Puzzle pieces

October 10, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

Every bit of new information we receive can be viewed as a puzzle piece. Put enough of the puzzle pieces together and suddenly you have a picture of the whole.

Those puzzle pieces are what contribute to an aha! moment. And we all love those aha! moments.

Reading reviews, talking with fellow audiophiles, blog posts, forums all contribute bits and pieces of new information and ideas. And each time we add another information puzzle piece it’s probably a good idea to step back and see if that piece was enough to make the overall picture clearer.

Drip by drip, piece by piece, we accumulate bits of new information on sometimes an hourly basis.

“Aha!” is music to my ears.

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30 comments on “Puzzle pieces”

  1. Drip by drip, sorting through the bullsh!t
    Then you’ll know if the pieces will fit.
    Making sure that the pieces are real
    And not just someone’s fanciful spiel.

    If the information’s true
    The whole picture will be a brilliant hue.

    Science is only half the story
    Listening is the primary glory.

    I could type more of this crap
    But dinner’s ready, so it’s a wrap!

    Piece by Piece: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MD4oOX-lHsc

    a-ha: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=djV11Xbc914

    1. A-ha, I see. I’m going to have to get up earlier if I want to steal a march on posting 80’s Norwegian band videos, which was my first thought.

      Thing is when a-ha had their first release I didn’t see them as any more than a teenies pop band until my dentist (of all people) said how much he enjoyed them. He always did know how to drill down a good tune – ouch! Over the years I’ve grown to see them as a credible band with a few classics to their name. Funny how time can change your perspective. Which is a puzzle in itself.

      1. Good morning Richtea!
        About this time 36 years ago, Take On Me by Aha was my favored song.
        I was only 13 then.
        But at that time, I was trying to figure out how to get away from the school that I was going to at the time.
        Because there at that school, everything but the right thing was happening.
        But the president of the school, put me IN charge of that whole entire campus 4 years before that time came.
        About 2 years later, I drove myself out of there for good.
        And I never looked back at that place either.

        1. Hey John. I honestly don’t blame you. 1985 was a seriously great year for pop music as my ears and research indicate. I was only 5 years old when that song came out, but I still listen to it today. It is pop perfection. I have respect for AH-Ha

            1. John Price and Nephilim 81,

              Let’s see: 36 + 13 – 8 = . . .

              You young punks, get off my lawn! Oh wait, this is an apartment building. It’s the holding company’s lawn now. [Emily Litella font on] Never mind. [Emily Litella font off]

              Happy listening! 🙂

    2. Fat Rat,

      I got your message, thank you. Will post some information on that site.

      Also thank you for the information on the question I had yesterday regarding wall reflections. Your explanation was much clearer for me to understand in a short period of time than the videos on YouTube.

      It also explained why flush mount speakers like used in studios don’t suffer the same affect.

      1. AA,
        Yer welcome.
        I just basically reiterated Tarun’s words,
        which is also why I linked his video.

        ‘All in all they’re just another brick in the wall’

    1. Correct! This is a puzzle like the universe and we’re puzzling around part 1154, constantly reporting crazy progress while our non audiophile fellows shake their heads what we’re talking about with this more or less non visible (audible) progress.

  2. The puzzles I am currently assembling are the speaker cabinets I designed, each cabinet consists of over 50 precision cut pieces of wood.

    Today’s topic got me thinking about Paul’s new speakers, and their beautiful one piece construction look.

    Paul, what material are your speaker cabinets? And are they assembled from individual pieces, or molded in a special tool?

    They are definitely not a traditional box speaker design.

    1. They are made from a combination of materials. The actual boxes are made from 1″ thick MDF which is traditional. The front baffles are all molded out of this really cool inert material I don’t remember the name of. The base is 30 pounds of aluminum.

    2. AA,
      Be sure to post a link to some pics of your speaker cabinets. I’d even be interested in a series of in progress pics or videos. What materials are you working with? MDF has always been thought of as cheaper than something like baltic birch but if you count the price of good veneer to cover the MDF the cost can actually be higher. Very heavy stuff though, which is part of the reason for the weight of PS Audios new speakers.

          1. I spoke to Lee once and I was going to order cabinets from him but we were moving and space was short for new gear. However he was great to speak with.
            He has a wide variety of finishes for his cabinets.
            He builds that cabinets and if I’m correct the speakers can be bought from Madisound- they sell Seas etc
            Also an interesting web to look at
            Have Fun

      1. OHT,

        By your handle, you will probably appreciate my speaker design and construction. However my design may be too old school for many on this site.

        My speakers are built with a double layer of 3/4 inch Baltic Birch. Which comes to 1.4 inches thick total. Corner bracing is glued and screwed 2“ x 2“ oak. Insulation is GR Research vibration damping material. The cabinet fronts are blonde oak, matching the rest of the cabinetry in our house, and the 6 inch diameter port is a duplicate of a plastic Precision Port profile turned from African mahogany.

        Total bass reflex cabinet volume is just shy of 9 ft.³ m, making the total speaker weight including drivers over 240 lbs each. I am not concerned about ever having to move the speakers, because they are being built into a partition wall between rooms. The existing partition wall is 3 ft deep, so they don’t take up any floor space, and become invisible when the grills are installed. Which makes my wife pleased, however it limits any positioning of the speakers. So I spent a lot of time ensuring that on and off axis driver performance will be acceptable.

        Now for the heretical part of my design for many. My speakers are based on the Altec Model 19 design and use modern GPA drivers and a pair of pristine 811-B horns. But as they say, to each their own, and I happen to like highly efficient horn speaker designs.

        I have been posting my progress on the Audio Karma DYI group site, but I haven’t made an update in a while because long work hours. But my company told me I had to start taking vacation, so last week was devoted to cutting my puzzle pieces. I should be making an update in the next week or so. I recommend starting from the final page, and working your way back in time. The design has changed a lot over the years, and I covered an earlier project I got the whole ball rolling.


        1. Very nice! I suspect you’re right, they may be a bit “old school” for some here. However I’m not in that category.

          I plan on picking up lumber this coming week, which will be 3/4″ baltic birch from a local lumber yard that specializes in cabinetry materials. Like yours mine are based on older speakers, JBL 4313’s but with JBL 2123 mid-bass drivers substituted for the woofers and powered subs in the cabinets for a 4 way design. The plate amps are JBLs and I’m using all JBL drivers except the tweeters. Unless I happen to luck into some NOS 052ti’s in the meantime I’m going to have to go with something else. They’re the one part I haven’t totally locked in yet and I’m running some knockoffs in my mockups for now. I tried buying used ones on ebay but 50 year old tweeters tend to be problematic. I’ve got 5 that either don’t work or sound terrible in a drawer now. There are no voice coils or diaphragms available to rebuild them so I’ve been pouring over pages and pages of specs to find what I want.

          I’ll bet that port looks great, I can almost picture it. I’m not prone to using words like gorgeous but African mahogany certainly qualifies for that label. I’ve never built anything with horns, maybe my next set though. Horns definitely are much more efficient, I almost always end up putting L-pads in crossovers to bring other drivers down to the level of the tweeters.

          I’ll set up an account at Audio Karma later so I can check out your pics. From what you’ve described it sounds like they’re going to look great. I’m sure my wife would rather I build something in the wall too, luckily she indulges me somewhat. Of course there’s tradeoffs, she gets what she wants a lot of times. Probably most times if I bothered to count.


  3. And sometimes we get Jigsaw pieces to the puzzle from bad impulse buying. Lol.

    Love the post, Paul. Whenever we talk as a community about building or working towards a greater system synergy it always peaks my interest.

    There is nothing more satisfying when you have a strong understanding that all the pieces fit in your system.

    Anyhow. It is the Canadian Thanksgiving here in the great north of our earth. I’ll be celebrating with Turkey and some classic SACD spins for the occasion. I got Frank Sinatra’s Point of No Return and The Alan Parsons Project : Eye In The Sky to dig into tonight when the rest of my family are tucked in neatly for sleep.
    Hope that Turkey enzyme hits them hard!! Lol

    1. I have many friends up at their cottages this weekend on the Bruce Peninsula for Thanksgiving and to enjoy the long weekend before winterizing the places and heading back to Toronto area or other parts of Canada ! Enjoy the tunes!

  4. And now, dear friends, a brief excerpt from “The Tale of the Giant Rat [hi, F. R.] of Sumatra”, featuring the famous defective Hemlock Stones and his patient doctor and biographer John Flotsam, O.D.:

    Stones: “Aha!”
    Flotsam: “What is it, Stones?”
    Stones: “I sat on my pipe.”

    — Ye Firesign Theatre (1974)

  5. Unlike store bought puzzles, in real life not all the pieces fit. They might at first look like a fit, but until you try them you won’t know for sure.

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