Loudspeaker Designs and Articles for the DIY Enthusiast
Jim Holtz's:

Big sound from a monitor sized
speaker design using high
value drivers.
Imaging & Presentation:

The Finalists offer the same huge atmospheric soundstage and layered depth the Statements are known for. Depending on the recording the
performers begin at the rear of the speakers and are layered to the rear and sides with the soundstage extending well beyond the width of the speakers if
recorded that way. The speakers disappear leaving only the performance. BIG sound from small speakers.

Cymbals sound like cymbals and the sound of triangles float in the air. The highs are open and airy with great off axis dispersion. The RS28F has
great sound quality that realistically reproduces the original performance. It’s a real over achiever, IMHO.

Here's where The Finalists really shine. The NE149’s are extremely smooth, clear and detailed. Everything from the performer licking their lips to shifts
in where they're standing are audible. Tonal balance is exceptional. Very, very real sounding to my ears. I am particularly impressed with the level of detail
the NE149’s offer yet they are never harsh and even allow poor recordings to sound their best. This is an amazing driver, IMHO.

The bass capability of a RS225 in a well-tuned ported enclosure is well known. Very deep, tight, clean bass is what you hear. F3 came out about 32 Hz
so there nothing missing in the music I listen to. The added benefit of the new unshielded RS225-8 is that it allows cabinet volume to drop to as low as 35
liters without sacrificing bass. Another over achiever!

The dynamics are exceptional with just the right amount of impact and bite to add to the realism. Not much more to say other than, I find them to sound
just right to my ears.

I saved the best for last. If you like vocals, you’ll love The Finalists. Vocal recordings are realistic and natural sounding. Simply superb! I really enjoy
dynamic jazz guitar and The Finalists deliver. They have the smoothness associated with a paper driver but still have the bite and detail required  for
realistic reproduction. The vocals are where I have that “WOW” listening experience.

Sounstage Depth:
An aspect of tunnel mid designs I found interesting is the ability to control the soundstage depth with simple adjustments to the thickness and position
of the foam in the tunnel. As Jim and I voiced it, the soundstage is very deep, often seemingly residing behind the front wall. If a more pinpoint and forward
presentation is preferred, progressively increasing the foam plug thickness in the tunnel progressively moves the soundstage forward.

For some of us, a 3 way ‘bookshelf’ speaker harkens back to the days where such legacy designs were then the neuve haute of speaker design.
Back then measurement systems were a rarity, there were no T/S parameters, and no computer aided design. -Unless of course, you counted your slide
rule as a computer. The pioneers in the field did it the only way available to them: They built and listened to the result, and built again, and tweaked by ear
until they got it right. This design suggests that this school of thought and their products are still viable, and physical topologies based on such things as the
golden ratio have merit. While this project was designed using CAD and all the technologies available, we did listen. -A lot. -And tweak too…

Jim: If you are in love with detail and realism like I am, The Finalists won’t disappoint you. They’re smooth, detailed and dynamic. What’s not to like?
The Finalists will undoubtedly be compared to the Statements. I think everyone will have their own opinion after listening to both. They are very similar in
performance and sound quality with the edge going to the Statements for all out bass impact and SPL. The Finalists edge the Statements slightly in
midrange naturalness, cabinet size and positioning flexibility. Both offer great sound quality that meets my expectations and then some.

The Finalists are copyright 2012 by Jim Holtz and Curt Campbell                        Free for non-commercial use.   
Links to:

Main / Design Goals

Driver Selection

Cabinet Construction

Crossover Design


Listening Impressions