We are a small business specialising in DIY home audio speakers, full range speaker kits, speaker cabinet flat packs and custom speaker design. We are the official UK/EU Markaudio full range speaker driver distributor. We can supply range of loud speaker kits using these Markaudio point source speaker drivers, along side the other speaker components we retail like Jordan, Cube, Neutrik, Hypex and more traditional multi way speaker kits. We also offer our own line of amplifiers that offer a high performance to cost ratio.
As speaker cabinet builders, we are particularly pleased to be able to offer some of the best DIY speakers available, using the best loudspeaker drive units, as an alternative to commercial speakers and electronics that genuinely compete on sound quality at a fraction of the cost, whilst maintaining the manufacture of these products in the United Kingdom wherever possible.
“The single-driver performance is certainly rather different from the far more widespread ‘speakers with bass’ approach. After the last couple of months experience I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not only entirely valid, but actually a superior approach…” Paul Messenger
Frugel-Horn Lite DIY speaker kit (From: £170.00 taxes shown in cart)
This was my first proper speaker build, found Stefan’s YouTube videos explaining the build very useful so decided to take the plunge with the Frugelhorn Lite collected the kit and had a nice chat with Stefan, managed to complete the build in a couple of days without any real difficulty, thanks again to Stefan for sending out the proper binding posts by return post as I’d bought ones that were too short. I left the drivers running in at low volume over the build time so they were a little loosened up prior to going in the cabs. Once installed my initial impressions are very positive, I think the cabinets design is a match made in heaven with the Alpair 5.3 drivers, openness and clarity across the Audio band is superb and there’s a surprising amount of bass depth and punch coupled with excellent transient speed, as they stand I have to class them in the excellent category, if they improve further with more break in hours they will be superlative, to say I’m very happy with them would be an understatement, these simply must be heard.
The Alpair 10 series went fantastic drivers but the Pluvia 11 yet outpass them in their ability to handle loud bass. Used in wave guide loaded speakers, they are just perfectly handling both dimension of the played music (sound AND vibration) without any distortion AND without any need of passive crossovers OR even active equalization. Those babies outpass any paper cone loaded fullrange drivers I owned before !
Ok, here goes, it’s a taken a couple of weeks or more but I’m at last putting pen to paper! I’ve not turned them off so I might get distracted by this live Jazz at the Pawnshop session with Arne Domnerus! Hmm… nice…
This quick review is really for those who might be contemplating the Alpair 11 MS as a direct replacement for the Pluvia 11 in a Pensil kit. First of all the swapping of drive units went fine, the Alpair is shorter than the Pluvia and Stefan advises the fact that the magnet isn’t resting against the internal bracing like the Pluvia isn’t a problem. The centre of gravity is further forward and its lighter as well, plus the frame/basket is a sturdier material than the Pluvia - which is a welcome change for ham fisted screwdriver wielders like me. I just can’t get those screws in straight!
I didn’t listen at all for around the recommended 10 hours, I actually left them playing overnight but had to have the volume quite low so as not to disturb the neighbours, so I don’t think they actually did much loosening up at all. In the morning I turned them up to normal listening levels and spent most of the day in another room occasionally passing through for a listen.
First impressions were that these are very different sounding drivers, very even is the best way to describe the hardly run in sound I heard in my room. There was some colouration, I could clearly hear that, which is when I reasoned the nights gentle warm-up hadn’t done very much at all really. So I left them alone at normal listening levels all morning and probably most of the next day as well. I can’t exactly remember when they came on song now, but no longer than 24 hours all told as they went off at night and when I was watching TV in the same room. I did try hard not to listen as I wanted to loosen up the drivers and not get myself accustomed to a new sound as part of the process.
Anyway, you always know that its time to listen to a new component when you walk through the room to make a cup of coffee and get drawn into what’s playing. I was actually using a really unimpressive sounding Roots box set playlist I made for this very purpose, great reggae and ska etc but often pretty rough and ready recordings - loads of bass to get speakers loosened up though!
Even with this uneven material they were sounding pretty good so I set my ‘hi-fi test’ playlist going. First thing I noticed having a proper listen was that lovely evenness. In my system and room the Pluvia’s have a tendency to pin me to the back wall with certain harsh and hard recordings, they take no prisoners! These Alpair’s were quite different, yes the highs were there, little ticks and snicks as stick hit snare or a string was plucked - but I could actually turn up the volume and not have to leave the room.
Don’t misunderstand, the Pluvia’s aren’t violently harsh, but its almost as though in my room they had a slight dip just before that hard edge some recordings have, then a peak, which made the hard metallic nature of some sounds stand out more than they should. The Alpair’s on the other hand didn’t highlight that brightness, they sort of joined it up with everything else in a uniform way, if that makes any kind of sense. So when turned up everything was louder, with no discernible edginess. If the recording was crap it just sounded average, but entirely listenable. I think these drivers are just really even and easy for the brain to decode.
The colouration has now completely gone (after about 30+ hours I suppose, so hardly any time for a speaker to warm up at all) the bass has gained a fuller sound, more mid bass than before but that’s still dropping as I listen - and they go lovely and deep like the Pluvia’s, maybe even a tad deeper. Subtlety is now apparent so I’m hearing lots more in familiar recordings, this means you just want to throw more at them to see what they can do and how they handle it - hence the long wait for a review!
And did I mention how fast they were, really fast! I was always told, and believed myself, that you need an active speaker to get these sort of dynamics. Well that’s simply not so, even in the big Pensil enclosure they are amazingly quick. Percussion hits hard and sounds like a real slap on real skin, sudden changes in volume are accurately delivered. Say in the way Diana Krall‘s piano suddenly lifts off as she changes direction mid-riff and stamps on the loud pedal at the same time, that really made me sit up and take notice. A much under estimated jazz pianist (well she does get a bit smaltzy at times I agree), on her first album she really let’s fly - ‘in the room’ is all I can say really (I wish!).
So, I’m chuffed. That young Fenlon chap does push the technical boundaries somewhat, and I can vouch for the effectiveness of the spiderless design, and the slightly forward shoulder on the edge of the cone. Everything comes together to create a more believable soundstage, and even in my quite modest system (Roon NUC>Raspberry Pi 4 endpoint USB>Chord Mojo>Heed Obelisk Si) instruments and voices are sounding very real indeed!
So for a quick Pensil 11 upgrade these Alpairs are a no brainer really, now clear off and leave me to listen...
MA-01 Flexible amplifier (From: £561.02 taxes shown in cart)
I am no audiophile but I am very happy with the sound from my 2 channel amp from KJF audio.
I have 2 x nc500 modules.
It is partnered with an Arcam FMJ250. The sound is very "transparent" and allows me to fully enjoy my music at decent volumes without any distortion. I will be placing another order soon for a multi channel power amp for my cinema room.
MA-01 Flexible amplifier (From: £561.02 taxes shown in cart)
I backed Stefan in his kickstarter campaign, and ordered a 6 channel tiered amp for active speaker duties. It comprises of 2x500wpc, 2x250 and 2x125 . I have owned it for 3 months now, so think I can safely say it is the best amp I have ever owned. It is neutral, and has a very clean sound, but with great authority, and the most glorious bass. As has been stated above it has some extras, for speaker protection, and if you are worried about the fans, mine have still yet to come on. It has performed faultlessly so far, and I cannot praise it enough.
It was much fun to build the frugel horn xl kit from KJFAudio. So I thought It could be interesting to build a pair of Pensil 11 speakers with Alpair 11MS drivers from KJF Audio. Again, building the speakers was a pleasure and I was even more pleased when I listened to them. Stefan didn't exaggerate when he recommended these new drivers. They deliver great, neutral sound. The soundstage is wide and imaging is truly three dimensional. The Pensils work surprisingly well with rock music and they are just fantastic when it comes to jazz. And they look good. Although breaking-in time is supposed to be no more than 10 hours of playing light music at moderate levels, I find that the Alpair 11MS need much more time to show all their qualities. I felt that they reached another level of performance after roughly 200 hours of listening. Especially when it comes to vocal music. After the positive experience with this excellent driver in the Pensils, I grew curiosity to listen to them in a large horn enclosure. So I bought a second pair of the Alpair 11MS and Scott Lindgren's plan set for the Brodgar Horns.
Although building Pensils and Frugel Horns from kits was quite easy, I decided to take the plan set to my carpenter friend who built the speakers with me. Lacking space, tools and skills, I know now that this was a wise decision. My respect for carpenters grew constantly during the building process of a truly beautiful pair of huge, elegant looking horns.
I wish I could include a photo.
Their sound is just spectacular. Compared to the Pensils, the Brodgar Horns sound more dynamic with a bigger soundstage and they give even more precise imaging along with impressive bass reproduction. Instruments as well as voices appear larger, actually they seem to be as large as live.
The Alpair 11MS are brilliant drivers that offer tremendous value for money and work extremely well in different types of enclosures. Highly recommended!
Viotti One with stands (pair) (£1,246.00 taxes shown in cart)
I purchased a pair of Viotti Towers from KJF Audio and I am overjoyed with my purchase. They sound sublime as well as having great WAF (very important as these are for my lounge and not the mancave :-) )
I also had specific requirements for date and time of delivery and these were met with great precision.
I recommend KJF Audio wholeheartedly!!!
MA-01 Flexible amplifier (From: £561.02 taxes shown in cart)
I ordered the MA-01 with 2 x NC250MP boards at the start of the Kickstarter campaign. Communication was excellent and it arrived safely and is exactly as described. Build quality is very good, especially for an amp at this relatively low price.
Yes there are other companies offering a similar build with these Hypex cards but if you read the description you will see several features such as overheat protection with built in fans (no noise) and clipping indication.
Sound quality is excellent and I have no hesitation in recommending this purchase.
Really nice drivers. I wasn't sure what to expect from a full range driver but I was very pleasantly surprised at the results from these.
I used these drivers in a set of compact, sealed box speakers . The drivers are easy to install as the cut-out size is pretty close to a standard hole-saw (102mm). Rebating is optional because they are so shallow.
During run-in the I found the sound to be quite thin, but after a couple of weeks they really improved. The bass extension is much better than I expected from a compact driver in a sealed cabinet.
Imaging is spot on, bass is taught and fast, mids are fantastic. If I had one criticism, it would be that they can be a tiny bit harsh at the top end, although this is still improving with time and I do have some very ropey recordings. For most music, especially acoustic, they sound wonderful. I've even tried them out on some thrash metal, and while the scale isn't there, the speed and detail is spot on with just enough bass.
These have now displaced my Quad 11L speakers in the living room. Not bad for £80 drivers, a little bit of hardware and some scrap plywood. Although I veneered them to keep the wife happy.
I put some pictures of the build and finished speakers up here:
I will certainly be back to try out a larger set soon...
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