4Pi and JBL garage theater...college style! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 08-28-2012, 12:45 PM - Thread Starter
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I've been hard at work this summer building the speakers for my garage theater setup which I'll install when I move into my new house come mid-September. While a garage isn't the idea location for a theater, it is the largest space in the house and the only area which would house all of this equipment. This is my build thread, which will mainly focus on the audio portion of the build. Once I'm moved in, I'll be focusing on the video portion as my budget allows me to add more components.

Some goals for the project

7.1 surround sound, with the ability to upgrade to 7.2 or more later on. Achieved:
High efficency speakers to drive to 100dB or so without much distortion. Achieved:
Speakers must be movable so we can clear space for parties in the garage. Achieved:
Bulletproof design (beware the one who can't hold his liquor!) to minimize damage. Achieved:
Best 2D image possible. I'm holding out on 3D until passive 3D is less expensive. Achieved:
Be thrifty! The whole audio portion of the build cannot exceed $2500. Achieved:

Audio budget - $2500 max

Keep 3x Wayne Parham's 4Pi speakers as close to $1000 as possible. Actual: $1029
Buy 4 JBL professional surrounds for less than $400 total. Actual: $320 (JBL 8340)
Subwoofer under $500. Actual: $340 (DIY JBL 4645C)
AVR for less than $1000. Actual: $425 (Denon 3311CI)
Subwoofer amp less than $200. Actual: TBD

Total: TBD

Video budget - $2000 max

JVC or Epson Projector less than $1600. Actual: TBD
Anamorphic Lens with remaining funds. Actual: $400 (C-Stock Panamorph UH 480)
Darbee darblet: Actual:

Total: TBD

Grand total cost: TBD

I'm on the fence about projectors. I don't need one with built in anamorphic capability since I can do anamorphic stretch on my PC, which opens the door for the non-professional Epson projectors. I really like the 5010 for its brightness and quality, which will be great when having friends over to watch sports. The cheaper bulb price is also a huge draw. However, the black level advantage is something that keeps drawing me to JVC projectors. I have a friend who has one at his parents' house, and it looks amazing. Granted, it's an older HD-100 (RS2), but the picture is still great. How would an older JVC compare to a newer Epson, or even the newer JVC's (RS40 and 45)?

I'll be running this system off my computer, which has an Intel i7 920 OC'd to 4.0GHz, 2x AMD 6970's, 24GB RAM, and 6TB hard drive space. I'll be using my remaining HDMI output to drive a 1080p signal with 192KHz/24bit lossless audio to my receiver. Being that these speakers are so efficient, any receiver these days will be able to power it all my speakers with ease, thus eliminating the need to buy separate amps.

Without further ado, let the build thread begin!

DISCLAIMER: Please don't criticize my purchases and spending considering I'm a college student. I work extremely hard to maintain a high GPA and pay for school and fun summer projects like this.

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post #2 of 24 Old 08-28-2012, 12:54 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm going with 4Pi speakers in this build. You can find info on these over at pispeakers.com. Wayne Parham, is a great guy and definitely knows his stuff when it comes to speakers.

Since I'm paranoid and don't like screwing up cuts, I used a circular saw to get the rough cuts. I allowed an extra .25" on all sides to makes sure I had plenty of room for error. I forgot to take pictures of my panels before gluing, but I used my friend's large shop table saw to make all the final cuts.

The workspace:
P1000103.jpg

My sinusoidal gluing method:
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Everything all clamped together (less the front baffle):
P1000110.jpg

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post #3 of 24 Old 08-28-2012, 01:16 PM
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Might be able to help you with some of your needs, as I am dumping v1.0 of my theater and still have a lot laying around all awesome stuff less than a year old. PM me if interested...

You can def do the 4pi's for around $1000 without upgrading the drivers. It is still a very capable system even if you dont. with materials to build. you may be just over. take a look at the SEOS builds, and youll be able to really get some killer budget speakers. No speaker is safe if you finish your 8th kegstand and then crank it so loud the speakers are receiving a clipped signal...

PM Erich to see if he still has any of the jbl 8340's. IIRC he was the one who had some from a previous group buy...great surrounds on the cheap

sub under 500? The lilmike's f-20 comes to mind. thatll save you some good dough there, and it is bulletproof. your best pal can throw his lunch all over it and it wont matter. you wont need a HUGE amp to drive it either. you could almost build a pair for your budget with an ep4000 to run them.

Projector and receiver? Why a JVC RS40 and a Denon 3311 sounds perfect, especially since that is what I have to offer!! haha

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post #4 of 24 Old 08-28-2012, 01:20 PM - Thread Starter
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I bought all three of my 2226H speakers from a member at another forum. At $110 a pop in great condition, these were a steal. However, one was damaged during shipping. We have since worked out a deal to replace it and I'm shipping the damaged driver back to him today. If you're ever wondering about the best way to ship drivers, this is how:

Screw the driver to a piece of plywood that is the same dimensions as the box it's shipping in. This protects the cone from getting smashed. Then, stuff bubble wrap and the little plastic pillows to your heart's content!

P1000115.jpg

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Watch out for wookies!
P1000119.jpg

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post #5 of 24 Old 08-28-2012, 01:23 PM
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Oops I was writing my post before you got the pics up!!! very awesome deal on the JBLs

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post #6 of 24 Old 08-28-2012, 01:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beastaudio View Post

Might be able to help you with some of your needs, as I am dumping v1.0 of my theater and still have a lot laying around all awesome stuff less than a year old. PM me if interested...
You can def do the 4pi's for around $1000 without upgrading the drivers. It is still a very capable system even if you dont. with materials to build. you may be just over. take a look at the SEOS builds, and youll be able to really get some killer budget speakers. No speaker is safe if you finish your 8th kegstand and then crank it so loud the speakers are receiving a clipped signal...
PM Erich to see if he still has any of the jbl 8340's. IIRC he was the one who had some from a previous group buy...great surrounds on the cheap
sub under 500? The lilmike's f-20 comes to mind. thatll save you some good dough there, and it is bulletproof. your best pal can throw his lunch all over it and it wont matter. you wont need a HUGE amp to drive it either. you could almost build a pair for your budget with an ep4000 to run them.
Projector and receiver? Why a JVC RS40 and a Denon 3311 sounds perfect, especially since that is what I have to offer!! haha

I'm actually going with upgraded drivers and still aiming for $1000. The Denovo DNA-360 models exactly the same as the B&C DE250, but costs $50 less. Here is my price layout:

Capture.jpg

Regarding subs, I've already gotten a JBL 2242 for $300 which I'm putting in an 8ft^3 cabinet to replicate the JBL 4645C subwoofer. I don't want anything lower than 20Hz or so since I have a CAD model of a rotary subwoofer that I'd like to implement someday for the uber low frequencies. I'll be using either a Crown CL2 or Behringer EP2500 to drive it.

I also already have my 8340's! I got two off eBay for $70 total, and another two for $250 total. If I can buy some from Erich for cheaper then I'll simply resell the ones I bought.

And I'm definitely interested in buying some of your theater parts. PM me with what you're looking to get for the RS40 and the 3311 and maybe we can make something work! I was leaning towards the Marantz SR7005 or the Denon 4311 (when the price goes down eventually). Audyssey XT32 sounds really great, though I'm not sure I'd really be able to take advantage of it over XT since I'm in a garage with minimal acoustic treatment.

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post #7 of 24 Old 08-28-2012, 04:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frosteh View Post

P1000119.jpg

Looks like you cought big foot with his hand in one of your boxes. eek.gif



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post #8 of 24 Old 08-29-2012, 09:54 PM - Thread Starter
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Today I took most of my time cutting out the holes for the horn and port. My old jigsaw held the blade crooked and the shoe was no longer straight, so I bought a new one. Home Depot has a great Black & Decker model for $30 right now.

My method for cutting these square holes is pretty common. Brace the board and drill two holes large enough for the jigsaw blade in opposite corners. Then simply cut away from the holes and the piece falls out. Then, trim up the edges if need be. I cut my ports a bit small intentionally so that I can use a flush-cut bit on my router to clean it up and make it exactly the same dimensions as the port once glued on.

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Test fitting. You can see the excess I have to cut with the flush-cut bit.

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I'm using finishing brads to secure the panels in addition to the wood glue. My old compressor crapped out so I bought a new one. Holy cow this thing is a beast!

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Some of my other new toys. Most of my tools were nearly 20 years old I've been using at my dad's place, so I've replaced many of them to new ones that work much, much better.

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A fine tooth blade is crucial when cutting MDF so it doesn't chip. This is a 60T Freud blade.
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Simple way to make all your cuts the same length on nearly any fixed blade tool. Clamp a block and butt your cut piece up to it. Works every time.
P1000143.jpg

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post #9 of 24 Old 08-29-2012, 09:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Tonight, my goal is to get all the crossovers laid out. However, I've never used a passive XO before (only active biamp) and I'm not sure of all the rules when laying out parts. Is it ok to hot glue all these components to the bottom of the cabinet? I'd like to keep the inductors as far away from each other as possible to prevent interference.

P1000154.jpg

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post #10 of 24 Old 09-12-2012, 08:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frosteh View Post

I bought all three of my 2226H speakers from a member at another forum. At $110 a pop in great condition, these were a steal. However, one was damaged during shipping. We have since worked out a deal to replace it and I'm shipping the damaged driver back to him today. If you're ever wondering about the best way to ship drivers, this is how:
Screw the driver to a piece of plywood that is the same dimensions as the box it's shipping in. This protects the cone from getting smashed. Then, stuff bubble wrap and the little plastic pillows to your heart's content!
P1000115.jpg
wow, you got a very nice deal.
and thank you for a great tip
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post #11 of 24 Old 09-12-2012, 09:23 AM
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where does one buy 4 JBL 8340 for $80/ea ?

your ability to find such bargains is quite remarkable
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post #12 of 24 Old 09-13-2012, 01:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zheka View Post

where does one buy 4 JBL 8340 for $80/ea ?
your ability to find such bargains is quite remarkable

Magic! I've actually just gotten really lucky on eBay. I was able to bargain a bit with one seller to get two for $125 ea. Another seller put some ones up with busted foam surrounds and one sold to me for $0.99 and the other sold for $70. So when it's all said and done, I'm out $320. I've found the biggest and best practice is to just communicate with the sellers and see how low they're willing to go. Some won't go anywhere, but most of the sellers are pawn shops and are happy to get pretty much anything for them. Granted, I do have to replace the surrounds, but that's about $8 bucks a pop.

You just have to be willing to put in a bit of elbow grease and search forums. Don't be afraid of necroposting either! For example, I got my three JBL 2226H's for $110 each from a guy at another forum who posted an ad in 2008. Luckily, he never sold them and was happy to get rid of them. There's tons of deals like this around; you just have to be a little patient by working on the other parts of the setup until the right deal comes along.

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post #13 of 24 Old 09-13-2012, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Alrighty, folks. Big update here. Since my last update, I've finished the speakers, almost finished the sub, bought a receiver, and bought tons of accessories like speaker wire and cinder blocks (for speaker stands).

When I test fit the boxes, my ports were too close to the edge and my baffle wouldn't fit right. No worries, just clamp it up and sand away. Then I put some gorilla glue in between the port and the wall, not so much for adhesion but to dampen it against vibration since gorilla glue expands so much.

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Getting the boxes all glued together. Those big pipe clamps are a godsend. Hit up your local Craigslist and see if you can snatch some. These were made in the 40's or 50's I believe. They're a bit rusty, but once loosened up they have incredible clamping strength. One issue I had with these - an issue I always have when building speakers - is I forgot to make the front and rear baffles about an eighth of an inch large on each side to make sure they fit perfectly.

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Next up is the subwoofer. Now I know what you're saying, "Why cannibalize a perfectly good JBL 4648?" Because I can! I also wanted something that will play to the low 20's, like the JBL 4645C. However, those sell for about $2000. I'm still not quite sure why I bought the 4648 but it was a good deal on Craigslist and was the right size cabinet to mimic a 4645C (both are 8ft^3). I did however get the two drivers that came with it which I'm trying to sell. PM me if you want a really good condition pair of JBL 2226J's. I've fixed the dust cap in the one driver. They both work great.

This is what it started out as.

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Front baffle removed. In order to get the 2242H to fit correctly, I had to take some spare 1" mdf and rout out the correct sized discs to fit in the previous holes where the 2226J's were. I then glued them in and used bondo to fill the holes. After sanding, this is what it looks like with the driver fit. My port is truly a budget port, but works great. A 6" concrete form is really all you need. 7" would have been ideal, but the length wouldn't have fit in the cabinet with all its amazing bracing.

7983760796_6d5d89bb37_b.jpg

In the interest of not cluttering up a single post, I'll leave the next part of the build for the next post!

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post #14 of 24 Old 09-13-2012, 03:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Alrighty, here's my next bit of progress. I forgot to take pictures, but I painted the speakers with 4 or 5 coats of Duratex. I primed them beforehand, but that was unnecessary as Duratex is self priming. I think it actually works better if you don't prime it since primer can induce a small amount of texture and you want to let the Duratex take care of that. Anyhoo, 4 or 5 coats is enough to make it strong and durable, and also get rid of 90% of the roller marks. I didn't care too much about those since these will eventually be placed behind a screen, but I thought it was a nice touch to make them pretty.

Duratex takes a bit of play to get it right. I've found that lots of thin layers is better and continuing to roll it over lightly until it's pretty tacky. This will get rid of most of the air bubbles that make it textured and leaves a reasonably smooth surface. This also helps to keep the matte finish.

After they were painted, I installed all my t-nuts. Don't forget to use some sort of heavy duty construction adhesive to bond the t-nut to the MDF. You will thank me later when one pops out and starts spinning on you without the driver removed. I used some of the original formula of Liquid Nails that I had laying around, but Amazing Goop also works great. While the t-nuts are secure and the adhesive is drying, install your drivers and really crank down on the screws. This will pull the t-nuts into the exact right place so you don't have an "oh ****" moment when one of them isn't aligned with the driver.

Next, let's talk crossovers. I decided to split the crossover into high and low sections and place them on the side without insulation in their respective areas, top and bottom. Using Amazing Goop, which bonds literally anything to everything, I secured the crossover components to the side of the cabinet. Important, keep the cabinet on its side while the goop dries for 24Hrs. If you don't, the inductors will likely slide out of place and you'll have a much bigger, messier problem to deal with when they bond to the wrong part of the cabinet. I used one of the braces to hold an inductor as well. You can never be too safe!

Here is how I had them laid out, post gluing. Note, the speaker is on its side!!

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Low section.

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High section.

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post #15 of 24 Old 09-13-2012, 03:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Next, I put all the insulation in. R13 is thick and a real bitch to get in the cabinet, but it's the best stuff to use. It also flattens pretty easily if it's too poofy for your liking.

This is the inside of the cabinet. I couldn't find any good pictures of the insulation on the bracing, but this is what you need to do. In the 4Pi instructions it is said to put some across the bracing to separate the high and low sections. What this does it to allow all the bass frequencies to pass as necessary, but prevents the high frequencies from echoing in the cabinet. This greatly reduces standing waves and reflections, allow for a smooth mid section.

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I tried to not cover up too much of the crossover to let it breath and dissipate heat as necessary. Place the XO about 3 inches up from the bottom and rear of the cabinet to allow room for insulation.

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Aww, they're so cute together.

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post #16 of 24 Old 09-13-2012, 03:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Subwoofer update. The subwoofer isn't done yet, but it's damn close. I took some of the leftover insulation and added it to the inside of the subwoofer cabinet. The original insulation was pretty pathetic. I'm not sure what all this extra will do, but I was bored and it looks better. I've also noticed better bass in my other subs, but those are sealed and the reasons for insulating are different. Perhaps they'll work similarly for a ported sub? The 4645C is also liberally insulated so I figured it can't hurt if I'm trying to copy that design. I also painted the cabinet in a number of layers of Duratex since it was pretty beat up when I got it. It's quite purdy now!

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Later today I'll be gluing the top on and calling it good. I need to wait for my neighbor to get home so I can borrow some of his plethora of clamps.

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post #17 of 24 Old 09-13-2012, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
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My new receiver. Denon 3311CI. I'm hoping it will do all I need. I would have liked to get a model with Audyssey XT 32, but this will suffice for now. And for $425 I can't really ask for any more. That's one hell of a deal, considering the going price for these is around $700.

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post #18 of 24 Old 09-13-2012, 03:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Speakers are all done (except for one. waiting on replacement 2226H to come in the mail tomorrow)!

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And that's all for now, folks! I'll have some more updates in about a week once I get it all moved up to my new house and set up in the garage. I also have to rebuild the carburetor on this bucket of bolts. It's my dad's car, so don't get all high and mighty on me about how awesome that vintage stuff is! We're starting a '65 Cobra replica build together in a few months so I have to be able to get this thing out of the garage.

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post #19 of 24 Old 09-14-2012, 07:39 AM
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great stuff. thank you for sharing.
did you use any gaskets for woofers and horns?
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post #20 of 24 Old 09-19-2012, 12:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zheka View Post

great stuff. thank you for sharing.
did you use any gaskets for woofers and horns?

I use 1/8" closed-cell foam weather stripping. It creates an airtight seal and compresses nicely. The only parts in this build which needed it, however, were the horns. The 2226H's have a rubber o-ring that goes around the whole inside edge, sealing it. You just have to make sure your cutout is exactly the right size or it won't be effective. The subwoofer uses a cheap JBL cork gasket, available to buy from any JBL pro service center. The 2242 drivers are pretty damn common, so they should have them in stock. I paid $1.80 each for mine.

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post #21 of 24 Old 09-19-2012, 02:17 PM
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Frosteh,
Great thread. I see you got the new H290C waveguides. I recently got them myself and very happy.
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post #22 of 24 Old 09-19-2012, 04:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Yup! I like them as well. I got some of the "blems" so I'm looking forward to when the next batch arrives. I'm not sure I'll bother, though, as I don't think I'll notice any different sound.

Give me a few days and I'll post pictures of the whole setup when it's done. So far only the front channels are set up. I have to wait for my landlord to do our walkthrough so I can start drilling.

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post #23 of 24 Old 09-28-2012, 02:15 PM
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Frosteh,

what did you use to mount the horn and drivers? t-nuts?
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post #24 of 24 Old 09-28-2012, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zheka View Post

Frosteh,
what did you use to mount the horn and drivers? t-nuts?

Yes I did. Don't forget to lather the base of the T-nut with construction adhesive. I've had enough t-nuts pop out halfway through screwing the driver in that I take no chances anymore.

I'm all moved in and the system is set up. I'll try and post some pics later tonight.

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