My Mark audio single driver speaker build and opinions.

Discussion in 'DIY' started by Donny, Jul 12, 2017.

  1. Donny

    Donny Big Damn Hero

    Messages:
    1,412
    Location:
    Vidor TX
    I finally got around to building these! These are my first speaker build. I didn't take many pictures but I will say this. If your table saw looks like mine...buy a new one! These are mark audio alpair drivers. Build out of red oak 3/4 ply stained with minwax sedona red stain. The edges are white bir DSC00458.JPG DSC00495.JPG DSC00496.JPG DSC00497.JPG ch finished natural. I used laquar sanding sealer and gloss for the finish.

    I am happy with the cosmetics but disappointed in the sound. The highs are plentiful but harsh. The bass is surprisingly low for the size of the driver but still very lacking. Midrange leaves much to be desired. In short a speaker that does nothing well.
     
  2. Redboy

    Redboy a few good watts Subscriber

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    Location:
    Twin Cities, MN
    I've heard a couple of different speaker pairs that my buddy @ejfud built with different Mark Audio drivers.

    I know they can be finicky, but they can also be very good. As I understand it, they:
    need a lot - a LOT - of break in time. Think weeks, not days.
    require quite a bit more power than you might think to really open up
    are very revealing of crappy upstream components or source material (GIGO)
    require careful placement. Yours are probably too close to the back wall, and look boxed in.
    The last couple points are very true of fullrange / single driver speakers in general. Poor recordings can be torturous; a good recording can bring tears to your eyes.

    Don't give up on them, yet!
     
    botrytis likes this.
  3. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    These are new drivers, right? No break in? Also what are you driving them with?
     
  4. botrytis

    botrytis Trying not to be a Small Speaker Hoarder Subscriber

    I totally agree with Redboy on all points. Also use quality amplification - garbage in, garbage out.
     
  5. Lavane

    Lavane AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    If your not living in an apt. Let them play when your away at work, ect. at a normal listening level. As stated by Redboy, they will need time to break in.
     
  6. Donny

    Donny Big Damn Hero

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    They got at least a week break in before I built the box. I have tried different placement different rooms and different amps. Although it wouldn't hurt to break them in more and play around with placement and maybe try lp vs cd and dac. I have a couple of more amps I could try also. I do have a fair amount of time invested in the cabs.
     
  7. winters860

    winters860 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Ever seen a frequency response graph for Mark Audio drivers? Might account for why some people don't like them or consider them an acquired taste.

    Pretty poor speakers, objectively speaking.
     
  8. Jim Shearer

    Jim Shearer Active Member

    Messages:
    320
    Location:
    upstate NY
    As I write this I am listening to Mark Audio Alpair 10.3 drivers in BIB cabinets which I just completed. Drivers were broken in per Mark's rec. shown below.

    I find nothing disappointing about them at all. Rich, full, articulate sound. I will say that some years back I heard first gen Alpair 10's that sounded quite awful-- they may have been broken by improper break-in procedure.

    Here is what Mark Fenlon says about breaking in his drivers. If you look up his old posts on another audio board, you can learn about the design of these drivers and why they need careful break-in.

    ----------
    Please run in the latest Markaudio drivers:

    1 - First 100 hours - low volume music only. The music should be general/vocals with modest bass. Please don't use any artificial and/or single tone signal signals this risks creating a memory patten in the outer 7 to 10 micron cone substrate. You can run the drivers in free air or near free air, but pay attention to the physical movement, the driver's power-train should not move more than 1mm.

    2 - From 100 hours to 300 hours, gradually increase the load to normal listening levels. Typically and depending on room size, the volumes should be around low 80's dB near constant loads with peak loads not exceeding 86dB. For those without any SPL measuring equipment, set your system to moderate listening levels. You should be able to hold a conversation without raising your voice while the drivers are being run.

    3 - From 300 hours out, the driver's power-train will enter its optimal load phase on its suspensions. Markaudio driver suspensions are critical components as they have to cope with long-throw demands of the cone/coil. I recommend some care from 300 to 500 hours as fully optimised suspensions will give you many years of reliable service life. Bass loads are available but go a little easy on the volume until passed 500 hours.

    Remember fellas, Markaudio drivers are "long throw" light load units. They will give you allot of wide usable band width but they aren't designed for near constant maxed volume "rock un roll". The latest models have built-in arrestors to help avoid damage from accidental over-load, so this helps but its not a replacement for commence sense operation of these types of drivers, be they Markaudio or other full-rangers.

    Hope this helps.

    Thanks
    Mark.
     
  9. vinylkid58

    vinylkid58 Super Member

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    Location:
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    Is that the 7.3 or 10.3 Pensil? I've heard both, and the sound is not what you describe. What did you line/stuff the enclosures with, as this can have a great impact on how they will sound?

    jeff
     
  10. winters860

    winters860 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Break-in is a real thing. As far as I my limited audio engineering knowledge takes me, though, a break-in schedule this lengthy and detailed (especially on a fairly compliant home speaker) serves no mechanical purpose, and seems designed to break in the listener, as opposed to the driver.
     
    Lavane likes this.
  11. Donny

    Donny Big Damn Hero

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    It is the 10.3 I used polyfill per instructions. I did do a long break in but not as precise as what is discribed. I haven't played them much since I finished the build. Been working a lot.
     
  12. dodog

    dodog Addicted Member

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    Remember to break them in for 500 hours. Just listen to them for 2 hours a day and in about 35 weeks you'll finally be able to tell if you like them or not. Pass.
     
  13. vinylkid58

    vinylkid58 Super Member

    Messages:
    2,134
    Location:
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    Many find that the recommended "fill" is too much. I take it the boxes are all sealed up and you can't get at the polyfill.

    jeff
     
  14. Jim Shearer

    Jim Shearer Active Member

    Messages:
    320
    Location:
    upstate NY
    Since Mark Fenlon & Evan Yu designed, built & tested the drivers, I expect they know more about their break-in than we do. If you look up Mark's old posts, you will find out how different these drivers are from most drivers in commercial offerings and from other 'full range' drivers. I doubt that any of us here have subjected the drivers in question to different break-in procedures, then taken them apart and microscopically examined the spiders, which are the parts Mark specifically talks about relative to break-in.

    Cheers, Jim
     
    Redboy likes this.
  15. dodog

    dodog Addicted Member

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    If Mark's drivers are that delicate and specific about HOW they get broken in (and from their instructions, it seems like most people would fuck this part up), why don't they just "pre" break them in before they sell them? Also, if the break-in is this specific, do the drivers come with these instructions (printed) in the box or is one just supposed to know this? No horse in this race and I've heard wonderful things about Mark's drivers, I just find this to be a bit crazy for someone to have to go through before they can actually play music on them.
     
  16. Jim Shearer

    Jim Shearer Active Member

    Messages:
    320
    Location:
    upstate NY
    Strangely, there is no documentation with the drivers when you buy them. And all I found on the MA website was the basic T/S parameters and physical dimensions. Many are the tales of those who were happy w/ the MA drivers at first, then puzzled by their sudden failure. These drivers are, so far as I know, like nothing else on the market. They have a very large linear displacement (known as Xmax ), but if you continually drive them to Xmax, they will fail--with no warning on early models; they sound great right up until they blow. Most of the current models have a 'arrestor' feature that is supposed to provide a danger warning.

    Most drivers, when over driven, will have the voice coil former strike the back plate, making a horrific sound that tells you the driver is about to fail. Fostex drivers have astonishingly small Xmax, but can be driven well beyond with no damage, except to the music which suffers compression; I have never heard of a Fostex full range driver bottoming out; however, when pushed too hard, the voice coil turns into a cigarette lighter & sets the voice coil former & cone on fire.

    My opinion is that Mark Audio drivers are for a small subset of DIYers who are willing to take the time to understand, appreciate them, and live with their quirks.

    Cheers, Jim
     
  17. dmag

    dmag AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    264
    Location:
    Near Boston.
    I too have built Markaudio, broken in according to instructions, and loved them. They have been used with amps from Maggie 196 to Mac240 with very good results. Enough so that i plan to build a set running 12's and 7's together.
    Hook them to an old ipod or reciever 24/7 and let them break in.
    Dodog, when i built mine the break in instructions were included iirc. As suggested, it was done with the drivers in their shipping boxes. No big deal. A simple process that was sufficiently complete by the time the cabs were ready.
     

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