Build a DIY Speaker for a fraction of the cost of Commercial Designs?

Discussion in 'Loudspeakers' started by admin, Jul 2, 2013.

  1. admin Audioholics Robot Staff Member

    admin
    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2004
    Messages:
    172
    Likes Received:
    1,612
    Do you want to build a high performance DIY speaker system for a fraction of the cost of commercial designs? Our Resident Speaker Expert Joel Foust takes you on a step by step procedure from concept, to design and finished product in this DIY Speaker article. We discuss driver selection, crossover design, cabinet building, speaker voicing and putting the finishing touches for it to become a working product.

    [​IMG]

    Are you bold enough to replicate this design or build your own DIY speaker? Please share your thoughts, experiences and success / failure stories on building your own DIY speakers here.

    Read our DIY Speaker Design Article
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 2, 2013
    • Like Like x 3
  2. jinjuku Moderator

    jinjuku
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Messages:
    5,117
    Likes Received:
    1,657
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    I read and wanted to double check: You run all your speaker wire out of the port?
  3. BoredSysAdmin Audioholic Warlord

    BoredSysAdmin
    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2007
    Messages:
    9,359
    Likes Received:
    3,144
    Location:
    New Joisey
    This is an interesting take on DIY, however in my opinion a person new to speaker DIY should NOT attempt to design a speaker nor the cross-over, but instead build speaker from existing plan.
    There are dozens of excellent, very detailed and proven designs available on the internet and on these forum specifically (looking at you ER18 :) )

    This would result in
    a) Quicker build
    b) Much more Predictable costs
    c) Simpler whole process
    d) Possibly better sound than anything you try to design yourself (unless you have years of experience designing speakers )
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Joel Foust Audioholics Speaker Engineer

    Joel Foust
    Joined:
    May 15, 2013
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Tampa
    The wires are run out of the port during crossover prototyping only. This makes life simpler because the crossover can be designed outside of the cabinet allowing quick access to make changes. Once the design checks out, the crossover is glued inside the cabinet and the leads from the crossover are connected to the binding post internally.
  5. Joel Foust Audioholics Speaker Engineer

    Joel Foust
    Joined:
    May 15, 2013
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Tampa
    DIY from the ground up is not easy, especially for someone new to the art. To some though, the fun is in the challenge.

    If getting great sound at a low cost is the primary goal, kits are likely the best option. Only word of caution is cabinet construction is difficult. If the kit only provides cabinet plans, having the cabinets built for you is very expensive. Building cabinets from plans yourself is extraordinarily time and patience consuming. The fastest path is to find a kit that provides fully finished cabinets such as those on Parts-Express or Madisound.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. lsiberian Audioholic Overlord

    lsiberian
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Messages:
    11,947
    Likes Received:
    3,092
    Location:
    On A Bridge in Fort Worth
    Speaker building is for engineers. Because you will fail a lot if you really try something different.
  7. haraldo Audioholic Spartan

    haraldo
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    Messages:
    6,194
    Likes Received:
    1,183
    Location:
    Norway, Home of vikings
    Please don't build this.... You have to finish your other project first !!!!
  8. Swerd Audioholic Ninja

    Swerd
    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2004
    Messages:
    3,811
    Likes Received:
    2,451
    Location:
    Gaithersburg, MD
    I just finished a quick read of this. I'll read it in detail later, but so far, I really like it. Thanks to Joel Faust for a carefully thought out explanation of the whole process. He provides an overview of the entire design process that should be required reading for all DIY newbies. I especially liked his explanation of how he goes about choosing drivers, and how he flexibly proceeds in designing the crossover.
  9. fuzz092888 Audioholic Warlord

    fuzz092888
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Messages:
    7,840
    Likes Received:
    3,833
    Location:
    42.3464° N, 71.0975° W
    Reminds me a lot of what Jeff Bagby has said about never going in with preconceived notions about what kind of cross to use or at what frequencies, but to follow the drivers.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. haraldo Audioholic Spartan

    haraldo
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    Messages:
    6,194
    Likes Received:
    1,183
    Location:
    Norway, Home of vikings
  11. GranteedEV Audioholic Ninja

    GranteedEV
    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    Messages:
    4,933
    Likes Received:
    2,352
    Location:
    Calgary, Canada
    My main thoughts on diy is that it is expensive and time consuming... Not as straightforward as buying drivers and rolling up your sleeves. Guided saw, work bench, clamps, routers, jigs, glue, measurement mic/preamp, impedance measurements, fibrefill, viscoelastic damping, wood, router bits, soldering iron, wire, even software.... Don't buy any drivers til you've got most of the above factored into final cost.

    Nttawwt ;P
    • Like Like x 3
  12. Joel Foust Audioholics Speaker Engineer

    Joel Foust
    Joined:
    May 15, 2013
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Tampa
    Using DSP based active crossovers help tremendously with design. I didn't mention it, but I try my proposed crossover frequencies/slopes out on a MiniDSP 2x8 before building the crossover to make sure it will sound good when I'm done. Active DSP based crossovers like the DCX2496 and MiniDSP are great options if you don't want to dig into the complications of designing a crossover. There is no free lunch because there is some loss of quality due to dynamic range compression, an extra A/D -> D/A conversion and the cost of extra amplifier channels required with such solutions.

    DSP crossover benefits may outweigh their issues for many? Personally, I'll jump on that ship once someone sells a >= 32 bit DSP crossover with top notch D/A converters.
  13. lsiberian Audioholic Overlord

    lsiberian
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Messages:
    11,947
    Likes Received:
    3,092
    Location:
    On A Bridge in Fort Worth
    A minidsp is a cheaper better option IMO. That's what I'm actually using for my 3-ways. My project is coming along nicely. I've worked the time I could for the last couple months unfortunately that time has been limited. It's also starting to get a little warm for operating a saw.
  14. lsiberian Audioholic Overlord

    lsiberian
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Messages:
    11,947
    Likes Received:
    3,092
    Location:
    On A Bridge in Fort Worth
    You could use these speakers to test your theories on the active vs passive arguments. Sounds like a fun exercise too me.
  15. Socketman Enthusiast

    Socketman
    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2012
    Messages:
    19
    Likes Received:
    2
    Building my own speakers gave me a real appreciation of the value you get when buying commercial speakers. If you don't enjoy working with wood or learning new skills like applying veneer, soldering or crossover design software then you are better off buying and enjoying something commercially made. As mentioned it is time consuming and is a lot of work to try and achieve a finished product that is equal to a mass produced unit that is cut with CAD equipment. I am building a variation of a seas Thor called a fat Thor. The kit is 2 grand alone , along with 3 sheets of mdf, and if they sound good $450 for veneer. Flashing a CC just aint the same as building it youself.:D I whole heartedly encourage anyone thinking of trying this to give it go .
  16. jinjuku Moderator

    jinjuku
    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2007
    Messages:
    5,117
    Likes Received:
    1,657
    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    There shouldn't be any Dynamic Range compression with a capable active crossover. The Behringer 2496 is a 24 bit / 96Khz device so it has a ton of Dynamic Range available to it.

    Also the Extra AD/DA is potentially misleading since devices like the Behringer can take an AES input. I can go from my EMU 1212M and output AES or even ADAT for that matter (though ADAT is 48Khz).

    You can do 4 channels of amplification at 100WPC/4 ohms for ~$100 and all that wattage goes directly to the driver with out the losses associated with a Passive network.

    Anything after this point is a pro-con list and would be another good follow up article.
  17. lsiberian Audioholic Overlord

    lsiberian
    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2008
    Messages:
    11,947
    Likes Received:
    3,092
    Location:
    On A Bridge in Fort Worth
    I don't see how something as simple as audio processing needs a 32 bit architecture. It sounds like overkill to me.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. fuzz092888 Audioholic Warlord

    fuzz092888
    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2012
    Messages:
    7,840
    Likes Received:
    3,833
    Location:
    42.3464° N, 71.0975° W
    I think I read somewhere that 24 bit blu-rays have about 120db of useable dynamic range. Is there a situation where you would need more DR than that? That's the only area I could see anyone needing the 32 bit, but I can't claim to be well versed on the subject.
  19. Joel Foust Audioholics Speaker Engineer

    Joel Foust
    Joined:
    May 15, 2013
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Tampa
    Signal processing is much more involved then a digital volume control and bit depth definitely plays a role in the results. Theoretical differences versus what the listener practically hears is a topic of long standing debate.

    Check out:
    Second-Order Digital Filters Done Right

    Using digital input to a DSP based crossover definitely eliminates the extra A/D->D/A. In the case of the MiniDSP and my experience with Analog Devices BlackFin DSP, the results just do not sound as good to my ears as a well implemented analog crossover. I'm not sure what to attribute that to, maybe it has to do with IIR phase characteristics. FIR would be better but the delay may not be OK depending on the number of taps needed. Digital is a funny thing, I can clearly notice a difference between different input types on the same ESS9018 based DAC.

    Maybe a DCX2496 would change my mind?
  20. TheWarrior Audioholic General

    TheWarrior
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2011
    Messages:
    1,321
    Likes Received:
    287
    Location:
    GA
    Great article, with great tips!

    My fascination with speaker building is the tinkering aspect along with the satisfaction of having high sound quality at significantly lower prices, especially if you just buy a kit that only needs minor tinkering. Not to mention the number of unique skills required to construct, solder, and design the entire project!

    I like how you repeatedly mention the absolute need for a solid knowledge base. This hobby has forced me study up on electrical engineering, and while I can read this article clearly, I still have a long way to go! A good friend of mine is a Regional Manager for Microchip, whom I confide in with advanced engineering questions. He told me how he could not ever get in to speaker building as he considers it a scary art. (he likes things to work, the first time) But he is good at testing me as he will ask questions that I need to answer.

    Joel Foust, I have the Loudspeaker Design Cookbook, and numerous bookmarked internet sites for information. What other resources would you recommend to continue my education?

Share This Page

  • rbhsound.com
  • BlueJeansCable.com
  • Emotiva.com
  • SVS Sound Subwoofers
  • Experience the Martin Logan Montis
  • CEDIA