difference of the dispersion that I perceived as extension!

Your subjective experience is probably spot on, but since you can, measure to confirm and and also see just how good your simplified solution really is!
Thx!
Agreed, but moving these giant things to where I can get the best gated measurements requires my wife's assistance and the expenditure of marital capital for such an endeavor is not to be undertaken lightly...
 
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