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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello DIYer's,


I am very interested learning more about the design of speakers and how different components can be mixed and matched to produce high quality speakers.


Can anyone give me advice on where to start? A particular book or web site for novices? I've been reading posts here for quite a while but do not have knowledge to follow many of the discusions.


What would be consdered the basic equipment needed? Other than the woodworking tools required for the construction of enclosures.


Thanks

Longrange10x
 

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+1 on building a proven design, especially if you just want new speakers.


If you think you want to design from the drivers, up, go here and read up on the process:
http://www.pvconsultants.com/audio/frdgroup.htm


If you want to really design from scratch, without relying on modeling, manufacturer's specs and other people's data, you'll need to measure frequency response and impedence. The former requires:

- a microphone (ECM8000 is popular, but needs a mixer like the Xenyx 802)

- a PC with sound card

- software like Room EQ Wizard, ARTA, etc.

The latter is most easily done with a Woofer Tester 3 (WT3) from Parts Express. the rest of the tools are described/available from the FRD link.


By way of books, Loudspeaker Design Cookbook and Speaker Building 201 are well-known, but I can't say as I've read them, but then, I can't say as I'm a great designer, either.


Have fun,

Frank
 

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Read over what John at ZAPH has to say. There are a lot of books, most of them not great. To really get into the hobby, you need to learn how to measure drivers yourself. How to design and build crossovers, woodworking, and all sorts of things. Great hobby as it has so many facets. Don't get carried away with expensive drivers, expensive tools, software and gadgets. You can do it the "hard" way really cheap. It is like learning your times tables before you use a calculator. You can learn a LOT by reading on the WEB, playing with shareware tools and asking questions and then measuring and testing with a few cheap drivers.


You may have noticed this thread has several folks who design and manufacture drivers for a living. A lot of engineers, very experienced hobbyists, and all those getting there. Not a bad place to start.
 

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Quote:
Loudspeaker Design Cookbook

Read it almost twice now...still don't know squat about crossovers. I think Im in a daze when I read it because the stuff doesnt sink in very well, I take it when I travel on business trips. Its great for making me sleep on flights



The DCX2496 is your friend


www.diyaudio.com (very big international flavor and crowd hang out there)
www.htguide.com (Extreme speaker building gurus hang out there).
www.zaphaudio.com (Tons of measurements and great for starting out).
 

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find a commercial speaker you like. pick a DIY kit that looks most like it and build it.


if there are no DIY kits that look like a speaker you want ( lets say you want a Wilson Grand Slamm X-1 ) then you are in trouble
then you will need to read ... and read and aread and read


in fact then you will probably need to buy a book


if you ever do build your own speaker ( your own design ) then reading a good book on speaker design will have been worth it
 

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Another idea is to buy a set of automotive component speakers and build a cabinet for them. It's a cheap way to go (don't buy real high end speakers) and sounds decent for the money. The crossovers are already done for you.


The speakers will be 4 ohm, be sure your amp can handle it.
 

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Having built a few boxes i must say that it isn't really as hard as some people say. You should first start building a sub, it's by far the easiest and most forgiving. Buy a 10" to 15" driver from a known brand, make sure the driver comes with a parameter sheet. Then you input the parameters in a design software such as WinISD or BassBox, and the software will calculate most of the stuff for you, and it'll also plot expected frequency response.


Building a box for a cheap sub where you don't have the parameters is harder, because it'll require some measuring equipment. If you'd like, i can detail. Tools you will need are a tone generator (could be your computer), a low-noise amplifier, a voltmeter that can measure AC millivolts (a 2v AC scale would suffice, but higher precision would be better), a bunch of 1% tolerance resistors and a scale with a range of 50g to whatever your driver may weigh. Also a 12-digit calculator is going to be more convenient to use than your computer.


If you are building mains, the most challenging thing is matching the midrange (assuming a 3-way setup), or midwoofer in a 2-way setup with the tweeter. You have to make sure they have the same SPL, or that the tweeter has a SPL slightly lower than of the midrange. Having a high SPL tweeter (especially a piezo) with a low SPL midrange will result in sound that is very bright and harsh.


As far as crossovers go i prefer building them into the amp and placing them in the signal path, not after the amp, as this will not require high power parts and will dissipate a ton less heat. But obviously, this is going to require at least two separate amps. I usually custom build my amps as well so this isn't an issue for me, but it could be for you. I've never ever built a "regular" crossover so i can't really be of help there.
 

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Another great resource: http://www.linkwitzlab.com/


The first place to start when you are learning to design speakers is the crossover. When you learn how crossovers and filters work, you'll be better able to select complimenting drivers.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Servicetech571 /forum/post/17044150


Another idea is to buy a set of automotive component speakers and build a cabinet for them. It's a cheap way to go (don't buy real high end speakers) and sounds decent for the money. The crossovers are already done for you.


The speakers will be 4 ohm, be sure your amp can handle it.

no don't do that !


that's *******.


i don't care if it works or not - its just wrong !
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Servicetech571 /forum/post/17044150


Another idea is to buy a set of automotive component speakers and build a cabinet for them. It's a cheap way to go (don't buy real high end speakers) and sounds decent for the money. The crossovers are already done for you.


The speakers will be 4 ohm, be sure your amp can handle it.

I think that's a horrible idea honestly. Most automotive drivers are designed for loudness not audio quality, and they are also meant for a completely different type of listening environment.


There are plenty of sub-$100 designs out there, there's no need to do something ridiculous like sticking stock car audio speakers/crossovers in a home cabinet.It might be cheap but it will also be very suboptimal and will be a waste of money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I am really leaning towards understanding the x-over designs. As it stands right now I can build any type of enclosure but do not have a clue when it comes to why capacitor "A" makes driver "B" sound better or worse. (In fact I have only installed what was recomended by the speaker designer I am most familiar with, Toby Speakers of Ft. Worth, TX)


Another question....What type of room environment is most commonly used for measuring speaker output? Doesn't the sound vary depending on the size and shape of the room? Do most of you tune your x-overs based on the room that they are in or do you build the speakers using a given room and EQ from there?


Thanks for the many links and suggestions. The more the better.


Longrange10X
 

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Well, those capacitors (and inductors and resistors) make it so that the treble goes to the tweeter, the mid-range goes to the mid-range and the bass to the woofers. They can also be used to filter out peaks in the response, to level match drivers with different sensitivities, etc.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonoMan /forum/post/17049689


Well, those capacitors (and inductors and resistors) make it so that the treble goes to the tweeter, the mid-range goes to the mid-range and the bass to the woofers. They can also be used to filter out peaks in the response, to level match drivers with different sensitivities, etc.

I think he was asking about different brands of capacitors.


Now, i'll probably have half of the "audiophile" crowd trying to prove me wrong, but in my opinion the capacitor brand does not matter. That is, unless you have drivers worth $5k+.


The only real capacitor requirement in a crossover is to always use non-polarized capacitors, not electrolytics. The reason is that electros have poor high-frequency handling and will cause smearing in the treble, and since AC flows in both directions they are essentially run in reverse polarity for half the duration of the signal. This can make some cheap electros blow up, and then you can say bye bye to your tweeters.


Of course the sound will vary with room changes. But generally you will build the speakers that sound best to you, in your room. Any pits or spikes in freq response can be EQ'd out later. The only parameters crossovers should be based on are the freq range and SPL of the speakers.
 

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Well, yeah, that's true. You don't need to spend any notable amount of money on capacitors to get the same quality as the expensive "audiophile" capacitors. The people saying you do are selling you snake oil. The same kinds of people that tell you that what brand of diode you use in your bridge rectifier of your power supply will affect your sound quality. What?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonoMan /forum/post/17058828


Well, yeah, that's true. You don't need to spend any notable amount of money on capacitors to get the same quality as the expensive "audiophile" capacitors. The people saying you do are selling you snake oil. The same kinds of people that tell you that what brand of diode you use in your bridge rectifier of your power supply will affect your sound quality. What?

Recently on another forum, there was a serious discussion about that type of breaker is best in the fusebox/switchboard of your house based upon it's sonic attributes.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DonoMan /forum/post/17058828


The same kinds of people that tell you that what brand of diode you use in your bridge rectifier of your power supply will affect your sound quality. What?

The brand, does not matter. The power handling on the other hand, does.
If you're building an amp with output any higher than 100W there is no reason to NOT use at least a 25A diode bridge. After all, one of those only costs $2.


Quote:
Originally Posted by A9X-308 /forum/post/17061411


Recently on another forum, there was a serious discussion about that type of breaker is best in the fusebox/switchboard of your house based upon it's sonic attributes.

I'm so sigging that. Next up, making a map of areas with "better sounding power plants"?
 

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Speaker Building 201

Loudpspeaker Design Cookbook

Testing Loudpspeakers

Sound Reproduction:Loudspeakers and Rooms

Loudspeakers-new this year from Newell and Holland
 
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