New DIYer starting 1st project

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by JustinUnder, Jan 24, 2004.

  1. JustinUnder

    JustinUnder Auditioning

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    Hello everyone,
    I am so way new here, I have spent some time looking over the posts on Home Theater Forum , and think I have worked up the nerve to ask some questions. First of all I think I would like to try my hand at building speakers.

    1. I was wondering if a person can build high quality speaker that an audiophile (not that I can call myself that) would be proud to own for less money.

    Now when it comes to woodworking there is nothing I can't handle (Cabinet maker by trade) , but I am speaker design dumb. Which leads to my next question?

    2. how do I figure how much space is needed inside for a speaker perform and sound it best?

    3. I understand there is software, Does anyone know if they make any for Macintosh OS X ?

    4. To a certain point I understand how a crossover network works But I don't understand how to put one together. How far does this set me back? Should I even worry?

    5. Seal or ported What is better?

    I was thinking I would like to build a sub to start with . I know I can make it look great I need some help to make it sound great. I have a 18 X 18 room. that I want to fill with clean tight sound. Most of the use will be for movies and some music. I have a 8" JBL sub right now (please don't laugh) I don't feel like it can handle the level that I would care to push it to, it sounds like it wants to bottom out . I want to get away from that with out going over the top. I don't want to be reckless with my money for fear that I may not be a good speaker builder, not that I plan to fail. I just want to be wise with my cash. I hope these are the right questions to start with. If not please point me in that direction.
     
  2. ThomasW

    ThomasW Cinematographer

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    Best bet for a noob is to start with a kit. They provide a proven design. That eliminates the need to buy testing hardware for driver measurement, and the software needed crossover design and box modeling.

    This is the only software I know of that works on Macs
    http://www.trueaudio.com/mac_abt1.htm
     
  3. BrianAe

    BrianAe Second Unit

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    Subs are much easier to build then speakers. The conventional wisdom is to build speakers from a kit unless you really know what your doing and have test equipement.

    Here are some links where you can find some kits:

    http://www.gr-research.com
    http://www.madisound.com
    http://www.acoustic-visions.com

    If I had the cabinet making ability and the money I would build the Alpha LS from GR research.

    Good luck.
     
  4. JustinUnder

    JustinUnder Auditioning

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    Thanks for the links guys, I'll take a look at them.
     
  5. Dan Wesnor

    Dan Wesnor Second Unit

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  6. TedS

    TedS Agent

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    Just a second to Dan's suggestion. I followed Dennis Murphy's design for the MBOW1 (at www.murphyblaster.com), and it is truly a great speaker (check out http://users.rcn.com/tbsmith). If you really want to start learning a lot about speaker making in particular, check out the Madisound Audio Discussion (MAD) board. Dennis, Rick Craig (Selah), Dave Ellis (Ellis Audio, home of the 1801) and many others hang out there.

    Ted
     
  7. Gerry S

    Gerry S Stunt Coordinator

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    Have you seen the free plans for subs at adireaudio.com?

    I just built the shiva 85L vented application. The total cost including finishing was < $300, and I am very pleased with the way it performs.
     
  8. JustinUnder

    JustinUnder Auditioning

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    I haven't seen them, I'll take a look....Thanks
     
  9. Peter_A_M

    Peter_A_M Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Justin,

    I'll take a stab at your questions:

    1. Yes. In addition to the subs and speakers mentioned here, you may also want to take a look at www.linkwitzlab.com and http://www.klone-audio.com/. The Linkwitz Orion and Phoenix kits are often considered and cited to be among the best of speakers at any price, and Linkwitz links reviews that say as much on his webpage. Jon Marsh and ThomasW of K.L.O.N.E. Audio have also built a number of successful "klones" of some of the best speakers available at any price, and are at this point, I believe, building and refining a dipole system of their own. Their work is better detailed at the www.htguide.com forums, if you'd like a closer look. (Unless I'm mistaken, the ThomasW of this thread is the same ThomasW of htguide.com.)

    2. In general, stick with the recommendations of the speaker designers, but there are a number of speaker simulation and measurement programs that allow you to determine which size box works best for the driver of your choice and your output, group delay, distortion, and other needs.

    3. If you have Microsoft Excel for the Mac, you can download a subwoofer design program called Unibox that models different drivers in different enclosures very well.
    http://www.danbbs.dk/~ko/ubmodel.htm

    4. Not knowing how crossover networks doesn't much set you back. Unless you're willing to measure how a speaker driver sounds in its enclosure using calibrated mikes and measurement software, it's better to go with a design already perfected by a skilled speaker/crossover designer anyway. If you choose to go with, for instance, one of Dennis Murphy's speaker designs, you'll have to assemble the crossover yourself, but you won't have to figure out the correct value of each electrical component - Dennis Murphy has already determined the values that work best for his design. Just buy the compenents that he tells you to use and you'll be set. Other designers will ship the crossover fully assembled to you at a higher cost, but you may find it's worth it.

    Another option that's being considered more often as of recent is digital crossovers. There are a number of breakout digital crossover/DSP boxes from Behringer, Rane, dbx, in addition to PC-based crossover software, that allow you to set the crossover curves you like without having to deal with the electrical theory of filters. There have been to my knowledge at least two successful variations of Linkwitz's Phoenix using digital crossovers, but for your first project, I wouldn't considering doing anything like that just yet.

    5. Sealed. But seriously, it depends on what you want in your system. While the traditional answer is that sealed speakers are better for music and ported speakers are better for HT, it is at least certain that you will get less overall output from a sealed box than you will from a ported box. There are a lot of opinions about the topic on the board, so you might want to do some searching before you come to your decision. Just try to make sure you base your final enclosure around a competent driver that gives you a lot of displacement at low distortion. (Adire, Parts Express, Stryke, Peerless, SCC, and other companies sell many of these types of drivers.)

    I really think, though, that no box at all is better than either a sealed or ported box. Look into dipole/open-baffle speakers before you decide to build your own speaker - these tend to make every audiophile's jaw within earshot drop, and hopefully will drop your own in the process.

    I'm glad to hear you getting involved in DIYing. I found building my only DIY project, a subwoofer, to be immensely satisfying both in the building process and in listening to the fruits of my labor. If you do eventually start building speakers of your own, be sure to post pictures of your work - there are a lot of good woodworkers here, and it's always fun and helpful to learn from those who know how to make a wooden box look good.

    Best wishes,
    Peter
     
  10. JustinUnder

    JustinUnder Auditioning

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    Peter,

    Thankyou for covering my questions. I'm thankful for all the help and Links from everyone. The Home Theater Forum has been a great place to learn about this ,and I'm always open to advice. I will make it a point to post pictures I'm still looking over my options ,but I think I'm close to putting a plan togeather.
     
  11. JustinUnder

    JustinUnder Auditioning

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    Well so far this is what I have put together. I have looked over a lot of plans , and I think I want to go with the Shiva 85l vented. It seems to me that most people are happy with this sub. I noticed that Gerry S. went with a 12" DVC driver and is very pleased with it. I looked on parts express for this driver and found two DVC drivers a 295-490 for $38.0 and a 295-185 for $119.0 which is which? Are there other drivers that could work as well or better in this price range. I was also thinking about porting the sub out the front or firing the sub out the front one or the other or even both of them. I only thought about doing this for looks can it be done or would it change the sound. I also looked on parts express for an amp and found the 250 watt dayton which I think this is the same as Gerry's I just need a part number, if someone could help me out so I get the right one I would be thankful. One last thing I have been reading a lot about tuning the port what does this mean and do I even need to understand it? If so how do I do it and and please dumb it down for me. Tell me what you think of this set up. I can use all the tips and hints that you all can give me.

    Justin
     
  12. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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  13. JustinUnder

    JustinUnder Auditioning

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    Tha's the one I was looking at Thankyou, thought I should double check to make sure.
     
  14. Hank Frankenberg

    Hank Frankenberg Cinematographer

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    Justin, as the others have said, build your mains from kits and build your own sub. You'll be able to do good cabinets and with your skill, you could veneer them for ultimate beauty. I recommend a hand-rubbed Danish oil finish.
    On page 3 of this site are GR A/V-3's that I recently did in Rosewood:
    http://www.geocities.com/hankbond1/index
    BTW, whatever you build will NOT be your final speakers, as you will be bit by the dreaded DIY speaker bug [​IMG]
     
  15. JustinUnder

    JustinUnder Auditioning

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    Hank, you do a great job with your veneer. I'm going to be covering mine in curly maple. thought it would look good with a dark stain with a high gloss finish.
     
  16. Gerry S

    Gerry S Stunt Coordinator

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    Justin:

    Here is what I bought from PE:

    #300-794 plate amp 128.00
    #295-185 12" DVC Subwoofer 119.80
    #268-350 3" Flared Port Tube Kit 13.30

    Some people go with PVC pipe instead of the port kit, but I thought I'd go with the kit thinking it may look more professional.

    After reviewing my receipts, it looks like I have about $325 in my project. I think I misestimated earlier where I posted
     
  17. Allen Ross

    Allen Ross Supporting Actor

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    I have MacSpeakers and it is one hell of a program, even for its age. Its small enough that i can even email it to you if you want. drop me a line if you want more information on it.


    BTW it runs in classic flawlessly.
     
  18. JustinUnder

    JustinUnder Auditioning

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    Yeah I would like to give that a try.
     
  19. Tim Bargar

    Tim Bargar Agent

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    Just FYI, I tried unibox on my mac and had trouble. Although I think it was a function of the version of excel (MS Offic 98) rather than the computer itself.
     
  20. JustinUnder

    JustinUnder Auditioning

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    Yeah I tried it and didn't have luck with it .
     

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