• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

CSS Criton 2TD-X Build Log

Nate29

Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2022
Messages
10
Likes
14
Hello,

First time posting any DIY related things on here. Got back into audio recently and discovered ASR. Fun stuffs, Y'all are def most entertaining.

Anyways, I've been into audio on and off over years. The last time I was deeply into this hobby, it was when I built my first set of speakers (LxMini).

Coming back this time around, I figure I'd try some serious "boxed" speakers, my only good reference has been on the LxMini (active speakers). They're fantastic btw.

I'm a habitual DIY'er and I approach most things in life that way. So naturally, when it comes to music reproduction, I like to combine my two favorite hobby together: Woodworking and Audio.

This time around I want to get into some mid-fi level gears ( good stuffs that I can source or build without spending ten of thousands). I read tons of review from this site thanks to Amir :). Big fan.
As an engineer myself - I can appreciate using science to evaluate a product's worth.

I was looking for some high-end DIY speakers that I can build that can maybe compete with the so-called expensive retail "audiophile-grade" equivalents. I came across CSS Criton 1TD-X. After reading about them and read various reviews I figure enough people have liked them it can't be that bad. Long story short, I went the 2TD-X because I figure I just want to build it once and build it right. Go big. Literally.

Anyways, this is not as much of a build log as a build-post. I build it all over a weekend so there wasn't so much progress in between. I was just focusing on getting it done, but did take some pics in between.

I'll try to explain my choices and decisions when it's appropriate.

1.JPG

I'll start with this picture. I cut all the panels from 1 and a half 4x8 sheet of Baltic Birch. I went with Baltic birch simply because I hate working with MDF. And MDF is a nightmare to finish. But on top of that, I just almost always prefer wood+stain whenever possible. It's just what I like.

2.JPG

Back tracking a bit, here is how I cut out the internal braces. There are 8 of em', 4 per cabinet. The holes can be cut nicely with a 3 1/2 hole saw bit. I just stacked 2-3 at a time and just drill 4 holes. Gotta love power tools!

3.JPG

In the beginning, it was a pain to try to remove the cutout wood pieces form the hole saw bit trying to pivot em' out with a screwdriver. Eventually I got an idea to just use a screw as a pivot point to pull em' out. Much more effective.

4.JPG

I then finish off the left over side wedge with a jig saw.

5.JPG

6.JPG

I then use quarter rounds with a router tool to help with internal diffraction ( I think I use 3/8 or 1/2 here. I forgot).

7.JPG

Dry fit to make sure everything fits just right.

8.JPG

Can never have enough clamps :') . Notice I did this in my office. It got really cold after dinner but I wanted to keep working on these so I brought things inside.

9.JPG

The next day I went to work on the front baffle. Nothing fancy here, just using a circular jig+router for the recess cut and jigsaw for the actual driver cutout. Notice I freehand the cutout with the jigsaw and it's not the best. :')

10.JPG

Here I am test-fitting the drivers onto the front baffle and also testing out to make sure I put the crossover together correctly. I forgot to take pics of the crossover connections. I totally forgot about it! I did upgrade to the more expensive crossover parts if anyone is curious.

11.JPG

I use power tool whenever I have a chance to - no shame! I hate freehand cutting circles when the holes are too small for a jig. Anyways, hole saw bit 2-3/8" and 3" are perfect size for the back ports and terminal cutouts.

12.JPG

Before sanding, I use a clean up bit with the router to make sure all the edges are aligned. Some minor calculation errors means there are 1/16 over hanging here and there.

13.JPG

One last picture of all the raw wood before putting things together.

14.JPG

15.JPG

Alright - I think it's worth to discuss what's going on here. These two pictures is what I interpret what Dan & Kerry have in mind base on their instructions from their site. The only two other people that have any pics on how they did theirs were different from one another. And even for me, my version is also different comparing to theirs.

I started off by deciding where I want to put the cross overs. Some people put it at the bottom of the tower, some put it at the top, and some in the middle. To me it makes sense to put it in the top 2 sections. The reason being is that, you need less wiring if the woofer is close to where it should be connected to the cross over. Less wires == better sound, right?? JK

No, another main reason I put the crossover here is because I want easy access to the crossover just in case I mess up and/or if I want to fix/update/change parts to the crossover later on. CSS has a history of letting you upgrade drivers/crossover from their legacy products.

So next is the foam. I just used up using whatever that was provided. I didn't find a way to have black foam on all internal surfaces. I had some left over denim insulation foams so I use it to cover the remaining surfaces (at the bottom sections) that wasn't covered by the black foam that came with the kit.

Oh and one last thing before I close up, in the instruction they mentioned it was alright to cover up the crossover, so I did just that, just to make sure I get some diffusing material directly right behind the drivers.

16.JPG

I then attach the front baffle, closing the twins up one last time!

Finish Em'! Heh

17.JPG

One of my main hobby is woodworking so I try to integrate that into most things in life. (Tiny flex - but I also build those two sliding barndoors in the background :) . It's one of the main reason why I chose to use Baltic birch instead of MDF. I want to be able do a stain finish for these. I'm not a big fan of veneering, takes the fun out of woodworking. If I'm going to spend this much on a DIY kit, I mind as well go all out and do the best I can with material and finishes.

I did the finish sanding with 80->150->220 grit with a random orbital sander. I then hand-sand the last layer down with 150.

The reason for 150 is because I use Rubio Monocoat as a finish and they don't recommend to use their product on very smooth wood surfaces.
Rubio Monocoat is awesome, rather expensive. But what you get is a 1 coat wax stain finish. Alternatively, normally I'd do a minwax stain + poly, but that process takes over 2 days between waiting for stain to dry and applying layers of poly and waiting for that to dry. Anyways, you get the idea. BTW - I use Rubio Monocoat Black here. On Baltic Birch it turns out to be similar to Dark Walnut.

Rubio Monocoat means I get to be lazy and just apply the finish and 1 hour later I can move the cabinet around to install drivers and add finishing touches etcs.

18.JPG

And here's the final product after slaving away over a weekend:

I haven't spent a whole lot of time listening to these yet. I was beat by the time I finish them last night and it was into the late hours. I got up early this morning super excited and did get to listen to them for a bit before heading to work.

I am very happy how these turn out. I will try to remember to give a full listening impression later. It's not like I'm a elite audiophile so my opinion is questionable at best.
These are my babies - they can sound bad and I wouldn't be convinced otherwise. I like them and glad I made em'

Oh my full setup with these will be :
Streamer - Rpi on Volumio
DAC - SMSL SU-9
PreAmp - Schitt Freya+
PowerAmp - BuckEye 2-Channel MP252

I'm still waiting for the Freya+ and BuckEye amp to come in to fully evaluate these speakers.

Hopefully this post can help you guys out with planning ahead, etcs.

Oh - I got a lot of ideas and I learned some tricks ( that I obviously applied to my build) watching this guy build his set as a reference:

He's way better than I am - worth a watch if you plan to build these.
 
Last edited:
Hi Nate, unfortunately I can't see much of what you've done there. A few small photos, but mostly blank spaces with (minus) symbols. Always interested in what others are building, though, so I'll check back.
Perhaps images are too large or maybe hosted somewhere else, but I'm not the one to ask.
 
Oh darn, thanks for bringing that photo issue to my attention. It looked fine on my pc last night.
** I think I've fixed the pics from the first post so I'll remove the reddit link here
 
Last edited:
Thanks for all the pictures - I wish DIY'ers took more in general. They all look fine to me on this forum.

I'll stop short of scolding you for barefoot woodworking, but I'm likely clumsier than you. I have dropped a router with the circle jig once. Fortunately I was wearing shoes.

Do we know the factory OEM for CSS's drivers? Can anyone guess?
 
Thanks for all the pictures - I wish DIY'ers took more in general. They all look fine to me on this forum.

I'll stop short of scolding you for barefoot woodworking, but I'm likely clumsier than you. I have dropped a router with the circle jig once. Fortunately I was wearing shoes.

Do we know the factory OEM for CSS's drivers? Can anyone guess?
I believe CSS design and manufacture their own drivers.
 
great build log!

I have a pair of 1TD and a 2TD as a center channel and I might upgrade to a full 2tdx for front stage. Love them. They sound really good even the “cheaper” version. The tower must sound complete insane for the price!
 
Very nice build. Dark stain looks great on nice ply.

I’m pretty sure CSS orders OEM drivers from Wavecor, which makes their designs novel for DIY.
 
Any wagers on how much automation they use? Makes me wonder why they don't go the extra steps that some youtubers throw in (E.G. radius on inner corners). For that matter, why do they leave any cutting at all? For one off'ers such as I, putting $$$ into new tools and wondering about my skillset (looking at the guy who posting about dropping sharp tools), glue-only kits seem a logical manufacturing step.
 
Any wagers on how much automation they use? Makes me wonder why they don't go the extra steps that some youtubers throw in (E.G. radius on inner corners). For that matter, why do they leave any cutting at all? For one off'ers such as I, putting $$$ into new tools and wondering about my skillset (looking at the guy who posting about dropping sharp tools), glue-only kits seem a logical manufacturing step.
I briefly considered making something knock down, prefinished with concealed fasteners, ala Ikea or similar. An interesting idea but fraught with pitfalls that make is less than viable from a business standpoint. Unless you get into huge volume or perhaps overseas production the cost would be enormous and the scalability questionable at best. IMHO, that translates into an unsellable product because it competes pricewise with things ready to plug & play. In addition, it's a limited segment inside niche market...and that niche is shrinking. Not to mention the unknown assembly skill level of the end user.
It seems to me if you're considering DIY anything, you must first like the notion of the building process. Otherwise, it's likely to be a frustrating experience.
 
Hello,

First time posting any DIY related things on here. Got back into audio recently and discovered ASR. Fun stuffs, Y'all are def most entertaining.

Anyways, I've been into audio on and off over years. The last time I was deeply into this hobby, it was when I built my first set of speakers (LxMini).

Coming back this time around, I figure I'd try some serious "boxed" speakers, my only good reference has been on the LxMini (active speakers). They're fantastic btw.

I'm a habitual DIY'er and I approach most things in life that way. So naturally, when it comes to music reproduction, I like to combine my two favorite hobby together: Woodworking and Audio.

This time around I want to get into some mid-fi level gears ( good stuffs that I can source or build without spending ten of thousands). I read tons of review from this site thanks to Amir :). Big fan.
As an engineer myself - I can appreciate using science to evaluate a product's worth.

I was looking for some high-end DIY speakers that I can build that can maybe compete with the so-called expensive retail "audiophile-grade" equivalents. I came across CSS Criton 1TD-X. After reading about them and read various reviews I figure enough people have liked them it can't be that bad. Long story short, I went the 2TD-X because I figure I just want to build it once and build it right. Go big. Literally.

Anyways, this is not as much of a build log as a build-post. I build it all over a weekend so there wasn't so much progress in between. I was just focusing on getting it done, but did take some pics in between.

I'll try to explain my choices and decisions when it's appropriate.

View attachment 249767
I'll start with this picture. I cut all the panels from 1 and a half 4x8 sheet of Baltic Birch. I went with Baltic birch simply because I hate working with MDF. And MDF is a nightmare to finish. But on top of that, I just almost always prefer wood+stain whenever possible. It's just what I like.

View attachment 249768
Back tracking a bit, here is how I cut out the internal braces. There are 8 of em', 4 per cabinet. The holes can be cut nicely with a 3 1/2 hole saw bit. I just stacked 2-3 at a time and just drill 4 holes. Gotta love power tools!

View attachment 249769
In the beginning, it was a pain to try to remove the cutout wood pieces form the hole saw bit trying to pivot em' out with a screwdriver. Eventually I got an idea to just use a screw as a pivot point to pull em' out. Much more effective.

View attachment 249770
I then finish off the left over side wedge with a jig saw.

View attachment 249771
View attachment 249772
I then use quarter rounds with a router tool to help with internal diffraction ( I think I use 3/8 or 1/2 here. I forgot).

View attachment 249773
Dry fit to make sure everything fits just right.

View attachment 249774
Can never have enough clamps :') . Notice I did this in my office. It got really cold after dinner but I wanted to keep working on these so I brought things inside.

View attachment 249775
The next day I went to work on the front baffle. Nothing fancy here, just using a circular jig+router for the recess cut and jigsaw for the actual driver cutout. Notice I freehand the cutout with the jigsaw and it's not the best. :')

View attachment 249776
Here I am test-fitting the drivers onto the front baffle and also testing out to make sure I put the crossover together correctly. I forgot to take pics of the crossover connections. I totally forgot about it! I did upgrade to the more expensive crossover parts if anyone is curious.

View attachment 249777
I use power tool whenever I have a chance to - no shame! I hate freehand cutting circles when the holes are too small for a jig. Anyways, hole saw bit 2-3/8" and 3" are perfect size for the back ports and terminal cutouts.

View attachment 249778
Before sanding, I use a clean up bit with the router to make sure all the edges are aligned. Some minor calculation errors means there are 1/16 over hanging here and there.

View attachment 249779
One last picture of all the raw wood before putting things together.

View attachment 249780
View attachment 249781
Alright - I think it's worth to discuss what's going on here. These two pictures is what I interpret what Dan & Kerry have in mind base on their instructions from their site. The only two other people that have any pics on how they did theirs were different from one another. And even for me, my version is also different comparing to theirs.

I started off by deciding where I want to put the cross overs. Some people put it at the bottom of the tower, some put it at the top, and some in the middle. To me it makes sense to put it in the top 2 sections. The reason being is that, you need less wiring if the woofer is close to where it should be connected to the cross over. Less wires == better sound, right?? JK

No, another main reason I put the crossover here is because I want easy access to the crossover just in case I mess up and/or if I want to fix/update/change parts to the crossover later on. CSS has a history of letting you upgrade drivers/crossover from their legacy products.

So next is the foam. I just used up using whatever that was provided. I didn't find a way to have black foam on all internal surfaces. I had some left over denim insulation foams so I use it to cover the remaining surfaces (at the bottom sections) that wasn't covered by the black foam that came with the kit.

Oh and one last thing before I close up, in the instruction they mentioned it was alright to cover up the crossover, so I did just that, just to make sure I get some diffusing material directly right behind the drivers.

View attachment 249782
I then attach the front baffle, closing the twins up one last time!

Finish Em'! Heh

View attachment 249783
One of my main hobby is woodworking so I try to integrate that into most things in life. (Tiny flex - but I also build those two sliding barndoors in the background :) . It's one of the main reason why I chose to use Baltic birch instead of MDF. I want to be able do a stain finish for these. I'm not a big fan of veneering, takes the fun out of woodworking. If I'm going to spend this much on a DIY kit, I mind as well go all out and do the best I can with material and finishes.

I did the finish sanding with 80->150->220 grit with a random orbital sander. I then hand-sand the last layer down with 150.

The reason for 150 is because I use Rubio Monocoat as a finish and they don't recommend to use their product on very smooth wood surfaces.
Rubio Monocoat is awesome, rather expensive. But what you get is a 1 coat wax stain finish. Alternatively, normally I'd do a minwax stain + poly, but that process takes over 2 days between waiting for stain to dry and applying layers of poly and waiting for that to dry. Anyways, you get the idea. BTW - I use Rubio Monocoat Black here. On Baltic Birch it turns out to be similar to Dark Walnut.

Rubio Monocoat means I get to be lazy and just apply the finish and 1 hour later I can move the cabinet around to install drivers and add finishing touches etcs.

View attachment 249784
And here's the final product after slaving away over a weekend:

I haven't spent a whole lot of time listening to these yet. I was beat by the time I finish them last night and it was into the late hours. I got up early this morning super excited and did get to listen to them for a bit before heading to work.

I am very happy how these turn out. I will try to remember to give a full listening impression later. It's not like I'm a elite audiophile so my opinion is questionable at best.
These are my babies - they can sound bad and I wouldn't be convinced otherwise. I like them and glad I made em'

Oh my full setup with these will be :
Streamer - Rpi on Volumio
DAC - SMSL SU-9
PreAmp - Schitt Freya+
PowerAmp - BuckEye 2-Channel MP252

I'm still waiting for the Freya+ and BuckEye amp to come in to fully evaluate these speakers.

Hopefully this post can help you guys out with planning ahead, etcs.

Oh - I got a lot of ideas and I learned some tricks ( that I obviously applied to my build) watching this guy build his set as a reference:

He's way better than I am - worth a watch if you plan to build these.
Thanks for recommending my video build. They are an awesome tower speaker for the money. I like the dark monocoat on yours. Great skills and thanks again.
 
glue-only kits seem a logical manufacturing step.
Logical for the user, but machining anything adds a lot of time vs. cutting, plus requires different equipment, moving the pieces to that equipment, etc. So basically for each tool involved in the production, you can imagine the labor cost goes up by that multiple. Saw-only = 1x, Saw and sand = 2x, saw, route, sand = 3x, etc...

Probably not exactly right, but you get the idea.
 
Back
Top Bottom