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DIY audio, where to get started?

mhardy6647

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actually, and amusingly, the acoustic suspension alignment -- although far out of fashion -- is surprisingly forgiving/tolerant of mild T/S mis-match. I would think (?!) that, given a decent woofer with T/S parameters "close enough" for an A/S enclosure (if such drivers even exist anymore on the component market!), with modern design tools and materials, building a very good three way A/S design (XOs and all) could be rewarding and straightforward.

It's just a box. :)

The current "KLH 5" is perhaps an example of what one could do -- perhaps better. Perhaps far better. Perhaps even cheaper.

10ModelFivepairmahoganygrille-off1200_2a12b16e-6ad6-4e64-8934-3d0128841973_700x700.jpg


(currently on sale for the holidays, in the US, for $2k the pair)

That said, I think that the OP oughta build one of these...

:cool:

(Yeah... I would...)
 

fpitas

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actually, and amusingly, the acoustic suspension alignment -- although far out of fashion -- is surprisingly forgiving/tolerant of mild T/S mis-match. I would think (?!) that, given a decent woofer with T/S parameters "close enough" for an A/S enclosure (if such drivers even exist anymore on the component market!), with modern design tools and materials, building a very good three way A/S design (XOs and all) could be rewarding and straightforward.

It's just a box. :)

The current "KLH 5" is perhaps an example of what one could do -- perhaps better. Perhaps far better. Perhaps even cheaper.

10ModelFivepairmahoganygrille-off1200_2a12b16e-6ad6-4e64-8934-3d0128841973_700x700.jpg


(currently on sale for the holidays, in the US, for $2k the pair)

That said, I think that the OP oughta build one of these...

:cool:

(Yeah... I would...)
The closest you'll get to AS woofers these days are ones intended as sealed sub drivers. Some work in small boxes and are flat to a surprisingly high frequency. My RSS390HF-4s are an example. You could run them up to (say) 400Hz if you do a little crossover wizardry to suppress the 1.2kHz peak.
 

Plcamp

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The closest you'll get to AS woofers these days are ones intended as sealed sub drivers. Some are flat to a surpringly high frequency. My RSS390HF-4s are an example. You could run them up to (say) 400Hz if you do a little crossover wizardry to suppress the 1.2kHz peak.
There is a recent blog on Joseph Crowe’s site where he uses a 15” high q driver with a VAS over 200l in a 75l sealed damped cabinet (therefore AS) and gets response down to fs at 34 hz with a bit of eq, and astoundingly great peak spl and IM distortion. In that case he uses the 15” all the way up to a horn handoff at 600 hz.
 

mhardy6647

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I'll just push back a wee bit on the cost-effectiveness issue.
For loudspeakers, one may use fairly expensive drivers (and -- ahem -- XO components and wire, too, if one wishes) without paying the fully-built loudspeaker premium (markup) for the drivers. That said, of course the commercial loudspeaker manufacturers negotiate volume discounts, and their gross margins also allow them to be very picky about selecting (only) drivers that meet fairly stringent QC criteria (if they so choose, of course), so it's not quite all unicorns and rainbows -- but chances are you'll pay $5k or so-equivalent for a commercial manufacture to use a driver you can buy "off the shelf" for $500. Give or take. :)

Bean counters do operate at all levels in the industry -- yes, probably even at the Wilson and Magico strata. ;)

So -- I dont' know of good UK equivalents, but in the US, e.g., we have Madisound https://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/index.php, which is a pretty good one-stop-shop for DIY loudspeakers and kits. In a more "beer and pretzels" economic niche, there's also www.partsexpress.com of course. They've expanded into flatpack kits in a big way in recent years. My biggest beef with PE is that virtually all of their designs are low-sensitivity.
 

fpitas

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I'll just push back a wee bit on the cost-effectiveness issue.
For loudspeakers, one may use fairly expensive drivers (and -- ahem -- XO components and wire, too, if one wishes) without paying the fully-built loudspeaker premium (markup) for the drivers. That said, of course the commercial loudspeaker manufacturers negotiate volume discounts, and their gross margins also allow them to be very picky about selecting (only) drivers that meet fairly stringent QC criteria (if they so choose, of course), so it's not quite all unicorns and rainbows -- but chances are you'll pay $5k or so-equivalent for a commercial manufacture to use a driver you can buy "off the shelf" for $500. Give or take. :)

Bean counters do operate at all levels in the industry -- yes, probably even at the Wilson and Magico strata. ;)

So -- I dont' know of good UK equivalents, but in the US, e.g., we have Madisound https://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/index.php, which is a pretty good one-stop-shop for DIY loudspeakers and kits. In a more "beer and pretzels" economic niche, there's also www.partsexpress.com of course. They've expanded into flatpack kits in a big way in recent years. My biggest beef with PE is that virtually all of their designs are low-sensitivity.
As for cost effectiveness. If you're building a small 2-way speaker, most likely you can find a good one commercially made for less. On the other end of the spectrum you have say, big horn speakers like some of us have built (ahem). Commercial examples that are listenable are rather expensive.
 

mhardy6647

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As for cost effectiveness. If you're building a small 2-way speaker, most likely you can find a good one commercially made for less. On the other end of the spectrum you have say, big horn speakers like some of us have built (ahem). Commercial examples that are listenable are rather expensive.
ahem, indeed. :)

I'll tell you what -- I'd bet money (albeit, not too much!) that the OP could build an objectively & subjectively better three way standmount than that KLH 5 for less out of pocket pounds spent than were he/she/they to buy a pair on the retail market. Maybe that's a low bar, but I'll bet it is true.

Two important caveats:
1) I am not including the value of the OP's 'sweat equity' in the calculation! ;)
2) Note that I said better -- I did not say prettier.
 

Gorgonzola

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It seems to me that whether DIY is good value financially speaking generally depends on the value you add as opposed to buy, or if you prefer your "sweat equity" in the final result.

Thus buying a complete speaker kit including the ready-to-assemble speaker cabinet, is almost certain to provide less $$ value than building the cabinets yourself from scratch. Even so, good value can be had even buying, say, knock-down speaker cabinets.

For a personal example, my Zaph Audio 'ZRT' speakers were built using assembled crossovers as well as drivers from Madison and knock-down speaker cabinets for Parts Express. The latter I bought because I don't have a table saw, (though I do have a router necessary to cut the driver mounting holes, etc.). Commercially assembled speakers of similar quality are likely to cost twice as much as what I paid for the parts including the cabinets.

It's much the same for electronics. You can buy, e.g. Hypex amplifier modules from the maker and cabinet & wire kits from, say, Ghentaudio. These are really easy to assemble but don't really save you any money vs. buying a complete amp from VTV or other maker/assembler.
 

fpitas

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ahem, indeed. :)

I'll tell you what -- I'd bet money (albeit, not too much!) that the OP could build an objectively & subjectively better three way standmount than that KLH 5 for less out of pocket pounds spent than were he/she/they to buy a pair on the retail market. Maybe that's a low bar, but I'll bet it is true.

Two important caveats:
1) I am not including the value of the OP's 'sweat equity' in the calculation! ;)
2) Note that I said better -- I did not say prettier.
You may be right. Of course, after running the gauntlet of learning crossover design, his nerves may be too blasted to enjoy music anymore.
 

Tangband

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Totally second abdo123.

I got into DIY thinking I can make something really good at fraction of the cost.
Looking back, I have wasted plenty of money, wasted a few years and am still unsatisfied.
The only reason to get into DIY is if you enjoy doing it and want to learn / have fun. I did not learn anything truly worthwhile about audio in the process - I just learned that I am a clumsy idiot. Could have lived without that extra bit of information.
This is very true - the second hand value of DIY , no matter how good , is very low . Its stupid If you do it to save money. You also need measurement programes and a measurement microphone and it will take some years to learn how to do it good.

This fact is somewhat different If you consider building speakers as a hobby. Most hobbies cost money. I did learn many things when I made my loudspeakers about crossover topologies and had some fun during the building process.

However- dont expect to DIY loudspeakers that sounds better than a Genelec SAM or Neumann. You cant.
They have the know-how, the custom made drivers, the skills to do it good, and most of us dont have this.
 

fpitas

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This is very true - the second hand value of DIY , no matter how good , is very low . Its stupid If you do it to save money. You also need measurement programes and a measurement microphone and it will take some years to learn how to do it good.

This fact is somewhat different If you consider building speakers as a hobby. Most hobbies cost money. I did learn many things when I made my loudspeakers about crossover topologies and had some fun during the building process.

However- dont expect to DIY loudspeakers that sounds better than a Genelec SAM or Neumann. You cant.
Well, you can get good. But it takes a bunch of study and a certain aptitude.
 

DonR

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How about building your own streamer based on a Raspberry Pi? Pretty much plug-and-play today. Customize it with an interface and a DAC hat of your choice.
 

Tangband

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Well, you can get good. But it takes a bunch of study and a certain aptitude.
You must be crazy dedicated to come that far and you will loose much money secondhand.

There are people out there who can build cars as a hobby in the garage - they are all crazy .:)
 

fpitas

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You must be crazy dedicated to come that far and you will loose much money secondhand.

There are people out there who can build cars as a hobby in the garage - they are all crazy .:)
Yeah, I guess. I just bought good drivers to start with, and didn't accept any excuses if things sounded bad. And of course I'm an engineer, in fact a filter designer among other hats.
 

mhardy6647

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You must be crazy dedicated to come that far and you will loose much money secondhand.
The latter's easy -- build it to satisfy for a lifetime.
And/or use components with baked-in resale value.

Yeah, I guess. I just bought good drivers to start with, and didn't accept any excuses if things sounded bad. And of course I'm an engineer, in fact a filter designer among other hats.

Heh -- we really should work on coordinating our posts better.:D
 

Tangband

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How about building your own streamer based on a Raspberry Pi? Pretty much plug-and-play today. Customize it with an interface and a DAC hat of your choice.
Why would anybody do that when there is WiiM and Allo Boss 2 ? If you have a crush for computers , then yes.
 

fpitas

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Why would anybody do that when there is WiiM and Allo Boss 2 ? If you have a crush for computers , then yes.
I know a lawyer who does stuff like that :)
 
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