MEET FLAT CAT INSTRUMENTS
Seeking to keep prices down and quality high, Doug explored what could be done. Honest materials presented simply (ply is classic, stable, and provides accurate sound reproduction) allowed for quality crossover components and drivers.
Secondly, though vintage large speakers from the 50's and 60's had been the mainstay of Doug's youth, such large enclosures are impractical for all but a small fraction of the population.
Limiting himself to the "Bookshelf" size range, he decided on two small, low watt (8 max each) full-range drivers to deliver the treble and bass. The sealed part of the enclosure for the treble driver is fairly small supplying a "stiff" spring, providing crisp, airiness, while the bass side of the enclosure is treated two different ways, depending on the model. More on that later.
Small drivers also have the advantage of providing excellent imaging (great stereo), while being forgiving, in general, about room placement. As long as they're far enough apart, directionality is sustained with little chance of dead listening. In other words, a nice, big, sweet spot.
Finally, no matter how one tries, small speakers are limited in reproducing massive bass. This is why Doug treats this in different ways in his models:
* The Model Classic Pop has a slightly tighter crossover emphasizing a sweet mid (what you want in pop and jazz) and uses a passive radiator to provide life and snap to the bass. It's important that the plucked acoustic bass in jazz, or the stiff attack of a synth reproduces well. A sealed, "mini-labyrinth," enclosure with passive radiator gives just that.
* The Model Classic Rock spreads the crossover wider with a little more emphasis on the bass, creating a warmer sound. Porting the bass side of the enclosure as low as practical while avoiding "chuff" gives a smoother attack to bass notes and a little thump to the music. Combining the sealed treble with ported bass gives guitars a soaring tone, while the bass is smooth and solid.
* The Model Modern Pop uses the same crossover as the Classic Rock with larger bass drivers while retaining small treble drivers and front porting to give a room-filling experience with excellent directionality.
* The Model Music Box is a passive subwoofer that roughly emphasizes the bass half of the piano and uses at small yet high excursion driver to add more bass to any of your speakers.
* The Model Mini is the smallest speaker. It has a ported format to provide excellent bass while being in a very small enclosure, helping to keep some snappiness to the system.
Crossovers are passive, using German-made poly-film caps (no recapping ever!) and American and Polish inductors. Crossovers are assembled in- shop by Doug, never using flimsy pre-assembled bread-board or silicon mountings. Straight onto wood with brass posts assuring excellent stability. Because I use first order crossover for treble the roll-off is very gradual providing natural sound voice reproduction. The drivers I use (see below) in both models can handle this gradual slope and respond well to using eq's (gasp!) to tailor your soundscape to your needs without notchiness.
Drivers are quality German-made (Visaton) full-range with paper cones with very flat response all the way to the extremes. 8ohms, 15 watts per channel.