Welcome to TDL DIY Guy

Cutaway view of the TDL Reference Standard M

The best speaker ever made?


For some time I’ve been dreaming of building a DIY version of what I imagine to be one of the best speakers ever made – The TDL Reference Standard ‘M’. While I’ve never heard the TDL RSTL myself, there are some who say they’ve owned 1000 speakers and of them all, the RSTL is the best. At this point I don’t have a lot of hope of finding a used pair and I’ve long enjoyed building speakers, so the answer was simple – build my own.

I have no illusions that my DIY version will approach the quality of the real thing as designed by John Wright. All I’m hoping for is to have a great time, learn a lot and have a speaker that sounds pretty darn good in its own right.


4 thoughts on “Welcome to TDL DIY Guy

  1. Hi TDL DIY Guy.

    I have a pair of original reference standards and I bought a pair of Kef B139s as “insurance” for the woofers. I have three kids with very prodding fingers!
    I did not know that John Wright used both 8 and 16 Ohms for the woofers until I read your articles. Thanks for the enlightenment!


    • Hi Ian,

      I’m glad you’ve found some useful information. Did you really mean the KEF B139s? All of the drivers in the RSTLs were made by ELAC, the parent company of TDL at that time. So while they share the bi-radial shape, you’ll notice your RSTL woofers are concave, while the B139s have a flat radiating surface. If you take a look at this spreadsheet on the Falcon Acoustics site:


      You’ll see the drivers for the RSTL are the ELAC 3021GT-01 (8 ohm) and 3021GT-02 (16 ohm). Lockwood Audio claims to have purchased all remaining parts inventory for the original TDL company:


      Though they did not respond to my request for information on RSTL parts.

      Thank you for your interest and I hope this helps.

    • Hi Josef,

      Thank you for the kind words.

      No, my progress has been very slow, though I do plan to work on a test cabinet today that will allow me to start working on one in earnest. So far everything I’ve done has been based on datasheet curves, so they are relatively meaningless. Mostly they were to prove to myself that I could make something with an acceptable impedance. Once I have some sort of test cabinet put together, I can start in earnest.

      Be forewarned though that I’ve pretty much decided to bi-amp, so I’ll just be designing a passive crossover for the mids-tweeters-super tweeter. So this won’t be much like the original other than in basic appearance.

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