The system with WVIP(Wilkin's Very Important Princess!)

I have been a great fan of open baffle speakers for many years now. I like the way they present a huge soundstage with very spacious and lively feel. I'll never miss a chance to hear a pair of these, if I know they exist and owner is willing and game to share!

The hand made speaker, note the AMT ribbon tweeter.

So when I heard Wilkin was building a very ambitious pair with the famous Visaton B200 mids, AMT ribbon tweeters and push-push configured 15 inch woofers, this I gotta hear!


Back view of speaker with notch filters for the MTM mids and tweeter.

When I visited him, it was not only the speakers that surprised me, but a PC streaming loss-less(loss less is the word, I still don't believe there's no loss in digital streaming. Not yet anyway!) WAV files to a Behringer pro DAC which converts the signal to analogue, which feeds the converted 2 channel signal to another Behringer pro three way active electronic cross over to output in 6 channels of 3 way stereo high, mid and low.


The loss less source.

Behringer pro DAC (top)and 6 channel Electronic Cross Over.

The 6 channel signal is now passed on to a DIY remote controlled, 6 channel pre-amp which acts as the unified or master volume control for the whole system. The six channel signals now feeds 2 pairs of DIY, tube(a pair of 6922s each) buffered LM3875 chip power amps to send amplified signal to the AMT tweeters and dual Visaton B200 mids, arranged in MTM or Di Apolito configuration. The 15" subwoofers are powered by a 200W Rotel stereo power amp.



6 channel DIY pre-amp.

Tube buffered LM3875 chip power amp.

Wilkin says he felt short changed by our beloved TNB(Malaysian monopoly power company), which supplies his area with RFI/EMI dirt contaminated power. His solution, is a DIYed Felix power cord(see www.audiocircle.com for details) to supply filtered current to a PS Audio Power Plant, which in turn feeds the whole audio system.


PS Audio Power Plant regenarator.

Listening to this system brought back fond memories of my first pair of Vandersteen speakers. But only this time, the sound stage scale is bigger, wider and deeper. Image focus is very good for open baffle type speakers, which in my experience, can never quite rival the best of the common box designed speakers. The system dynamics is explosive, as expected with the 4 push-push configured 15" sub woofers. This is a fun system to experience rock, pop and other less stuffy, fast paced music. Not a system for the "audiophilia nervosa" type character, where you nit pick it's short comings. As with most DIYed systems, nothing is ever static as DIYers, are the type who can't sit still and must always be tweaking something. (yeah! I surely know.)


The 15" sub excursion while playing the Manger CD track 15, Jazz Variant. (BIG FUN!!!)

Wilkin tells me it took him more than a year to build the system, before he heard it's first musical (or is it test tone?) note! He's been tweaking it ever since, because with the flexibility of the 3 way electronic cross over, the scope of setting the speaker's cross over points & slopes, individual driver phase and gain is endless and can be extremely daunting, with all the options available. One really must know a few things about basic audio engineering, before embarking on such a huge undertaking.

Wilkin's DIYed Still Points Isolation Footers. He's got 3 pcs under every electronic component.

The cost to build the system is no small change, this I must stress! Not to mention the effort, blood, sweat and tears, plus countless sleepness nights to make it all come together. I'll have to take my hat of to him, for having the guts and commitment to go with the path least travelled. Well done my friend, and do keep tweaking!



[In-Line Advertisements]

14 comments:

kiarch said...

I have the priviledge to listen to Wilkin's OB speaker system couple of weeks before you, and I was pleasantly surprised with its good performance.

I am not much a fan of OB due to the common inherent problems associated with it, especially in the consistency faculty of its dynamic responses; that it rises and drops incoherently. Quite often, ultra-sensitive speakers has the tendency to be overly exuberant to certain bandwidth's dynamics swing, like mid-high frequency range tends to rise faster than the rest and only to be toppled-out faster also than the rest. What surpises me was Wilkin has managed to keep this underwrapped well enough for me not to be distracted from listening to the musical content. At the end of the day, its still all about Music.

Its associated potentials of high sensitive speakers are well preserved; microdynamism is as great as it should be, the liveliness is of high quality.

I still find slightly weak in midbass support though low bass is great, its high frequency is still a bit excessive but nice. And, I did mentioned to him, his placement of speakers need more explorations. I prefer sitting slight closer to yield better seamless dispersion spread of soundstage. But this could be hoovering on personal preferrences of, I like to be 'in' the recording venue rather than listening via a window opening to a performance with 'hotspots' on left/right channels.

Wilkin's system is the only system that offer me positive outlook to OB system so far. Many congratulations goes to him!

Jo Ki

Leslie said...

doesn't the pc monitor needs to sit on some cerabase instead of plastic stool? ;-)

GCK said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
GCK said...

Panzer, how about the review on the sound? You only mentioned the technicalities. Is there a follow up blog?
At least Joki has supported with some comment on the sound.

Tang, congrats on completion of the project. All the hard work has paid off.

D-I-Y Lover said...

I like D-I-Y audio too.D-I-Y can be very easy,or it could be very hard.Easy because you can easily get the sound.Hard because very hard to get the quality.I think we should get a product from a big company to compare with our D-I-Y product.If we want to make one amplifier,We should get a branded amplifier to compare with ours to know our weaknesses.Don't always say that our product is very successful.Matters concerning audio should be proved through theory,meters and equipments.Do not always use your ear as meter.

Anonymous said...

Hello friends,
Featuring the OB setup in this blog is a humbling experience for me; many thanks to Panzer for making the effort to visit and then do a write up, and most importantly keeping the hi-fi spirit alive !
The PC digital information streaming for Hi-Fi use; I guess is still relatively new here hence understandably it has received mixed feelings. Do note the PC in use has been specifically optimized and tuned solely for digital streaming and it’s quite powerless for other applications. That is the only way to achieve bit perfect transmission.
Also to clarify is that both Behringer units have been extensively modified just to make sure that readers know it’s not stock off the shelve pro units.
About the tweaking habbit, hey aren’t we all equally guilty of the itchy finger syndrom? ;-)

Jo Ki your points are well taken and digested; thank you for putting the effort to really sit down and listen to my humble setup. There have been several small but significant improvements made since; not forgetting several new discoveries.
At the end of the day it’s definitely about gaining insight into the music which is where the playback system needs to perform above certain par inorder to provide that strong illusion.

GnohCK thanks for the compliments and you also equally deserve praises for your own setup.

Cheers.
TWK

Panzer said...

kiarch,

Thanks for chipping in your thoughts. It's a revelation.

Leslie,

Good observation! Another tip for Wilkin.

GCK,

Nope, what you see is what you get, unless Wilkin makes some major changes which warrants a follow up later. I think Jo(kiarch) has done an excellent analysis of the system.

D-I-Y Lover,

I love to DIY audio too. Agreed with you about testing one's product and bench marking your efforts. An equipment the measures well technically is good, but the final arbiter of acceptence is still, however subjective it may be, is a pair of ears.

Panzer said...

TWK,

Glad to have you here! Thanks for having me do a home visit. Your system's non conformist, high end idealistic application deserves to be mentioned here IMHO.

Congrats once again! As in all things audio, it can only get better from here onwards.

Anonymous said...

D-I-Y Lover,
I'm not sure if I agree with you on this statement "Matters concerning audio should be proved through theory,meters and equipments.Do not always use your ear as meter." For a strong example, please read up the history of our valve amplifier technology (that don't measure well on the meter) till the emergence of solid state amplifiers in the late 70s- early 80s (that measure superbly).

cheers.
TWK

Anonymous said...

No room treatment?
I would think electronic Room EQ would be the next step.

Anonymous said...

The room is surrounded with DIY diffuser with an effective depth of about 10" (the example is on the back plane of the speaker) and room eq is one of the behringer's duty.
So effectively I'm having bits of both diffuser and room eq doing the sound check and balancing.


Cheers

TWK.

km ng said...

Hi Wilkin,

Congratulations to your over the top labour of love speaker/amp project for hifi and music.

Hope to have a visit to your very interesting system for a listen.

Got to say this but your rack system reminded me of a skyscraper! :)

DS said...

WiKin - I've said it many times before --your setup kicks major @$$.. its as live as it gets from any hifi setups I've heard, regardless of price. IMHO, even the RM1mil+ top of the line DCS/Goldmund monos/Wilson combo heard in SGP could not hold a candle to yours.
I hope to soon find out how yours stack up against the legendary OB setup up north in AS.
(based on the Orion I believe).

Anonymous said...

KM Ng,
Thank you. Actually it's quite an un-OTT system as each component has its own duties to perform and no redundancy made. The sky scraper rack was made to save floor space as the rear door that leads to the loo is still needed. As Jo pointed out it can affect imaging depth so I'm also trying to figure out a way to solve this.

DS,
Thank you for the encouraging words.

Cheers.

TWK