GR-Research X-LS Encore DIY Speakers are Done

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by Puma Cat, Sep 28, 2020.

  1. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Almost "Made"

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    Some of you may remember my AmpCamp amp project posted here in a recent thread in August.

    Part of that project was to build up a pair of GR-Research X-LS Encores as speakers.

    Well, I had a total hip replacement August 10th and have been recovering from that the last six weeks.

    As I got clearance to resume normal duties from my orthopedic surgeon with an A+ post-op exam on Tuesday, I decided to finish up the X-LS Encore project.

    Some of you may remember the photos of the cabinets in the ACA thread, well, those were damaged irrevocably in shipping, so the cabinet maker made me up a pair in "birch red" to match the Dynaudio Special 40s.

    Here's a shot of one of the cabinets:
    [​IMG]

    Doesn't look like much in the photo, but this cabinet has 4 internal braces and a cross-brace, and it is very stiff and heavy for its size. Its so stiff and strong that 4 of them under each wheel will support a 4X4 pickup truck.

    Here's a pic of the crossover I put together. The resistors, SoniCaps and MiFlex copper caps and Mills resistors were part of the upgraded "parts" kit. The inductors are large-diameter wire and air-core. Everything is wired point-to-point and soldered with Cardas solder.
    [​IMG]

    Once I had the cabinets lined with No-Res, the crossover and drivers installed, I have to say for an ~1.2 cubic foot standmount, these speakers are heavy! The cabinets are very stiff and also well-damped. I have beefier pair of speaker stands coming for them.

    The on-axis frequency response measurements at the refence point is excellent, with a max deviation of 1.5dB across the entire frequency range and considerable portion within 1 dB or less.
    [​IMG]

    The horizontal off-axis at 0, 10, 20, 30, 40 degrees off-axis is also very good.
    [​IMG]

    The vertical off-axis performance is also very good:
    [​IMG]

    And, finally, the cumulative spectral decay (aka waterfall plot) is, with essentially no ringing of any significance from either driver.
    [​IMG]

    My cost including built, veneered and stained cabinets, and speaker premium crossover parts and $45 sheet of No-Res: ~$915. This included the trick components in the crossover, like the Miflex copper caps (which are pretty pricey).

    And...here they are!
    [​IMG]

    After 30-40 hours on them for run-in, they should be "on the cam" as we say in motor racing...so, stay tuned, listening impressions to come over the next few days as they run in. The woofers certainly need running in and crossover needs to be burned in.

    But so far, I am VERY impressed.
     
  2. Aklegal

    Aklegal Almost "Made"

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    Danny designs amazing speakers. I've owned about 6 of his designs.

    Great job by the way.
     
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  3. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Almost "Made"

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    He does indeed.

    Thank you.
     
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  4. famish99

    famish99 Friend

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    I'm tempted to build these if I can find a flat pack for the cab. If you don't mind me asking @Puma Cat who did you get the cab made by?
     
  5. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Almost "Made"

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    Hi Famish,
    Killian Smith, who works for Danny, made up my cabients for me. He built, veneered, and stained as I don't have facilities to make up my own.

    Peter Rawlings makes the best flat-packs for X-LS Encores. He cuts them on a CNC machine extremely precisely. You can watch all of his assmebly vides on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0JRqE7rQT0g3SutYuBWBsg/videos

    IIRC, the cost of the flat packs is $140.

    You can email Peter about ordering a set of flatpacks here: [email protected]

    If its in your budget, I recommend getting the better caps, Mills resistors and the new Miflex copper caps from Danny; they really make a notable difference. I also recommend you order a sheet of No-Res as damping material.

    Once the cabinets are built up (watch Peter's videos), there are assembly videos by Danny for each phase of the build here:
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2020
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  6. famish99

    famish99 Friend

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    Yeah I'm hot off of upgrading my Forte 3 with the GR Research upgrade kit and now I kinda have the DIY itch and want to try more by him.
     
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  7. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Almost "Made"

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    You won't be disappointed. I'm still running mine in as I only completed them Friday last week. I still have only about 10 hours or so on mine. BTW, also using mine with a REL R-305 sub for the lower octaives.
     
  8. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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  9. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Almost "Made"

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    They're fairly impressive. It's early hours yet as I'm only about 1/3 or so the way through the running in process, but the bass definition and articulation, particularly, with string bass, is quite good. They are -3dB down at 55 Hz or so, which is comparable to my Harbeths. A sub would be required to flesh out the lowest octaves. The link you attached is the page for ordering the drivers and XO parts. I would recommend that you get the SonicCap and Mills resistor and tube connectors upgrades and also the new MiFlex copper cap upgrade if budget allows. And a sheet of No-Res is a must, IMHO.

    See my link above for a contact for Peter Rawlings for purchasing a CNC-machine cut flat pack.
     
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2020
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  10. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Almost "Made"

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    Just an update for the gang. The Pangea DS400 steel stands arrived for the Encores today. For $229/pr, I am impressed with these stands, the shipping box was so heavy I decided to open up the box and removed the pillars and bottom and top plates and assemble each stand in the garage. The assembled stands are really heavy, and while they come with spikes, the bottom plates are flat and level, so you can place them stably either on carpet, or on the speaker stand platforms as shown here. This set of stands is 28" high which is ear level for the tweeters in the Zero G chair I use for listening. 24" high stands are also available for $199. These stands are considerably more stable than the wimpy Sanus stands depicted in the first photo. Just a note for potential builders: these speakers are deceptively heavy, stiff and very, very solid when assembled, so be very mindful that the stand you decide to use for them has enough size, top plotform area and stability to use the speakers safely. The top platform for the Pangea stands is 6" W X 9" Deep, and its got enough area, but to be honest if they were 9"W X 12"D, it would be even better.

    [​IMG]

    I'm trying different materials to see what provides the best mechanical grounding of the speakers to the stands. The little rubber "feet" supplied for the top platforms aren't going to cut it. Right now, I've got a sheet of beeswax cloth sandwiched between the bottom of the cabinet and the speaker mounting plate to provide mechanical grouding but I will also try some Blu-Tac at each corner as well. The stands do come with carpet spikes you can use if your carpet is on a cement floor. The platforms you see the stands resting on are plain old particle board, which was the best-sounding platform of the many I tried, including just the carpet, MDF, ceramic floor tiles, and travertine stone (yes, different platforms sound different*). I will say its nice to finally have the speakers on a proper stand that provides good mechanical grounding and stability; those Sanus stands were pretty wimpy. At some point I may get in 8 EVPs from Norm Varney and try those under the bottom plate. The reason I haven't done this to date is that they are not practical to use with the Resonant Woods stands I use for the Harbeth 30.2s.

    The speakers are continuing to run-in and becoming more refined and with a smoother overall response. Bass response is becoming more defined and articulated across the tonal range, but I'm only about 1/3 to 1/4 of the way there with respect to running these in, so I expect even better audio quality as the woofs and its spider runs in, and as the big-ass caps burn-in. Imaging is very good, and the tweeter is accurate and smooth, but very revealing, so be mindful of recordings and most importantly, proper acoustical treatments in the room with these. You don't want any hard surface or glass at the first reflection points with these bad boys.

    More to follow...


    *–You'll also note the GIK Acoustics Alpha 4A diffusers/traps behind the speakers on the front wall. This is 1/6 of the actual number in the listening area (refer to the first pic for the one I put up on the half-wall midway between the speakers for critical listening). These diffusers provide a significant improvement in audio quality for those interested.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2020
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  11. Puma Cat

    Puma Cat Almost "Made"

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    Oh, and just an additional note regarding imaging. These speakers image incredibly well off-axis. As I write this, in my Zero G chair, I'm way off-axis, to the left of the left channel speaker and I can still clearly hear detail from the right channel speaker and....very good center-fill of the image between the speakers, even from this listening position. Very impressive.

    This plot, shown again here from post 1, shows the excellent horizontal off-axis response of these speakers.
    [​IMG]
     
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