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Old January 22, 2010, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Xapoc View Post
I'm sure you get this question a lot, but how does built speaker quality compare to manufactured ones? Also, I can't really tell, but do you use a receiver, and if so, what model?
That can range quite a bit... of course the actual "build" quality is entirely dependent on you but it's not rocket science. Make a box, make it solid & airtight, and brace it well. Pretty much anything past that is cosmetics.

As for the designs themselves, when talking cheaper builds the cost saving isn't much if any. And you can only expect bargain tweeters and woofers to sound so good though in a DIY design there will be more attention to the crossover design so they can make these cheap drivers sound pretty good. AFAIK Vulcan is pretty happy with the SQ of the ~$25 tweeters in his build. As you start getting up higher in price the cost savings can be much greater, typically 3x to 5x. That's a pretty broad statement though because not all designs are worth building. A designer may have a particular driver on hand that he wants to use or may want to try some strange driver that doesn't offer a lot of performance/$. Also when the design was done a particular driver could have been a great value and has since over the years greatly increased in cost. It pays to do your research and see what others think about a particular design.

A while back I was in Long & McQuade and noticed a nice set of (large) bookshelf speakers that I immediately recognized the drivers used (a tweet and 7"). The cost of the actual drivers would have been ~$500 and just to take a WAG say add on $100 to $150 on XO parts. The DIYer could do them for ~$600, that pair was on sale in L&M for about $3k. Also some designers are better than others, the designer of the speakers I'm building has a pretty decent set of morals. He won't publish a design if it doesn't offer enough value and will remove designs if the value isn't there any more due to price increases or if he designs a similar design that is as good or better for less $$$. Here's one of his designs that I priced out at about $1500 in parts from Solen, in his write up he pegs their equivalent 'worth' in the 5 digit range $US. The guy knows what he says and is very respected but even if that is a little exaggerated that's still not a bad savings. One last bonus with DIY designs is that if things don't sound quite right, i.e. mids are too strong or bass is a little boomy due to room acoustics or what ever you can sometimes ask the original designer how to tweak the XO... and you can always use the drivers in different published designs should you want to go bigger or just try something different.

I'm not suggesting that DIY speakers are the only way to go, just pointing out it does have it's advantages.

BTW, I use on-board digital coax out to a Harmon Kardon AVR235 which handles the decoding and also spits out a line level signal to the sub which is a 12" with a 500W plate amp.

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Originally Posted by vulcan500rider View Post
Eek. Good luck with the sale. I hope your new place has as nice a workshop as the one you seem to have now! I wish my wife and I could afford to get out of the rental market, and I could make a little shop of my own; one tiny basement room just isn't cutting it <sigh> Anyway, I'm definitely still interested in the build, and looking forward to the pics whenever you get them together.
Thanks. The new place has a double car garage so more space, plus I'm going to move my metal working machines (which is only a lathe right now but plan to get a mill some day) into the basement. The basement is a good size and I have full reign of it so I'm going to take some space for a little metal shop which frees up more space in the garage for more machines! Too bad I'm going to have all this extra space and not have any money to do anything with it for the near future.
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Old October 14, 2010, 11:50 PM
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So an update!

Almost got the build done before I moved but it didn't happen. So after moving and getting settled in I ventured off and tried my hand at doing a design myself, which used these drivers. It's still a work in progress... crossover design is A LOT more involved then I initially thought. But I'm really happy where I am now and I'm sure it will get a bit better before I'm done. OK not an update, more like a lateral move.

Here's where I am now. It uses the 7" drivers that were supposed to be for the build I started with. The tweeter is the aluminum version of the tweeter that was supposed to go in the original build. They are very similar. and the bottom is anchored by a 12". this 12" is purpose designed (and I was originally using them as such) as a subwoofer. But people are starting to realize that they are capable of working in more complex systems as well. So I used them because I had them.

The design is called an open baffle design. The mids (the 7"ers) just sit on the baffle that has 4" 'wings' on it but are open in the back but the 12" is in a sealed box. Here's some pics. Pardon the insulation/poly bag walls, I'm a bit off finishing my man cave.

A couple to show what they look like. They are 15" wide and 50" tall.




And here's a pic of the crossover. It's a few revisions ago but you get the idea but it also shows what I'm talking about them being open at the back.



This was just tossed together for 'proof of concept' so they will be put into a prettier cab at some point.

Ryan
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  #23 (permalink)  
Old October 18, 2010, 10:27 AM
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Thanks for the update, Biff, and excellent job as always. I kinda like the idea of a partially open design, though it would never fly in my house--my cats would absolutely destroy it.

One thing you didn't speak to, however, is the sound quality. What is the sound like with fully open backs? I guess losing bass isn't a big deal with a 12" sealed below, but does it drastically impact the midrange you get from the smaller woofers?

Once again, I look at what you've done and wish I had some more coin to finish up my center and surrounds...I've got those pretty cabinets just sitting there...<laugh>

Also, I'm curious to know if you design your own crossovers, or if you're working off someone else's design. Is it hard to add another speaker in to the loop?

Cheers, and as always, thanks for the education.
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Old October 18, 2010, 12:38 PM
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Ugh I am insanely jealous of your shop.

I love building my own speakers. I usually steal old ones from pawn shops and take them apart, reworking the internals and building new cabs. I do it on a table on the front lawn, literally!

This thread rocks.
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Old October 18, 2010, 04:07 PM
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Encorp... those pics are of my last shop in the old house. Here's a couple pics of the shop in the new house. Not much is setup yet took a couple months just to dig most of the crap out of here since it becomes a dumping ground when moving. I still need to make a proper bench and add cabinets to get some stuff out of the way and organized + we don't have a back deck yet so the BBQ is in the garage along with bikes. The pics are for a different forum (it's a stand for a 90 gallon aquarium I'm working on) but it gives enough of the view around it to see what I'm talking about. I'm liking the extra space...





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Old October 18, 2010, 05:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vulcan500rider View Post
Thanks for the update, Biff, and excellent job as always. I kinda like the idea of a partially open design, though it would never fly in my house--my cats would absolutely destroy it.

One thing you didn't speak to, however, is the sound quality. What is the sound like with fully open backs? I guess losing bass isn't a big deal with a 12" sealed below, but does it drastically impact the midrange you get from the smaller woofers?

Once again, I look at what you've done and wish I had some more coin to finish up my center and surrounds...I've got those pretty cabinets just sitting there...<laugh>

Also, I'm curious to know if you design your own crossovers, or if you're working off someone else's design. Is it hard to add another speaker in to the loop?

Cheers, and as always, thanks for the education.
Vulcan,

I'm really happy with how these are coming along. I don't notice a huge difference with the open backs on a lot of material but generally the soundstage is much wider and the odd time stuff is almost spooky. When I first got them going I kept shutting off the music to go see where some sound came from figuring the dogs were poking around in some box until I realized it was in the music. One example that comes to mind is that eerie little bongo drum bit that's in the lead-in in Metallica's Wherever I May Roam sounds like it's 5ft to the side of the speaker. And yeah it really sucks the bass out of the mids, but there's no lack of bass with the 12's. On some stuff the furnace vents are just dancing (gotta do something about that) and that only off my 65W/ch receiver.

This is my first crack at my own crossover. It's challenging but rewarding when things work out. For the first bit stuff like cymbals were way too hot but I've made some adjustments to the XO and I'm pretty close to calling it done I think. BTW Adding another driver would require a complete redesign right from the ground up usually.

FWIW here's a pic of the XO, a couple versions ago. Layout is still the same but some component values have changed slightly.




Thanks for the interest,
RYan
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  #27 (permalink)  
Old October 18, 2010, 06:40 PM
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Very cool. I can't believe that the 12" is running off that power alone--particularly with three other speakers running off the same output.

Thanks for the crossover diagram, as well; I don't think I'm really anywhere near that level yet...but you never know for the future.

On a complete sidenote, I revisited the first page of this thread, and looked over all the pictures. I notice that in the one you have what appear to be the Tritrix MT surrounds on pedastals. Did you go for the vented or non-vented version? I'm thinking about making my surrounds the vented version, but I'm not sure where to put it, or how much of the cabinet to fill (which may be trial and error anyway, but I don't even have a ballpark guess). Any thoughts?

Cheers,


Sean
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Old October 18, 2010, 10:13 PM
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Originally Posted by vulcan500rider View Post
Very cool. I can't believe that the 12" is running off that power alone--particularly with three other speakers running off the same output.

Thanks for the crossover diagram, as well; I don't think I'm really anywhere near that level yet...but you never know for the future.

On a complete sidenote, I revisited the first page of this thread, and looked over all the pictures. I notice that in the one you have what appear to be the Tritrix MT surrounds on pedastals. Did you go for the vented or non-vented version? I'm thinking about making my surrounds the vented version, but I'm not sure where to put it, or how much of the cabinet to fill (which may be trial and error anyway, but I don't even have a ballpark guess). Any thoughts?

Cheers,


Sean
Yeah there's no lack of base from the 12's. I mean it's not make your vision go blurry kind of bass but certainly enough to get complaints from the neighbours. Thought the sound isn't that great when I crank it. I'm probably going to make my own amp using these soon. They've gotten great reviews and even converted some tube guys.

Those little MT's are the Dreydels. They use the Dayton RS150S-8, and the Seas 27TDFC... quite a bit different from the tritrix. At the time I was building them I made them ported since I didn't have a sub. Once I got my sub going I plugged the holes to make them sealed. TBH it probably didn't make much of a difference since these are pretty bass limited to begin with - their strength is the mids and highs.

The standard opinion is you should use sealed speakers when crossing to a sub. I'm not an authority on the subject and I don't know the whole reason why but I'll take a guess. The port adds to the bass out put but you don't get a doubling of the output as a whole since the port output is 90 out of phase with the woofer output - well that for the tuning frequncy and gets worse as you go lower in frequency - so the summed output is shifted some degrees. Which is fine when they are by themselves though there are those that argue this phase shift is audible. The big trouble comes when mating this up with a sub. Be cause if your mains are ported its bass output will have that phase shift but the subs wont so you wont get a proper summation and you'll get some wobbles in the frequency response around where the crossover frequency is. Some sub amps have a continuous phase adjust to try to compensate for this but it really only compensates at one particular frequency. A sealed speaker is supposed to track much better through the crossover region.

Now that's a nice theory but it kind of goes out the window when you put the system in a real listening room. Any room will play havoc on smooth bass response so these 'wobbles' may play nice with the room response and kind of iron things out but it may/probably will make things much worse.

If it were me I'd probably make em sealed. BUT the only times your going to be using surrounds is for movies and I think it's be MUCH harder to to pickout any frequency response irregularities watching a movie vs. listening to music where FR and more importantly phase alignment are more critical. However is a whole lot easier to make a ported box sealed (just plug the port) than make a sealed box ported. If you like build the ported if you want to hear the differences, that's part of the beauty of DIY. You could also take it one step further if you wanted to play, since the ported boxes will be bigger than the dedicated sealed versions you can try to hear the differences the box size makes on the box Q and you can easily make a larger box smaller - just put some bricks in through the woofer hole.

Sorry for the novel but one last point. Typically you stuff a sealed box and line a ported box. The stuffing would mess wit the port response and diminish it's effectiveness. But usually some stuff is stuck to the sides of the cabinet to dampen the box so it stays dead. There's some expensive solutions out there for this like dynamat but people use a lot of more readily available (and cheaper) alternatives. Popular materials are roxol safe'n'sound insulation, acoustice ceiling tiles, roofing matt - lots of alternatives out there - google them. Some people leave em naked too. Though you want to make sure you add lots of bracing to the box to make sure it's solid and then they usually just add a wad of stuffing behind the woofer to kill the back wave. Again one of those things you can play with to get the effect you like.

BTW could you clarify what you mean by "don't know where to put them"?

Take care,
Ryan
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  #29 (permalink)  
Old October 19, 2010, 06:02 PM
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Gotcha. I was kinda taking the same train of thought so far as porting goes; I figured that if I build with ports, I can always stuff them full if I don't like the sound. I didn't know about the phase difference, however, but I'm not sure it will be a huge deal with surrounds...again, though, I can always go for the trial and error solution.

Thanks as well for the info on lining a ported box; that's what I was working toward--I wasn't sure how one could fill the speaker, if you have a port to worry about.

To answer your question, and clarify my thoughts, I'm unsure where to locate the port itself. I've got the basic design for the MT, upon which I've based my own boxes, but none of the designs I've seen actually show the port. There certainly isn't room to locate it in the front, as I would with a sub, so do I put it in the back, above where I locate the binding posts? I get the feeling putting it under the posts (and thus straight across from the woofer) could be a mistake.

Thanks again,

Sean

EDIT: Oh, and sorry if it seems like I'm sometimes hijacking your thread; it isn't intentional--I just get excited <laugh>
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Old October 24, 2010, 06:48 PM
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Reading all this got me thinking, and I've decided to look into building my own enclosures. After much reading from the various sites linked in this thread (thanks to all), here is the (final?) result:

Front:


Back:


Very similar in design from your own Ryan, with an added 8" woofer - this makes:

dual 6"s
Dome tweeter
Single 8"
Single 12"

Now the challenge will be to build the XO...
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