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Multi-Way Conventional loudspeakers with crossovers

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Old 27th August 2014, 12:45 AM   #1
russo is offline russo  Portugal
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Default Getting started in the wonderfull world of DIY speakers

Good night everybody, I have been lurking her for a couple of years and always wanted to dip my toes, but I always had a chicken and egg problem, I don't make an audio amp because I don't have a set of speakers, I don't have speakers because I don't a dedicated amp for them..

So I decided to make some small book shelfs something along the lines of the Zaph Audio ones:
Zaph|Audio - ZMV5 - MCM / Vifa 5" System
Zaph|Audio - Bargain Aluminum MTM

My biggest doubt is where to get the speakers in Europe, using parts-express will get expensive pretty fast due to shipping, customs, VAT and anything extra the customs might remember to throw in..

I'm open to any suggestions, but I would like to use some common drivers that are already well known by the community and that I can use true and tried enclosure designs.

About the enclosure I don't have wood-working tools or the skills needed but I know a carpenter that can do whatever I ask them for reasonable prices.

Best regards, and thanks in advance for your time.
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Old 27th August 2014, 12:54 AM   #2
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DO you plan on doing the crossover design yourself? If yes, then you will need appropriate measurement tools before anything else.
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Old 27th August 2014, 01:05 AM   #3
russo is offline russo  Portugal
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I don't have the tools needed to design a cross-over from scratch, that's why I would prefer to use an already existing design.
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Old 27th August 2014, 02:35 AM   #4
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kinda defeats the whole "do it yourself" aspect... hey wait this might turn into "do somebody else's" or "contract it out" heck that might spawn a whole nother web site!
half the journey is making mistakes and learning new skills but that's just me!
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Old 27th August 2014, 04:47 AM   #5
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Default Tweaking

Any level of input on DIY is still DIY. I am making boxes prescribed by DIY guru Danish citizen Troels Gravesen and putting in drivers he has designed the crossovers for. The cabinet making , veneering and finishing is plenty of DIY input and I am assured of something that sounds like 10 times what I could afford in a store.

I have designed speakers using basic formulas as a starting point and swapped coils (I sometimes wind my own) and capacitors until the speakers sound just right. It has taken years of tweaking with one pair of speakers. That is the fun. Yeah you can be the complete objectivist and design by measurements and pricey analytic equipment. But you don't have to.

You have to start somewhere if you don't have either amp or speakers. DIY will NOT always be cheaper or sonically successful. So if you are just trying to save money going all DIY is a mistake I think.
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Old 27th August 2014, 01:48 PM   #6
russo is offline russo  Portugal
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Its still a way to get me into the amplifiers part that is where I have more knowledge, electronics design.

I'm interested not because cost reduction/to be cheaper than commercial, its just everybody needs to start somewhere and I would prefer to have a pair of speakers that should sound more or less ok than starting from scratch, and taking one or two years reading about more theory, buying more test equipment and still not doing anything.

I think I could just re-aks my question this way:
What are the bigger and saffer audio stores in Europe?
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Old 27th August 2014, 02:33 PM   #7
xrk971 is online now xrk971  United States
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Try full range speakers if you are just starting out. No crossovers to deal with and they can sound wonderful. Get a good inexpensive class D amp and get a 3 to 4 in fullrange driver from one of the main fullrange driver companies: Tang Band, Fostex, Mark Audio, Visaton, Faital Pro, Vifa. Get a TPA3116D2 amp - that is all you need to start and make a box for it. Start with a bass reflex or sealed. Then try a MLTL. Then a BLH. In that order plenty of plans or folks willing to help you get started. As you have heard - going with multiways is tricky but measurement equipment is not expensive. With REW software (free) and a Panasonic $2 mic capsule and a soundcard you can get started. Buy a calibrated mic for $80 if you want the next level but not expensive. Also, if new to designing crossovers I can highly recommend going active two-way with a pair of class D amps and a miniDSP. Will end up costing probably less than all the passive components to make a good crossover and extras needed to dial it in. The miniDSP will allow you to quickly get the system up and running and actually sound good, better than most beginner attempts at making XO's. Learn to use software to model your speaker too. Very important if you want to make your own design rather than just build to plan. Check out WinISD, Hornresp, AkAbak. All free.
Good luck!

Last edited by xrk971; 27th August 2014 at 02:38 PM.
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Old 27th August 2014, 03:16 PM   #8
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Quote:
Zaph|Audio - Bargain Aluminum MTM
You can find the drivers needed here: Audiokit E-Shop (I'm no affiliated in any way, only a satisfied customer).
For the non standard pieces of the crossover (7 ohm resistor, 31uF cap and 0,30 mH coil) you have to adapt somewhere: 6R8 resistor instead, 15+15uF caps paralleled or 33uF cap, unwind a 0,33mH coil (OK if you have a multimeter, but the shop mentioned can do it for you).

Ralf
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Old 27th August 2014, 04:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by russo View Post
What are the bigger and saffer audio stores in Europe?
The safer stores are generally the ones that act as distributors for the main driver manufacturers. You can check yourself on the websites of SEAS, Scan-Speak, SB Acoustics, Tymphany, etc... For example, Falcon in the UK and Intertechnik in Germany are in this category as are one or two others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by russo View Post
My biggest doubt is where to get the speakers in Europe, using parts-express will get expensive pretty fast due to shipping, customs, VAT and anything extra the customs might remember to throw in..
Ordering from outside the EC is often both expensive and time consuming. For a modest 2 way DIY speaker I would suggest sticking to parts that can be bought from more than one source within the EC. I would also suggest ordering parts that are in stock because restocking can mean waiting several months. However if you deal with an official distributor they are usually fairly reliable when it comes to how long the parts will take to arrive from the manufacturer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by russo View Post
I'm open to any suggestions, but I would like to use some common drivers that are already well known by the community and that I can use true and tried enclosure designs.
Published 2 way DIY designs from driver manufacturers like SEAS such as Mimir or Idunn are a pretty solid option though one or two of the more elaborate designs may be less so. Browsing the Intertechnik loudspeaker magazine may also help with finding a design you like and gaining some confidence in what is required to build it.
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Old 27th August 2014, 06:14 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by russo View Post
I don't have the tools needed to design a cross-over from scratch, that's why I would prefer to use an already existing design.
Hey, that's actually pretty encouraging.

In Europe, your best bet is probably, of course, European drivers. The first thing that came to my mind was Mark K's ER18DXT design. It has even power response, smooth frequency response, and shouldn't be difficult to build. The drivers are decently priced, although they're not "budget" like the Zaph stuff you're looking at.

That said, non-European brands are still sourcable in Europe as well, and may present cost-savings. This website:

Home | Speakers Intertechnik

Well help you get Dayton and Fountek drivers. On the note of fountek drivers, they're used in the Paul Carmody's speedsters, which are probably a good idea for a compact, high-performance build. Grab the Foundtek NeoCD1 there, and the Tang-Band W4-1720 here:

Blue planet acoustic | Tang Band W4-1720 Woofer | DIY

Here is the build info:

https://sites.google.com/site/undefinition/speedster
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