what type of components to use when making DIY speakers?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ryan Peddle, Jun 26, 2001.

  1. Ryan Peddle

    Ryan Peddle Second Unit

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    OK...I am slowly getting ready to make my leap into the DIY area. I have found a good Canadian website that sells a wide variety of loudspeaker products...www.mcbrideloudspeaker.com
    Now that I am looking at designing my new surround speakers I need a little help on what components to go with.
    I want to make a two-way ported or enclosed speaker that will follow in the footsteps of my beloved Paradigm Mini Monitors.
    I am used to bright sound and love the clear and crisp sound of paradigm.
    I have Monitor 7v2s for mains, but I am not to worried about timbre matching simply because I know I will be building more speakers to replace them.
    So, like I said, I need to make a 2way speaker. I would like to use a 5.5 - 8" woofer. And a 1" dome tweeter.
    I was looking at Audax and Pioneer Titanium domes, or Sammi Aluminum domes.
    For woofer, I was looking at an Audax 8" carbon fiber cone woofer.
    This is just the start of this new venture for me. But am looking at this being the first of many MANY speakers I build.
    Please, any help and assistance is overwhelmingly appreciated.
    Ryan Peddle
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    Oops, I dropped my eardrums.
    Could you pick them up for me.
     
  2. Ryan Peddle

    Ryan Peddle Second Unit

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    bump
     
  3. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    Do you have access to driver measurement gear? Do you have access to crossover design software?
    What is your "design" budget"? How much time are you willing to put into fine-tuning/tweaking the crossover for your speakers, and the actual driver selections?
    How much time are willing to spend to learn about the nuances of speaker design and testing?
    I just got into this, with inadequate amounts of measurement gear and design software, so what I don't spend in that area, I am spending in the spare time department.
    I'm not saying don't do this, just want to gauge your commitment level.
    The driver components and XO parts are relatively inexpensive compared to "retail" cost of speakers, but the mark-up is due to R&D, and many middlemen in the chain.
    The money you spend in components alone isn't the only cost you entail when you build your own speakers. There is plenty of "costs" in supplies and actual construction time.
    But you may find is a fun hobby anyhow. But I think it's foolhardy to think you're going to be spending a huge amount of money building your own speakers without making some initial investments in tools that will help you simplify the process. Or you can end up like me, a bitter DIYer who'll post followups to any thread... [​IMG]
    Click on my painful DIY Main link below...
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    PatCave; HT Pix; Gear; DIY Mains; DIY CC; Sunosub I + II + III; DVDs; LDs
     
  4. Ryan Peddle

    Ryan Peddle Second Unit

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    Thanks for replying Partick. I have admired your DIY stuf for a while. The new DIY 2.5 mains look great. To answer some of your questions:
    I have all summer, every night and all day Wednesday and Saturday to work and learn. I have the Loudspeaker Design Cookbook on order and I have "Designing, Building, and Testing your own Speaker System" book.
    2 reasons I am dedicated to making my DIY's of the highest quality.
    1) I am without surround sound speakers right now and I refuse to make any crappy replacements just to get it back.
    2) Sometime in the future, when I finish College and University (Electronic Engineering) I would like to own my own Audio & HT store and possibly produce my own line of speakers (Ron and Tom of SVS are idols to me) (although I don't own and SVS) [​IMG]
    So I am not just making them for the heck of it. I am a full interest in learning everything it takes to build great sounding speakers.
    Tools for building are not big problem. I have a small workshop behind my theater room.
    But sound/speaker testing equipment...I don't have. Money is tight but I'll will make good investments to make my speakers as good as they can be. But I will only be able to do it one step at a time.
    Because of the course I am taking in college (again, Electronic engineering) I have experience making electrical circuits. This may or may not apply to building and designing the crossover network, but I am betting it will give my a head start in understanding what the parts (Caps, Resistors, inductors...) are doing. I know how to read electronic schematics, so learning that won't be necessary. I know how to use Autocad and Electronic workbench, if I need them.
    Hopefully this helps show my level of dedication and my interest in taking on such a venture.
    Thanks Patrick for your interest, any other advice or tips you can share would be appreciated.
    Thanks again.
    ------------------
    Oops, I dropped my eardrums.
    Could you pick them up for me.
     
  5. Ryan Peddle

    Ryan Peddle Second Unit

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    BTW, as of September, when school starts again, I will have access to the PCB prduction labs, so I can build the crossover that way as well.
    ------------------
    Oops, I dropped my eardrums.
    Could you pick them up for me.
     
  6. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

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  7. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

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    Ryan,
    I wouldn't worry too much about mounting your crossover components on PCB's. I think most speaker companies do this because it's quicker and cheaper than having technicians directly wire all the components to one another and then hand solder them. It's amazing how quickly those PCB's run through a wave soldering machine (I worked at Scientific Atlanta for about a year while finishing up my EET degree). I believe most high-end crossovers are built using direct wiring. I simply use silicone to mount the components to something like scrap 1/2" MDF. Then the next day I twist all the component leads together and solder them. Works great!
    Good luck on your project and keep us posted!
    Brian
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  8. James W. Johnson

    James W. Johnson Screenwriter

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  9. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    Well, Ryan, if you have the desire, and technical aptitude, then at least take a gander at Wayne J's neat site, Speakerbuilder.net , it should give you lots of insights.
    The discussion board over at Parts Express is very good for getting hands-on advice with speaker building. The discussion board over at Madisound is a bit more technical and esoteric, you have to weed through a lot of chaff to come up with some applicable knowledge. But you'll get a whiff of some strange stuff in speaker building by weeding through the posts.
    I haven't been too involved with sites like Audio Asylum which also has plenty of speaker building resources, plus a whole lot more out there, just do some websearches.
    One of these days, you'll most likely either get set up with a CLIO measurement systems (for measuring drivers' phase/impedance/response, getting their true T/S specs, etc, and also the actually speaker's phase/impedance/response). Or you can go the LspCAD route with the JustMLS measurement system. LspCAD is $129 for the standard edition, and the Pro version is $499 (but if you get the cool Darla board and the appropriate number of outputs/driver, you can hook up the speaker to the PC and listen to the crossover that's on the designing board on screen for LspCAD Pro and hear if it sound right. You can make component changes on the fly without having to solder on "real" component to a crossover board). Too bad that capability will cost you some money. But the time you save will be earned back in the long run if you plan on designing speakers.
    I don't have such lofty aspirations, nor budget, so I decided to do it the hard way (as documented in my webpages).
    There are also packages like CALSOD (DOS-based for now) which is very powerful, but you have to well versed in what you want out of the product, SoundEasy, and some others that escape me at the moment.
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    PatCave ; HT Pix ; Gear ; DIY Mains ; DIY CC ; Sunosub I + II + III ; DVDs ; LDs
     
  10. Ryan Peddle

    Ryan Peddle Second Unit

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    One question Patrick, when buying the drivers for the speakers, should there frequency responses over lap.
    ie the tweeter is 2000Hz - 25Khz
    the woofer is 35hz -4000hz
    I want to pick up the drivers ASAP (while I have the money).
    Like I said above, right now I am looking at Audax titanium and Aluminum dome tweeters and an Audax 8" Carbon fibre cone woofer.
    What type/gauge of wire would you/do you use?
    ------------------
    Oops, I dropped my eardrums.
    Could you pick them up for me.
     
  11. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    Yes, to avoid holes in the frequency response, that would help. But that's just the beginning. You have to look at the driver measurements (the manufacturer's spec is just a start, what you actually get is what you need to work with), and decide if you need to do some taming of resonance peaks, or cone break-up regions.
    Just wait until you start reading up on phase coherence (I still don't have a decent grasp of that aspect of speaker design). Then you'll want to worry about off-axis response. There's a host of considerations.
    But I'd not worry about this 1st speaker project, just start picking the best components you can afford, and think you can work with, and just start building them, and listening to them, tweaking them. The more you build and listen, the more you become versed in identifying weak areas, and how to address the deficiencies.
    Once you get a few speakers under your belt, you'll be amazed at how badly you did when you first started out, and soon, you'll re-visit the early speakers, tweak them with much more knowledge, and get them sounding a lot better than before.
    I would also join the basslist, just to read what others are doing, and read the responses to questions of novice speaker builders.
    Oh, I use 16 gauge for internal wiring. Can't really find 14 gauge too easily, and 12 gauge is too thick.
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    PatCave ; HT Pix ; Gear ; DIY Mains ; DIY CC ; Sunosub I + II + III ; DVDs ; LDs
     
  12. David A. Frattaroli

    David A. Frattaroli Stunt Coordinator

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    Ryan, I used Audax drivers and Vifa tweeters in my mini-monitors. I think they'll work for you. It's a brighter sound than my Definitive Technology BP2004s.
    I bought the Advanced Speaker Design book from Radio Shack. It has all the formulas you need for building the appropriate crossover. That's what I did and they sounded great from the start. I never changed a thing. I don't care to hook up my cabinets to a heart-monitor to see what another machine thinks of the sound.
    The proof is in what you hear.
    [​IMG]
     
  13. Ryan Peddle

    Ryan Peddle Second Unit

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    David, those are great look speakers. That's pretty much the exact speaker I need to build. I want a direct radiating speaker to use as my surrounds.
    How difficult did you find it to build the cabinet?
    ------------------
    Oops, I dropped my eardrums.
    Could you pick them up for me.
     

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