Surround Sound Speaker Systems

Stereo Dave's Creation 650 Reference Speakers and Genesis Subwoofer


The Design

The Creation 650 uses somewhat more conventional materials but is still not the standard MDF. Rather it’s a double walled construction of ‘Strawboard’. Strawboard is a less toxic substitute for MDF that is, as the name implies, made from straw. Combined with non toxic glue, the result is not as tight as MDF.

Sean Scoggin of Stereo Dave’s chose it because of this property, believing that it has better damping characteristics than MDF. Sean cautions that strawboard is considered a green product because it is less toxic than MDF but on the whole the Creation 650 cannot be called that as the finish process while also unique is not especially green.

The 5 step finish process has been a special focus lately at Stereo Dave’s. This review was delayed a bit as the process was refined. It was worth the wait, the finish is amazing. Automotive analogies keep coming to mind with these speakers and the finish is one reason for that. It reminds me of my sisters ’69 Purple Camaro Super Sport. I didn’t know when I would see purple metallic flakes again but I’ve missed them. They’re in these speakers, embedded in the finish below multiple layers of clear, from most angles they seem to reflect purple light but sometimes it’s a deep red. Completely gorgeous and better than black lacquer.

But that’s not even the main reason for the car-thoughts. The main reason is the driver.  Not the driver of cars, the driver in the speaker.  A single driver. A car stereo driver (inexpensive according to Sean).  Modified in multiple ways including removing the tweeter. That’s it. No crossover, no port. One driver, one double walled strawboard box with purple metallic flakes in the finish.

Single driver speakers were the passion of the ‘Dave’  of Stereo Dave’s. A Portland fixture, Dave Herren had a retail store where he sold modified hifi products at reasonable prices. Dave Herren passed on too soon last year from a sudden illness at only 56 years old. The Creation 650 design is an evolution of the single driver speaker design that was his passion.

The subwoofer I reviewed does not have the same finish as the Creation 650’s but that is available, this one has traditional black lacquer on the top surface with a cloth wrap around the vertical surfaces. The woofer is downward firing with the amplifier in a separate box. The amplifier is also a modified design with the speaker wires soldered directly to the circuit board. The box containing the amplifier has no back, it is meant to be placed against the wall if you don’t want to look at the bottom of the circuit boards. The wires come out of the open side (back) of the box to go to the driver in the larger enclosure.

The Setup

Sean and Rick of Stereo Dave’s wanted me to hear the Creation 650 first at their place.  I assured them that I have considerable hifi at my disposal in my own domicile. Still, they insisted. I think this is because the Creation 650’ are sensitive to setup.  At their place, they sounded great. They were driving them with the modified Harmon Kardon receiver that John reviewed last year.

After moving the speakers over to my place, Sean and Rick spent a long time tweaking the setup to get to the same presence and full range that I heard at their place.  My room is a little problematic in that I face the short span of the rectangle so the normal speaker placement near corners on a narrow wall won’t work. At Sean and Dave’s house, they had them set up about 6 feet apart with a TV and lots of other equipment in between them. About 3 feet from the side and back walls and with no toe-in with the subwoofer behind the speakers. In their room they actually had multiple subwoofers going.

In my listening room Sean replicated about those same distances from the side and back walls but because of the seating arrangement the speakers were about 12 feet apart and toe’d in slightly. The subwoofer was off to the side and in front of the right speaker, near the opening to the kitchen. This is how I did most of my listening. I also tried the speakers pushed up against the back wall for the bass boost to see if I could get by without the subwoofer. Not quite.  I also tried moving them out into the center of the room, about 8 feet apart and only about 6 feet from the listening position. This was the best position, though impractical. Most small speakers sound best in the near field.

In all cases I was using the stands provided by Stereo Dave’s which are taller than average speaker stands so that the single driver is up at ear height.

Stereo Dave's 650 Reference Speakers