Has anyone here built their own speakers? I see there are tons of designs out there, but I don't know if I want to try to build my own. If I do try to build my own, I have no idea which blueprint to use.
More people than you can imagine. Search the archives here, and at AudioAsylum.com for "DIY speakers" (DIY = Do It Yourself). You'll have enough reading to keep you busy for months, as there are hundreds of designs, and thousands of opinions.
There are quite a few very good diy kits out there but there are a lot more that are not so good. I can recommend Northcreek kits based on experience. it has been a few years but they are very good http://www.northcreekmusic.com
Just spent months studying and let me assure you that Elizabeth hit the nail on the head. This is no easy chore if you want to have something that sounds good. It could easily cost you more than buying some premade speakers. It's way complicated. I started out wanting to build a world beater. I am going to start with a two way and see how it goes. These will be surrounds so and will cost out of pocket around 600, at least that is what I am guessing, crossovers can get expensive if things don't work out and the theoretical is usually wrong so more expensive parts must be bought. Check out the Parts Express site for diy: http://www.pesupport.com/cgi-bin/config.pl?index Lots of good info. Ask questions and read before you spend your money. Kits are a good way to go too. I didn't realize how complex they are even though I had a much better idea than most people.Cheers
For many years speaker building was like instrument building, an art, not a science. Now we have science, which makes the task seem very difficult, but while the science is of interest, and worth study, its existence does not prevent anyone from doing it the old way, as an art.
You can get started by imitation of a design that you think sounds good. Buy some quality drivers to play with. Build functional enclosures to experiment with, and save the fine furniture carpentry for your final design. Get an electronic crossover and biamp so that you can easily adjust crossover parameters.
Most of all, enjoy the work. "To travel hopefully is better than to arrive".
I have built a pair of North Creek Okara II's, a Vision Center channel, and am currently finishing a pair of Vision mains. The North Creek kits are outstanding and sound fantastic to me, so much smoother than anything else I've been able to compare them with. If you are of intermediate woodworking skills, I highly recommend the Visions for HT or the Rhythyms for 2 channel. The toughest part is the finish so they look pretty. North Creek takes care of making them sound great for you.
Im fixing to embark on my first speaker building venture as well.
I plan to use a set of 6.5in peerless drivers with some top-mounted tweeter. I plan tot unr the box to about 50Hz to give a nice deep full range.
Here is a good book,
Designing, Building, and Testing your Own Speaker System By David B Weems
I reccommend reading that before you try anything. There are alot of considerations, but as long as yer not a total moron it is not too hard to understand, and it will save you alot of money and materials by preventing you from making some real stupid mistakes.
Loudspeaker Cookbook by Vance Dickson is pretty good too.
You will need some baisc understanding of w2oodworking as well. Back when i was in the military i used to use the base hobby shop quite a bit. Now im out and still working on getting a good woodshop going. Just need a table-saw at this point and im ready to go.
For speaker parts check out Madisound. They can send you a catalog of all thier wares, they have about 10 driver manufacturers listed in thier catalog with all kinds of misc stuff, even a xover service to design a cross over for you if you are not ready to tackle that yourself just yet
Good luck dude.
I plan on building my own amps, cables, speakers, and pre-amp. The only thing i dont plan cause it is just plain too hard is the CDplayer and FM tuner.
Im gonna keep pics posted with my results. You should do the same.
Try out the Linkwitz Orions (www.linkwitzlab.com). Plenty of others working on this design and they are among the finest speakers I have ever heard, price no object. You'll be hard pressed to find a more well supported DIY project or a better soudning speaker.
Diy is the way to go for high performance speakers -- unless your bank account is superlative! I strongly second Slaufer's recommendation for the Orions. This is a VERY complicated and elaborate design; easily amongst the best sounding dynamic speakers commercially available -- if not the best (and I've listened to many -- OK, not all:)).
Also, very strongly recommend CLueless' visiting list; I would add and also recommend you visit JPO's site and look up the Point 75 project -- another good design by Troels Gravesen that has a dipole midrange. Good luck!
After building a run of nice two-ways in the early 90s I decided to build a three-way of higher performance. After LOTS of work I had ONE mono prototype (8" Peerless +5+0.75" SEAS) voiced really well. After learning that subtle crossover value shifts that I found important measured only 1/3 dB over an octave and a half in the upper mids, and that I could NEVER affordably buy driver pairs that well matched I gave up! Driver manufacturers often custom-match runs or pairs for $$$ to high end speaker producers, as getting cloned response in the midrange and treble is critical. Snell helped pioneer tight driver response QA, and I imagine the Brits too, back in the LS3/5 days for the BBC. After listening to the staging ablity of stereo pairs where the manufacturer matches and catalogs all drivers to a 0.5dB window (my Parsifal Encores, for example), I'm pretty sure I'll never reenter the arena. Even Boston Acoustics uses reasonably-sophisticated QA for its own tweeter production. As driver manufacturers routinely sell off the "outliers" for the DIY market, getting a matched pair of ANYTHING becomes very tough. The 2-3dB sens envelope spec'ed by a tweeter manufacturer can be 5-10 just-noticeable-differences in crossover-tweaking in the lower treble. Too much work to make matched pairs for the little guy...or at least ME!
Putting together someone else's design in kit form is not really "speaker Building" in the classic sense. Don't get me wrong: I think these kits are fine, and I use them myself, but it isn't the real thing.
By all means checkout Linkwitz Labs! Easy to build, unconventional looks, superb sound. I have built the Plutos, LXminis, and the LX521-4 (open baffel). No better sound for the $$. You can use other subwoofer sections with the LX521s as the "real ones" are pricy. Madisound has kits with packaged electronic crossovers. Contact me for more info if you like.