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End Game DIY Loudspeakers

MKR

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Hello Folks,

I expect many of you have seen or contributed to (thank you!) the below thread I started …


During the process of creating my short list, the idea of DIY has entered my thoughts as a potential way to achieve same/similar performance for much lower cost. Specifically I am referring to an existing design that has plans (crossover and cabinet) avaible for free or a reasonable cost. To say, I am not considering my own design as I have neither the ability nor the time for such an endeavor.

So, for all the DIY experts here, what would be your recommendation for an end game DIY loudspeaker that would equal or exceed what we on ASR would consider to be the best available on the retail market?

Thanks!
 
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staticV3

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Panda MKI maybe?
43.PNG
 

dwkdnvr

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Short answer: No.

Longer Answer. DIY speakers should be something you consider because you want to build speakers. Trying to save money is almost certainly a fool's errand unless you value your time at less than zero. IF you already have a fully equipped woodworking shop AND are highly skilled, AND have 2-3+ years of unallocated hobby time that you can dedicate to the undertaking, then you can possibly aspire to creating something on par with Revel etc. Maybe. But, you don't get to demo the speakers before you start, and there are no 'end game' DIY designs that I'm aware of that have anything more than basic measurements available - so there's a very real risk that you spend years pursuing the project and don't like the result.

Having said all that, the best 'end game' design that I'm aware of that has extensive documentation and build logs available is Jon Marsh's 'Wavecore Ardent' design over on HTGuide. It's a design similar to an Avalon speaker (Jon Marsh knew Charles Hansen before he got started in the industry, apparently) I believe the DIY cost was approx $5k, and would be a design that would compete with the F328BE and similar tier speakers. There are other expensive designs out there (e.g. Troels Gravsen) but none leave me with the feeling that they have a similar amount of design behind them.
Another that may be worth looking at is the 'Open Source Monkey Coffin' design from DIYAudio. I haven't looked into that as deeply, but it does appear to have had a LOT of design debate and seems to be a well-executed 3-way waveguide design.

The final point is that 'end game' speakers are as much about aesthetics as they are about sound. Finding one that looks good enough to motivate you might be tricky.
 
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MKR

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Thanks! … well aware of these :) Huge fan of Linkwitz, had the original Orions years ago, but ultimately decided I do not want dipole. Plus my system will be dual purpose for HT and dipole radiation not preferred for this purpose. Not to mention the 521s not the last word in dynamics, which is a must.
 

abdo123

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Short answer: No.

Longer Answer. DIY speakers should be something you consider because you want to build speakers. Trying to save money is almost certainly a fool's errand unless you value your time at less than zero. IF you already have a fully equipped woodworking shop AND are highly skilled, AND have 2-3+ years of unallocated hobby time that you can dedicate to the undertaking, then you can possibly aspire to creating something on par with Revel etc. Maybe. But, you don't get to demo the speakers before you start, and there are no 'end game' DIY designs that I'm aware of that have anything more than basic measurements available - so there's a very real risk that you spend years pursuing the project and don't like the result.

Having said all that, the best 'end game' design that I'm aware of that has extensive documentation and build logs available is Jon Marsh's 'Wavecore Ardent' design over on HTGuide. It's a design similar to an Avalon speaker (Jon Marsh knew Charles Hansen before he got started in the industry, apparently) I believe the DIY cost was approx $5k, and would be a design that would compete with the F328BE and similar tier speakers. There are other expensive designs out there (e.g. Troels Gravsen) but none leave me with the feeling that they have a similar amount of design behind them.
Another that may be worth looking at is the 'Open Source Monkey Coffin' design from DIYAudio. I haven't looked into that as deeply, but it does appear to have had a LOT of design debate and seems to be a well-executed 3-way waveguide design.

The final point is that 'end game' speakers are as much about aesthetics as they are about sound. Finding one that looks good enough to motivate you might be tricky.

This is a tiny bit dramatic. Copying someone's design should be fairly straight forward.

Most home improvement shops can deliver straight to your home cut to measure planks of the wood of your choosing. Doing baffle cutouts with a router needs a bit of practice, and clamps are surprisingly expensive for what they are. But it's not as difficult as you describe it to be.

With that said, getting a finish on wood that looks similar to a Revel, now that requires SKILL. Not to mention incredibly expensive equipment if you want to do something like powder coating.
 

ppataki

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Longer Answer. DIY speakers should be something you consider because you want to build speakers.
I very much agree with this
I also started DIY because I wanted something that I like - not something that is considered great by others.
My designs would be considered horrid by a lot of members here but the point is that I love them and I did achieve what I wanted to achieve - that is the most important factor in my opinion
So all in all I would recommend venturing into DIY if you know what you are looking for, if you know what you like and what you would like to achieve - if you can achieve that, that is your end game DIY loudspeaker.....
 

Rednaxela

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That’s a shame. Could be just one data point though…
 

Wolf

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I would agree that the Wavecor Ardent is very well documented.
The OSMC at DIYaudio would also be a valid choice.

You'll find that a lot of DIY designs have trouble with availability of drive units past the length of a few years, and quite a few are no longer valid past that of a decade. Manufacturers have buying power and can purchase loads of drivers of or for something they'll be selling. Being that DIYer designs are typically one-off, QC and improvements or changes over time for the drive units can also make a design invalid.

If you have something in particular you are looking for, start your searching there.
Try not to choose a design that uses; Tymphany/Peerless/Vifa/Logic/Dynaudio/Audax(mostly)/Focal/Cabasse/PHL/Fountek/Aurum Cantus/Raven/TC Sounds/Aurasound/ATC/JMLabs/TransducerLabs/Tang Band/

All of the above have either; pulled from the DIY driver retail business, are slowly headed that way, have very high difficulty obtaining drive units, driver availibility is in a constant state of flux, or limited driver models are still available.

If you see something you like including something from this list above, you should likely buy duplicates in the event of a failure or damage.
 

hex168

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Duplicating a JBL M2 with OEM parts should be possible. Start here:

If I were to do this, I'd reach out to Paul Kittinger on the Parts Express Tech Forum and ask if the JBL 2216ND woofer (or the 2216ND-1 as used in the 4367) is suitable for an MLTL cabinet, but that is straying from the M2 design. (Paul K. is responsible for the bass section of Dennis Murphy's MLTL designs.)
 

RMW_NJ

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Short answer: No.

Longer Answer. DIY speakers should be something you consider because you want to build speakers. Trying to save money is almost certainly a fool's errand unless you value your time at less than zero. IF you already have a fully equipped woodworking shop AND are highly skilled, AND have 2-3+ years of unallocated hobby time that you can dedicate to the undertaking, then you can possibly aspire to creating something on par with Revel etc. Maybe. But, you don't get to demo the speakers before you start, and there are no 'end game' DIY designs that I'm aware of that have anything more than basic measurements available - so there's a very real risk that you spend years pursuing the project and don't like the result.

Having said all that, the best 'end game' design that I'm aware of that has extensive documentation and build logs available is Jon Marsh's 'Wavecore Ardent' design over on HTGuide. It's a design similar to an Avalon speaker (Jon Marsh knew Charles Hansen before he got started in the industry, apparently) I believe the DIY cost was approx $5k, and would be a design that would compete with the F328BE and similar tier speakers. There are other expensive designs out there (e.g. Troels Gravsen) but none leave me with the feeling that they have a similar amount of design behind them.
Another that may be worth looking at is the 'Open Source Monkey Coffin' design from DIYAudio. I haven't looked into that as deeply, but it does appear to have had a LOT of design debate and seems to be a well-executed 3-way waveguide design.

The final point is that 'end game' speakers are as much about aesthetics as they are about sound. Finding one that looks good enough to motivate you might be tricky.
I think this is good advice. I did DIY speakers and amps for awhile, and not being a professional, I always ended up spending quite a bit more $$$ than originally anticipated because of various screw ups. I also remember finishing a speaker by a well known designer, only to find out the driver manufacturer had changed specs - but not model numbers - so I had no idea if my finished product was actually what the designer intended.

It was mostly fun, but I think there are a lot of finished speakers out there that are great values, which has made me not consider a DIY project in years. If I were going to do one, it would probably be a kit so I could be reasonably sure of what I was getting.
 
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fpitas

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My own experience is that it will take you years to get DIY speakers "right", unless you already have extensive design experience. I'm not discouraging it; everybody starts somewhere. A lot of industry experts began as DIYers.
 

GXAlan

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Specifically I am referring to an existing design that has plans (crossover and cabinet) avaible for free or a reasonable cost. To say, I am not considering my own design as I have neither the ability nor the time for such an endeavor.

So, for all the DIY experts here, what would be your recommendation for an end game DIY loudspeaker that would equal or exceed what we on ASR would consider to be the best available on the retail market?

Part of the value in a $30K speaker is cosmetics and customer service. When you DIY, even speaker grilles can be a challenge!

 
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MKR

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I would agree that the Wavecor Ardent is very well documented.
The OSMC at DIYaudio would also be a valid choice.

You'll find that a lot of DIY designs have trouble with availability of drive units past the length of a few years, and quite a few are no longer valid past that of a decade. Manufacturers have buying power and can purchase loads of drivers of or for something they'll be selling. Being that DIYer designs are typically one-off, QC and improvements or changes over time for the drive units can also make a design invalid.

If you have something in particular you are looking for, start your searching there.
Try not to choose a design that uses; Tymphany/Peerless/Vifa/Logic/Dynaudio/Audax(mostly)/Focal/Cabasse/PHL/Fountek/Aurum Cantus/Raven/TC Sounds/Aurasound/ATC/JMLabs/TransducerLabs/Tang Band/

All of the above have either; pulled from the DIY driver retail business, are slowly headed that way, have very high difficulty obtaining drive units, driver availibility is in a constant state of flux, or limited driver models are still available.

If you see something you like including something from this list above, you should likely buy duplicates in the event of a failure or damage.
Thanks… Well, that just about rules out every major driver manufacturer :rolleyes: … who’s left?
 

GXAlan

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Thanks… Well, that just about rules out every major driver manufacturer :rolleyes: … who’s left?
SB Acoustics.

Supplier to Revel…
 
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hex168

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Thanks… Well, that just about rules out every major driver manufacturer :rolleyes: … who’s left?
SB Acoutics, Seas, B&C, Faital, 18Sound, JBL, Dayton. Smaller: Viawave, BZ Labs, RAAL. There are more.

@Wolf, is Digikey running off old stock for Peerless/Tymphany/Vifa? I didn't know the Peerless/Tymphany/Vifa situation was that bad.
 

dwkdnvr

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And Dayton Audio
+ PA brands like Beyma, Fane, etc.
Yeah, the Pro suppliers seem to be more stable than the consumer/hi-fi world. Eminence has been pretty good historically as well, although I don't know whether that's changed recently.

Dayton is pretty stable for most of their stuff, but not without changes. The original Statements projects got clobbered when they discontinued the original Reference drivers for example. The replacement Statements II design then got clobbered by the Vifa mid availability (at least I think the midrange went away?)

Even if the type of well-documented 'point and shoot' design OP is looking for was more common in the DIY world, the odds are that anything older than about 5 years will run into problems with driver availability.

e.g. the Wavecor Ardent project I referenced earlier is well documented but uses woofers that are no longer available (although there might have been a design rework done to accommodate a different woofer). Or the Isiris by the same designer originally used AuraSound woofers which are gone and an Accuton mid which I think was also retired - hence the redesign with Dayton woofers and Purifi mid (and Transducer Labs tweeter, although I think the original Scan Speak unit is still available) - but who knows how long that particular driver lineup will be available?

The upshot IMHO: there really isn't much of a collection of "ready to copy" designs at the quality level the OP is looking for. Lots of examples that can serve as a starting point or inspiration, but a real dearth of 'follow this book of instructions' type of project. If the primary motivation is trying to save $$$ vs buying new, the used market is almost certainly going to be a better bet (and you can remove the 'almost' if resale is any concern - resale value of even the best DIY build is effectively zero).

(I realize I'm sounding pretty anti-DIY here, but I'm actually not at all - I'm a DIYer at heart. Just go in with your eyes open and do it for the right reasons).
 
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