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DIY speakers you've drooled over but have yet to build!

Discussion in 'DIY' started by birchoak, Jun 30, 2018.

  1. invaderzim

    invaderzim AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    650
    Location:
    California
    It is tough with so many kits out there and having no idea of what they will sound like other than user reviews. I took a chance on the Zaph ZA5.2 TM as in-wall speakers and was blown away. I made one for a center channel speaker and am really happy with it. I'm building a couple more as gifts. I have zero woodworking experience but actually made a decent looking speaker box and found an excuse to get a router.
    With the SR71 I found a lot of videos and some good ones comparing them to other speakers which is nice because you can tell more of a difference with the sound since the room and recording equipment are the same.

    The drivers and crossover parts can get expensive but I found the actual building of the speaker to be relaxing so for the little cost of some baltic birch I'll experiment with a few more builds.
    If you don't enjoy the building process then most DIY electronics doesn't make sense but if you enjoy the process of planning and building then it does just like any hobby.
     
    jdsalinger likes this.

     

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  2. birchoak

    birchoak Hi-Fi Nut Subscriber

    Messages:
    694
    Location:
    Amesbury, MA
    That DIY kit should be low-risk, given the origin and number of reviews from people right here.
     
    mv213 likes this.
  3. birchoak

    birchoak Hi-Fi Nut Subscriber

    Messages:
    694
    Location:
    Amesbury, MA
    You raise good points, z. I'm not so much concerned about resale value (I would not build a $$$ kit), but not liking the results--the Frankenstein effect--could be bothersome. I might listen to the speakers instead of the music, perhaps. Perhaps not. I think the soldering + woodworking puts most people off, and thus we have very few reviews on these things. I might build a set for a friend or family member (who would doubtless love it) and test drive it to see if I liked it enough for my own use (wow, does that sound snobby!).

    I think the fun would be in the process, and the "I built those" satisfaction when playing them. I built a small pair of speakers for my shop, knowing absolutely nothing about speaker design (but something about carpentry), and while they are not "amazing" I am happy to listen to them for hours at a stretch while I work. A set of speakers Paul Carmody (for example) designed has to sound better than my clumsy attempt, so I'm sorely tempted. The added bonus would be sharing the results here on AK so people could make informed decisions.
     
  4. birchoak

    birchoak Hi-Fi Nut Subscriber

    Messages:
    694
    Location:
    Amesbury, MA
    What if: you built yourself some DIY speakers AND a DynaKit tube amp (new kits available, now) to drive them? How cool would that be? If it's your sole hobby (means of killing free time before you finally die) it wouldn't be hard to justify
     
  5. invaderzim

    invaderzim AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    650
    Location:
    California
    I hope it isn't too snobby because I'm planning to break in the Zaph ZA5.2 TMs I'm building as a gift before I send them so I can decide if I want to make a set for myself or if I want to skip up to the SR71. The center channel one I built sounds really good as a center channel but it is too hard to compare to other speakers as a single because the efficiency is lower so played side by side the others always sound louder.

    It is always difficult judging speakers from reviews and comments as there are so many differences to the way they sound and often times reviews mention 'great for the price' and that leaves me wondering 'if I go up to the $300 ones will they be 3 times as good?'

    I agree, I have 3 amps that I regularly use around the house two of them I built and 1 my Dad built 50 years ago it does add to the enjoyment.

    I really wish I was better at documenting builds and writing reviews. Building these latest speakers has been quite a learning process and sharing some of my mistakes along the way might have helped others skip making them. My center channel speaker was originally going to be the first one of the pair as a gift but when I rabbeted out too wide for the inset of the tweeter they moved down from gift quality. I painted the opening black so the 1/8" around the tweeter really doesn't show that bad but for someone else to use them I want them much nicer.
    I also have to learn to accept good enough results rather than insisting on perfect since when it comes to plywood joints there is smooth enough and just past that is sanded too far through the top layer.

    The first DIY speakers I built were the overnight sensations kit and it was really fun having speakers I assembled connected to a tube amp that I built completely from scratch.
    A short time later I made the mistake of killing time in a Magnolia HiFi and dropped the overnight sensations to home theater use. While those were fun I do have to say the satisfaction level is even greater with starting with a sheet of plywood and ending up with a speaker even if I am using someone else's proven design.
    To me I find that building things like speakers and amps requires enough focus that you can't think about any of the other issues of the day while you are doing it so it is a very nice escape.
     
  6. maxhifi

    maxhifi AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,072
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta Canada
    Lot:

    Fostex rear loaded horns

    Those PHY-HP sand loaded open baffles

    Diatone P-610 cabinets of all types

    Various line arrays

    The infamous sweet sixteen (which I did eventually build, it's not any good)

    Large theater style horns

    KLIPSCHORN

    Mini Karlson enclosures

    Probably way more. Not enough time, space, or money to try it all
     

     

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  7. tubino

    tubino A guy with too many tubes Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Toledo, Ohio
    I have cobbled together a number of two-ways using a 15" (JBL 2226, TAD 1501, AE TD15M) in various cabinets (JBL 3677, homebrew 6 cu ft) with various compression drivers and waveguides, with crossovers in the 800-1600 hz range. But I have never built an honest true and accurate Four Pi of Wayne Parham's design. This fall I intend to do that, by the book, with his crossover, his 290C waveguide, and JBL 2226 and B&C DE250.

    I have cobbled together a sort of copy of a design by Lynn Olson, and this I'm still listening to in a sort of clubhouse environment: two AE TD15Ms per side in vertical JBL 8 cu ft cabinet (see 4648) with TAD 2001 and Yuichi wood horns using the ~700hz crossover of Lynn's design.

    I know some people live in apartments and don't have the luxury of messing with a bunch of big boxes and drivers, but I would encourage ANYONE to try big two-ways with pro drivers, even in ugly recycled JBL cabinets (easier and cheaper to get than you may think, with or without drivers!), and live the dream. Build a crossover on a piece of wood. Use improvised materials to prop up a waveguide and compression driver on top. Get efficiency and dynamics like you'll never get out of smaller systems, and also get crazy power handling.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
    birchoak likes this.
  8. birchoak

    birchoak Hi-Fi Nut Subscriber

    Messages:
    694
    Location:
    Amesbury, MA
    Magnolia is a place I have banned myself from! I totally understand! How did you like the Overnight Sensations?
     
  9. birchoak

    birchoak Hi-Fi Nut Subscriber

    Messages:
    694
    Location:
    Amesbury, MA
    What are these? Why no good?
     
  10. MannyE

    MannyE Exterminate! Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Miami Beach
    Those line arrays they have on there. They make me drool. I even have enough space for them. Time time time. Is what I don't have.
     
  11. tubino

    tubino A guy with too many tubes Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Toledo, Ohio
    Do tell!
     

     

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  12. invaderzim

    invaderzim AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    650
    Location:
    California
    Fortunately, I usually get ignored by salespeople at Magnolia and often their systems don't work for me to switch on my own so I usually give up and leave.

    The Overnight Sensations gave my larger Paradigm Phantom V1 speakers a run for their money. Granted the Phantoms aren't high end but given the original price and size difference I didn't think the OS would stand a chance in the larger family room but they really held their own. In a smaller room with them nearer to me I think the OS sounded better than the larger Phantoms. They blew away the less expensive (when on sale) Polk T15 speakers, much clearer and much better off axis sound.
    I'd love to compare them side by side with the lower end Elacs (which I have yet to hear) but I prefer them to the low end Sony and Klipsch offerings that are out on the main floor at BB.
    When I finish the matched pair of Zaph ones I'll listen to them side by side with the OS.

    I'd love to try more of the other similar speakers. Maybe once my Niece and Nephews get their own places I'll have places to send speakers once they are built.
     
    birchoak likes this.
  13. maxhifi

    maxhifi AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,072
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta Canada
  14. maxhifi

    maxhifi AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,072
    Location:
    Edmonton Alberta Canada
    Lots of plans out there for big horns, a la altec, rca style, Jensen, etc. Audio cyclopedia has a cut away view of a shearer horn, always thought about that one but size is more than a bit much!
     
  15. mkane

    mkane AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    103 miles N. of S.F.
  16. The Fuxtor

    The Fuxtor AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,808
    Location:
    Calgary, Alberta
    I want to build a set of Large Advent Econowave......
    Not quite a diy kit, but still a build .
     

     

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  17. tubino

    tubino A guy with too many tubes Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
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    Years ago I was lucky enough to score a pair of the original 1952 Jensen design cabinets for a backloaded horn. The pair I got were built by a recording studio engineer, and he did a nice job with ordinary 3/4” plywood. A smaller version was later marketed as the Imperial, but accept no substitutes. I put in a pair of JBL LE15Bs with JBL 2441 drivers and waveguide. A friend heard it and built his own pair. It ain’t easy but it’s a great design. Where the design calls for a removable panel I’ve put the compression driver and waveguide. Eventually I’ll rebuild that part to accommodate a larger waveguide.

    DECB53CD-C0FC-4FF3-8C06-5E909CC38A24.jpeg

    C4D6C5A6-CF04-42DC-BCCE-F67F85868023.jpeg
     
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  18. birchoak

    birchoak Hi-Fi Nut Subscriber

    Messages:
    694
    Location:
    Amesbury, MA
    Quite a project! Too grand a scale for me to undertake, though I can see why people built them. It's all in the copy someone wrote, right?
     
  19. tubino

    tubino A guy with too many tubes Subscriber

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Toledo, Ohio
    I just received the waveguides and crossovers for Wayne Parham's Four Pi speakers. The crossovers aren't cheap, but you can see where the money goes in parts and PCB quality. I have the B&C DE250s and almost have the JBL 2226 ("almost" means a friend offered to swap his 8 ohm pair for my 16 ohm pair, just haven't done it yet).

    Then I'll have all but the cabinets, and I've got a plan there. I will go from drooling to reality this fall!
     
  20. Poultrygeist

    Poultrygeist Lunatic Member

    If I had more space I'd like to build some BIB's.

    I do plan at some point to try my Lowthers in MJK's MLTL.
     

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