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DIY Speaker pics

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Building DIY' started by bigmacx, Apr 28, 2004.

  1. bigmacx

    bigmacx
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    Since I always enjoy checking out other peoples DIY projects I thought I'd post a few pics of my efforts - a pair of floorstanders which I finished in Dec 2002.

    Unfortunately the pics are hosted on Geocities which gives almost zero bandwidth so apologies if you can't view them, the bandwith limit get's reset every hour or so I think.

    The project was originally based on a cloning project created by a guy called Thorsten Loesch who's fairly well known in the DIY speaker building world (a search should reveal lot's of info). I made quite a few modifications to his original plans but the essentials are basically the same.

    No prizes for guessing what actual speakers they're supposed to be clones of!

    Warning - low bandwith!

    Mac.
     
  2. alexs2

    alexs2
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    Beautiful looking,and must have taken a good while to put together....very nice indeed.

    Just dont tell Dave Wilson!
     
  3. stuthemong

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    lovely work. Makes me long for the smell of wooddust again........ :)
     
  4. bigmacx

    bigmacx
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    Thanks for the compliments :). They did indeed take a looong time to build. A large part of the reason was that I don't have a garage or shed and had to do a large part of the building in my bedroom and some (long-suffering) friends garden so I was forever carting everything back and forth.

    I really want to try building either a clone of the Avalon Eidolons or one the JM Lab Utopia series and perhaps a killer sub to go with them. Unfortunately my girlfriend has reliably informed me that she will kill me should I ever attempt another building project inside the flat. So I guess that'll have to wait until we move.

    I'm not sure Dave Wilson would take too much umbrage at my efforts. I'm guessing the type of person who builds a copy of Wilson speakers is probably going to be the type of person who hasn't got the money required to buy a pair... :)

    Mac.
     
  5. theritz

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    Bigmacx,

    They look absolutely gorgeous......................... and the pictures tell the story of the effort that went into them. Superb workmanship....... jealous.... sob... sob......

    :smashin:


    Sean G.
     
  6. Nimby

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    Mac

    I was going to say Wilson Pups. I heard a pair at a Danish AV show on the end of big Krell monoblocks and firemen's hose cables.

    It was actually rather unpleasant to be in the small demo room due to the impact of the bass on my body! I had my SPL meter with me and they were playing a bass guitar and drum track at a steady 105+dBs.

    Your own speakers are simply awesome. Very nice work indeed.
    I hope they sound as good as they look? :)

    Nimby
     
  7. Ian J

    Ian J
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    Excellent looking speakers - now for the matching centre and rears :D
     
  8. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Mac,

    All I can say is 'OH MY GOD' :clap:

    Those speakers look fooking ace. I need some more details please.:D What is the frequency responce for them? Are the plans available anywhere? Sorry t be so crude, but do you have a rough cost for the end product?

    I have recently been thinking of starting a DIY speaker project, along with a DIY sub. If these speakers have good enough bass response (I only have a small room) then I may put all of my funds into this one project.

    I have saved the webpage to my hard drive, so I won't eat all of your bandwidth as I drool over the pictures for hours at a time. :blush:

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  9. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    To answer my own question, I have found this site which details the design and assembly of these speakers.

    http://www.deadwaxcafe.com/vzone/david/david.htm

    I think I could get the cabinets made with lots of help from a friend, but the crossover diagram just confuses me.

    Mac, did you find it hard to build your crossovers?

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  10. bigmacx

    bigmacx
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    Thanks again for the kind words.

    I'll try and answer some of your questions.

    How do they sound?

    Well I don't really haven't really listened to enough other speakers to make a decent comparison but I think they sound pretty good :)

    The treble's very in your face (a well known trait of the focal tweeters) and gives the top end a lot of 'sparkle' (some say too much!). The mids are smooth and natural (voices sound great) but I sometimes get the impression that they might be slightly recessed. Nothing I can really put my finger on and it may be just a result of that extreme treble. The bass is slightly harder to quantify, it's very tight, which works great with music but sometimes movies sound as if they could do with just a bit more depth. In my room I've measured useful bass down to 35-40hz before it starts tailing off. A friend of mine who runs a fairly serious stero system (802s and Chord amplification) has listened to my speakers and says that they provide a fair bit more bass than his so maybe I'm just imagining it. I still yearn to build a killer sub though for those <30hz movie moments...

    Matching centre and rears?

    I already went as far as producing the CAD designs for a Wilson Watch Centre but as explained before, I think I'll have to wait until we move before I attempt it! I figure Wilson Cubs would be a good match for the rears (they use the same mid and tweeter) and there are a few cloning projects already out there that could be used as a starting point. (I currently run a Kef 100c and MK SS150's).

    Rough Cost of Project?

    Hard to say, I bought all the bits over an extended period of time. I also had to buy a lot of tools along the way. As a rough figure I'd say around £1500 - £2000, but you could probably build them for a lot less, say £700, by using different components. As an example I used Hovland Caps in the tweeter crossover which are ~£20 each, you could use standard ones for < £1. At each point I had a choice to make I tended to chose the premium components (real wood veener, lambswool stuffing etc) where available on the basis that if I was taking that much effort to build them I didn't want to feel at the end of the project that it could have sounded/looked a bit better had I spent a little more.

    Plans?

    I have a full set of CAD drawings I created for the project. They require TurboCAD (free trial download I believe) or I can export them as .dwg files. I'm happy to share them, send me a PM. I'd actually recommend trying to recreate the plans yourself though, as this allows you to 'virtually' build them and think through a lot of the problems you'll encounter. I found it very helpful.

    Crossover?

    A bit tricky to build, but not overly hard as long as you're half competent with a soldering iron. If you want to use premium components brace yourself for a hard time in finding some of them, in some cases had to go direct to the manafacturer.
    Just do a bit of reading up on the internet so you can understand the diagrams. I'd never built a crossover before this project and it seemed to go fairly smoothly. Be aware though, on my page the 'top crossover' and 'woofer crossover' labels should be the other way round.

    Closing Thoughts?
    Real wood veneer is a bitch to use! Especially when you're trying to bend it round corners. I don't think I've ever sworn so much in all my life. Think long and hard before using it!

    Boy, that was a long post! Thanks again for the kind words.

    Mac.
     
  11. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Hi Mac,

    Thanks for answering my questions.

    I had a figure of £700 - £1000 for the speakers already in my mind. As I said, I have a friend who is very good with wood, and already has the necessary tools to make such cabinets, so that will save me some money and heartache.

    Soldering isn't a problem, and I am fairly quick to learn, so lets hope I can complete the crossovers to a good standard. I will be PM'ing you in a few mins with a few more questions.

    Thanks again, your speakers have inspired me.

    Rob
     
  12. Kimmo.Niinimäki

    Kimmo.Niinimäki
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    Nice... :smashin:

    -Kimmo-
     
  13. ShinObiWAN

    ShinObiWAN
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    Bloody nice!

    Give yourself a big slap on the back and then get youtself down to the pub, you deserve it. :D
     
  14. freesey

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    Mac those are gorgeous. I am extremely jealous of your woodworking skills. I cant even make a solid box out of wood - seriously. ive always wanted to build a set of nice speakers, but I should probably settle for buying ones made by pros before I lose a finger. Again, those are fantastic. I can only imagine they sound godly.
     
  15. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Excellent job!

    I've a little DIY job in mind myself as a bit of fun and a learning experience, but you've certainly whet my appetite so to speak.

    How do you manage to route the speaker grooves into the holes so neatly? I've a cheap router, but was hoping to not have to use it much - I have enough problems cutting in a straight line... :)

    Gary.
     
  16. bigmacx

    bigmacx
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    Hi Gary, thanks for the compliments.
    To create the cutouts for circular drivers is fairly straightforward, all you need is (I think what's called) a circle cutting jig for your router. Essentially it's something that clamps to your router at one end, then at the other end attaches to the piece of wood you're cutting and provides a central point about which to rotate your router. Look here for an example. I built one out a bit of thin sheet metal that sits on the rails of the router so it can be slid up and down to provide different diameters. You could simply make one out of wood and cut holes at different distances to get the same effect.
    If you want to flush mount your drivers then you must cut the rebates out first (otherwise you'll lose your central rotation point). Make sure you do this accurately and only take a few mm's off on each pass otherwise you can end up going too deep. You can always remove the router, try fitting the driver and then take off more if required.
    Cutting rebates for non circular drivers is a bit more tricky, you can make a custom template using the driver itself, I can't remember where a saw the article though (a search of www.diyaudio.com might provide some answers). This article shows how to create a square template.
    I cheated a little bit for my tweeters I cut it as best I could by hand, covered the tweeters in clingfilm, inserted them, packed the gaps with woodfiller and then removed the tweeters. Was a bit tricky to stop the woodfiller sticking to the clingfilm though. Search the DIYAudio speaker forums for loads more tips.

    Hope this helps,

    Mac.
     
  17. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Great info,

    Thanks!

    Gary.
     
  18. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Me again,

    Not seen any plans for some Wilson Watch Surrounds have you? :)

    I'd like to have a go at those myself...

    Gary.
     
  19. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    I've finished the first carcase of my surround speaker project, and based it upon the drivers and crossover of the Acoustic Energy Aegis 1s. I thought that by doing that, I had a refernce to compare the final product with. I can play the original speaker alongside my 'design' and compare performance.

    I use 18mm MDF for the cabinet, and cheated doing routered rebates by using some 6mm MDF and cutting the holes into that, then gluing it onto the cabinet around the speakers. Seems OK, but I'm sure it will look better when painted. I've yet to router the edges to round them off nicely though.

    I can't get any figures for the main AE driver, and I think my port is a litle too long. I've also got to decide how to configure the internal bracing to kinda match that of the original AE box. Wadding is just two rolls layed in place, and I can do something similar I think. It'll do the job I think, but it'll be nice to know I haven't broken any cardinal rules before I glue the front onto it and reduce internal access.

    Making speakers can be a science can't it... :)

    Gary.
     
  20. theritz

    theritz
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    Any chance of some pictures ?? Having had fun with my DIY sub (and more to come with a new driver, I hope) I've been mulling over having a crack at speakers. (It's very cheeky to ask for pics, I know, but....... :blush: )

    Regards,


    Sean.
     
  21. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    The carcase is in it's first stage, and hasn't been filled or rubbed down yet, so it looks pretty rough. I hope the filler can do its magic though. :)

    I'll try to get some pics up soon(ish).

    I'm trying to work out how to correctly do the internal bracing and support for the reflex tube (as well as the right length for it). I think I need to know some figures for the woofer before I xcan calculate the lenght though, and I don't have any info for the Aegis 1s driver. The tweeter is known brand though.

    Gary.
     
  22. theritz

    theritz
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    Gary,

    The guys in the Loudspeaker forum on diyaudio.com might be able to help.

    Sean.
     
  23. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    I've been reading that forum - they speak in tongues!

    But I'm sure I'll understand what they're talking about one day....

    I'll prolly post a few questions there and see how it goes.

    Cheers.

    Gary.
     
  24. mason

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    Those speakers are the best home mades I have seen so far. I am just getting into the whole AV thing and I am just about to get into try to build them also---- not!! I will leave that to pro's like u!!! :laugh:

    Good work!!! :smashin:
     
  25. bigmacx

    bigmacx
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    Hi Gary sorry for the long delay in answering - I've been off enjoying myself having adventures in Egypt (alright, a holiday). WRT to plans for Wilson Watch Surrounds, I've never seen any. There have been some good clone attempts at Wilson Cubs though.
    I did go as far as creating some cad diagrams for a Wilson Watch Centre although I never got around to making it since my girlfriend has put an indefinite embargo on anymore woodwork in the flat. I'm happy to share them though.
    If you use B&W style 'matrix' bracing (like I did) then you can just cut a circular hole at the appropriate location to provide some additional support for the port. This is fairly easy to see in the construction pictures on my site.

    Incidentally I managed to get a pair of tweeters from an actual pair of Series 7 Watt/Puppys for a reasonable price (£100) from ebay. They've got some cosmetic damage but otherwise sound pretty good. I've also decided to veneer the speakers again as I'm not totally happy with the current finish, I'll probably do that over Christmas.

    Mason - thanks for the kind words and why not give it go, building speakers isn't actually all that hard if you follow existing plans. It can be a load of fun (sometimes) too!

    Mac.
     
  26. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Hi Mac,

    Hope you had a great time in Egypt - I hope to get out there sometime myself. Looks liek a fantastic place.

    Because the (front) port is a push-in type with a flared end, and the front is all one piece, I'll have to fix it internaly once it's all together but with the drivers removed. I've a couple of ideas though.

    The pukka drivers for these speakers are Scan Speak and Focal. Should cost around £500 or so for a set! I'll keep my eye out on ebay, but will stick with the drivers I've nicked form the Aegis speakers until then.

    My next thoughts are on dampening - some say using roofing felt glued to the sides is good, and a fair amount of stuffing with lambs wool or similar to enhance the bass. Any thoughts on either of those?

    Cheers.

    Gary.
     
  27. bigmacx

    bigmacx
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    I used lambswool and acoustic laminate panels for damping the inside of my speakers. The panels aren't actually that expensive and fairly easy to fit, just peel off the backing and stick them on, you can get them here. Roof felt would probably be a good substitute though.

    Focal and Scanspeak can be pretty pricey (I originally wanted to use a Scanspeak 18W-8545 for the mid-range but got scared off when some people on the DIYAudio forums warned me it would be difficult to integrate with the other drivers - I'm such a coward). Unfortunately they very rarely seem to turn up on Ebay.
    A word of warning though - I *think* that JM-Lab have stopped selling Focal units for diy use so if you did want to get some you'd probably have to do it sooner rather than later.

    Mac.
     
  28. Gary Lightfoot

    Gary Lightfoot
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    Thanks for the link - I've been looking at their DIY kits as well as Wimslows' as well. If theses speakers work well with the Aegis drivers, then the much better kit combinations will improve it further (just get the drivers and crossovers). Currently, I have an Aegis center, so the 4 rears will match by having the same drivers. I may look into upgrading the existing stereo fronts with the same drivers (other than the bass driver) by swapping the midrange and tweeter for the Aeigis ones. Will see how much I can get them for.

    I may upgrade all the drivers some time, but I think realistically, it would be better to keep with the Aegis drivers. They're in a dedicated cinema set-up, so they don't have to double for music playback.

    I'll try the roofing felt because I alread have some going spare, and will probably stuff with Rockwool insulation for the same reasons.

    Just out of curiosity, how do these Thiele specs look for a 5.25inch driver:

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=5721286956&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT

    I doubt they'd compare to most half decent speakers, but wonder how do you know what specs are good, and what ones aren't? Any ideas?

    TIA

    Gary.
     

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