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Thread: DIY speaker build thread

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    Recreational Alcohol User Ntruder's Avatar
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    Default DIY speaker build thread


    As my DIY speaker set (front 5) is now complete, I thought I'd post some pictures from the long build process.

    The drivers I used are the Zaph ZA14W08 midbass woofer, and a Vifa titanium dome tweeter with custom crossovers, part of the Zaph Audio ZA5 lineup. The cabinets are all custom made from 3/4" MDF, with a Walnut Veneer.


    I need to buy some more drills...



    Poor man's table saw.... This actually worked great, provided you have a square piece of wood. FYI, Home Depot sells nice 2' x 4' MDF panels that are perfectly square, as opposed to Menards' cut down 2' x 4' panels that are not square and will result in shitty panels.



    Here is the wood for the front 2 bookshelf speakers. Note; the wood isn't stacked straight; there was virtually no variation in the panel sizes



    Routed the front panel for the drivers



    Test fitting drivers... So far so good



    Gluing and screwing cabinet #1



    Mounting the drivers and crossovers in cabinet #1



    Its time for a new router... Old and busted



    New hotness



    A much easier routed center channel front baffle



    Gluing...



    Veneering the center channel in a beautiful walnut veneer from Woodcraft



    Layer 1 of varnish/poly/whatever it is. Starting to look a little better



    Viola!






    God I love walnut






    Removable back panel for easy access to the crossovers, should a wire ever come loose
















    And now, time to make the stands. A few pieces of MDF + this:



    And you get these:



    Which you can glue together with some dowels like this



    and glue on some other panels like this:



    And end up with speaker stands that cost almost nothing!



    I know its hard to believe, but this actually isn't real stone.



    All together now, in the room. (Yes, the subwoofers are OBVIOUSLY out of place, I know, just be patient)













    Last, but DEFINITELY not least, the subwoofer cabinets are complete! (somehow I managed to not take any photos of the subwoofer cabinets being built)



    And there's little Bailey saying hello















    Overall, I'm VERY happy with the result. It took about 5x longer than I expected, but it really made me appreciate the speakers. Knowing that the drivers/crossovers alone cost the same as the set of Klipsch speakers I was ready to buy kind of bumps the perceived value through the roof, now that I see how much work is actually involved in putting them together.

    These speakers sound better than any speakers I've ever heard in my life. Granted, I haven't heard all that many different speakers, but they still sound awesome. The subs are still my old car audio subs, which ends up being much much better than most off the shelf HT subwoofers, but not quite up to snuff with some of the long throw home audio subwoofers from Peerless, SEAS, TC, etc. That's why there's two of them. There is a 250 watt amplifier mounted in a "backpack" on the right hand subwoofer enclosure, so it doesn't shrink the cabinet space, and the two woofers are both DVC, running a series/parallel configuration for a 4 ohm load. And those things rumble! The last thing I need in that room is more bass; its already just ridiculous. And again, cost me very little.

    Hell of a project; I'm glad its done. Sometime in the near future, I'm going to be doing some rear speakers... I'm considering the HiVi driver "Overnight Sensation" build that is a cheap, popular small speaker in the DIY community. But for now, I need some rest
    Panasonic 65" VT60

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    Hi Ntruder,

    Criminny! Somebody completely busted his own ass, didn't he??? About how long did this project take you, all told?

    By the way, I've been told that to avoid boominess, it's important to position subs at least two feet or so away from the wall. I've tested this in my own setup and it does seem to hold true.

    Yours,

    David

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    Recreational Alcohol User Ntruder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by davidjschenk View Post
    Hi Ntruder,

    Criminny! Somebody completely busted his own ass, didn't he??? About how long did this project take you, all told?

    By the way, I've been told that to avoid boominess, it's important to position subs at least two feet or so away from the wall. I've tested this in my own setup and it does seem to hold true.

    Yours,

    David
    Probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 hours.

    Positioning the subs away from the walls is not an option. The TV wall is inset about 18" and the cabinet with the amplifier is about 17" long, so with the cabinet 2" off the wall, the cabinets are already protruding from the inset portion. I'm not too worried; they sound fine to be honest
    Panasonic 65" VT60

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    Super Moderator GOS's Avatar
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    Dude! I am completely AMAZED! You are the man.... nice job and I bet you are proud as hell of them. You must be patient. Very, very cool.
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    Recreational Alcohol User Ntruder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GOS View Post
    Dude! I am completely AMAZED! You are the man.... nice job and I bet you are proud as hell of them. You must be patient. Very, very cool.
    Thank you! I am very pleased with them; there were a few tiny things that I could have done better, but overall, they really turned out great and I am very happy with them
    Panasonic 65" VT60

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    FATHER TIMELESS ImRizzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ntruder View Post
    Thank you! I am very pleased with them; there were a few tiny things that I could have done better, but overall, they really turned out great and I am very happy with them
    WOW, I'm impressed, nice job, they look great and I know they've gotta sound sweet with all the right components you've installed and build effort you've invested. Congrats NT. You've scored 5 thumbs up from da Rizz !
    Sent from my Fisher Price touch&talk~using ITouchmyself II
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    Those look great. Now you can start your own speaker and stand company.
    Onkyo system, Yamaha speakers, AKG headphones

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    FATHER TIMELESS ImRizzo's Avatar
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    NT did you use any sort of a sound dampener between the speakers and the stands ?
    Sent from my Fisher Price touch&talk~using ITouchmyself II
    Sony XBR 929 ~ Sony XBR8, Denon 3311CI, Mirage V2 speakers w/S10 Sub, Oppo 93, Darbee-5000, Harmony 1100 ~
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    Well done job NT. Great step by step pictures.


    Living Room: Pioneer KRP-500M, Denon AVR-1911, Sony BDP-S1000ES, Sony PS3, Logitech Harmony One
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    Quote Originally Posted by ImRizzo View Post
    NT did you use any sort of a sound dampener between the speakers and the stands ?
    Nope. I thought about velcro, but the stand base is the same size as the speaker, so its not needed.
    Panasonic 65" VT60

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ntruder View Post
    Nope. I thought about velcro, but the stand base is the same size as the speaker, so its not needed.
    When I had my setup in my old house, there were hardwood floors which used to resonate sound vibration from the contact between the floor and the speakers ( much as your speakers and their platform on the stands. I used some 3/8's thick foam rubber step pads ( the type that look like rubber puzzle pieces, normally used on concrete basement floors or under a swingsets for padding) it cuts very easily and made a perfect damper mat6erial.
    Sent from my Fisher Price touch&talk~using ITouchmyself II
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    BTW, what sort of receiver are you running with that system, Ntruder? Is that one of the Pioneers I see over there in the corner? How do you like it, especially conjoined with your Kuro?

    Yours,

    David

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    Ntruder, I must congratulate with you on this damn fine job you did. Usually, DIY speakers sound good but look awful, due to the lack of professional tools to shape, levigate and color wood. Yours, on the other hand, are pretty darn neat and I love your pick for the color (I'm a sucker for cherry and dark wood, when it comes to speakers). I wish I had the patience, means and manuality to build my own speakers (can you say Altec woofers, Dynaudio tweeters and Van den Hul internal wiring?) but for now, I'll just have to settle for some heavy modding (with the help of a friend of mine who has the tools it takes)

    Again, congrats on a most awesome job!!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by ImRizzo View Post
    When I had my setup in my old house, there were hardwood floors which used to resonate sound vibration from the contact between the floor and the speakers ( much as your speakers and their platform on the stands. I used some 3/8's thick foam rubber step pads ( the type that look like rubber puzzle pieces, normally used on concrete basement floors or under a swingsets for padding) it cuts very easily and made a perfect damper mat6erial.
    The bottom plate of the stand is not actually sitting on the floor. Right now, the 4 corners have small screws in them, so they are sitting on the screw heads. And just the other day, I bought some of these spike feet that will replace the screws, so the stand won't be sitting on the floor. This will take care of any issues like you are describing, as well as help me level out the speakers

    Panasonic 65" VT60

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidjschenk View Post
    BTW, what sort of receiver are you running with that system, Ntruder? Is that one of the Pioneers I see over there in the corner? How do you like it, especially conjoined with your Kuro?

    Yours,

    David
    Its a Pioneer Elite VSX-21TXH, the bottom Elite model. I absolutely love it. The EQ functions are endless. You can literally tweak EQ points for each individual speaker for any number of presets, plus it has tons of sound presets, which I find really nice. I used to have a Harman Kardon AVR-2600, and the only sound options you had were bass and treble sliders.

    Also, the remote is awesome. Its basically the same remote as my Elite plasma, so I only need to use the AVR remote- it controls all the TV functions. I don't use the Kuro link because I didn't really see much advantage... I don't even remember what it did but it seemed stupid. Overall I highly recommend it. I think Best Buy's Magnolia department has them for like $699. There is also the SC series, which adds a few bells and whistles, but doubles the price.
    Panasonic 65" VT60

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    Quote Originally Posted by ev666il View Post
    Ntruder, I must congratulate with you on this damn fine job you did. Usually, DIY speakers sound good but look awful, due to the lack of professional tools to shape, levigate and color wood. Yours, on the other hand, are pretty darn neat and I love your pick for the color (I'm a sucker for cherry and dark wood, when it comes to speakers). I wish I had the patience, means and manuality to build my own speakers (can you say Altec woofers, Dynaudio tweeters and Van den Hul internal wiring?) but for now, I'll just have to settle for some heavy modding (with the help of a friend of mine who has the tools it takes)

    Again, congrats on a most awesome job!!!
    Haha, Cherry was my original choice, but then I fell in love with Walnut. There was a nice mahogany veneer at Woodcraft that I thought about getting as well, but ultimately the Walnut won out.

    That rule generally applies; and it doesn't help that most DIY'ers don't veneer; they just sand, seal, and paint their MDF. And I don't know about you, but I am not a fan of painted speaker cabinets. I want a nice real wood look, like furniture, not like a plastic box. Hell, I would have used hardwood if it was feasible.

    If I didn't care about wasting money, I would have bought this speaker, the Paradigm Titan in wenge. But since they cost $600/pair, I decided to build my own. And now I have a speaker that looks ALMOST as nice, sounds 2x better, and costs a fraction of the price.

    Panasonic 65" VT60

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ntruder View Post
    And just the other day, I bought some of these spike feet that will replace the screws, so the stand won't be sitting on the floor. This will take care of any issues like you are describing, as well as help me level out the speakers
    Have you ever tried Finite Elemente's Cerapuc or Cerabase under your speakers? They're pricy but said to work absolute wonders!

    How does one "veneer" their DIY speakers? I'm a tad on the complete newbie side when it comes to this sort of things.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ntruder View Post
    The bottom plate of the stand is not actually sitting on the floor. Right now, the 4 corners have small screws in them, so they are sitting on the screw heads. And just the other day, I bought some of these spike feet that will replace the screws, so the stand won't be sitting on the floor. This will take care of any issues like you are describing, as well as help me level out the speakers

    Excellent!! That's the finishing touch right there. Awesome, awesome work, Ntruder.

    Admiring it,

    David

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    Quote Originally Posted by ev666il View Post
    Have you ever tried Finite Elemente's Cerapuc or Cerabase under your speakers? They're pricy but said to work absolute wonders!

    How does one "veneer" their DIY speakers? I'm a tad on the complete newbie side when it comes to this sort of things.
    I think the $1.90 spike foot will do fine

    A veneer is a thin layer of real wood on top of manufactured wood. Take regular cabinetry for example; you generally have 3 grades; solid wood, veneer, and laminate. Solid wood is solid wood and has its own grain. Veneer is a thin layer of real wood over something like particle board, or some kind of plywood, and laminate is a picture of wood over manufactured wood. Most DIY speaker builders use MDF obviously, but its ugly, and needs to be finished. To get a real wood look, you can purchase sheets of wood veneer, which is a very thin, like 1/16" thick layer of real wood that has a paper backing and can be glued to the speaker cabinet. Virtually all speaker cabinets that look like wood are veneered, or use a laminate which is cheaper vinyl sheet that doesn't look or feel as nice
    Panasonic 65" VT60

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    Ntruder,

    thank you very much for the precious information. One day, I hope I'll be able to build my own speakers and to make them look as good as you did with yours

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