Rincewind’s Seas MS-Micro
Near-field monitors based on Seas Micro
As a professional mouse-pusher, I spend a lot of time in front of the monitor. In the last two years, the current telecommuting trend has also made its way into my environment. That means I can work at home and listen to music, which would have been a wonderful combination if only:
a) my tiny, almost 20-year-old PC speakers produced anything you could describe as tone, and
b) my cell phone would stop pestering me with phone calls for longer blocks of time
The effects of problem a) were strongly reduced using a stopgap measure, which involved the quick purchase of some used goods. A small receiver from a mini JVC system from the ’90s took the signal from my PC to some “Just Be Loud” cubes (which seem to have spent very little of their previous life in a smoke-free environment)
Problem b) is eliminated on Saturdays and Sundays, at least.
For a), I spent a Saturday looking for a long-term solution at a (sometimes) competent specialty store. Unfortunately my financial project budget was too small to meet my quality needs with ready-made projects. On the other hand, my time frame was fairly flexible.
When the external solutions are too expensive, it’s usually time to move to self-production. The normal arguments – “I’m not trained in that,” “We don’t have any tools,” etc. – were quickly set aside. I pumped the theoretical basis into my brain at high pressure, using a book for hands-on people. Then it was time to convince the Financial Controlling Department at home that my planned investments were solid. A couple of pictures of the finished products with their very small price tags and large numbers were very convincing. My budget for an assembly kit was approved. (Naturally I only submitted my requests for the necessary tools once I had bought the assembly kit.)
The search for a suitable assembly kit was fairly easy. The fact that the width of the box could not exceed 16 am narrowed down the number of candidates within my budget. An on-site session, in the company of a junior music fan, convinced me that it might be possible to meet my sound requirements. The assembly kit I wanted wasn’t available, so I needed to develop a certain level of trust in the promises made by technicians with 30 years of experience. This development was helped enormously by the very competent (and free) consultation service.
I chose the Seas Micro kit, but the cabinet dimensions didn’t exactly meet all of my needs. The normalizing force of the factual conditions meant a slight stretch upward, and my ever-present pile of paperwork meant moving the bass reflex opening upward a little. In the process, the slit was recalculated as a circular opening. It’s a simple calculation if you work backward from the existing plan to come up with the tuning frequency.
I quickly drew the corresponding diagram in SketchUp. (Diagram using SketchUp Software-Version 6)
The first production steps were easy to manage. My external woodworking expert delivered outstanding quality for the 16-mm raw MDF. Gluing the boards together turned out to be very easy. The only problem is if the project manager happens to leave a few insignificant details out of the design, like the thickness of the glued surfaces. That creates unplanned additional effort in terms of sanding work.
The veneer was applied with an iron, according to the instructions for the gluing method. After my experiences during the first stage of the work, I made a test piece first to minimize the risk. Lessons learned: the veneer looks better if you use a piece of coated parchment paper when you iron it.
The next step was a bit of a challenge for your average mouse-pusher. I needed to learn how to use a router, and some wood scraps from the local hardware store had to die for the cause. The time involved in building your own routing template should be carefully weighed against the minimal investment in a ready-made product. Especially since it’s hard to move the hole for a screw over by 0.7 mm after the fact.
After working with the router, the next steps:
- treating the surface with wood oil
- soldering a couple of components together
- putting in the chassis elements and wiring them (with some damping material stuffed into the cracks)
were like a walk in the park. With the last step, connecting the old receiver, the project finally went into operation.
The sound is grandiose, even in a sub-optimal listening position. The small, palpable stage is nothing compared to the details that are now clear: the position of the darabuka player in Dead Can Dance’s “Yulunga,” for instance. The bass also belies the size of the chassis elements: in “Azora” by Yamato, you can feel the two-meter drum. And the delicate sounds of the brushes on the cymbal in Dorota Miskiewiczc’s “Nucę, Gwiźdże sobie” are suddenly there! (Previously only audible with headphones).
The amplifier makes switching noises (not heard previously – damn precise, this kit) when the internal switch converts the rotation into volume at the regulator in 2-dB steps. In addition, the little amp loses steam in the bass range as soon as you ask for anything higher than a low indoor volume. So I need a new amp. The harsh reality: the maximum height is 9 cm, and the width cannot exceed 30 cm. This won’t be easy.
My desk is too small. Swapping out my furniture for a better listening experience? I think the ROTEL amplifiers were pretty low. That might work. Let me put in a cautious inquiry with the Controlling Departmen…
Thank you very much for developing this assembly kit! It was worth the effort.
If you’re looking for a physical challenge: the assembly kit for near-field monitors with a baffle-board width under 16 cm, depth <25 cm and a cost per channel under 200 euros.