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Building own speakers

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Building own speakers

Postby reinhout » 16 Nov 2017 12:59

Hello to you all! I have been given a broken Dual 1214 turntable that I restored (with the Help of you lovely people!). In a quite unusual way I met an elderly guy that has an attic full of amplifiers and receivers. I bought a Fisher CA-120 (of which you can't find a damn thing online). I do know what I need to know: It is a STK465 chip amplifier with 30 Watts RMS per channel (2 channels) @ 8 ohms From 20 to 20.000 Hz.
with TAD no more than 0.07%
Phono Sensibility 2.5 mV.@ 50 Kilohms.
Signal noise to ratio of 78 dB + - 5 dB.
Price in 1982 in USA US$250.

Long history short, I like woodworking as a hobby so I'm going to build me some speaker enclosures. I know how to calculate the enclosure dimensions using software.

I see most people on here are spending quite some money on speaker enclosures (plug and play speakers) but I need to go way more affordable. To be precise: What speakers (as a component) give the most bang for the buck at around 50-100 euro (+-100 dollar)? I know I need to hear a speaker to know if it suits my taste but there's not a single store around that demo's speaker components. Good thing is I'm not as demanding as most audiophiles (I think Bose sounds good for example - and I know some audiophiles hate it).

Speakers I have in my selection to buy:
-Eminence Alpha 6 (A or C for midrange)
-Beyma 8BR40 (for the sub)
_Beyma 5MP60 (midrange)
-SEAS L22RNX/P H1252-08 - W220/AL (sub)

Are these of a good enough quality to justify not buying a set of JB systems K-50 Black Minibox (for example) instead? I like to build stuff but If I have to pay the same price for plug-and-play speakers, I'd better not touch a tablesaw or router and just hang those around the living room.
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Re: Building own speakers

Postby themisto462 » 16 Nov 2017 14:40

Hello,

I would take speaker kit. There, all components are matched to each other, the housing is optimally calculated and the crossovers are geared to optimum sound quality.
You just have to build a housing and solder the crossovers.
To develop a loudspeaker that sounds good, even without the right measurement technology is very difficult. Speaker building is a science in itself... .

In Germany there is a supplier of speaker kits, which has a very extensive range. Most loudspeakers there were developed by famous DIY hi-fi magazines.

http://www.lautsprechershop.de/index_kits_en.htm

Maybe there is something suitable for you.

Best regards.
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Re: Building own speakers

Postby josephazannieri » 16 Nov 2017 15:38

Yo reinhout:

It is possible to build speakers. I have done so for many years. In fact, I have had dozens of different speaker systems and built almost all of them by myself. I started out by putting a 12 inch full range speaker into a 4 cubic foot sealed box. It sounded pretty good, and impressed my high school classmates. How deep you go will depend on what you want to do. You can figure box volumes, and that is easy, but you need to decide what you want to build. With 30 watts RMS you will need either to listed close to the speakers, or you will need to build efficient speakers.

I looked at the website suggested by thermisto462. Kits are a good idea if you have no experience, and you want to build something. You can build the kit and just assemble it from precut wood and speakers and other componenets, but looking at the site suggested by thermisto462, you may find that those kits are too expensive.

I will suggest a kit from Parts Express, http://www.parts-express.com , a reliable U. S. merchant that will come close to your price range. It is the Dayton Audio BR-1 kit. If you just buy the speaker components, you will have a pretty good speaker system for close range listening, even though it is not efficient. The components sell for $134.00 U. S. or about 152 Euros. It's about as cheap as you can go for a good 2-way system.

You can also buy a full range speaker from Fostex and build the box, using the Theile-Small parameters to calculate the volume.

As another suggestion, here is the very 12 inch full range speaker that I used for my first good full range system:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Mustang-M-12D- ... Sw8axZ8WZ9.
Put 2 of these in a pair of 4 cubic foot closed boxes, and it will sound great, though not "audiophile," and it will be really efficient, giving good scale even at a distance, and even with a 30 watt amp. take up a lot of space, though.

Best I can do for now. And good luck from that wood- butchering old speaker builder (since 1963),

Joe Z.
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Re: Building own speakers

Postby reinhout » 17 Nov 2017 19:06

I've been looking at both shops but I think the Germany-based one will be cheaper for me (taking into account the import fees and taxes). It's a pitty because everything seems to be cheaper in the States..

I don't want to be ignorant and suborn. However I don't get why everyone suggests starting with a kit. I'm not planning on building 10 sets of speakers (or that would involve the misses).

Today we have a ton of tools to Help the design.
e.g. crossover: https://www.diyaudioandvideo.com/Calcul ... Crossover/
e.g. calculate volume of the box: WinISD
The frequency response charts of almost all well known speaker brands are available on the net.
I looked at the kit Joe Z. suggested and their crossover is not more fancy then a combination of capacitators and inductors?
Am I missing something here?
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Re: Building own speakers

Postby rewfew » 17 Nov 2017 22:50

Hello reinhout. I've built my own speakers too. It's a wonderful way to get great sound on the cheap for what you would pay for manufactured speakers. Now days there is all manner of software as you apparently have to try to DIY your own design. I don't know if this is the best approach, but if your adventurist enough, take a wack at it. I've trusted designs that more experienced and professional designers have made available. So, you could build the cabinets to spec. and use their recommended drivers and crossovers and get some very nice speakers indeed. Two respected designers you could investigate are http://www.zaphaudio.com/ and http://www.pispeakers.com/Products.html. I've used one of the Pi speakers design's and have not had the itch to improve for a couple of decades now. You mentioned Eminence Alpha speakers and a few of the designs use some larger sizes of that model. Any way, good luck in your quest and hope you enjoy your handmade speakers as much as I have mine.
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Re: Building own speakers

Postby josephazannieri » 18 Nov 2017 03:52

Yo reinhout:

You are right. The crossover for the Dayton Audio BR-1 is just inductors and capacitors. Any passive crossover is just inductors and capacitors. The Dayton Audio kit uses a really nice, though inefficient woofer that has an fs of 33 Hz, which is very low for a 6 1/2 inch speaker. It also uses a nice, smooth sounding tweeter. If I recall rightly, they use a 12 dB/octave crossover net. You can buy the raw speakers D-160-8 6 1/2 inch woofer for about $25.00 each, and about $23.00 each for the D-28-F tweeters. Parts Express will ship internationally. It makes for a bass reflex system with an box frequency in the area of 35 Hz, which starts to roll off about 40 Hz. I use a pair of Dayton Audio BR-1 components in my digital production studio and they work great. I am only about 3 feet away from them and at that distance, they give plenty of volume. They do not give bottom octave bass between 20 and 40 Hz, but they do give nice instrumental fullness.

The University 12 inch speakers that I suggested have an fs of about 55 Hz. They are very efficient, but they they really need a bass reflex (ported) box. University suggests a number of old-fashioned bass reflex boxes that will give room-filling volume for parties and a good, if not audiophile sound. We can go round and round forever on the design, and you can design your own crossover if you want. The University M12 is a full range speaker, so you don't need a tweeter for it. Thiele-small parameters are available for most speakers on line, and you can use any of the freeware speaker design software to design your box.

Pick your speakers for maximum smoothness in the frequency response graph, and smooth impedance curves. The smoother they are, the easier they will be to work with. The problem with very efficient speakers, is that they usually fall short on the smoothness that you seek.

And good luck from that smooth, but efficient, old operator,

Joe Z.
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Re: Building own speakers

Postby AsOriginallyRecorded » 18 Nov 2017 04:14

I have no doubt this can be a wonderfully rewarding experience, but as stated by someone very astute somewhere, sometime, "If it was so easy, everyone would be doing it". Modern electronics and apps notwithstanding, speaker design is and never has been something to be taken lightly to be successful. There are more failed designs than successful designs, and the science and physics will not be denied. With a little research and attention to detail, practically anybody can produce a functioning speaker. Whether that speaker is worthy of any acclaim or not is another thing. The kits mentioned have a relative guarantee of success built into the plans...but never promise to produce market changing product, just a decent sounding, capable speaker. This is one of those areas where success is as much a matter of coincidence and art/magic as it is science and technique. Still a wonderful learning experience, but hardly with guaranteed results. One of the ultimate "tinker" pursuits to be honest.
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Re: Building own speakers

Postby theclosetguy » 18 Nov 2017 17:14

Try Here
http://humblehomemadehifi.com/
I built the Modulus design 6 years ago. After tweaking the crossovers for my room acoustics I have been very happy.
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Re: Building own speakers

Postby wolfie62 » 22 Nov 2017 01:20

I've been building speakers since 1983. My favorite drivers, with the most bang for the buck, is Peerless. Tymphony is what they are called now. There is lots of Help available online for box alignments. Crossovers? I use simple 6 dB slopes, and choose drivers that are smooth an octave above or below the crossover points.

My favorite even order crossovers are little known. Haven't found anyone that uses it. It's the Equal Compromise design by Bob Bullock. Always smooth, controlled, no wierd side effects. For 12 dB slopes.

There is nothing more satisfying than listening to your favorite music, on your setup, through your own speakers!
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Re: Building own speakers

Postby mythrenegade » 22 Nov 2017 06:12

SpeakerMania wrote:I have no doubt this can be a wonderfully rewarding experience, but as stated by someone very astute somewhere, sometime, "If it was so easy, everyone would be doing it". Modern electronics and apps notwithstanding, speaker design is and never has been something to be taken lightly to be successful. There are more failed designs than successful designs, and the science and physics will not be denied. With a little research and attention to detail, practically anybody can produce a functioning speaker. Whether that speaker is worthy of any acclaim or not is another thing. The kits mentioned have a relative guarantee of success built into the plans...but never promise to produce market changing product, just a decent sounding, capable speaker. This is one of those areas where success is as much a matter of coincidence and art/magic as it is science and technique. Still a wonderful learning experience, but hardly with guaranteed results. One of the ultimate "tinker" pursuits to be honest.


Not sure I agree here. Let me explain with a similar, related field. I have built about half of the furniture in my home. It’s not easy, but it’s more about motivation than it being too difficult to attempt. To be honest, making our own furniture was how I grew up. Not because we were craftsman, my dad is an anthropologist. We made furniture because thst was what we could afford. When I became an adult I continued to make my own furniture because that’s simply how I was brought up. It was only a few years ago that I realized I didn’t know anyone else who did that, and most people I talk to have no idea how they would even start.

I’m assuming making speakers is just like engineering a piece of furniture. There are principles you apply and then you make it happen. It’s not beyond reach anymore than making furniture is, IMHO. But it takes a certain personality (or upbringing) to go for it.

Much respect to the OP, I look forward to photos of the finished results.

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Re: Building own speakers

Postby reinhout » 22 Nov 2017 06:28

Thank you Joël. I'm the type of guy that's motivated more when someone says it can't be done :)
I think the hardest thing about building the speakers will be getting to an agreement with the other half of me xD I'm carefully selecting my drivers now and I'm studying crossovers. I hope to build them during the new years holidays but the misses wants her walk-in closet to be done first. Work work work..it'll take some time but eventually I'll get there :)
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Re: Building own speakers

Postby theclosetguy » 23 Nov 2017 00:21

Everyone is great at telling you what to do, yet no one shares what they actually have done. Lets some some work to back up the advice..
The Modulus.
20170510_074901.jpg

20170510_074850.jpg

These were fun to build and fun to tweak.
1" MDF veneered with Zebra Wood. 1" Thick Bloodwood Baffles for the midrange and ribbon tweeters. Sea's 10" woofer, Sea's 5" Midrange and Arum Cantus G3Si Ribbons. 1st order Bass, 1st Order Midrange, 3rd order Tweeter.
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Re: Building own speakers

Postby wolfie62 » 23 Nov 2017 08:51

I couldn't DISAGREE with SpeakerMania more!

As a DIYer, you can make designs and choices that commercial manufacturers won't touch. Why? Because they have to make choices based on totally different criteria. They have to be able to mass-produce to make a profit. They will cut corners on materials and techniques to save money on labor and materials and internal design. They will cut corners on driver costs, crossover component costs, and finishes for the cabinets. They have to spend money on marketing, staff, etc. the DIYer only has to concern himself with building one speaker pair.

I have found that if one chooses drivers carefully, and each driver is excellent in its own right, then crossing over using 6 dB slopes will produce an incredibly excellent sounding loudspeaker.

I built most of my speakers on commission for other folks, friends mostly. I never kept pictures, but I did keep all my calculations and drawings/receipts. Built more than a dozen custom car audio systems.

mythrenegade you are largely correct IMHO. Champagne tastes on a beer budget.....has led a great many folks to design incredible products, and large companies!
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Re: Building own speakers

Postby reinhout » 23 Nov 2017 14:16

Ok I'm getting ready for the X-over design but I'll go back to my first post first: driver selection.
My thougths for now are:

RS150-8 6" Reference Woofer 8 Ohm as the woofer
DC28F-8 1-1/8" Silk Dome Tweeter 8 Ohm as the tweeter
Initial thought is to cross these over at around 2k Hz. What are your thoughts on this combination and on the X-over frequency?

I would also buy one bigger woofer to use in a separate ported enclosure to act as a subwoofer(behind a plate-amp with high power signal imput connectors). I would use the RS225-8 8" Reference Woofer 8 Ohm because of it's low resonant frequency (and it's affordable).
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Re: Building own speakers

Postby TudorTurtle » 23 Nov 2017 14:18

Reinhout,
Looking at the 6" woofer FR, I might move the crossover point a bit lower, say 1600-1800 Hz. I think the driver choices are good. Also the impedance peak of the woofer should be managed with a Zobel bridge (just an additional cap and resistor).
With the 8" woofer in the mix, you might want to treat the 6" driver more like Midrange, and set a high-pass filter for it. This design depends on how high the plate amp crossover csn be set.
I suggest getting a well known book, Speaker Building 201 by Ray Alden. It is short, well written and easy to understand. It contains all the basic design principles for driver selection and crossover design, as well as a dozen complete designs. It's an excellent reference.
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