how many of you build you own speakers,and why?

I've often wonderd how many people do the DIY thing with speakers? I enjoy it and for the most part have had good results.and what type of speaker is your favorite to build?
[sealed box,ported,t-lines,Voigt pipes,etc]
Used to (2 and 3-way ported), but soon realized that getting matched drivers in small lots was impossible. Thus customizing EVERY crossover was required. What a joke!
So I blew my brains out on Verity Audio Parsifals and have never looked back! My last three-way stands in the entry foyer with a plant on it as a memento.
Currently putting the finishing touches on my Brother's "contraption". It is a mirror imaged array of 12 drivers in twelve sealed tubes that is actively quad-amped. All the drivers for the mains are made by Morel and consist of two 9" woofers, two 5" mids and one 1" soft dome per channel. If you can picture a pair of Dunlavy SC IV's but with each driver in it's own sealed tube instead of one large box, you'll have a good idea of what it looks like. We did this to minimize crosstalk and internal pressure from driver to driver, minimize internal standing waves, minimize baffle area in terms of improved imaging with reduced diffraction, add versatility in terms of driver spacing and mounting depth, etc...

The tubes are industrial grade PVC that are just big enough in diameter to fit each individual driver. Each tube has been lined internally with a "black hole" type substance and then loosely stuffed with fiberglass. The exteriers have been carpeted. The mids and tweeter baffles are covered with felt. Each tube has been wired with twisted pair conductors of varying gauge. The gauge selected varies with the frequency range being covered. The Q for the woofers has been kept around .5 for best transient response.

The other two drivers are downloaded subs in their own very large tubes ( slightly over 9 cu ft each ). The tubes for the subs came courtesy of AA's "Magnetar" aka Mike Bates. He used them in one of his earlier projects but went in a different direction. Each tube houses a very long throw ( 30 mm peak to peak ) dual voice coil 15" woofer. Q for the subs has been targeted at .7, which is still very tight and fast but not overly "dry" sounding.

As you might guess, this is a rather ambitious project and we are learning a LOT as we go along. One thing that we've found for sure is that the difference between passive crossovers with passive multi-amping and using active crossovers is a MASSIVE difference in sound quality. Like going from a Fisher Price "Close n Play" to a killer stereo. Keep in mind that the "passive crossovers" were VERY minimal and that we are using the same amps.

If you're wondering how much juice is feeding al of this, we are powering the system with the following. Everything is crossed at 24 db's per octave courtesy of a Marchand Deluxe crossover.

tweeters : 105 wpc 3KHz & up

mids: 220 wpc 400 Hz to 3 KHz

woofers: 400 wpc dual mono 60 Hz to 400 Hz

subs: 400 wpc dual mono 60 Hz & down

All of the amps have been highly modified i.e. rewired, fuses bypassed, upgraded caps, additional transformer for the woofer amp, larger transformer for the mid amp, etc...

We've built quite a few speakers before this and heavily modified quite a few others. Most have come out phenomenally well, especially given the costs involved. I've got a few more speaker projects to do when we are done with these. Some are for my personal use ( some E-stat's and a horn design ), some are for friends ( a LARGE line array, a few subs, etc.. ) and a few are for pro sound reinforcement ( full stacks with hardware to "fly" the high / mid cabinets ) for a local band.

As to why we do it, it is GREAT fun, a challenge and FAR more economical than buying something equivalent that was commercially produced. When you see what you can do with $100 in drivers, wood and wiring with the right tools and test equipment, it makes you want to "throw up" when looking at most of the commercial designs out there. Luckily, "most" of the homework has already been done by others that are far more knowledgable than any of us doing this. Most of it is just a matter of reading, following directions, applying theory and then breaking out some elbow grease and tweaking to get things "right". Besides all of the "fun" and learning involved, there is a GREAT amount of pride in doing things of this nature when all is said and done. Sean
Well, My efforts are humble after reading Sean's post. Geeez Sean, no wonder you don't spend money on Speakers!!! I'm keeping quiet around you from now on.

I've kept to basically the same recipe for some time now. A 2 1/2 way system that is easy to add a sub. I am not smart enough to design and so I engineer back from what I think is a good product. For the most part you do not have to reinvent the wheel. Its a nice compromise system for most folks (not that I move many) and the average room size and it sounds nice too. Takes a lot of tweaking to get one right. With bi-amping makes nice music - pretty nice w/o bi-amping too.

Agree totally with Sean's last paraagraph. A duffer like me can make nice stuff just by using quality parts that the industry fails to use.

I would be very interested in hearing other's thoughts as to why this is the case because usually the upgrades do not have to cost that much. Is the overhead so high that they have to use the cheap caps and coils & drivers even on some pricey stuff? Are they trying to protect the market pricepoint, That is, if they put some better parts in speakers @ 3,000 price point(wouldn't cost that much to do with volume,huh?) it would sound so good that the 10k price point would be all but ruined?

I compare it to cooking (also love to cook.) Best ingredients and it's easy to be a pretty good chef. If you cook at home you can tailor to your taste at a small (really small) fraction of the cost.

Which brings me to a last point. I had a hearing test with an audiologist friend. Got to talking. He says ears aren't to much different than eyes and lots of folks probably hear music very differently and could almost use sonic "glasses" or corrections at certain Hz (hearing aids are to crude for this). This is especially true as you get a little older. He showed me some charts how hearing "dips" at certain frequencies with his patients and one of his points was that most folks go undiagnosed. Now I know why there are so many disagreements about what sounds good. We are all hearing different things!

Think there is a market for designer custom speaker making at the high end w/ a hearing test as the first step? I think this could have gone only before the .com bubble burst. Kind of hard to resell that speaker eh?

Sincerely, I remain
Excellent posts above. A good rule of thumb is that a speaker with a good-quality box will retail for 10 times the retail cost of the raw drivers. This is just due to the economics of manufacturing and distribution. The retailer typically gets 40% of the retail price, so now you're down to a factor of 6. The box will often eat up as much as or more than the cost of the parts (MUCH more if truly done right, and there are VERY few boxes in the world that are done right. In fact, if it looks like a box at all, it really isn't right!!!) This doesn't even begin to address development costs, crossover parts costs, overhead, advertising...

Thus for a given budget, there is a lot of room to improve on commercially available stuff IF you are willing to spend the 10 or 20 years it takes to truly master the subject. And don't even begin to count your time in the process, because if you did, you might as well have bought the $85,000 DynAudio Evidence Master and simply been done with it. I'm not kidding. Amateur speakerbuilding is best approached as a hobby, not as a way to save money!

Even if you don't want to get into the full project, there is still tremendous potential in replacing the crossover parts in a lot of high-end speakers. A couple hundred dollars here can make a lot more improvement than thousands in cables, starting with the tweeter series caps and the woofer series inductors. This is a very easy place to start playing around without having to "go the distance" on a from-scratch design. Yes it voids your warranty, but that's the risk you take.
I am in process of building Watt/Puppy clones. I heard newer WP 6.0 and was impressed. I am using best possible parts i could afford. AudioCap, Ansar, Foil inductors North Creek and Allen Bradley resistors etc...! I am using bracing and damping "ala North Creek" plus some of my own. It is fun and addictive!
I agree with Karls. Speaker building has to be both a hobby and a labour of love. If it is anything less, the results will show it and NOT be worth the time and money, no matter how much you "saved". Sean