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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I am looking to make a small sound system for personal use. I have some electrical experience, but none with the workings of speakers. I want to use as little space as possible. Ideally it would be a 5.1 system, or close to it. The volume would normally be low to mid.

Possible Specs:
4 or 5 Full Range 3" : http://www.madisound.com/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=83
1 tweeter : http://www.madisound.com/catalog/product_info.php?manufacturers_id=121&products_id=1767
1 subwoofer : http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=130249642029&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih=003 (maybe)

Now for the questions that show how new I am to this.
What extra components would I need to make a control panel for the speakers and sub? Where would I get them? Would it be easier to have 4 speakers (2 front, 2 rear) rather than 5 (2 front, 2 rear, 1 center) if it is easier, would it be worth the extra speaker for better quality?

I really need some guiding through this. I am not in a rush to complete it, but the sooner the better.

Thanks,
Ben
 

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I'm glad that you're interested in building your own speakers. I just love this stuff!

Now, for the bad news, although those drivers you've selected may make a great speaker, without a lot of investigation, sweat, learning, etc, building a good speaker is unlikely to bring you the results you're looking for unless you already know what you're doing.

Now for the good news, there are a lot of people out there with some know how that are willing to share their designs for the public to use.

If I were you, I'd serious look at some of those kits that are available and build one of those.

There are some good designs on places like Madisound, Zalytron and Zaph Audio. You're bound to find a design that meets your size and budget constraints.

As for how many speakers to build.. I'd either build 2 (for stereo listening) OR 5. If you're "already there", just build the center.. it'll be worth it.

And one more thing -- I'd be a little concerned about the sub driver you referenced in your post. Maybe it's fine, but to get good bass, you usually have to pay for it.

Hopefully this helps and of course let us know if you have any questions.

JCD
 
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JCD, thank you for responding so soon. I am excited to learn all I can before actually building anything. I looked at the kits offered from those sites, but they aren't what I am looking for. I should have put this in the first post:
I want to make something like this http://www.soundtube.com/cgi-bin/main.cgi?Speakers=start&series=6&speaker=45

First, I wanted to build one myself for fun on a budget (price over quality). Secondly I am only speculating at this point - I want to make sure everything will theoretically work before I buy things. So far I understand how speakers work, but not how to hook them up together and adjust them.

When I picked the speakers mentioned in my above post, I was looking at frequency range, price, and size (in that order). I don't know much about crossovers, but I figured that I would use the full range drivers for normal sound, one tweeter for higher frequencies, and the sub for low. Since I don't need very good bass, I looked for a cheap pair of subs online in case I wanted to build two.

How difficult would this be if I was to make it as simple as possible?
 

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JCD, thank you for responding so soon. I am excited to learn all I can before actually building anything. I looked at the kits offered from those sites, but they aren't what I am looking for. I should have put this in the first post:
I want to make something like this http://www.soundtube.com/cgi-bin/main.cgi?Speakers=start&series=6&speaker=45
I've never seen anything like the speaker you linked to.. I'm TOTALLY curious as to how it sounds though! There looks to be a lot proprietary parts in that design that I don't think you'd ever be able to replicate in the DIY world.

First, I wanted to build one myself for fun on a budget (price over quality). Secondly I am only speculating at this point - I want to make sure everything will theoretically work before I buy things. So far I understand how speakers work, but not how to hook them up together and adjust them.
Totally understand the "doing it for fun" angle. The drivers you picked could be shoe-horned together to make a speaker that will reproduce sound. The trick is to do it well. There is a LOT of science that goes into a properly built speaker. Volume of the box, bracing of the box, actual dimensions of box, edge diffraction issues, baffle step loss, etc.. and of course the 300lbs gorilla, the crossover itself. And for all I know, it could sound good. But the devil is in the details..

When I picked the speakers mentioned in my above post, I was looking at frequency range, price, and size (in that order). I don't know much about crossovers, but I figured that I would use the full range drivers for normal sound, one tweeter for higher frequencies, and the sub for low. Since I don't need very good bass, I looked for a cheap pair of subs online in case I wanted to build two.
A couple of points in there.. Are you going to make a powered sub? Something you would plug into the "subwoofer out" on your receiver? If so, don't forget that you'll need some sort of amp plate like this. If that was your plan, you should re-think your bass driver choice. I appreciate the budget constraints, but I think you'll appreciate an upgrade in the driver choice there. Of course, those drivers could be better than I'm thinking...

How difficult would this be if I was to make it as simple as possible?
It all depends.. how good do you want this to really be? If you want something to sound good and you want to design it yourself, there is lot designing, reading, researching, testing, measuring, etc. In other words, it's pretty tough. Doesn't mean you won't have fun during the process, it's just the end result might be disappointing.

Also, if you're going to do this right, you'd need an RTA of some sort, a testing mic, stand, etc.. in other words, a lot of equipment you wouldn't normally buy or have on hand. This part can be excluded if you go with a kit.

If you want something easy, inexpensive and has the potential to sound pretty decent, why not take a look at this one.

I know I could be coming across as a wet blanket, but I'd hate for you spend a wad of cash, spend a bunch of time and not get something that you like. When I started up this addiction, I was a lot like you. In the end, I took the advice of someone else and went with a kit. Since then, I've been reading a lot, asking a gajillion questions, etc and have not finished a subwoofer, 3/4 of the way through a line array system with an active crossover and am also in the beginning stages of fully designed from the ground up passive crossover 2 way speaker. Even now, I get a LOT of advice. I guess this is just my way of saying that I started slow and have been working up to the more advanced stuff, hence my posts.

I'm still curious about your reference speaker though..

JCD
 
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My original thought of what I want to build is a small speaker system that would fit in the sound focusing hemisphere so I can listen to music/watch movies without having the whole room be loud. That is also why I want it 5.1. I now understand that this would be a tremendous amount more work than what I originally thought. However; if I actually succeed, then it would be something I would be proud of.

You're right the bass driver I chose doesn't seem very good, but the item I am modeling this after doesn't even have one. Yes, I was thinking of having a powered sub. The amp plate you linked looks great, but I hardly know what they do. Would you recommend a larger/smaller sub or just a higher quality one?
By the way, how many tweeters would I need if I did use these 3" drivers?

I know I could be coming across as a wet blanket, but I'd hate for you spend a wad of cash, spend a bunch of time and not get something that you like. When I started up this addiction, I was a lot like you. In the end, I took the advice of someone else and went with a kit. Since then, I've been reading a lot, asking a gajillion questions, etc and have not finished a subwoofer, 3/4 of the way through a line array system with an active crossover and am also in the beginning stages of fully designed from the ground up passive crossover 2 way speaker. Even now, I get a LOT of advice. I guess this is just my way of saying that I started slow and have been working up to the more advanced stuff, hence my posts.
I appreciate all the time you are spending to help me with this, I know that I am a big novice in this area - so I am trying to learn as much as I can from your posts. If I were to buy a kit like the one you linked, would there be a way I could fashion it to fit in my hemisphere plan? If this is possible, it would save a lot of time and effort, and hopefully push me further down the path of speaker knowledge.


I'm still curious about your reference speaker though..
When I first saw it at a hands-on museum, I was more intrigued by it than the exhibit!
 
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