I've been looking into making myself a pair of monitors but living in NYC I simply don't have the tools or space needed to make cabinets. Is it worth it to make your own if you have to use prebuilt cabinets? Worth it in terms of the quality being significantly higher than that of a similarly priced commercial pair?
DIY speakers worth it with premade cabinets?
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Have you looked through the kits at Madisound? They have quite a few, many with finished cabinets and assembled crossovers. Assembly isn't much worse than a desk from Ikea. I like the offerings from Zaph|Audio. Madisound carries several of his designs and you can get wonderfully detailed specs and information at Zaph's site.
Another DIY designer I admire is Troels Gravesen. No cabinets are available (AFAIK), but you can visit a local cabinet shop. Anyone who does kitchens, closets, furniture, etc. can build cabinets for you. I only paid $200 for mine and they were cut on some very nice hardware by a pro. Better than I could have done, or at least faster and with fewer mistakes.
Take a look at Linkwitz Lab, too. The Pluto is mostly made of PVC. My local shop charges 50¢ a cut for PVC, so I could get the pipes and have them cut for $30-$40. Gluing the pipes together can be done in an apartment over some newspaper on the floor. The bottom part of the cabinets could be cut at a shop (including material) for $20 or so. It's a very nice design. Or you could go for the Orion or Phoenix for something really special. I'm hoping to have a pair of Orions done soon.
Edited by Uncle Erik - 9/28/11 at 2:08pm
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This book is excellent for explaining speaker design: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loudspeaker_Design_Cookbook
It's a lot to digest but well worth it even if your not going to build your own.
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Also take a look over at the Parts Express forum. Lots of DIY information there, including information about different types of cabinet designs. There are also some people who take some of the more common designs of speakers and make what they call "flatpacks," which are essentially just pre-cut wood to match the specs of the designs.
Enjoy! The DIY route is very rewarding!
Though you might be interested in Madisound's affordable engineering services. They will design cabinets and crossovers for you.
Personally, I'm more interested in established DIY designs others have built. I don't have the skills to design, so I like projects that many others have built and picked over. That lets you absorb some collective wisdom from people with lots of experience. For example, the ProAc 2.5 clones have been gone through by some highly experienced and talented people. A level of experience hard to match. Their efforts resulted in a fantastic project. Same with the Linkwitz designs. Linkwitz himself is amazing and he has made mods based on some really sharp folks. I cannot equal them, but I can follow them for some truly excellent speakers. The feedback/mod aspect of DIY results in some amazing designs. I don't think commercial manufacturers can match it. Same goes for amps.
Thanks for all the responses guys. Got a lot more info than I was expecting! I'm not really planning to design my own project from scratch but I'm interested in at least generally understanding what went into the designs.
Quick follow-up question... Where did you find discussion of/project specs for the Proac 2.5s? I've found one build journal but it doesn't include any specs, part list, etc.
Edited by mrip541 - 9/30/11 at 9:24am
The original clone site went down along with GeoCities. If you can't find the cabinet or crossover info, send me a PM. I have most of that saved as PDFs. I'll email it to you or anyone else interested in this project. It is a very good one and I've been really enjoying my pair.