It can be an expensive endeavour, buying a well-designed speaker set up. Commercially made audio components have many costs associated with them that drive up the price, as well as the status of buying a quality brand name. However, excellent quality sound components can be had for relatively low cost, if you can plan and design the speaker box yourself. A little know-how and a little money can get you a theatre quality system without the price.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Speakers / drivers
- MDF board
- Wood glue
- Wood sealant or paint
- Optional: Silicone sealant
Select the drivers that suit your budget and system needs. Some use a 2-way system with a tweeter and mid-range speaker. Others are 3-way and add in a woofer for more bass. If you intend to build your system around a heavy bass response, keep in mind you will need a 3-way system and a larger construction for your speaker house.
Consult the manufacturer's recommendations for the box size for the drivers you purchase. Keep in mind the mid-range driver or tweeters should be at ear level for the listener. If this is a floor box, then the box may need to reach a height of about 4 feet. Smaller wall-mounted boxes can be placed accordingly and much smaller in size. Again, the size of the box is an amplifier for the sound, so, for instance, a woofer with a heavy bass response may be built into its own large size amplifier to both enhance the bass and to make arranging the mid-range speakers for the ear an easier task.
Cut the MDF board to the size specification for your box or boxes. Seal or paint the inside of the box. You can also seal or paint the exterior of the box for decor reasons, but sealing the inside is to help with sound as wood is a porous material. MDF is also recommended over fiberboard because of its more durable nature. Large bass-heavy speakers can often vibrate the screws right out of less dense wood. Glue the box then screw with 2 1/4 #8 screws for the best construction. You may want to pre-drill your holes and countersink your screws for a more finished look.
Brace the inside of the speaker box using one of several methods of brace. Triangular wedges screwed to two sides of the box in the corner, a square piece screwed in a joint that connects three sides of the box, a panel with holes cut that spans the entire box, or a panel that spans the box and has the entire centre cut out. The design of the bracing depends entirely on you and the drivers you are using, but bracing the box is important for a good solid speaker build.
Seal the box with a silicone sealant if desired. This can create a better sound, but keep in mind that silicone fumes can deteriorate the fibrous materials in a speaker; let the box cure for at least 24 hours after applying sealant before you add any drivers to the box.
Calculate the placement of your drivers depending on the size, style and type. Many high-end speaker manufacturers create a tall thin box with the woofer on the side and the mid range and tweeter on the front. The distance between the drivers depends on their size and frequency, and they need to be placed carefully to create the best sound. Cut the holes for your drivers carefully, as too large will cause the speaker to rattle and vibrate, ruining the quality of your sound. Flush mounting your drivers is recommended for the best quality sound.
Tips and warnings
- You can find calculators and building tips at DIYAudioandVideo.com, with charts for calculating frequency, plug- in calculators to determine speaker box size, and even volume calculators.
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