If you have a question, you're in the right place. Below are answers to common questions asked by customers. If you can't find an answer to your question, please contact us.
Q: What do you mean when you say speaker 'kit'?
A: All of the speakers that we supply come in a Do-It-Yourself Kit version. The cabinets that house the speakers come raw and unassembled when you buy a flat pack kit, or fully assembled if you buy a pre-built kit option. All the other components such as woofers, tweeters, screws, electronics, padding etc and, of course, the instructions are included in the kit but need to be screwed in. The biggest (and most fun) part of the kit is the application of the finish to customise your speakers.
Q: How much effort is it to build one?
A: The basic construction of each kit is simple. You'll need some glue, a damp cloth and some sandpaper. A complete M4 kit can be assembled and finished in a total elapsed time of about 20 minutes with no prior experience whatsoever (this excludes glue drying time). Pretty much anyone can build one and with the new easy to apply vinyl's you can get a professional result even if you have never used a veneer before. Really, it's so simple we could build a set blindfolded.
Q: Do I need to be a woodworker or have fancy tools?
A: Nope - each cabinet is designed using the "Jig-Lock" system which means that all the panels just slot together with no clamps or screws necessary. The only tools which might be useful are a cordless screwdriver and an electric sander if you plan on painting the cabinets or applying a real timber veneer. The new vinyl veneers are so easy to apply all you will need to be able to do is use a pair of scissors and a trimming knife.
Q: What do your kits sound like?
A: Well, we like to think they sound pretty good but of course your own ears are the only way to tell for sure! Each series of kits has a slightly different design criterion: The Baseline kits are optimised for home theatre and feature very smooth midrange above all else for dialogue intelligibility. The Cinema Series is designed for high powered home theatre and rock music and tends to produce a very "American" sound with strong bass and treble - ideal for those seeking a dynamic sound, especially for larger rooms and at louder levels. The Deluxe kits are optimised for high quality music (as well of course as home theatre) and more closely align to the so-called "English" sound. They tend to have mellow top ends, very smooth midranges and slightly lean, though very tight, bass performance.
Q: What commercial speakers are they comparable to?
A: This is a very difficult question to answer as each speaker system has its own quirks, pros and cons. What we believe is that our kits will be competitive with commercial speakers costing between 2 and 3 times as much in the mass market HiFi stores. The Baseline and Cinema series competes with "name brand" speakers available in most of the chain HiFi stores whilst the Deluxe series competes with the more esoteric European brands found only in specialty dealers.
Q: Are they 'audiophile' speakers?
A: "Audiophile" means different things to people, for many it means "overpriced" and to others it means no compromise superior performance. Our kits are universally acclaimed as being excellent value for money and we do make the occasional compromise in design (especially with cosmetics and gadgets) to ensure costs are kept down so technically speaking, they aren't "audiophile" speakers. One listen, however, convinces most people that they are in fact outstanding value for money and produce superb sound for the purpose they are designed for.
Q:What drivers do you use in your kits?
A: We source drivers from a variety of manufacturers in the USA, Asia and Europe. The Baseline series uses drivers from 3 different OEM suppliers in Taiwan. We have found their quality to be excellent and the performance price mix allows us to produce great sounding kits at a fraction of the cost. The Cinema series uses Peerless woofers and Vifa tweeters from Denmark. The Deluxe series uses Vifa and Scan Speaker drivers from Denmark exclusively.
Q: What's 'timbral matching' and why is it important in home theatre?
A: The Dolby Laboratories website perhaps can answer this better than us, but in short timbral matching means that each speaker in the array "sounds" the same to ensure that dialogue and effects that pan from left to right and front to back do so smoothly and without any obvious changes. The best way to achieve perfect timbral matching is to use 5 identical speakers, since the speakers sound is influenced not only by the drivers used but also by the cabinet, crossover and mounting arrangement.
The next best solution is to use matching drivers but with different cabinets and the poorest solution is to use different speakers altogether. In recent times, the requirement to precisely match the rear speakers to the front has become less stringent but matching the front three speakers remains critical. Each of the standard packages we offer features this perfect timbral matching.
Q: Do your kits support bi-wiring?
A: No! Bi-wiring is almost always an utter waste of money and without any tangible benefits for 99.9% of customers. It is pushed onto consumers by dealers and companies looking to sell more cable as this is their highest margin item. Speaker manufacturers support it because it is also required for bi-amping, although in practice very few consumers ever actually do this. (Bi-wiring is simply the running of two sets of wires from the amplifier output to two separate terminals on the back of the speaker box, where they are joined again. The exact same result can be achieved by using a single slightly heavier gauge wire.) Many so-called "experts" on the internet will spout pseudo technical rubbish about the benefits of bi-wiring but anyone with 1st year university Physics can quickly disprove this.
Q: So, do your kits support bi-amping?
A: No we don't as standard. Unlike bi-wiring, bi-amping is a valid and very effective technique for extracting high performance sound by using a relatively complicated audio setup. It requires the fitment of bi-wirable terminals to the speakers and the use of multiple amplifiers and possibly also active electronic crossovers. Very few consumers implement bi amping because of its high cost and esoteric nature.
Q: The M4 kit's tweeter is offset to the left, why?
A: The tweeter offset was done for two reasons, firstly it allows a smaller cabinet height which was a design consideration and secondly it was done in conjunction with the crossover design for acoustic radiation pattern reasons to ensure a better off axis response pattern. It has nothing to do with left/right pairs and in fact all the tweeters are offset to the same side, the left, purely for ease of manufacturing reasons.
Q: Can I buy your kits without the cabinets?
A: No. The interaction between drivers and cabinets is key to getting good sound and at this stage we do not offer the kits without cabinets.
Q: What is 'Dacron' and what does it do?
A: The acoustic stuffing we supply with the kits is commonly called "Dacron", although this is a misnomer. Dacron is actually a trademarked name of a material made by DuPont and the material that we use in our kits is actually made by Tontine corporation in Melbourne, Australia. It is a long fiber acrylic material designed for the sound and recording industry. When used in speaker boxes it does two main tasks, it helps to break up standing waves and reflections inside the box which affect the woofers performance and it also makes the woofer think the box is slightly bigger than it really is.
Q: Do I really need hugely expensive speaker cables?
A: When it comes to speaker cables, most of the information you will get from dealers and so-called experts is just plain wrong. We believe that a good quality, simple low impedance copper cable is all that is required for all but the most difficult of installation jobs or speaker systems. Longer runs or higher powered systems benefit from a thicker cable but in general the trend towards very thick cables which have "magic" properties is just a waste of money.
Paying huge money for fancy cables thick enough to power a factory is pointless and countless studies (and the laws of physics) have shown that once you use cable larger than a moderate gauge the improvement in sound rapidly diminishes to zero.
Other features used by unscrupulous dealers to sell you $20 per metre cables include "one way directivity", "boron free copper", "pre burned in" - not to mention promises that these cables will somehow magically transform your system by arranging the feng shui in your house and improving the taste of your coffee. Yeah...right. The common "wisdom" has is that you should spend about 10% of your budget on cables. This is just rubbish and is just clever marketing by HiFi retailers to encourage you to spend more on their highest margin products.