DIY sub ... Just as expensive as buying new! - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 05:52 AM - Thread Starter
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I was looking into purchasing a powered sub for my 2-channel audio only home setup. There are some very good powered 12" subs in the $500-$600 range:

Epik Legend .............$ 499
HSU VTF-2 mk4..-.....$ 519
Outlaw LFM-1 Plus.....$ 499
Rhythmik FV-12........$ 549
SVS SB-12......-........$ 599

So, I thought, I wonder if I could build a DIY sub myself that would be somewhat equal to these subs I list above. And at the same time, I could save some money by putting it together myself. I would be looking for a good quality 12" driver, an amp in the 250 w RMS range, and a box of 3.0 cu. ft interior size.

I would need to find a box that has the panels pre-cut to size already, since I don't have any woodworking power tools.

So I picked parts from the Parts Express website (these are all Dayton Audio parts):

Cabinet
Model #: SWC3-CH
Type Enclosure: Construct as a Sealed Unit
Internal Volume: 85 Liters (3.0 cu. ft)
Finish: Cherry Veneer
Dimensions: 19" x 19" x 18"
Weight: 52 Lb.
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=302-845
Price: $ 234


Ampifier
Model #: SPA250
Type: Mono, Class AB
Power: 250 w RMS
Damping Factor: 114 @ 100 Hz
Signal / Noise Ratio: 110 dB
Adjustable Low-Pass Filter: 40 Hz - 180 Hz
Phase Select: 0 - 180º
Adjustable Gain
Weight: 13 Lb.
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=300-803
Price: $ 120


Sub Driver
Series: Reference HF
Model #: RSS315HF-8
Cone Size: 12
Nominal Impedance: 8 ohms
Freq. Range: 25 - 1,500 Hz
Sensitivity: 85 dB
Vas: 2.70 cu. ft
Qms: 2.94
Qts: 0.53
Lightweight Anodized Aluminum Cone for Rigidity and Lower Moving Mass
Triple Shorting Ring Motor for Ultra-Low Distortion
Weight: 25 Lb.
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=295-445
Price: $ 149


TOTAL PRICE: $ 503
________________________________


Well, so much for putting this together myself and saving any money. The price would be basically the same as buying a new Epik Legend with dual side-firing 12" drivers for $499. http://www.epiksubwoofers.com/legend.html

And now I am wondering if my home-brew "Dayton" sub would have the same quality of sound of the Epik Legend, or any of the other subs I listed above?

Don't seem to be much of a bargain (or a good idea) to me anymore. Just wondering how any of you folks feel about this?

Ron,
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post #2 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 06:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flt Simulation View Post


TOTAL PRICE: $ 503
________________________________


Well, so much for putting this together myself and saving any money. The price would be basically the same as buying a new Epik Legend with dual side-firing 12" drivers for $499. http://www.epiksubwoofers.com/legend.html

And now I am wondering if my home-brew "Dayton" sub would have the same quality of sound of the Epik Legend, or any of the other subs I listed above?

Don't seem to be much of a bargain (or a good idea) to me anymore. Just wondering how any of you folks feel about this?

Ron,

The Dayton drivers don't offer the best dollar per displacement value either. The value of DIY is when you have your own tools, and want reference level output at an affordable price. If you want dual opposed 12's look at the Alpine SWR 12's
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post #3 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 06:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tgse3 View Post


If you want dual opposed 12's look at the Alpine SWR 12's

I really don't need dual opposed drivers like the Epik Legend has ... I was just using the Legend as an example of a quality sub in the $500 range.

The only reason I even started this thread was to say that building a sub from parts available from companies like Parts Express is no cheaper than buying a brand new sub from a manufacturer with proven performance.

I am not at all against DIY ... I just find building your own speakers with readily available parts like I show above is no cheaper than buying new .... And then after you put the sub together, you really don't even know if it is even going to sound all that great.
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post #4 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 06:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flt Simulation View Post

I really don't need dual opposed drivers like the Epik Legend has ... I was just using the Legend as an example of a quality sub in the $500 range.

The only reason I even started this thread was to say that building a sub from parts available from companies like Parts Express is no cheaper than buying a brand new sub from a manufacturer with proven performance.

I am not at all against DIY ... I just find building your own speakers with readily available parts like I show above is no cheaper than buying new .... And then after you put the sub together, you really don't even know if it is even going to sound all that great.

It's a sub. If it has a flat response and low distortion, it will sound good, and modeling software gives very, very good predictions of whether a design will be flat and low or not. That problem has been solved for some time.

Besides, you're not comparing commercial to DIY, you're comparing a completed commercial product to a set of commercial components.

Put another way, assembling isn't the same as building.

And finally, DIY is for the 2% lunatic fringe. Nobody goes DIY to build a single 12" sub for their house -- that's car stuff. As was said, it's for REFERENCE output. Multiple large drivers and big power. Wall-shaking, and that's not a figure of speech.

When you start dealing with big displacement, you start dealing with big dollars if you're buying retail, but if you have a saw and can work the software and go from flat sheets of plywood to finished systems, you can save some serious scratch.

Really, for what you're looking to accomplish and the limitations you have to work with, retail is appropriate, and there's nothing wrong with that. Conversely, DIY is less appropriate for your application, and that's not an indictment of DIY in general.
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post #5 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 06:50 AM - Thread Starter
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moosifee ...

Great explanation. Personally, I am not against DIY at all. I just had some idea that buying the parts and assembling them myself would be cheaper that buying a ready made powered sub ... but I was wrong.

Of course, if I had a table saw and some other woodworking tools, I could probably save some money vs paying $234 for that Parts Express 3.0 cu. ft box that I would need to put together with screws ... and that "ready to assemble" Dayton box I listed above more than likely would not look all that nicely finished when I was done screwing it together anyway.
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post #6 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 07:20 AM
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That cabinet is almost half of your diy costs, and is one area where diy saves money. IF you already have the tools (or access to some). DIY really gets you more 'bang for your buck', and that bang gets bigger as the costs involved go up. In your price range, it seems the gap has narrowed, thanks to China.

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post #7 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 07:42 AM
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DIY in my mind involves something other than simply twisting a screw driver.

How about this:

Two Infinity Reference 1262W's wired for 2 Ohm at $62/per shipped free Amazon Prime.

Crown XLS 1000 Drive Core (550 WPC at 2 Ohm) and includes its own X-Over (high and low pass) for $299. Sign up for Guitar Centers email service and wait for a 15% coupon and get the Crown for $250

$80 in MDF.

$10 in terminal cups

$20 in paint and primer

$10 in glue and screws

65 Liters sealed cabinet (2.5 cubic feet).

Total: $553 w/o coupon ($508 with)

Pay Lowes/HD whom ever to cut the box. Use 3" by .75 spanners (made out of PLY) to brace the cabinet (one in each direction).

An audiophile likes to talk about how much they spent and how good it sounds.

A DIY'er likes to talk about how little they spent and how good it sounds.

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post #8 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 07:54 AM
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Of course, there are other reasons to go DIY. Personally, I like being able to point to my subs and tell people, "I did that myself." That's about 80% of the reason I do it right there.


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post #9 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 08:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Oklahoma Wolf View Post

Of course, there are other reasons to go DIY. Personally, I like being able to point to my subs and tell people, "I did that myself." That's about 80% of the reason I do it right there.

+1 when people say "YOU BUILT ALL THIS?" I love to smile and say, yep, I kinda know what im doing sometimes

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post #10 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 08:26 AM
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The reason I just started our diy subwoofer project is because of the cost of an already assembled cabinet. In my area I can get a 4' x 8' piece of 3/4" mdf for $30. I already have the tools. Add some cloth and grill guides to make a grill and it comes to around $40. I also get to control the size depending on the tune that I want, and control the shape.

If you make your own enclosure, that takes almost $200 off of the cost. You could buy a cheap table saw and still save money, plus you end up with a table saw

edit: quick pricing of our project

$170 15" Dayton HF

$170 Bash 300 amp

$50 enclosure construction materials (ported 10ft^3 enclosure, around 7.5ft^3 internal after bracing and what-not)

I'm a noob at this, but I am pretty sure you can't buy a retail subwoofer for just under $400 that will sound as good as this will when it's done.
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post #11 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 08:37 AM
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OP'r , i sent u a PM


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post #12 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 09:15 AM
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even with my cinema f-20 sub resting at the higher end of the build-cost spectrum for that model (~$700 all in), it's still around $1200 less than the cost of a comparable commercial product.

I think the biggest cost savings are found when you look at the larger output speakers.
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post #13 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 09:27 AM
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diy highest return starts at about $1,000.00.
ipr3000dsp
2 jbl w15gti.

thats a little bit over 1000 but you get dsp and about 800w rms per sub.
you just build your own boxes or parts express boxes will cost you more, but you are in the $1000s per sub comercial subs.
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post #14 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 09:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thaddeussmith View Post

I think the biggest cost savings are found when you look at the larger output speakers.

nope... size don't matter...
the biggest cost savings are when you actually Do It Yourself....
$234 for a pre-made box?

to be honest, I did buy PE boxes for my dual 15" Rythmik's... but that is just because I got lazy and impatient...

NOTE: As one wise professional something once stated, I am ignorant & childish, with a mindset comparable to 9/11 troofers and wackjob conspiracy theorists. so don't take anything I say as advice...
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post #15 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beastaudio View Post

+1 when people say "YOU BUILT ALL THIS?" I love to smile and say, yep, I kinda know what im doing sometimes

Werd.

Buying a pre-built speaker/subwoofer is not anywhere as rewarding.

True, at the very bottom end, the priceerformance is getting pretty close these days. Step it up a notch or two and you'll see that DIY is the way to go for high end performance for the dollar.


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post #16 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 10:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thaddeussmith View Post

even with my cinema f-20 sub resting at the higher end of the build-cost spectrum for that model (~$700 all in), it's still around $1200 less than the cost of a comparable commercial product.

I think the biggest cost savings are found when you look at the larger output speakers.

Agreed. There are a lot of good low cost subwoofers out there if you are not really "into" DIY.

On the high-end, things are MUCH different. I'm not "into" DIY, but there is NO WAY I could afford a commercial subwoofer that can do what my DIY sub does. I spent under $2000 on my Infinite Baffle in-floor subs. They DESTROY any commercial subs at that price point and much higher. The ability to move 28 Liters of air is something you are just not going to find easily/cheaply in the commercial realm.
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post #17 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 10:20 AM
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The beauty of DIY really starts to show once you have a few components you can reuse too. Say you did have tools you could use to build a box. That would make that $234 box cost about $40 for you. Now say you had an amp from an old project you could reuse. Then you see a design on the forum you'd like to try out. Now you're out the cost of a driver and wood to build something new and most likely louder than what you had. Plus then there's the whole I did it myself thing. That's always cool too.

Starting out from scratch you really can not do better than building one of lilmike's Cinema F20's even if you have to buy everything off the shelf for it. You can do it for about $500 and to buy something commercially you would need to spend about $2000 to get something that would compare to it. You can get the big rips done at Lowe's pretty cheaply and either buy a cheap circular saw to finish it or look for someone that can loan you one for a few weekends. It's pretty easy to build and the sound is amazing.

There's a budget DIY out there that will knock your socks off. You just have to look for it and be patient, and then figure out a way to build it. Buying everything off the shelf is not DIY.
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post #18 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 10:34 AM
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Elemental Designs has a ported box for 12" ers going for $65 + shipping.
http://www.edesignaudio.com/product_...roducts_id=905

Erich also has flat pack sub boxes coming. They should be less then the P.E. box.
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...1403689&page=4
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post #19 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Flt Simulation View Post

I was looking into purchasing a powered sub for my 2-channel audio only home setup. There are some very good powered 12" subs in the $500-$600 range:

Epik Legend .............$ 499
HSU VTF-2 mk4..-.....$ 519
Outlaw LFM-1 Plus.....$ 499
Rhythmik FV-12........$ 549
SVS SB-12......-........$ 599

So, I thought, I wonder if I could build a DIY sub myself that would be somewhat equal to these subs I list above. And at the same time, I could save some money by putting it together myself. I would be looking for a good quality 12" driver, an amp in the 250 w RMS range, and a box of 3.0 cu. ft interior size.

I would need to find a box that has the panels pre-cut to size already, since I don't have any woodworking power tools.

So I picked parts from the Parts Express website (these are all Dayton Audio parts):

Cabinet
Model #: SWC3-CH
Type Enclosure: Construct as a Sealed Unit
Internal Volume: 85 Liters (3.0 cu. ft)
Finish: Cherry Veneer
Dimensions: 19" x 19" x 18"
Weight: 52 Lb.
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=302-845
Price: $ 234


Ampifier
Model #: SPA250
Type: Mono, Class AB
Power: 250 w RMS
Damping Factor: 114 @ 100 Hz
Signal / Noise Ratio: 110 dB
Adjustable Low-Pass Filter: 40 Hz - 180 Hz
Phase Select: 0 - 180º
Adjustable Gain
Weight: 13 Lb.
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=300-803
Price: $ 120


Sub Driver
Series: Reference HF
Model #: RSS315HF-8
Cone Size: 12
Nominal Impedance: 8 ohms
Freq. Range: 25 - 1,500 Hz
Sensitivity: 85 dB
Vas: 2.70 cu. ft
Qms: 2.94
Qts: 0.53
Lightweight Anodized Aluminum Cone for Rigidity and Lower Moving Mass
Triple Shorting Ring Motor for Ultra-Low Distortion
Weight: 25 Lb.
http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=295-445
Price: $ 149


TOTAL PRICE: $ 503
________________________________


Well, so much for putting this together myself and saving any money. The price would be basically the same as buying a new Epik Legend with dual side-firing 12" drivers for $499. http://www.epiksubwoofers.com/legend.html

And now I am wondering if my home-brew "Dayton" sub would have the same quality of sound of the Epik Legend, or any of the other subs I listed above?

Don't seem to be much of a bargain (or a good idea) to me anymore. Just wondering how any of you folks feel about this?

Ron,

As has been said already:
  • find a way to get enclosure cheaper.
  • Ask someone to model/design it for you since you don't have the experience.
  • The Reference driver might not be the best choice for your design goal/budget/form factor
  • Some of the designs you mention are ported and really different designs from a sealed single 12". At least dual 12s sealed in that size to match up in output.....
  • I would suggest against a single sealed 12' unless your playing really low spls b/c IMO a single 12 just aint gonna cut it, even an unobtanium one.
  • More clearly define your goals for the sub, In other words, how much extension and output do you want?
  • How important is finish/appearance? Commercial grade finishes can be pricey and time consuming.....
  • Do you enjoy this kinda thing?
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post #20 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thaddeussmith View Post

even with my cinema f-20 sub resting at the higher end of the build-cost spectrum for that model (~$700 all in), it's still around $1200 less than the cost of a comparable commercial product.

I think the biggest cost savings are found when you look at the larger output speakers.


Disagreed

Having heard a pair of f20 subs and a whole lot of commercial and I.D. Sub offerings there is no way the f20 is worth anywhere near 2k.

"Without subs it's just background music - with subs it's the main event!"

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post #21 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 11:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank's eveyone for all the info.

Well, I have a friend that has a table saw I can use when I ever actually get serious about adding a powered sub to my audio system.

I might just spend time looking at the various diagrams found here. Then buy some 3/4" MDF at Lowes, and get started. The key is for me is to spend some time and research this real good so I don't make mistakes on the wrong box size for a given size and type of driver. It would be a real letdown if I used quality parts, but made a sub enclosure that was the wrong size and design = bad sound when I ws finished with construction.

It would also be interested in learning the in's and out's of applying wood veneer to a DIY sub box. Done properly, that would really make the final outcome just that much nicer.

Again, thank's for the info everyone.

P.S.... kgveteran, I replied to the PM you sent me.

Ron,
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post #22 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 11:20 AM
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I have to agree with feeling good about being able to say you built it yourself!
It makes it all worth it in the end.
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post #23 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 11:27 AM
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diy becomes the better solution the further off the beaten path that you want to go.

a 12" driver in a smallish enclosure with a plate amp is a common build.

if you want to have the best bang for the buck, compromise on size and build something large. i don't recall seeing a large horn the last time that i was in a best buy. :-)

Listen. It's All Good.
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post #24 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 11:27 AM
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DIY also affords you the ability to build something that is off the beaten path - you don't have to be concerned whether what you envision is commercially viable for a specific target market, just that its what you want. For example, Gjallerhorn - try shipping one of those. And/or for the learning experience.


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post #25 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 11:35 AM
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Off the beaten path is definatley a good point, My setup is completely off the beaten path lol!
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post #26 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NicksHitachi View Post



** Some of the designs you mention are ported and really different designs from a sealed single 12". At least dual 12s sealed in that size to match up in output.

** I would suggest against a single sealed 12' unless your playing really low spls b/c IMO a single 12 just aint gonna cut it, even an unobtanium one.

** Do you enjoy this kinda thing?

Again, my audio system is 2-channel audio only. No home theater. No movies.

Music sourse is CD, streaming internet, and FLAC/MP3 music from my laptop hard drive.

Power comes from a pair of Onkyo 100 w/ch @ 8 ohms power amps. One amp driving the front tower speakers and the other power amp driving the rears bookshelf speakers.

Fronts are Polk RTi A7 floorstanders, and the rears are Polk RTi A4 (all 8 ohm speakers).

The sub will be used just to add a little more low-end to the music ... not to overpower it, and nothing "boomy".

I had read on some various internet sites that a sealed powered sub would give a little "tighter" bass and be more suited to 2-channel audio only, while a ported sub generally lends itself to home theater whereass you want to "feel' the explosions and the rumble of the HD movies sound effects.

I don't want any rumble, and I could care less about feeling the bass in my chest ... just want a little extra bass to round out the music.

BTW ... I don't listen to hip hop or trance. Basically easy listening, 60s-70s pop, and old country / western swing (ala Alsleep at the Wheel, etc).

As for the last question in the post made by NicksHitachi ... I would enjoy taking my time a building a sub someday. The main importance to me is to spend time and make damned sure I have a design that will work properly with the components I plan on useing, and a design that will accomplish the goal I have in mind as to what I really want this sub to do for me. Additionally, I want to make a sub that's pleasing to the eye .. not just some box that looks like some kid down the street nailed together without any idea as to what he was doing.

Again, I would also like to find out everthing I can about applying wood veneer.

If applying wood veneer to a speaker box is pretty much out of the question for an novice builder, then I can always just order a comercially made sub and be done with it.

Ron,
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post #27 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 11:46 AM
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If you're two channel only, why do you have fronts and rears?

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Originally Posted by Flt Simulation View Post

If applying wood veneer to a speaker box is pretty much out of the question for an novice builder

Its not easy - but you can just use hardwood veneered plywood (more expensive though of course), and then you don't have to do the veneering yourself.


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post #28 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 11:55 AM - Thread Starter
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You know, I had a sub that I bought about 8 years ago that I really wish I hadn't gave away to a friend prior to me leaving for the Philippines.

It was a Rava sub made by Adire Audio. They are out of business now. This was a great sub for 2-channel music when used with moderatly priced audio system ... I sure wish I had not given it away!

I also gave away a mint condition Pioneer Spec 1 pre-amp and a Pioneer Spec 2 power amp.

Not a bright idea, but I just had nowhere to store these while I lived in the Philippines for 5 years.





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post #29 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 12:02 PM
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A sealed sub will give a tighter bass response and usually a smoother rolloff in frequency. That kind of music you a referencing definatly has a tighter bass characteristic anyway. In my opinion you would be better off with a sealed enclosue. If you are going to build use a good enlosure modeling program such as WinIsd. I cant answer the wood venner question, never done it.
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post #30 of 43 Old 04-30-2012, 12:03 PM - Thread Starter
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Brad ... I get asked why I use front and rear speakers for 2-channel music often.

Well, I did a A - A/B speaker test. Listen to just the fronts, and then switch to both fronts and rears ... To me, the music just sounds more "spacious" and "open" (for lack of better words) than when listening to music comeing from just in front of you.

Here is my audio system in the Philippines ... Just a moderate system. Nothing real special at all, but the sound is great! Looking closely, you can see both the front and rear Mission (UK) speakers in the photo. Well, you can see one of the rear speakers anyway. The rears are mounted on 30" speaker stands.

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