Best Noob Friendly Sealed DIY Subwoofer - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 11 Old 05-14-17, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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Best Noob Friendly Sealed DIY Subwoofer

Hello Everyone,

I just want to know if the Dayton Ultimax 18" driver and flat pack cabinet is the best valued noob friendly to build sealed subwoofer on the market. This is for a basement system where eventually I would like to build 2 subs. Building both of these subs would cost me about $1300 including an iNuke 6000 and all the other required pieces. I know there are crazy designs out there for ported subs that will have even more output but I do not listen to music and movies very loudly. I do want flat 20Hz bass but I don't need 120dB worth of it. And if I do go this route how much better of a value will this be than the already built competition?

Thanks!
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post #2 of 11 Old 05-14-17, 05:47 PM
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Re: Best Noob Friendly Sealed DIY Subwoofer

Yeah, those are definitely a good value.

The Ultimax drivers are certainly not the top end of what's available out there, but at that price point they're very difficult to beat. The flat pack boxes are pretty easy to assemble as long as you have the necessary tools (minimum: bar clamps, wood glue, drill/bits, sander) and know how to use them.

Check out the Gear Reviews forum for firsthand experiences from Jman and AudioCraver for fantastic insights as to what commercially available subs are capable of doing out in the wild, and when you see something you like, check the price tags. or reference, the SVS SB16-Ultra is $2K.

I think what you'll find is that for the $1300 you're talking about spending, you'll be hard pressed to match the performance of 2 Ultimaxes.
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post #3 of 11 Old 05-14-17, 08:57 PM
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Re: Best Noob Friendly Sealed DIY Subwoofer

Yes the knockdown cabinet is about as easy as it gets... I do not favor the iNUKE amp for this reason - it ONLY has SPEAKON Inputs and Outputs ... your receiver probably only has RCA outputs for signal to amp...
Also making speakon connections on your knockdown cabinet requires soldering and they stick out pretty far compared to bare wire connector plate... Therefore I highly recommend the XLS Crown amps - same mega class D output but all the no fuss connections RCA inputs and wire outputs - same economic price range....
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post #4 of 11 Old 05-14-17, 09:51 PM
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Re: Best Noob Friendly Sealed DIY Subwoofer

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RTS100x5 wrote: View Post
Yes the knockdown cabinet is about as easy as it gets... I do not favor the iNUKE amp for this reason - it ONLY has SPEAKON Inputs and Outputs ... your receiver probably only has RCA outputs for signal to amp...
Also making speakon connections on your knockdown cabinet requires soldering and they stick out pretty far compared to bare wire connector plate... Therefore I highly recommend the XLS Crown amps - same mega class D output but all the no fuss connections RCA inputs and wire outputs - same economic price range....
I would also ( because I've owned almost a dozen at this point) go with Crown XLS amps. They don't offer as robust a DSP suite, but they have selectable crossovers, which is good enough most of the time. The RCA inputs are really convenient for HT purposes, but if you have balanced outputs there's also balanced TRS and XLR inputs. The iNUKE is a higher W:$ ratio... but 'd still pick Crown.
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post #5 of 11 Old 05-14-17, 10:22 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Best Noob Friendly Sealed DIY Subwoofer

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RTS100x5 wrote: View Post
Yes the knockdown cabinet is about as easy as it gets... I do not favor the iNUKE amp for this reason - it ONLY has SPEAKON Inputs and Outputs ... your receiver probably only has RCA outputs for signal to amp...
Also making speakon connections on your knockdown cabinet requires soldering and they stick out pretty far compared to bare wire connector plate... Therefore I highly recommend the XLS Crown amps - same mega class D output but all the no fuss connections RCA inputs and wire outputs - same economic price range....
Which model of amp in particular? They seem to be quite a bit more expensive given the same wattage. Again I am not interested in any type of DSP coming from the amplifier. I have a MiniDSP 2x4HD that has customizable crossovers and PEQ. I do my own DIY cables so I have no problem making my own Speakon cables and the RCA to XLR cable going from the source to the amp. iNuke does have XLR and TRS inputs. Speakon connectors also have screw on terminals so soldering is not even required. I am definitely more nervous about building the subwoofer then dealing with the electronics.
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post #6 of 11 Old 05-15-17, 10:18 AM
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Re: Best Noob Friendly Sealed DIY Subwoofer

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RTS100x5 wrote: View Post
Yes the knockdown cabinet is about as easy as it gets... I do not favor the iNUKE amp for this reason - it ONLY has SPEAKON Inputs and Outputs ... your receiver probably only has RCA outputs for signal to amp...
Also making speakon connections on your knockdown cabinet requires soldering and they stick out pretty far compared to bare wire connector plate... Therefore I highly recommend the XLS Crown amps - same mega class D output but all the no fuss connections RCA inputs and wire outputs - same economic price range....
The Inuke has a combo XLR and 1/4 TRS input, not SPEAKON, although it does only have a speakon output. A six foot RCA to XLR cable is ~$10 at Monoprice or amazon. Then you can build your own speakon cables from the Amp to the box. So if you WANTED terminals at the box instead of a speakon, then you could just have speakon OUT of the amp, but just wire at the sub box side. I bought 100ft of 12g wire and 4 male connectors and 2 female connectors for my pair of subs I recently built and STONGLY prefer the speakon to the terminals I have used previously. You can even get a 90" connector if that helps.

I needed DSP as my boxes are ported and I needed a high pass filter to protect the driver so I preferred the inuke. Also the fan on the inuke can be annoying to sum, but I find it is not as loud as the fan on my PS4. The crown amps look really nice, but are substantially more money and no DSP so it is all in your preferences and budget.

Also, I would suggest building Marty subs or VBSS subs instead of going sealed, as you are giving away free output. If you dont have access to a friend with tools, you can still buy flatpacks from DIYSoundGroup to go ported, so you arent stuck building a sealed sub IF that is not what you want. Also, just for one more reference point, there is a guy on AVSForum named Squires007 that has a father that is a woodworker who builds and ships flatpacks of all of the above mentioned and more.

Just for more ported sub spam, I believe this is his father mock assembling one of his flatpacks.


To close, I am going to quote a portion of the Marty FAQ linked above,
Why not just build sealed subs. Easier to build ?
Quote:
They are easier but the large ported subs simply offers the most bass for the money if you have the space for the large enclosures. not everybody does and not everybody cares about bang for the buck. it is all a tradeoff. the martysubs generally trade off larger size for more bass at the lowest possible cost while remaining a relatively simple build. Here is comparison with same driver with 1100 watts in a sealed cabinet (blue) vs. a martysub (red)
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post #7 of 11 Old 05-15-17, 10:23 AM
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Re: Best Noob Friendly Sealed DIY Subwoofer

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Which model of amp in particular? They seem to be quite a bit more expensive given the same wattage. Again I am not interested in any type of DSP coming from the amplifier. I have a MiniDSP 2x4HD that has customizable crossovers and PEQ. I do my own DIY cables so I have no problem making my own Speakon cables and the RCA to XLR cable going from the source to the amp. iNuke does have XLR and TRS inputs. Speakon connectors also have screw on terminals so soldering is not even required. I am definitely more nervous about building the subwoofer then dealing with the electronics.
Building a box is SUPER easy. I hadn't done any woodworking in 10+ years but me and a buddy knocked out both VBSS boxes in a few hours. The most difficult part will likely be finishing the box, but if you use duratek it is REALLY easy. I am converting mine to downfiring end tables, so although the basic boxes are complete, I need to finish the legs and butcher block top, but that is more fun than building a sub box anyway.

Th worst part of my build was waiting on china to ship the table saw fence... we waited over a month before giving up and ordering through amazon.
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post #8 of 11 Old 05-15-17, 11:08 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Best Noob Friendly Sealed DIY Subwoofer

Size and space is also important to me and by going with the 18" sealed sub I am already pushing the boundaries for what my family would allow. For my first DIY subs I will play it safe and go with the sealed Ultimax's. I will see how it performs and gauge whether or not a ported variant is even necessary for my application. You can always pull the driver out and put it into another cabinet.

I do have an important question with regards to screwing the driver to the cabinet. I would like to use threaded inserts so that I can remove the driver without comprising the strength of the screws. Any suggestions on what exact screws and inserts to buy? I have done research from various forums and there are a lot of answers to this problem, not sure which one to go with.
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post #9 of 11 Old 05-15-17, 06:23 PM
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Re: Best Noob Friendly Sealed DIY Subwoofer

If you have the MiniDSP, then you won't need the DSP features on the amp... so in that case you could use an XLi model instead. They're basically the old XLS versions from the pre-DSP days, complete with torroidal power supplies. An XLi 2500 would get you 750/ch at 4 Ohms, which would give you theoretical maximum of ~117dB (not accounting for in-box or in-room response). Also, the MiniDSP is going to give you better signal processing than can be found on-board with any of the amps in this end of the pool.

Screwing driver to cabinet... This is basically the art of getting the biggest screw through the hole that you can without trashing the baffle. The UM18-22 has 7mm (0.275") bolt holes, so a 1/4-20 machine screw will fit nicely. The best option I've found is to put tee-nuts into the baffle plate from the back (this is a very common approach). This gives you a captive nut that you can also apply a generous amount of torque to without pulling it out of the hole. The only thing to watch out for is drilling the hole for the tee-nut too close to the inside edge of the driver mounting flange and blowing out that hole when you start to apply force. Good news - the Denovo flat pack appears to have an extended flange to combat that particular problem, so it might be a non-issue. The other problem you might run into is vibration causing your mounting screws to loosen up over time. You can get around this a few different ways:

Self-locking screws Machine screws can be purchased with a patch of nylon melted to the threads which, when inserted into a nut, intentionally gum up the threads and help resist loosening

Thread Locker A much more effective, but much more permanent solution. This liquid cures to form a hard crystalline structure that bonds to the metal of the screw and the nut, and prohibits motion once it is set. Needs large amounts of torque to overcome once cured.

Locking Nuts The middle-ground between the first two. Available in a wide variety of styles (my personal favorite is the distorted-thread locking nut), these nuts employ some method of biting into the threads of the screw (or vice-versa, the threads bite the nuts). The down-side is that in order to use this method, you have to either mount the driver to the baffle and then mount the baffle to the rest of the box, or you have to leave a panel open while the driver is being installed. It is simply not possible to use a locking nut without direct access to the rear surface of the baffle.

For all my hardware needs, I go here: http://www.mcmaster.com If it is made out of matter and it's available on earth, either they have it or they sell everything you need to make it yourself.

Tee nuts: https://www.mcmaster.com/#tee-nuts/=17n4tcy

Locking Screws: https://www.mcmaster.com/#standard-s...crews/=17n4twq
Regular Screws: https://www.mcmaster.com/#standard-s...crews/=17n4u4h

Washers: https://www.mcmaster.com/#standard-washers/=17n4ul1

Lock Nuts: https://www.mcmaster.com/#hex-locknuts/=17n4uyf

I've taken the liberty of providing links to all of this hardware in black-oxide finish. It really looks nice on the finished product. Oh... and if you don't have hex keys, they sell those too. https://www.mcmaster.com/#hex-keys/=17n4wnj You'll need 3/16"
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post #10 of 11 Old 05-15-17, 10:24 PM
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Re: Best Noob Friendly Sealed DIY Subwoofer

hope this helps

Ya if your not concerned with speakon cabling then the iNUKE is the better $/watt value.... I have not owned iNUKE so I cannot speak as to durability or operational use... I have a Crown XLS 2502 driving 2 Ultimaxx 15's and it never breaks a sweat, even at higher SPL, and problem free from day 1...
Here is your cabinet assembly video / obviously yours will be even easier with no amp installation...
Obvious cabinet assembly requirements will be the clamps ( at least 4 xlarge)

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