DIY Kit Advice...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by david spin, Feb 12, 2002.

  1. david spin

    david spin Auditioning

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    DIY Kit Advice...
    I have a satallite system (Energy Take 5 w/ 8'' powered sub) with a Yamaha RX-V800. I have had the speakers for four years now and have been quite happy. The presence always seemed a bit thin but hey, they are just little speakers. I have been toying with the idea for a while of upgrading The mains and center (but keeping the surrounds since they are tiny and I have them mounted in a spot that the wife doesn't mind!).
    I started poking around the DIY sites and I have to say that I am very very very intrigued. I have always wanted to try a little woodworking but I don't have any experience or tools really. This seems like a good marriage of a hobby I already have with a desire to learn another one. So here I am asking for some advice. The situation is:
    - Making a speaker sounds like something I would enjoy
    - I have always wanted to try some sort of wood working but have no tools or experience
    * I do have your regular around the house tools of course as I'm not completely helpless [​IMG]
    - I have been wanting to replace my front sound stage (L/C/R)
    - I do a lot of low level listening at night (baby)
    - I like the idea of bigger speakers
    - Money is tight, $300 and **maybe** I could push it up a bit if i have to
    I never thought that $300 would be enough to do L/C/R but enough to get me started on the mains or center. So if I started on the center and liked it, I would then later do the matching mains or vice versa.
    My tv is a 36'' WEGA and the space on top isn't so wide so I do have some concern about the center depth. If the center kit was **really** worth it, I could always take the components out under the tv but then I'd have to make a rack just for them somewhere else.
    I'm not adverse to pre cut pieces but the prices sure do seem to go up with that. Without equipment, or friends that do, I don't have much of a choice. Or is there? I just don't know what it'll cost me to be able to cut my own or tools for that matter!
    Building a crossover is a bit much for me and would rather purchase one.
    So, here I am with $300 scoots and have looked around the internet. There are a LOT of kits out there but don't want to make a mistake and bite off more than I can chew. Any advice?
    Thanks!
    Dave
     
  2. Ken Shiring

    Ken Shiring Agent

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    David, I would like to share a few things I learned from my first DIY experience in building speakers.
    Just so you are totally clear about this, I see no way you can spend $300 to build a center channel, and here is why:
    The right woodworking tools cost money.
    You can do just fine if you can borrow someone's tools (or borrow someone's shop), but DIY requires proper investment in the tools to come out right. A must have list is:
    • Router (ideally plunge, >1.5 HP)
    • Carbide router bits
    • Table saw
    • Pressure clamps
    • Protective gear
    Now, if you are willing to buy these things outside of your $300 speaker budget, then you'll do just fine (and have fun in the process). But please be aware that these things can get expensive. Router is about $100, bits are about $30 (depending on which ones you need), table saw varies (~$300 for a decent one), clamps and protection are about $50.
    I know of one alternative though. There is a guy who hangs out here (I can't for the life of me remember his name or find the link to his site [​IMG] ) who will build any kit you want for a price. When I last checked, his prices were very good, and so was his workmanship. Hopefully someone else here can chime in and help me out.
     
  3. Kyle Richardson

    Kyle Richardson Screenwriter

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    Ken, Could I be that guy you were thinking of? I'm not trying to advertise but I just want to turn that frown upside down by helping out your memory [​IMG]
    Yes, a center speaker could be made for around the $300 range. Ken offers some good advice about the tools adding up very quickly. If you can see this becoming a hobby then buy the tools because it will save money in the long run and you will have fun making "stuff". If you don't see this turning into a long term hobby then it would be cheaper for you to have someone make the kit for you.
    Kyle Richardson
    Acoustic Visions
     
  4. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Ken,
    I think I fit your description, but I'm not sure if you were referring to me or not. Maybe you were referring to Kyle Richardson.
    Also, there is the Dayton kit for $139 a pair but they are not shielded.
    http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/pshow...number=300-640
    I also have a pair of the Sound Clearing House shielded kits (K05B41's) that I was going to build but were discontinued. I started a thread here last week saying that I was wanting to sell them but haven't gotten any takers yet. David would still need some sort of center channel though.
    Here's a link to that thread:
    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...threadid=43899
    Brian
     
  5. jeff lam

    jeff lam Screenwriter

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    Location:
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    Jeff Lam
    David,

    You're headed in the right direction but with a $300 budget, it will be difficult to build some good quality speakers. I would save a little bit more, When you have enough, have Brian or Kyle build you 3 good kits for your fronts. There are some great ones out there that are priced right from:

    GR-Research

    ACI

    Madisound

    Speakerpage.com

    and many more...
     
  6. Zac_F

    Zac_F Agent

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    $300 may be a bit tight. I'm currently building the Audax center channel and have spent a little less than $400 so far. I'm in the same boat as you are though, I have NO woodworking skills or experience, not even wood shop in high school.

    My expenditures so far:

    Router/Table combo - $85 at Sears. It's OK as a starter set.

    Router Bits - $45. I would buy carbide, which are more expensive. The cheap ones don't last very long. You need 3 different bits to make this. 1/4" straight and 1/2" round, and a 1/4 x 1" flush cut laminate bit, which will square and straighten sides as well.

    Router Guide - $20. Sears has one that will attach to a router for cutting perfect circles.

    Material - $50 or so. This includes 2 2' x 4' pieces of MDF and Birch plywood. If you buy precut at home depot, the 2' size is the exact width specified in the plans.

    Driver/Xover kit - $180 from Madisound. This kit includes about everything else.

    I had on hand a jig saw, which I used to cut instead of a table saw. I used some scrap 1x2 wood as a fence which I attached with C Clamps and made fairly straight cuts. I used the laminate bit to trim any variations by clamping my piece to a straigh piece of plywood. I guess what I'm trying to say here is you don't need a table saw unless you plan on doing a lot more of this as my procedure would get tedious after a while.
     
  7. david spin

    david spin Auditioning

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    You guys rock.

    Zac... sounds like you are doing **exactly** what I was planning / hoping to do! Also, I was looking at the Audax center channel as a first project. How werid is that.

    Turns out I know someone who has a table saw. I figure then I would buy the rest of the equipment I need... well... again, do just like Zac is doing.

    I spoke to the wife... echem... I mean my financial planner and I'm allowed... echem... I mean I *will* be able to spend a bit more. So this will be possible.

    I don't plan on purchasing equipment for a month or so so I have time to figure out what to get.

    I will have a little less than a grand to...

    1) Get equipment to start a beginners woodshop

    2) Build Audax center

    * Audax Center kit from Madisound ($180)

    ** I will build the Audax mains later but hope to use

    any leftover money to pay for them ($260)

    I looked at sears but I'm not sure what to get. From all of you I gather:

    Router

    Router Bits (1/4" straight, 1/2" round, 1/4X1" flush cut laminate)

    Router Guide

    Pressure Clamps?

    Anyone want to add to or elaborate on the list??!!

    Thanks a TON everyone!

    Dave

    PS - Zac, could you email me? I have some questions about building that center channel. Mostly newbie stuff about woodworking etc.
     
  8. Mark Krawiec

    Mark Krawiec Agent

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    another thought is...
    look around for some woodworking clubs in your area or a woodworking store (for example woodcraft -no, i don't work for them but have taken classes in the past) which often do weekend or evening classes. a basic intro to shop tools is usually enough.
    first, it sounds trivial, but you really can do some major damage if you don't know the right technique. i shot a piece of pine right through my garage drywall a couple weeks back because i was being a bit loose and fast on the tablesaw. fortunately, i had good body position. (better drywall than my liver!)
    second, you'll likely save quite a bit of frustration by taking a class or working with someone experienced. if you can't square an edge, your project will often be a dud. (don't laugh-it's amazing how hard it is to get a square edge.)
    third, most of the guys in these classes are wannabe Norms (i should know[​IMG] ) and have a garage full of tools. you make friends and invite yourself over. impress him with your kit and get a cabinet for the price of one sheet of mdf.
     
  9. david spin

    david spin Auditioning

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    Excellent site and advice. Turns out there is a place near my home and I have registered for the Woodworking Fundamentals class (Four 3 hour classes in the eve). Hopefully this will give enough basic knowledge to get going on the project. Given that I have no experience, I should get my milage out of it. Only downer is that it's $199 but well worth it in the long run. I should still have enough moolah to buy equipment and center kit.

    Thanks for the advice, I am *really* looking forward to the class!

    Dave
     
  10. Mark Krawiec

    Mark Krawiec Agent

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    the other cool thing to remember is that they usually give a 10% discount on purchases in the store on the days of the class-so pick stuff out that you might want to buy. of course, usually after hearing the instructor, you may wish to change your mind about what you're buying-and if it's a multi part class, you'll have plenty of opportunities to buy.
    don't worry about the 199-it sounds like a lot, but if it helps you get the right tools and techniques in the first place, you'll be better off. and i wasn't kidding about the wannabe norm syndrome. a while back i took one of their courses and half the guys in the class probably had 5 grand's worth of tools already.
    on second thought, you may not need to buy any tools[​IMG]
     

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