Did I Screw Up on My New Speaker Cabinets?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Don McKinnon, Dec 26, 2003.

  1. Don McKinnon

    Don McKinnon Auditioning

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    I have just finished my first DIY speaker cabinets. The trouble is (with the exception of the front baffle which is MDF)I made them out of 3/4" industrial particle board. This being my first project I didn't think there was much of a difference between MDF and particle board and only realized this after doing some internet investigation after I built the cabinets. (I know, should have done this before I built them).

    The speakers are very well braced, seem very solid and lined with Blackhole 5 dampening material. They are a TL design. Should I be concerned that the sides and back of the speakers are particle board and not MDF? Will there be audible difference?

    Is there anything I can do to remedy the situation? (perhaps glue another layer of particle board on the outside of the speakers on the sides before veneering to make them more rigid?

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. GrahamT

    GrahamT Supporting Actor

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    Many speaker manufacturers also use particle board. It is not as dense as MDF but I think you will be okay if you braced well and you indicated that you did. Another layer of particle board glued outside would probably help a lot.
     
  3. Shawn Keeler

    Shawn Keeler Stunt Coordinator

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    Don't sweat it!!!! As long as you have plenty of bracing you should be fine.
     
  4. ThomasW

    ThomasW Cinematographer

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    Is there anything I can do to remedy the situation?
    Test the cabinet by playing some low bass and feeling the box for vibrations. If you can actually feel the cabinet material vibrating, then you would probably benefit from adding an additional layer of material
     
  5. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    There are more issues than that.

    The particle board that one finds in lumber stores and places like HD is essentially a low-density underlayment. There is little to commend it's use in speaker cabinets. The fact that some manufacturers use it as such is reason enough to avoid them like the plague. Deficiencies in particle board include, but are not limited to, such facts that it is structurally poor, has low internal losses, expands and contracts substantially in relation to relative humidity and even worse when water based adhesives are used. It doesn't machine well and despite the thickness, is quite flimsy.

    You've chosen a DIY route for a number of reasons which probably include the selection of better quality drivers to hopefully give you greater bang for the buck as well as the satisfaction of building something yourself. Take pride in your work and start over. Use the experience you gained making this cabinet and improve upon it with the next. A little money has been wasted but you'll not only feel better using the right components, you'll know you used the correct material to begin with. All the bracing in the world is not going to correct for the wrong choice in materials.
     
  6. ThomasW

    ThomasW Cinematographer

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    Don K

    Hopefully your self esteem and ego are adequate to the task of separating 'you' from the items you create. If not then certainly rebuild the box so as to sleep better at night and become 'one with the universe'. :wink:

    Understand however that rebuilding the cabinet doesn't guarantee improved performance. For decades people have successfully built good performing speaker cabinets from particle board. Note that MDF was 'invented' in 1966, but wasn't readily available to the general public until ~1990

    If as you stated the cabinet is adequately braced and given that it's lined with BH5 you've made some good choices.

    The fundamental goals in woofer cabinet design are to have the cabinet Fs out of the woofer's passband, and to have a cabinet that's stiff enough to avoid parasitic vibrations. If those goals are obtained it doesn't matter if the cabinet is made from concrete or kleenex. So check your cabinet for excess wallflex/vibrations. If those are present then add a second layer of material or start the project over again.

    And remember audio is a hobby, not something to be worshipped [​IMG]
     

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