Best products for baffle material s ?

Looking for the "best" combination of materials. Building new boxes for my B&W CM1 bookshelfs as I can feel vibration on the baffle and sides, with classical music, quartet, at even very modest volume. These are very small 2 ways - so I can afford to go "all-out" on the boxes. High mass, inert, shaped baffle to minimize diffraction, interior design to break up waves. I'm considering only products that can be "woodworked". More detail later. Thanks.
Maple hardwood if you want only materials that can be wood worked.

Make sure you keep the front baffle the same width as it is now, also keep the drivers spaced exactly like original both horizontally and vertically, this way you will not have to redesign the crossover.

Also, keep the net internal box volume the same.

Best of luck

Thanks very much Peter! I intended to keep the height and width dimensions identical for the baffle face but thought to increase the depth of the face to reduce vibration and thought it might be good to shape the front along the Sa--n2 lines? I really had no thought of changing the overall box design, internal volume or stuffing material/quantity & shape -- and I wouldn't dream of changing the crossover. But I also had no idea of the relationship of the crossover to the dimensions and I appreciate your heads up. Very thoughtful & generous of you!
Basically I am just a listener hoping to reduce the gross deficiencies of the lightweight box and its vibrations. I hadn't thought beyond using laminated hardboard and MDF and painting the box black like the current boxes. Maple hardwood does sound like a nice step up.
If you make the baffle thicker make sure that the mid woofer gets some berating room towards the back, consider making the opening through the baffle conical i.e wider as it progress through the baffle.

Heres a pic for detail Front Baffle Detail

Best of luck

I do a lot of high end custom cabinet work for speakers. Contact me for more info at my username at gmail dot com
Sometimes the screws loosen up over time on B&W's. I would check that first.
Sorry, I forgot to put my choice of baffle material. I like Corian.
Second the Corian. It's non-resonant and will not contract and expand, as will any hardwood. Reasons virtually no one uses solid hardwoods as cabinet material.

Properly finished Hardwood is very stable, Maple in particular.

Good Listening

Peter- Do you know of a company that is currently using solid hardwoods in their speaker cabinets? The last that I can think of were the Cizeks, made of strips of Koa wood, glued together for stablity. Even they used a plastic baffle board(acuthane, or something like that).
Peter is absolutely correct, maple with a bit of bracing is very non resonant and does a good job... I am actually refinishing the front of my cabinets now in Maple... the problem with maple is that it is tough to stain... that's why you will find it isn't used much.

This one


Good Listening

Hello Peter- Saw a lot of talk about veneers, glues and
finishes on that site, but nothing about solid hardwoods, or
cabinet construction. I'm guessing those are your
speakers(PBN). Are you saying that the front baffles(or
entire cabinets) are solid maple? Beautiful craftsmanship,
The front baffles on most of these are made form laminated hardwood, most from 1.625 to 2.125" in thickness. The back cabinets are made from MDF which is veneered then finished or finished in automotive paints.

Good Listening

Sonus Faber uses solid hardwood beginning with their Olympica line of speakers.
So, Peter- no solid hardwoods? Yes; voidless plywood(ie:
Birch) has always been a good(and expensive) option, for
speaker cabinetry. Probably the most expensive component of
any of Klipsch's early systems. In the 80's; I was using,
"47lb Industrial Roseboard," which was the highest density
fiberboard available. I suppose that would be the
of today's, "HDF." None of my home systems were
as large as yours, hence; baffleboards didn't need that kind
of thickness to combat resonances. You guys do some beautiful
veneering. I used to order mine from Bob Morgan.
I don't know the answer to this question, nor do I even have an opinion, but will the B&Ws sound better with a less resonant cabinet or will they just sound a little different?
Daedulus Audio makes their entire cabinet and baffle from solid hardwoods according to their website.
Mr C- Thank you. Never heard of that company. I'd be interested in comparing the sounds of the various species of wood they use(same models/internals/drivers, but different woods).
Thanks Zd. I think the screws on 'virtually' all cabinets loosen over time due to the laws of physics. I am a fastidious about maintaining screw tightness on my cabinets and drivers as I also own a pair of heavily modified JBL 250Ti"s which have a 14 inch bass driver with an ~ 22 lb magnet that has real propulsive force! I'm with you that loose drivers means loose sound. (I am very fussy about stringed classical instruments clarity). On my B&W Concept 90 CM1's one must tighten the entire, unique, one piece baffle to the box as well as the dome tweeter to the baffle. Both loosen even though obviously they're not played that loud. (Yes I take off the baffle from time to time to check the 4" driver.)
Peter, thanks for the heads up on breathing room for the driver. I really appreciate the very revealing photos you attached to your post!
S7horton, will do today thanks.
Thanks Zd & Rodman. I'll look into Corian.
Onhwy, there is absolutely no question that 'cabinet resonances', particularly those on the front baffle, reduce the clarity, dynamics and nuance of the sound due to the basic laws of physics.
I think ROCKPORT TECHNOLOGY website addresses this quite well. In a nutshell the drivers create sound by vibrating. For the sound to be 'just the sound created by the driver' there must be zero other vibrations influencing it. I understand your question as indeed different listeners have different "tastes" in both music and sound--so eliminating vibrations may not make the sound "better" to all; but definitely "different".
Daedulus, Rodman makes a valid and very interesting point. Serious woodworkers will know it "wood :-) " be virtually impossible for cabinets of different wood species to react the same to the drivers so they 'wood' all sound different!
"09-08-14: Onhwy61
I don't know the answer to this question, nor do I even have an opinion, but will the B&Ws sound better with a less resonant cabinet or will they just sound a little different?"
That's an excellent point. Whoever designed the speaker had to make it work with the original materials. Even if you go with a better material, there's no guarantee that it will sound better.
@Ptss- Some points about Corian; it can worked exactly as
wood(routed/dadoed/sawn/dove-tailed), but should be worked
somewhat slowly. Drills and taps nicely, for mounting drivers
with machine screws and/or clamps(obviating the need for T-
nuts). Dupont makes colored acrylic epoxies, specifically for
Corian, that can be used to layer sheets to whatever thickness
you desire, or to make visually seamless joints in a cabinet.
Unlike wood; it can also be thermoformed, if(for example) you
want to create a curved baffleboard. Versatile stuff!
Thanks Rodman, very interesting about Corian. I like the idea of a curved baffleboard -but-Peter of PBN mentioned the crossover is designed around the precise dimensions of the baffle and I wonder if that means it should also remain flat and square? It's very good to hear it can be built up.
As long as the internal volume and acoustic centers of the drivers remain consistent with the original design; no negatives should arise. Only reduced diffraction, from the baffle. That's hoping that the system was not voiced to compensate for cabinet resonances. To me; anything the the cabinet adds is editorialization and colorization. I don'r want my cabinets adding anything, of their own, to my music. Of course: many appreciate those additions. Diff'rent strokes, etc.
Corian, Aluminium, carbon fiber all see use in high end speakers. My Magico S5's use some kind of composite material. I should enquire and ask what it is.

The width and length of the baffle is an integral part of designing a crossover for a speaker. I'd make sure that especially the tweeter sees exactly the same boundaries as in the original design, if the same x-over is to be reused.

I'd agree that rounding over the edges on the front baffle probably will have minimal effect. However don't go making a 7 inch wide baffle 12 inches wide.

Best of luck

Of course, Peter. Somehow- I thought you had already covered
that elsewhere and that the OP had replied, in the
BTW, Ptss: You mentioned doing the cabinets in black.
Corian has a color called, "Nocturne" that can be
polished to resemble a Piano Black finish. Would look
sharp, with no visible seams and a 1/2" radius, on all the
corners. Personally; I'd dovetail the sides, top and bottom
and install the front and back with dado joints. Talk
about a solid/non resonant cabinet! I can send you a sample
piece, if you want to get an idea of how rigid, dense and
workable it is.
The width of baflle influences more the frequency response of the driver, or its spread?
Magico got back to me and clarified the material used in the front baffle of the S5's is pure 6061 T6 aluminum which is not extruded. Interesting as the finish doesn't feel like aluminium. But today I gave it the knock test & it sure does sound like it! I'd estimate the front baffle is the same, or similar thickness to the 1/2 inch thick side panels (ie: bloody solid).
How about 3/4 or 1&1/2 inch black granite countertop green glued onto 3 inches thickness of MDF? Very non-resonant?
I have a pair of concept 90 CM1/CM2. The cabinet for the CM1 is a phenolic material and is completely braced in a matrix (the original matrix speaker). The speaker cabinet sounds inert with the unscientific knuckle rap test. I don't recall what the original baffle material is. Is it phenolic, and how thick is it? I know the cabinet must be completely air tight as any air leak causes the woofers to bottom out. I can't see how you could gain much by changing the baffle material.
Granite rings and really is not a sensible choice in my estimation.
Rh I had no idea the CM1 woofer could bottom out. I have always maintained screw torque but never driven the speakers very hard. But even so the cabinets are nowhere near inert. (However I drive them with a 200 watt Spectral amp with ample current; lots of clean power available for dynamics-but even so these little B&W's don't have good dynamics.) Making the baffle inert will improve dynamics considerably.
"09-10-14: Ptss
How about 3/4 or 1&1/2 inch black granite countertop green glued onto 3 inches thickness of MDF? Very non-resonant?"

Corian would probably still be the better choice. It has the consistency of mdf but is solid like granite. You wouldn't have to mix materials to get the best results.
Rh, would you like to sell your CM2's? I don't see them in your
Ptss, I sent you a private message via A-Gon. I would consider selling the CM2 bass modules.
Great Rh.
The best material would have extreme tensile strength and Young's modulus of elasticity, but also high internal damping. Metals can of course have high strength, but very poor damping. And if you search, one can find tables which list the Rockwell Hardness for many different species of hardwood, some can be quite high. And wood of course has high damping. Metals do have the advantage of mass, which means more energy needed to excite resonances, but lack of damping means energy storage or 'ringing'.

Wood in it's many forms is a good compromise. MDF however is typically too low in terms of strength. But there are some high-density ultra-refined MDF variants which are better.

Of the modern materials available today, thermoplastics such as phenolics I would have to say are best. They come in 1000 forms, unfortunately most are very expensive. Spec sheets are also available which list the parameters mentioned above. But some can combine tensile strength higher than 6061 aluminum, AND excellent internal damping.
PTSS, I haven't read every post here, but I think your
premise, that a less resonant cabinet is better, is simplistic
and flawed. Every material, regardless of density and weight,
has a resonant frequency. Companies like Spendor and Harbeth,
who both produce excellent products, have opted to go with a
thinner, more resonant box in order to shift the resonant
frequencies into the range they wished them to be. This takes
time, sophisticated measuring equipment and (most of all) a
clear idea of what the maker wants the finished products to
be. Your approach of just building a non-resonant cabinet is
nothing but trial and error and the misguided theory that
heavy cabinets are automatically better. Just to be clear,
there are many companies using heavy cabinets with great
success, but again, the process is not haphazard. At least it
shouldn't be. My advice - if you don't like what you have,
sell them and buy something you like. Unless off course, you
just want to screw around with a project, which if fine. It's
your stuff and you can do whatever you want with it. Good
Chayro - you have things completely backward. It's building resonant, colored cabinets that is completely trial-and-error, and based on misguided theory. Strong, massive, resonance free cabinets ARE better.

The job is to create an instrument as true to the source as possible. And cabinet resonances, intentional or not, are pure 100% distortion that are delayed in time and uncontrollable in relation to volume.

If the designer intends to create a colored/innacurate music reproducer, there are ways one can do that in a controlled and predictable way. Cabinet resonances are not. The reality is that some companies choose to make resonant boxes not for performance reasons but budget reason, they are always much cheaper and much simpler to build. They then tell the marketing dept to come up with ways to obfuscate the truth.
Vapor1 - You misinterpreted my post. I am saying that the OP
believes that if he builds a heavy enclosure, it will
automatically be superior to the one he has now, which he
believes vibrates. He may well end up preferring what he has
now. I am saying that cabinet design is much more complex
that gluing together some heavy pieces of material. And
Vapor1, if you're saying that Harbeth and Spendor speakers are
built on misguided theories, well - I guess you have the right
to your opinion.
I'm not sure using identical height and width would be ideal. In some designers more ambitious designs they use triangular baffles, or at the very least sides with different dimensions.
Thanks Vapor. I have noticed some rosewoods have very high figures for density and hardness; they're sometimes condidered ironwood.I didn't know if the output from the relatively low output B&W would be strong enough to excite granite?
Chayro - I agree cabinet design is more complex, but he is at least asking the question. And I have vast experience I'm willing to share. So by the end, he'll have some knowledge needed to make good decisions. Would I say that Harbeth and Spendor are based on misguided theories? For the most-part, no but purposefully introducing energy storage and uncontrolled resonances to introduce some 'color', absolutely is a misguided approach. Color can be added without all negatives of a resonant box, reality is it costs money and time, and it's easier/cheaper to let the marketing dept try and convince people that it is actually a good thing.

Regarding baffle dimensions, it's the size of the baffle, position of the tweeter on said baffle, and shape of baffle edges (square, chamfer, roundover, and size of chamfer or roundover) that determine the diffraction signature. Typically with less than a 1" roundover there is a 2-3db diffraction dip around 3000hz. This dip is often accounted for in the crossover by adjusting the knee to bring up the diffraction suckout area. That's broad strokes, but gives a good general idea of what's important. Much better than adjusting the crossover to bring up the diffraction area is to build a baffle/cabinet that eliminates the destructive point-source diffraction. If the designer of the speakers you're building says no account was made in the crossover for the diffraction dip, you can incorporate large roundovers as long as you keep the baffle dimensions within an inch of intended. Because the baffle dimensions also impact the boundary reinforcement of the tweeter, which impacts it's bottom end extension. FYI, the area below the woofer on the baffle is of minimal importance. So if you keep the tweeter located where intended on the baffle (center, left, right), baffle width the same, and distance from top edge of the baffle to the tweeter all the same, then you can for instance make it into a floorstander and keep the tweeter response the same. That can have a slight impact on bass, typically means more reinforcement or more bass. But you're only talking 1/2db to 1db at most.

Ptss - you'd be surprised how much energy even small drivers can dump into a cabinet. The magnet systems are extremely efficient, where drivers are much less efficient is coupling to air. But yes, even with smaller drivers cabinet construction can be critical.
Unsound, I meant identical to the original speaker face- not- width & height identical; thanks for your comment.
I haven't done this, but with so many responses, I'll throw it in, maybe someone can try it. For the past several years, I've been thinking of trying small Styrofoam balls, mixed with concrete and epoxy, poured in a mold and sprayed with an automotive finish... Still may try it someday.