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Any recommendations on diy speaker build kits?

Bassmantweed

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First off let me say what a cool forum this is. As a data geek I love this site. I don’t yet always understand everything you guys are saying but it’s a great place to learn.

I was wondering if the “perfect” diy speaker exists. I know the answer as there is always compromise but still..... does anyone have a parts list or a kit that would get me 99% of the way there. I’d really prefer use a prebuilt cabinet and to not build if possible. Other than that I’m good with wiring and mounting

I don’t mean to oversimplify it, but it can’t be that hard - can it?

I recall back in the 80’s when we were all putting car stereos in our cars that probably did irreversible damage. There was a magic ratio of building speaker boxes.

Anyway I may be super naive here but I’m looking for the secret sauce recipe for building a amazing speaker for not much $$$$.
 

TulseLuper

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You could look at the Philharmonic BMR kit from Meniscus, and a flat pack cabinet from Speaker Hardware. One advantage of the BMR is re-sale will be less hopeless than most DIY speakers - it's a proven, loved, formerly commercially available design with spin data available. You can see a review of the speaker here: https://www.erinsaudiocorner.com/loudspeakers/philharmonic_bmr/.

The Helios kit is also intriguing, although I haven't seen a formal review of it. That SB Beryllium tweeter with waveguide is pretty attractive, and the big Satori woofer is an excellent drive unit.

There are of course countless options if you can find someone to cut you a flat pack. People DIY JBL M2s if you're really looking for "perfect". I believe a Zaph Audio kit or two has been reviewed well here as well if you're looking for something less expensive. My choice was to get a miniDSP DDRC-88A and collect some amp channels (I'd grab a 6-channel Hypex amp from Buckeye Amps on this forum if I was buying now). Then you can muck about with drivers and boxes until the end of time.
 

Steve Dallas

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sergeauckland

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If you're not up for woodworking, then I can suggest doing it the way I did.
Find a pair of decent looking, good quality old 'speakers, like my B&W 801s, or KEF 104.2 or 105.2, Yamaha NS1000s, or whatever you fancy in older passive loudspeakers.

Then, you can restore/polish the cabinet, possibly replace any grubby grilles and make them look nice.
Then, the fun starts.
Carefully remove the passive crossover and keep it safe somewhere, then get a ready-made DSP crossover (I use the Behringer DCX2496) and some power amps and make the whole thing active. I think you'll get a far better result than any passive loudspeaker, whether kit or ready built.

One great benefit of doing it this way also, is that if any of the drive units are damaged, or get damaged later, they can be replaced by near equivalents that fit physically, and the active crossover adjusted accordingly, important if the loudspeakers are long out of production.

S.
 

Colonel7

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First off let me say what a cool forum this is. As a data geek I love this site. I don’t yet always understand everything you guys are saying but it’s a great place to learn.

I was wondering if the “perfect” diy speaker exists. I know the answer as there is always compromise but still..... does anyone have a parts list or a kit that would get me 99% of the way there. I’d really prefer use a prebuilt cabinet and to not build if possible. Other than that I’m good with wiring and mounting

I don’t mean to oversimplify it, but it can’t be that hard - can it?

I recall back in the 80’s when we were all putting car stereos in our cars that probably did irreversible damage. There was a magic ratio of building speaker boxes.

Anyway I may be super naive here but I’m looking for the secret sauce recipe for building a amazing speaker for not much $$$$.
Welcome. What do you mean by not much $$$$? Is that $200 or $2000 or something in between? Most of what's been suggested so far would put you out about $1500 or so.

Preference for bookshelves or floorstander?

And how do you plan to use them and in what size space and how far from them? Nearfield at computer, Home theater, cranking tunes in garage, critical listening for one person in small room, general purpose in family room for a number of seating positions? Depending on answers suggestions may be different.
 

bluefuzz

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I was wondering if the “perfect” diy speaker exists
Well that's easy to answer: No!

However, you can assuredly find a good kit to fit your needs. But you need to say a little more about your needs and expectations are and also where you are in the world. Europe? US? Antarctica? How big a room do you have? How loud do you play? Do you have (or want) subwoofers? Is that bottom octave important? What amp(s) will you be using? Active or passive? And perhaps most importantly: budget?

I’d really prefer use a prebuilt cabinet and to not build if possible
That puts quite a limitation on things as the biggest savings are to be had building your own cabinets. They are by far the most expensive part of most commercial speakers. Especially bigger 3-way bookshelfs or floorstanders. Are you not even equipped to assemble a flat-pack?
 

JeffS7444

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Very easy assembly: Fostex Kanspea from Madisound, just bolt together. No sonic wonders, they're really just intended as one-afternoon projects that fill a space with some sound. I've built a pair of these.

Looks pretty easy: Swanskits.com, need to assemble cabinet from pre-cut parts, solder and finish. I haven't tried these.

Only slightly more involved: Paul Carmody speaker kits (Overnight Sensations et al) from Parts Express. Depending on the sort of connectors you choose you use, you may need a hole saw to complete them, as P-E flat packs leave that detail up to the builder. I built a set of Overnight Sensations.

Off the beaten path: Celia & Perah R1, R2 FM Radio / Bluetooth speaker kits. Laser-cut wood parts, designed to be assembled with little more than glue and adhesive tape. Tempted to try one.
 

111db

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If you're not up for woodworking, then I can suggest doing it the way I did.
Find a pair of decent looking, good quality old 'speakers, like my B&W 801s, or KEF 104.2 or 105.2, Yamaha NS1000s, or whatever you fancy in older passive loudspeakers.

Then, you can restore/polish the cabinet, possibly replace any grubby grilles and make them look nice.
Then, the fun starts.
Carefully remove the passive crossover and keep it safe somewhere, then get a ready-made DSP crossover (I use the Behringer DCX2496) and some power amps and make the whole thing active. I think you'll get a far better result than any passive loudspeaker, whether kit or ready built.

One great benefit of doing it this way also, is that if any of the drive units are damaged, or get damaged later, they can be replaced by near equivalents that fit physically, and the active crossover adjusted accordingly, important if the loudspeakers are long out of production.
I was going to make a similar suggestion, but now I don't have to! :) So instead I will enthusiastically second the motion. I've been DIYing speakers for decades, but have never had the fun nor the deeply satisfying success I've obtained recently from buying Craigslist uber-bargains, mixing and matching drivers (and potentially cabinets), and then actively DSP multiamping and burnishing the sound to the point of bliss. Once bliss is achieved, it's easy to justify rolling up the sleeves and building or modifying visually appealing cabinets to suit.

An additional and profound benefit of this approach is the learning one gains from the evaluating/tweaking process, facilitated by the convenient control and instantaneous feedback of DSP, which incidentally can also be used to great effect to correct imbalances in flawed recordings.

Craigslist is also a great source of inexpensive (sometimes under $100!) older AV receivers with discrete multichannel analog inputs that can be used downstream of the DSP/crossovers as power amps. And don't overlook the fun option of buying used furniture such as end tables and converting them into speaker cabinets.
 

Kustomize

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Jeff Bagby is very well known in the DIY world. Having designed tons of speakers, he said his Helios (someone linked it above) is his best. Thats where my money would go!
 

liquidman101

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I was going to make a similar suggestion, but now I don't have to! :) So instead I will enthusiastically second the motion. I've been DIYing speakers for decades, but have never had the fun nor the deeply satisfying success I've obtained recently from buying Craigslist uber-bargains, mixing and matching drivers (and potentially cabinets), and then actively DSP multiamping and burnishing the sound to the point of bliss. Once bliss is achieved, it's easy to justify rolling up the sleeves and building or modifying visually appealing cabinets to suit.

An additional and profound benefit of this approach is the learning one gains from the evaluating/tweaking process, facilitated by the convenient control and instantaneous feedback of DSP, which incidentally can also be used to great effect to correct imbalances in flawed recordings.

Craigslist is also a great source of inexpensive (sometimes under $100!) older AV receivers with discrete multichannel analog inputs that can be used downstream of the DSP/crossovers as power amps. And don't overlook the fun option of buying used furniture such as end tables and converting them into speaker cabinets.
I wish Ikea would do a speaker kit - if you could put it together with an Allen Key I might have a chance.........

My head is spinning with what you are saying about putting amps in passive speakers - guess I'll have to google that one. Hope I have more success than I did the time I tried to change the battery in my Oral B electric toothbrush!
 

somebodyelse

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Phorize

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First off let me say what a cool forum this is. As a data geek I love this site. I don’t yet always understand everything you guys are saying but it’s a great place to learn.

I was wondering if the “perfect” diy speaker exists. I know the answer as there is always compromise but still..... does anyone have a parts list or a kit that would get me 99% of the way there. I’d really prefer use a prebuilt cabinet and to not build if possible. Other than that I’m good with wiring and mounting

I don’t mean to oversimplify it, but it can’t be that hard - can it?

I recall back in the 80’s when we were all putting car stereos in our cars that probably did irreversible damage. There was a magic ratio of building speaker boxes.

Anyway I may be super naive here but I’m looking for the secret sauce recipe for building a amazing speaker for not much $$$$.

You might find Wayne Parhams kits interesting:

https://www.pispeakers.com/contents.html
 

57Chevy

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First off let me say what a cool forum this is. As a data geek I love this site. I don’t yet always understand everything you guys are saying but it’s a great place to learn.

I was wondering if the “perfect” diy speaker exists. I know the answer as there is always compromise but still..... does anyone have a parts list or a kit that would get me 99% of the way there. I’d really prefer use a prebuilt cabinet and to not build if possible. Other than that I’m good with wiring and mounting

I don’t mean to oversimplify it, but it can’t be that hard - can it?

I recall back in the 80’s when we were all putting car stereos in our cars that probably did irreversible damage. There was a magic ratio of building speaker boxes.

Anyway I may be super naive here but I’m looking for the secret sauce recipe for building a amazing speaker for not much $$$$.

I am in the same boat and have been researching DIY kits for some time. Check out the ER18 MTM https://meniscusaudio.com/product/er18mtm-ribbon-bare-bones-pair/ They are copies of the Salk SongTower that retails for $2600 Pr.
 

Phorize

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So you are spoiled for choice really. A good place to start is with your room. Size of the room and frequency range you’ll get away with, placement etc.

I hanker after a pair of Wayne Parham’s corner horns, but my room is too small. Also consider your building skills. Smaller cabinets are easier to finish nicely depending on your tools/skills.
 
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