Wayne's Speaker Building Page
A part of scrounge.org.
DIY speaker building hints, links, and several modest proposals on how speakers REALLY should be built.
Important Note! This was written under the assumption that the
reader would be a typical speaker building hobbiest. If you don't have much
experience yet, please do more research before you do anything
expensive. As a rough rule of thumb, if you are already a current
subscriber of Speaker Builder then you should be OK. (Old advice,
that was written when Speaker Builder was published. Back issues are
available, though.) At the very least, get The Loudspeaker Design
Speaker building resources
- First, you need to check out the empire of Audio Amateur. They publish several
magazines devoted to, um, audio amateurs. They offer a large collection of
I recommend the The Loudspeaker Design Cookbook and Bullock on
Boxes books. Get them!
- Modest Proposals. Note: the (first) three articles are my opinions only and I'm not responsible if you go hog-wild and fill your living room up with equipment. And I'm definitely not responsible to your living partner. (I wish I had somebody to blame.)
- Madisound is a great
source of drivers and other parts. Request a copy of their catalog and you
will get a thick sheaf containing complete specs on a lot of drivers.
Passive crossovers are a real bear to design. Madisound will do a custom
design for you, starting at $25. (They also sell a quality electronic
crossover, which is the right way to do it!).
- Parts Express. Get their
catalog. Driver specs aren't as comprehensive as what you get from
Madisound, but they have a lot of other stuff.
- MCM Electronics has a great
770 page paper catalog. Reasonably priced speaker boxes. 1-800-543-4330
- Zalytron is another good source of drivers and kits. Amusing catalog, with detailed driver specs. $50 minimum, though.
- Mouser is an large industrial electronics supplier. Good for more mainstream parts, like soldering irons, etc.
- Marchland makes electronic crossovers and power amp kits.
- Meniscus is another good supplier. They offer raw drivers and other speaker building supplies.
- Sonic Craft is another speaker parts distributer. "Bringing Loudspeakers and the Hobbyist into the 21st Century."
- Speaker City U.S.A has a complete line, including the McCauley professional line of woofers. (Hint, make a real subwoofer.) Drivers, enclosures, speaker kits, subwoofer amp with x-over, and more--descriptions available on-line.
- North Creek Music Systems (315) 369-2500 is a very selective supplier of critical parts that you can't get anywhere else, like their inexpensive soft dampening glue. Call them up and request a copy of their catalog. Also make sure to get copies of their North Creek Cabinet Handbook and North Creek Wiring Guide ($5 each, refundable when you buy parts from them.)
- Boxplot is a good shareware speaker box design program to get started with.
- Liberty Instrument's Audio Suite is a great speaker testing system. Do your own frequency response tests! And more.
- LspCAD is a a very powerful, but easy to use speaker box and passive crossover design and modeling program. It can use driver frequency response and impedence measurement data that are created with the Liberty Instrument Audio Suite. Highly reccommended.
- How to Scrounge Up a Cheap Computer. (And what to do with it once you've got it.)
- The Better Woodworking Guide & Directory
- Not really about Speaker Building, but Mix Books is real handy if you are any kind of musician. Originally was recording studio oriented, but they now carry a lot of books of interest to musicians.
- My Electronic Crossover Primer.
- It is often a good idea to step outside of the world of home audio and
investigate pro sound. Particulary because electronic crossovers actually
exist there. And pro sound can be a lot cheaper! (400 watt amps for less
than $400.) I'm a firm believer in using electronic crossovers. Rane makes some good ones. Their new Mojo
series 24 db/octave crossover sells for about $320 in a stereo 3-way
configuration. (XLR balanced only, although.) Also check out their
extensive collection of tech
- DBX makes a very popular $250 3 way
stereo 24 db/octave xover.
- Ashly makes electronic crossovers that have
variable filter slopes.
- Carvin's XC
3000 ($279) 2/3 way electronic crossover is also good. (That's what I
use.) Also 24 db/octave Linkwitz Riley.
- Musician's Friend, and American Musical Supply are good musician/pro sound suppliers.
- Your stereo equipment probably uses RCA jacks. Most pro equipment uses either 1/4" or XLR jacks. (You can use "unbalanced" connections. Thats just the same as your regular RCA connections, only with different jacks. Watch out for any piece of pro sound equipment that only has balanced XLR connections. That's probably more pro than you need. You have to watch out for input level specs. If it says +6db, you can't drive it directly with your consumer stereo equipment. (However, you can usually use an electronic crossover as a buffer/booster....) The -10db "semi-pro" level spec is the same as regular stereo levels. You probably aren't going to lash up several six foot racks of power amps. At least not for a while.) A real good source of quality cables (say, RCA on one end and 1/4" on the other) and plugs is Conquest. (No web site--(800) 323-7671.)
- You can also buy 6 foot Radio Shack cables (the good ones with the gold ends) and cut them in half, strip the wire, and solder 1/4" jacks on the ends. That's what I do, after buying a bunch of Switchcraft 280 1/4" plugs from Conquest. ($.81 ea. no minimum.)
- You also could get a handful of RCA to 1/4" adapters from Radio Shack, but THAT WOULD BE WRONG.
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Wayne Larmon can be reached at email@example.com
Link rot cleansing on 10/28/2009