Building my first subwoofer

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Max Malloy, Feb 22, 2002.

  1. Max Malloy

    Max Malloy Stunt Coordinator

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    Alright, i just realised that if i end up buying one, the following will happen: i will buy a subwoofer that i can afford and end up kicking myself for the next 5 years, or i will spend three times more than i was planning to and then end up feeling ripped off because i could have gotten the same sound out of something i built myself for half as much.
    So i want to do it. Build my own sub. I have the money for components, the time to learn and build, the space, and (some) of the tools.
    So i'm going to start by asking you guys a whole lot of questions, and hoping that someone out there has the time to answer them all. Here goes:
    1. How much will i have to spend on components to build a sub that sounds something like, say, an SVS 20-39? Or something similar. You get the idea - something good, but not with a 4-digit price tag. Also, if there is one, what is the build vs buy ratio here?
    2. What kind of tools am i going to need, and will i be able to rent all (or most) of them at Home Depot and Canadian Tire? The rest can be bought there or borrowed from my dad's work.
    3. How long will it take me to learn how to build this thing? I'm not asking for a precise estimate, but are we talking days, weeks or months here?
    4. Now, how long will it take to actually build it?
    5. Is there any chance of frying pricy parts in the process?
    6. Will i be able to make something that looks decent? Like, with nice black polished finish, to match the rest of my equipment.
    7. Should i build something with an integrated amp or an external one? Also, how much power am i aiming at?
    8. Box or tube? What's the performance and price difference? Which one would you recommend and why?
    9. And finally, if i end up doing this as a hobby, and i have a feeling i will, will i be able to sell off the finished product to at least pay off the parts, or maybe even make a little profit?
    Phew, ok that's all i can think off. Huge thanks in advance to whoever takes the time to answer all of this [​IMG]
     
  2. Travis G

    Travis G Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi Max,
    Welcome to the wonderfull world of DIY.
    1. It's hard to say really. You could get awesome results for about $550 though.
    2. You probably will want a circle cutting jig, a router, a drill, saftey glasses, earplugs, some horses, a straight edge bare minimum. What am I leaving out?
    3. Not long. It just depends on how much you want to learn. You can use an predesigned alignment or you can do your own design. You can get Vance Dickasons Loudspeaker Design Cookbook to help you understand about different alignments.
    4. About 1 weekend.
    5. Two words, subsonic filter!. I killed my first subwoofer with the 1812 Overture. If you chose a sealed enclosure than the enclosure you won't need to worry about this.
    6. Of course [​IMG]
    7. Either way works plate amps tend to be a little cheaper. How much power you need depends on the alignment you chose (ported, sealed, box size) and the speaker you choose.
    8. There is no inherent sound quality advantage to using a tube or a rectangular enclosure. My back and I perfer sonotube enclosures because MDF is very heavy and sonotube is pretty light. There is no need to brace the walls of a sonotube enclosure because the cylinder is a strong shape (however bracing the top and bottom never hurts).
    9. Heck ya, if you find the right buyers. That is what I am planning on doing part time untill my fiancee and I open our Home Theater store.
     
  3. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    1) You could match a SVS20-39 for less than $500. I spent Just a smidgin over $500 (that included shipping, taxes and brokerage to canada) and have a sub that can best a pair of them. But doing that on the cheap requires a very large ported enclosure (260L-340L).

    2) Travis got just about everything. You'll need a PVC saw for the port if you go ported, and a saw that will work well cutting sonotube if you go tube style. You should also get one of those drill press guides that can be fitted onto a normal drill (perpendicular holes for driver mounting holes and jig pivot points are very important). The only other part depends on what you decide to build. If you build a box style, then you definatly should have a table saw. If you built a tube style, you can just have Home Depot rough cut roughly square endcaps that you will later laminate together and make round.

    3) Like Travis said. If you want to learn any of the theory behind the designs, anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to a few years depending on how much time you spend on it and how deep you want your knowledge to go. If you just copy an allignment, none.

    4) Now that seems like a big underestimate to me. Took me two weeks of a couple hours in the evenings and a few 6-8 hour days. But there was a lot of thought put into how things where going to be done, several circle jigs were made and many test cuts were made before almost every cut.

    5) With a sub, you'll have to do something pretty stupid to fry anything during the build process. After you build it, depends on the allignment and how hard you push it. With an AVA250 amp (has a rumble filter) and an EBS allignment it would essentially be impossible to bottom out a Tempest. So as long as you don't start feeding it square waves you can't hurt it (well unless you take a baseball bat too it).

    6) Depends entirely on how much time and money you put into finishing it. Piano black finishes on the endcaps look awesome, but are a lot of work.

    7) Travis got it, depends on allignment, driver and what you want to spend.

    8) Travis got it, but like I said in two, if you plan to build the box, you really should have a table saw.

    9) Like Travis sed.
     
  4. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    If you want to see a pictorial of the grueling process of making your own subs (sonosubs in this case), click on any of the "Sunosub" link in my signature below. [​IMG]
     
  5. ThuanVu

    ThuanVu Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi all,
    I just start read posts about DYI for sub, I plan to build a port sonotube sub, and the questions are[​IMG]base on louder dB and lower Hz is better)
    1- For same volume enclosure, bigger diameter vs height, which one is better?
    2- Port: bigger diameter vs smaller diameter?
    3- Port tube: longer vs shorter ?
    4- Is there any formula to figure how long the port tube should be for certain frequency?
    5- Should the stuffing be used inside the enclosure?
    Thank you
    Thuan
     
  6. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    Thaun, you should really start a new thread, but since I guess Max will likely have the same questions it shouldn't really matter.
    1) Doesn't matter. Well almost, if you make any one dimension of the sub too long there is the possibility of standing waves forming inside the enclosure. This shouldn't really become an issue until an internal dimension goes past 5.5ft.
    2) The bigger the diameter the more air that can flow through it. If too much air tries to go through a port then you get compression and or port noise. I don't understand compression, but I do understand port noise. How big your port needs to be will depend on the Vd (or volume displacement) capability of the driver you choose. A 4" port is fine for a Shiva, although you can use a 4" flared port for a Tempest a 6" port would be better.
    3) I would reccomend reading this link:
    http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...ayporting.html
    A particular enclosure volume with a particular port diameter of a particular length will tune to a particular frequency. For why that is important read the link. In short, as volume goes up, you need a shorter port to tune to the same frequency. As port diameter increases you need a longer port to tune to a particular frequency. The frequeny you tune to is very important to the performance of your sub.
    4) I don't know the formula off hand, I just use LspCAD (free from adire) or UniBox (free) to do that calculation for me.
    5) Doesn't do you much good outside the enclosure :p)
    Read this link to learn about stuffing:
    http://integra.cyberglobe.net/caraud...ces/fiberfill/
     
  7. Mike_Ped

    Mike_Ped Second Unit

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    Hey Max, thought I go ahead and throw in my input...
    1. I personally spent about $600 bucks on mine. $300 of it went to my amp though, so it depends. The quality of it though surpasses subs into the $2000 range.
    2. You'll definitely want a router. I didn't have one and compromised with a jigsaw. You can do this, but look foward to lots of sanding!
    3. Subs are the easiest thing to build by far. You're talking EASY. Anyone can do it and it wont take you long to learn how. Just make sure you understand everything before you dive into it. The hardest thing, and most time consuming, is desinging the sub with the software.
    4. I built mine over a 3 week period. I was only able to put about 1-2 hours in every day. I work slowly I guess![​IMG]
    5. I'm not sure how you could fry stuff, but I guess its possible. Just pay attention to your wiring and don't overpower the driver.
    6. I have a lot to say about that shiney, piano black finish. After looking at Pat's Sonosub with its shiney finish, I figured I could do that too! Pat warned me of the difficulties involoved, but I went ahead anyway. I HATE LAQUER! Getting that piano black finish is a pain in the a$$. Just to warn you, it takes a lot of time, patience and sanity! Plus, it can get pretty expensive (at about $4 per can, I have to buy about 15 cans for everything). However, if you want to do it, go for it. It looks awesome, just not worth the effort IMHO.
    7. I went with an external amp because it seemed easier. I didn't get a plate amp to avoid having to mount it, so I bought a 700WATT Carver amp on Half.com. It works really well and I know I'll never have a "not enough power" problem. Get what you can afford.
    8. Just like some others said, sonosub requires no bracing. These bad boys are gonna be much easier for you, with no disadvantage versus a box.
    9. You can sell as many as you want, that is if you'll be able to part with it! [​IMG]
    Mike
    P.S. Go to Pat's site often, it is a valuable resource!
     
  8. Max Malloy

    Max Malloy Stunt Coordinator

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    Alright, looks like i'll be doing the tube thing. What kind of driver do you guys suggest? It seems that most people are using Adire, so it seems like a no-brainer. Which one though? Shiva or Tempest? I think a 15" is a bit of an overkill, right?
     
  9. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    I love my Tempest [​IMG]
    The Tempest is essentially the same driver. Just one is bigger and can produce more bass. The saying is there is no replacement for displacement.
    Vd
    Shiva 1.5L
    Tempest 2.5L
    The only thing, is a Tempest requires about twice as much enclosure volume as a Shiva. Although considering a Tempest also really deserves a 6" port the larger enclosure makes the length 6" ports need to be much more managable.
    If you can handle the size, in my opinion the Tempest over a Shiva is also a no brainer. The only reason to take a Shiva over a Tempest is box size contraints.
     
  10. Max Malloy

    Max Malloy Stunt Coordinator

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    How big of a tube does the Tempest require? How tall/wide? Roughly.
     
  11. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    I'm going to make one of the smaller tempest sonotube designs. Dan Wiggins of Adire suggested this design and It sounded perfect for me and my situation considering 10ft^3 was just too big.

     
  12. Max Malloy

    Max Malloy Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, it looks like my first DIY sub project will be a sonotube with an external amp. I'm not sure if i should use a 12 or 15" driver though? People are saying that i need a bigger tube for the 15, so how big are we talking here? Size shouldn't be a problem, unless it's 3 meters high [​IMG] Footprint is a bit of a problem though - my HT room is only 15x10'. And speaking of which, won't a 15" sub be too much for a room that small? Also, right now i'm leaning towards Adire drivers, obviously the Shiva if i go with a 12, and the Tempest if i go with a 15. Why? Well, mainly because most people are using/recommending them. But if anyone wants to tell me why i should pick another brand, i'm listening.
     
  13. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    Funny,

    I asked the exact same question about a month ago. Everyone convinced me to go with the tempest.

    Check your other post, I replied with a good solution for you.

    BTW, where do you live?
     
  14. one thing to consider.....will you ever be moving this to a larger room? If so,the tempest is the way to go. If you think that you will only be in this 10x15 room, an EBS shiva will do nicely. Room gain will give a pretty nice low end.

    I am in a larger room than you, and my sub will play as loud as the EBS shiva. ...My sub is plenty loud for me and I am not even using the full amp...just something to consider.
     
  15. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    Ant,
    I don't think you can compare your dual 1503's to a single shiva.[​IMG] unless you are talking about another sub?
     
  16. Actually I can compare the dual 1503's....output wise.

    I am running 800watts to each of them...BUT they are SEALED....and the shiva is ported

    ....now, if I was ported, it would be no contest=)
     
  17. Joe Tilley

    Joe Tilley Supporting Actor

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    Max I just finished my first sono sub tuesday with a 15" dayton dvc sub,its in a 16"by 46" sonotube and this thing is unreal. The system is sealed and Im useing a parts express 250 watt amp. Its not to hard to fit the sub but it is a pretty close fit so your plate fore the sub must be right the money. All I did to be able to stand it up was made a ring to fit the outside of the tube than ran the feet down from it to a base plate.
    Im still new at the diy thing as far as subs go so Im sure theirs a better way to build one but I got to say Im pretty damn proud of mine,I myself have never heard a sub that will play this low & clean in a home theater before every time I turn my system on now it puts a smile on my face.[​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  18. Max Malloy

    Max Malloy Stunt Coordinator

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    46" tall? That doesn't sound bad. The problem here is that i don't really want a tall subwoofer. I've seen pictures of some 6' tall subs and it's not something that i want to have. First off, it takes up to much space, second it's ugly, third i will never be able to transport it to my new house in like 2 years, and fourth it's overkill. So where can i get some designs for a 15" sub that's not insanely tall? I want something that looks like
    [​IMG]
    this. Of course, i don't think i'll put so much work into the finish, but you get the idea.
     
  19. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

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    My tube is 260L net and just under 5'4" long. And just over 18" in diameter. The larger the diameter you use, the shorter it gets for the same volume.
     
  20. Michael R Price

    Michael R Price Screenwriter

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    You're not going to make a Tempest subwoofer the size of an SVS 25-31. You might be able to do that if you used a Blueprint 1503 or something... the Tempest would probably require at least 6-8 ft^3 of box to work well (ported. Sealed box could probably be a bit smaller.) If you can't fit that kind of volume, you can consider other 15" drivers suitable for smaller boxes, or move to a 12".

    The tempest would work in a 18" dia. 42-46" tall sonotube, I think. I'm not sure of the specifics.
     

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