How to build a powered subwoofer - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

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post #1 of 15 Old 02-14-12, 02:46 PM Thread Starter
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How to build a powered subwoofer

I have looked into building a sub myself however I do not know where to begin. What parts do I get? What will make it have a low frequency etc. Also by the time I am done with buying parts to build won't I have spent around the same as buying a commercial sub?
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post #2 of 15 Old 02-14-12, 04:28 PM
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Re: How to build a powered subwoofer

Starting a thread in the DIY section of the forum is a great start to your sub build. So other questions you need to answer before we get started would be:

How much do you want to spend or what is your budget for this build?

Will this be used primarily for HT or music?

And what is the biggest size cabinet you want to build?

These should let everyone know your thoughts and ideas ad we can move from there.

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post #3 of 15 Old 02-14-12, 04:37 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How to build a powered subwoofer

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chrapladm wrote: View Post
Starting a thread in the DIY section of the forum is a great start to your sub build. So other questions you need to answer before we get started would be:

How much do you want to spend or what is your budget for this build?

Will this be used primarily for HT or music?

And what is the biggest size cabinet you want to build?

These should let everyone know your thoughts and ideas ad we can move from there.
I can spend around 500 but not sure if building one is cheaper.

The primary use is 90% home theater.

I am not sure of size cabinet but I am looking at a 12 inch sub.
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post #4 of 15 Old 02-14-12, 04:52 PM
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Re: How to build a powered subwoofer

With that budget and doing a DIY i'm sure you could build something that will out perform a store bought sub. Others will chime in and give great advice as far as the sub to use also the correct amp also give you specs on what size and how to build your cabinet. Thats what makes this forum so great.
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post #5 of 15 Old 02-14-12, 06:07 PM
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Re: How to build a powered subwoofer

Just as Bambino said you can definitely build a nice DIY sub for 500 that will easily outperform your store bought subwoofer.

What sub were you looking at buying?

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post #6 of 15 Old 02-14-12, 08:07 PM
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Re: How to build a powered subwoofer

I look forward to following this thread. I too am just starting to research building a sub for a friend. His budget is $400firm. I will be poking around all the previous builds to see if one fits my bill. The box size for my build wont have much limitation. Not HUGE (like my HSU VTF-15H) but something closer to the size of an SVS PB-12NSD would be ok.

I had been considering a Peerless XXLS-12 & BASH 500 amp. That driver is almost identical to the PB-NSD at $249 from PE. The amp is $181 i think. Add MDF & your right at about $500. So i was then thinking the BASH 300 for $114 is better. I can get MDF cheap so thats closer to my $400 budget.

Any thoughts on these parts? It should perform like the SVS PB-12 NSD but half the cost. Worth it? Can we do better or cheaper?

I read about an Infinity Reference 1260w build that runs about $250-$300. Any thoughts on that driver?

This info is just from a little digging ive done. So they are more like questions than recommendations.

This is my first post here. Looking forward to hearing from you guys!! THANKS!!
(not trying to hijack just adding to it)
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post #7 of 15 Old 02-14-12, 10:55 PM
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Re: How to build a powered subwoofer

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asere wrote: View Post
I have looked into building a sub myself however I do not know where to begin.
You've already begun here

Quote:
What parts do I get?
Well, you'll need

- A driver or two
- An Amplifier (some amps will drive two drivers)
- probably 2 sheets of MDF (or Plywood though it's more expensive), maybe 4 if you do dual subs off one amp
- miscillaneous wood-working tools, screws, adhesives, etc. A router and a table saw are most useful, though some skill with a jigsaw might cut it (no pun intended! lol). large clamps never hurt anyone. And of course, there's a matter of finishing... do you want a wood veneer, vinyl laminate wrap, or a spray paint finish?

Quote:
What will make it have a low frequency etc.
Three major factors

1) Amplifier power will move the driver
2) The driver as a piston will move air
3) A resonator may reduce the driver's motion and "substitute" itself, and thus also move air.

An example of a resonator is a vent. It's a mass of air. It's "tuned" to a given frequency band. So when the driver is stimulated by the amplifier, the resonator will create the lowest frequencies.

There are two main types of resonators...

- Helmholtz Resonators
- Quarter-wave resonators

and there are also speakers with no resonator (sealed). Sealed will have the smallest box size requirements, but you'll sacrifice some output/extension.

Of Helmholz resonators, the main types are Vents/Ports and Passive Radiators. They're both masses of air loaded by internal box pressure.

Of Quarter-wave resonators, the main types would be Quarter Wave Tubes, Tapped Horn, Front Loaded Horn, Backloaded Horn. They use internal standing waves and impedance matching to produce deep output. The QWTs (and Tapered-QWTs) will be about the size of a large vented or passive radiator alignment, and the horns will be notably larger.

Never mind the details of HOW they work, though. What you need to figure out is what you're willing to live with from a size and weight perspective, for the budget you've got. In a perfect world, you could just get eight high-end 18" drivers, seal them, EQ them, and call it a day but that's not cheap. So first you need to figure out your total budget. Second you need to figure out how big you're willing to go. That will help us decide on appropriate driver/alignment combinations.

Quote:
Also by the time I am done with buying parts to build won't I have spent around the same as buying a commercial sub?
For the cost of a single (well-chosen) 12" DIY driver ($150-200) and a 300 or 500w amp you can effectively make something that can run with a $1000 commercial sub. Will there be a lot of small costs? Yes. But I'd still wager on the DIY build.

The #1 reason for this, is that it's not economical for manufacturers to make large, heavy subwoofers.

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post #8 of 15 Old 02-14-12, 11:53 PM Thread Starter
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Re: How to build a powered subwoofer

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chrapladm wrote: View Post
Just as Bambino said you can definitely build a nice DIY sub for 500 that will easily outperform your store bought subwoofer.

What sub were you looking at buying?
I was looking at the SVS P12 NSD
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post #9 of 15 Old 02-15-12, 01:10 AM
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Re: How to build a powered subwoofer

PB12-NSD?

"Music is the space between the notes"
[T]o talk well and eloquently is a very great art, but that an equally great one is to know the right moment to stop.
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post #10 of 15 Old 02-15-12, 07:55 AM Thread Starter
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Re: How to build a powered subwoofer

How good/bad are the Lava brand subs? I see the ad on home theater shack.
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