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FT2TL
FT2TL
FT2TL

FT2TL

The return of a legend

Order-No. 1385063

168,50 € / Piece
incl. Vat. add. delivery
141.60 € excl. Vat
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Details

FIRSTTIME 2 TL Update, Loudspeaker kit with Gradient Select loudspeaker drivers without cabinet

Order-No. 1385063

Features

Wege 3-Wege
Gehäuse Prinzip Transmission
Nennimpedanz (Ohm) 4
Kennschalldruck (dB) 88
Höhe (cm) 120,00
Breite (cm) 23,00
Tiefe (cm) 35,00
Anwendung Standlautsprecher
Hersteller / Marke der Chassis Gradient
Preislevel 100-200 Euro

Pictures from the Loudspeakerbuilding community to this speaker kit

??? by patrikdefaul
FirstTime TL2 Up by BjoernB
Front Design Change by BjoernB
First Time 2 TL (FT2TL) by MrMaster

Corresponding articles from our community

Peters First Time 2 TL

Peters First Time 2 TL


My first project

It all started with a couple of loudspeakers from a used-goods shop. I live in an apartment with several roommates, and we were looking for a cheap sound system for our living room. In a well-known secondhand store in Hamburg, we found a couple of homemade boxes at an unbeatably low price. We took them home, hooked them up, and they started working right away. But somehow they weren’t as rich as you would expect from a 301 box. So we quickly took them apart, and found 3 chassis elements suspended airily in the box. I could already hear an inner voice: “There must be some way to make it even better.” I fired up the Google-machine, and it didn’t take long before I found www.LoudSpeakerBuilding.com. I read a little bit about how to eliminate standing waves in a cabinet, threw some insulation into the box – and voila, now they sound the way they look.

Before then, I would never in a million years have thought of building speakers myself. But I was fascinated by the site, and I quickly found my favorite. The FT2TL would replace my old Bose system, I decided. A little bit about the Bose: I was 14, and I had no clue or space, and it was a great deal. Now I have a 40 square-meter space, and pedestal boxes are a good way to fill it with music. At the same time, I’m still a student, so my budget is fairly limited, but I don’t want to give up on quality.

I collected the technology in the form of Christmas and birthday presents. I bought the wood ahead of time, so I had plenty of leisure and time to focus on the cabinet. I hadn’t had much experience with woodworking before then, but I love building things, and I can make furniture out of all kinds of materials. In keeping with the motto, “Never done it before, but I definitely want to try,” I started getting to know the material.

I always want to make a high-quality product, and that included the FT2TLs, even if they are beginner boxes. The design was soon clear, and the only option was a combination of MDF and multiplex. Of course the corner hardware store didn’t have any 19-mm boards; I didn’t want to use anything thinner, so that turned into 21 mm. Except for the cost, there was nothing wrong with that either – see “quality.” I threw in a good cheap router, and I was ready to go.
Gluing it together according to the instructions was very easy – you don’t need to be a cabinetmaker – and the cutouts weren’t any harder. It was my first time working with a router, and I have to admit I did have a healthy respect for it. But after a couple of test cuts, I was optimistic. “It cuts through wood like butter!” I put together my routing template using thin coreboard, with a hole for the router’s template and a screw to hold it together. That’s the fastest version, and there are plenty of instructions for it online.



For the design, I rounded off the edges of the cabinet. My goal was to make some Art Deco (1920-1940) style loudspeakers, which would go well with impressive exotic components like the transmission line and would emphasize their appearance.



The hardest and longest part was painting and prepping. I smoothed out the uneven surface with several cycles of smoothing, sanding and priming. Pro tip: first of all, start with a coat of clear varnish over the whole thing so the wood doesn’t absorb as much paint later. I got the paint from a professional manufacturer, since I wanted a specific shade and the corresponding quality. I strongly recommend spending a little more money on the paint. I used enamel resin-based paint, and it was amazing to paint with it. Lacking a spray booth and the right equipment, I simply applied the paint in the bathroom using a foam roller. A little bit of bumpiness and a few dust specks are inevitable with this method, unfortunately, but not a huge tragedy. After an odyssey with the multiplex edges that kept peeling off, the cabinet was as good as finished.



The chassis elements arrived not a moment too soon. First of all, I checked whether the dimensions were correct, since I had done the cutouts ahead of time and just followed the assembly instructions. Everything fit, except the mid-range speakers – the instructions could easily allow an extra millimeter there (14.9 instead of 14.8). But the cutter knife helped me make a quick adjustment. It was also my first time soldering a frequency crossover. If you glue everything down neatly on a wooden board and then solder it strictly according to the plan, you’ll be fine. I attached the whole construction to the base plate with screws and spacers.

I laid the Sonofil loosely in the cabinet and installed the rest of the parts. For safety’s sake, I added some sealing tape to the chassis elements. Unfortunately I don’t have any photos of that, since in my eagerness I didn’t think of taking any. I covered the hole on the top with a very fine-meshed metal screen, which I spray-painted gold.

But now for the sound

I connected the whole thing to a YAMAHA RX-V1073 (American model) and a Technics SL PS7 CD player. My room measures a total of 40 m² and has 3.5-meter-tall ceilings.

Listening samples:

Pirates of the Caribbean (CD)

Seeed (CD)

Alicia Keys - Girl on Fire (CD)

Pink Floyd (AirPlay 320 kbit/s)

Dire Straits (AirPlay 320 kbit/s)

Neil Young (AirPlay 320 kbit/s)

Marvels The Avengers (BluRay)

Avatar (BluRay)

I am just getting acquainted with the idea of “conscious music listening,” so I can’t make any detailed statements about the sound. Once the two stately towers (I only had dinky cubes before) had taken their places on either side of the television, I wanted to make them ring out with some spectacular music. So I put on the first CD and let Klaus Badelt’s notes ring out. The music went straight to my bones when the violins got underway, and for the next half hour my face was plastered with a wide grin. Now I know what a stage sounds like, and how a room is set up. You can hear each instrument clearly.

After listening for several weeks, I think classical music is the FT2TL’s true element. Even with Alicia Keys, the loudspeakers were impressive. The piano solo “De Novo Adagio” casts a spell on you, and for a minute and a half my roommates thought I had a real piano in my room.

With Seeed, the speakers impress you with their size. There is no droning in the deep basses – everything comes out cleanly and with confidence. There is a little bit of pressure missing, though, at least at an indoor volume. Still, that’s not necessarily the boxes’ fault. I think the AV receiver would rather use an active subwoofer than spend too much time coaxing deep notes out of these big guys. But when it’s hunting in its own territory, it does very well. In 7.1 mode, the team really gets going. It makes a huge difference having two full-sized pedestal boxes. Before, BluRays especially felt overloaded with sound – everything melted into a stew of special effects. Sometimes it was even hard to understand the dialogue. That was then. Now I get a very detailed sound, clean and spatially distinct. I couldn’t hear any difference between the CD and AirPlay. On the other hand, I still have entry-level equipment, both in terms of the audio technology and the material.

Now I listen to music in stereo, without any frills. But for movies I turn on the subwoofer, since I want plenty of pressure in the bottom range without having the actors scream at me. In conclusion, I can say that my good old Bose speakers could get nice and loud, which was my highest priority at age 14, but that was all. The FT2TL can do everything well – in fact, very well – so the volume is not the issue. The pieces of music sound balanced, and nothing is missing. Everything makes it to the speaker. I am more than satisfied, and every day I am reminded how much I enjoy these two beauties.

I’ve got the building fever now, and my next project will be replacing the old center and the surround speakers with Quicklies. Now the Lautsprecherbau team just needs to design or recommend an active subwoofer for me that offers a couple of different settings (phase, separation frequency, etc.), that has enough power for 40 m², and doesn’t cost more than 300 euros. Then I’d be completely happy.

Summary

For just under 400 euros, I wouldn’t have bought a finished black box from an electronics store and put it in my room. I’ll probably never do that again. I’m convinced that ready-made loudspeakers in this price class simply can’t keep up. The most expensive thing in a ready-made speaker is still the cabinet, so you can imagine how much the electronics are worth. When I’m ready for the Duetta, though, I’ll come in for a listening session first. It’s probably appropriate for that price class, and I’m sure I can learn a few new things.



Big thanks to the Loudspeakerbuilding.com team and all of the forum members who gave me so many tips

Peter
Sabrinas assembly report to FT2TL

Sabrinas assembly report to FT2TL


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


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