To Frugel or not to Frugel?

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Waves73
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To Frugel or not to Frugel?

Post by Waves73 » Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:33 pm

I'm considering building a set of Pensil 7's with Mark Audio CHP70 drivers. But have also noticed on this forum a lot of Frugal Horn Mk3's with the same drivers.

Build wise they don't look to difficult for a beginner like me to construct. My question is what is the sound difference between the two styles of enclosures?

I've also been comparing the Frugal Horn Mk3 with the original version and noticed the original had a square backed option rather than the flared back. Could this be applied to the Mk3 without degrading the sound quality?

Any feedback much welcome.
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Post by Toppsy » Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:59 pm

've also been comparing the Frugal Horn Mk3 with the original version and noticed the original had a square backed option rather than the flared back. Could this be applied to the Mk3 without degrading the sound quality?
In a word NO.

The flaired back on the FH3 is an integral part of the design. You need to treat the FH1 (original Frugal Horn) and the FH3 as two very different speakers. The FH1 was designed primarily for the Fostex FE126 (I believe) and is not suited to a lot of other similar sized FR drivers. Whereas the FH3 has a more easy load charactoristic that allows the use of many 4" FR drivers. Of the two the CHp70 will only work in the FH3 as they were designed and that includes the rear flair.

As to the difference between the Pensil and the FH3 soundwise I cannot comment as I haven't heard any the Pensils. They are very different designs the Pensils are not Horn speakers. So if you fancy a first horn FR speaker project then the FH3 is the ideal choice.

However of the two the Pensils are the easier to make from scratch. But on the otherhand flat-pack kits are available for the FH3, but not for the Pensils. These require a licence agreement with Mark Fenlon of Mark Audio for a commercial flat pack kit.

May I suggest you ask the question regards the difference in sound between the Pensil7 (for CHP70) and the FH3 with same driver to DaveD @ Planet10. He if any may have heard both though likely with the EL70 rather than the CHP70.

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Post by chrisby » Tue Nov 15, 2011 6:13 pm

Toppsy wrote:
've also been comparing the Frugal Horn Mk3 with the original version and noticed the original had a square backed option rather than the flared back. Could this be applied to the Mk3 without degrading the sound quality?
In a word NO.

The flaired back on the FH3 is an integral part of the design. You need to treat the FH1 (original Frugal Horn) and the FH3 as two very different speakers. The FH1 was designed primarily for the Fostex FE126 (I believe) and is not suited to a lot of other similar sized FR drivers. Whereas the FH3 has a more easy load charactoristic that allows the use of many 4" FR drivers. Of the two the CHp70 will only work in the FH3 as they were designed and that includes the rear flair.

As to the difference between the Pensil and the FH3 soundwise I cannot comment as I haven't heard any the Pensils. They are very different designs the Pensils are not Horn speakers. So if you fancy a first horn FR speaker project then the FH3 is the ideal choice.

However of the two the Pensils are the easier to make from scratch. But on the otherhand flat-pack kits are available for the FH3, but not for the Pensils. These require a licence agreement with Mark Fenlon of Mark Audio for a commercial flat pack kit.

May I suggest you ask the question regards the difference in sound between the Pensil7 (for CHP70) and the FH3 with same driver to DaveD @ Planet10. He if any may have heard both though likely with the EL70 rather than the CHP70.
Colin, one small correction if I may, the original FH1 was also intended to accommodate a range of drivers - but yes around here it was mostly with FE126E.

The Pensil certainly is a simpler build from scratch than the FH3, but the two enclosures have very different design goals and room interaction characteristics. I've heard both, and provided you have the space, the FH should provide a much larger spacious soundstage.

I have Pensils with Alpair7 as part of a 5.1 HT system, where they work very well, but in a different room for music only, I'd prefer the FH3 if WAF wasn't an issue. (hint - in that room it is)


As to the CHP70 / EL70 question, the only version of the former that we've heard is the G2, with intentionally softened top end. In direct comparison in any enclosure, these two drivers will exhibit marked differences, my most immediate impression being that the CHP70(G2) could probably benefit from a tweeter.

I think there's another current thread on a build with one of Colin's FH3 flat pak - looks like a great product.

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Post by Toppsy » Tue Nov 15, 2011 7:54 pm

Chrisby wrote
Colin, one small correction if I may, the original FH1 was also intended to accommodate a range of drivers - but yes around here it was mostly with FE126E.
I stand corrected but have not heard of any other driver being used in the original FH1 speakers.

Also
As to the CHP70 / EL70 question, the only version of the former that we've heard is the G2, with intentionally softened top end. In direct comparison in any enclosure, these two drivers will exhibit marked differences, my most immediate impression being that the CHP70(G2) could probably benefit from a tweeter.
DaveD is sending me a stock pair of the CHP70 G2 drivers so I can carry out direct A-B comparisons to the originals in the FH3. Certainly the original benefits from a 'supertweeter' kicking in around 12KHz. So your observations the G2 benefits from one too is no surprise. I just hope Mark hasen't messed up the magic of the 'natural' sound of the originals especially with female vocals.

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Post by chrisby » Wed Nov 16, 2011 7:10 pm

Toppsy wrote: DaveD is sending me a stock pair of the CHP70 G2 drivers so I can carry out direct A-B comparisons to the originals in the FH3. Certainly the original benefits from a 'supertweeter' kicking in around 12KHz. So your observations the G2 benefits from one too is no surprise. I just hope Mark hasen't messed up the magic of the 'natural' sound of the originals especially with female vocals.
I think my comment was "CHP70G2 could probably benefit from a tweeter" - I haven't validated that hypothesis for my ears - and as always YMMV

As the CHP70's recent revision was in response to Mark's interpretation of DIYer's feedback, I'd suggest careful parsing of your impressions, and even more so if directly comparing it to another driver with entirely different design brief.

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Post by Waves73 » Thu Nov 17, 2011 1:14 pm

After much deliberation and much reading of forum posts I have opted for the Mark Audio CHP70 Gen1. After reading many of the forum threads on here, their seem to be a lot of positive feedback on the drivers, especially when they are teamed with the Frugel Horn Mk3. Plus Blueplanet Acoustic have them on offer at the moment. 19 Euro's each, bargain.

So I've ordered 3 drivers with the intention to build the floorstanding speaker first, then look into designing a centre speaker enclosure for the third. Just got to decide which enclosure would be best for the floorstanders.

The room they will be in is quite a large room so a spacious soundstage would be good. At the moment I'm swaying more towards the FH3 rather than the Pensil7. A bit more research and scratching of head to do before I finally decide.

Another reason to choose the CHP70 Gen1 over the newer version is that the Gen2 seems a bit of an unknown quantity. Their are many accounts of feedback on the Gen1 but very few on the Gen2. I'm looking forward to hearing Colin's A-B comparisons of the two drivers.

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Post by chrisby » Thu Nov 17, 2011 6:21 pm

Waves73 wrote:After much deliberation and much reading of forum posts I have opted for the Mark Audio CHP70 Gen1. After reading many of the forum threads on here, their seem to be a lot of positive feedback on the drivers, especially when they are teamed with the Frugel Horn Mk3. Plus Blueplanet Acoustic have them on offer at the moment. 19 Euro's each, bargain.

So I've ordered 3 drivers with the intention to build the floorstanding speaker first, then look into designing a centre speaker enclosure for the third. Just got to decide which enclosure would be best for the floorstanders.


Good plan - are there any dimensional constraints for the centre channel enclosure? Presuming that the system with have bass management of some type, the centre can be "compromised" for limited bandwidth ( i.e. tuned to circa 100 would be fine), and many of the smaller enclosures will do that for you.


a few designs to look at for centres and surrounds:
http://homepage.mac.com/tlinespeakers/F ... 191209.pdf




The room they will be in is quite a large room so a spacious soundstage would be good. At the moment I'm swaying more towards the FH3 rather than the Pensil7. A bit more research and scratching of head to do before I finally decide.

+1 on the FH3 for larger rooms




Another reason to choose the CHP70 Gen1 over the newer version is that the Gen2 seems a bit of an unknown quantity. Their are many accounts of feedback on the Gen1 but very few on the Gen2. I'm looking forward to hearing Colin's A-B comparisons of the two drivers.
IINM, the Gen2 has not yet reached full distribution, and even when they are available for direct comparison, I'd be inclined to judge for myself how appropriate they might be for a particular application. I've contributed as much as anyone to the noisy discussion of its merits compared to a driver with an entirely different design brief ( i.e. CSS EL70), and we must keep in mind that Mark's revision to the CHP was in response to solicited feedback from customers.

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