Sabrina and Sebastian’s assembly report for the First Time 2 TL
Let’s see, where is the best place to start an assembly report? We’ll start with the background – how we came to be interested in DIY projects. In August 2012, we got a new television to replace our outdated one. To go with it, we acquired a new AV receiver and a complete 5.1 set from an apparently anti-Christian manufacturer in Berlin, judging by the name. All in all, we were very happy with this setup at first (films in 5.1 and a “real” movie theater feeling).
For listening to music, though, especially quiet radio in the morning, it wasn’t quite perfect. To get any low notes at all, we had to keep raising the volume until the subwoofer kicked in (leaving it on all the time would have been an option, but that uses up a certain amount of electricity). So we clearly needed some speakers for the front that would take care of the frequencies below the satellite’s range.
As always in these cases, we started by surfing the options at the largest online mail-order company, looking for speakers with good ratings that were within our budget. We quickly found a suitable set. Then we looked for some other reviews of the speakers, which we found in an online automotive forum. At the same time, we were also lucky enough to find this website. Reading the reports and looking at all of the pictures made us very curious. “We could do something like that too,” I said to Sabrina. She happens to be very involved with woodworking right now (I’m no good at it, so I had to be in charge of the electronics).
Blaue Fine’s assembly report on the FT2 TL came out in October, and we decided we could try doing the same thing. We asked our relatives if we could borrow the appropriate tools, and came up with a few ideas about the visual design (just the color, really). After a long decision-making process, it was clear that we wanted a dark red, high-gloss if possible. We drove to the nearby Biber hardware store on a Saturday and bought the painting and gluing materials, along with the corresponding MDF boards cut to size. The next Monday we headed to the listening studio in Bochum, which was fortunately only about 30 km from our hometown. There was already a listening test going on when we arrived. Unfortunately they didn’t have an FT2 TL available for a test, so we had to make a “deaf purchase” (which we didn’t regret at all, but more on that later).
Now, my uncle actually owned a router and had promised to lend it to us for the assembly. But he had apparently lent it to someone else who never brought it back. All right, so we could do it without countersinking the chassis the first time (it doesn’t make a huge difference in terms of acoustics, and it’s only important because I expressed some concern that we couldn’t manage it with the router).
Sabrina and my father took on the pile of boards in front of us, cutting out the holes for the chassis according to the assembly plan (we had unfortunately forgotten to take it with us, but when we asked, it was sent to us by email that same evening).
Meanwhile, I attached the crossover components to two small separate boards using a hot glue gun. Then we checked the position of the chassis elements in the baffle board, and of the terminal in the rear wall.
After a little bit of follow-up work on the tweeters (the original assembly plan was missing the projections on the sides for the chassis connections), everything fit together there, too. It was time to glue together the boxes. Following the original assembly report, we weighed down the boxes after gluing them (we left off one side wall so it would be easier to install the crossover and the cables). We used pieces of aluminum foil in the joints to keep from accidentally gluing the side wall.
Next we soldered the crossover, installed it in the cabinet with sufficiently long wires, placed the insulation material, glued on the missing side wall, and sealed everything off roughly with wood putty.
We should have paid a little more attention in the next step (you’re always smarter in retrospect). We sanded everything fairly smooth with sandpaper (but unfortunately not smooth enough) and applied two coats of clear varnish (with the corresponding drying time). Then came two coats of white paint so the dark red would show up better afterward. Finally we applied the first coat of red.
It was already nice and reflective. After three more coats of red and a final coat of clear varnish, the boxes were ready for transport to their final destination, where they would be wedded to the chassis elements and set up.
So, for those of you who have made it this far, now you just have to get through our summary of the boxes. We are both convinced they sound better than the ones we had originally picked out in the shop, even some of the more expensive speakers. Sometimes I still catch myself thinking the center is playing along because the sound is so precise, or that the subwoofer has turned itself on because the bass is so convincing and provides plenty of pressure. The new front boxes are very good for movies too. Fortunately they don’t overwhelm the other three speakers from the complete set – although we have to admit that those will soon give way to other LoudSpeakerBuilding.com creations too, because it’s a way to create miracles with very little cost and effort.
Sabrina und Sebastian