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Old 14th September 2013, 01:03 PM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2013
Default Travel speaker design

Hi guys, first post so bare with me.

Im a second year undergrad product design student and im going to be designing some portable travel speakers that i will then make and just have a few questions.

First off, my aim is to have the highest quality sound that i can in a small space, probably hoping to have drivers that are at most 60-70mm in diameter. In such a small system is it reasonable to have a subwoofer (whats the smallest subwoofer sizes you know).

if its not plausible to have a subwoofer, how can i achieve better bass in the speakers. (i understand its never going to be possible to have amazing bass with the size constraints, but just the best possible)



I assume that it will need to be an active speaker to achieve better sound but does anyone know any ways to have high quality passive speakers?

lastly, where would be the best place to by high quality drivers that are this small? i live in australia, so somewhere that is based here or ships here is what im aiming for.


thanks guys, excuse the ignorance. if anyone has any good tips for designing travel speakers or anything i may have missed please let me know. If theres interest, i will keep you updated with the design process and end product etc.
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Old 14th September 2013, 11:14 PM   #2
dangus is offline dangus  Canada
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A subwoofer is just going to add complication. A power amp should allow you to get acceptable volume levels from small inefficient speakers, so it's probably worth the trouble. For passive speakers, you need sensitive drivers; I had a pair of 5" surface mount cheapo car speakers that I used as travel speakers that were reasonably loud. Put alligator clips on an old headphone cable and then you can test speakers in stores using your phone or MP3 player as a source.

How small is the main question. A couple of liters per speaker or a fraction of a liter? Travel speakers could mean that they'll slip into a coat pocket, or into the back of an SUV.
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Old 15th September 2013, 02:39 AM   #3
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Thanks dangus,
Sorry, I should've been clearer, they will be quite small. I'm wanting them to be able to fit into a jacket possible or something if possible. Or at the very least into a backpack. The overall dimensions im wanting to keep within 15^3cm. So the 5" car speakers are probably a bit big for my purposes.

im still undecided if i want to have one enclosure with 2 drivers or two seperate enclosures

what type of wattage can/should i be looking for in a speaker around 50-70mm?
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Old 15th September 2013, 03:50 AM   #4
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would something like these work well?
Celestion AN2075 2" Full Range Compact Array Driver 294-2044
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Old 15th September 2013, 07:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by valenzal View Post
if its not plausible to have a subwoofer, how can i achieve better bass in the speakers. (i understand its never going to be possible to have amazing bass with the size constraints, but just the best possible)
Control your directivity. Be inventive - I have seen blow-up "sub" woofers
Quote:
Originally Posted by valenzal View Post
anything i may have missed please let me know.
You need to better the NXT based units I currently use: no magnets, clip together for travel, 20cm x 20cm x 2cm and about 100gms.

like these (mine were made by Sonic Impact Technologies)
Click the image to open in full size.

(Currently available on Amazon)

Last edited by thoglette; 15th September 2013 at 07:13 AM. Reason: Add Amazon link
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Old 16th September 2013, 12:57 AM   #6
ChrisA is offline ChrisA  United States
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Default Make them folding or sliding

Quote:
Originally Posted by valenzal View Post
thanks guys, excuse the ignorance. if anyone has any good tips for designing travel speakers or anything i may have missed please let me know. If theres interest, i will keep you updated with the design process and end product etc.
Teleshopping boxes. A box that you slide and make it bigger and then make it smaller for transport.

Another idea, Use the table top or whatever surfave the speakr sits on as part of the speaker enclosure. For example the suportting surafce might be one side of a horn

The face of the drivers are protected when folder up for transport but exposed when in use. The connecting plug is also hidden when folded, forcing the use to actually unfold and set up the speakers
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Old 16th September 2013, 12:49 PM   #7
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thanks for the responses guys

theres some great ideas here that i will need to further look into. The NXT based speakers seem quite a good approach however the availability of them could be an issue, ill be looking into that further.
i also like the idea of a volume changing enclosure and i will be researching how a horn works so i can see how i could adapt that tabletop idea.
ill be beggining my concept generation in the coming days so hopefully i will have a firmer direction of where i want to go after that.

im sure ill be back soon with more questions
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Old 24th September 2013, 08:25 AM   #8
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okay so ive had an idea to make a semi portable speaker. In the sense that when plugged into a wall i will have a 2.1 system and then when i want to take the speakers travelling i can leave the subwoofer, plugged in and take out the 2 smaller drivers (which i am hoping to run off batteries) thus making them portable.

is this possible? how would i go about connecting them in a 2.1 system with 3 (or 2) different amplifiers powering the speakers?
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Old 24th September 2013, 09:42 AM   #9
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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Hi,

You cannot become an instant loudspeaker designer. The various
tradeoffs for small battery speakers are particularly tricky. Most
of the skill required is in the electronics and understanding the
acoustics you are trying to get the electronics to make work.

If you come up with a good packaging idea, your best bet
is to cannibalise existing portable speakers for the parts.

rgds, sreten.
__________________
There is nothing so practical as a really good theory - Ludwig Boltzmann
When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail - Abraham Maslow
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Old 24th September 2013, 10:36 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sreten View Post
Hi,

You cannot become an instant loudspeaker designer. The various
tradeoffs for small battery speakers are particularly tricky. Most
of the skill required is in the electronics and understanding the
acoustics you are trying to get the electronics to make work.

If you come up with a good packaging idea, your best bet
is to cannibalise existing portable speakers for the parts.

rgds, sreten.
everyone has to start somewhere though no? why just settle for the minimum? obviously there is alot to speaker design and im not going to get every little detail that i may need from this forum,im just looking for a rough direction, thats why there are many other resources on the internet that i can also use.

designing only a package is a pretty cynical view when i can try to understand how a speaker works and incorporate that too.

In a real life application with the time i have i have no doubt that there will be problems with the design (it is afterall just a concept/prototype) but if i want to continue the assignment, I could further refine it where needed.

Last edited by valenzal; 24th September 2013 at 10:47 AM.
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