CL Surround Station - Homebrew

DoubleTap

2[H]4U
Joined
Dec 16, 2010
Messages
2,485
If you're not familiar with the Creative Labs Surround Station, have a look:

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1526467

They've been discontinued for a good 10+ years and are impossible to find. I always thought it was a genius idea to let people have rear surround speakers that can retract out of the way, but it's very niche and I've never seen a competing product.

I've been trying to come up with a practical alternative for some time - one of the main problems is that a speaker suspended some 3-4 feet out creates a lot of leverage and even if your arm can hold it, it must be anchored or things are going to flip over.

I have a Chief Mfg KTP325b stand (http://www.chiefmfg.com/Products/KTP325B) that is permanently fixed to my desk using these grommets http://www.chiefmfg.com/Series/KTA1007

I also use the 28 inch poles (http://www.chiefmfg.com/Series/KTA1028) and as you can see, they're scratched up to hell from my many experiments with speed rail. I don't really need the long poles (I had a shelf over my screens, but didn't like it) so I'm going back to the original 14" poles which won't protrude over the top.

This is how the main mast is anchored - a T connector off the monitor support pole, connected to a 45 degree connector that is rotated a bit to give me the angle I wanted. The speaker wire actually travels through the length of the arm and exits the main mast, out of view:

Hollaender part 5E-8 (T) and 6-8 (45deg)

This is 1.5" PVC - I bought a 2', pre cut length at Home Depot and covered it with carbon fiber vinyl film.

The hinge is from Hollaender - part 3AE-8 (size 8 means 1.5" ID, 1.91" OD)
http://www.hollaender.com/?page=sliponfittings15
http://www.hollaender.com/files/1\Tech_Data/Part_Drawings/3AE.pdf

These run around $20 each.

Ebay is a good source for the Hollaender speed rail parts - they have a decent finish, but quality control is spotty - a few parts seemed like bad molds and overall fit on the hinges is all over the place.

The Kee Klamp Kee-Lite products cost a little more, but they are much higher quality. Still, for this project, the Hollaender parts are fine.

Here is the arm extended and holding the Orb Mod1 speaker:

It's about 4' long overall and the speaker ends up about 1 foot behind my head and 2 feet to the side.

You can see the hole I drilled to let the speaker wire exit the arm.

Here is the arm retracted:


One of my constraints was that the arm needed to retract in a way that did not increase the height - my desk is an electric powered, sit to stand desk and in the retracted picture, the desk is at full height. I can't change arm position while the desk is up, but unlike some of my earlier designs, I don't have to worry about knocking into the ceiling.

Things left to do:

0. replace the two PVC 45 degree connectors with a single 90 degree part where the speaker attaches to the arm.
1. paint or cover the white PVC connectors
2. complete the right side
3. replace the 28" poles with the 14" poles to clean up the look.
4. Lower the arm about 1" so you can't see the silver connector peeking over the left screen.
 
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DoubleTap

2[H]4U
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2,485
Thanks spaceman. I have not even setup any of the other speakers yet - they're all Orbs: left and right speakers above the center of the left and right screens, center will be two Orbs mounted over the center screen.
 

Devastadus

Weaksauce
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
92
That set up looks dangerous. I hope you don't accidentally bump into a cinder block and smash your foot.
 

DoubleTap

2[H]4U
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Messages
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I replaced the too-tall 28" poles with the original 14' ones and completed both speakers arms.

You can see that my Onkyo receiver is in the center of the desk with the SB Omni right in front of it.
I also added a bar across the top to hold the front speakers - it's just plain PVC right now - I didn't have a section long enough to make the whole span, but I'll get one this weekend. All speakers are wired up and aimed at the user of the desk - I'm very pleased with the sound of the Orbs - they are probably lacking a bit at the top end, but my hearing probably tops out at about 15k so it's not an issue for me.

I'm very happy with the speaker placement so I'll keep this arrangement - I just need to put a finish on the white PVC - I'll use the same carbon-fiber film I used on the rear channel arms.

 

Occidio

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Dec 17, 2005
Messages
1,497
Nice, this just gave me another idea to utilize some more PVC. Was always trying to fit my desk to an idea of what I could do with my speakers and now this is something I can work with. It also presents the perfect solution to speaker wire management as the PVC is a perfect way to hide them.
 

B00nie

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Nov 1, 2012
Messages
8,339
You guys should post this into the ghettomods forum lol
 

CMadki4

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Feb 3, 2011
Messages
4,438
Nice job. An improvement over my cinder blocks.

[pic] snip...
You guys should post this into the ghettomods forum lol
Wrap the cinder blocks in 3M Dinoc carbon fiber vinyl and it's no longer a ghettomod ;)

But seriously, while not ideal and not my material of choice, PVC pipe and fittings make for a decent plug-n-play erector set on a budget. Especially if you don't have a lot of tools to work with.
 

Valaire

Gawd
Joined
Dec 16, 2005
Messages
846
I had those in my college dorm. In retrospect, I should have just gotten headphones. :p
 

DoubleTap

2[H]4U
Joined
Dec 16, 2010
Messages
2,485
You guys should post this into the ghettomods forum lol
The white PVC was just a prototype - I ordered some black 90degree corners and more vinyl film and made it flush with the top of the monitors, I'm pretty happy with the way it looks:


 
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