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Reviews of DIY Subwoofers? (2 Viewers)

Mr645

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I see lots of information about building them but really nothing solid as far as a review as to how they perform. I am thinking of building a subwoofer project during this downtime and looking at the Dayton UM 18 in a 4 cubic foot sealer enclosure. Possibly doing 2 of them in a slightly larger enclosure. Love to see a review about how they perform with music and movies.
 

JohnRice

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Why not look for a design for a good, dual opposing, sealed 18" with a monster amp. Personally, if I was into building my own sub, that's probably what I'd do.
 

Mr645

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Dual opposing 18" drivers is an option. I have room for almost a 2x2x2 ft box, 8 cubic feet. But I have room for one, no other places I can really add a second subwoofer.
 

Mr645

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well, I built one. An 18" sealed kit with plate amp from Parts Express. Came out nice and sounds awesome. Only listened to music so far. Movies coming
 

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Mr645

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So it's been a few days with my Dayton 18" UM18 in a 4 cu ft sealed enclosure. Power is from the Dayton plate amp, 1200 watt with DSP. The entire kit was $899 from Parts Express. First, everything arrived very well packed and went together really well. I used Titebond III glue for main assembly. I had 4 36" bar clamps and 2 more would have made things easier. I painted the front with gloss spray paint, took me about 6 coats and some 2000 grit sandpaper to get a decent finish. If I had more experience with spray paint it would have gone easier. For the back and sides I bought a sheet of matte black Formica laminate and a neighbor that refinishes boats for a living helped me cut and glue it. Came out really nice with his help. The top and bottom I decided to order granite or quartz counter top materials at first, but that proved to be more costly than I wanted to spend. I found a local company that makes custom office furniture, desks, tables, shelves and they made me a pair of 20x22 inch shelves that gave me a 2" overhang in the front of the top and bottom. These shelves were $96 compared to the $300 quotes I was getting for granite. The top I glued down and screwed in with wood screws from the inside. The bottom I drilled through the shelf and into the enclosure and hammered in tee nuts. I used 1/4 20 bolts to attached rubber feet through the bottom accent piece and into the enclosure. I also used glue since I had it handy. The amp and driver all have gaskets pre installed and I'll get back to those in a moment. I had cut out an opening for the plate amp, dropping it a couple of inches below center so I would only have to cut through one brace and not two, and I mounted the DSP display in the top corner of the rear panel. For the driver I drilled holes through the enclosure and hammered in more tee nuts.
With everything wired I bolted in the amp, the DSP display and then came the driver. I used zip ties to allow me to handle the driver easier and once lined up I started bolting it down with more 2" long 1/4 20 bolts into the tee nuts. All was going pretty smooth until the last one, when somehow I managed to knock the tee bolt loose on the inside. I had to remove the plate amp and took me a while to figure out how to get something on that tee nut to hold it. I used a 24" screw driver I had from a long time ago to jam against the tee nut and finally got the bolt tight enough so the tee nut grabbed enough of the wood to hold it and I got it tight.
Next step was to plug it in and turn it on and everything came on as expected, and we had noise, I was smiling. I kicked up the volume and started putting it through some paces. I then fed it a steady 20hz tone and started hearing some strange noises. Remember those pre installed gaskets? I had air leaks from around the plate amp and driver. I ended up removing the plate amp and installing another gasket to get it to seal. Those leaks were fixed and then I heard noise from around the driver. I was really nervous about removing the driver due to the issue I had with the tee nuts, I didn't want to risk another one coming loose. I started cranking down harder on the bolts holding the driver and even though I was applying more force than I felt 100% comfortable with, I got it to seal and nothing broke. On the positive side of things I will be returning the $17 roll of weather seal I bought.
So now I take a few minutes to read through the DSP manual and decide to start with the microphone and run the auto set up. After that I can see that at 31 hz there is a slight boost programmed in and from 60 to 100 hz the levels are down 6-9 db. Now that that is finished, let's play some music. I start going through a variety of rock, pop and jazz selections and I am really impressed. Compared to the SVS SB-2000 that is replaced, the bass is much more powerful, especially in the lower frequencies but yet, not overpowering. Still smiling I called it a day.
The next day I move to movies, my first one is Dr. Strange. The beginning sounds good and then the scene comes on with the battle in the mirror realm street scene with the buildings twisting and moving. Ok, now we're in an entirely new world compared to the little SVS I had. The room is rumbling, the seats are shaking, WOW, this thing is amazing. I think back to the dealer that demo'ed a $4000 Martin Logan dual 12" subwoofer for me and even in their demo room slightly smaller than my room, it certainly did not match what this Dayton Ultimax kit was doing. I fact I really want to go back to another demo I listening to with a slightly larger room but with 4 JL Audio F113 subwoofers, one in each corner. That JL Audio demo was amazing and I really would like another demo to see which I like. So yea, I am comparing this $899 Dayton Audio kit to $16,000 worth of commercial subwoofers. Maybe the JL's we're better, stronger, but it's close.
For the past couple of days I have been working with the MCACC settings in the Pioneer processor to dial things in but so far I am 110% pleased, thrilled with this build. It delivers a tight, musical quality that plays smooth down to the lowest tones, does a fantastic job clearly making similar notes sound separate. The volume from mid bass to 20 hz stays even and for music this is clearly a level above the SB-2000. For movies? This Ultimax 18 simply delivers impact, effects and pressure that is beyond the SB-2000 by a big margin. But that's to be expected going from a 500 watt 12" sub to a 1200 watt 18" model.
I took my time, learned a lot along the way and love the performance. And the best part is my wife even likes the aesthetics
 
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Mr645

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Here are links to the things I used for this build.


https://dfsdesigns.com made the top and bottom pieces for me


I also ordered a custom grill that has not arrived yet.
 
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John_Bilbrey

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I'm a big fan of the Dayton stuff. I built a ported 15" RF HO a few years ago using the 500w plate amp. It's enormous and an eye sore, but it flat out moves some air.
 

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