I built the NaOs by John Kreskovsky. So I can't take any credit for John's wonderful design. I also can't take credit for the cabinet work, as I had those built, too. However, I did all the electronics work, driver installation, active crossover, testing, etc.
Alot of fun, and I've got a pair of speakers that would probably sell for way, way more than what I put into them.
Quite a few great DIY designs out there, but realize some like to "roll their own".
That may be true but there is more to speaker design than just crunching the numbers. I would start with a fairly conventional design from someone like Madisound. I have heard some truly horrible sounding speakers built by individuals knowledgeable in Physics and Math, the theory may have been correct but the result was not.
I built my 1st DIY when I has 12 years old, my son built his 1st unique design at 4 1/2 only help I gave him has soldering wires to drivers, seems hes in the know;) Glad I have someone to take over KCS when Im gone...His loudspeaker used a pair of Fostex fe126e in cardboard tubes he added wool dampening, used the right port size without any help, heck I didnt know he was building them till mostly finished. He wraped the outside of both tubes with large amounts of brown packing tape this killed the cardboards tone allowing his little speaker pair to sound very good for what it was. 1 of my audio friends wanted a pair so we used veneer instead of paper tape on tube he still uses them daily. So I would say if a 4 1/2 year old can do it maybe you can too.
Built the Linkwitz Lab Orion. That experience prompted me to dare designing and building my own active system for HT. No doubt, the plethora of information available at one's finger tips helped to make it possible. True, crunchin' numbers is only the beginning, but a thorough study of theory and a relentless questioning of convention is the way to a successful design that out performs commercial products.
If my goal was to create a great sounding speaker at first try, I would pick a proven design. There are many great designs out there for free or low cost. Madisound is an excellent resource, as is Parts Express. You might want to read their forums. If you want to make a hobby of building speakers, I'd suggest you pickup a copy of Vance Dickason’s “The Loudspeaker Design Cookbook”, and go from there.
Folks I built my own. I started the beginning of the summer and finally got it finished last week. My design came from Tony Gees and these speakers sound way better than most I have heard, including the Wilson Sophia & Watts Puppy etc. I sold my commercial speakers right after testing my built speakers.
"I have heard some truly horrible sounding speakers built by individuals [that claim to be] knowledgeable in Physics and Math, the theory may have been correct but the result was not."
There is no shortage of these being sold at Audio salons all around the world.
I agree, building Y.O. speakers, has a learning curve, but do to the large amount of totaly obscean grossly expensive and very poor sounding speakers on the market, it may be time to revisit speaker design. (Tell me how they come up with 25 grand for two cones stuck in a box with no X-over ?)
Start simple (which may be the best anyway) and it becomes a great hobby, in and off itself. You may need to invest in allot more than computer software too.
The easiest thing to build is to replicate a proven existing design offered by folk like Tony Gees or others. Coming up with you own design is a whole new ball game and headache.
Linkwitz Orions (believed by many to be the best speaker price no object provided you can live with the output level and placement constraints; and better than his Beethoven Elite in all areas but maximum low frequency output (fixed by the Thor + option) by the designer (the merely bi-amplified version of which was Stereophile's 1998 loud speaker of the year) in the main system.
Linkwitz Pluto (very good, but lacking life-like SPL capabilities below 100Hz and the last bit the Orion's resolution and dynamics) with Pluto+ sub-woofers in the bedroom.
Building top-notch performance isn't that hard; especially for the money spent. You just have to pick a good design from some one who understands how to design speakers. For exceptional performance you need to get away from the inherent flaws (polar/power response, cabinet resonances) in conventional designs which means something by Siegfriend Linkwitz, John Krevosky, or Earl Geddes. For merely good people like Dennis Murphy, John Krutke, and Joeseph D'Appolito have conventional designs. Siegfriend and John license their designs and sell circuit boards for nominal fees; Earl sells kits; and the rest have free designs done as independent projects or to showcase available drivers.
Popular designs have evangelists who will host auditions; and less popular ones can be heard at DIY gatherings.
Designing great sound is a separate issue; where lots of experience and experimentation are in order (for instance Don Maurer measured a couple dozen baffles optimizing for polar response in his winged Phoenix project) and you ought to enjoy the journey because it's not a quick or inexpensive means to the ends.
With computers good measurements are achievable by hobbyists for reasonable prices; and with the internet people don't even need an AES membership to become familiar with the giants whose shoulders they can stand on.
I've parts togethered computers for myself and others. Doubt I saved much $$ but have the satisfaction of building up a working computer and confidence to fix it when it breaks.
Is it the same with speakers? The more you are willing to do, the more you can save? If I were assembling a FULL Madisound kit, say one of the SEAS models, I'd expect to save 15% against retail of commercial. Certainly no more. And I wouldn't need anything more then a selection of hand tools and an iron.
The more I did, the more I'd expect to save, especially if I were willing to go to the design end of things and was good with detailed wood construction.
I have built my own some months ago, i mixed two of my favorite designs in order to make the perfect ones,
Space is not an issue, time is not even an issue, cash is not such a huge issue either,but, if only I was not such a putz or a clutz when it comes to anything where one has to use tools, be it power or manual. I would dearly love to have a go, but then again the missus would probably tell me to work on the house rather than add another pair of speakers to the clutter.
I would only attempt to build a pair if I could improve on what I already have, maybe I could improve the BLH Nagaoka's used with Fostex FE168Sigma cones, but there would be no way on earth I could improve (or even get remotely close to) the wonderful KCS 150's that adorn my ears and eyes every day.
I just finished these they are new cabinets for speakers I had already built. They use high quality ScanSpeak drivers and I love the way they sound.
Djn04, thats an interesting design. I bet it sounds good. I built a replica of this: http://www.humblehomemadehifi.com/Andromeda%20Mk-II.html
I was studying sound schemes and speakers also comparing to get better results when building my own custom made speakers.
I have followed some online forums and built my very own electrostatic/planar speakers. Amazing what you can build given more time than money. Google for some examples. I had also been a previous owner of Maggies (20.1's) so I know what agood planar sounds like.
1. what is the best way to measure the frequency of a ported speaker?
2. Secondly will stuffing more accoustic damping material in the box change the frequency? thanks