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Parts-Express DA-Wave Speaker Review

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#1
Hello everyone


This is my first review here on ASR and by a somewhat popular interest, I decided to give it a go. The DA-Wave speakers can be Purchaced on Parts-express (Parent company of Dayton Audio) for around 269 when on sale, which it is quite often. Just a disclaimer, I don't have any professional measuring equipment, so the chain is very simple. MacBook pro > Thunderbolt to Asgard DAC, then out to my speaker amp, then calibrated microphone into the soundcard of my MacBook so alot of my opinions will be well...opinions as I can't exactly tell you the degree of distortion it has at 1khz :)


Enough of that, let's get to some build pics. Here they are on IMGUR:

As you can see it's not rocket science to put it together. If I can do it, at 15, I'm sure any of you can. I'll post some measurements here, and apologies they are not the best quality pictures:
1613578984067.png

This doesn't look good. Let's zoom in to further see the errors.
1613579111489.png

Yikes. I knew it was bright, but I didn't know it was this bright. Well, they aren't. After some tinkering to see what the issue was, some setting was on in my reciever that boosts treble. Turning that off, and by bringing them 2 inches further from the wall, I was able to get this:
1613579260421.png

That's more like the "ideal" measurement on the product page. And of course, my listening area is far from perfect. I also wanted to play around with some room correction, but big flag/warning here: I'm not done with the room correction/calibration/EQ'ing/Positioning of my speakers so this review is far from over ;) But here's the first attempt:
1613579400957.png

Now for the subjective portion: How does it sound?
I was actually quite pleased. Having listened to everything from Ultra 11 speakers, to small powered 5 inch monitors, I'd say in terms of "value" these cannot be matched. Throw in an 8-10 inch sub and you're good to go. Sure, the bass is lacking, but bass lacks on all speakers of this size unless you spend a considerable amount more. Comparing these to the competition, the Yamaha HS5/JBL305p/Adam T5v, is pretty close. I'd say the Adam is the best of the 3 monitor speakers but the built in amplifier is it's downside. You can hear the rising distortion and dynamics being compressed as you turn the volume up. But if you care about your neighbors and listen at low volumes, just buy the T5V. These on the other hand, you can literally turn them up to 110dB and there is virtually no mechanical distortion coming from them I'm powering them with a Yamaha RX-v995 so plenty of power headroom. One thing to note is that like the KEF LS50 or other similar drivers, they run out of XMAX very quickely on low frequencies. Being sealed helps compensate this by controlling it in a tighter more efficient mannar, but just do keep in mind that. If you run a gentle 60hz low pass filter you'll be good to go, assuming that's where you set the sub to kick in.
Midrange is quite lifelike, and the treble is precise. If you like a warm and bloated/laid back sound then these would not suite your fancy.
More is to come soon, but this is the introductory, any comments questions or concerns are appreciated,
Cheers,
Kaden
 

jtwrace

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jtwrace

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Yes sir. I like to think that age is just a number and doesn't reflect what you can and cannot achieve
Great to see a young person involved!
 

jtwrace

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@jtwrace Side note, I enjoyed your interview with Tom, an ultra-compact amplifier I am putting together from him is in the works and I'll be posting that here too
Oh thanks! Which amp are you putting together?

Do you enjoy the speaker or electronics more? Are your parent(s) into audio equipment too?
 
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Kadn
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Thread Starter #7
I'm putting together the Modulus-86 with a newly designed highly efficient SMPS. My dad used to be in it and brought me into it, but I've gotten more into it since I went to an Expo in Florida last year. The speakers are actually not quite finished yet and my end-game is actually to replace the crossover components with Active-summing op amps for more precise control of the frequencies, but that means I need to save up some cash and likely wont be anytime soon :)
 

jtwrace

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I'm putting together the Modulus-86 with a newly designed highly efficient SMPS. My dad used to be in it and brought me into it, but I've gotten more into it since I went to an Expo in Florida last year. The speakers are actually not quite finished yet and my end-game is actually to replace the crossover components with Active-summing op amps for more precise control of the frequencies, but that means I need to save up some cash and likely wont be anytime soon :)
Very cool! Learn as much as you can from Tom. :) Also read those Geddes, Welti, Toole and Olive papers on speakers.

Was it the Tampa Expo?
 

jtwrace

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It indeed was. It's unfortunate that it was cancelled this year. Did you have the chance to go last year?
Yes I did!
 

Jdunk54nl

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#11
Nice Job!
One quick note, always post REW data with the y-axis in 5 db increments. Your y-axis, except for the one, is in 20db increments which makes anything look flat and near perfect. In other words it "lies" to us.
 
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Kadn
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Thread Starter #12
Nice Job!
One quick note, always post REW data with the y-axis in 5 degree increments. Your y-axis, expect for the one, is in 20db increments which makes anything look flat and near perfect. In other words it "lies" to us.
I appreciate the feedback! I'll hopefully get some updated graphs per your recomendations uploaded here soon.
 

charleski

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#13
But here's the first attempt:
View attachment 113176
Looks good, but you cut off the y-axis on the side. When measuring I’d stick to the 5dB/division scale you used on the ‘zoomed-in’ plot (at least). Anything more is far too rough for proper assessment. Also, make sure the smoothing filter in REW is at least 1/12th octave or finer. Unfortunately measuring speakers properly is a more technical pursuit than building them, so it’s worth having a few goes at it.

Good work!
 

Jdunk54nl

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#14
To give you some more info, that 5db increments is due to some psychoacoustic stuff and how we perceive something as louder or quiter. Usually, most humans can notice a difference easily around 6db of change and 10db is about double the loudness. Also why a lot of speaker manufacturers that use research try to get within +- 3db Frequency response. It is harder for us to detect those variances in the frequencies.
 

Jdunk54nl

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#15
Also, it kind of looks like you are using your phone to take pictures, I would suggest cmd+shift+5 on mac to take a screen shot where you can easily select a portion.

REW also has a built in capture tool but I am not a fan of it as much and use it as a fall back. I like getting more info from my screenshot.
 

Jdunk54nl

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