DIY high end speakers?

Is there any consensus on which of the published (via Internet) speaker designs / kits are actually worth it? I am very handy (I design and build furniture as a hobby and have a full shop) and as a result am considering going the DIY route for speakers but I need a starting point for my research.

What are some good links and resources for me to check out and see if this is a good way to go?

Try Linkwitz.
Without hesitation and without peer, the Linkwitz Lab Orion.
Since you claim to be a competent woodworker, don't forget to look here:
or (look in the forums there)
ScanSpeak B741kit by PBN Audio

And here's another one
Be sure to check out Electronic Visionary Systems (EVS) and give Ric Schultz a call. I know him to be a good guy and has a new line of open baffle designs (originally insired by the Emerald Physics CS-2, but have since gone way beyond) that, while not availible on his site as "kits" per se, they can certainly be built by the average DIY'er for a fraction of the cost. Just talkt to Ric about that. There are photo's and descriptions of each model on his site.
Audio Note kits offer high efficiency models
While I built and own a set of Linkwitz Orions and am rebuilding nicer cabinets in the Orion-4 style with solid lumber curly maple baffles, Gabon ebony trim, and zebra wood sides (they will be _much_ prettier than any of the following designs) I'd also recommend looking at

- The NaO Note. The polar radiation is more uniform than Orion (which has broadening dispersion crossing from the midrange drivers to tweeters that is compensated for in Orion 3.1+ with the shelving low pass filter), it should sound even more natural, and it costs less. I have not heard them and hope some one brings a pair to Burning Amp 2012.

- The Gedlee speakers. While flat packs and not the same degree of DIY they're the only speakers more than a couple Orion owners have preferred. I haven't heard them specifically, although I have heard other wave guides paired to large mid-woofers with matching directivity at the cross-over point which produces exceptionally natural sounding results with silly headroom without the cost of the driver displacement which goes with dipole mid-bass. Earl's competence should produce very similar (but perhaps better) results.

For lower output levels than I prefer for acoustic music Pluto works great and makes more sense (sounds more natural) than any box speaker with the same driver sizes, although the small mid-bass limits its headroom (Pluto 2 does 6dB better which may be enough for you). Pluto+ addresses that and provides last octave extension, but by that time your parts cost is getting closer to the other speakers (my Pluto+ build probably ran 75% of what I spent on the Orions; although that was before the dollar got weak and Scandinavian drivers got so expensive). I built/own Pluto+ too.

I'd avoid nearly all conventional box designs since the directivity mismatch between the mid-range and dome tweeter puts a 2-4KHz peak in the first reflections' spectra which sounds unnatural and makes them more sensitive to placement than better behaved speakers like the above.
may I suggest and . I've built 2 pairs from troels' designs - I intend never to buy commercial made again.
Troels Gravesen Denmark

Above another bunch of high end designs for the DIY enthusiast

Good Listening

What a great thread! Thanks so much for sparking my interest!
I have heard a number of DIY designs (and built about 15 or some from
various speaker designers.) I'm a cabinet builder not a crossover guy, so I've
looked for work by people who I consider to be very talented.

I have not heard the Linkwtiz kit, and I am sure it is very good. But to say
anything is without peer I think is a mistake. There tons and tons of DIY
designs out there be people that really know what they are doing, no one has
heard them all.

Madisound is a fun place to start. ( They
have kits they have designed, they also have kits by popular designers. In
addition, they can measure and build any type of speaker you want.

Meniscus audio has a similar philosophy. (
They also do custom work, but actually measure drivers in cabinets. In
addition, they have tons of kits for basically every driver they sell. Good folks
over there.

There are message boards with shared designs. At
you will find the statement series from Curt Campbell. Many people have
been highly impressed.

As Peter mentioned, Troels does incredible work with all types of drivers. So
does John Krutke of Zaph audio ( I
helped a friend build the ZRT 2.5. A super nice design for a pretty minimal
outlay of cash compared to the finished speakers available at that price.

Tony Gee at is no longer publishing
free designs, but his archive page still
has probably close to 30 designs.

I know there are people that say DIY designs will never rival the commercial
competition. But a lot of the stuff I listed above is beyond what I could call
DIY. They have similar measurement and testing setups to a lot of
commercial speaker designers, and are able to spend more time tweaking
crossovers because they don't have to hit a price point and are not necessarily
concerned with number of hours spent on designs.

The parts express board has some more cost effective designs that are very
nice as well. ( Have fun exploring. For
me, it's become an addition. I've had over 40 pairs of commercials speakers,
but I've come to the conclusion that because I'm competent with cabinet
building, veneer work, and finishing, I can't afford to buy commercial
speakers any more. The value (in general) isn't there for me. The most fun
for me has been learning the skill of unbacked veneering. I've spent countless
hours perfecting my abilities in that arena and really enjoy it.

I did a kit design for Parts express a couple of years ago

Here it is


Good listening

Thanks, S7horton, good stuff!

Where've you been hiding for what seems like several years?
Proac response 2.5 have numerous threads on diy versions on a google search . Never built any but bought the originals.
Metro, I've been hiding in my woodshop building countless speakers! :) I did some work for a speaker manufacturer for a while that kept me busy.

Peter, I didn't realize you did those for PE. They've shared a large number of designs over the years.

There is more than one Proac 2.5 clone floating around, but honestly many other designs have come along that are far superior than those clones.
Check out these DIY speakers.
Check out these Skaaning Diy speakers.|g|138||
Here's the right link to the Skaaning speakers.
When your on the site, click on Gallery on the left side.

The Audio Technology drivers are indeed nice, but there's one very important thing missing from that site - the all important crossover design. You can have the best drivers in the world in the sleekest designed cabinet - without the right crossover design it is not going to work.

The only way to get a competent coherent speaker is actually building the box - installing the drivers - measureing them in the box - then optimize the crossover design for that specific application. That is the way my two kit designs above have been designed, as well as all of the ones on Troels Gravesens site, I actually think theres a few designs on his site featuring Audio Tech drivers.

Best of luck

Hello Kooshballa, I have been building for 30 plus years, I'd be glad to give you some recommedations, first I have a couple of questions, If you can answer these, I'll send over some suggestions.
What type of music do you listen to?
How big is your room?
How much power do you have?
Tubes or Solid State?
How loud do you listen?
Let me know when you can, Tim
Wow, what great responses...thank you to all who have posted!

Tim, please don't judge me when I list out my music types; it is probibly the most messed up combination of genres and artists that this forum has ever seen:)

First I will get the music question out of the way...

I listen to a wide variety of music but mainly modern rock with a blues influence (the black keys, white stripes, any of jack white's other bands, etc), typical modern rock (foo fighters, Dave matthews, green day, etc), heavy rock (system of a down, seether, etc), jam band type music (dispatch, slightly stoopid), and rap (yes, rap) (eminem, jayz, lil wayne).

The room is a funny size since it is our living room in a somewhat open floor plan but I would figure 14x20 but that is not an "enclosed" room.

Power right now is coming just from the integra 40.1 receiver which is around 100watts per but that can change. I am not opposed to adding / upgrading components down the line as I learn more about my audio tastes and how to satisfy them.

I like to listen loud but when others are in the house it is realistically at a medium level. If you are in the couch you can have a conversation but you will be raising your voice and will end up turning it down to talk.

Hope those answers help, if you need more info let me know.

Thanks again.
It may also be worth noting that my current spekers are polk rt2000p mains and a polk cs400 center that is my point of reference for now.
Tamule1, which speakers did you build by Troels? I have been looking at his designs for awhile now.

To the OP, you may want to check out GR Research which has a site on Audio Circle dot com.

Timlub, rather than hijack the OPs thread could you PM me as I would like your opinion on which type of speaker you think would work best in my very large but difficult room
Check out the Parts Express Tech Talk board. Lot's of DIY activity and tutoring on developing the speaker of your dreams if some of the off the shelf DIY designs aren't quite what you're looking for.
I've been researching this as well, and one of my favorite designs is the single, full-range, rear-loaded horns. has many free designs, and forums of users that have built them. Good info.

Kooshballa, you'll need 88db sensitivity minimum with an impedance of 6 to 8 ohms nominal. I would not suggest a 4 ohm speaker for your power. Next, with the music that you listen to, my instincts/experience says that you would most likely like a speaker that is not bass shy, maybe even would like a touch extra as long as it is tight, natural mids with smooth top end. Imaging is a response of phase & time alignment, so that can be handled, Let me know if I am on the right track and please include a budget for speakers and crossover components, assuming that you will be doing your own wood working.
If needed for your and Gregfisk, my email is
I am writing this Saturday afternoon, but be aware, that I'll be in DC Sunday through Wednesday and gone again to Vegas the following Sunday through Thursday.
So, I've got tonight then a couple days next week, after Vegas, I'm home for 2 months.
Building a pair of speakers now. Not a kit. Don't think you would like the construction because there's hardly any wood. Sealed, vertical 10" PVC pipe and epoxy urethane "saddles" (for lack of a better term) to mount the drivers. Closest comparison in appearance might be a B&W Diamond Signature. Four GR Research 165X's per side and a BG Neo3PDR tweeter in a 2.5 way series/parallel MTMWW arrangement. All four 6.5's handle the bass but the lower 2 drivers roll off earlier for baffle step compensation and to raise impedance in the lower octaves. They can share a common air space because it's just a bypass cap without the phase shift of an parallel inductor. Second order Bessel crossover at over 1800Hz with 0.6 Erse air core coils, 6.2uF Sonicaps (maybe with some small bypass caps). Milspec wire and adjustable stereo Lpads (at least for now), wired in parallel because they don't make 4 ohm versions. Built with a subwoofer, or two, in mind.

Except for the rap, my musical tastes aren't too different.
Should be fairly obvious that I like it loud.

Warning: Forget the budget. Little things tend to add up and mistakes get costly.
Check out these DIY speakers of the Sony AR2 speakers. They use Skaaning drivers and the Scanspeak ring radiator tweeter.
When your on the site, just scroll down to see the pic of the speakers and the person who designed them.