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Old 14th January 2007, 06:36 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: nyc
Default DIY cheap home theater speakers.

Im looking for an inexpensive 5.1 surround sound speaker system to use with my new 42in lcd tv. I was going to buy one of the cheap HT-in-a-box systems for around $300 or $400 but I listend to a few and they were pretty crappy. To DIY a system in that price range I would probably have to stick with small 3-4in TB or Hivi widerange drivers for the satelites and a small 8in active sub. My question really is, will this type of system outperform the commercial surround speakers in that price range?? I dont want to waste my time building them if I can go buy a system at Bestbuy for the same price that will sound equally as good. What do you guys think???
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Old 14th January 2007, 08:26 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Utah
If done correctly you can kill a $300 - 400 dollar all in one system for the same amount of money. For an extra $100 - 200 you can make something really good.

The secret is in the speaker cabinet and if you are will to have slightly larger speakers. The speaker cabinets in these all in one sysems are very low quality.

ALso, there is no reason you need to stick with a 8 inch subwoofer. For only a few dollars more you can have a good 10 or 12 inch one. IF you DIY.

The other option for simplicity sake would be to build five of the Zaph full range speakers and then put about 200 in to a good subwoofer.

Or you could build two Zaphs for the surrounds. And build better fronts. THe nice thing about the Zaphs is that if you decide to go to a 7.1 system they will make great rear surrounds.

If you only watch TV I would forsake the subwoofer for the present time because there is not that much deep bass in many TV programming material.

You can build a really good front and center speakers for 100 USD each then have the 25 dollar Zeph 3 inch surrounds. This is a better choice. THen you can build a better quality sub as time goes on and you have an extra 200 to spend. If you do this you could probably go years being satisfied with the sound quality.

You can build some floor standing 6.5 inch two ways that have quite good bass response for the fronts for only a few dollars more in wood.
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Old 15th January 2007, 02:57 PM   #3
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Ok thanks for the tip. But do you have any examples of some front and center speakers that could be built for $100? They must be bookshelf types, no floorstanders.
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Old 15th January 2007, 03:51 PM   #4
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Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Utah
Here is a kit from madisound called the sledgling.

You can improve on the sound of these by building your own higher quality cabinet perhaps slightly larger in size. Using .750 MDF instead of .5 inch particle board and installing a shelf brace in about the middle of the cabinet. But the kit with the cabinets is a good start for very little effort. The parts for the speakers without the cabinets is only a little over 100 USD.

Since the center channel will be used so much with TV viewing I would spend a little more money on the center channel. Then you will never need to upgrade it. Or you could maybe talk Madisound into selling a single Seldgling for the center. Check to see if these are shielded first.

For 180 USD Madisound has a really good Audax center channel kit. THis is without the cabinet.

You could throw parts together yourself for less money if you have speaker building knowledge but if you've never done anything like that you may just want to do one of these pre-built kits. Also the crossovers in these kits have already been computer designed.

So for 106 USD for the Sledgling fronts:

180 USD for the Audax center kit

plus 25 USD for a 4 x 8 foot sheet of .750 MDF plus a few more minor expenses you are in.

311 USD and this sheet of MDF would be large enough to build all these speaker cabinets plus the two small Zaph audio speakers for the surrounds.

I don't know the price of the three inch Teng Bends but I think you would be into the whole project about 400 USD after buying the Teng Bends and some glue and paint.

I think you will be happier in the long run doing something like this and then building a really good subwoofer for 200- 250 USD down the road a bit. The subwoofer can be really killer if you are willing to have at least a 2-4 cubic foot cabinet. With a 4 cubic foot you can build an outstanding sub that will walk all over 1500 dollar commercial subs.

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