Epik 15" DIY Slot Ported Subwoofer - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 49 Old 06-08-2012, 06:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Background:

I've been itching to build a DIY subwoofer since I purchased the Epik Valor in early 2008. The Valor is a quality sealed 15" design with a 350W BASH amp. It has served me well since I bought it but I've always been interested in the extra output and extension offered by a ported design. I had wanted the Knight at the time of purchase but the wife shot it down due to size (now it's time for payback smile.gif). I started to investigate purchasing a new driver and amp, thinking I might sell the Valor to subsidize the build.

Ultimately, I decided to design and build a new ported enclosure and transplant both the Epik 15" driver and amp into the box. As some may recall, Chad used to sell the Valor, Knight, and Caliber models in different enclosures but using the same driver and amp combo. So, in effect, what I am building is equivalent to something between the Knight/Caliber in size and tuning frequency. I e-mailed Chad my plans (including the below Sketchup drawing) and he blessed the project saying the performance should be excellent. While he didn't provide the T/S parameters of the driver, he did indicate the driver has 27-29mm Xmax (one-way) and the plate amp has a HPF at 20Hz as well as a boost at 20Hz.

The Valor is currently used as an end table at the end of my couch. The new ported enclosure will occupy the same space and has been sized to fit in this spot.

Here is a pic of the Valor in its current home:
452

Here is a pic of the 15" Valor driver:
450

Enclosure Specs:

Driver: Epik 15" Valor/Knight/Caliber
Box Dimensions: 20"W x 24"H x 28"D
Port Dimensions: 12"W x 2.5"H x 35"D
Box Volume: 5.1 cf
Tuning Frequency: 20Hz
Amp: 350W plate amp (HPF @20Hz)

For comparison, the Valor enclosure is 16.5"W x 22"H x 21"D.

Here is the Sketchup drawing I used to create the cutsheet:
450

Build Plan:

The box will be made from MDF. The current plan is to use wood veneer to finish it with quarter-round around the front face. I'm not decided yet on the wood type but would like to stain match my TV stand.

I'll be gluing and screwing (I have minimal clamps and am impatient) using square-head trim screws as recommended in one of the sticky threads here.

I've made all the cuts and did a dry fit this week, all looks good. Panel cuts were made with a table saw. Circle cuts and framing cuts were made with a jigsaw.

Here are a couple of pics of the dry fit:
451

450


If all goes well, assembly of the box should begin this weekend. smile.gif

Steve
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post #2 of 49 Old 06-08-2012, 08:26 PM
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Looks really nice so far! Sick bracing pattern, i really like how you planned that out..

What is your plans on finishes?

Anxious to hear your impressions going from sealed to ported..

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post #3 of 49 Old 06-09-2012, 04:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Audiophile34 View Post

What is your plans on finishes?.

Wood veneer stained to match the TV stand.

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Anxious to hear your impressions going from sealed to ported..

Me too. smile.gif
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post #4 of 49 Old 06-10-2012, 06:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Only had a couple of hours of spare time today to start assembly, I'd say I'm approximately 1/3 complete.

First glued and screwed some practice pieces to get a feel for how much glue (Titebond) to use and how easily the screws would bite/recess. Started with too much glue, lots of dripping down sides. Settled on a practice of laying a bead and then gently dragging my finger across to evenly coat surface. Kept a wet rag handy to clean up any excess after each piece was secured. Used a handful of clamps (2 - 3' and 2-1' I picked up at Harbor Freight for cheap) to secure the work while I pre-drilled and inserted screws, the process worked very well.

As of now the L-port is fully built and secured to the bottom of the sub-woofer frame, and 1 side is attached to the bottom as well. In my haste I forgot I wanted to paint the port surfaces near the opening black before securing ... oh well I'll tackle that next. Also will add a bead of silicone to all internal seams while I still have access to them. I must say the square-head trim screws are a cinch to work with, don't slip and easily recess themselves, no need for countersinking.

Was so pressed for time today, no new pics taken, but I'll take some on the next building session. Hopefully prior to next weekend, but weekdays are always a crap-shoot for personal projects.

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post #5 of 49 Old 06-22-2012, 05:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Had the day off and made a bit more progress. Port is painted black using Rust-Oleum flat black spray paint. Front inner baffle and rear wall are now also installed. Using silicone to seal all inner seams.

Here are some pics of the current progress.

Side, back, and port installed ...
450

Close-up of trim screw to show nice natural recess ...
461

Side shot with front inner baffle, side, rear, and port installed ...
450

And one more for good measure ...
450

Had to stop today because went to install quarter round at top of inner port opening and realized I only have 1/2" quarter round in the garage, need 3/4". Will have to make a run to the store tomorrow to pick it up.
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post #6 of 49 Old 06-23-2012, 09:10 AM
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post #7 of 49 Old 06-23-2012, 06:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Here are some new pics of today's progress ...

Quarter-round added to port opening ...
450

Internal bracing assembled and installed ...
450

Installation of front baffle ...
450

Top view of current state of sub ...
450


Only pieces left to secure are the subwoofer top and quarter-round around the front face. Then wood fill and sand all screw holes, round-over the front port opening for flare, install driver and amp and give it a test run. Next build session will probably be next weekend, tomorrow is booked.
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post #8 of 49 Old 06-24-2012, 06:16 AM
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Did you use a router to fabricate that bracing?

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post #9 of 49 Old 06-24-2012, 06:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fschris View Post

Did you use a router to fabricate that bracing?

No router ... bracing panels were cut full-size with a table saw. Then cutouts were done with a hole saw and hand-held jigsaw. You can see in the pictures where the hole saw burned the MDF pretty good (black MDF in bends).
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post #10 of 49 Old 06-29-2012, 07:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Decided to put a little thought tonight into the grill design as I hadn't really considered it yet. Compared a round driver cover vs rectangular, modeled both in Sketchup, and both the wife and I preferred the rectangular.

The plan is to cut an MDF frame covered in black speaker cloth and mounted by magnetic grill guides (which will lay under the wood veneer). I may do a soft round-over or bevel on the front of the frame for style. The magnetic grill guides and speaker cloth should arrive tomorrow from Parts Express.

The finished result should look something like this ...

450
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post #11 of 49 Old 06-30-2012, 08:21 AM
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i do need to question the port design. with that much air moving, does the 90degree turn cause turbulence in the air flow? would making that transition via 2 45's help?
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post #12 of 49 Old 06-30-2012, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denon_Kid View Post

i do need to question the port design. with that much air moving, does the 90degree turn cause turbulence in the air flow? would making that transition via 2 45's help?

Based on WinISD simulations on mulitple 15" drivers in this enclosure with the 350W amp, I expect maximum port velocity will be under 20 m/s at all times, which should be pretty comfortable. Even so, many DIY subwoofers have been built with slot ports with 1 or more folds/bends in order to fit within the enclosure, without issues with port turbulence.

Certainly, 45 deg bends can help minimize the potential for turbulence. In fact I rounded over the interior bend of the port to minimize potential turbulence and was still debating if I would install a piece of cove molding at the back of the port bend for the same purpose.
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post #13 of 49 Old 06-30-2012, 10:31 AM
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Beauty wood work with the hole saw/jig saw for the bracing! Awesome!

In terms of LFE, size does matter!
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post #14 of 49 Old 06-30-2012, 10:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Favelle View Post

Beauty wood work with the hole saw/jig saw for the bracing! Awesome!

Thanks.

I also used a smaller diameter spade bit for the tighter radius bends (like the triangle cutouts). Basically, wherever you see black burned MDF, that was the hole saw, and if no burning, that was the spade bit.

Pic of a spade bit ...

426
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post #15 of 49 Old 07-02-2012, 03:19 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dboff01 View Post

Thanks.
I also used a smaller diameter spade bit for the tighter radius bends (like the triangle cutouts). Basically, wherever you see black burned MDF, that was the hole saw, and if no burning, that was the spade bit.
Pic of a spade bit ...
426

I'm just thinking of all the wicked bracing design cut-outs that just made possible for me.... biggrin.gif!!! Reminds me of that old doodling-circles art toy!

In terms of LFE, size does matter!
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post #16 of 49 Old 07-07-2012, 05:32 PM - Thread Starter
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A few more hours of work on the subwoofer today. Box assembly is basically complete, top has been added, 1/4 round added to front face, front port has been flared, screw holes filled twice with wood filler.

If I can get some time in tomorrow, I should be able to fire it up. I do need to add some additional length to the speaker cable from the Epik amp, as my subwoofer is 8" deeper than the Valor cabinet, and there isn't enough slack.

Here are some pics of today's progress.

Top added to box ...
450

All inner seams sealed with silicone ...
450

Quarter-round added to front face ...
450

All screw holes filled once with wood filler ...
450

Front port flared with 1/2" round-over bit ...
450

And all screw holes filled a 2nd time and sanded ...
450
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post #17 of 49 Old 07-07-2012, 05:47 PM
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I like the idea of the quarter round. Nice.
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post #18 of 49 Old 07-08-2012, 06:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Finally got a chance to fire it up tonight. First impressions are good, however my 3 yr old was already asleep by the time I turned it on, so I couldn't really push it. I listened to Nemo's Darla scene, Iron Man Escape from Cave scene, and Polar Express Train Arrival scene.

Ran into a problem today in that my outer circle cutout was a bit too tight and not quite perfectly round as I used a hand-held router for the cutout. That required almost an hour of using a grinding bit on my drill to open the hole a bit more so the driver would drop in. Lesson learned is next time I'll take the time to create a proper jig and use the router for the circle cuts.

I figure I'll leave the sub in the room for a little while, measure the frequency response, to make sure its performing as I'd expected. Then I'll continue with the finishing, including building the grill cover, and installing the wood veneer.

The wife is a little peeved with the size increase. mad.gif I told her she's only noticing because its not properly finished yet. smile.gif

Here are some more pics of today's progress.

Did a bit more work properly finishing the port opening ...
450

Painted the back black to minimize attention (I won't be finishing the back with veneer) ...
450

Another pic of the face ...
450

Size comparison between my ported enclosure and the original Valor enclosure ...
450

A 2nd size comparison ...
450

A pic of the sub in its final resting place ...
640
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post #19 of 49 Old 07-10-2012, 06:50 PM - Thread Starter
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Performed some more spirited listening sessions, including Master and Commander First Battle scene and War of the Worlds Pods Emerging scene. biggrin.gif

To my ears, output is significantly improved down low from sealed enclosure. Also listened to some bass heavy music (primarily through MOG streaming from Roku player) and didn't notice any degradation in sound quality as some have indicated when going to a ported alignment.

I also performed a frequency sweep (14 Hz to 160 Hz) using a test tones CD I created and my Radio Shack analog SPL meter. I don't have a laptop with proper soundcard capability for REW. frown.gif I sat in the primary listening position in the room which is about 10 ft from the subwoofer for all measurements. I set my receiver volume to -30 and manually recorded the measured SPL for each tone, adjusting the frequency range on the meter as necessary. I didn't disable the main speakers and my receiver crossover is set for 80 Hz. I fed the raw values into the Excel spreadsheet from HTS (with meter correction factors included) and took the corrected values and pasted them into a new clean spreadsheet for graphing. I think I did all that right. eek.gif

Here are the results:
362

I see some good and some bad here. It looks like I'm getting good output down to under 20 Hz which is where the HPF is. This is the primary benefit of ported over sealed and the reason I wanted to do this project. The bad is it is not a terribly flat response, highlighted by the peak at 40 Hz. I don't currently have any subwoofer EQ capability and the position of the sub is fixed based on furniture layout. Perhaps a MiniDSP is in my future. smile.gif
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post #20 of 49 Old 01-31-2014, 08:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Well over a year later and a 2nd child added to the household, I have some progress to report on the finishing of this project.

I created the grill from MDF and Parts-Express black speaker cloth. My plan to use the Neodymium magnets to hold the grill in place is a FAIL. I drilled a small recess to hold the magnets in both the grill cover frame and body of the subwoofer, dropped the magnets in the hole sitting in a pool of glue, then wood filled a small layer over the top of each magnet. When all is said and done, there isn't enough magnetic force to prevent the grill from shearing down the face of the subwoofer. No big deal, I'll simply buy standard ball/socket type grill mounts to ensure the cover stays in place. Perhaps if I used 8 pairs of magnets rather than 4, it would have been sufficient.

I also ordered a BASH 500S last week when went on sale at Parts-Express to add a little extra overhead above the 300W that came with the subwoofer. Plan is to modify the resistors for bass boost tomorrow. I am also planning to do a final sanding of the box this weekend prior to attach of maple paper backed veneer I've purchased. I'll attach the veneer via contact cement.

Also as Epik Subwoofer announced they are going out of business, they've published the T/S parameters of the Valor driver because they're selling off remaining stock. I am now able to simulate in WinISD the actual performance of this specific driver in my enclosure which I wasn't able to do before.

Attached is the basic before and after sim, before being the stock Valor sealed configuration and my new ported enclosure with 500W BASH amp. This gives a basic visual of the extra output I've gained by the project.

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post #21 of 49 Old 01-31-2014, 08:52 PM
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Great job. That's a good looking sub
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post #22 of 49 Old 02-01-2014, 06:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Great job. That's a good looking sub

Let's hope it still looks good after I'm done veneering it. smile.gif
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post #23 of 49 Old 02-08-2014, 05:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I modified the BASH amp HPF/Boost resistors last weekend as planned.

Got a late start today so only managed to cut the 4 veneer panels to size (top, sides, face) and attach the top via contact cement.

Here's a pic:




Also one with the grill shown:




Tomorrow I've got a kiddie party to attend so this weekend may be done for subwoofer progress ...the saga continues.
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post #24 of 49 Old 02-09-2014, 05:59 AM
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What does the modded HPF on the Bash 500 watt amp come out to? Is it under 20hz?

Also, does that veneer that you are using come in a roll? Or does it come in sheets? How are you doing the edges in order to make it look right? Is it thin enough that you won't see the edges?
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post #25 of 49 Old 02-09-2014, 06:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martycool007 View Post

What does the modded HPF on the Bash 500 watt amp come out to? Is it under 20hz?

Also, does that veneer that you are using come in a roll? Or does it come in sheets? How are you doing the edges in order to make it look right? Is it thin enough that you won't see the edges?

I've got the BASH 500 set for HPF of 19.1 with 4 dB bass boost. That setting is reflected in the WinISD plot above.

Veneer is maple with 10 mil paper backing, came in 4' x 10' roll for $70 from local wood/paneling store. Planning to use flush trim router bit on edges to clean up overhang. I might use painters tape on the top surface to prevent potential tear-away.
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post #26 of 49 Old 02-09-2014, 05:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Added one side today and flush trimmed both top and side. Tried flush trim router bit to remove excess material and didn't like results, left a more jagged edge than I'd expected. Achieved better results by flipping subwoofer over and using utility knife to cut away excess, flip back over and sand gently.

So far I'm happy with the results since I've never done this before. Some things I've learned are adding the quarter round to the face before veneer was a mistake. I now have to perfectly mate the quarter round to the veneer sheets I'm adding which is a pain. Also, my pre-painted black box is smearing when veneering/sanding, making it a challenge to keep the light maple veneer clean.


A pic waiting for contact cement to dry ...




... and two sides installed and trimmed

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post #27 of 49 Old 02-10-2014, 06:42 AM
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I was wondering how you were going to deal with veneering over those round overs? How did you end up getting the veneer to look right over the round overs?

If your enclosure did not have round overs, would it be best to use a flush trim bit in a router, or just use a razer knife to cut the edges?
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post #28 of 49 Old 02-10-2014, 07:19 AM
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Woe! what a nice job.. man that's looking good!

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post #29 of 49 Old 02-10-2014, 08:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Martycool007 View Post

I was wondering how you were going to deal with veneering over those round overs? How did you end up getting the veneer to look right over the round overs?

If your enclosure did not have round overs, would it be best to use a flush trim bit in a router, or just use a razer knife to cut the edges?

Won't be any veneering over rounded surfaces. Veneer is laying flat adjacent to front face quarter round molding (maple wood) which will be stained the same as the veneer. The front sheet of veneer will be cutout around the port opening (which is rounded over) as shown in the Sketchup drawing earlier in this thread.

As indicated, my flush trim router bit cut a bit sloppy for my tastes on the straight cuts (no roundovers involved). May be that my bit is older and not so sharp. I may purchase a new bit because I can't do the flip-over and razor trim trick with the circle cutout for the driver.
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post #30 of 49 Old 02-10-2014, 08:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Woe! what a nice job.. man that's looking good!

Thanks. The real trick is going to be the front face veneer attach. I'm still trying to figure out my plan of attack for that one.
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