Overnight Sensation DIY Speaker Review

by admin
Summary

I’ve built about 5 pairs of overnight sensations for or with people. These speakers are one of the best entry level DIY speakers because the overnight sensations are at an entry-level price point with enough bass extension to be a standalone while providing an entry-level audiophile sound in a reasonable size.

The frequency response is slightly mid-forward with a bumped bass and lowered treble, creating a warm and detailed filled sound. Soundstage depth and bass extension are pretty good for small speakers, and a smooth response paired with hifi tuning provides occasional flashes of brilliance in a small package.

Build Notes

The woofer is small, so you might want to leave the front baffle for last. Stuffing is definitely required. For tweeter installation, just push really hard. Here is the xover layout I like to use.

Sound

Overnight sensations provide a big sound in a small box with a frequency response that the vast majority will enjoy.

Bass – Its got a bumped bass with decent extension in many tracks, so you could probably throw a decent house party with them; however, the bass is a bit loose and muddy in certain tracks, which is the consequence of the woofer trying to do multiple jobs.

Mids – Smooth and natural sounding, but it does sound a bit hollow at some parts. Listening to Amy Winehouse, there’s a lot of detail and the voice really comes out, but it’s the opposite for Diana Krall tracks. This is probably the result of the mids having a slightly uneven response.

Highs – Definitely tuned lowered, and they perform barely well enough to be acceptable. It’s crisp and fast enough, but it’s lacking sharp crispness and detail.

Soundstage – Decent amount of depth as heard in orchestral music, but it can get a bit muddied in heavily layered music at times.

While the overnight sensations have some noticeable shortcomings, it’s a pretty solid performing speaker in a small package. Most commercial bookshelves at this price range lack bass response, good mid-performance, and no depth. The speakers are also pretty small, which is a huge factor for a lot of people.

Music section
Giorgio by Moroder – Daft Punk
  • 00:00 – 00:36 – His voice is the focus. Background noise is barely audible, but clean if you listen for them. His voice has a lot of depth and resonance in them, indicating a good soundstage depth.
  • 00:36 – 1:08 – Bass is tight and extension pretty good. Guitar pops are slightly in the backseat, but they are clear and audible if you pay attention to them. Highs are slightly turned down, but they perform surprisingly well – a bit soft, but crisp. Overall, soundstage depth is good, and separation is decent.
  • 6:58 – 7:30 – Bass extension decent, but it’s slightly muddy and loose. Highs perform adequately and provide a reasonably crisp sound that you will enjoy, but better tweeters will be definitely noticeable. The tweeters lack that sparkle and fast crispness in higher end tweeters. Overall, there’s enough separation to hear everything and depth to make it sound musical.
Tom Sawyer – Rush
  • 00:00 – 00:50 – Again, the voice is slightly more noticeable than the rest of the frequencies. Highs are still clearly audible and perform exactly the same as above – not bad, but not amazing. Bass extension is good, but slightly loose here as well.
Come Away with Me – Norah Jones
  • 00:00 -1:00 – Her voice sounds surprisingly natural, despite it not being a paper cone. Bass, piano, and supplemental parts come in quite loudly. While her voice sounds a bit thin, there’s a lot of detail overall, and mids sound pretty smooth.
Four seasons L’estate III Presto – Vivaldi (Pavel)
  • 00:00 – 00:44 Violin attacks are somewhat sharp, and there are just enough low end and depth to add texture from the lower strings. Separation is decent enough to identify all the violin parts.
  • 00:45 -1:04 Pavel’s aggressiveness does come through decently, and you can hear a lot of details in his bowing.
  • 1:05 – 1:20 – There is a decent amount of texture thanks to the low extension and soundstage depth, and you can isolate instruments despite the heavily layered music.
Count Bubba – Gordon Goodwin
  • 00:00 – 00:41 Bass extension is pleasantly audible and tight, but it’s definitely slight loose. While saxophone parts sound a bit hollow, the response is pretty smooth. Highs are a bit toned down, but you can find it if you listen for it. The music is heavily layered, and you can isolate each instrument; however, it does sound a bit cluttered at times.
  • 1:10 – 1:39 The mids on these woofers are smooth and perform well. There’s a natural tonal characteristic to the instruments, which makes this section very enjoyable.
 Closing thoughts

Listening to Rush’s YYZ, I find myself bobbing my head and enjoying the sound despite its shortcomings. These are probably the bare minimum for speakers that I’d consider listening to regularly, but at the price point, I think that’s a tremendous compliment to these speakers. What a great kit despite the price bumps in the past year or two.

I personally would not use them as my main speakers, but I think most people who want decent sounding speakers will be very happy with them.

I’ll continue to recommend these speakers for people for the following reasons:

  • Low price point
  • Reasonable size
  • Relatively easy crossover
  • Plywood is easy to paint or stain
  • Enough bass extension to be a standalone

Random notes

  • They do seem to have a smaller sweet spot in terms of off-axis performance, but I doubt most people will notice.
  • Yes, they do rock 🙂

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