Help me pick a fun/easy DIY sub project - Home Theater Forum and Systems -

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post #1 of 26 Old 02-29-08, 03:29 PM
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Help me pick a fun/easy DIY sub project

First time poster... occasional lurker here.

I've assembled my first Home Theatre setup and I am absolutely loving every minute of it!

Polk R50 mains
Polk CSR Center
Polk R150 for Side and Rear surrounds

Yamaha RX-V661 Receiver
Toshiba Regza HL42167 LCD TV

but wait!

Something's missing here!!!!

no sub for my .1!!!!!! :raped: ( BTW Great Smileys guys )

I looked into a few commercial subs and I find myself thinking I can do better for my money with a little elbow grease... I looked at the BIC H-100 and the Parts Express Dayton Sub-12.... To a Lesser extent I considered the AV123 X-sub due to a lower price and their location in my home state of colorado would save me some green on shipping....... But I fear it will lack the extension and output I want and leave me with a sub I'll want to upgrade.... also the lead time on the finish I want is a little longer than I want to wait.

So the question is: Can I build a better mouse trap for my money?

13'X14.5'X8' room with some open walls and a hallway down the back wall.

I want to spend about 250-300$ between the driver and the Amp.. Build materials I can pay for as I go.. I'm less concerned about those as the parts can be bought as needed.


This build was suggested to me on the AVS forums:

4cf Slot ported 12" Enclosure


Cost of parts are within budget with wiggle room to get a better amp than the Dayton 240.. possibly a Bash300 or an ApexSr.

I have access to all the tools I'd need to build it except for maybe a compressor and a paint sprayer.

From what the build thread says it should have good extension and decent output for a small-ish room. Way better than anything commercial I can buy for the cost of Driver, Amp enclosure and finish if I use paint.

It's dimensions have already been calculated and graphed with the driver I want to use so I can see on paper it looks good (to my laymans eyeball anyway)


Big honkin cube compared to the commercial subs I was looking at.

I have NO Wood working experience. I can follow directions and I will have some expert help (Friend is a Carpenter/handyman) but this is not a project I can undertake on my own. This will also likely cause the build to take a while to complete as I'll need to work on parts of it in a friend's workshop and not at my house.

Linked with the woodworking thing... If I build this I'm going to need to finish it.. I've never done veneer but it strikes me as a difficult process to get right... especially with all the corners and curved edges..


So with the cons on the above in mind I started researching a SonoTube build.

I would like the dimensions of the tube to be near to the size of the SVS 25-31 PCi 20"X33"


SonoTube Design uses a little less floor space than the cube

I think I could figure out how to cut the plugs and the tube in one stop to my buddies workshop so I can bring home all plug pieces and assemble it at home at my leisure

Not a huge concern but I have access to a cheap SonoTube so materials should be cheaper

Easy to finish.. I can make the caps look nice with paint or use a nice piece of wood for the part sticking out and then just cover the tube with carpet or cloth or something.


Not sure if this is a Con but an ICBM silo in the corner looks a little funny.

I can't figure a way to internally mount the Amp like the SVS subs do without ruining the tube. Cardboard is none to forgiving and cutting a square hole in a curved surface sounds like a recepie for disaster.

I can either use an external box for the Amp or possibly build a finished box for the Amp and try to attach it to the side of the tube over the carpet and run the wiring though a small hole in the side. I would like my sub to be all one piece for asthetic reasons.. I don't want this to look like a half done DIY project so anything to get the amp IN or ON the sonotube would be worth doing in my opinion as long as it doesn't hurt sound quality or look worse than an external.

This is my biggest concern with the sono option because I know with a lot of help and elbow grease I can make the ported box look good. If I can make the Sono look good on my own I'll go that route so I can make progress according to my own schedule


Any thoughts, Critique or suggestions would be appreciated! Especially if someone would like to help me do exact calculations on the Sono Tube option so I'm sure to get the proper dimensions to take advantage of the Driver I want to use...

Also suggestions for other good budget DIY sub projects would be appreciated
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post #2 of 26 Old 02-29-08, 03:53 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2007
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Re: Help me pick a fun/easy DIY sub project

Welcome to the Shack, Drew! I am not a sub expert, but we have the most knowledgable and most helpful sub guys on the internet at the Shack! I'm sure you'll get all the help you need, and in short order.

Again, welcome! (And speaking of smilies, I'll throw in my favorite.)

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post #3 of 26 Old 02-29-08, 04:16 PM
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Re: Help me pick a fun/easy DIY sub project

Tubes are easy to build. You paint the endcaps and cover the tube with fabric. Here's a calculator that will help you with the design.

Mounting a plate amp externally on the tube is simple. Scroll down to "plate amp mount".

You don't mention what sub you're using. What are you considering?
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post #4 of 26 Old 03-01-08, 03:00 PM
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Re: Help me pick a fun/easy DIY sub project

this is one of the subs I was looking at.

im open to other suggestions though
post #5 of 26 Old 03-01-08, 05:44 PM
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Re: Help me pick a fun/easy DIY sub project

For the money that's a good sub. John will recommend what volume the sub should be to meet your requirements. He's a good guy to deal with.
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post #6 of 26 Old 03-03-08, 12:17 PM
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Re: Help me pick a fun/easy DIY sub project

Any thoughts on the best thing to use for the port?

I was thinking of using 5" PVC but I was hoping to find a flared port to add to the end of it.
post #7 of 26 Old 03-04-08, 08:20 PM
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Re: Help me pick a fun/easy DIY sub project

I'd go with cardboard tube. I haven't looked at the length required, but 6" might be workable, but could be too long. It'll be easier to nail down once you decide on your sub. The AE might be ok with a 4" diameter port. I'd try to stay away from PVC pipe if possible because it's both heavy and expensive.
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post #8 of 26 Old 03-04-08, 10:17 PM
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Re: Help me pick a fun/easy DIY sub project

I wouldn't mind using Cardboard tube I'm just not sure where to find it in 6" Diameter...

Also I'm having trouble finding 16" Sonotube locally. Seems that Home Depot and Lowes only carries 8" 10" and 12" tube.... However I did look at The sono calculator and here's what I came up with. I can't figure out how to work WinISD yet but here's what I have.

12.2 12" Driver from AE
16" X 46" SonoTube or about 4cf
4" X 17" Precision Port
Tuned to 20Hz

Does that sound reasonable? I'd like to tune it lower.... I not sure if smaller than a 4" port is too small for a 12"..... I'd have to buy a huge length of 5" PVC sewer pipe to make a port so I'm tempted to get the off the shelf 4X17" option and build the enclosure around it.

Tempted, though it sounds silly now that I type it out...


Ok How about this.

12" driver
16"X48" Tube
4"X34" port
Tuned to 14.4Hz

Looking to spend about 200-300$ on Amp and Driver. Will the AE 12.2 do the trick in either of these enclosures?

Lastly once I nail down the exact driver I want I need help figuring out what to power these with. Most the ProAmps I've seen are in the 300$ range alone and I've decided I can live with an external box for a plate amp if I have to.... Suggestions on Driver and amp combos?

The Parts Express 240W is a value but I'd like more around 300W - 350W.. I plan to use the LFE output on my Receiver along with it's crossover so the plate amp will only be providing power..

Last edited by Citat3962; 03-05-08 at 01:19 AM.
post #9 of 26 Old 03-13-08, 09:08 PM
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Re: Help me pick a fun/easy DIY sub project

I have asked John about those same drivers. He says that he thinks that he has ten in stock.

I am thinking about making some end table subs for my living room to get the ugly black box out of the room.

I asked him how they would do in a sealed 2'^3ft box and he claims that they would do well but says that they would do best with 500W. 500W into an 8ohm load is asking a lot. I'm afraid that spending all of that money on the amp defeats the purpose of using a budget driver.

You could probably get away with less power in a ported enclosure.

I really want to try building two of them and giving the PE 240W amps a try to see how they do but I don't want to regret the build later.

I'm sure that John knows what he is talking about concerning his drivers. He didn't steer me wrong with his AE IB15's so he has earned my trust in such matters.

All animals are created equal but some animals are more equal than others.
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post #10 of 26 Old 03-14-08, 05:54 AM
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Re: Help me pick a fun/easy DIY sub project

Have you checked out any of the Parts Express kits with cabinets? Since your DIY skills are at a minimum, these would be a good bet, just require assembly and also sound better than commercial subs at the same price point. I hear good things about the RS1200 kit, that driver has excellent response with extremely low distortion and you still build it yourself!
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diy , fun or easy , pick , project

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