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Help Building a Quality Sub

Discussion in 'Speakers' started by DwayneHoward, Aug 17, 2014.

  1. DwayneHoward

    DwayneHoward Extra

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    I know nothing about how to create sound; just know what sounds good. Going through some hardware changes to upgrade.

    Soundspace: living room, adjoining dining and kitchen: approximately 5,000 cubic feet, little carpet.

    Listening Style: 3 types: movies with surround, actual quality I couldn't care or less about, heavy rock at high-enough volume that most people whine about, and classical music at a full-sounding but medium volume.

    My focus is on clarity. I hate muddled noise. I insist on using my EQ and bypassing digital intrusion on my control of the output. My 12-band EQ gets a workout, because I'll adjust it according to the music type or song I'm listening to.

    I need to build a sub or two that will provide great sensitivity and clarity when I listen to classical music, and punch with clarity when I listen to rock. CLARITY is the keyword. ;)

    I can build anything, and plan on building either a single large cab for both subs, or separate cabs. I need the complete list of materials:

    Drivers, crossovers, amplifier, cabinet specs, the best wood to use, etc. I had thought to build in such a way I could plug the ports when desired. I love having all options that give me control.

    Ahead of time, I appreciate all the advice. I've already learned much from this excellent forum. Thanks. :)
     
  2. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    Budget? How much space are you willing to sacrifice for these 2 subs?

    You want clarity then you need to get ready to pay for it. Here's a good example - http://www.creativesound.ca/details.php?model=DualSDX12PromoAntimode8033Cinema. The subs have XBL^2, low distortion motors. What's XBL^2? Here's some light reading for you - http://www.acousticdev.com/cms/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=12&Itemid=64 TC Sounds subs use variable coil windings to lower their distortion - Finally, AE Speakers uses a lot of copper in the motor structure to keep inductance to a minimum thus lowering distortion.

    Another way to achieve this is just to use a lot of cheaper drivers and not push them to the point of distortion.
     
  3. DwayneHoward

    DwayneHoward Extra

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    Robert_J : - thanks.

    I'm a carpenter, so consider all labor and materials (other than actual hardware) as an insignificant expense.

    $1,000 or a few hundred over is fine for a single cabinet. If I see a need, I could save up and build another later.

    Space-wise - don't have room to sacrifice for an IB. But have considered building either a tower design with a small footprint, or building a long box that could sit under my TV, up to about 6 feet in length.

    I would need to know: in that kit you linked, what is that little electronic box for ?
    What would I need for crossover, power supply, cut-off, etc (all hardware)
    What can you provide so I can start getting smart about cab design? I need to learn the principles, and am curious to know if internal baffling or parabolic design has any benefits. Am considering building my own tower speakers later, so want to learn the technology of cab design.

    Thanks much, man. :)
     
  4. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    No matter what subs you choose, the biggest impact will be caused by their interaction with the room. That black box analyzes the sound and EQs it to give you a flat response. I run a pair of the 15" version of these subs - https://web.archive.org/web/20070402025330/http://www.tcsounds.com/tc3000.htm Are these the super accurate subs that you want? No. They are brute force strong. Big voice coil and thick top plate (the top part of the magnet that the frame bolts to) cause this sub to have a peak in the 55hz range due to the inductance of the voice coil. I used a Behringer Feedback Destroyer to not only tame that inductance peak but also equalize the rest of the room interaction so that the sub is + or - 3db from 17hz to 120hz with usable output below 15hz. I can play music with standup bass and it is super accurate to my ears. And yes, I have been to a few live shows that had them so I know what it should sound like. My subs are also capable of reproducing an alien spacecraft rising from under Los Angeles. Have I seen that in real life? No. But it will move pictures all over the house.

    What receiver do you have? Because most modern receivers have a subwoofer output channel that eliminates the need for any external crossovers. The amp depends on the sub/box combination that you decide on.

    Cabinet design is easy. There are programs like WinISD and spreadsheets like Unibox that will give you a design after you enter in the Theile/Small parameters. But they only give you 1 design out of thousands of possibilities. For example, I'm looking at building a box for my Exodus Audio Maelstrom 21" sub and they have recommendations here - http://speakerworld.nl/pdf/M21-app.pdf 3 sealed, 3 ported and IB. Basically, you pick the cabinet and live with the results. Which is best? None. Every one has trade-offs and that's the name of the game in sub design.

    You asked about "baffling" which I assume you mean bracing. Here's a perfect example of the TC-3000 design - http://www.danmarx.org/audioinnovation/tc3000.html Heavily braced. In this design, they use a plate amp but I use the older version of the Behringer EP-4000 pro amp. Ported uses the same bracing concept but it will be larger and you have to determine port air speed. Too fast and they make a chuffing noise. Then you use a larger port. To keep the same tuning, the port needs to be longer. Sooner or later, the port is longer than the box even if you are putting in twists and turns. Shape has nothing to do with output or quality. A sub needs air space and it doesn't care how it gets it.

    Full range speakers are a LOT more complicated. I've been playing around with this stuff since the 1980's and I just use proven designs. I don't have the time to learn how to do my own design nor the money to spend on test equipment. Plus I just like the power of subs. Probably why I have 20+ different ones in storage. I can't pass up a good deal like the close-out pricing on the 21" when Exodus went out of business. Or the on-off subs that I either build myself or have someone build for me.
     
  5. DwayneHoward

    DwayneHoward Extra

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    Thanks, Robert.

    So, for sensitivity and accuracy, what should I be looking for ? Any leads ? Are those TC's good enough ?
     
  6. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    You trade sensitivity for the ability to play low. On the other hand, amp power is cheap so you just ignore the sensitivity rating.

    Parts Express carries the Dayton and TC Sounds brands of subs. For Dayton, look at the RS and Ultimax subs. For TC Sounds, the LMS are the more accurate but the others are no slouch either. Check out Acoustic Elegance (AE Speakers) and their AV series. Also, take a look at Stereo Integrity. Another option is to pick a design and have the sub built for it. PSI Car Audio will do that for you. Find something that fits your price range. All of these manufacturers provide a great sub at a fair price. With AE, SI or PSI, you can even get in touch with the owner. PSI is local to me, I have a custom 12" in my wife's car and I've toured their facility.

    On the enclosure side, a sealed 15" will be about 3 cubic feet or the size of the enclosure I linked to above. Ported will grow to anywhere from 5 to 7 cubic feet depending on the design. Sealed 18" will be 4 to 6 cubic feet and ported 6 to 12 cubic feet.

    On the power portion of the sub, the Behinger iNuke DSP is the most popular amp today. It is flexible enough to be used with sealed and ported designs and the Digital Signal Processing allows you to tailor the sound to the room.

    http://www.soundandvision.com/content/wilson-audio-thors-hammer-passive-subwoofer I'm using this retail sub as a comparison. At $21,000 you can match the audio quality with your budget and your budget includes the amp. That double basket speaker is nothing special. In fact, it's built in Sacremento, CA by a company that builds some of the Dayton speakers. The design is a ported box tuned to 17hz. This should give you an idea of size considering the front is 1.5" thick and the rest is 3/4".
    Height – 59 inches (149.86 cm)Width – 20 inches (50.80 cm)Depth – 25 1/8 inches (66.4 cm)
     
  7. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    If you want a truly epic visual.A guy built transmission line subs where the TL, each, is 5' long 12" ID sewer pipe. On top of a box big enough for 12" drivers.There is no wrong approach.
     
  8. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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  9. DwayneHoward

    DwayneHoward Extra

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    I had written a long reply last night - think I forgot to hit "post". And for some reason, I was calling Robert "Steve", so better it didn't post. ;)

    So, I have space under my wall-hanging TV to build a large box. This is the best use of space for me. Kinda planning on adding 2 15"s, but have no problem with 18's. Any tips on building a shared box for these ? (I liked reading about those tubular TL's. Wonder of there's a way to incorporate, or any advantage of doing so. Like running the tubes through the box ? Otherwise, TL baffling/routing (without tubes) looks pretty complicated, and I don't think I'd ever find a schematic for my application.)

    Ok, Robert: I think the AV series is gone. Which series looks like the replacement for that?
    Looking at Dayton, user ratings are really high straight across the board. The TC's are more expensive, hence people are using them less often. The TC's look like the older competition car-audio subs.

    Anyway...I'll be buying these blindly. Haven't heard any of them.

    So, let's start from the standpoint of status:

    [*]Upper end of budget for 2 drivers, electronics, and building materials - $1,200
    [*]Preferring a 2 sub system that'll draw signal from 1 of my sub outs on the Yamaha.
    [*]Prefer clarity with punch over rolling thunder
    [*]Space: up to: 32" high, 60" horizontal length, 24" deep. That's over 26 cf available.
    [*]Need a proven design with reasonable expectation for success, or ease of making adjustments if necessary. I'm a nooob without testing equipment. Though I suspect I'll need some minimal tools for testing anyway.
    [/list]
    So, rather than opening the world of infinite possibilities, I'd like to get some solid recommendations based on these parameters. Like 203 options for cab design, & how to determine the best sub for me, plus how I'll make adjustments if it doesn't come together right. Basics.

    Thanks for your time, guys. :D
     
  10. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    1. Dayton Ultimax 18's - 2 at $280 each plus one Behringer iNuke 6000 DSP amp at $400. MDF is $35 per sheet and you will need 5 or 6. Everything else is $5 to $10.
    2. That's what we are working on.
    3. The Ultimax is less of a brute than the TC Sounds Axis/TC-3000 that I use.
    4. I have a proven design from another site in mind but it is based on a single sub and a pair of the enclosures will not fit without adjusting dimensions. Let me keep looking and post an update with a better proven design of change the shape of the design I have in mind.
    5. Testing equipment will be less than $100 for a USB mic and free software.

    You never mentioned your main speakers? Do you have comparable mains or some like home theater in a box type speakers?
     
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  11. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    How about something like this? 4 boxes, each 30" wide, 16" tall and 24" deep. Each box holds a pair of 12" subs. The attachment below is an idea of how to build them. Another pair of boxes would be stacked on top. Each box would run you $110 for the two speakers and about a sheet of MDF. Speakers - http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_24859_2-Pack-of-Infinity-Reference-1262W.html Everything would be powered by a Behringer iNuke 3000 DSP - http://www.parts-express.com/behringer-nu3000dsp-inuke-3000-watt-power-amplifier-with-dsp--248-6706 The amp pushes approximately 1,200w per channel at 2 ohms. Each pair of boxes would be wired for a final load of 2 ohms so each 4 speakers would share the 1,100w. That's about 275w per speaker.

    These are very good subs for the price but they are limited by power handling so that's why we go with multiples. By going with 12's, it makes more efficient use of the the size constraints you gave earlier. Each pair of 12's has the equivalent surface area of an 18" sub. So you will have the equivalent of an quad 18's without the other issues that come with huge subs. The 2" voice coils on the Infinity mean that you will have lower inductance and require less EQ than going with the larger 3" coiled subs.

    [​IMG]

    What is on each side of the space you are wanting to use? I'm trying to determine if these can be ported and if so, can we port them out of the sides?
     
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  12. Nico Shull

    Nico Shull Auditioning

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    Following this for sure. Very curious to see how this turns out.
     
  13. DwayneHoward

    DwayneHoward Extra

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    Robert

    Awesome. My apologies. I took a trip to see the folks. Picked up some favorite jams at their local sales shop. Now, more ready than ever to maximize my listening quality.
    Here's the full equipment list at this point:
    Yamaha RX A830 receiver that gives me sub outs, 7.2 surround, but overly synthetic sound IMO
    Kenwood KR V8040 - 20 yo ProLogic receiver with A/B speakers, no subwoofer outs, but options to drive music without a lot of DSP
    Front speakers: DCM Timeframe 600's , showing signs of age( they chatter at about -2db on the Yamaha, but I've EQ'd the sound to push them to their limits)
    Rear speakers: Klipsch R15-M.
    2 Klipsch 12-inch powered subs. The SW-112 is going back to the store. I'm not displeased with the sound of this sub. It's pretty crisp, but at certain frequencies it has a horrible vibration coming from within. Not the actual driver. Something loose. Anyway, that'll provide over $500 of what I need to build with.
    Onkyo EQ 35 12-band
    No center channel speaker yet, nor the middle surround speakers for a full 7.2 setup.
    Lemme catch up on what you posted & get back with you.
     
  14. DwayneHoward

    DwayneHoward Extra

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    On the right side of this is 2 feet of open space, followed by my front speaker, then a doorway to my small entry hall. Actually, I love that hall because it echoes bass like hell already. :P

    On the left is a free-standing wooden bookcase about 6 inches away.

    Lemme make sure I have the numbers straight: 2 boxes side by side with another 2 boxes on top. Each box holds 2 drivers. A total of 8 drivers. Is that correct? If so, it sounds a bit beyond my needs. But I'm familiar with Infinity drivers. Historically built for clarity, not punch. Does it need 8 ? Just wondering if 4 would be enough. If not, I could build another pair.

    So, between some Daytons and the Infinities - your preference ?

    Also, SVC or DVC ? Both are available.
     
  15. Robert_J

    Robert_J Lead Actor

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    Yes, you can always start with four 12's and upgrade later. The iNuke series has a voltage limiter that will keep the 3000 from overpowering 4 subs.

    I chose the Infinities because 8 of them were in your budget. 8 Daytons were not. If you want to go with Daytons, then I'll find some that will work with these boxes. Infinity vs. Dayton, both are built for quality but with an iNuke amp, you can dial in as much "punch" as you want.

    On one side, it has enough to port a box but not the other. If you build a single box with four 12's, then you could port it but it would be larger. For your first sub, I'd go sealed.

    A quick look at the Daytons 12" subs, the Reference 8 ohm, Ultimax, Titanic or DVC will all work.
     

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