Inexpensive DIY Speakers

I have a friend that is a shop teacher that wants to put together a project for students. The idea is a good 2-way in a moderate to large enclosure. We're trying to keep the cost down. The students will build the cabinent and do most of the construction. The drivers don't need to be audiophile quality, just good.
Here's an idea that may be too involved, but here goes. Have the kids build the "cabinets" for a DESIRABLE DIY speaker kit in teams (to keep the costs down). One that comes to mind (because I desire it myself) is the Hammer Dynamics speaker. Have the teacher build one pair of complete units (with drivers - cost = $575.00 w/o cabinet) as a prototype. If you are local you could assist with the internals and I am positive that you would be able to get all of the pointers that you need from either here or from the AA website as there are fans and tweakers of this speaker. The finished set of speakers could be used in the future by the schools AV department as a tribute to this project. Have the completed cabinets (without internals) inspected and graded by the teacher and then auction them on Audiogon (repair as needed). Publicity of the auctions can be placed at AA and at Audiogon. Think of it as kind of a shop/business course/bake sale for the school. I do not have the energy or the tools to build the cabinets for DIY speakers and I assume that their are many others like me that are held back by this. Because of this I feel that the cabinets will be marketable. Receiving the payments and shipping the cabinets woudld be a pain, but so is doing business in the real world.
This is BY FAR my favorite part of this hobby. Building speakers, and for newbies breaking into the whole ball game. I have been around the block, tried most things, and have come up with one big conclusion after banging my head on a brick wall far too many times. SIMPLER IS BETTER! Unfortunately, human nature is such that a person in this hobby will need to learn all the lessons and make all of the mistakes before he also comes to this conclusion. It is sort of the way a parent wants a child to learn from the parent's experience/mistakes. But, the child must go out into the world and make his own in order to understand. Along the way, they may also try third and fourth order crossovers, notch filters, Zobel networks, all manner of configurations, etc. But, here is a recipe for these guys that will give GREAT sound, for a very small budget. Build a simple pair of two way loudspeakers. Use a tweeter from the Vifa D26 line($18 - $25). For the mid/woofer($40 - $60), choose either a 6 1/2" or 8" from either Seas or Vifa. Use either 20 gauge Axon 1 copper or 22 gauge HomeGrown Audio silver(I like copper better for this project) wire. Use enough(twist[2 wires] or braid[3+ wires]) so that the tweeter gets 17 gauge of wire to it, the midwoofer 12 or 13 gauge. Now for the hard part, the crossover(or, so you thought). You will need only two parts. A 12 or 14 gauge North Creek inductor and a cap from Axon, SCR, or Wonder. If the tweeter you choose is more than 2 db more efficient than the mid/woofer(or it sounds bright after being broken in), and it probably won't be if you play your cards right, you will need a 10 watt wirewound resistor(1, 2, or 3 Ohm) to balance the drivers out. Add a nice pair of binding posts from OrcaDesign(copper for the price of brass). Total cost? Should be less than $125. That's it! Unfortunately, we usually have to make ALL the mistakes before we realize that this combination will sound better than ANY mid-fi speaker, and MANY high end designs. GOOD LUCK!
Great post Telja.
Try Adire Kit 281 from
Well said Telja...
Thanks for the compliments John_l and Evo845. Actually, I have reread the question in this thread, and have even done some more thinking. A good thing to try here is to run the midwoofer full range. It would: save money(no inductor needed), let the driver perform better(a lot of us are discovering this), and also be a better way of ameliorating the need for the resistor on the tweeter leg(via less loss to this driver). This solution would be more beneficial when employed with a 6 1/2" driver as opposed to an 8"(my opinion...). Don't give up the capacitor to the tweeter however, it keeps the tweeter alive and well. As I said, I reread the thread and did some more thinking. I was thinking that what I had recommended could possibly too expensive(even at $125). If the money is there, please follow the path I previously outlined. I guarantee a pleasant surprise. If not, here is another variation. Build the same speaker, using cheaper parts. A cheaper tweeter(Audax, Seas, Vifa, etc.) and a cheaper midwoofer(same companies). Please keep the soft dome tweeter, as I feel it is money well spent. Metal domes can be very strident, this setup with its minimal crossover would accentuate that. The step back on the other driver may mean you will be using a paper cone, etc. In the crossover area, do not go below OF copper for wiring. But, you could step down to a Solen cap. And you could step down to a more run of the mill(suprising how many high end speakers use these) binding posts. I do believe the potential is there to keep the cost of this project around $50 or $60, if necessary. Again, GOOD LUCK!
Thanks Trelja, the amount of detail you offered should qualify your post for more than a +2 rating. I am tempted to build a pair of these myself. Your effort is appreciated.
Go to the single driver website at Talk about keeping it simple! Inexpensive too. I am playing with the discontinued 4 x 10" 40-1297 full rangers. These are $5 each and make music.These won't have the deep bass that highschool kids might like but for not much money you have some really good sounds. There are plenty of DIY articles on the site using speakers from other manufacturers ( like Fostex ) as well. Highly recommended