DIY Speakers: Parts Express 'Golden Boys'
Mar 2, 2006 at 8:29 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 14

xluben

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I don't really know what kind of response I'm gonna get from you guys (I don't know if anyone's really into speaker building/design), but I was thinking of trying a modified version of a Parts Express DIY design called the 'Golden Boys':

http://www.partsexpress.com/projects...oys/index.html

They are designed to be a low cost, garage/party-type speaker, not for critical listening. I posted some of my design thoughts in the PE forum (which is pretty cool, by the way, except for it's terrible layout), but I thought maybe someone here could help me refine what I've got so far. Here's what I'm thinking:



I have decided to upgrade the 12" woofer and the tweeter. The woofer I've choosen is PE #290-335. It is mentioned in the original article as a suitible replacement/upgrade. It has a stronger motor, higher sensitivity, lower Q, and it can be substituted with no changes to the crossover. The tweeter I'm going to use is PE #270-170. It was recommended by someone at the PE forum. He said the one used in the project was very harsh, and this one is better while still only costing ~$2 each. This tweeter will also allow me to align the drivers in the same size enclosure (2 ft^3). The only catch with the new tweeter is that I have to modify the crossover. The schematic I posted in the above pic is what he suggested. For the R (resistor) and C (capacitor) he suggested buying all of those values and trying them out to see which I liked best. Any thoughts on this area of the design? (I have no idea how to design a crossover).

Another hang up I have is that I've never made a speaker enclosure before. I'm probably just going to pick up a sheet of MDF from Home Depot, but I have no woodworking experience. Would they make some cuts for me? I've heard some places will, but I'm not sure which places and how many/how exact the cuts can be. If they'll at least cut them down to reasonable sizes my dad has a band saw back at my house. Would it be feasable to free-hand the driver openings with a dremel? I wouldn't bother flush mounting the drivers, so perfect circles wouldn't be an issue. I'm still debating how I want to finish these, spray paint would be cheap/easy, but I think I'd like to try some of the cheap PE vinyl peel and stick veneers.

I'm open to thoughts/suggestions, but these are meant to be a budget project, so I'm not interested in anysignificantly more expensive options (drivers, etc), but I am thinking of putting on handles and rubber feet (for ease-of-use).
 
Mar 2, 2006 at 9:32 AM Post #2 of 14

cotdt

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The power handling of that tweeter is only 30W, and would require a different crossover. Thing about building cheap DIY speakers is that cheap DIY speakers require just as much time and effort as great DIY speakers. And beleive me building speaker cabinets is a lot of work. I really don't see any benefits to this speaker design. It's big, won't sound good based on the cheap drivers used, and won't go as loud as much smaller speakers using hi-fi drivers. Pro drivers can get even louder, but hi-fi drivers are already loud enough than I can stand.

If cost is the concern, you could look at Zaphaudio's DIY design using the Silver Flute woofer. The pair can be built for under $100 total.
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 4:57 AM Post #3 of 14

audiorapture

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xluben; dude, don't over do it; just go to a garage sale, buy some bad speakers in a good pair of boxes. Go to the library and get a book by Vance Dickasson called "Speaker Builder". Rip out the old crap and line the boxes with cheap insulation. Make sure the new units are the same, 8 or 4ohms each. Use the PartsX cross-over chart and you can hand wire the capacitors and inductors together. Put in the new units, connect to the DIY X-over, and run 16 guage wire. Sit back, have a glass of wine, put on your favorite rock music and order a pizza.
When you want to build your next pair, search the net for better drivers like Dynaudio or Peerless or Vifa, etc; check out better parts like Axon, Caps, etc and use a 4th order Butterworth X-over, and have some fun. good luck.
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 5:35 AM Post #4 of 14

ooheadsoo

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Wow, how can you give all that advice after starting out with the Dickason book?

p.s. dyne drivers have been out for like...a half decade or more?
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 6:29 AM Post #5 of 14

audiorapture

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xluben: cotdt makes a good point about the amount of work vs the return on the quality of the sound you may get. You may want to rethink what sound and size speakers you want, and or for what application.
Dynaudio's Focus 220 just won the AV Max award for BEST Stereo System 2005 and of course they are the company that makes the woofers in the prestigious Wilson Puppy. There are other companies and places like MCM or Madisound who may sell you fine brands like Focal and SEAS and others, but many of these are very expensive of course. And once you use one book to start with, you can spring board off to another and see what information you might want to pick out to go for your next reference. That's part of the fun and learning process. All of us started out at some point not knowing everything. There are always updates. Enjoy the time and you'll probably enjoy the music and then the upgrades. Hope this encourages you. Best of luck.
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 6:56 AM Post #6 of 14

ooheadsoo

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Perhaps I wasn't clear or you've been out of the loop for a while. Dynaudio drivers have not been available to the public since 2000.

Well, anyway, if you decide to take audiorapture's advice, best of luck to you. You'll need it. Check out diyaudio.com and madisound's forum while you're at it. I do agree with cotdt, though not necessarily with the silverflute choice.
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 7:15 AM Post #7 of 14

Wodgy

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Given the effort, time, and expense of speaker building, I would start with a proven design rather than swapping in new and largely unpredictable drivers without proper measurement gear, but don't let that discourage you.

Quote:

Originally Posted by xluben
Another hang up I have is that I've never made a speaker enclosure before. I'm probably just going to pick up a sheet of MDF from Home Depot, but I have no woodworking experience. Would they make some cuts for me? I've heard some places will, but I'm not sure which places and how many/how exact the cuts can be. If they'll at least cut them down to reasonable sizes my dad has a band saw back at my house.


Yes, Home Depot will make the cuts for you. Ask them to be careful. Their cuts will be a little off, most likely, but that's not a problem if you give them a cut list that has shared dimensions sharing the same cuts. Boxes are forgiving. I personally wouldn't use the bandsaw to make the cuts. I find bandsaw cuts on long pieces of wood tend to drift and don't end up straight, but you may be better at it than I am. I would use a circular saw with a sawboard if I needed to make the cuts at home without a table saw.

Quote:

Would it be feasable to free-hand the driver openings with a dremel?


Probably not, without going through multiple Dremel bits. 3/4 inch MDF is pretty thick and the bits will heat up if you try to do more than 1/4 inch at a time. However, I could be wrong.

I've cut holes with a router and a homebrew jig, and with a hole cutter on a drill press. The drill press method is very precise and easy, but the holes can only be so big that way.

Quote:

I'm still debating how I want to finish these, spray paint would be cheap/easy, but I think I'd like to try some of the cheap PE vinyl peel and stick veneers.


Either choice is good and inexpensive. Go with truck bedliner textured spray on paint otherwise you have to be very careful to get a smooth surface.
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 7:27 AM Post #8 of 14

audiorapture

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Good morning ooheadsoo, I believe a company called Sweetwater can still get you many replacement drivers for Dynaudio as well as buying their stuff on ebay, like some of their parts are for sale from time to time, as their car woofers are on there now I believe.
Since I am new to this site I have not had the pleasure of seeing the photos of some of the speakers you have built. Would you mind adding a few on the next post. Maybe this would help xluben with his selection. He might use a wood color instead of a painted hue, since it may be a garage/ party he is after. best of luck to you
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 7:39 AM Post #9 of 14

audiorapture

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xluben: forgot to mention there is a company up near Toronto which has many parts and may be able to help, I believe they are called Q Components. The net may show if there still in operation. Hope this helps.
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 7:51 AM Post #10 of 14

audiorapture

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Wodgy: Good morning. The idea of using the truck bedliner spray is great! And trying to cut the holes for a 12 inch woofer without a portable saber saw is really hard work, even with the best of templates. Some guys used those indoor/ outdoor rugs to cover their garage speakers. That came in handy when you would bang into them accidentally or even spill something on them during a party. Thanks for the ideas.
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 9:49 AM Post #11 of 14

ooheadsoo

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My speakers, unfortunately, are nothing to look at. Actually, they look pretty junky to me.

A reasonable facsimile of my current setup although this picture was taken a year or two ago and I have a new subwoofer that you couldn't see anyway:
setup.jpg


And the setup I built a few months ago that I'm giving to a friend:
dipole%20setup%2011-19-05.jpg


Xluben is trying to build a cheap party speaker. Frankly, imo, he would do much better with vintage jbl or the like, as long as the surrounds are in good shape. It's not expensive to refoam them, in any case. Cabinetry is hard work, and finishing is a terrible thing to contemplate. Truck bedliner is the only easy spray paint. Everything else is at least as hard as veneering. You have no idea how porous and just plain dinged up mdf is until you try to paint it. Makes a great bonding surface
rolleyes.gif


If the driver doesn't need to be flush mounted, I've used a jigsaw with varying degrees of success. But you really should save your cabinetry efforts for projects of better value. How can you competently design your own speakers without an array of measuring equipment and tons of parts to experiment with? It's a whole new ball game. I'd recommend kits or available designs unless you have the time and money to do it right.
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 7:05 PM Post #12 of 14

audiorapture

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ooheadsoo: Good afternoon: Thanks for your reply. In seeing this for the first time, my first impression was what a warm and relaxed feeling the system must have. (Reminder to me: wish list: Makie Hr824's for monitors.)
Getting hand made boxes to have perfect 90 degree angles requires time and the right tools and clamps, and usually a friend who can hold the sides while you mess with the glue, calking, and whatever else you are using to help brace the project. Not to mention the hidden costs of additional materials, and the time getting everything together..
But what better advice to get an older JBL, (or even Infinity), since he may get them at an inexpensive price. Certainly worth the garage/party sound he may want. Wish we all had that extra money for that little extra toy....
Hope it works out for you xluben....
(xluben: wondering what you have for monitors?)
 
Mar 4, 2006 at 8:06 PM Post #13 of 14

xluben

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Well, I wanted to do these speakers for a variety of reasons:

cheap
party-speaker
learn a little about crossovers
first experience making cabinets

My other speakers are the Dayton BR-1's from Parts Express, so I know I can easily do any kind of kit (or step-by-step design). I'd like something big enough and bassy enough to be a party speaker, so I thought these would be good. The upgraded drivers should give me better sound for minimal price increases, but I'd have to modifiy the crossover a bit (something I'd eventually like to learn about, anyways). With these I'd also get my first taste of cabinet making, which I thought could be a good learning experience, and since these are low cost speakers I wouldn't be too disappointed if they didn't look perfect. I think I might just do a first order crossover at 6000Hz (for the tweeter), and that'll be good enough.
 

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