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Will you pros help a newb with his first build please?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Ive been reading and reading and reading and reading, which means ive changed my mind a bazillion times already, but i think for my Home Subwoofer, Ill be going semi-DIY. Ive never attempted this. I was looking at the Hsu VTF-15, and the PSA XS-30, and a couple of others (my price range is right at $1000.. maybe $1100.. yeah, and this is a HUGE investment for me, as I am probably getting into a hobby that is beyound my paygrade, but hey, why not)

Now, i hear for around the same price, I can get two of these Dayton 18" subs for $250 each. and they have the flat pack box you can order, that is allegedly easy to put together for about $125 each.. I think i want to give this a whirl.. Im going to just post a bunch of random questions here, and hope you experts will throw me some good ideas/opinions/etc..

remember, this is my first attempt at any sort of build, and i really cant afford to screw it up!

let me know if you need pics of my little apartment or anything like that to give advice.

1. Would it be smarter to go this route? Will one of these easily do what one of the pre-built subs i mentioned above do?

2. I was thinking of getting the EP4000 as the amp to power this build, so when i buy the stuff for a second one, i have enough juice for it already.. however, i read that you need a mini DSP? Im pretty clueless about that.. is that what it needs in order to tune the amp for a subwoofer? If so, can you guys clue me in on them, and point me in the right direction? And any explanations on how to adjust it, etc.. Id love to hear. (Im hoping you guys know the exact sub and flat pack im speaking of, as to give me specific advice)

3. How many tubes of glue do i need for this? Is that loctite PL premium the stuff i should use?

4. Exactly how do i wire this thing up properly and get it where it needs to be with all the settings and whatnot? (I have an onkyo 809 receiver, which can handle 4ohm speakers, i dont know if that matters, as this thing will have its own dedicated sub.) Exactly what wires do i need to go from my receiver to this sub, and what wires do i need within the sub enclosure? Also, exactly where do you run the wires in the enclosure as to not cause any vibrations/extra noise/etc..

5. any pointers on properly glueing/clamping/building this thing? and what should i use to install the driver into the baffle? Someone mentioned MDF doesnt really like screws??

Please just give me any and all specific or general advice you can on basically the build from start to finish.. Feel free to ask me any questions and i will provide you whatever info you need to help..

Im looking for just awe inspiring bass that gets down low (I love when the bass tickles your throat, even when you cant hear the bass). I am about 50/50 music/movies. running 7.1 right now, but actually thinking of just going down to 5.1. Oh, and im one of those idiots with no regaurds for his hearing, as i will listen full volume all the time, especially music. I want it to hurt!! biggrin.gif I really am greatful for the folks who know what they are talking about, who step up and help on these forums.. without them, i would just get frustrated.

some other notes: I really cant afford to screw up this build, it is a huge investment for me. I dont have bunches of testers and tools. I have access to a couple of clamps and a caulking gun and a drill with asssorted bits (this is why i was going to go with the flat pack that is allegedly easy to assemble). i live in an L shapped small apartment. the tip of the "L" is prolly about 1200^3 and the stem of the "L" is prolly 1600^3 feet. also, dont take my neighbors into consideration when you give advice on volume and whatnot.. pretend i live in the middle of nowhere, as i made friendly with all my neighbors and i know when i can and cant max this bad boy out.

Long live the addiction to better audio!biggrin.gif
post #2 of 28

1) DIY always wins out in terms of value and output per dollar. If you're willing to take on the learning curve involved, your efforts will be rewarded.

2) Ep4000 is a great starting point. An external EQ may not be needed depending on your room. Try it without first, start basic.

3) If you use more than 1 tube for a DO box you're probably putting on too much. A word of advice: use wood glue for the enclosure and its a lot easier to work with. Use PL just to seal it up.

4) See the DIY FAQ link in my signature. Check out the wiring section. The daytons are easy as they use single 4 ohm voicecoils.

5) You can use any half-decent plywood or MDF for baffle material. If you buy one of Erich's flat pack kits they will include a baffle anyway. You will just have to glue it together.

General advice - Read through some of the subwoofer build threads, including my Dayton build thread in here. Again, check out my DIY FAQ to give you an idea of what's needed and what's involved.

Take your time and you won't have any unfix able issues. smile.gif

Good luck!
post #3 of 28
Thread Starter 
thanks. ive been reading what i can find. Im obviously not too good at searching the forums. was kinda hoping i could find a thread that walked through the exact process of building one of his flat packs, but i guess that would be too easy smile.gif I believe i read through some of the "sticky" threads in the DIY section, but ill go ahead and read on through it again. Do you have a link to your build of this sub? I would love to read through it also. My work day is almost over, so ill get back to reading that FAQ when i get in in the morning. lol.

I might ask alot of questions along the way (Im one of those people that just has to get it right), but i'm definitely going to give this a shot. Wish me luck
post #4 of 28
dayton 18" = good.
stereo integrity 18 home theater model is a little lower cost pretty much equivalent.

diysoundgroup flat packs 4.0 cu ft = good.

pl premium expanding glue = not required, titebond wood glue or similar will work fine for cnc cut flat packs

2x 15" drivers in x30 = approximately one 21" driver c.p. the x30 will outperform one 18" cab, but not two.

ep4000 = good value amp, inuke series is an alternative and has dsp built in (allows for equalization and any other signal shaping that you wish to do).
outputs a measured 650 or so watts per channel into 4 ohms.

2 subs better than 1 for minimizing room modes. room modes are resonances based on dimensions of room. primary reason for bass sounding boomy or slow. ideal placement shown in http://www.harman.com/EN-US/OurCompany/Innovation/Documents/White%20Papers/multsubs.pdf

wiring up subs to amp is easy. dayton driver is 4 ohm, one coil. red to red, black to black on amp. one driver per side.

duratex is a black coating that many folks use. expensive, but won't chip/peel.

and...good luck. :-) it really isn't all that difficult though.
post #5 of 28
Thread Starter 
yeah thats what i found about when i learned to build my first computer.. wasnt as tough as i thought. the question i am asking about wiring... exactly what is the best way to run it, not in the sense of what wire connects to what connector (although i did want to know that too), but where do you route the wire.. like do you hook it fromt he driver and let it dangle to the back of the box where the binding post will be, or do you run it along a corner and tack it down... you get what im asking? i didnt know if letting it hang will cause it to vibrate or anything like that.

Thanks to the both of you. There will be many more questions to come im sure smile.gif
post #6 of 28
Thread Starter 
Erich's flat packs = sold out. Im trying to dig around and find actual tried and true build dimensions for the 18" dayton, but i seem to suck and finding specific things in the forums search.

Also, is sealed the way to go with this sub? Or should i give ported a try? What are the specific differences? Sealed cant get as low?

If you wouldnt mind pointing me in the right direction as to exactly how i should build this thing, i would appreciate it (if there is a thread, tell me exactly what to search for, because im not seeing a specific build for what i need). I am having no luck with sub box calculators so far as i am not familiar with all of the different terms yet.

post #7 of 28
post #8 of 28
Thread Starter 
i meant dimensions for a box for this exact sub. i thought i would try and type all of the speaker specs onto this site:


and thought it might tell you the proper way to build a box, but i guess i dont totally understand it all rolleyes.gif any ideas on box dimensions? i dont have testing equipment and all that, so i really dont know whats best for me. a sealed box sounded like the easiest thing for me not to mess up. i dont know the best way to do bracing and all that. im hoping to find some pretty cut and dry directions to make it happen
post #9 of 28
post #10 of 28
Thread Starter 
thats what i want exactly. But he is sold out of the ones for the dayton sub.. and i dont know how you cut for bracing, and take it all into account and everything. if you read down a little it says they are sold out for the dayton ones for now. otherwise, this is exactly what i was going to order. Do you maybe know where i can find how to build something very similiar to this?

Hell, for sh*ts and G*ggles i went ahead and sent the guy who makes them a PM, but i havent heard anything back yet.
post #11 of 28
Thread Starter 
Well, I just ordered the 4cu ft flatpack for the Dayton, along with wood glue, and the terminals and whatnot. Next friday, ill be ordering the Sub. Cant wait to get started.
post #12 of 28
Good luck on your sub build! I just built a Dayton 18" sealed sub powered by EP4000 and it turned out great. I'm kinda kicking myself now that I didn't buy a second driver so I could use the other channel on the amp...ah well. Maybe when they get back into stock at PE.
post #13 of 28
Thread Starter 
awwww man.. you just broke the bad news to me.. I was gonna order the sub next week. Damn it man. lol. More waiting now. I was gonna do one now, and eventually add one more.. same amp you are talking about. that's the route im gonna go too.
post #14 of 28
Thread Starter 
Alright! got some wood today biggrin.gif Just arrived at the office. I just slapped it together to get a feel for it. Man, Erich did an awesome job with these. Fit together like a charm. And he used enough cool foam that I now plan on using to sell my old HTiB. 2 birds/1 Stone. Boom. Well, ill most likely just be sitting here at work for the next two hours poking and prodding at it, and when i get home, ill start gluing this thing together. I have no clamps, so we will see how easy it is without them, like the description says smile.gif I dont see it being a problem. This looks like its going to be simple as hell. Friday, Ill be buying a half gallon of duratex from a kind DIY'er from these forums, and Ill be ordering the driver, which sadly, Ill have to wait for, as they are still out of stock. mad.gif

Oh well, its nice to have a little something to look forward to now that the wood is in. Progress.

post #15 of 28
Nice, you're on your way.

I built a couple of those flat packs recently without clamps... I used some ratchet tie downs instead, and just glued everything in one shot.

I'm waiting on a driver too, I think I got the last one they had in stock wink.gif

Dual 18's in a small apartment is mental. Do your current subs go below 20Hz? Because the 18's are going to knock your neighbor's pictures off the walls.
post #16 of 28
Thread Starter 
i currently have the following setup (dont laugh, im probably the least financially set guy in these forums cool.gif ) :

Onkyo 809 receiver
2- Cerwin Vega XLS-15 for the front L/R
Cerwin Vega XLS-6C for the center
(about to order)2- Cerwin Vega XLS-6 for back surrounds (right now im using the stock front left/right speakers from onkyo S5400 HTiB as my surrounds. Im probably just gonna go down from 7 speakers to 5, as there is only so much room in my apartment. That or maybe just put another 6C as my back speaker and do a 6 speaker setup).

And im currently using the 10" stock sub that comes with the HTiB Onkyo system (although my CV's are basically doing most of the work. I just have this stock sub plugged in while i am trying to sell that system).

So yeah, it should be pretty rediculous in my apartment. I just got some short-term good news, but long term bad news, possibly.. I have no neighbors beside me, as i am in what is basically the finished basement of the apartment complex. That means i only have to worry about the folks above me. One of them is a young kid who loves blasting his music, so no worries there. the other is a pretty little lady with a kid, but he is super ADD and so she kind of cuts me slack, since i deal with him running marathons over my head. PLus, she said it seems to calm him down when his pillow sort of vibrates him to sleep, thanks to me biggrin.gif

But, Im finding out, that she is supposedly moving soon. That means a short period of basically no neighbors, no rules, anything goes, which is wonderful. I once had two months of a vacant apartment above me.. awesome. But, now i have to worry about who will be moving in their place next. Im kind of the person who has been here the longest though, and im pretty tight with the manager of the place and the landlord.. so the next neighbors better stay on my good side and cut me slack, because im a prompt paying, long-time tenant, and I will win! wink.gif

and i do plan on getting another box once i hear the first one.. i know its going to just bother me to bits to have an amp with only one channel in use. Im excited
post #17 of 28
Not bad better than my setup. I'm not a fan of huge speakers like the CVs though. Too much like a pro audio for me. Great receiver though.

Seems like the flatpack was really easy to assemble for you so I'm sure you'll be happy when you get it all done. I guess I should order a few.

Just my personal opinion, I'd rather have an amplifier for my front speakers over more/better surrounds. Especially if you listen at loud volumes, better to make sure your speakers are getting ample power than to risk clipping your amplifier in your receiver because you're running 7 channels at loud volumes. I know the 809 is rated for 135 with 2 channels driven but with all 7 driven I think it's much lower. I don't remember the number anymore since I stopped powering things off my AVR for now. Probably will only power my surrounds off of it. The 809 does have a pretty decent amp section though.
post #18 of 28
Thread Starter 
oh sorry, i have a CV-1800 amp powering the front left and right's. Thats the reason i have an onkyo s5400 system to sell.. i bought it being clueless and not knowing i needed pre-outs for each channel. thats why i now have the onkyo 809. Yeah, 135wpc wouldnt do the XLS-15's any justice. It is fine for the rest of the speakers. (the center speaker gets quite LOUD just running off the receiver). I had a friend come over to check out the vegas once and i didnt realize that i never turned on the front left and rights. only had the center speaker going. lol, we were drinking of course wink.gif
post #19 of 28
You're lucky to have tolerant neighbors.

When you fire up those Daytons, you're not going to vibrate that ADD kid to sleep... you're gonna knock him out of bed! Ha ha those sub frequencies really transmit through the walls.
post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 
yeah i know. oh well. he is bouncing off the walls as it is smile.gif .. at least im gonna put some feet on the sub.. i think thats pretty nice of me. lol
post #21 of 28
Originally Posted by NickThatStands View Post

oh sorry, i have a CV-1800 amp powering the front left and right's. Thats the reason i have an onkyo s5400 system to sell.. i bought it being clueless and not knowing i needed pre-outs for each channel. thats why i now have the onkyo 809. Yeah, 135wpc wouldnt do the XLS-15's any justice. It is fine for the rest of the speakers. (the center speaker gets quite LOUD just running off the receiver). I had a friend come over to check out the vegas once and i didnt realize that i never turned on the front left and rights. only had the center speaker going. lol, we were drinking of course wink.gif

Ya, I blew 2 sets of tweeters due to amp clipping before I figured out I should just buy an amplifier. I was drinking each time of course and playing at excessively loud volumes. Now I'm waiting on a polk back order before I get another set of tweeters.

How do you plan on finishing your box?
post #22 of 28
Thread Starter 
a quick sanding and two layers of duratex, with the 9" textured roller. and some pointy black-chrome spikes for feet. Im guessing some black #8 - 1.5 inch screws to hold the driver in place (no one has given me real advice on the best screws for these. Im not gonna mess with t-nuts or whatever).

Thats what im thinking. SOmeone on here is willing to sell me the last half of a gallon of duratex they bought, as a gallon goes a LONG way apperently. I have no experience with this stuff, but i think ill get it figured out. cant wait
post #23 of 28
The sample pint size is apparently enough to do 1-2 subs.
post #24 of 28
Thread Starter 
Glued the bracing on. The ole' Cast iron/Canned Veggie Combo Clamp should hopefully do the trick.

post #25 of 28
Thread Starter 
Got the EP4000 ordered. looks like it already shipped, too. Found it for $320 on buy.com.. Not too bad I guess. Seemed like it was $370 everywhere else.
post #26 of 28
Originally Posted by NickThatStands View Post

Glued the bracing on. The ole' Cast iron/Canned Veggie Combo Clamp should hopefully do the trick.


You don't have any weights? I used 30 lbs of weights to help hold things down. And then I also bought 2 clamps, only 30 dollars. I figure it's not the only subwoofer I'll build, so I might as well have some tools.

Too bad everyone I know is graduating right now. No access to a CNC will not be fun. Means I will actually have to do my own cuts frown.gif
post #27 of 28
Thread Starter 
i guess i do have weights, but this seemed to work, so why not. Yeah, I just realized about 4 days ago that one of my good friends runs a CNC machine for a living. Good to know for the future though smile.gif
post #28 of 28
Thread Starter 
A buddy let me borrow a few assorted clamps. Made it a bit easier, so ive got the 3 sides glued and clamped now. Should i be safe and use that PL premium on all edges after this? I know its probably not required, but i guess might as well be safe with it.. right?

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