Has anyone tried building their own sound bar setup? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 09-20-2009, 12:05 PM - Thread Starter
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I've ran into an issue. The main place the family watches TV and movies is in the living room. My wife absolutely refuses to let me put in a system into the living room. She hates the idea of having speakers sitting all over the place LOL! But, we've ran into another problem. We've acquired so many devices that our TV is running out inputs, so a receiver or some kind of switching device is going to be eminent.

Fast Forward to last night....We were looking around Best Buy and she got to looking at the Sony sound bar. Something like that would help with our switching needs, but they sound horrible and not much better than our TV speakers. For the price they are asking for one of those setups, surely I could build my own with better sound quality. I already have a spare receiver laying around and I have a wide assortment of drivers to choose from for $300.

I've done some research last evening and earlier this morning and L/C/R sound bars are from ideal. So I know that going into this.

So this is my idea. I'm going to build a 3.1 channel setup. I've been looking around on Parts Express and seems like Tang Band, Dayton, and HiVi all have pretty good offerings at decent prices with good feedback. What I would like to do is build 1 big enclosure 45"w x 18"d. Height will depend on the driver array. Inside the 1 big enclosure, divide it off into 3 separate chambers for the L/C/R.

Knowing that this isn't the optimum setup, I'm looking for driver configs that will give me the best results. To keep costs and time invested down, I'd like to use the prefab Dayton xovers. I was thinking 2 ways for the L/R and a 3 way multi driver array for the center for better dispersion.

As far as height, I've got about 8"/10". This box will go directly on top of the TV stand. So 10" is max without inducing some viewing angle fatigue.

Sorry for the novel. I wanted to make sure you experts had as much info as possible to give me some ideas!

Brent
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post #2 of 13 Old 09-20-2009, 01:17 PM
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"has anyone tried to build their own soundbar"

Every speaker manufacturer has and did so with 0% performance success. Soundbars that try to replace 5 speakers are not good IMO. They have had great success fooling the unknowing consumer though.

Now building your own to do without a false surround may be a decent idea. Just three separate channels would be cool.
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post #3 of 13 Old 09-20-2009, 03:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, I'm not really keen on the idea of trying to fit surrounds into it. Just the front 3 channels. If I can get that to sound good enough, I might be able to convince the ol lady to let me add some smaller type surrounds since everything will be powered by a receiver and the only cost will be the speakers themselves.

After looking @ PE's selection, so far, I think I'm going to go with HiVi mids/woofers. 6" woofers on the L/R. I haven't decided on the center yet, but it's looking like a could do a wwmtmww array if I used the right drivers.
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post #4 of 13 Old 09-20-2009, 04:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Furious One View Post

Yeah, I'm not really keen on the idea of trying to fit surrounds into it. Just the front 3 channels. If I can get that to sound good enough, I might be able to convince the ol lady to let me add some smaller type surrounds since everything will be powered by a receiver and the only cost will be the speakers themselves.

After looking @ PE's selection, so far, I think I'm going to go with HiVi mids/woofers. 6" woofers on the L/R. I haven't decided on the center yet, but it's looking like a could do a wwmtmww array if I used the right drivers.

A stock off the shelf x-over is not going to work very well. If you are going to do this, I'd recommend that you keep it simple, and try to use drivers that have a very flat frequency response. Make the center a 2-way just like the L&R.

Do your drivers need to be shielded?
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post #5 of 13 Old 09-20-2009, 06:27 PM
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Yeah I would just keep it simple too. The way your layout looks is like one really big center channel. I would make one box divided into three separate enclosures each with their own woofer and tweeter. The recession buster may actually work for that.
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post #6 of 13 Old 09-20-2009, 08:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Furious One View Post

m looking for driver configs that will give me the best results. To keep costs and time invested down, I'd like to use the prefab Dayton xovers. I was thinking 2 ways for the L/R and a 3 way multi driver array for the center for better dispersion.

Considering the application, I think wideband drivers with a downward-facing powered subwoofer section would be preferable. Something like one of the Aura/Dayton, Peerless, or Vifa 3-4" widebanders. And maybe three Peerless SLS8's or CSS Trio 8's for bass.

FWIW, I designed a sound bar in my the living room of my mom's summer house. I used three Aura NS3's, a simple passive network to smooth out the midrange, and the cabinet was a synthetic decking post with wood endcaps. The subwoofers were remote, of course. Honestly, it sounds better than most expensive home theaters with toppled-MTM center channels.

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post #7 of 13 Old 09-21-2009, 09:25 PM
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Don't these sound bars use digital processing to create phase shifts so that the speaker comb filters in a way to produce off axis beams? These off axis beams then bounce off the side walls of your room to create the effect of having rear speakers. If you simply build a horizontal line, as a short line it's just going to be very directional with increasing frequency and not do anything to simulate surround. If you don't have a rectanguar room with fairly equal side walls a sound bar won't work anyway. I believe those things only work under ideal conditions and even then not very well. If you try to build it without the processing then it won't work at all.

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post #8 of 13 Old 09-22-2009, 02:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montekay View Post

Don't these sound bars use digital processing to create phase shifts so that the speaker comb filters in a way to produce off axis beams?

Some do, but I think most of them (at least the DIYable ones) just basically cram the LCR speakers into one enclosure. I've seen one that had two "bars": an LCR one and a surround one intended for the back wall.

I agree that it's hard to DIY a 5-in-1 bar, and that even if one can none of them work very well.

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post #9 of 13 Old 09-22-2009, 03:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post

Some do, but I think most of them (at least the DIYable ones) just basically cram the LCR speakers into one enclosure. I've seen one that had two "bars": an LCR one and a surround one intended for the back wall.

I agree that it's hard to DIY a 5-in-1 bar, and that even if one can none of them work very well.

Oh ok, I suppose you could mount the surround drivers pointing off at 45 deg angles or something on the ends and get some surround effect especially if you used somewhat directional drivers. Maybe a horizontally mounted ribbon for example so the horizontal coverage would be very narrow and you would hear mostly side and rear wall reflections. For myself I think I'll stick to having actual surround speakers.

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post #10 of 13 Old 09-22-2009, 05:31 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post

Some do, but I think most of them (at least the DIYable ones) just basically cram the LCR speakers into one enclosure. I've seen one that had two "bars": an LCR one and a surround one intended for the back wall.

I agree that it's hard to DIY a 5-in-1 bar, and that even if one can none of them work very well.

The OPer said it was for just the front three channels and that he would use two separate rear speakers for the surround.
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post #11 of 13 Old 09-22-2009, 12:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Montekay View Post

Oh ok, I suppose you could mount the surround drivers pointing off at 45 deg angles or something on the ends and get some surround effect especially if you used somewhat directional drivers. Maybe a horizontally mounted ribbon for example so the horizontal coverage would be very narrow and you would hear mostly side and rear wall reflections. For myself I think I'll stick to having actual surround speakers.

mk

Agreed. Or just not have surround. In an extension setup, say in a bedroom or on the TV in an occasional house, 3.1 is much easier to do than 5.1.

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post #12 of 13 Old 09-25-2009, 01:41 PM
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If you are going to build one large enclosure like that, why not do wall mounted low profile enclosures on each side of the screen and a third one under or above the screen? You can also do in walls for all of the channels and get the 5.1 without your wife being able to complain about speakers all over the room. Look for some DIY in wall build threads. I know there was one here recently.

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post #13 of 13 Old 09-25-2009, 02:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post


FWIW, I designed a sound bar in my the living room of my mom's summer house. I used three Aura NS3's, a simple passive network to smooth out the midrange, and the cabinet was a synthetic decking post with wood endcaps. The subwoofers were remote, of course. Honestly, it sounds better than most expensive home theaters with toppled-MTM center channels.

I saw there was a drop in replacment for the NS3 in stock at PE. How did you like yours? Would it make a decent PC speaker setup?

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Even i, the genius, only vaguely understand what i am saying here.
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