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eisenhower 12th October 2006 03:31 AM

parts express prefab cabinets...
Are these worth the price?
Or would I still be saving a substantial amount of money if I just built them from scratch?

Usually I think I can build an enclosure for like under $50, but the cost ends up being much more than planned, and if I could avoid the hassle without spending too much, awsome.

joe carrow 12th October 2006 03:44 AM

I bought the 0.75 cu ft enclosures in piano black, and they're gorgeous. The build quality is excellent, and I don't think I could ever get such a smooth glossy finish on my own. They easily surpass all of the commercial speakers available at Best Buy, and many of the speakers in audiophile shops.

You could definitely save some money by building your own, so the question is: What's your time worth? Then, how good do they need to look?

Edit: One problem I ran into is the attachment of the grills. I'm not sure how I was supposed to snug the plastic holders into the screw holes, but I wasn't able to do it. If I wanted to, I could probably drill out the holes a little more or come up with something else. It's a little disappointing that the grill didn't attach more easily. Other than that, the speaker cabinets are solid and beautiful.

tktran303 12th October 2006 06:38 AM

Fantastic cabinets, as are the Madisound ones.

You guys in North America are really spoilt for choice.

Having to build my own cabinets, it takes me months.

If I access to those babies, I would probably be building a different pair of speakers every fortnight...

BobEllis 12th October 2006 10:33 AM

Building boxes isn't expensive, but finishing them can be. I seem to spend $70-80 a pair on finishing materials (sealer, paint, sandpaper, polish) for a cabinet around 1 cubic foot. No to mention the time spent finishing, rubbing through the finish, refinishing, rubbing out.

If the standard size boxes work for your application, they are bargains.

wa4swj 12th October 2006 04:19 PM

2 Attachment(s)
I agree with Joe. The Parts Express cabinets are very good. No complaints from me. I prefer grills off so I didn't have that problem. The attached photo is one of two Zaph L18 speakers I built. They sound fabulous!


eisenhower 13th October 2006 01:30 PM

I have the tools needed, its just the finishing that that rockets up the cost. I could easily throw together an mdf box, but getting it looking nice is a different story.

How much do finishing supplies usually cost? I would probally veneer since painting MDF is a bitch.

BobEllis 13th October 2006 01:43 PM

Veneer can go anywhere from a buck a square foot to over $20 a square foot, depending on your taste. More figured veneers will be more expensive. See and for some choices.

From there your options are anywhere from a few bucks for an oil finish or $20-30 for a laquer finish and supplies. May be a pain, but an $80 paint job still comes out cheaper than veneers I like.

YogitheDog 7th January 2007 04:21 AM

Did any of you who built systems using these cabinets bother to add a gasket around the baffle? They seem fairly tight, but testing it by blowing compressed air in the port tube reveals some small air seepage.

I found the plastic holder inserts for the screw holes difficult to press in too. They'll go in with enough force...but good luck getting them out! :bigeyes: What's the consensus on the affect of the grills on frequency response? Are they fairly transparent?

I'm building Zaph's L18 system as well. wa4swj, did you bother to add a gasket around the woofer?


P.S. My apologies for all the questions...I'm still a noob! :cool:

joe carrow 7th January 2007 05:11 AM

I didn't bother with a gasket- most of the "serious" people I know of who have used these cabinets glue the baffles in place when they're satisfied that the speakers are done.

I really don't think I trust what the baffles are screwing into enough to have a lot of force on a gasket. I don't notice any whistling or rattling, but I don't push them as loud as many folks would. If I move into a house instead of this apartment, I'll probably redo the baffles and glue them in place.

I was completely unable to get the plastic inserts in place! I had to improvise to get my grills to stay in place. How did you do it? A whack with a mallet?

From my listening, I don't believe the grills are completely benign. The material is acoustically transparent enough, but having a ring of wood around the edge of the baffle sort of defeats the purpose of the roundover. I don't object to the (minuscule) difference between on and off, so I leave them in place for cosmetic reasons. If I spent a lot more on my system, I'd leave them off.

eisenhower 7th January 2007 05:56 AM

I used the PE cabs with fantastic results. I'd have to try real hard to make cabs for less $$ that look as nice:

For the grill inserts, I pounded them in with a wooden mallet. The trick is to get them in place by pressing with your thumb, and then hammering them in. Its a tight fit though, don't plan on removing the baffle after they're in.

Also, I used gasketing tape to seal the baffle. There was noticeable leakage without it.

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