I’ve gained a lot reading about various posters’ experiences with their sub builds so thought it only fair to share my recent experience with my first ever build. Ever since I started reading the Ultimate Subwoofer Company (USC) thread back in 2013 the thought of doing something for myself fascinated me, however I only ever gave it a passing thought due to my total ineptitude when it comes to carpentry. Instead I just followed the thread with great interest, almost feeling like I travelled the journey along with both Dan & Rob. I even ended up buying one (a USC18) after demoing it against quite a few other high-end offerings, the final one being the mighty Sub2, in my house, professionally set up and using the PBK kit! I actually preferred the USC18 but that might say more about me… J Although at the time Rob hinted that two might be better than one, (forever the salesman I thought) coming from an MX350 I felt one would be more than enough at that time. Roll on two years and I started to become tempted by the thought of adding another one! (So maybe Rob was right after all..?) Unfortunately a conversation with Rob revealed that none were available and, having previously kept an eye on the classifieds, I was only too aware that they hardly (if ever) come up for sale. The other option was to do what I’d always fancied doing, build one for myself! About that same time (September) Parts-Express had a clearance offer on what many feel is one of the best (if not the best) drivers around, the TC-Sounds LMS5400 Ultra found here. Josh Ricci @ Data-Bass tested it here and when tested it handled up to 4.5kw without damage! (The “max power handling” quoted by TC Sounds is 8kw..!!) A similar sized (100 litre) DIY LMS5400 Ultra also measured very well in these comparison figures when tested by Ilkka Rissanmen here. Also compare the LMS Ultra here with the mighty Sub2 here. The downside of this driver however is its price; in 2012 it was a cool $1150 – gulp! That’s a hell of a lot for a single sub driver no matter how good it is. So the clearance offer of $750 in 2015 seemed too good an opportunity to miss. I ordered two of the very last ones they had, which when landed worked out at £744 each including delivery and taxes. Still pretty pricey! All seemed to go well at first, an email confirmed they were on their way with the motors and cone assemblies being packaged separately making a total of four packages with a combined weight of 180lbs!!! Yikes! Worryingly before they had even left the States the tracking information showed that one of the packages (a 69lbs one, so it had to be a motor assembly) had been returned to the depot whilst in transit. It eventually followed the others but about three days behind. Unfortunately that then meant that it was now going to arrive while I was away on holiday. No problem I thought, I’ll give the shipping company a call and let them know to hang on to it for when I get back. I was assured that this would not be a problem as that would happen automatically, but nevertheless a note to that effect would be put on the package(s). Imagine my horror when just two days into my holiday abroad I received a message on the tracking link stating that unless they were collected within 7 days (I wasn’t due to get back for another 12 days) they would be returned to the sender – all 180lbs worth!! Some frantic phone calls to my neighbour (I no longer trusted their company’s international contact department’s promises) I got him to go down to the depot and explain the situation to someone in person. A follow-up message was also sent to Parts-Express who did the same from their end. This is where the wonderful Cil Padgett from Parts-Express came in but more of that later. Being suspicious of the fact that one of the packages had needed to go back to the depot mid-transit I made sure I had a camera with me when they finally arrived and I’m jolly glad I did, as can be clearly seen here one of the packages had burst and a pretty poor attempt made to repackage it. (These photos were to prove essential later) As can be seen here the edge of the driver has cut right through its protective packing, the user manual (not shown here) and the outer packaging! When unpacking that motor I noticed damage to the mouth at the centre consistent with it being dropped from some height onto a concrete or similar surface. I was also aware that striking a magnet is a pretty good way to reduce its strength! Fearing the worst I assembled both drivers and gently ran them in free air to check for any issues. Sure enough, the driver that had sustained damage to the motor assembly could be heard making what sounded like rubbing noises consistent with the voice coil rubbing against the central part of the motor assembly. A quick phone call to Cil @ Parts-Express and, following a request for photos of both the packaging and the motor, Cil told me not to worry, she had four more in stock and would send one out immediately free of charge. What service!! Unfortunately my delight was short-lived. Cil got back to me saying that their stock list had been incorrect and that they didn’t now have any left after all. Disaster!! The whole point of me doing this was to have a pair of matching subs and the LMS is such a different driver to the USC18’s SP4 that I didn’t hold out much hope for successfully running two co-located as I had originally planned. A day or two went past when I received another message from Cil. She had asked around and managed to source another motor and would be sending it out to me immediately free of charge. What a star! Once again such service! I was mightily relieved. Sure to her word a replacement motor assembly arrived within a matter of days and the project was back on track – Phew! These drivers warrant a Perspex enclosure rather than an mdf one!