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mlwalla 17th January 2012 10:55 PM

hey hey, nice to meet you, here's a brain dump.
Ok, total noob here.

Basically, I'm a guy who loves music (because who doesn't?) and DIY (because I like to figure stuff out, and enjoy the occasional reward of high quality, low price, and experience that DIY in all walks of life affords.

That said, I wouldn't consider myself an audiophile. That said, my only speakers for the last 3 years are some $35 PC speakers from walmart with mangled wires. They sound awful. So awful that it's time for an upgrade. But perusing the forums here makes me realize I know NOTHING about audio! Seriously, where's the glossary?

Anyways, as I'm brand new to hifi audio at all, nevermind the diy aspect, I thought I'd throw out the intro and see if anyone could suggest a project or some resources to get started.

My criteria are:

-Cheap. My budget for projects is LOW, but I'm patient and don't mind scrounging/salvaging/browsing craigslist. I'm not sure if DIY will yield a good return at the low end of the $ spectrum. Any thoughts?

-Simple. I'm a DIY guy with a pretty strong bias towards minimalism and simplicity. I'm definitely drawn towards the single-driver setups (voigt pipe, etc) that I've seen documented. But I've got no idea what kind of amp or other equipment is needed to make them perform well. Most of my music will probably be played through my smartphone or possibly a media pc (we'll see).

-Small footprint. Minimalism extends to the living space, which is small. I guess the advantage is I won't need anything super high power. Since I can play all music through the phone/pc. I've even been entertaining the notion of playing it all via a cheapo bluetooth dongle, but something tells me that's an audiophile no-no.

So far I've come up with the following:

-DIY cabinets, leaning towards zigma-hornet or basic voigt pipe:
Single Driver Website
Single Driver Website

-cheapest full range driver I can find...but I don't even know what is acceptable for low range frequency. I do like reggae and hip-hop, but I'm not really into bass-blasting. Found these on Amazon:

-Cheapest amplifier I can find....I know the least about what I oughtta be looking for here, but the internet yields a couple of initial possibilities in the Pyle Home PCA2 Stereo Mini Power Amplifier. There are 30-watt and 80 watt versions available on Amazon for between $28 and $40. Not sure if I'm ready to dive into amp building, based on the articles available here in the articles section, but I do know how to solder... should I reconsider?

I know this is just a beginning, but is it folly to think this could be the beginning of a decent, full set-up for under $100?


wintermute 17th January 2012 11:13 PM

Hi mlwalla, and welcome to diyAudio!! :) It looks like you have been doing some research which is a great start. I'm not really familiar with the fullrangers,but I do believe that some of the lower priced stuff can sound pretty good, it can be a bit of a lottery though, so going with well documented is probably a good idea :)

On the amps, whilst you probably won't be able to do one for the cost of the ones you have listed, you might consider a chipamp. The most expensive part is usually the power supply, and this is what would probably blow your budget. I've not done any research into class D amps, but they may be better bang for the buck, as I believe they use smps powersuply's which should be cheaper than a linear power supply.

I'd be suspicious of the capabilities of a $28 amp ;) even $40. I suspect you could probably do a chipamp for around $100.00 including power supply, but it's been a while since I made mine so I could be off on the price.


revboden 17th January 2012 11:23 PM


c2cthomas 17th January 2012 11:54 PM

Hi - and Welcome to diyAudio!!!! :D:D:D

Where and how to start for not much $$$ - most of us have been there!!!

Here is a low cost amp that is worth taking a look at - cheap too - you couldn't make one for this price. It isn't high end - but it is a decent start.
Lepai Tripath TA2020 Class-T Hi-Fi Audio Amp w/Power Supply 310-300

With only 20 watts out per channel it won't drive speakers that need a lot of power.

The single driver speakers are a good thing - and a good place to start - but building speaker cab's can get expensive very fast and most likely blow your $100 budget. A good place to advance to for the next level tho.

BTW - until you resolve your speaker issue you might want to consider using some decent headphones to tide you over.

Check your local Craigslist - newspaper - pawn shops - Goodwill - etc for some good deals because there are some to be had. :D

N Brock 18th January 2012 12:07 AM

You can find cheaper full rangers. For example,
GRS 8FR-8 Full-Range 8" Speaker Pioneer Type B20FU20-51FW 292-430

It's a newer version of the speaker used in this project:

We made 10 pairs of 'em at speaker camp, but with the older version of the driver, mind you.

Good luck and welcome to the forums.


scott17 18th January 2012 12:18 AM


I agree with the Class D option for amps. At home, (never there) I have a Topping Class D that i use to drive DIY Leach 2-ways that I built - Vifa 2-Way Loudspeaker System - they sound fantastic. The woofer is still available from Madisound under the ScanSpeak brand and the tweeter can be subbed by a more recent Vifa. But I digress. At work, where I spend most of my time, I have a KT88 SE driving 97dB 2-ways, quite a difference.

I would agree the best bang for the buck is in a good Class D amp. Like this one: Topping TP30 Class T Digital Amplifier with USB-DAC 15 WPC 310-312

mlwalla 18th January 2012 12:57 AM

I may have leapt before looking, but I just ordered this:

Pyle Home PCAU22 Mini 2x40 Watt Stereo Power Amplifier with USB Input

and this:

Aurasound NS525-255-8A 5.25" Paper Cone 8 Ohm
Aurasound NS525-255-8A 5.25" Paper Cone 8 Ohm: Madisound Speaker Store

At least now I know what I have to build around. Hopefully I haven't bought completely incompatible components somehow....

Richard Ellis 18th January 2012 01:54 AM

Ok!.........Ran the math on your selections. To simplify building your speakers we'll go for a sealed enclosure. You need to build a small box that is Nine inches inside dimensions by Eleven and a third, by Seven and an eighth.
This is the acoustic ratio....mount the driver on the 7 1/8th side using screws & wood glue.....Remember this is the INSIDE dimensions, not the outside.
This driver while best suited for ported style enclosure....since you can't measure the EXACT T/S parameters.....we should do it sealed.
At 89 Db it won't be a power hog...just don't expect great things for such a low budget driver.


mlwalla 18th January 2012 02:32 AM

Wow, thanks for the info! I was hoping to make something ported (I really like the look of the zigmahornet and other voigt pipe designs). Is it totally wacky to rely on the manufacturer's T/S numbers for design or to use plans based on a similar 5.25" driver?

More to the point, how likely is something like that to end up worse than a sealed enclosure?

Thanks again!

Richard Ellis 18th January 2012 06:47 AM

To utterly rely on posted T/S parameters is not 100%...there are variations from one production run to another. Some parameters are very close, some are way off & notably optimistic.
There are some Cheap T/S measuring devices, Parts Express: the #1 source for audio, video & speaker building components that will nail down stats..........Funny thing is, there has been some mystery drivers without T/S specs, whereby one forum member "measures" said driver, while another forum member measures another of the same....getting two somewhat different values...????
Using posted values for sealed is not as "picky" as for ported. The specs for sealed are run for optimal Qtc (.707)......a change in volume smaller, pushes Qtc towards #> .707...towards underdamped. Conversely, a bigger box pushes Qtc towards overdamped #< .707 .
If you can do these other designs I'd say go for it! We are just trying to get exacting values.....perhaps there might be a member somewhat near you with the gear to nail down your drivers...exactly. The posted numbers are a fuzzy guide to help you steer your designs from one to another. The most obvious steering is they really should be of the "ported type". EBP determines which type it should be of.....Even if the numbers are really off EBP is so far out there, it still will fall into the ported camp.
With some more research we might find some 'actual' numbers....before your drivers pop up thru the mail.

__________________________________________________ _____Rick.......

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