I was initially not sure whether the Quarks would be able to fill our small sitting area with sound, since they were initially designed as speakers to sit on a desk. Our sitting area is about 12′ x 12′ and on one side open to a larger area. Turns out the Quarks are doing remarkably well. They can get pretty loud in our sitting area, but definitely not “front row in a rock concert” loud.
The speakers are hooked up to an FX Audio 802 class D amplifier, which in turn is connected to the TosLink (optical digital audio) output of our LG TV. Input sources for the TV are either a Chromecast or a Tivo box. Most music listening is done via the Chromecast and Google Play Music, to which I uploaded my music collection a few years ago. — While this might abhor audiophiles, at the end of the day digital data is digital data and it either gets from A to B unharmed or it doesn’t get there at all.
The only comment I have is that you should make sure to set the EQ setting of the FX Audio 802 to “Flat”. There is also a “Tone” button on the remote which switches it into “Hi Fi”, which compared to “Flat” seems to mess a little with dynamic/volume, but it seems quite similar.
Avoid all other EQ settings besides “Flat” would be my advise.
Final Listening Impressions
Comparing this to an earlier listening test, the fully assembled Quarks sound a lot better than they did during the crossover test.
First, the fully assembled speakers are capable of more volume and the sound seems to have more “substance”, probably due to better low frequency response. — Where I initially complained about “something missing” when it comes to orchestral music: This has improved now that the speakers are fully done. I expect things to further improve once the Voxel subwoofer done.
As said in an earlier post, the most stunning thing is the way voices sound on these speakers. In general, there is a lot of what I would call “clarity” in the sound. — Music sounds excellent even at a low volume. Also, I am surprised how well the Quarks fill our sitting area with sound.
Things that went well and things that didn’t go so well…
- Damn, I scratched the baffle when installing the drivers. However, I was able to somewhat cover it up with a sharpie. — Before and after shot:
- I wish I hadn’t cheaped out on the soldering iron…
- Pleasantly surprised how well the spray-painting went, given that I’ve never spray-painted anything before. — I think all the surface preparation (glue-coating and priming) paid off there.
- Building a small speaker seems to take approximately the same amount of time/effort than building a large(r) speaker.
- Finishing the cabinet and the baffle separate worked out well in the end. Not sure I would do it if it wasn’t for finishing them in different colors. Might look odd…
- Speaker building is an interesting combination of woodworking, wood finishing and some electronics hobby parts thrown in (soldering the crossover).
- This was FUN!
At the end, a shout-out to Jeff Bagby, the designer of the Quarks. If you want to read more about them, here is a link to Jeff’s original build thread.
Also, thanks to Erich H. from DIY Soundgroup! The Quarks kit I purchased from him is very well thought out and Erich was great to deal with when it looked for a while like my package was lost in transit.
Here is the Quarks page on DIY Soundgroup in case you want to order a kit…