Veneered Marty-esque sub build - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 31 Old 01-20-2017, 03:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Veneered Marty-esque sub build

Hello Folks,
First I'd like to throw a huge thanks to people like @LTD02 and @chalugadp , among others, who made the whole Martysub lineup more popular and simplified the process for budding audio noobs like myself.

Onto business... My house is a mostly open floorplan with a very large ~3800 cu ft living area which is open to a ~1000 cu ft dining area, and then the dining area is open to a ~800 cu ft kitchen. To visualize, imagine a square, then draw a line from the center of the square to the middle of on the sides of the square. That is the only wall separating the areas. All of this is with a ceiling that rises from 8' to 10', with an average height of ~9.5' - in other words, it's a nuisance acoustically. Anyway, I bought a pair of Polk RTi10 towers in my undergrad years which worked great. I then got a CSiA6 center channel a couple years ago, and I rounded it out with 2 DefTech ProMonitor 800's mounted on the wall earlier this year. However, when I moved into this large open floorplan, I noticed that my bass was, well, non-existent. I previously had decent bass from my towers, especially since they are powered by a Acurus 200x3 amplifier, which has actually been measured at over 300W per channel into 8 ohms. But this room just swallows up all the bass. So my mission was to find a decent subwoofer to help on the low end.

I was originally in the market for a good 15" ID subwoofer and actually bought a PSA 15V before running into some health concerns which forced me to mail it back to Tom (great service by the way, highly recommend PSA). The 15V was great, even in my large space. But now that I have tortured myself reading these forums more and more, I decided to go with a DIY 18" sub when the money situation returned to normal. Unfortunately, I have zero tools or expertise with woodworking, having just finished graduate school. Luckily for me, my father is a master cabinetmaker, anything from built-ins to coffee tables to kitchens to bathroom vanities, and he (perhaps grudgingly) agreed to build the cabinet for me.

So in the end, the cabinet is modeled after the JTR Cap 1400 with some slight reconfiguration. I don't have tons of footprint for the sub, so I needed to go with a somewhat compact 18 like the Cap. It's going to be 22.5"W x 24"D x 28"H (plus any feet/spikes), made from 3/4" 13-ply baltic birch. The port is 1.5" tall - I know this is short but I don't listen very loud, rarely over -20 MV. Plus, if it's okay for the Cap 1400 it's okay for me The port tuning should fall in the 17.5 Hz range after correcting the WinISD calculation in accordance with LTD02 suggestions for slot ports. Total net volume is 5.58 cubic feet, so fairly small for an 18" sub, but similar to the Cap 1400. The woofer itself is custom built coming from Paul Pierce based on the 2k line with 2000W RMS power handling and 100mm p-p xmech I was torn between that and the HST-18 but then the HST price went up $100 and mae the decision for me. For cabinet construction the top, bottom, and side panels are all lock-mitered, while the front and back are rabbeted. There is one main picture-frame style brace in the center of the cabinet and 7 smaller wedge braces going front-to-back. The final cabinet will be covered on all sides with a quilted bubinga veneer which I am extremely excited to see finished. It won't be stained, just natural lacquer finish. The interior of the port will be painted black. Anyway, without further ado, let's go for some build pictures. These pictures are all dry-fitted, the cabinet is not fully glued up yet.


Main cabinet rear view


Here's the main brace, edges rounded over


Front view with the port channels rounded over and set back from the front edge


Interior view with main brace and wedge braces


Rear port


And overall cabinet front view



You can sort of see the lock miter if you look close on the last image, but I'll post a couple more pictures of them close-up later. They were made on a shaper. I'm not here to pimp my dad's business, but he does awesome work, based around Baltimore, MD. PM me if you want a link to his website where he has a gallery of some of his actual work, not just my hobbies

Last edited by bpgunning; 01-21-2017 at 10:41 AM.
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post #2 of 31 Old 01-21-2017, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Here is a close-up of the lock-miter. These edges for the top, bottom, and side panels were all cut with a shaper.


And here is the latest dry fit test. Double thick front baffle for flush mounting the driver, and the inside of the port painted black.


Mounting holes for the driver will be drilled next week - the driver is going to be mounted with slab nuts (thanks to @dgage ). Veneering should begin next week with spray finishing following shortly after that! I forgot to mention in the original post but this is going to be powered by a Crest Pro-Lite 3.0 amp which should burst ~3000W bridged into 4 ohms. There will also be a miniDSP balanced 2x4 in the signal chain for a HPF and possibly some other signal shaping on the low end.
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post #3 of 31 Old 01-21-2017, 11:53 AM
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I like the look of the exposed endgrain encompassing the baffle.

Those lock-miter joints look awesome. Really nice work all around.

Can you link to the slab nuts?
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post #4 of 31 Old 01-21-2017, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baniels View Post
I like the look of the exposed endgrain encompassing the baffle.

Those lock-miter joints look awesome. Really nice work all around.

Can you link to the slab nuts?
This is just a dry fit, everything will be covered in the quilted bubinga veneer in the end, including the front. I told my dad the miter is really not necessary, but he insisted Setting up the miter is a nuisance but once it's set you can just run everything easily and the fit is super strong with a ton of surface area for glue.

Here is the link to the slab nuts. Very convenient to get them as a kit from David.
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post #5 of 31 Old 01-21-2017, 02:13 PM
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Good. Those will be great. When I googled the term some of the pictures didn't show any screw holes... you don't want them spinning when you try to remove a driver!

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Here is the link to the slab nuts. Very convenient to get them as a kit from David.
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post #6 of 31 Old 01-22-2017, 01:15 AM
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cool. very cool.

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post #7 of 31 Old 01-23-2017, 11:37 AM
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Your dad is really spoiling you with all of those lock miters, rabbets, and interior dadoes. What I'm saying is that I'm jealous my enclosures won't have that treatment. Very nice looking work, you make sure you thank your father! Lol.

I bet the finish is going to look amazing.


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post #8 of 31 Old 01-23-2017, 08:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OJ Bartley View Post
Your dad is really spoiling you with all of those lock miters, rabbets, and interior dadoes. What I'm saying is that I'm jealous my enclosures won't have that treatment. Very nice looking work, you make sure you thank your father! Lol.

I bet the finish is going to look amazing.
Haha, yes I am very lucky. When I moved across the country after finishing grad school he built me a coffee table and matching end tables, and also my TV stand/credenza too. Mortise and tenon curly cherry with curved wenge legs, beautiful stuff. I can't wait to see how this sub turns out. More progress pics coming in the next couple days, and I'll try to sneak in some pics of my furniture pieces too
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post #9 of 31 Old 01-24-2017, 02:58 AM
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That's awesome. I learned all my woodworking from my dad too. He's good, but not pro level like that. I'm 38 and I'm still the "flashlight holder" when I'm at his place and he's working on something. Lol

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post #10 of 31 Old 01-25-2017, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Here's the corner of the port with a concave rounded piece to smooth out the air flow. On the other side of the port corner it's convex so the port dimensions are approximately the same. This effectively removes that sharp corner where the bottom and rear port sections meet, turning into a smooth bend instead.



And here it's all glued up and clamped. The sawtooth looking thing on the front is just painters tape - the driver recess is spray painted black and he wants to spray another coat so he left the tape on.


After the glue sets it's onto filling and sanding, then the veneering begins!
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post #11 of 31 Old 01-26-2017, 10:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Sealed and sanded, threaded inserts epoxied in for the feet/spikes


Quilted bubinga veneer rolled out


And a close-up with a quick wipe of mineral spirits to show the grain, should be a fair representation of the final finish more or less
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post #12 of 31 Old 01-26-2017, 07:10 PM
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post #13 of 31 Old 01-31-2017, 07:32 AM - Thread Starter
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First panel (bottom) veneered. This is using Titan DX contact cement and a plastic veneer scraper tool both from Veneer Supplies


And trimmed after letting it set up overnight. Sanded a little bit on the right and top so that's why the color looks a little lighter.


Just being cautious about set up time so he's doing 2 opposing panels per day and letting the cement set completely overnight before doing any trimming/sanding. Slower process, but safer. Veneering should be done later this week, and then spray finishing starting Friday or early next week.
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post #14 of 31 Old 02-01-2017, 07:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Front baffle veneered, before trimming and driver and port cutouts...


...and after port and driver cutouts!
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post #15 of 31 Old 02-01-2017, 07:30 AM
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Love the veneer!

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Wow, that looks great!
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post #17 of 31 Old 02-01-2017, 08:04 AM
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Veneer is looking great! That's really going to pop with a nice clear coat. Getting jealous of some of these beautiful subs that get to be shown off out in the room.


"You can never have too many clamps."
My DIYSG HTM-12 build
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post #18 of 31 Old 02-01-2017, 09:10 AM - Thread Starter
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Evidently my father has decided he is going to thin the lacquer more for the first coat and add a little cherry dye. The idea is that it is mainly picked up by the change in grain (i.e. the figure, the quilted part) while the rest of it gets sanded off between first and second coats. That should give it a very slight reddish tint but, more importantly, make the grain pop more dramatically.
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post #19 of 31 Old 02-02-2017, 06:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Last veneer panel (top) is about to go on. Taped off for any glue that might come over the edges. Once this sets overnight, tomorrow begins sanding, filling any voids, sanding again, then the first coat of thinned lacquer with the small dye additive. Then more sanding and more spraying, should be done some time next week
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post #20 of 31 Old 02-04-2017, 10:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Here are some pictures of the first light lacquer coat with a little bit of cherry dye in there. I'm pretty sure these pictures were taken with the lacquer not fully dried yet, but I'll try to get him to snap some more close-up pics of the grain



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Final coat of lacquer on the bottom, still wet. This is the "worst" section of the veneer. Final spray coats should go on the rest of the cab tomorrow or later in the week depending on weather, then it gets crated and shipped out to me

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When the worst part of your veneer looks like a satellite image of the Sahara, everything is gonna be okay.

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This is the "worst" section of the veneer.
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post #24 of 31 Old 02-05-2017, 08:22 PM
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look'n really nice.

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That's just stunning..
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post #26 of 31 Old 02-06-2017, 11:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Aaaaand done, tentatively anyway. There might be one more lacquer coat to go on, depending how this coat dries (picture shown is still a bit wet, apparently it's drying slowly). There are 4 magnets recessed and epoxied behind the veneer, so the final remaining step is doing a grill. However, the goal is to never use the grill unless my cat decides the woofer looks like something she wants to attack I want to keep that beautiful face exposed if I can.



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post #27 of 31 Old 02-22-2017, 10:49 AM - Thread Starter
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After a painless and drama-free freight ship most of the way across the country, I now have the cabinet in hand. Unfortunately, there were some... issues... with my original driver order and it fell through (PM if you need details but I don't want to drag it into my build thread here). After that order fell through it was back to the drawing board, and I had basically 2 options for a driver - UXL-18 or SI HST-18 MkII. I spoke with Nick at SI and he said he could get me a HST-18 pretty quickly so I jumped on it - I ordered first thing last Wednesday morning, and my driver should be shipping out today. That's 7 calendar days for a badass sub to be built, tested, and shipped - huge thanks to Nick @Electrodynamic for putting up with my impatience and multiple calls. Barring anything unusual I should have the driver sometime in the Monday ballpark and then I can hook this bad boy up.

I ended up going with a different amp - a Sanway FP14k clone which I fan-modded to make it nice and quiet. Of course I'll be using a HPF in my miniDSP and probably a conservative limiter on the amp to make sure I don't blow anything up. I also just got a great deal on a X4300H receiver and got a pair of Pioneer Atmos add-on speakers for it, so it's been an exciting start to 2017 so far. Once the driver is in I'll take some final pictures and do some REW measurements. I can't wait!
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post #28 of 31 Old 02-26-2017, 03:26 PM - Thread Starter
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SI HST18 mkII next to a 2L bottle


And the whole thing put together



And a quick video, this beast of a driver is barely even trying. MV -20dB, sub trim -3dB. Powered by an FP14k, gain set to max, input attenuator max, limiter set to 140V. MiniDSP with 13 Hz HPF
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post #29 of 31 Old 02-26-2017, 05:25 PM
 
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Can you take measurements of SPL and in room curve when you get a chance? Did I read correctly you're running an entire Sanway FP14K into one HST? Even with all that attenuation, holy wow. Please post SPL numbers etc if you can. I'm very interested to see how it does compared to a Cap1400. Great job and exceptional finish work.


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post #30 of 31 Old 02-26-2017, 07:58 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm running the HST off one channel of the Sanway FP14k, not bridged. I chose my cabinet and driver to be (hopefully) competitive with the Cap1400. Unfortunately I don't think I have a great way to compare it since I can't do quasi-anechoic measurements, and being corner-loaded is going to drastically affect any measurement I try. All in all it weighs about 165 lbs so it ain't moving any time soon either If there's a reasonable measurement I'm willing to give it a shot - I've got a CSL calibrated UMIK and reasonable familiarity with REW so that part is no problem.

I have an acoustically challenging room, but with its massive size it actually allows for really low room modes so I get a naturally rising response at MLP down to ~15-17 Hz without having to add any DSP boost whatsoever. The only DSP I have running is the 13 Hz HPF to control excursion below tuning.
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