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ogopogo83
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Technical Explainations?

I have recently become interested in thinking about building some of my own speakers. Being new though, a lot of the technicalities are very hard to understand.

I was wondering if anyone knows a good place to go to read about what different driver specs mean (Qts, Vas. SPL, ect.) and how they relate to one another, and what some of the different graphs that speaker applications show you account for (Transfer function magnitide/phase, Impedance, Group Delay, etc.).

Another question I have is what applications are good for getting started? I have found WinISD, which is pretty good for building subs, but won't allow for more than one driver per enclosure. I also came across Speaker Workshop, but haven't downloaded it yet to see what it will do.

Anyways, thanks for any advice!
- Ogo

Kal Rubinson
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Re: Technical Explainations?

The standard recommendation is Vance Dickason's Loudspeaker Cookbook, which is an excellent introduction, but I have a preference for Martin Colloms' High Performance Loudspeakers. I think it is more explanatory and useful as a reference while the Dickason book is more practical for beginning construction/design.

Kal

rmck818
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Re: Technical Explainations?

Some of the info you want is here:

http://www.partsexpress.com/resources.cfm

http://www.partsexpress.com/resources/speaker-building-terms.cfm

Also not a bad place for parts for speaker building.

Fire up those internet search engines for "DIY Speaker Building" and you are sure to find more information than you'll ever be able to read.

wkhanna
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Re: Technical Explainations?

I have built speakers, and could not have gotten the results I did without the help of the guys here http://www.htguide.com/forum/forumdisplay.php4?f=6

This a link to my build thread
http://www.htguide.com/forum/showthread.php4?t=22639&highlight=nat+journey

For ~ $1000 in material, I got a pair of speakers that are comparable to a $3000 set of B&W

ogopogo83
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Re: Technical Explainations?

Thanks a lot. I certintly have a lot of reading to do, but what else am I going to do on this 12 hour shift... haha!

dbowker
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Re: Technical Explainations?

I'm in the process of building some two-way tower speakers myself and these links have been immensely helpful. Madisound will even build custom cross-overs for only about $20 over the parts cost! Great guys to run questions by too.

http://www.madisound.com/index.html

Also check this guy out. Something of a DIY speaker guru:

http://www.troelsgravesen.dk/Diy_Loudspeaker_Projects.htm

Good luck! It's pretty time consuming to do it right- and not necessarily cheap either, but what you'll get is a whole lot for the money!

Jan Vigne
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Re: Technical Explainations?

While having more knowledge than you'll require for any task is never a bad thing, what you should know is totally dependent on what you wish to build. It is generally advised that any first time builder begin with a preconfigured kit. The kit designer has worked out the details of driver selection, enclosure type and dimensions and, most importantly, crossover cosntruction. These are the broad areas of speaker design and do not touch on the finer details of port driver placement; port volume, size, length and placement; parallel or series crossovers, etc., all of which go into finalizing your design into something enjoyable rather than a constant issue of frustration, wasted time and wasted money. Though the concept of building from scratch is romantic and appealing, sort of like defending yourself from a rampaging bear with nothing more than a pocket knife, if you don't know the difference between a series and a parallel crossover connection, I would strongly advise you to begin with a kit and stay out of the woods. The simple function of putting together the pieces someone else has selected in a prescribed fashion will result in a learning experience you can take forward to bigger projects.

Most especially, if you are building speakers out of the belief you can save some money doing so, I would very strongly advise you to go with a kit. Speaker design is an art and a science and not as easily conquered as sticking two drivers in a box might appear. Consider also the cost of the equipment to build a good speaker. If you don't already own a table saw, router and Dremel tool with a circle cutter and about a dozen clamps in a well layed out workshop, you will likely either spend more money buying the necessary pieces than you would buying a pair of prefab speakers. Or, you could easily find yourself frustrated by the whole affair. Most speaker designers of any skill level will tell you their first projects are quite terible when they listen years on into learning the craft of speaker design. A simple kit will give you a leg up on that problem.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Technical Explainations?

Now, if your reading doesn't convince you to begin with a kit, I would then suggest you investigate single driver, full range designs. The concept of a single driver has fascinated many builders and represents a very nice place to begin exploring the benefits of DIY with the possibility of lower cost and better overall results. Most SDFR's sound quite good, though with limitations in some cases depending on your budget and skill level, and will help you understand what a good sounding speaker should be and start you off on the basics of filter design.

I just built a pair of ZigmaHornets and couldn't be happier with the results.

http://melhuish.org/audio/

Jan Vigne
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Re: Technical Explainations?

OK, you still think this is easy. Then go here;

http://www.diyaudio.com/

http://www.audioroundtable.com/SingleDriverSpeakers/

http://geocities.com/rbrines1/

http://www.t-linespeakers.org/design/classic.html

http://www.speakerdesign.net/home.html

http://www.thielesmall.com/database.asp

http://www.oldhifi.com/fostextech.html

http://www.pvconsultants.com/audio/frdgroup.htm

http://www.quarter-wave.com/General/General_Articles.html

http://www.angelfire.com/electronic/loudspeaker/speaker.html

http://www.highefficiencyloudspeakers.com/user/Veneering%20Loudspeaker%20Enclosures.pdf

http://www.lonesaguaro.com/speakers/VeneerTutorial.pdf

http://www.humblehomemadehifi.com/

http://home.twcny.rr.com/cnydga/links.html

http://www.silcom.com/~aludwig/Loudspeaker_construction.html

http://www.audio-resolution.com/zhorn/ob.html

http://www.pesupport.com/cgi-bin/config.pl

Pay particular attention to King's Mathcad program:

http://www.quarter-wave.com/

http://www.quarter-wave.com/Gallery/Gallery.html

http://www.colomar.com/Shavano/crossover6db.html

http://www.karoliinasalminen.com/speakerbuilding.php3

http://www.mhsoft.nl/default1.asp

http://www.partsexpress.com/webpage.cfm?&DID=7&WebPage_ID=100

http://www.speakerbuilder.net/web_files/default.htm

http://www.speakerbuilding.com/software/

http://www.speakerlab.com/speakerkits.htm

http://audiogrid.com/audio/

http://www.diysubwoofers.org/

http://www.lonesaguaro.com/speakers/SV10/sv10.htm

http://members.shaw.ca/t-linespeakers/diy-11-apr-99/linx.html

http://www.t-linespeakers.org/sitemap.html

http://www.tnt-audio.com/casse/tqwp_e.html

http://www.lenntech.com/unit-conversion-calculator/volume.htm

http://www.the12volt.com/caraudio/boxcalcs.asp#rec

http://members.shaw.ca/t-linespeakers/diy-11-apr-99/projects/yves/index.html

http://www.speakerbuilding.com/

http://www.partsconnexion.com/

http://www.kaiaudio.com/index.html

http://www.silcom.com/~aludwig/contents.htm

http://www.mhsoft.nl/spk_calc.asp

http://www.bcae1.com/spkrmlti.htm

http://white.hometheatertalk.com/tips/ib.htm

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_6_3/diy-11-sonotube-subwoofer-september-99.html

http://www.hlabs.com/technical/crossovers/

http://www.percyaudio.com/

http://www.planet10-hifi.com/css.html

http://www.tnt-audio.com/clinica/bfb_e.html

http://www.timn8er.com/

Find the Linkwitz-Reilly web page. When you finish with these, go buy a copy of AudioXpress.

You'll find all the software you're likely to need in these links.

absolutepitch
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Re: Technical Explainations?

Jan's long list of links is impressive; I'd like to look into those myself, if I had more time.

I have built speakers, from the ground up. First, a single-driver in a box, good for learning how to get a rigid-enough enclosure, and finding out the frequency limitations. Then I graduated to a 2-way system by adding a tweeter and a off-the shelf crossover, and learned that the midrange is not covered well. Then I decided to add a midrange speaker, and build my own crossover by buying so-called "good" capacitors and winding my own inductors from 18 AWG magnet wire. The drivers and the crossover frequency points were chosen to provide at least hemispherical dispersion on a front-firing system at the highest frequency in their band pass, with the drivers capable of producing output significantly beyond their crossover bands.

All the above may be not what you seek to do, but it was a great learning experience. I even constructed driver cones and wound voice coils by hand to learn about driver construction.

Before all this, I read the available books at electronic stores on speaker design, which was much more limited than available now, especially on the web. The most useful for me was understanding the Thiel-Small calculations to apply it to the bass and midrange boxes, both sealed designs. I found that system symmetry (mirrored left and right units) is important, and driver placement will affect how it sounds coherently or not.

There is much to learn. People have been doing this their entire lives and still improving their designs. Good luck and enjoy the hobby.

wkhanna
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Re: Technical Explainations?

I can not disagree with anything Jan has said.

At the same time, I would not want discourage anyone with the will, patients and desire to learn new skills from undertaking the task. The speakers I built were a tried and true design, conceived by Mr Jon Marsh. He has been designing and building speakers for over 20 yrs. He uses the same equipment and methods as the engineers who design speakers as a profession, and offers his designs to the public domain. The Natalie Portman design I made are a great place to start for a first-time project for many reasons. You can get a 1 cubic foot pre-made cabinet from Parts Express, cut the holes for the drivers, assemble the xo, and have the very same speakers that two recording engineers have built to use as monitors in their studio

ogopogo83
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Re: Technical Explainations?

Thanks everyone for all the feedback. I fully understand that its quite an undertaking and nothing that will every really be "complete", but I figure it would make a good hobby.

If things go well, I will definitely get those two books. Luckily, Amazon has Martin Colloms' High Performance Loudspeakers at 40% off for a hardcover.

For my first project, its looking like I am going to try out the Cynosure project plan thats on Parts Express. Is a bit more complicated than some of the other suggestions, but at least its an end-product that I could really use. Would rather that than end up with a speaker that I would end up scrapping.

As always, any other suggestions are appreciated!

Thanks again,
- Ogo

wkhanna
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Re: Technical Explainations?

That is an interesting project. However I question some of design, especially the xo and the use of multiple small ports. At $250 plus the cabinet, I will will refer you tho this, http://www.htguide.com/forum/showthread.php4?t=11475 based on your statement that your your goal is to end up with a speaker you won't be wanting to replace a year or so down the road. In addition, there are front-mains and rear surrounds that are matched and designed to work perfectly with this center channel speaker. This would result a perfectly matched HT system that also performs extremely well for music, too. http://www.htguide.com/forum/showthread.php4?t=13154

Best of luck, and keep me posted on your progress, and any questions you may have during the build. I am no expert by any means, but I do know were to get the correct answers to most questions.

wkhanna
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Re: Technical Explainations?

Here is another site, John "Zaph" Krutke, also does tons of testing and measureing before he even thinks about starting a build. these are all tried and true projects that deliver performnce rivaling comercial speakers that cost at least 3x more than what you can build them for.

http://www.zaphaudio.com/

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