Rolling your own

How hard is it to build your own speakers and have them sound great. I dont want to make to simple the fact of building expensive speakers but It looks like some off the shelf drivers and crossovers and go to, is it Poland? to have a few hundred cabinets built and finished to your specs.

What about copying current hi end speaker designs, and the drivers, and the way their cabinets are built. Some of the best playing guitars I have ever played were custom built.
Can you study this craft then do it your self or can you make a 15k mistake? What do you do if you want to sell them.

Really peaking my interest currently is maybe a copy of the legacy focus with some atc drivers? With a copy of the dunlavy tower woofers, or my ultimate, a copy of the German Physiks Gaudi with 4 ddd bending wave drivers, six mid metal driver speakers and 4 super sub woofers? The parts not including cabinets (if you didnt buy the gp subs) about 15k do you need special crossovers for the ddd's I burnt mine up but the new crossover is suppose to take care of that. Could you use pro audio crossovers that are active and adjustable?

The only home built speakers I heard are usually horns which are ok but not what I want.

The type of music I listen to mostly modern alternative,classic rock, Ill keep my electrostats for the old smokey jazz thing. But some times I want a concert in the hole ( the room is undergrond) so i want the db inthe 110-120 range.

My room is 20 x 25 and have different ss amps and 4 big 250w tube monoblocks. I live in the middle of no where and no one else around the area has this vice.


I've built a few of my own speakers before, they never worked very well. VERY inefficient. It's pretty hard to get a good design. I never did copy someone else's design, like you mentioned. That may work to your advantage. Although, if it were so easy to build a well sounding speaker, wouldn't everyone build their own? I also built my own driver one time. It was a 10" full range speaker. I wrapped my own voice coil, found magnets that worked with what I was doing, and used a spider from an old speaker that I had kicking around. It was ALOT of fun, but a complete waste of time. It did worked. But is not clear, detailed, or dynamic. This may have been due to the fact that the cone was made of tag board! :) Happy listening!
It can be as hard as you want it to be especially the first time around. Vance Dickason says you can build a 10k set for 1k and I do not think that is far off. Buy his book at

You are not going to design a new speaker or copy a difficult design first time around. Forget it. Go to forum and listen for awhile to the dialogue and then make a copy of a proven two way design. Mess around with it in order to learn a little and develope a little intuition about how filters work. Go to gradds if you want a challenge.

Try and then to the LDSG (Loudspeaker Driver selection Guide)link. Read it all.

or for simplier projects

or which has great info on how to clone speakers. The guy there is working on a Legacy Whisper I think.

There are tons of sites on speaker building. is good too. Tons of individual projects can be found and reviewed there. and have some simple overviews of speakerbuilding too.

You will find that some good builders have spent a lot of time on what appear to be relatively simple two way projects. Rome was not built in a day.

At there is some free loudspeaker design software to download and mess with.

Have Fun and if you already know all this and these sites than sorry for wasting your time.

Kelton, go to the DIY forum on and you will have as much information as you can absorb.

Check out You may get a bunch of good ideas and plans there. They make amazing crossovers too.

Karl are you getting the NC speakers?

I have all the stuff (drivers, crossovers, stuffing, spikes, wires and posts.) I'm just waiting on the delivery of the cabinets and x/o boxes from Lee Taylor and Co. The crossovers for the Rhythm Sig. look incredible. I'm excited to actually hear them. Then I'll have lots more opinions to post.

To bide my time I am buying music! Love the Brian Eno "Another Green World" disk and the new Jim O'Rourke "Insignificance" is really interesting.

Fellow audiogonners your search is over! Go to There you will find all worlds best drivers. Better yet you can get the kits. I mean i've searched and i found it. I'm requesting something special. Don't know if they can do it. I want the SEASW17EX woofers + the RAVEN 2. Keep in touch Paul
I have built many speakers from Zalytron. Aria 7 TLR towers and Aria 7 monitors are still in my collection. Very nice indeed!

I also have built a couple from ACI. Their DIY site can now be found at I recently built their Titan II sub. All the reviews are not wrong!

If you have time and the equipment to work with you can turn out speakers for a fraction of the cost. The results are stunning. Enjoy!!!
Hey Lance welcome to Audiogon I know zero as to electronics. So hope the "kits" are not mind-blowers. Take a look at the THORS and tell me what you think. As well tell me your opinion of the ODINEX. I see the ARIA6 has the RAVEN1 + FOCAL 6W4254 and the ARIA5 has as well the famous RAVEN1 + which woofers? (FOCAL 5K4211-?) Have you heard the R2 or the famous R3($$)?
i am waiting on cabinets right now. i bought all the woodworking tools and started on the project. what a disaster. i built some firewood. it is fun though.
Hey Kirk I as well was thinking on ATTEMPTING to save on cabinets, but i felt i would be wasting money and more important my time. Which drivers are you using? Which order house? How difficult are the kits?
I am also a big fan of DIY speaker projects.

Zalytron is a great source for parts, there are several other North American retailers of parts from companies like Accuton, Axon, Dynaudio, Eton, Focal, Kimber, OrcaDesign, Raven, Seas, Solen, Vifa, the list goes on and on.

My only caveat about Zalytron kits is that the crossover designs are for the most part from the late 80's - 90's. A lot has happened since. Mostly, the simplification of networks mandated by the return to lower powered amplification(tube/OTL/SET). Whereas these kits often feature third order crossover topologies, in my opinion, gains can be made by investigating things like first and second order networks. Also, running drivers with no parts in the circuit and series networks can produce stunning results. Just one person's opinions.

To maximize impact and what a driver will produce, please use the best crossover components your project affords. For example, using a 12 gauge coil in place of an 18 gauge will pay dividends far beyond the cost. Film and foil caps are not always necessary(especially on a novice - mid level project), but certainly a good polypropylene along the lines of SCR, Axon, WonderCap is worth it. And, the best value in DIY speakers are wirewound resistors. For a maximum of $15/project, the clarity and reduction in harshness, grain, sibilance, and shrillness cannot be bested. Also, do not skimp on the quantity and quality of the internal wiring.

Good luck!
Hey Trelja ZALYTRON offers all the drivers you mentioned in kits The Raven 1($200 each) R-2($300 each) R-3($1600EACH!!!) are rumored to be SUPERIOR drivers. If a commercial lab offered the R-3 in a design they need to charge you about $6K just for the R-3 so total cost with woofers cabinet and xover would probably be a $25K speaker!!!! What a RIPOFF!!! You can get the R-3 driver in a design by ZALYTRON ALOT ALOT less and DEFINETLY WOULD SOUND BETTER! If you price the drivers that commercial labs use they are all CHEAP! and the HYPE tells you WOW!! don't they sound great! Your points about 2nd order and Xovers i don't understand fully. Except i think you're trying to say that the QUALITY of the (hidden unseen) Xover is of extreme importance. POINT: even if you had a kit made and a R-3 was used, if the xover is of so-so design and quality, then the driver will never be near its full potential. So i'm looking into the little-known active xover called MARCHAND. Their TUBED X126 ($1400). I talked to a Marchand dealer(ZALYTRON is a dealer as well) and he said the same as you. Usually the xover in a cabinet every time holds back the full potential of the driver. He said the Active xover is far superior to passive. The Marchand requires no xover in the cabinet it does all frequency control! However it is a expensive venture. But remember there are folks out there spending $5K to .... on speakers that i don't like at any price! GOTTA GO
Start with a kit, as crossover design is VERY tricky and will make or break the success of your project. The crossover is really what makes a "good" speaker "great". Without an expertly designed crossover, you'll most likely end up with mid-fi quality speakers, even if you use great drivers and parts. Most world class speaker development is 5% designing and building and 95% listening and tweaking the crossover until it is "right". Really, save yourself the time, headaches, and expense and use someone else's expertise - buy a great kit.

The best kits I've seen out there, where you are not merely building 2 way bookshelf "toys" are:

BESL Speakers -
NorthCreek - (already mentioned)
Zalytron's selection of projects

Good luck!
I just about weeped with joy when I looked at the 8 guage woofer inducter coils on the external crossovers for the North Creek Rhythm Signature kit. Pretty.
Brother Karl you will continue to weep tears of joy when you take a look at the awesome FOCAL 13KX or 15KX sub. the enchanting beauty haunts my sleep! Hifiguy you're right i'm going kit complete. but my kit may include tweeters that are $700pr. and i so may try to save on cabinets and use my old philips475 solid built for the MTM 6 in. 12x12x22 think it'll work? can save $700 on monitor cabinets and they want $1000 for tower?
nobody cares to look any further than the ads in their audio this country advertising is a mezmerizing force that blinds...or in this case makes people deaf...have a nice day
Yes, I've made a lot. My advice is to start simple. You need to get on the learning curve. If you build a complex design and it doesn't sound right, you have no idea what to do to fix it. The usual starting point is a 2-way monitor. This will get your feet wet with box theory, driver matching, and crossover design/construction. I recommend 12db(second order) crossovers for their relatively easy circuit and more phase coherent slope(you have to reverse polarity on the tweeter). Cross the tweeter in above 2500Hz to keep as much phase shift out of the critical midrange area as possible. Depending on the LF driver size, you may get a narrowed dispersion field around the crossover freq. Check the beaming freq.(dispersion field collapse) of the diameter of your driver. 6" is ok for around 2000- 2500Hz. For crossovers, you must use bipolar capacitors. Air core inductors are preferable to iron core. External crossovers are preferable to internal. Learn how the changes you make affect the sound of the speaker, so that you will know how to tweak the sound of future projects. Learn to read response and impedance curves. Understand the db scale. And most of all, learn how to make tradeoffs because nothing is perfect. You can save alot of money and get a great result, or you can get a piece of crap. The fun part is that you can adjust, tune, and tweak, until you get it right. Good luck!