Unreal speaker build

These speakers are hand made and almost one of a kind. [Lluís Pujolàs] didn’t come up with the original design, but he sure did an amazing job of crafting them, including an eleven page build log (translated). They’re called the Odyssey 2, after the original design. The shell-shaped cavity on the bottom was built as a wooden skeleton first, then covered over for the finished shape. But the mid and high range enclosures were turned on a lathe from wood glued-ups. A serious machine shop is necessary to do this kind of woodworking. The bases are poured concrete, impregnated with lead beads to help with vibration isolation. At 330 pounds each it’s understandable that he tested them on wheels before parking them in their final position as seen above.

[Thanks Neorazz]

Comments

  1. grenadier says:

    Oh. My. God.

  2. Grovenstien says:
  3. pod says:

    insane.
    do they have at least a good sound?

  4. yobyfed says:

    All that fancy crap and not a tv in sight.

  5. neorazz says:

    hes using a seas driver for the mid and sub and scanspeak tweeter not low end drivers.
    the nautlius/ fibonacci shape is suppose to be able to phase cancel the drivers for perfect sound reproduction with no cabinet coloration/ diffraction no speaker distortion thru a tapered tube design overall overall $2000 (EST) vs $60000

  6. Mike of England says:

    Yes, B&W, but Technics tried too.Might have been horn loaded though. These are beautiful,bet they sound it too. Time aligned, I haven’t read the log, are these tri-amped?
    God, they’re Gorgeous. I must find time to read up on them. Thanks for sharing.

    What did yobyfed say?
    Why have a TV in sight, to ruin the soundstage?

  7. cocoa says:

    Dunno why people so loving bigass 2.1s when you can buy a cheap 5.1 system and enjoy it more (especially if you gaming).
    Just need to position the speakers properly close to you. Also try to use something like this in a flat, your neighboors would come to beat you apart with baseball bats even if you would put it to mid volume.

  8. kristian says:

    @cocoa: they’re probably not designed solely for being loud. this isn’t a 2.1 system either… most really high-end speakers are simple stereo.

    that is some beautiful craftsmanship. i’ve made a few speakers and i can barely make rectangular boxes look decent :P i will definitely be reading that build log tonight

    also, it’s a shame that i could never live with being this rich: http://www.wilsonaudio.com/product_html/alex_intro.html

  9. jamieriddles says:

    gotta love audiophiles

  10. strider_mt2k says:

    @cocoa: The problem is you are comparing an all-you-can-eat buffet with the classiest dinner at the best restaurant in town.

    Yes, one has food in abundance, but the other is specifically crafted for maximum deliciousness.

    (Yum!)

  11. chr0naut says:

    Unfortunately for these types of super-fidelity speakers, it is often the source that is the fidelity bottleneck.

    Beyond a certain level of chasing better sound fidelity, it is just a waste of money. The sound system cannot achieve higher fidelity than the recording/mastering process.

  12. biozz says:

    its nice but im disappointed that they did not come up with the design

    if i were to spend hours making something i would have designed it my self but that’s just me XD

  13. hoooooooooooooooooorj says:

    The odd part is that the actual spiral enclosure required far less in terms of required tools — Is there a reason why the other two enclosures had to be made from wood as opposed to wooden frame with fiberglass filling in over it like the spirals?

  14. Quintin says:

    I’ve had that build log in my bookmarks for about three years now.

    Speakers like these are quite high on my todo list. As soon as I have time to research drivers and filters…

  15. vonskippy says:

    “The bases are poured concrete, impregnated with lead beads to help with vibration isolation.”

    I hope he remembered to stir the lead/concrete mix thoroughly with a smooth clockwise motions using a pure Copper stirring rod to avoid mixed subharmonics interfering with the polyphonic gravitons providing an unhealthy magnetron feedback loop to his wiring system.

    Audiophiles and religious nuts – it’s useless talking SCIENCE with them.

  16. Mike of England says:

    The bottleneck in any system is the room the speakers are in. Room acoustics is the biggest obstacle to overcome. A perfect room and your typical stereo sound stage can become massive in perceived size, a surround set up is a different ball game. My infinite baffle subwoofer can shake my house, the ceiling shakes the doors rattle and windows buzz, but whilst this is going on, I can hold a telephone conversion, and my neighbour never hears or comes knocking. :)

  17. Mike of England says:

    My grammar sucks. Conversation not Conversion

  18. Uh huh says:

    @vonskippy:

    The speaker horns and enclosure was otherwise “relatively” light, why is it ridiculous to want to have heavy bases to properly anchor them? Vibration isolation is a real measurable thing that can affect the sound of a speaker.

  19. WickedShell says:

    @vonskippy
    now, now, let’s be kind, us linux geeks, or gun geeks (seriously look up some of the wildcat cartridges), computer geeks, English geeks, electronics geeks, are all obsessed with optimizing everything. And once we’re down optomizing we make it look pretty, and simpler, and add little things that may make a difference, even if it’s only in your head it counts… And it’s not just audiophiles.

  20. Anonymouse says:

    @chr0naut

    Not really. Building a linear speaker is much more difficult than building a linear amplifier, not to mention the hell played by room acoustics.

    Find a comfortable pair of studio headphones for the same prices as an average set of speakers, and you’ll have better sound quality and pay much less for amplifiers and sound-proofing.

  21. Fallen says:

    I’ve always been a fan of how these Nautilus-like speakers look. I haven’t had a chance to hear them though.

  22. groogs says:

    @vonskippy:

    I just can’t believe he’s ruining the sound by having the speaker wires sit directly on the floor, with no ceramic isolation posts. But what do you expect, it doesn’t even look like the wires are the same length, so the sound will take longer to get to the right speaker and be out of phase.

  23. 2k4s says:

    ditto Mike of England. you can have the sweetest hardware but the room is the real beast that you need to tame before anything else. It’s ok to go for audiophile results with a nearfield monitor system in a poor room but with a setup like this it seems like such a waste to have it sitting there in an unbalanced room. Take nothing away from the build though. that is admirable. the dedication and craftsmanship. I’m jealous actually. but hopefully he has a better room to listen to them in. Props to Lluís and his helpers for a great build. very impressive fabrication.

  24. mjrippe says:

    Audiophools…Sorry but I’ve worked on the recording end of audio and these folks are spending way too much trying to reproduce things that are not there in the original recordings. It is not a matter of “ears”, just plain science and math.

  25. @Neorazz: Great! you have summarized this post!! Hats off to you!

  26. nateL says:

    Regardless of the debatable audiophilic superiority, a truly impressive and beautiful build. The fit and finish is jaw-droppingly good. Well done, Lluis, well done.

  27. Bob says:
  28. vasskk says:

    b&W nautilus.

  29. blue carbuncle says:

    I’ve got a $3000 grounding wire that will really make the notes less muddy.

  30. Mike of England says:

    Us poor Audiophools have to make the best of what the all too often, crappy engineer dishes up.

    Audiophools…Sorry but I’ve worked on the recording end of audio and these folks are spending way too much trying to reproduce things that are not there in the original recordings. It is not a matter of “ears”, just plain science and math.

    We never try to reproduce what isn’t there. This Guy obviously has a cheap setup.

    Take your listening amplifier, any amplifier. Use the same parts copy the amp, split the circuit in half. Use two separate power supplies and listen to the two of them see which sounds better. Then throw the power supply away, and run it off a battery. An Audiophool knows the Amplifier is as good as its supply, s/he can’t get more. If it wasn’t recorded, you won’t hear it. If your rectifier circuit picks up rfi and mains born noises, you miss the quiet parts of the recording, reverb picked up by a mic or, I have known, a squeaky kick drum pedal. whatever sound was recorded medium, be it analogue, or digital, the Audiophool will get their system to reproduce it .

    Don’t employ this guy to do your masters, he uses science and math not ears, WTF? We’d all have the same systems to play our audio, wouldn’t we?

    Mike, Audiophool

  31. Mike of England says:

    whatever sound was recorded medium, be it analogue, or digital, the Audiophool will get their system to reproduce it .
    Sorry, meant to say Whatever medium was used for the recorded sound, ie CD Vinyl etc

    Told you my Gramner was bad

  32. fartface says:

    Um no. http://www.bowers-wilkins.com/display.aspx?infid=1457

    They are NOT an original design. he splashed molds off of a set of someone else speakers or simply copied them.

    If they are copies, then guaranteed it has crap drivers in it instead of the hand made drivers that are in B&W speakers.

    Glad to see that HAD is not even doing fact checking.

    P.S. anyone that wants those in his living room is a nutjob. They actually do not sound very good compared to other brands that are less money and far better built. B&W’s are for the wackjob rich guy that wants his home to look bizarre. and yes I have heard those speakers myself(The real ones not the cheap one off copy in the link) I do real home automation programming with AMX or Crestron gear for these people.. $380.00 each light switches and $190.00 each wall plate covers are nothing to people that actually waste money on B&W speakers.

    Over here I have a 3d rendition of a Monet done by Salvador dali while he was dropping acid… I paid $48,000,000 for it, isn’t it wonderful?

  33. JM says:

    HI-DE-OUS.
    Sorry.

  34. Lucia says:

    I haven’t seen any attempt at measuring the performance of these because, duh, this is a cargo cult nutjob. Just the same shape as B&W Nautilus.

  35. TDJ says:

    What’s really strange: he seems to have a family, that means probably somehow convinced his wife to accept the speakers.

    Normally anything but shoe-box sized good design that fit in a book case has a VERY low WAF.

    And as we all know WAF is king if you have a family.

  36. jim says:

    No, the design is from another source, and the spiral cabinet should be functional. Whether it was worth the time and effort is anybody’s guess, but there’s logic to the design.

    Besides, you could argue that any halo model isn’t about function so much as aesthetics and exclusivity. Horn designs do work, I’m just not convinced that the incredible price of the B&W Nautilus could ever be warranted.

  37. Garbz says:

    @Mike of England

    We can hear and measure differences in amps, sources, speakers and even room design. We can not hear the differences between cables, powersupplies or other snake oil.

    Who are we? We are the audiophiles who have never been able to pass a double blind test on the above.

    Rectifier circuit picking up RFI and mains noises which somehow magically makes it through a giant low bandwidth transformer, massive amounts of filtering, and audibly affects your music despite the noise floor of any cheap amplifier already measuring down the 96dB range? Please don’t insult our intelligence, there’s some engineers who read these pages. Religion belongs on another blog.

  38. nebulous says:

    @ fartface
    Someone who goes through this amount of trouble to reproduce a pair of speakers would actually try to use good quality drivers. Your ‘guarantee’ is rather empty.

    Please wake up to the fact that it doesn’t have to come from a name-brand to have top-notch fabrication. Someone with a shop like they have will actually be able to make professional grade stuff.

    I also like how you’re slamming the reproductions for being ‘obviously’ inferior to the originals, while similtaneously trashing the originals for not sounding good anyway.

  39. Mike of England says:

    @Garbz You’re saying that an amp running off a transformer and one diode sounds the same as a transformer, bridge rectification, correct capacitance and even regulation? You happy with a Wal Wart? I don’t use fancy wires, I use the correct gauge and type, no snake oil needed. As far as cables are concerned, there is a so called skin effect being looked into by one company. You can hear a difference if the person that made your gear used the wrong cable. I’ve seen loads of quality equipment fitted with in correct wire. I had a JVC amplifier that contained 3 wires,( left right and gnd signal in) in a plastic sheath. I ripped them out and used shielded wires. Sounded different to me. I agree 1000 bucks for a metre of silver wire is snake oil.

    Whats the best oil for your car, or is it all the same, you can’t feel an improvement when you drive?

  40. Tom says:

    I strongly dislike the idea of producing 660 pounds of toxic waste for this purpose.

    Mixing lead into concrete? That is a crime!

    I would understand it if he were using leaded concrete e.g. for shielding his neutron source if he was building a small thermic nuclear reactor, like, say, for domestic heating purposes.

    But wasting poisonous lead for a home entertainment system? That is outrageous!!

  41. Gene says:

    Yes there is alot of engineering involved in speaker design but if you look at the HIGH END industry it is full of inconsistencies and pure snake oil. Several examples would be amplifiers and speaker wire. Anyone wanna try a challenge?

    http://www.davidnavone.com/a2000/Amp%20challenge%202001%20Revision.pdf

  42. vonskippy says:

    I’d like to point out that “blue carbuncle’s” $3000 grounding wire is pure rubbish – worthy of Radio Shack sound system only.

    Any REAL sound engineer will tell you that GOOD grounding wires start at $8000 and up, because they provide channelized copper molecules to insure a free flowing and impedance free pathway for electrons to travel.

    Anything less and your sound is just plain crap.

  43. nick says:

    I cant tell the difference between $10 Logitech speakers and a perfectly balanced tube amp. I just cant.

    why?

    My ears are not that good.

    Same probably goes for the lot of you, the only thing that really matters here is WHAT you are trying to amplify and reproduce, its not the speakers that makes the difference its the source.

    $1 says the lot of you with high end speaker systems listen to 198bit mp3 audio half the time and cant tell the difference between FLAC.

  44. jim says:

    It’s the other way around: speakers are most important, followed by amp then source. Obviously you could split hairs here, but speakers are what you actually listen to.

  45. TruthHertz says:

    Skin effect in audio cables…? I smell B.S.

    Skin depth in solid copper at 20 Hz — .571 ”
    Skin depth in solid copper at 200 Hz — .181 ”
    Skin depth in solid copper at 2000 Hz — .055 ”
    Skin depth in sold copper at 20000 Hz — 0.018″

    Looking at it, if you’re using 12 gauge wire, the skin effect is irrelevant until you get into the 1000’s of Hz. True, from 2khz to 20khz there is a 3x increase in effective cable resistance due to thinning skin, but in a 12-gauge cable with a nominal resistance of 1.588e-3 ohms/ft, that amounts to around 0.06% change with respect to the nominal impedance of the load (8 ohm). In other words, a teardrop in an olympic swimming pool.

    Still worried it? Take 16 strands of #24 magnet wire, and twist it into a “rope” with a drill motor. Strip and join all the strands at each end, and solder a lug at each end. Now you have a Litz cable that has a linear resistance comparable to #12 AWG solid, wherein skin effect plays no role at all.

    Seriously, the effect of your curtains, bean-bag chair, overstuffed lazyboy, and even the golden retriever lying on your Pergo floor has orders of magnitude greater effect on the sound of your audio system than any skin effect.

    Audiophiles need to learn to distinguish theoretical effects from real-world effects. What’s next? Should we draw the curtains because sunlight shining on speaker binding posts could release photo-electrons that produce a pico-volt DC offset, which works to reduce the dynamic range amplifier?

  46. G2 says:

    ahhh… I love arguments about audio. So much entertainment.
    +1 to bobs reference to the emperors new clothes.
    Fantastic fabrication regardless of sonic quality.
    For those looking for a good source of audio information without all the usual bs
    http://sound.westhost.com/articles.htm

  47. Garbz says:

    @Mike of England

    No I’m not. I’m calling bullshit to claims of RFI on your power supply causing an audible change in a system which is not measurable. Filtering out RFI is trivial. Filtering out mains noises… well that’s what those capacitors are for, the ones that are in every amp from your $10 Akai to a $6000 Electrocompaniet.

    As for skin effect? Yeah it’s quite a problem. … If you’re blasting a signal in the MHz down the cable. But in the audible region… well do the math and you’ll see it creates such a very minor resistance change in the cable which will further be reduced by the interaction of the systems with the cable resistance at either end. Not an issue.

    Funny you should mention oil in the car. Look at the back of the bottle, and they’ll all say the same thing. Conforms to API xxxxxxxx. Measured in a lab with the finest equipment. Refined in a way to ensure that the spec is only JUST met, otherwise it’s less profit. Yeah I use cheap oil in my car, and it runs just fine.

  48. anon says:

    @Tom

    I know you are joking, but lead aggregate in concrete is for gamma shielding. Neutron shields are best if they contain a high percentage of hydrogen. Concrete is <10% hydrogen when it is freshly poured.

  49. carsloth says:

    I think maybe some of us have missed the point. The guy built custom speaker boxes that look different than the standard cube plus showed us a detailed account of how to build our own or use the method to design our own. As for weather they are good audiophile grade speakers or not is highly individual.

  50. Eirinn says:

    Heard once that there isn’t a big difference in low price speakers and high end brand. What does matter is the drivers and so on – AFAIK.

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