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Old 1st April 2015, 09:20 PM   #1
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Default PVC pipe speakers

Greetings everyone. I'd like to share my story about this project. I was looking to start building speakers, and looking for some cheap drivers to start playing with different types of enclosures. One day I stumbled upon two old closed speakers used for vinyl turntables. I knew they sounded really bad and I was going to throw them to the garbage bin, but I thought I could play with the drivers a bit. I was surprised they even worked since the speakers were left in the rain.

The quickest and cheapest enclosure I could set up was made from PVC pipes. I've seen some projects using them and I thought it's crazy, but if it didn't work, I would lose nothing (I could reuse the pipes anyway).

I started experimenting with different parts until I came to a sort of ported tower. Got all the parts assembled and put some stuffing behind the driver and where the port is.

I wasn't expecting anything good, but I was amazed by how good it sounded.

The drivers are very old, probably made in the 80s or before. The only thing I know about them is that the cone is 3.5 inches and that their impedance is 4 ohms. The paper cone is rather stiff, and the surrounding ring is made of rubber. I think they're pretty stiff because of the ring.

But the sound reproduction is pretty good. They're mid centered, of course, but they extend pretty well into the highs, and with these enclosures, I'm amazed by how low the bass goes. It's not earth-shaking, obviously, but it's a very snappy, musical bass, and it doesn't go away at low volumes. Even the drum'n'bass sub-bass is there!

The soundstage is nothing that I've ever encountered until now. You can really hear the placement of instruments and the separation of sounds. It's very lively, like the band is there with you. 80s music sounds very good on them, those plate reverbs and the drums!

They do go loud, but again it's a sort of musical loudness, not that pure power you get with big speakers. They seem to "scream" and fill the room quite nicely.

Well, now that I've bored you enough, some technical bits and pictures

The pipe is 110mm in diameter, and the port is 50mm. The height is about 90cm. I've eventually stuffed the lower part (under the port) and the back of the driver. The whole thing here is about "tuning" the pipe, as the length increases, the resonant frequency goes lower. I didn't try a longer pipe, but I tried a shorted one, and it sounded, well, like a pipe.

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(the pipe is originally grey, as seen in the last pics, but I've painted it with that matte black paint. The surface of the pipe is shiny and the paint scratches easily - that's the downside)

I wanted to cover the driver with a black textile material, but I thought it kills the highs and the liveliness of the music. It looks a bit ugly without it, but the music is more important!
It may not be the fancy wooden enclosure, but it's certainly an interesting project to try.
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Old 4th April 2015, 03:28 PM   #2
glenv6 is offline glenv6  United States
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I think you chose well by going with PVC! I started my PVC Pipes project as a full range and quickly found myself going the multiway route with a quarter wave TL pipe for the woofer and one for the mid/tweeter pipe designed using the Martin King quarter wave design tool. My full range pipes sounded amazing, but I really just wanted to keep building ...



Here's a picture of my pipes under construction...
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Old 4th April 2015, 04:59 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by glenv6 View Post
I think you chose well by going with PVC! I started my PVC Pipes project as a full range and quickly found myself going the multiway route with a quarter wave TL pipe for the woofer and one for the mid/tweeter pipe designed using the Martin King quarter wave design tool. My full range pipes sounded amazing, but I really just wanted to keep building ...



Here's a picture of my pipes under construction...
They're huge!
I've read somewhere that PVC pipes make good enclosures due to their shape and finish. In fact, one of the best speakers in the world have an egg-shape plastic enclosure, and they're well regarded. It's something to do with the way waves bounce inside the pipe.
Anyway, I find the process of building them dead easy. Definitely worth trying.
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Old 5th April 2015, 06:47 AM   #4
nezbleu is offline nezbleu  Canada
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Nice. ABS pipe works well too. You might want to take a look at the Linkwitz Pluto and LX-mini designs for additional ideas. The Pluto includes equalization to get the most from the driver, including a notch filter at the pipe resonant frequency.
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Old 7th April 2015, 11:31 AM   #5
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I'm actually in the process of modifying them into something closer to the LXmini.
One question though, how big should the woofer be? I mean, 6-6.5 inch is probably an overkill, but is 4 inch too small?
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Old 8th April 2015, 03:59 AM   #6
glenv6 is offline glenv6  United States
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My woofer pipes are huge at 76" tall! I stuffed each one with a Dayton Audio RS225-8 8" Woofer.
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Old 8th April 2015, 05:46 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by glenv6 View Post
My woofer pipes are huge at 76" tall! I stuffed each one with a Dayton Audio RS225-8 8" Woofer.
Wow, sounds cool! Do you have any pictures?
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Old 8th April 2015, 08:59 AM   #8
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Here's the video: https://youtu.be/_0GarQ8D-9w
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Old 8th April 2015, 09:17 AM   #9
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nice song
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Old 8th April 2015, 09:21 AM   #10
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"the bass attak" at the beginning is what everyone was waiting for...
A little..."covered" and "restrained" but in the end all the song flows naturally.
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