Poor Man's "Super-Speaker" System

Greetings, thought I'd post some impressions of the experiment I conducted with my main speakers. I had pair of Eminent Technology LFT-8's. Fabulous, economical speaker. I'd say a forerunner in the cost/performance race at a price of well under $2k.
I had read a review of them in which reviewer tried adding a second pair. He likened the sound to the Infinity RSV speakers sytem (at $60,000 in the 80's). That got my attention. So, I did it, bought the second set of speakers and am running them in parallel (the tweeter drivers are center of each pair, surrounded by the midrange, to tighten up the high end).

My system:
Rega Planet 2000 cd
Rogue Magnum 66 pre (configured with tape output internally switched to second pair of line outs)
Audioquest RCA "Y" adapters
Four pair Harmonic Technology interconnects, running into
8 channels of Outlaw Audio amps (Outlaw 755 at 200wpc feeding mid/highs on all speakers, and Outlaw 750 at 165wpc feeding lows on all speakers)
Of course, the four Eminent Tech LFT-8's
2 Vandersteen 2W subs

I have the higher wattage amp feeding mid/highs because it improved the clairity of the soundstage, and I can supplement the lows witht the Vandersteen subs.

POWER! Effortless bass- along with the twin Vandersteen subs, I now am running ten 8" bass drivers. No sweat with any low bass etc.

More 3/D or "holographic" sounding. With the wider sound stage and power one perceives a more live sound. Cymbals seem to be easier to hear decaying, the tiniest taps are audible clearly. Subtle nuances shifting from left to right speaker etc. are easier to catch.

Rock Music ROCKS! It's like a live concert! Thunderous bass, the voice sounds like you're listening to the monitors and you can visualize the guy at the mic...

There is no fatigue from the high end; I used to have Mangepan 1.6QR's and after while listening with the volume up,I'd have to turn it down, just so much shrillness my ears can take. The Eminents are much more forgiving to the ears, and doubling them does not wreck that quality.

There is still a "gravity" even at low listening levels. It sounds full and the detail remains even when playing softly.

Watched the clip from Gone in 60 seconds where Nick Cage gets reacquainted with "Elanore". WOA! Overwhelming presence in movies...

To purists, this may not be the way to go. At times I think I can hear slight nuances of two signals being reproduced, but when I hear a solo instrument, or voice, it sounds dead on like one speaker.

Shortcomings in my equipment may be partly to blame; one set of speaker cables is two foot longer than the other and only 11awg vs. shorter ones being 9awg.
One pair of speakers is about ten years older, the other recently built.
The Outlaw amps are not identical.
The interconnects are all same brand but not same model.
Only one set of speakers on "Sound Anchor" stands - the second set of stands is on the way.
The listening room is obviously small for such an attempt.
It is likely more room tuning is needed (I'm using four Auralex propannels behind the speakers in the corners).
I have not used "set up" discs or analysis to tune the system.

If such limitations due to budget were overcome/corrected, this setup might move from being exciting to being astounding.

I'm going to have some audiophile friends with better ears than me come and give their impressions. I may post them on my virtual system.

I know one thing, I will probably always biamp now that I have tried it. Likewise, would be hard to give up the ultra wide sound stage and visceral presence of the twin speakers now that I've got it. Bigger is definitely better in some respects. I can certainly see how huge speakers with vast arrays of drivers are very enticing. I'm trying to simulate the same experience with a modest outlay greenbacks.

As I said before, this project may not be the straightest line to a flawless signal/listening experience, but if nothing else, I'm getting a ton of fun from the project. I am enjoying attempting to create the poor man's "super-speaker."

Anyone else do anything this crazy?
Doug as long as it's fun..you will never get bored! :-)
I wish I lived near..I would love to hear your setup.
I know you've been working on this for well over a year.
Looks like it's starting to pay off for you.

I have no doubt it works, I always liked the Eminent Technology LFT-8's and those Vandy subs are VERY fast.

Like Gmood1, I would love to hear it.
Doug I'm having some fun myself... playing around with this stuff. It may not be a super speaker system to others. But it is for me. My little system is very simple. I use a 6 wpc battery powered amplifier (Clari T amp). It's being fed by a Modded Toshiba 3960 player with a BVaudio SR 10 as a buffer between the two. I had the ClariT upgraded with dual subwoofer outputs.This allows the signal from my cd/dvd player to feed both subwoofers directly.My shunt mode volume control is only a passive attenuator..no active circuit.
The custom made Omega Grande 8's are perched on top of my active subwoofers ( Two Adire Ravas). This places the center of the drivers 36 inches off the floor (pretty close to ear level when sitting).Since my speakers produce their bass at 180 degrees out of phase. I have my subs 180 degrees out of phase. This gives a cleaner faster bass with less if any over hang in my room. It also allows for a seamless blend between the the speakers and subs.

I can put on some Ray Brown and litterly rattle the windows with his bass string plucks if I choose. At the same time hear the strings delineate into the air.
If I didn't point it out. No one would ever believe . I had a integrated amplifier that's small enough to fit in the palm of your hand as the control center.

I'm getting 26 db dynamic swings in some recorded material.
The funny thing is , I have never heard this system clip. At 10 O'clock on the ClariT's dial with most recordings..I can hardly stand to be in the room. It's just too much volume for me to really enjoy.

A year ago I wouldn't have dreamed I could build a system this cheap, that smokes everything I've previously owned.
I feel like I have active near fullrange floorstanders in the room now!

Enjoy your new toys!
ive done almost the same thing with my rig,ive found that i much prefer the sound of multiple sets of speakers & speakers with many drivers all in the same rig.

right now im running mcintosh xrt 22's that have 26 drivers per side & a pair of mcintosh ls320 monitors & a jm labs center speaker for a total of 59 drivers in my system.

i hope to run across another pair of xrt 22's within driving distance soon & replace the little mac monitors which would bring me up to 107 drivers in the same system,excessive................. maybee but i am awe struck at how music is presented thru lotsa drivers.

to me there seems to be a little somthing xtra special in the way a system with alot of drivers presents itself that cant be found in a 2 channel rig,so you see your not the only nut on the block.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts - two pairs of the ET's with Vandy subs would be an ideal setup. I have to believe the ET's also sound incredible with movies. Congratulations on a great setup - and you did it all for under 2K!!
Interesting idea. Similar to the flipped and stacked Quad's and Dahlquist DQ-10's of old. Sounds like a tweekers dream. Have fun.
Way back in the day I set up a crazy system that used Acoustat 1+1 electrostatic speakers flanked by Maggie MG-1 Improved speakers for bass.

The system was biamped and used a custom-built electronic crossover. I had a nice tube preamp feeding a Hafler DH-500 on the slim, 8-ft tall Acoustats; and a highly-modified Dynaco Stereo 70 feeding the bass panels of the MG-1's.

I'll tell you what, the system threw a huge soundstage and really rocked. Even though it was fairly ridiculous and almost defied logic, it was one of the most memorable and fun systems I ever threw together. And of course, back then, vinyl was THE premium-quality playback medium. As I recall, it was an AR ES-1 tt, with a Sumiko MMT arm and a Monster Alpha-1 MC cartridge. :)
Thanks a lot for responses; it IS a tweaker's delight! Who else has a story to tell about multi-speaker-madness?
If you like to rock or simply enjoy a very dynamic, low distortion presentation, increased headroom in both the speaker system and amplifiers is ALWAYS beneficial. From what i can recall, i've been preaching this idea for several years now. Glad you like it and hope it only gets better with time : ) Sean

PS... If you're a "rocker" on a budget and don't mind buying older used gear ( you're already on Audiogon, right??? ), two Klipsch Heresy's per side with four large home-brewed sealed and stuffed subwoofer drivers per side is a hard combo to beat. Very punchy mid-bass, solid vocals, plenty of bite in the guitars, pronounced cymbals with an extremely fast and tight bottom end that exhibits plenty of oomph, etc... If you can buy the raw woofers and build the cabinets yourself, the four Heresy's and sub system should run you about $1000 - $1200 at mosst.

Two NAD 2600's for the Heresy's and a beefed up Phase Linear 700B for the bottom end will get you over a kilowatt of power per side for around $1000. At appr 98 dB's of sensitivity for the dual Heresy's, the system will rock quite well without putting a massive strain on any of the amps. The slightly "mellow" NAD sound works pretty well to tame the potentially glaring horn sound of the Klipsch in stock form. The fact that all these amps have variable input level adjustments allows you to fine tune the balance between the Heresy's and the subs without the need for an active crossover. That is, if you want to keep the cost down and run passive subs.

Having said that, an active crossover will sound better and improve the performance on both the subs and Heresy's if you can swing it. Use the sharpest slope possible and keep the crossover point at around 40 - 50 Hz or so. Going higher in frequency will increase the bass weight of the system and potential dynamic range of the mains, but as you go higher and roll more of the bass out of Heresy's, you may notice that the kick drums will lose some of their "snap". This all boils down to personal preference here.

Personally, i prefer the Heresy's to La Scala's in stock form for most any type of music. They may not be as efficient, but they sound much more natural. The La Scala's require a LOT of work to really make them sing and most people aren't up to the tasks required. Besides that, the two Heresy's will cost less than one pair of La Scala's and take up less floor space / aren't nearly as ugly.
On speaker combining - Living across the street from a Goodwill in San Francisco, I have been able to buy a lot of what were once upper end speakers and play with them in combination. I did a lot of this - until I got married :(
Now there's no room for such excess.

The results can be really truly SPECTACULAR, especially when carefully combining very different types of speakers to fill in each other's weaknesses.

First off - the most important place to start is to make sure that the distance from your listening spot to ALL the tweeters and Mid drivers is EXACTLY the same, or at very least, concentric. In the case of 4 identical speakers, stacking one upside down atop the other gets close, but generally you'll have to tilt the top pair towards you, since the upper most driver will tend to be farther from a seated person than the similar driver on the lower pair.

Rather than an active crossover, I just used 2 amps and 2 EQ's, to tweak to the point of getting a reasonably flat freq. curve and a volume balance between the two different pairs that works. This can take a few hours (usually around 4 to 5 for me).

One incredible combo, for example, that offered surreal imaging and openess was a pair of early 1960's University 10" full range drivers in gigantic cabinets with a pair of Ohm Walsh 2's. The Walsh's, with their nice tweeters, filled in the highs that the Univ's couldn't do. And the Univ's lent a power to the mids and lows that the Ohm's don't have. Being responsible for most of the imaging, the Ohms were placed a couple of feet outside the Univ's - creating a huge soundstage. I sat only about 5 feet back from the whole thing, making it like giant headphones. It was some of the most incredible sound I've heard. Truly psychedelic. Total cost for all 4 speakers: $130.

Another very nice combo was Spica TC-50's sitting right on top of Bose 501's. EQ'd the mids of the Bose down (relatively) to prevent them destroying the Spica magic. Mind boggling imaging and the additional bass and bass coupling provided by the 501's made the Spica experience everything it could be. Way better than the Spica's alone.

The only downside of "pairing up" is the potential (certainty, actually) of phase cancellation. Techie audiophiles will wave that in your face, but it can be dealt with by careful tweaking, especially for one distinct listening position. The proof is in the listening, and as I've said above - it can be really Amazing.

Anyway - hope to proveide some food for thought for all you UNMARRIED guys out there....
The Comment by Sean regarding active crossovers has gotten my wheels in the mind turning again...
The Eminent Tech LFT-8's happen to have the pannels containing the mid/tweeter connections very accessable. One can easily work with the wiring on them without ripping into a cabinet (all one needs to do is remove the grill cloth cover which is attatched via velcro.

The thought: If an active crossover is far superior (and don't they get put in the chain between source and preamp?) Then maybe I could run the mid/tweeters of the speakers with active crossovers, and the bass leave well enough alone, using the crossover in the woofer box.

I could blend in the mid/uppers using the active crossover. Does this sound sensible/doable?
Since this started from LFT'S being ground zero, I bet a few of you already saw me post about buying just one pair of the LFT8's.
Doug Is one pair really great, and just gets better with another ? And also I will be using a HSU Research 12V sub with my LFT'S is this a fast enough SUB?
I may upgrade a mono amp for it, but my budget and wife will keep me in this sub for some time....thanks all Chad

P.S. I saaw someone say these are amazing for movies. correct? mine will be dual use aswell.
I'm using the LFT's both for music and movies. My philosopy is to get the best sound for two channel, and the audio in movies will take care of itself. So, yes, these are amazing for movies.

The LFT is a terrific speaker period. They sound great run as a single pair. And they do get better with four of them. For the money, I say there is very little lacking in their perfomance. I was perfectly content with one pair until I read the review using two pair that suggested such a phenomenally huge jump in the listening experience for such a relative pittance (especially if you purchase components used).

I know you're really quite happy with the performance of your current speakers, so I don't want to talk you into them only to have you disappointed. You would be wise to consider the at home trial. It would be worth it, I feel to try a quality sounding planar.

Regarding the use of your HSU subwoofer, i'm guessing that the compatibility issue would not be as much of a problem, since the speaker is a hybrid, utilizing a cone woofer. If it were a planar bass pannel, then possibly you'd run into more issues with the sub not being able to keep up.

It may not be a perfect bass combo, but perfect costs a LOT more. Of course, one can always upgrade sub too at later time. And, the low end of the Eminents is good enough that you'll not need to rely heavily on the subwoofer. Don't rush to buy an amp until you've listened and adjusted quite a bit; you may be quite content for a long time with your current sub/amp. Even room placement can be a factor. As well as using a bit of room tuning such as sound pannels. Can make a surprising difference.
Douglas, regarding active crossovers on the ET8, you might read this http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/MUG/messages/83818.html . Probably I'll be buying a pair and am investigating biamping both passively and actively.