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post #1 of 9 Old 07-28-2015, 11:01 AM - Thread Starter
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Total Novice, Looking for Suggestions

Alright, my wife has a pair of hand-me-down Sony SS-MF400H speakers that are in great condition (no dinged corners or anything). We were going to see if we could get $50 for them and get them out of the house, but I'm kinda thinking I want to use them to learn how to do some veneering and would also like to swap the drivers out and maybe get a little better sound out of them. About the extent of my handiness has been building our tv stand in the living room since I couldn't find one that would house my giant Klipsch RC-7 center. I included a pic of it below.

I've never tried my hand at veneering. I don't know what kind to get or what's involved. I have ordered a couple of free 8x10 samples from the "Re-Cover" line from Wilsonart, but have no idea if that's even the right line. I've included pics of the speakers below. I'm assuming the cabinets are MDF, but can't tell what they are coated with. Maybe it's just paint, no idea. Can anyone tell from the pics? What would I need to do to veneer over top of this?

Now, on to the driver replacements: 1" tweeter, 3" mid, 6.5" woofer. Any suggestions for parts that would most likely be upgrades? The mid feels very very cheap. The only 3" replacements I have found are rated at VERY low wattages (15-25) and are suggested for use in things like sound bars and TV speakers. I've looked at Parts Express and GR Research. I think I could open up the tweeter hole a little if needed to fit a 1 1/8" tweeter in there. I also briefly looked at the 3-way crossovers on PE. I do have a soldering iron, but am not at all familiar with speaker internals. I could probably figure out what attaches where by copying the stock XO's though. I would imagine major upgraded components would kinda be pointless since the cabinet dimensions aren't very large: 9"D x 8.5"W x 33.5"T (looks like they have 1/2" thick panels). The ID of the front port tube is 2.5", so I could open up the hole a little and get a slightly larger one if suggested. I was thinking I could add more glue/caulk/whatever inside the cabinets for a little more reinforcement if it looks like it's needed, polyfill, etc.

Any/all pointers would be greatly appreciated. I'm thinking if this turns out well, I may give them to my little brother since I damaged one of his Athena bookshelf speakers that he uses for L/R mains when I tripped and fell while helping him move. Don't ask.
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post #2 of 9 Old 07-28-2015, 11:18 AM
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I'm certain the only answer you will receive here is don't bother using the old cabs. They are no doubt thin particle board with no bracing. Putting diferent drivers in those boxes would be a waste of time and money. If you want to get into DIY but don't want to go right to making towers from scratch, places like Parts Express and especially http://www.diysoundgroup.com offer cabinet flatpacks and speaker kits that can't be beat for the money.
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post #3 of 9 Old 07-28-2015, 11:28 AM
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hi and welcome. :-)


right to the point...drivers and passive crossovers are generally designed to work together, so it is almost impossible to just swap in different drivers and have an upgrade. the good news is you have the skills to build the cabs and there are countless plans available for speakers (at all pricepoints) that will be a big upgrade over what you have now AND there are plenty of folks around here to help you if you get stuck with respect to any aspect of your project.

Listen. It's All Good.
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post #4 of 9 Old 07-28-2015, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ketnis View Post
I'm certain the only answer you will receive here is don't bother using the old cabs. They are no doubt thin particle board with no bracing. Putting diferent drivers in those boxes would be a waste of time and money. If you want to get into DIY but don't want to go right to making towers from scratch, places like Parts Express and especially http://www.diysoundgroup.com offer cabinet flatpacks and speaker kits that can't be beat for the money.
Thanks for the input. I will take a look at the diysoundgroup.com. Are sheets of veneer expensive? Like I mentioned, I kinda wanted to use these as practice. I have a pair of Paradigm 9SE's that I'd like to veneer at some point, but don't want them to be my first shot. I may also consider redoing my maple Klipsch RF-5's at some point to increase their WAF.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LTD02 View Post
hi and welcome. :-)


right to the point...drivers and passive crossovers are generally designed to work together, so it is almost impossible to just swap in different drivers and have an upgrade. the good news is you have the skills to build the cabs and there are countless plans available for speakers (at all pricepoints) that will be a big upgrade over what you have now AND there are plenty of folks around here to help you if you get stuck with respect to any aspect of your project.
Thank you. I really don't think I have the skills (or the tools) to build the cabs. The big cuts on my cabinet were done at Home Depot. Other than that, all I have is a skill saw. Maybe I'll leave the drivers alone and see if I can do anything to make the cabinets look better, for practice more than anything. I think I'll look into painting with the wood grain effect that I've seen mentioned in other threads. Unless it's cheap enough to try veneering.
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post #5 of 9 Old 07-28-2015, 04:15 PM
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By all means experiment with swapping out parts (drivers and/or crossovers) in your existing equipment but just be fully aware that beyond tinkering for fun your are pretty much wasting your money and 99.9% guaranteed to make the sound quality worse, not better.

Nevertheless if you can do it cheaply (or have money to burn) and keep the above in mind then its as good a place as any to start. Worked for me. Even just taking apart then reassembling equipment can teach you a lot.
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post #6 of 9 Old 07-28-2015, 04:42 PM
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.02
quote: Other than that, all I have is a skill saw.

then you have all you need
check out the builds at the Bill Fitzmaurice site (I built 3 of his THTLP design , mostly skill saw, emphasis on READ THE PLANS!)


or go with the DIYSG flatpacks, you'll look, feel and sound like a genius for a lot less effort

and + a gazillion for what LTD02 said, for his help to me, I know

(I just like building stuff, am retired and nobody tells me NO!)

So you have 2 pursuits,
making a speaker/old cheap box look good with veneer etc.

and wanting to have great speakers

so first build a great sounding set of speakers,
so then you'll have something to listen to and enjoy while

you practice on the old stuff you'll not want to ever hear again and learn veneer,contact paper, decoupage, hot glue gun orgy, sequins, hello kitty, what ever

then make the good speakers pretty

DIY FAN Denon X4400 , ATI A 2000 for 7.4.6 SCATMOS Sammy 82" 4K/HDR
L/R: Fusion 15 V2 , C: 88 Special , SL/SR: 88 Special(V2) , RL/RR: F-3, TF/TR: Volt 6's TM: SLX, FH: F4Q4
SUBMAXIMUS V2, ,Submaximus V3,LOWARHORNCustom Dual Driver VBSS,2 x 6000DSP
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post #7 of 9 Old 07-28-2015, 09:40 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asarose247 View Post
.02
quote: Other than that, all I have is a skill saw.

then you have all you need
check out the builds at the Bill Fitzmaurice site (I built 3 of his THTLP design , mostly skill saw, emphasis on READ THE PLANS!)


or go with the DIYSG flatpacks, you'll look, feel and sound like a genius for a lot less effort

and + a gazillion for what LTD02 said, for his help to me, I know

(I just like building stuff, am retired and nobody tells me NO!)

So you have 2 pursuits,
making a speaker/old cheap box look good with veneer etc.

and wanting to have great speakers

so first build a great sounding set of speakers,
so then you'll have something to listen to and enjoy while

you practice on the old stuff you'll not want to ever hear again and learn veneer,contact paper, decoupage, hot glue gun orgy, sequins, hello kitty, what ever

then make the good speakers pretty
Haha, while I can relate to this somewhat (I quit my well-paying job 3 months ago after I got married and moved to a new town where the only jobs available are for scientists or high school kids, and I fall in between), I have good speakers that I enjoy listening to. I don't know that I could build speakers that sound better than my RF-5's my first, second or even 3rd time, and certainly not for what I paid for them. Being that I've been unemployed for 3 months (though I anticipate an offer, finally, any day now), I find myself looking for something to do during the day. I just found out (this morning) we are having a little girl in January, so I'm now thinking I might build a pair of the Overnight Sensations for her (polished piano red would be awesome), but again I have no experience at refinishing or building speakers, and want to start somewhere. But I want to start out on the right foot. I guess I'll see which sample I like when they come in and then call and see how much it would be, in material, to cover these Sony's. Orrr maybe I'll just try to paint them with the wood graining effect.

Note: I'm really not all that good with a skill saw - as far as straight lines are concerned, which appears to be incredibly important when cutting up speaker cabinets.
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post #8 of 9 Old 07-28-2015, 10:17 PM
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congratulations!

buy a kreg kit and make some baby furniture, maybe a huge dresser that has a top large enough to be a changing table

and hope you have equally good luck with the job offer

DIY FAN Denon X4400 , ATI A 2000 for 7.4.6 SCATMOS Sammy 82" 4K/HDR
L/R: Fusion 15 V2 , C: 88 Special , SL/SR: 88 Special(V2) , RL/RR: F-3, TF/TR: Volt 6's TM: SLX, FH: F4Q4
SUBMAXIMUS V2, ,Submaximus V3,LOWARHORNCustom Dual Driver VBSS,2 x 6000DSP
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post #9 of 9 Old 07-28-2015, 10:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by asarose247 View Post
congratulations!

buy a kreg kit and make some baby furniture, maybe a huge dresser that has a top large enough to be a changing table

and hope you have equally good luck with the job offer
Thank you, sir!

Yea I started looking at different things I could build for her earlier today. We have several people that are offering to give us their baby furniture already, so it may not be necessary.

As far as the speaker DIY goes, maybe I'll just refinish the exterior of the Sony's and look at building a pair of those Overnight Sensations.
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