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Old 14th October 2011, 07:34 PM   #1
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Default hifi speakers for a tiny guitar cab?

Hi,

New to this forum. New to DIY amp-building in general in fact, but I have an idea I just can't shake and I'm hoping I can get a little helpful information here.

I recently bought a vox ac4TV mini amp. In case you're not familiar with it it's a 4W Class A tube amp. It comes in 3 different combo versions 6", 8" and 10" speaker or a head and 1x12 cab. I was originally planning to buy the head and cab version, but saw the 1x6 combo on sale for $115 (hard to beat). I thought the small speaker might be useful for low volume so I went for it, intending to get an extension cab for it as well.

So... I like the amp a lot, but I'm not wild about the 6" speaker. It's not quiet enough to be useful as a quiet amp and it doesn't sound as full (obviously) as a 1x12 or 2x10 cab would.

So... I'd like to build myself a couple speaker cabinets. One will be a very conventional semi-open-backed pine 2x10 cab. This will be my nice-sounding cab for rockin' out when my family is awake.

For the second, I'd like to use a couple small hifi woofers (for instance hivi m3ns) to build a low-volume cabinet for nighttime use. I figure the lower sensitivity and smaller cone area will give me much lower volume compared to the 6" speaker that came in the ac4tv.

I realize these are not ideal speakers for an instrument amp application. It doesn't bother me that they won't sound terrific. I just want it to sound okay and to be less loud.

So... my question is: How do I design the enclosure (In terms of box volume? sealed or ported? port-size?) to get the optimal performance out of these speakers?

Another question: Are there any other 3-4" speakers that might be better suited to this application? (ie should I be looking for high or low Qts? anything else to look at?)

Thanks for looking!
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Old 14th October 2011, 07:41 PM   #2
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The resonances in the cabinet are an important part of the sound, so build lightly with an open back and thin (6mm) plywood.
Best drive unit for this would be the 'woofer' from a cheap hifi speaker eg a panasonic (technics). you are besf off with one that has a paper cone and surround, NOT one with a rubber or foam surround. You should be able to find something suitable from a skip.
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Old 14th October 2011, 08:29 PM   #3
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My general guidelines would be to use an open backed cabinet, and pick a driver with Qts > 0.7 and Le < 0.9; that will be pretty decent for guitar. I have to disagree with the previous comment, a woofer is not going to be good in general (but you might find one that has a low Le); look at PA, fullrange, MI drivers 1st.
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Last edited by leadbelly; 14th October 2011 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 14th October 2011, 09:25 PM   #4
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Thanks!

So something like this: Overview of M3N Drivers_HiVi,Inc might work okay? There's a 4 inch version as well.
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Old 14th October 2011, 09:47 PM   #5
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Naw, something like this:

Dayton Audio PA130-8 5" Full Range PA Driver 295-010

MCM Audio Select 5'' Full Range Monitor Driver | 55-1595 (551595) | MCM Audio Select

With no worries about a bit of power loss you could add some series resistance to these to raise the Q. In that case the PE unit has better bottom end and maybe a bit more "guitar speaker - like" response.

After better reading your post, I'd recommend you're not likely to get more "fullness" by using a smaller speaker.

Last edited by Andrew Eckhardt; 14th October 2011 at 09:52 PM.
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Old 14th October 2011, 10:08 PM   #6
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You could try something like this:

Goldwood GW-1038/PA 10" Guitar Speaker 290-390

It has a low resonant frequency in guitar speaker terms, which might give you a heavier bottom end while burning some power overall. I have no idea how the top end sound might agree with you.
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Old 14th October 2011, 10:53 PM   #7
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Depending what you like I would suggest a 70v 8" public address speaker. Something like this

Radio Shack 40-1271 Fullrange Speaker Driver

If you want it quieter get an L pad for the speaker. I have been messing around with an amp I am putting together through two guitar speakers and a 8" similar to this one. For the bedroom (ok I converted the bedroom to a music room) I like it better than the 10" and 12" guitar speakers I have.
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Old 15th October 2011, 12:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Printer2 View Post
Depending what you like I would suggest a 70v 8" public address speaker. Something like this

Radio Shack 40-1271 Fullrange Speaker Driver

If you want it quieter get an L pad for the speaker. I have been messing around with an amp I am putting together through two guitar speakers and a 8" similar to this one. For the bedroom (ok I converted the bedroom to a music room) I like it better than the 10" and 12" guitar speakers I have.
I looked up l-pads and I think I get the idea. My amp actually has an attenuator to cut it from 4W to 1W to 0.1W. Is that the same as an l-pad?
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Old 15th October 2011, 01:03 AM   #9
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So I appreciate the input so far. I'm not sure I understand, though. I don't have any design specs for the speaker that came with my amp, but I think it's on the low-efficiency end of the spectrum as guitar speakers go. Probably in the low 90s. I don't have anything to back this up except for some speculation I've seen around the webs that the AC4TVmini was intended to be a low volume version of the amp and probably has a low sensitivity speaker. So I'm thinking the volume of most of these PA speakers will probably be pretty similar to the one I've got already. It won't really accomplish what I'm trying to do.

I'd really like to get a pair of speakers (because I need a 16 ohm load and I very rarely see any 16 ohm speakers.) with a total cone area that's considerably less than the area of the 6" speaker I have (a 2x3 cab would be 4.5pi as opposed to 9pi for the 1x6) and with sensitivity in the low 80s. This is just to bring my volume down noticeably. I realize that 3" speakers aren't going to sound fantastic, but for pete's sake, the only amp I've played through for the past 10 years prior to getting my little vox is a smoky cigarette pack amp. I'm really not expecting much. I'll be happy if it sounds like a guitar at all and is quiet enough not to bother my wife watching TV in the next room.

Like I said above, I'll also be building a 2x10 to use when I'm not going to bother anybody. That'll be the cab that gets the good speakers and gives me all my rockstar boners. All the little cab has to do is be little.

Last edited by clengman; 15th October 2011 at 01:08 AM.
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Old 15th October 2011, 01:14 AM   #10
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I once made a small very low-power tube practice amp with a small head and a pair of JBL LE8T-H 8" full-range speakers in a sealed cabinet. It sounded absolutely great; not too loud. Problem eventually was the crappy foam surrounds. I'll never use speakers with foam surrounds again after refoaming hundreds. But how about any semi-pro 10 in a sealed box? Don't be afraid of sealed boxes, especially when you say you want it quiet! But it's all personal...I love the sound of an SVT for guitar or bass, so I love lots of 10's for playing and one or two 10's for practice. I also love the sound of the poly 6.5 speakers (again in sealed cabinets) in the ampeg SVTHE806...I used to play out with 4 of those cabs, 32 drivers, but practice with just one cabinet. But you probably couldn't ask a more personal question and will get disagreement and agreement no matter what you do. The good news is that with only a few watts you don't have the normal worry for hi-fi speakers doing guitar duty, which is burning them out.

But really it's a unique opportunity to use a really good full-range speaker in a good sealed cabinet, going just for great tone. If only that LE8T-H has a cloth surround...two had good treble and bass. I used to have a long monitor with 6 of them, great to practice with. Think full-range. Have fun, good luck. The only problem with most small practice amps is that they also scrimp on the preamp.
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