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Discussion Starter #1
How do you know if DIY is for you? I'm want to upgrade my HT (if I can call it a HT), but I'm too lazy to go around everywhere and find places/people who have the speakers I'm interedted in and I'll most likely just get Ascend 340's or Axioms or rockets w/o listening first. Now- if I'm going to buy sight unheard, I'm wondering if I can save money and get something that sounds just as good by building it myself. I'm not going to design anything- so I'd go with a readily available or purchasable design. I know everyone has a different idea of what sounds good and all that BS- but can a first-timer get a sound comparing to an Ascend or Axiom by DIYing it....... or will you most likely get something that sounds like crap because you put it together wrong, or wired it wrong, or the kit/ design just plain sucks? I don't have a ton of tools, so that'd have to be factored into the equation. If you have to build your own cabinets to get a great sounding speaker for a great price, but you need a table saw, mitre saw, router, band sander, and a whole list of tools that isn't going to help me. I'm looking at spending $1,500 for the package. Or at least for the LCR speakers. I DO have some technical skill as well as some skill with paint and finishes. One of my hobbies is (thought I haven't had the time to work on them) is computer case modding and I can do a darn good gloss paint finish. I think you get my point by now. If all I need as a rotator saw and a few clamps to make a great speaker for a great cost, then cool. If I need a room full of power tools then I think I'll have to go the internet direct route.
 

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Since you can finish a cabinet with a good gloss paint job, get some unfinished cabinets or your local Home Depot/Lowes cut the MDF to spec. A cabinet shop would do a great job but would probably cost a little too much. All you would need is a jig saw to cut the holes for the drivers. A friend or neighbor has one you could borrow.


Are you looking at commercial kits like the Adire Audio 281 or a DIY plan like this ?


-Robert
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm looking for something I can do that's not terribly difficult. I'm not a carpenter nor an electrical engineer. But I do have some woodworking skills and electrical/soldering skills.


Also, looks is one thing- but I want something that sounds terrific. Can you make something that beats an axiom, Ascend or whatever and pay the same or less?


EDIT: looked at the project you linked to, and I think I could do something like that. I'd need to brush up on my schematics reading skills for the x-overs but if something like that could sound really good, then yeah I think I'd go for it... But the guy never lists what tools were used. Here's what I have, and I've expand on that if need be. I have a Jigsaw, and random orbit sander, cordless drill (14V). Again, I would be willing to buy more tools if the NET cost would still be less....
 

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Did you check out this thread ?


Several DIY speaker designs are discussed, and a number of people on that thread have built speakers. A proven design is probably the way to go, unless you are willing to trash your first few projects and spend a decade or so learning the ins and outs of speaker design. Don't get me wrong, designing your own speakers can be a great hobby, just don't expect quick (good) results if you go that route.


I just started work on the Audax set of HT speakers (fronts, center, and two surrounds), and have every reason to believe they'll sound great. They're designed by a well known speaker designer and people that built them rave about their sonic qualities. My cost in parts is $546.56 (just ordered them), that's excluding wood (Another $100 or so). It has been stated by those in the know that buying anything as good as these would set one back $2000, possibly more. So it's definitely worth it. Others have build these before me and there are lots of pictures showing the details on the above thread. That's what I need, as I'm new to speaker building too.


For what it's worth, I don't have a table saw, no mitre saw, no band sander. I do have a router and a portable circular saw (OK, also a drill and small sander). That's enough to rough cut speaker panels with the circular saw and make them exactly to size, square and with a straight edge using the router. Speaker openings are cut with the router too. Joints can be simple butt-joints, even for those the glue is stronger than the wood, ie. the panel will break before the joint does. So, not too much is needed in terms of tools.


My advise would be to start simple. While, for example, the Ariel will certainly sound better than many others, it's also very hard to build. Get something that largely consists of plain rectangular boxes where the woodworking is not too involved. If you want to upgrade to better speakers later on you can always sell them off on E-Bay (and at least break even on cost), then build something else. That's my approach to it.


-Rob-
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by rlj5242
Since you can finish a cabinet with a good gloss paint job, get some unfinished cabinets or your local Home Depot/Lowes cut the MDF to spec. A cabinet shop would do a great job but would probably cost a little too much. All you would need is a jig saw to cut the holes for the drivers. A friend or neighbor has one you could borrow.
Don't forget he could also go with a pre-made speaker cabinet such as one of these.

http://www.partsexpress.com/webpage....WebPage_ID=180

http://www.partsexpress.com/webpage....WebPage_ID=208


Or even maybe even something like one of the entire speaker kits as well.

http://www.partsexpress.com/webpage....86649&desc=ASC

http://www.partsexpress.com/webpage....86649&desc=ASC

http://www.partsexpress.com/webpage....ctGroup_ID=378


Or maybe something like the Dayton III MTM project, if he want's to do everything from scratch. Instead of the Audax for his first DIY project, although if he is planning to do a full 5.1 setup, I think the Audax may be the better one to go with.

http://www.partsexpress.com/projects...ayton_iii.html

http://www.partsexpress.com/projects...daytonmtm.html
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Man, I'll look into all of those options. Probably tomorrow, as I do need my sleep...... But thanks for the input. Even though no one has come out and directly said it.... I take it you can build speakers that compete with the internet direct sellers for less cost?


Rop- I do agree that a tried and true design is the way to go for my first time out. But less than $700 for a 5 speaker setup is definitely in my range... Then I'd have more $$ for a decent reciever!


Johnla- I'll look at those cabinets too. I do have some woodworking skills, so I'm not totally afraid of having to build the cabinets. How much are routers and circular saws? and yes- I am looking for a full 5.1 setup, though I'm leaning most strongly towards a HSU STF-2...
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by BigguyZ
Even though no one has come out and directly said it.... I take it you can build speakers that compete with the internet direct sellers for less cost?
That is exactly what you can end up with, when you pick plans for good ones to do. And often times you can end up with a set of speakers, that are of a higher quality that you maybe could not afford to buy otherwise as a assembled set.

Quote:
Originally posted by BigguyZ
I do have some woodworking skills, so I'm not totally afraid of having to build the cabinets. How much are routers and circular saws?
Routers and circular saws vary in price. And as far as a router though, you should buy a better quality one, such as a Bosch, Porter Cable, or De Walt. And also it's advisable to buy a plunge model over a regular one. I myself like the Bosch 1613AEVS, which costs about $200 or a bit less. I'd advise staying away from the Sears Craftsman routers though, as they really are not that good. Circular saws are about $50 or so to get a decent one, and about $125-$150 to get a really good one. But for a circular saw a Black & Decker, Skill or Craftsman model of around $45-$70 should do just fine, but make sure you get one with ball or roller bearings, and not just bushings.

For router bits, www.woodbits.com has some of the best prices you can find
 

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As to routers: As Johnla points out there are fixed base and plunge ones, each with its own uses. I bought a DeWalt DW618PK, it has the best of both worlds. Comes with a fixed router base and a plunge one, and you swap the motor (the expensive part) between them depending on what you need. Other brands make similar double-duty ones. Cost is not a whole lot over a single router. It also pays to look around on the Internet for deals. At the time one of the Internet tool companies had instant discounts going for DeWalt, saved me a bundle.


For what it's worth, I'm happy with the router I bought. Used it for a few projects and it just works.


-Rob-
 

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Discussion Starter #9
How about a table router? Is that necessary? I also saw someone use a rotozip to cut circular holes (they used a circular guide). Is it worth it to pick one of those up? another thought- if you see a design for front speakers you like, but there is no seperate design for either a center or surrounds, how do you go about making the other parts to the puzzle and still know that they'll be timbre matched and such?


Is there a link to that Audax home theater? I'd be interested in that..... How are the Seas DIY kits?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by BigguyZ
How about a table router? Is that necessary? I also saw someone use a rotozip to cut circular holes (they used a circular guide). Is it worth it to pick one of those up?
You really have no need for a router table, even though they are nice to have. As for a RotoZip type tool, although they will cut circles nicely, it will not do you any good when it comes to "rabbiting" the speaker cutouts or rounding over the enclosures. So you would be much better off with a router, than a RotoZip. Also for cutting circles with a router, either buy or make a circle cutting jig such as the Jasper ones sold by parts express.

http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd...D=121642&DID=7

http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd...ID=10577&DID=7

http://www.partsexpress.com/pe/showd...ID=10578&DID=7
Quote:
Originally posted by BigguyZ
Is there a link to that Audax home theater? I'd be interested in that.....
Sure take a look here.
http://home.houston.rr.com/tomfowler...ner_series.htm



As for matching other speaker designs that are not made in a full surround setup. You would have to match by building something with the same basic drivers that the speakers you do have plans for use. And then come up with a enclosure and crossovers for them. You could possibly adapt a enclosure design fro some other plans, but a new crossover also would have to be made up as well. Because you just can't use any crossover with what ever speakers you decide to go with. As the crossover is designed to work with the speakers you choose, and the enclosure design. So there really is no such thing as a generic crossover that would be "the best" to use. As it all works together, in what needs to be used.
 
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