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RWB 3rd October 2012 03:11 AM

First build options
Hi there,

I'm looking to upgrade my little bookshelf speakers with some floor standers. I'm going down the DIY route because I don't want to pay through the nose for something I am more than capable of building myself! I am third year furniture making student with access to a full workshop with a CNC router, so this might not be my only pair of speaker this year.

I will be listening to all types of music through them. From 30's jazz and blues, classical, heavy metal, dub and reggae, drum and bass, they have to be versatile!

After some web based research I have settle on a couple of options. Willing to spend 250 ish. Materials will be about 50 for a sheet of 18mm birch ply, so got some cash to play with for the drivers.

First choice is the Frugal horn loaded with Fostex FE126en. Simple and cheap. I looked at range of different enclosures online and this design seems to be the most proven and vouched for.

The plans say that it is best to use 18mm for the baffle board and 15mm for everything else. Is there any problem with using 18mm or 15mm all round? Just saves on spending money on two different boards. Any issue with using MDF? I like the idea of using ply and mitering all the joints. Real neat and tidy and hides all the end grain, and I can get the grain to follow round the cabinet.

Also interested in the Jordan JX92s, but I am yet to find and enclosure for them. These speakers appear to have better reputation for producing deeper bass? The Jordan website has some inspiring design ideas, but no plans. Has anyone got any decent plans for these? I could do something quite radical.

Curvi - Hifi | Unique Speakers

Daveson Speakers Cigar

An acoustic engineer graduate friend of mine said that if I want bass (who doesn't?) then a ported box is what I want. Which is why I'm having trouble deciding on what to build.

Any recommendations for any other designs or speakers welcomed. I will mostly being using them in a bedroom or living room, lots of soft furnishing, fairly small room size.

Currentley using a Marantz PM4000 but also looking to upgrade. A local electrical shop has loads of old amps in stock so I could go in a part exchange my current set up. I was looking at the Fatman tube amps.



zman01 3rd October 2012 02:14 PM


Originally Posted by RWB (
Hi there,

I will be listening to all types of music through them. From 30's jazz and blues, classical, heavy metal, dub and reggae, drum and bass, they have to be versatile!


Sorry to disappoint you, but one pair of bookshelf speakers will full-range drivers won't be able to do all that... and specially not a lone FE126En.

You will do better with F.A.S.T - a FR unit assisted by helper woofers (basically a 2 way). There are a quite a few discussions around diyAudio. You might want to look at member Chris661's project where he's done a bookshelf FAST with Fostex FE126En and TB W6-1139 woofers. Other combinations should be doable too. Be ready to bi-amp though.

Have fun!

zman01 3rd October 2012 02:47 PM

Oh noticed you would like to go for floor-standers - my bad. Still the advice remains same, look up FAST. :)

picowallspeaker 3rd October 2012 02:53 PM


Originally Posted by RWB (
dub and reggae, drum and bass, house...

Hi Ross ,for those genres a dedicated 'bass' may be not an option
As Zman said , a fullrange and subwoofer ( with a less steep final filtered curve
than a sub !)
I've never used a floorstander as the bookshelf-properly named freestander- gives more
opportunities :it avoids transmissions of vibrations thru the floor, thus it can be isolated
through the use of rubber bands easily. The box itself suffers less from primary and secondary reflections,
due to its size.
And, do you think wood is the way to go ?

the two examples you brought are just 'advertisement'

RWB 3rd October 2012 03:46 PM

Ok, so if I go for FAST design I have half as much to spend on each speaker. But still doable with the the budget. Would I have to look into cross overs? Where can I get plans?

I'm looking still looking to enjoy a nice set of speakers. Just seen in another thread that I can get a pair of CHP-70 for 55 EU which reportley go well in the Frugal horns. This still means I have a decent pair of speakers for under 100! I'll just have to be more selective with what I put through them.

VA2GXB 8th October 2012 05:28 AM

I've done a FAST with a Fostex FE82E, helped by a Dayton DC160 ($20/ea!!). Single-order (inductor Dayton, cap on the Fostex). Popped the DC160 in a TQWT (transmission line).

Works a treat!

zman01 8th October 2012 07:34 AM


What software did you use to design the TQWT?

tvrgeek 8th October 2012 12:35 PM

At least the curvi has a couple of rounded edges. Please go visit TrueAudio and read about "diffraction" and "baffle step" That cigar has got to be terrible.

A full range, well sort of wide range, is not any easier to get right than a multi-way. Maybe harder as you have to be so careful with the driver breakup and eek-ing every bit of bass out of them. Prototype, prototype prototype. Then make the beautiful looking box. Can't stand to see fine wood wasted.

The amp is 5% of the sound. Source 45%, speaker the other half. Nothing against expensive amps, I have many, but put your money where your ears are. The Marantz is better than you think. Once yo have spent several grand on speakers ( or just a couple if DIY), then upgrade the amp.

Word of warning, not to discourage you, but DIY can cost a lot more than buying. No way can I match the sound of baby Warfdales for $100 a pair. Even mid-price Polk, Paradigm, etc I can't DIY. Beat a Martin Logan in DIY ? Nope. Now, when you move to specialty like single driver, or really high end where you are spending more for the box or name than the drivers, yes DIY comes out the winner. Well, after you spend about 10 years learning how to design them.

There are several here quite fond of both Frugal's and Fonken's I will say, having heard Planet 10's modified drivers compared to my feeble attempts, they are well worth the extra cost if you are going FOstex.

VA2GXB 8th October 2012 02:09 PM

I used Martin J King's transmission line software. Hornresp should work as well.

rjbond3rd 8th October 2012 02:34 PM

Widebander DIY is easier than multi-way, by far. You start from the midrange and work outward. It's easier to augment bass and treble, but very hard to impossible to fix a defective midrange.

For about $100 or so, you can build a set of excellent stand-mount / satellites which only need a sub. These can be world-class at (let's say) clarity and imaging, while sacrificing ultimate SPL, slam, orchestral, dynamics, etc.

For me, DIY is about being able to understand and manage the results. The alternative is to live on the hifi upgrade mery-go-round, where you have to keep buying the latest thing based on reviews, etc.

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