Designing some speakers, need a little help. - Page 2 - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #11 of 16 Old 03-28-08, 08:15 AM
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Re: Designing some speakers, need a little help.

Here are some good foolproof designs.
I dont like reinventing the wheel
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post #12 of 16 Old 03-28-08, 09:35 AM
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Re: Designing some speakers, need a little help.

Hi all, thank you all for your responses, its been very helpful.

When I started this project I thought I would be able to full understand all the working of a speaker and be able to design one that theoretically worked with beautiful sound quality in just two months lol, man was I being foolish there, I never understood how complex this area really is, I thought that there would be a universal standard of getting sound quality by basically using the the most expensive material ect.

After some time researching in to the technologies and science behind the workings of speakers I've now come to the conclusion that it will be best for me to take a more conceptual approach to this project and lightly touching on the componets, technology and materials used to simply justify my concept design as I simply do not have enough time to fully understand fine technological issues surrounding this area.

So up to now I'm going to make some floor standing speakers, the cabinets will be made of some kind of ply wood or MDF with a nice finish.

I wont be using the biwire set up as I have had quite a few responces to this saying that there is not really any need for it in my circumstance (a set of speakers for the general home) I will be avoiding right angles for my cabinet (I don't fully understand why this is seen as better) but supposedly it it so as a designer I will take this on board.

I will be using bass ports. Even though I know they have to be a the right size in conjunction with the cabinet and the drivers but thats not something I will be going into in too much depth with. The fact that they give better bass if used right is good enough for me. The mid and high ranged speakers still have to be air tight as bass ports only apply to base.

I will be using 3 speakers in each cabinet each doing their specific job, low=woofer mid speaker and a tweeter=high. For the tweeter I will be using a hard material such as aluminum or titanium as there are known more for there high frq and from the research I have done this seems in general what what a tweeter is all about.

I will be using Kevlar for the low and mid ranged speakers because I think it looks cool and companies such as Bowser and Wilkins say that it has positive attributes for breaking sound up or something so thats good enough for me because I again...I think it looks cool also

erm yeah, I know that this is all very very vague for people who know all about the technology behind the speakers but this is going to be a conceptual design.

As for the forum community I would like you to point out anything here that is totally wrong in some of the choices and information I feel I briefly understand and maybe suggest something else if it really does not make any sense. I have processed the information I have gained over the last week or so to the best of my ability but this has got to end, I could go on like this and be in this state of confusion for the rest of my life

But please remember that this design is not going to be a fully resolved design but rather a design that follows some basic rules to justify a pair of loudspeakers for the general home.

Thank you.

Last edited by Nathbonn; 03-28-08 at 09:40 AM.
post #13 of 16 Old 03-28-08, 03:31 PM
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Re: Designing some speakers, need a little help.

Just a few comments..
  1. The various materials used to make drivers usually are good at somethings while having compromises in other areas. More often than not is the engineering behind the driver rather than just the materials themselves that define whether or not a particular driver sounds good or not.
  2. I don't think there is anything wrong specifically with the choices you've made just that I think you might be reading too much into the marketing (e.g., B&W and Kevlar) departments (dis?)information.
  3. Most speakers don't have indivdual compartments for the various drivers. That's not always true, but "usually".
  4. I actually prefer soft dome tweeters to metal domes. Some prefer metals. Some prefer ribbons. Some prefer...
  5. Since you're going with a 3 way design (which, again, is a LOT more difficult to get right vs a 2 way design) you may not need the bass ports to get the lower bass extension. I think, all things being equal, a sealed design is "tighter".
  6. Right angles aren't that bad unless you're going to build a perfect square box. Almost all speakers are some sort of rectangular box as opposed to trapezoidal. And right angle boxes are a LOT easier to build.
  7. Round edges on the baffle are a good thing.
  8. Rather than highlighting the materials used to make the driver, you should key in on how the drivers mesh together.
  9. And again, if you're looking for a final result that is guaranteed to sound good, consider a kit. If you're in this for the challenge/fun of it, then no problem.

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post #14 of 16 Old 04-05-08, 10:23 AM
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Re: Designing some speakers, need a little help.

Hello Nathbonn, new guy here but I though it worth while to reply to your post. I've played with systems since I was ten, and now I'm fifty. So lets just say I've been able to gather some biased opinions for 40 years.
First and foremost, you'll find eveyone agrees and disagrees on what sounds the best. And through my many years of building, I've come to a few conclusions and have been able to do some off the cuff comparisions.
I get my hearing checked each year, part of my job working in industrial atmosphere. And so do the people I work with. From the graph of the hearing tests they perform everyone hears a tad different, and some dramatically different. So our hearing curves are not flat like the ones the speaker companies sell us. So what I may be able to hear is different than what you may be able to hear. It comes from genetics and what abuse your ears have taken over the years.

Then there is what you think you should be able to hear vs what you really do hear. This come from exposure and memory. So while we are both sitting at a live performance of say some acoustical guitars, I may hear certain sounds at different levels than what you may hear. When we play these sounds back over a sound system, the sound I heard at the concert will need to sound the way I perceived it vs the way you perceived it. What are we hearing? harmonics and reflections at different sound levels.
And then there is personal preference. We could have 20 females vocalist sing the same song at the same tempo et al and you'll like one more than I may like another. Which goes along with the looks of the speaker. If I think a speaker is ugly, no matter how great the sound really is, I may never like the sound it makes. While the same components in a more pleasing design will automatically sound better to me than the ugly speakers. Psychoacoustics?

So with all that said, will a measured response of a system be able to tell me what going to sound good? Maybe, but only my ears will tell me. So my advise to you is to go out and listen to several different manufacturers and see what types of speaker formats you enjoy the best and go from there.
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post #15 of 16 Old 10-27-08, 09:18 PM
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Re: Designing some speakers, need a little help.

PT800 wrote: View Post
I would totally diagree with that statement. Using spikes will tighten the bass, most certainly with subs, and will provide more open and airy highs.
I know from where I speak, I added spikes to an old system, and they did just that.
I use steel ballbearings (about the size of marbles) unser the studio nearfield monitors. This works a treat for decoupling. You could also use glass marbles. I've also done this in makeshift monitoring rooms for live recording situations.

Spikes (or marbles) won't do anything for HF, they simply decouple the cabinet vibrations (particularly at resonance) from the surface that they sit on. If it's on a dense hardwood or concrete surface they probably won't make any difference at all.
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post #16 of 16 Old 10-27-08, 09:41 PM
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Re: Designing some speakers, need a little help.

avaserfi wrote: View Post
Three way speakers are extremely typical, in fact, I am currently working on a design of relatively compact towers for myself. As far as working with solid wood goes, I wouldn't really recommend it. Solid wood has a tendency to warp due to humidity and temperature as well as other factors. Typically working with a high grade plywood is far superior as it can easily be veneered and is more resistant to effects of the environment. Also, I thought I would inform you that if you use a passive crossover system there will be no audible benefits from having bi-wiring capabilities, but some people think it looks cool and it isn't too much work. If you go active, it would be needed that you have multiple binding posts for each driver.
Natural timber construction is a poor choice of material. The grain structure has different strengths and flexibilities in each direction and can cause unwanted cabinet resonances. High density non-grained material is best for cabinet construction. MDF is usually preferred, however ply is also commonly used.

There are audible benefits with active crossovers over passive designs, however this is largely dependent on the listenting situation. For example, a set of nearfield monitors in a studio are run at moderate levels all day and used for accuracy of detail. You want them to sound the same at the start of the day as at the end of the day, so most use bi-amped designs to achieve this. The crossover components have tolerances which are thermally dependent and, if moderate power is run through them over a long period, the component values will change, causing a change in what is heard. Active crossovers have tiny amounts of power run through them and will remain consistently in spec. However they are more expensive since you need more amplifiers, power supplies etc.

Even with an active crossover design you should include a capacitor in series with the tweeter if connected to a DC coupled amp. This limits the possibility of a click or thump destroying the tweeter. The cap should be sized so it is not contributing significantly to the filtering at the crossover frequency.
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