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Economics of DIY Subwoofer

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I've been reading through all of the projects in this forum. I'm a big do-it-yourselfer and always eager to get the best bang for the buck. I'm interested in building a sub, but was wondering if the economics really work out. I've done a lot of projects that ended up costing almost the same as what I was trying to avoid in the first place:rolleyes:. I'm consdering a simple 15" sub to add some punch to my HT. I'm pretty competent with woodworking (enough to build a box, not furniture grade-though).

Could I build something better for less money than some of the mid priced subs (i.e. Hsu) out there? Going even cheaper, could you build a better sub for $300 than the Klipsch RW-12?
post #2 of 17
My personal opinion is that if price/performance is your only draw to DIY it will be difficult to justify on a budget below around $600. Once your budget is at/over this point DIY can really take off though. I suppose there are obvious exceptions with the horn designs floating around but as an oversimplified rule it works for me smile.gif

The reason for the ~$600 point is that it allows room for spending ~$300 on a beefy rack amp that could power several subwoofers and still leave room in the budget for a good driver (or drivers) and the enclosure. Once you have that beefy amp in the budget the equation isn't even fair.

As a specific example the sub in my avatar includes a Behringer EP2500 and 4 AE IB15 drivers in an infinite baffle setup - total invested ~$900 and nothing commercial will touch it for at least a couple thousand dollars.
post #3 of 17
Quote:
could you build a better sub for $300 than the Klipsch RW-12?

You can actually MURDER any of the subwoofers from Klipsch, but not in $300. But having said that, the cost won't pinch you once you hear a properly assmbled, powered, and tuned DIY sub. In fact, you'd love to make the hole bigger in your pocket from that point on.


Edit: I've used KSW-10, SUB-12, SW-112, SW-115, Def Tech SuperCube Reference. Still own SUB-12 and SW-115 and they both are collecting dust in the store room mad.gif
Edited by braveheart123 - 4/25/13 at 8:32am
post #4 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by tampa frank View Post

Could I build something better for less money than some of the mid priced subs (i.e. Hsu) out there? Going even cheaper, could you build a better sub for $300 than the Klipsch RW-12?

I think the cheapest HSUs are around $500-600; I think you could build a 15" sub around that price range that could outperform those 10"-12" subs. You can't build anything for under $300 that would best the Klipsch though.
post #5 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by braveheart123 View Post

You can actually MURDER any of the subwoofers from Klipsch, but not in $300. :
Both my THT and lilmikes F20 can come in at $300, including an amp, for subs that would send an RW-12 running home crying for his mama. Watch for sales on drivers and amps and you could build a reflex box for $300 that would beat the RW-12 too.
post #6 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

Both my THT and lilmikes F20 can come in at $300, including an amp, for subs that would send an RW-12 running home crying for his mama. Watch for sales on drivers and amps and you could build a reflex box for $300 that would beat the RW-12 too.

Ha, I stand corrected.
post #7 of 17
like Bill said. those folded horns are the output per dollar champs as long as you have room for them. not sure how many of those klipsch subs you would need to match their performance, but i bet you dont have room for them either biggrin.gif
post #8 of 17
It all depends what you mean by "best" the Klipsch... I'll include form factor as well.

Per teh spec sheet:
ENCLOSURE TYPE Bass-reflex via front-firing CornerPort™
ACTIVE DRIVERS 12" (30.5cm) Cerametallic™ cone, front-firing woofer
AMPLIFIER TYPE BASH® Digital hybrid
AMPLIFIER POWER FTC Rated Power: 350 watts continuous @ <2% THD / Dynamic Power*: 825 watts
BANDWIDTH 24-120Hz ± –3dB
MAXIMUM OUTPUT 116dB @ 30Hz 1/8 space, 1m
CONTROLS DCS control and feature set w/ 3 system presets
INPUTS L/R Line-level RCA jacks, L/R High-level speaker binding posts

Focusing on bolded specs, 24Hz -3dB point (aka F3) and 116dB @ 30Hz, but in 1/8 space, i.e. corner loaded. I'll work with an infinite baffle sensitivity, and so predict a 1/2 space SPL. Given that 1/8 is 1/2 cubed (8 = 2 x 2 x 2), and each doubling in free air is worth 6 dB, the 1/2 space equivalent SPL is 104dB@30Hz, 1m. Klipsch box size comes out about 2.5 cu ft...

Option 1
BASH 300 with Umax 12. $119 + $158 leaves some money for a box... a 2.5 cu ft sealed box.
30Hz output is 105dB (louder)
F3 is 33Hz (higher) but...
F10 is 19Hz and the Klipsch is also 19Hz
and a sealed box can take more power, and extend deeper.

Option 2
BASH 300 with Umax 10. $119 + $144 in a 2.5 cu ft ported box
30Hz output is 106dB (louder)
F3 is 18Hz (lower than Klipsch F10)
... and you can tune even lower, trading 30Hz output for greater extension.

Of course, in DIY the biggest savings is your labor, which is where you can't beat the $300 mark... but if labor is free, it's not hard.

HAve fun,
Frank
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

Both my THT and lilmikes F20 can come in at $300, including an amp, for subs that would send an RW-12 running home crying for his mama. Watch for sales on drivers and amps and you could build a reflex box for $300 that would beat the RW-12 too.

Oh boy- That Tuba HT looks amazing!eek.gif It looks like it doesn't take much of an amp to run it which helps on cost. I could use an end table...

Once I move, I think that I am building one of these. I have plenty of time (probably 2-3 months) to research drivers and amps. Can you give me suggestions of drivers and amps to look out for in case of a good sale?
post #10 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by fbov View Post

Option 1
BASH 300 with Umax 12. $119 + $158 leaves some money for a box... a 2.5 cu ft sealed box.
30Hz output is 105dB (louder)
F3 is 33Hz (higher) but...
F10 is 19Hz and the Klipsch is also 19Hz
and a sealed box can take more power, and extend deeper.

Option 2
BASH 300 with Umax 10. $119 + $144 in a 2.5 cu ft ported box
30Hz output is 106dB (louder)
F3 is 18Hz (lower than Klipsch F10)
... and you can tune even lower, trading 30Hz output for greater extension.

Of course, in DIY the biggest savings is your labor, which is where you can't beat the $300 mark... but if labor is free, it's not hard.

HAve fun,
Frank

Of course there's also the wood, glue, screws, polyfill, paint, woodfiller, speaker wire, sandpaper, and any tools needed that you don't have (i.e. clamps, power tools). I lost track of how much I spent on all that little stuff but it adds up..... certainly more than enough to bring your $277 and $263 builds well over the $300 mark.
post #11 of 17
Bash 300 + Infinity 1260 + 4" PVC + sheet of MDF/glue/bondo/paint in 4ft3 20hz tuned box = $250, with more output and a true 20hz response. Now you can compare with the $600 ID subs, for less then the price of the Klipsch.
post #12 of 17
Some other options below the $300 mark:

This driver: http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=295-190
This amp: http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=300-750

Leaves you $60 to build a 6-7cuft box tuned to 18-22hz.


Option 2:

This driver: http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=295-185
Same amp as above.
Build a 3-3.5 cuft box tuned to 20-24hz, can use one of these at full length for that: http://www.parts-express.com/pe/showdetl.cfm?partnumber=268-352

Drivers and amp are on sale so now is a good time to save some $$
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay1 View Post

Bash 300 + Infinity 1260 + 4" PVC + sheet of MDF/glue/bondo/paint in 4ft3 20hz tuned box = $250, with more output and a true 20hz response. Now you can compare with the $600 ID subs, for less then the price of the Klipsch.

Yeah, I guess that works. I didn't realize you could get a decent driver for $60.
post #14 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by tampa frank View Post

Oh boy- That Tuba HT looks amazing!
Can you give me suggestions of drivers and amps to look out for in case of a good sale?

The recommended driver for the THT should be listed on Bill's THT page. I believe the plans list alternative drivers for the THT (edit - just checked Bill's site, he states that the plans include a list of alternate drivers appropriate for the plans). He also has a forum that will have several build threads that used different drivers in his designs. For the amp, read a couple of build threads and see what other people are using. Horns don't need a lot of power so you will not have to spend a lot on an amp if you don't want to.

If you are serious about building Bill's THT, I suggest you purchase the plans and review them. I also recommend you make a cardboard mock-up of the box and put it in your final location: for some reason dimensions doesn't seem 'big' until you see the final result in person (I learned that one the hard way with another project). Then start reading his forums and the build threads here for the THT, there is LOTS of useful info out there.
Edited by BeerParty - 4/25/13 at 2:10pm
post #15 of 17
the f20 is tuned a little lower, which is a little better for home theater.

there are also some tapped horns with about a 20hz or so corner that might be worth taking a look at.

horns are big, but they increase sensitivity and spl per amount of driver excursion.

most bass for the buck. the tradeoff is their size and in some sense extension below their tuning frequency.
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BeerParty View Post

The recommended driver for the THT should be listed on Bill's THT page. I believe the plans list alternative drivers for the THT (edit - just checked Bill's site, he states that the plans include a list of alternate drivers appropriate for the plans). He also has a forum that will have several build threads that used different drivers in his designs. For the amp, read a couple of build threads and see what other people are using. Horns don't need a lot of power so you will not have to spend a lot on an amp if you don't want to.

If you are serious about building Bill's THT, I suggest you purchase the plans and review them. I also recommend you make a cardboard mock-up of the box and put it in your final location: for some reason dimensions doesn't seem 'big' until you see the final result in person (I learned that one the hard way with another project). Then start reading his forums and the build threads here for the THT, there is LOTS of useful info out there.

Great- thanks. I've been reading up on Bill's sight. I plan to order plans, but need to decide which version to get first. The Tuba HT seems awesome, and I think that I could use it as an end table or maybe a TV stand. Then again, the Table Tuba might work out better. Since I don't know what my HT space will be yet (haven't picked a new house), it is impossible to know what will work and what won't at this time. I might just buy the Bash 300W amp while it is on sale and hold off on everything else.
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by tampa frank View Post

Great- thanks. I've been reading up on Bill's sight. I plan to order plans, but need to decide which version to get first. The Tuba HT seems awesome, and I think that I could use it as an end table or maybe a TV stand. Then again, the Table Tuba might work out better. Since I don't know what my HT space will be yet (haven't picked a new house), it is impossible to know what will work and what won't at this time. I might just buy the Bash 300W amp while it is on sale and hold off on everything else.

you might be better off waiting till youre in the new space. no sense in building one of those beasts, having to move it to a new house, then finding it doesnt fit.







i made 2 of them and discovered they wouldnt fit ...............
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