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[DIY] Cylinder vs. Box tye of subwoofer(s)


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#1 of 17 OFFLINE   Brae

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Posted April 08 2003 - 10:03 AM

I am wondering why those threads I do see about DIY subwoofers focus almost exclusively on box-type enclosures and not cylinder-type enclosures. Could this simply be a case of not looking in the right place for DIY cylinder subwoofers?

To me, it seems like a cylinder enclosure would be the easiest, albeit not the prettiest, approach to building a DIY subwoofer. One could find cylinders 'tubes' at their local home improvement stores and builder supply houses. Drivers designed for subwoofer applications are abound. And an external amplifier could make the necessity of plate-style mounted amplification not a problem.

Still, I wonder about this.

Edit: I originally posted this in that other forum. it got 23 views in a matter of 5 hours. I think there may be some interest in the topic, and this prompted me to mirror-post this on HTF.

BTW, I thought it was amusing that SVS is selling the ART 351 EQ for $179 when it can be had in any Guitar Center for $99. If this kind of margin is built into a product they sell and don't build I can only wonder about their subs' margins.

#2 of 17 OFFLINE   Ronnie Ferrell

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Posted April 08 2003 - 10:11 AM

Check out the DIY section of HTF, not the Speakers and sub section. Probably 50% or more of the post over there are on sonotube subs. Check out this link that is at the top of the DIY section for more info...

http://members.tripo....um/page12.html


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#3 of 17 OFFLINE   Jack Gilvey

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Posted April 08 2003 - 10:21 AM

I see lots of talk on tube subs in the DIY forum...folks have been copying Hsu for years.
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#4 of 17 OFFLINE   Dan Hine

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Posted April 08 2003 - 10:26 AM

Regarding the ART EQ...$179 is really the typical price you'll find. Guitar Center, like Musician's Friend and others (all sister companies of each other) price items WELL below your average retailer. I would assume that, as usual, it comes down to volume of sales. Even my wholesale price is MORE than what they are selling it for. They get special consideration b/c they sell 100x more than anyone else.

As you dive more into DIY you'll see that SVS prices are not high at all. Once you factor in costs of materials, shop space, labor, and the zillion other costs that come with running a business SVS's prices are VERY low. But a true DIY'er does not factor in "labor" as the building experience is part of the fun. I know if I had to pay for my own labor then I would never have built anything.

While I may not like certain personal qualities that surface from time to time, I must admit that SVS does have good products at good prices...
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#5 of 17 OFFLINE   Brae

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Posted April 08 2003 - 10:40 AM

Ronnie & Jack, thanks for the heads up. I'm heading over there right now!

#6 of 17 OFFLINE   Eric_E

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Posted April 08 2003 - 11:56 AM

Quote:
While I may not like certain personal qualities that surface from time to time, I must admit that SVS does have good products at good prices...

Can you explain what you mean by "personal qualities"?

#7 of 17 OFFLINE   Dan Hine

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Posted April 08 2003 - 12:09 PM

Quote:
quote:

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While I may not like certain personal qualities that surface from time to time, I must admit that SVS does have good products at good prices...
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Can you explain what you mean by "personal qualities"?


Just some personality traits that don't jive with me. But we're all human so we all have them. No big deal. It's all about the movies and the music anyway...isn't it? Posted Image
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#8 of 17 OFFLINE   Brian Bunge

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Posted April 08 2003 - 03:43 PM

Brae,

IMHO, cylinder subs are popular because of ease of building them. When I first joined this forum several years ago all you ever saw were people building cylinder-based subs. The look has really never done it for me, so I choose to build box subs and try to give them furniture quality finishes whenever I can.

Also, you'll not find sonotube material larger than 12" in diameter at your local building supply companies. You'll have to find it from concrete supply companies. And depending on where you find them, you may have to buy 12' long pieces and pay up to $80+ depending on the diameter of the tube.

Wouldn't you much rather have a nice box sub with a finish similar to the wood on your Studio 100's? Posted Image
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#9 of 17 OFFLINE   Brian_DR

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Posted April 08 2003 - 04:13 PM

Sonotube (or cylinder-type) subs are easier to build. But lets not forget drums are made of cylinders. Church organs also use cylinders as well as many other instruments. That means it is easier for cylinders to develop few but reinforced resonance modes. There are also limited choices of orientation one can have with the drivers, either facing downward (floor coupling can be an issue) or upward (and therefore raises the center of mass). One advantage of cylinders is they are light. But don't we want mass loading speaker to get good sound? This one puzzles me most.

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#10 of 17 OFFLINE   Jack Gilvey

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Posted April 08 2003 - 11:24 PM

Quote:
That means it is easier for cylinders to develop few but reinforced resonance modes.

Only if a tube is quite long is this an issue with subs.

Quote:
There are also limited choices of orientation one can have with the drivers, either facing downward (floor coupling can be an issue) or upward (and therefore raises the center of mass).

Or you could lay it down (behind a couch, etc.)

Quote:
One advantage of cylinders is they are light. But don't we want mass loading speaker to get good sound?

A cylinder shape is resistant to the flexure that mars thin-walled boxes, so extra mass is not needed.
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#11 of 17 OFFLINE   Brae

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Posted April 09 2003 - 12:57 AM

Brian [Bunge]:

I am not concern at all with what the subwoofer will look at for the HT room. Even with lights on, you'll be hard pressed not to trip over your own feet in the darkness. Posted Image I like environments, when watching movies, that are ultra-dark, offer zero visual distraction, and provide me with the tunnel-vision/immersive visual experience.

My question as posted was for personal consideration. I originally posted this over at AVS while trying to wake up (at 11AM, hehe). I wondered why those buying cylnindrical subs didn't just make them as it seemed to be easier, and maybe more inexpensive, than buying.

At this point I have not made a decision as to whether or not I'll be buying, building, or five-finger discounting (i.e. never give Hal's M&K back). I have pretty much concluded that due to my environment I'll lose whatever low-LFE a sub can provide to the concrete of the basement, and simply replace that task with tactile transducers in the furniture. So, the aim, I suppose, is more chest-thumping, responsive, and complimentary to the rest of the setup.

This post was more out of general curiosity than personal application.

#12 of 17 OFFLINE   Brian Bunge

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Posted April 09 2003 - 02:27 AM

Quote:
I have pretty much concluded that due to my environment I'll lose whatever low-LFE a sub can provide to the concrete of the basement, and simply replace that task with tactile transducers in the furniture. So, the aim, I suppose, is more chest-thumping, responsive, and complimentary to the rest of the setup.


I disagree with this completely. You'll lose tactile energy in that room, but the really low-tuned sub can still energize the air within the room. I'd still build a sub (or 2!) tuned low for extension and then use tactile transducers in the raised floor/furniture to add that extra kick.
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#13 of 17 OFFLINE   Brae

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Posted April 09 2003 - 02:44 AM

You know, about six months ago many thought I was nuts when I hinted about building a subfloor. Yeah, it robs from the precious headroom, but ...

#14 of 17 OFFLINE   Brian Bunge

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Posted April 09 2003 - 03:17 AM

I think a subfloor is an excellent idea. I've seen rooms where they did this for the entire room and it's great.
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#15 of 17 OFFLINE   Edward J M

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Posted April 09 2003 - 03:35 AM

I actually prefer a concrete floor. While a wooden floor will transmit vibrations, the space below it has the potential to resonate and color the sound of the bass. I can attest first hand a powerful subwoofer will still kick you in the gut plenty hard when placed on a concrete floor.

Tactile transducers have their fans, certainly and I'm not pooh poohing them. But they are quite expensive and they add another level of complexity and equipment to what is probably an already fairly congested HT center for most enthusiasts.

Personally, I'd much rather invest in a second sub for room shaking effects than tactile transducers.

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#16 of 17 OFFLINE   Brian_DR

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Posted April 09 2003 - 09:30 AM

Jack,

1) The quarter wave length of 100hz signal is 2-1/2'. That is not long. You don't need long tubes to have significant low frequency resonance.

2) I am not sure if you have tried lay it down. But it sounds like it will hop around. Try

3.1) The flexing comparison is valid only when both have the same wall thickness and strength. There is simply no comparison between 1/4" thick paper Sonotube vs 3/4" thick MDF. If you have done the knuckle test, all Sonotubes have distinctively lower resonance frequencies. With current crop of Sonotubes, it is quite easy to squash the tube sideway. I have not heard any box enclosure being squashed.

3.2) The purpose of mass loading is to reduce the movement of enclosure+driver, and hence the energy transmitted from driver to enclosure. One can have a perfectly rigid enclosure. But if the entire enclosure moves up and down at the audio frequency, that will emit sound. That is same as wall viberation.

#17 of 17 OFFLINE   Jack Gilvey

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Posted April 09 2003 - 01:40 PM

Quote:
The quarter wave length of 100hz signal is 2-1/2'. That is not long. You don't need long tubes to have significant low frequency resonance.

Never heard of this being an issue, Hsu 1220 is almost 4' long, no problems. You?

Quote:
I am not sure if you have tried lay it down. But it sounds like it will hop around.

Maybe. Just an option.

Quote:
The flexing comparison is valid only when both have the same wall thickness and strength.

And configuration. So an MDF tube would be better than a thin-walled tube. I've found that a relatively thin-walled tube can be as resistant to resonance as a pretty thick box. So have hundreds of others. What are your actual findings?

Quote:
With current crop of Sonotubes, it is quite easy to squash the tube sideway. I have not heard any box enclosure being squashed.

Yes, wouldn't make a good bench.

Quote:
The purpose of mass loading is to reduce the movement of enclosure+driver, and hence the energy transmitted from driver to enclosure. One can have a perfectly rigid enclosure. But if the entire enclosure moves up and down at the audio frequency, that will emit sound. That is same as wall viberation.

Again, interesting and possible, but have you actually found this to be an issue? I don't do tubes anymore myself, as I find boxes easy and nicer, but they do work exceptionally well in a sub application.
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