View Full Version : Bob Brines FT-1600 Mk2 Speakers

18-08-2009, 22:22
Brines Acoustics

FT-1600 Mk2
Fostex FE167E Mass-Loaded TL

I have found in the short time that I have been frequenting the various Audio fora that exist worldwide, that both the novice and experienced diyers are a gregarious lot and like to share experiences and, when due, receive a well deserved pat on the back for their efforts. Some of us have taken the extraordinary (extraordinary for the cyberworld, where people exist only by their pseudonym) step of meeting up to hear each other’s systems, exchange knowledge and offer a helping hand if necessary.

And so it was that I was invited for a trip to the South Coast to see “The Master”. Well,….Tripmaster in fact, otherwise known as Richard.

Richard had spent the last few weeks beavering away at a bit of wood butchering. He said he had been honing his carpentry skills and until I had seen the products of his efforts I was convinced that an apprenticeship at Dewhurst’s would probably mark the standard of competence.

Well, I had to eat a rather tough joint of words. Sitting magnificently in his lounge were a rather splendid pair
of floor standing speakers. These would not look out of place in the swankiest of dealers showrooms.


The cabinets dimensions are 1054mm x 267mm x 267mm and were built with 18mm MDF

Internal cabinet construction essentially consists of four 18mm internal braces and a 36mm top. The sides are lined
with cement board (Hardiebacker), and are glued into place using a flexible adhesive.
Bob uses 'Armstrong' ridged glass fibre acoustic insulation, but found it difficult to source within the UK and opted for
similar product albeit slightly thicker.

Details of where these speakers emanate from will be provided at the end of this review. In short you purchase either
his pre-built speakers, a speaker flat pack or a set of plans. If you decide to build them yourself you will
require one and a half 2440x1220mm (8x4) sheets of either 18mm MDF or Baltic Birch Ply, it is your choice as to what
material you use to build your speakers, Richard is going to provide a building blog and therefore I do not need to tell
you exactly how these speakers were put together.

They are a mass loaded transmission line (MLTL) design with an internal capacity of approximately 55L. The drive units
chosen are Fostex 167E, said to have a usable frequency range of 35 to 24,000Hz (F3= 45 - 22kHz, F10= 35 - 22kHz)
BB suggests that a baffle step correction circuit be employed using a 1.5Mh inductor and a 6ohm resistor, and this is what Richard has included in his design.


So, they look like a million dollars, but would I be disappointed with the sound. Definitely not!
Others have criticised the Fostex full rangers of having a certain “shouty” quality to them, and that unless you employ a phase plug they “beam” at you making the listening experience uncomfortable. This was not what I found, in fact the sound was extremely smooth and civilised. On simple acoustic guitar the sound was beguiling. I would say that the music was presented as a coherent whole. The artists fingers could clearly be heard moving across the strings, but not so starkly to bring attention to itself and thereby becomes a distraction. Often speakers can be so ruthlessly revealing that they forget that they are there to convey the piece as a whole.


Female vocals were particularly well portrayed. Eva Cassidy and Norah Jones sang it from the heart. Neither wanting to bring
unnecessary attention to themselves. They are both consummate performers and this was obvious from the sounds issuing
forth from the Brines. These speakers have the ability to under-pin a performance with substance and weight.
They are said the go down to 30Hz. Without measuring equipment I could not vouch for that, but the in-room
performance would certainly make you believe that this was possible.


I asked Richard what he thought were their strengths and weaknesses, having lived with them for a few days. Richard of course reminded me that the units only had a handful of hours on them and therefore any judgements made now might change in a few weeks and then possibly again in a few months.

I was told that the designer recommended them if your musical tastes were for acoustic guitar, small jazz trio’s, female vocals,
then these were for you. I would not disagree. It is too early to say how they will cope with more complex music. I also asked
Richard if he intended to try them without the baffle step correction circuit employed. I said that for my taste I could do with a
smidgen more high frequency range.

As I understand it the BSC is designed to cut higher frequencies in order to boost the bass response.
Richard has yet to experiment with speaker placement as he only finished them a few days ago and in his words “plonked” them down where he thought they ought to go.

I hope that I will be asked back to hear them in a few months time. I am familiar with the Fostex full range sound as I use back loaded horns with the 206E drive units.


The 167E’s have the Fostex house sound, but surprised me as to how smooth they sounded without being fully run-in. Richard is now going to spend most of his spare time tweaking the internals and playing with placement. That is after tending to his two adorable sons and his long suffering Audio Widow, so a few minutes a week then.

I would certainly give the FT-1600’s house room. Richard is obviously delighted with his creations and you could experience the same sense of achievement. So get out your carving knives and choppers and create something beautiful to look at and equally nice to listen to.

Review by Robert Powell

Brines Accoustics


Spectral Morn
18-08-2009, 22:37
Nicely done Robert.

I am feeling a bit rough at the moment so I will read your review tomorrow and give some more feedback then, but thank you for doing such a good job.

I hope to read more from you in the future.

Regards D S D L

19-08-2009, 06:16
I wrote the review, but all the credit for putting it all together goes to Richard.

19-08-2009, 06:55
I wrote the review, but all the credit for putting it all together goes to Richard.

You couldn't keep quite for long! :)

Steve Toy
19-08-2009, 12:24
What an absolutely gorgeous looking pair of speakers. I'd love to hear them on the end of my valve pre/power amps.

19-08-2009, 17:53
Thanks Steve

I have Bob to thank for the design. The corner round-overs make a big difference, it certainly softens the appearance of a reasonably large cabinet.

I too would like to try a nice valve amp at some stage, it might be nice to build one in the future. I think might have a go at building one of Nelson Pass's amps first.