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Joseph Crowe Designs Model #1159 Speakers

gopher

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I had posted most of this comment in a response to the Bagby Mandolin DIY Speaker Review thread, but was politely asked to start a new thread about it since I'm really interested in anyone's thoughts about Joseph Crowe's model #1159 design which I have pictured below.

Before I say anymore - no, that photo is not my own and I did not build these...yet. Full credit belongs to Joseph Crowe himself, who designed those, as well as the matching stands and of course that is one of his listening systems. I borrowed the photo below from Joseph Crowe's website (original photo URL: https://josephcrowe.com/collections...cts/products/3d-cad-files-for-speaker-no-1159)

JC_1159_baffle.jpg


At one point I was very seriously considering about building a pair of either Jeff Bagby's Mandolin II kit (which Amir just reviewed, but was supplied and assembled by @Rick Sykora) or the smaller 5" midwoofer version called the Piccolo kit, both of which are available at Meniscus Audio. But then I stumbled upon a fellow Canadian named Joseph Crowe who does fascinating and beautiful work on his waveguide and horn designs. He offers what he calls the "Model #1159 Stand-Mount Series Monitor" which uses exactly the same SB Acoustics woofer and tweeter as JB's Piccolo kit, but offers a gorgeous CNC-machined, solid walnut baffle with perfect time alignment of the woofer and tweeter for what I think is pretty reasonable price. Joseph even offers a full-flatpack for this design too. His blog post about the design indicates that a very simple first-order crossover is all that is necessary here. Has anyone heard or tried these? Any of the DIY speaker guys here care to comment?


More info: https://josephcrowe.com/collections/see-all-no-1159-products/products/speaker-no-1159-baffle-only

Joseph Crowe also makes a much more expensive tower with the currently trendy "Purifi" woofer and same SB Acoustics tweeter:
1198-001_large.JPG
 
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pozz

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tktran303

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Well you already have the drivers.

Now you get to try a different cabinet and crossover for minimal outlay.

If I was still living in Canada this year I’d give it a go!!


I think you’d be in a great position to try it and see!
 

Rick Sykora

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Since you asked, based on some (quick) website perusing, I can say his body of work seems pretty impressive overall...

So for starters for over $800 before adding rest of the cabinetry, you are still getting only getting a 5 inch woofer. While not a bad woofer, there are better values. It is really not capable of significant low frequency output. Finally, there is no mention of the final design sensitivity or bass extension. I did not see the first order crossover claim, but seems more is needed to handle the woofer breakup. Can you point me to that reference? If these questions can be resolved to your satisfaction, it is a very pretty milled walnut baffle.

OTOH, these specs are cited for the more promising 1198. But alas, no price and availability as yet.
 

jhaider

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What's interesting to me is how much his contoured waveguide broadens the top couple octaves of the SB dimple dome compared to the flat waveguide. I've seen the same thing with the Tymphany/ScanSpeak ring radiator tweeters in contoured waveguides, with huge positive impact on the treble quality in room.
 
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gopher

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Since you asked, based on some (quick) website perusing, I can say his body of work seems pretty impressive overall...

So for starters for over $800 before adding rest of the cabinetry, you are still getting only getting a 5 inch woofer. While not a bad woofer, there are better values. It is really not capable of significant low frequency output. Finally, there is no mention of the final design sensitivity or bass extension. I did not see the first order crossover claim, but seems more is needed to handle the woofer breakup. Can you point me to that reference? If these questions can be resolved to your satisfaction, it is a very pretty milled walnut baffle.

OTOH, these specs are cited for the more promising 1198. But alas, no price and availability as yet.

Thanks @Rick Sykora for your comments. Yes, one would not getting a more than a 5" woofer, but that doesn't bother me. For me, the real value here is the gorgeous, time-aligned baffle with the proven waveguide design that optimizes the tweeter. I do agree with you though that it might make the design look more credible if maybe some more detail about the crossover along with all specs were listed in one place. I haven't contacted him yet to ask any of these questions. Maybe he'll see this thread, and as @pozz pointed out, because @Joseph Crowe apparently posts here he will respond here too. For now, here is his YouTube video explanation of the design:


And a different blog post about the crossover (a little light on details though):

https://josephcrowe.com/blogs/news/speaker-no-1159-distortion-tests-and-crossover-design

He does indirectly mention a little bit more about some of the design specs for the 1159 in the 1198 design, since he mentions the differences between the 1198 and the 1159 in this blog post: https://josephcrowe.com/blogs/news/1198-floor-standing-using-purifi-ptt6-5w04
  • Purifi PTT6.5W04 ( model 1198) replaces SB Acoustics SB15NRXC30 (model 1159)
  • Transmission Line Loaded (1198) replaces tradition bass reflex alignment (1159)
  • Enclosure volume of 21 liters (1198) was 10 (1159).
  • Bass extension of 30Hz (1198) was 41Hz (1159)
  • 104dB SPL max was 100dB (@60Hz)
  • 104dB SPL max was 90dB (@40Hz)
  • Sensitivity of 90dB (1198) was 88.5dB (1159)
 

Rick Sykora

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Well you already have the drivers.

Now you get to try a different cabinet and crossover for minimal outlay.

If I was still living in Canada this year I’d give it a go!!


I think you’d be in a great position to try it and see!

If he has money to burn, am interested too. Otherwise, could build most of this design with a simpler front baffle and see if he likes the bass enough to invest in the nice walnut waveguide version. :cool:
 

bogart

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I can speak for his work more generally but not specific to this speaker.

I find this design to be gorgeous with the shapely walnut baffle, and the measurements have every appearance of excellence as well. When he published this design last year, I was really keen to take these on as a living room speaker replacement (and still would consider doing it). As @Rick Sykora points out, you're getting a small woofer but it's placed in a pretty generous enclosure volume. I'd still love to try these.

I've actually had the pleasure of visiting him while I was on vacation near Joseph Crowe HQ. He was a very gracious host and generous with his time to demo some of his speakers from 2-ish years ago before this project. Excellent sound quality, nice huge bass boxes and his horn designs made for the home environment. He and I traded tracks for a couple hours to enjoy the music, and got a peek at the machining area as well.

So, although I can't vouch for this model, I would trust his work and consider his options for an attractive and great sounding design.
 
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gopher

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If he has money to burn, am interested too. Otherwise, could build most of this design with a simpler front baffle and see if he likes the bass enough to invest in the nice walnut waveguide version. :cool:

Well, I don't have money to burn... so that's partly the reason why I'm asking questions here first :)

I'm sensing that many people don't think much of the SB17 mid-woofer. I wouldn't expect much bass out of these since my room doesn't allow for big cabinets and I personally would run these in a 2.1 setup, high-passing the speakers at 90 Hz. Are you suggesting that I get the drivers, find a waveguide (any recommendations as to which one?), and attempt to build these that way first? I would just need help with the crossover design.
 

Rick Sykora

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Well, I don't have money to burn... so that's partly the reason why I'm asking questions here first :)

I'm sensing that many people don't think much of the SB17 mid-woofer. I wouldn't expect much bass out of these since my room doesn't allow for big cabinets and I personally would run these in a 2.1 setup, high-passing the speakers at 90 Hz. Are you suggesting that I get the drivers, find a waveguide (any recommendations as to which one?), and attempt to build these that way first? I would just need help with the crossover design.

Thanks for sharing and it is worthwhile to know that you plan to use a subwoofer too. Would help to know what you plan to play on them too as it will drive out what speaker is a good choice for you. You might use the Babgy Piccolo as a basis for trying a comparable design before investing in Crowe's waveguide. Waveguides are very popular, but hardly a new concept. You can find speakers without them that have good directivity too.

Driver choices are always a compromise and overall design is more important. The SB woofer is a solid choice for a value speaker. Tell us more about your intended use and budget. This will get you a better feedback in the end.
 

TLEDDY

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I obviously cannot comment on the sound quality, but that woodwork Is absolutely gorgeous! Stunning!!
 

ROOSKIE

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I have these speakers, I made them with my GF over the summer. We wanted a nice kit so she could do a lot of the work but not need to run my saws. She is not quite ready yet to run the table saws and higher powered hand saws, and routers.
I can post some pics, just need to find them or take some more tmrw.
I did modify the design slightly by using a larger port, I was worried about turbulence and rather than test and redo I just enlarged and lengthened the port which also required adding some more depth to fit a straight port inside.(about 3/4", a simple panel on the back which also made the back look more finished) No turbulence at all with the mod and tuned to the same frequency just with a larger port.
I will say that some aspects of the build require some expertise and previous experience building accurate things.
We stained ours with a black Varathane finish and they look great in person.
Sound quality wise I can recommend them and I can also say that you wouldn't be assured they are your favorite. That is just not possible, and as much fun as I had making them with my GF and as good as they sound they are not a high value speaker. I'd say they fit right in in the upper class of the $750 to $2k speakers (they cost about $1100 USD all in). I love them and I do have other speakers here I would pick over them and a couple that cost less that I like as much.
IMHO you don't DIY to save $$, you DIY for fun and to make it yourself/gets your hands dirty. Maybe saving some $$ maybe not, however like going on a date you better show up fully in order to experience the magic.

Beautiful woodwork, but why not go for a larger mid/woofer.
His idea was to make a smaller speaker. He has other much larger designs.
Besides these mate well with subs and they do have decent bass alone for a 5.
They will easily outpace the average 5" based design.
The tweeter is barely ever stressed in this design.
I know from your posts you have the LS50, I be surprised if those can keep up with these SPL/HD distortion/IMD wise. Preference wise to each there own but these are pretty substantial woofers and a very well incorporated waveguide makes that tweet fly.
 
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gopher

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I have these speakers, I made them with my GF over the summer. We wanted a nice kit so she could do a lot of the work but not need to run my saws. She is not quite ready yet to run the table saws and higher powered hand saws, and routers.
I can post some pics, just need to find them or take some more tmrw.
I did modify the design slightly by using a larger port, I was worried about turbulence and rather than test and redo I just enlarged and lengthened the port which also required adding some more depth to fit a straight port inside.(about 3/4", a simple panel on the back which also made the back look more finished) No turbulence at all with the mod and tuned to the same frequency just with a larger port.
I will say that some aspects of the build require some expertise and previous experience building accurate things.
We stained ours with a black Varathane finish and they look great in person.
Sound quality wise I can recommend them and I can also say that you wouldn't be assured they are your favorite. That is just not possible, and as much fun as I had making them with my GF and as good as they sound they are not a high value speaker. I'd say they fit right in in the upper class of the $750 to $2k speakers (they cost about $1100 USD all in). I love them and I do have other speakers here I would pick over them and a couple that cost less that I like as much.

Wow, I'm impressed that that someone revived my old thread!

@ROOSKIE, I'd love to see some pics of your build of these. Also, can you provide specifics about what speakers you also have that you like better, just so I have a basis for comparison?

My interest in these is primarily due to my desire to have a high-performance set of stand-mount monitors (mated to a subwoofer) with all the directivity benefits of well-designed waveguides and that also happen to look like fine furniture and not cost a small fortune. Let's just say I'm tired of the "black oak vinyl" or black painted look. I also like the simplicity of the crossover design here, and the fact that I also wouldn't have to cut wood (much) to build this, unless I chose to build the cabinet and just bought the CNC front baffle. I have built speaker kits before but usually get help with the cabinetry as I'm a novice woodworker.

The only speaker kits I have built and actually kept are the Audio Concepts Emerald mini-monitors (1" Vifa silk dome, 5" Vifa woofer). They sound amazing, even now that they are approximately 20 years old. I also currently have a pair of JBL Studio 530, which have been reviewed here by Amir and are a waveguide design, but I find the top-end a little bit lacking for my taste, at least at lower volumes. I have thought about trying some kind of software-based EQ for these but haven't done so yet.

Since I never really answered @Rick Sykora when he asked about my preferences, I'll answer that now. I listen to all kinds of music, but primarily rock. I'm a drummer & percussionist, so I am also interested in dynamics and punch. While I realize that these aren't a high-efficiency design, I'm OK with that as long as they don't compress at spirited (not ridiculous) listening volumes of say 95dB. I can't see myself listening to these any louder than that, and they would be high-passed at 90 Hz, 18db/octave with my AudioControl active crossover. My crossover has the capability to change the crossover slope to 24db/octave with a new module, which I can make with the correct resistor pack.
 
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ROOSKIE

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Wow, I'm impressed that that someone revived my old thread!

@ROOSKIE, I'd love to see some pics of your build of these. Also, can you provide specifics about what speakers you also have that you like better, just so I have a basis for comparison?

My interest in these is primarily due to my desire to have a high-performance set of stand-mount monitors (mated to a subwoofer) with all the directivity benefits of well-designed waveguides and that also happen to look like fine furniture and not cost a small fortune. Let's just say I'm tired of the "black oak vinyl" or black painted look. I also like the simplicity of the crossover design here, and the fact that I also wouldn't have to cut wood (much) to build this, unless I chose to build the cabinet and just bought the CNC front baffle. I have built speaker kits before but usually get help with the cabinetry as I'm a novice woodworker.

The only speaker kits I have built and actually kept are the Audio Concepts Emerald mini-monitors (1" Vifa silk dome, 5" Vifa woofer). They sound amazing, even now that they are approximately 20 years old. I also currently have a pair of JBL Studio 530, which have been reviewed here by Amir and are a waveguide design, but I find the top-end a little bit lacking for my taste, at least at lower volumes. I have thought about trying some kind of software-based EQ for these but haven't done so yet.

Since I never really answered @Rick Sykora when he asked about my preferences, I'll answer that now. I listen to all kinds of music, but primarily rock. I'm a drummer & percussionist, so I am also interested in dynamics and punch. While I realize that these aren't a high-efficiency design, I'm OK with that as long as they don't compress at spirited (not ridiculous) listening volumes of say 95dB. I can't see myself listening to these any louder than that, and they would be high-passed at 90 Hz, 18db/octave with my AudioControl active crossover. My crossover has the capability to change the crossover slope to 24db/octave with a new module, which I can make with the correct resistor pack.
I can reply more later. Very busy today.
In the meantime as you mentioned the 530's. I dont think the 1159's are much of a sonic upgrade. The 1159 has a slightly mellowed top end like the 530, actually a bit more mellow. I actually slightly prefer the 530 over-all as it has better bass, equal midrange, similar highs and a slightly more pleasing quality to me personally that I find hard to describe. I consider it a truely top under $1k speaker.
Both speakers are great and the extra cost of the 1159 is just what it costs to support a small buisness and have a walnut hardwood baffle.
The baffle is great though rear mounting the woofer the way he cut it and getting a good seal was odd.
The flat pack was not worth it for me alone, however as stated for my GF it deff was.
Anyway I dont consider the 1159 the best rock speaker nor can it really out duel the 530's. The 530's need more power for equal volumes though. With subs they both can do fairly loud well and without subs neither can tuely go super loud as the woofers strain. ( not the tweets in either)
For rock and impact try a JBL 4309 or the L82, both speakers out slam the 1159 and the L82 can go subless in a lot of cases..(I have both)
If you like highs to be a bit brighter try Focal as well. I had some Polk L200's here for awhile and they can also rip.
The 1159 is more of a fun project and very nice sounding speaker to boot vs a giant killer.
 
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