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post #1 of 82 Old 07-17-2014, 10:13 AM - Thread Starter
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Suggestions for DIY Sub(s) for ~$2,000 'all in cost'

Hello All,

I am overwhelmed by all of the DIY projects & options, and hoping to get some help for Sub's for the Home Theater I am working on.

I was initially planning to get 2 HSU VTF 15s, so, roughly $2,000. I would like to stay right in that range, but am now very strongly considering the DIY option.

My room is ~ 17.5 x 22.5 x 8', roughly 3100 cubic feet. This will be almost entirely for Movie (and a bit of TV) watching and effectively not for 'music listening'. I am looking largely for best effect in 'action' type movies.

My 'other' speakers are Klipsch KL-7800-THX and Klipsch KS-7800-THX speakers (7 channels, although, I may do 2 sets of sides), 'in wall' speakers for 9 total speakers. This isn't intended to be a discussion about that speaker selection as the boat has sailed on that one... it is just to provide the info for consideration of the range of frequencies these go down to.

The Sub-woofers will need to be in the front of my room, but I have a fair amount of room. I want the 'box(s)' to be no taller than 27", but it could be as deep as ~ 30", an could be as long as 8' (i.e., meaning, I could either do a single very large box, or could do 2, MartyCube size boxes), or even 4 smaller 2x2 type boxes if that is my best option. If needed, I could likely even stretch it longer than 8' wide (definitely no longer than 130" wide, which is my likely screen width). My wife would prefer to have the faces of the subs either going towards to side wall(s), or at least 'covered'.

I was originally thinking the 'active subs'/plate amps, but from most of what i have read, it seems like maybe the 'passive' subs are the best way to go. My initial thinking is maybe an iNuke 6000, but that is a largely uninformed thought (it was suggested by someone).

I am 'wiring' for possible future 'in column' subs, but they would be limited to an in-wall depth type of sub. I would prefer starting out with a sub configuration that delivers a good 'range' to start with and hopefully not have to use those later, but always an option.

I have yet to run my electric or speaker wire... I'll be using 12/2 speaker wire, and running RG-6 to a few spots as well in case I go the active sub route. I am planning on a 20 amp dedicated circuit to the AV closet, but now may go with a 30 amp circuit.

I am willing to make my own boxes, although, would push the budget up a little for pre-cut boxes.

I also happen to live ~ 15 miles from Parts-Express, so, if picking up material there saves me on shipping, that is definitely an option for me.

In terms of ported vs sealed, I honestly don't have a clue... whatever gives the 'best sound' for a Home Theater application.

Help Please!!

Kevin
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post #2 of 82 Old 07-17-2014, 11:31 AM
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Two large ported UXL-18's (2'x2'x4') powered by an inuke 6000dsp would be my vote.

The "marty cube" you refer to IS 2x2x2. The "marty sub" is 2x2x4
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post #3 of 82 Old 07-17-2014, 11:43 AM
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Two big Marty's are always a party
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post #4 of 82 Old 07-17-2014, 11:47 AM - Thread Starter
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I just saw the thread on the "Marty xxxxx " name vs "Ported Enclosure"... glad you guys understand what I am talking about!! Although with the Marty Party line, I might stick with it :-)
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post #5 of 82 Old 07-17-2014, 11:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassment View Post
Two large ported UXL-18's (2'x2'x4') powered by an inuke 6000dsp would be my vote.

The "marty cube" you refer to IS 2x2x2. The "marty sub" is 2x2x4
For $2000 you can do 4 actually, dual 18" in each cabinet. Or 4 seperate cabs.

The entire "marty" concept is just silly. Ported subwoofer is and will be a ported subwoofer long after the "marty" fad runs it coarse. The "marty" concept is simple: Use simple dimensions that make efficient use of wood (24" and 48" sizes) and leads itself to simple contruction without much cutting. Home Depot and Lowes and hardware stores actually sell smaller 2'x4' "handi panels" of MDF so the idea was non DIY people can use that stuff (at a slightly higher cost) and the design kept the skill and tools required in check.

If you are somewhat handy (you are building a DIY theater right?) and you have a saw, router and some clamps there is little reason you need to go "marty". Making a 23" cubed sub, or one that is 40" instead of 48" isn't a big deal. You can design and tweak your own to work as you want and fit your intended space well. By making difference dimensions longer or shorter you can control the tune, and output, response profile, and all that too. It's not super hard to design a box once you get a crash coarse on port tuning with WINISD pro. The only basic concept is you build it strong (brace it well every 12" as a rule) and you make it air tight. It's not rocket science.

Ported subs offer you about +12db at port tune. This is a lot compared to a sealed sub. Tuning the sub low (like 17hz) often provides just enough boost at the falling off low frequency to bring that up to be level with the higher frequencies. Ideally you want a sub that digs down deep and low- but is relatively flat in response. That way you get smooth even bass at all frequencies, and not peaky or voids in different frequencies.

I'd suggest a slightly bigger box volume since you have the space, and tune it a tad lower for extra extension (16hz or 17hz) that should get you usable output all the way to 10hz. Doing this means it won't be a "marty" but rather just a ported sub, but certainly you can keep with the marty sub ideals of simple construction, high value performance, and good bracing.

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post #6 of 82 Old 07-17-2014, 12:17 PM
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How for $2000.00 all-in can you buy wood, glue, drivers, wire, amps, and finish the boxes? 4 UXL's alone are over-budget...

I agree the "marty" concept thing is silly, I was just correcting his terms.
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post #7 of 82 Old 07-17-2014, 12:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmhvball View Post
I just started this thread in the DIY section...
Suggestions for DIY Sub(s) for ~$2,000 'all in cost'

I am not real educated on this, but had seen another one of your posts that talked tuning to 20hz or even 22 hz might be 'better' than tuning down to 14 hz... so, really, looking for kind of a best all around sub woofer plan.
Should I reply here or there? Does it matter?

Porting is a trade off. You gain additional output at "port tune" frequency but you then sacrifice output away from it, particularly below the port tune where your response drops more rapidly than sealed. So what you are doing is you are trading SPL output for frequency response, by raising your port tune you can often get a couple more decibels of SPL output and usually this boost can happen in the exciting parts of the bass region (25hz-60hz) where there is a lot of content in both movies and music. If you crave "loud" then the higher port tune is better. If you want to get kicked in the balls, then port a tad higher IMO. In real life the louder subwoofer is the more impressive one, there isn't much material under 20hz anyways.

The other side of the camp is the guys that don't listen too loud. This might be personal preference, or it might be because of disturbing others. In any event if you won't play it as loud as it goes, then sometimes it might make sense to tune a bit lower and grab that extra ULF (ultra low frequency) extension. You can't really hear below 20hz, but you can feel it at enough volume, so going a little lower lends itself to that infrasonic feeling. Other guys just buy Crowson transducers for that, which is probably more effective anyways.

You can port at 10hz and go way stupid low, or you can port at 30hz and go way stupid loud. Most professional PA and concert level subwoofers (think Metallica show) are horn loaded (even louder than ported) and they are tuned at 35hz or 40hz. They don't care about the 20hz stuff or under, they just need it loud in the exciting parts of the bass region. I think the lowest bass note is 31hz, (6 string bass tuned down half step ) so they don't need response at 15hz, they need tons of volume at 40hz. In these cases they sacrifice the extension down low for output.

No right or wrong answer. Some guys like loud. Some guys like low. Most guys want both. To get both you need to tune low, and then use additional and multiple subwoofers to get the "loud" part. You gain additional output every time you add more subs. That's how you get your cake and you get to eat it too.

In your case with $2000 to work with I'd suggest 4 of the UXL18 drivers in larger ported enclosures tuned to 16hz. You'll have plenty of low and plenty of loud. In comparison to the SVS sub you are considering these will slap it around, steal it's lunch money, and downright embarrass it. That would be a lot of bass. I'm not sure you have heard that much bass in a big space or inside a home before. You can always add more subs again in the future too

Ideally you want to keep all your ported subs tuned the same, because the phase varies at port tune. That's why you should also stick with either all sealed or all ported, because mixing them can be problematic from a calibration standpoint. So you should tune them all the same, it's usually easier to build the exact same thing a second, third or 4th time anyways. If you make sub boxes, do them all at the same time it won't take much longer to make a few more identical cuts. Much easier than building them one at a time.

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post #8 of 82 Old 07-17-2014, 12:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassment View Post
How for $2000.00 all-in can you buy wood, glue, drivers, wire, amps, and finish the boxes? 4 UXL's alone are over-budget...

I agree the "marty" concept thing is silly, I was just correcting his terms.
He's close. He could also do (4) double 18" boxes (8 drivers total) with the Stereo Integrity 18". That's about $1500 in drivers, and would come in under budget. 8 of those ported at 17hz would be formidable by any stretch of the word. Additional drivers have a nice way of evening themselves out and also providing additional extension. 4 boxes each with 2 of the 18" drivers would also allow him multiple locations and set up options so his end results at the Listening Position should be very good.

http://stereointegrity.com/index.php?id=60

$162 each + shipping ($25? $45? IDK) If you order 8 you can probably work something out with shipping so per driver it's reasonable.

Nice driver for the money. 8 of them ported low would be very nice. Nicer than SVS.

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post #9 of 82 Old 07-17-2014, 12:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, I am hoping to spend the ~$2000 on all the stuff, drivers, amp, wood, etc. associated with the enclosure...

The speaker wire from Amp to sub (and wire to provide power), is 'outside' that $2000 -although that is relatively a small amount if thinking 2 drivers. I guess it starts going up when thinking 8 drivers

I do have the tools/have access to tools (or won't include the tool cost in the $2,000). I haven't done any real wood work in the past, but a fair amount of cutting 4x8 material down to size. I hoped to figure out the sanding, painting, routing... If not, it will be dark in the theater anyway
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post #10 of 82 Old 07-17-2014, 12:42 PM
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Yes if he can do 8 SI, that would be the best, if he can fit it / wants 8 subs haha.

I don't think $2000.00 is anywhere near what is needed for 4 UXL's. Currently UXL-18 is 512 USD, so there's 2048 there already. Then easily 100 for wood, 20 for glue, he's going to need Two inuke 6000 dsp, that's another $400.00 x 2.

So just those things are pushing $3000.00, not including any finish on the boxes.


To stay under "$2000.00 all-in" He'd either have to go 6 SI 18's or 2 UXL-18's. 6 SI 18's would be a bit better than 2 UXL's, but cost a bit more and take up more space.
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post #11 of 82 Old 07-17-2014, 12:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmhvball View Post
Yes, I am hoping to spend the ~$2000 on all the stuff, drivers, amp, wood, etc. associated with the enclosure...

The speaker wire from Amp to sub (and wire to provide power), is 'outside' that $2000 -although that is relatively a small amount if thinking 2 drivers. I guess it starts going up when thinking 8 drivers

I do have the tools/have access to tools (or won't include the tool cost in the $2,000). I haven't done any real wood work in the past, but a fair amount of cutting 4x8 material down to size. I hoped to figure out the sanding, painting, routing... If not, it will be dark in the theater anyway
Easiest and probably cheapest thing is duratex. It's flat, textured black paint that is very popular on home theater speakers and subs.
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post #12 of 82 Old 07-17-2014, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
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If I went with the 6 or 8 SI's, would I then use a different amps? Not sure if that option passes the WAF test, but will at least test the waters :-)

What does the larger Cabinet do? allow for a lower Frequency?
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post #13 of 82 Old 07-17-2014, 01:23 PM - Thread Starter
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How would the Dayton Audio RS-S460HO-4 or Ultimax DVC compare to the SI 18" Drivers? I wouldn't have to pay freight on those ones, which would bring the cost more inline with each other.
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post #14 of 82 Old 07-17-2014, 01:33 PM
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You could get an inuke 3000dsp for each pair of SI 18, you would get the "SI 18 D4" version, which gives you a 2 ohm load.

So you'd need three inuke 3000 dsp for 6 SI 18, or you could do two inuke 6000dsp for 8 SI 18.

The SI is the best 18" driver in that price range. Best VALUE driver too.

The freight cost is just built into the cost of the Dayton's, you're not getting a "better deal" or anything.
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post #15 of 82 Old 07-17-2014, 01:45 PM - Thread Starter
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The freight cost is just built into the cost of the Dayton's, you're not getting a "better deal" or anything.
Thanks for the input... I didn't look that close, I didn't know that the 'freight' was included. I was thinking since I live 15 minutes away, I would avoid the freight... but if it is included, that doesn't do me much good!
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post #16 of 82 Old 07-17-2014, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kmhvball View Post
Yes, I am hoping to spend the ~$2000 on all the stuff, drivers, amp, wood, etc. associated with the enclosure...

The speaker wire from Amp to sub (and wire to provide power), is 'outside' that $2000 -although that is relatively a small amount if thinking 2 drivers. I guess it starts going up when thinking 8 drivers

I do have the tools/have access to tools (or won't include the tool cost in the $2,000). I haven't done any real wood work in the past, but a fair amount of cutting 4x8 material down to size. I hoped to figure out the sanding, painting, routing... If not, it will be dark in the theater anyway
Yeah you will new a few sheets of 3/4" MDF (35$ a sheet about). A few tubes of PL premium (you could use Tightbond or wood glue but PL premium is better) and a caulk gun. Tubes are like $5 or something, and go a long ways. More than one sub box. Probably 2 tubes for 4 subs. Perhaps 3 tubes. Let's just say $20 total and be conservative. You'll need screws ($5) and some weather stripping ($5) for sealing driver down. You also want some SPEAKON connectors ($5) and perhaps some rubber feet for the bottom of the box ($2). None of this is very significant in cost. The wood is the only thing you would feel and notice in relation to your budget.

The value is in your own sweat equity.

Duratex is a great idea. It's fairly expensive though ($50 gallon I think) but works awesome and rolls right on with a roller. Not much fuss there for finishing. If you wanted to just spray them black that works too. Cheaper, but less durable and attractive.

You could go all the way with piano black high gloss finish, but if you won't see these subs I would not bother. If you would see it you can even use Laminate or Vaneer coating, fancy wood finish, or anything else you wanted. Pretty simple to do that too. Finishing is up to you and your taste but unless you will see it I would take the easy path. Roll or spray on duratex and be done.

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post #17 of 82 Old 07-17-2014, 01:48 PM
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Easiest and probably cheapest thing is duratex. It's flat, textured black paint that is very popular on home theater speakers and subs.
+1. Lots of good example of nice subs finished with this stuff around here. Easy to do.

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post #18 of 82 Old 07-17-2014, 01:55 PM
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If I went with the 6 or 8 SI's, would I then use a different amps? Not sure if that option passes the WAF test, but will at least test the waters :-)
The load of the amp is what you worry about, Ideally you want a speaker load that works with the amp you select. In a lot of cases this is a 2ohm load. You can get a 2 ohm load a bunch of different ways, and the SI18" is available in different options so it can get interesting.

As far as getting a 2 ohm load you could:

-buy a speaker with a single 2 ohm voice coil.
-buy a speaker with dual 4 ohm voice coils and combine them in parallel. (basically hook them up to same output on amp)
-buy (2) 4 ohm speakers and combine them for a 2 ohm load.
-buy (8) 4ohm dual VC speakers, wire them in series each driver, then in parallel.

It can get complicated if I keep going..

Easiest thing would be run either 2 or 4 speakers per channel depending on the amp power @ a 2ohm load.

You can run 4 speakers off an amp, and 6 off 2 amps, or you can get 4 amps. Ideally you want a 2ohm load so the amp makes good power, and you want enough power for each speaker. That's all you really need to worry about. 2 or 4 amps is the way I would do it.

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post #19 of 82 Old 07-17-2014, 01:55 PM - Thread Starter
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The sub's will be in the front of the room, right under the screen... but, the Duratex should be sufficient. I would worry a little about reflections if I went to glossy...

Bassment.. that Piano Black on your Fusions does look quite nice though!
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post #20 of 82 Old 07-17-2014, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by kmhvball View Post

What does the larger Cabinet do? allow for a lower Frequency?
Great question! Larger cabinet will usually boost the output at the port tune frequency. It can also allow the driver to hit mechanical limits sooner and/or handle less power.

Ideally you want to choose a box that give you a flat frequency response. Going to big would cause a spike at tune, and big drop above it possibly. Going to small would leave output and extension on the table. Something between 5 cubic feet and 16 cubic feet probably works though... If you have space use it. You can customize your box to be longer, or wider, or taller to use your space to the best fit and most efficiently without sacrificing volume. You do reach a point that bigger box stops making sense though. Anything in between is good.

Check this out:



SI 18 inch D2 with 17hz tune in 12.5 cubic enclosure. Not too bad

If I change boxes sizes you can see what happens:





Bigger box spikes up at tune, then drops a little over tune (and handles less power there) and smaller box a bit louder (insignificant) up higher and handles power better but will not have the extension or output down low (not as good)

You really want it just right. Just right is different for different drivers based on their specs. A different enclosure may or may not be ideal for different drivers, so ideally you want to choose a combo that works well for your intentions.

SI18" work pretty well in "marty style" ported boxes (15hz-25hz tune) or in sealed boxes so it's a nice driver to use. Not expensive, high value, good output, and works well in most enclosure styles.
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post #21 of 82 Old 07-17-2014, 02:20 PM
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How would the Dayton Audio RS-S460HO-4 or Ultimax DVC compare to the SI 18" Drivers? I wouldn't have to pay freight on those ones, which would bring the cost more inline with each other.
I think dollar for dollar the SI 18" is tough to beat. But those are great drivers too. You'd be happy with any of them. Something like a UXL18 or a LMS is going to be better but cost twice as much (or twice as much again). They are better drivers, but perhaps not better value. Using more drivers of the cheaper ones is another way of getting more extension and output, so usually you would not want to use something like a LMS ($1000 each) unless you had a big budget, or wanted the most bass with the fewest drivers and space required. For the price of one you can buy 5 of the SI 18" drivers so in terms of bass for the dollars those might be better.

The other side of things is multiple drivers often perform better, especially if you can located them different places. 4 subs in different spots sound better usually at the same SPL level as one sub. This is good if you can make room and space for it.

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post #22 of 82 Old 07-17-2014, 03:10 PM
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Another "paint" option is Rustoleum "hammered" paint.
I have used it on 4 different sub projects and like the look you get from it.
It does have a semi glossy finish though the texture alleviates that to a degree.
A bonus it comes in several different colors. I have used the Black, Charcoal, Silver and Copper.

BTW I am talking about the can version not the rattlecan stuff.
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post #23 of 82 Old 07-18-2014, 01:33 PM
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If it was my money I'd stick with the UXL-18's.
That said I've never heard an SI-18, but I have heard a Dayton HO and UM 15 and UXL-18 and LMS-18, both of which sucked compared to the UXL-18 and LMS-18 (which is kind of a given).
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post #24 of 82 Old 07-18-2014, 01:40 PM
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The main benefit of the UXL is that although it's about twice the price of the SI18" it takes half the space, half the wood, half the glue and one less box to make.

8 SI 18" or 4 UXL18 - both are going to kick about the same amount of ass.

With the UXL you build half the enclosures, half cost in wood, screws, labor, glue and floor space. That's sometimes worth the small difference (extra) in price. 8 SI is probably like 5 UXL18 I'd guess, but they are close enough that both are good and about the same. If you value floor space and not building cabs for 8 drivers then UXL is a great choice. PLus you have space to add more later

I think some of the guys with the 8 driver+ systems like them better because the intimidation and cool factor of having 8 drivers 18" is cool, and also additional drivers does often perform better than fewer drivers. But 4 or more you are out of the danger zone for that anyways assuming they are not all stacked on each other. 4 is enough for good response.

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post #25 of 82 Old 07-18-2014, 01:54 PM - Thread Starter
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The main benefit of the UXL is that although it's about twice the price of the SI18" it takes half the space, half the wood, half the glue and one less box to make.

... and also additional drivers does often perform better than fewer drivers. But 4 or more you are out of the danger zone for that anyways assuming they are not all stacked on each other. 4 is enough for good response.
My wife vetoed any notion of 8 drivers, and frankly 4 is pushing it too far to start.. I'll definitely pre-wire for more, but think I might start with two large ported enclosure's and two UXLs.

Should they be the 2x2x4 type size, or push any of those dimensions up a little? The 'height', I only want about the 2'. The depth, I am comforable up to say 30", and width, could be up to 5' each, as long as the 'back' of each can be essentially butted up to one another.

I am inclined to do the 2x2x4, simply because there seems to be a fair amount of 'cut' data & information on how to build those... vs having to develop my own plan (although, can't imaging choosing 5' vs 4' would be a huge deal).
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post #26 of 82 Old 07-18-2014, 02:02 PM
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you can change the dimensions however you want really, it doesn't change the performance unless you're making huge dimension changes. Figure out the dimensions you want and someone can get you the proper port size and length with winisd. The main disadvantage of going longer than 4 feet is that you will be potentially wasting a lot of wood, as MDF is either 4x8 or 2x4, so you'd be stuck with 3 foot pieces on the ends of your 4x8 sheets. The HUGE advantage of 2x2x4 is you can basically buy four 2x4 sheets and not even have to cut them, and then cut a 2x4 sheet in half for your front and back, and then cut a 2x4 a couple times for the slot port and bracing.

Yeah starting with two subs is a good plan, it's no fun building a huge number of subs all at once anyways.
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post #27 of 82 Old 07-18-2014, 02:34 PM - Thread Starter
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you can change the dimensions however you want really, it doesn't change the performance unless you're making huge dimension changes.

Yeah starting with two subs is a good plan, it's no fun building a huge number of subs all at once anyways.
If there isn't much of a benefit from going bigger, I'll stick to the 2x2x4... Fewer cuts is definitely a bonus!

Good point on all the sub's at once... that seems like a big job, particularly when combined with finishing the theater, and trying to get around to building a Pirate Ship bed my wife wants me to make for our son... which came up after the basement started, so, is at the back of the line...
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post #28 of 82 Old 07-18-2014, 02:36 PM
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One thing to note is the 2x4 sheets are like 20% more than buying a 4x8 - it will come to probably like $20.00 more total for the two boxes - so depends how much you value a cut
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post #29 of 82 Old 07-18-2014, 06:27 PM
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If there isn't much of a benefit from going bigger, I'll stick to the 2x2x4... Fewer cuts is definitely a bonus!

Good point on all the sub's at once... that seems like a big job, particularly when combined with finishing the theater, and trying to get around to building a Pirate Ship bed my wife wants me to make for our son... which came up after the basement started, so, is at the back of the line...
This pirate ship bed. Show it to me. Show it to me now.


I'm interested in plans or pics or whatever, my son jack is a tad too young but that's something I want to do. We like pirates

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post #30 of 82 Old 07-18-2014, 06:29 PM
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One thing to note is the 2x4 sheets are like 20% more than buying a 4x8 - it will come to probably like $20.00 more total for the two boxes - so depends how much you value a cut
Those handi panels are noob. Skip them. Buy full sheets and just have them cut it at the store on the panel saw for free so you can carry it. The wood is cheaper, if you are doing multiple boxes you'll appreciate the savings. It's cheaper

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