First Speaker Project - Basic rules?

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Hi all,

I have decided to embark on a project to build my first pair of speakers for my lounge room. This is a direct consequence of my absolute delight with the results of my first gainclone I recently built :)

Basically before I start I thought I'd ask for some basic advice. I'm quite savvy on the electronics side of things, I understand the idea of making a good crossover and other potentially required filters (which I assume is the only electronics required for this?).

I'd ideally like to use any of the drivers found at (they have peerless drivers which im uneducatedly leaning towards - are they any good?)

as I get a pretty good deal with those guys.

In terms of cabinets I am clueless. Besides looking at suggested volume on the speaker page I know nothing! Is MDF okay to work with - I see a lot of extravagant materials used but I'm reluctant to use those as I'm sure I'll stuff up bits and pieces first time around.

Any links to basic cabinet designs that you guys would suggest to get a newbie started?

Finally what can I expect the sound quality to be in comparison to a commercial offering of the same value (about $AUD300ish)? The gainclone only cost a couple of hundred dollars with overkill components and it sounds amazing - can I expect similar results at this price point with speakers?

Cheers and thanks in advance!

If you're planning a crossover, perhaps you're in the wrong forum (try 'Loudspeakers')... Jaycar & Altronics don't really have any good fullrange drivers anyway. Their drivers are OK, if you get the right Peerless drivers they can be very good. However, if you have a trade account you can get much better prices on Peerless at WES Components; If you're prepared to spend a little more to get a jump in quality, check out the drivers on offer at Darcher Audio or the Seas drivers at Aranmar.

I have used Jaycar drivers, but don't really have a complete design I can give you (I'm halfway through a design using 2x CW2135 per side). Andy Graddon has used Jaycar drivers quite a lot, check out his site, although the designs may be a stretch for a novice.

Box design - best way is to download WinISD Pro (it's free and easy to use), put in the parameters of the driver, and see how it will behave. MDF is an excellent choice of material.

As to how the result will compare with commercial offerings, well, it's all in the implementation.....

My first point of advice would be not to post on the full range forum
if you are seeking a balanced perspective of basic loudspeaker issues.

From what I understand driver availability in Oz is poor, e.g. the
Peerless drivers at Altronics seem to be virtually unknown in the
rest of the (english speaking ?) world.

There are alternative viewpoints to the FR forum, but bang for
budget buck your batting on very a sticky wicket, 300AUD is
not a lot of money to work with for "normal" louspeakers.

You are probably in the correct forum if you want something
"amazing" on a budget, some of the FR cabinet designs would
cost a small fortune if applied to a commercial design.

If you stay here no doubt the following will apply :

Use a FR driver, with /without a BSC filter, with /without a supertweeter.
Build it out of ply, build a design detailed at

My advice would be :
Go for a single cone FR + inexpensive supertweeter.
MLTQWT's (e.g. the Metronome) is a very attractive approach.
With a 4 ohm capable amplifier consider a 0.5 way (additional
bass only near identical driver) for baffle step compensation.
(i.e. consider a larger FR with BSC filter or twin smaller 0.5 way.)

In my post above, 'trade account' should read 'ABN'

If you're prepared to spend around $600, check out the Seas 2-ways on Zaph's site:

A couple of things you haven't told us - what sort of music, how loud, and how big a speaker are you prepared to build?

(my CW2135 (6.5") box is 54 Litres, which I've now decided is too big.... A single one of these per side would be OK in a box around 30L, but they only respond up to ~1600Hz, so need an appropriately matched tweeter, i.e. one with an Fs around 800Hz or lower)
I've also modelled the Altronics C3084 (5"), which looks good on paper, and in theory should respond higher, but that would need to be tested (Box size around 20L). Both of these would make a reasonable quality 2-way for a very good price, but if you want heaps of bass at high volume, then you'd need something larger, or add a sub later.
I do apologise posting in the wrong forum, I only just realised this.

Oh so much to learn! :) Well I'll answer the last question first as it is the easiest and will consider and research the other suggestions given tonight at home.

$600 could be doable - I'd just have to wait a little while longer.

I don't want anything too big - typical monitor speakers on a stand would be perfect for the lounge room.

Basically I listen to a lot of acoustic music, jazz and vocal (oh and video games). I don't really need anything insanely loud - I prefer insane tear worthy clarity . Living in an apartment with considerate neighbours I can turn it up a bit but nothing like a home theater.

Thanks again all! :D
wiredmonkey said:

I don't want anything too big - typical monitor speakers on a stand would be perfect for the lounge room.

Basically I listen to a lot of acoustic music, jazz and vocal (oh and video games). I don't really need anything insanely loud - I prefer insane tear worthy clarity . Living in an apartment with considerate neighbours I can turn it up a bit but nothing like a home theater.

Thanks again all! :D

That sounds spot-on for a single driver! So you didn't post in the wrong area after all. The Force has brought you here. Do not deny your destiny! Repudiate the Evil Cross-Over!

If you like stand mounts, check out Planet-10's Fonken w/ Fostex FE127. If you want a small, high WAF floor stander, look at the Metronome w/ Fostex FE108Esigma. I love the pair I built. :D

Then if you want a fuller bottom end, add a sub.

Cheers, Jim
given those tastes in music, a well designed 2-way is probably your best bet. I think it comes down to whether you want to build once and end up with speakers that you will be happy with for a long time, - in that case I'd go for the SEAS metal cone design on Zaph's site, , or whether you want to save money and are prepared to be a little more adventurous and learn about speaker design. In that case I'd try the Altronics C3084 & a suitable tweeter from them (total cost ~$150), and ask heaps of questions on the Loudspeaker forum...

(Jim, crossovers aren't evil, just usually badly implemented.....)
WES Components are the people to deal with if you have an ABN and get "trade" status. They handle Vifa, Peerless(dst), Scan, and at the lower end, DaiChi.

Those Altronics Peerless drivers look like the old pressed metal frame ones, in which case they are severely over priced !!!

Jaycar also now have some of the HiVi yellow 'kevlar" drivers and some of the HiVi tweeters, plus some cheaper range of drivers I suspect are also made by HiVi. Grab a copy of their catalog from the local branch. You may also be able to pick up some CW2136 or CW2137 for bass duty at a very cheap price, but would need to ask if they have or can get them still.

SoundLab Group sell Visatron and WaveCor (I haven't tried either yet)

If you look at the "Aethers" thread you could easily build something like that, using the Vifa Pl11 or PL14 , not cheap, but certainly available still, and very good drivers. WES may even have some of the older cast frame drivers like the P13 or M13 left.

Good luck hunting
Hi there,

What about actively crossed OB? Fully equalised woofer etc ;)


Woofer uses 10" jaycar $60 a pair mounted on a u-frame, midbass & hi uses ex dick-smith bookshelf. It was $15 from ebay I think...

amps are 3 pairs of gainclones.

maybe I'll upgrade the midbass and tweeter to Vifas, but even this is good enough that I'm getting rid my $999 floorstanders and sub.
SO many options!!! Would I be right in assuming the decision of what type of speaker to build is the hardest bit?!

I'm going to get a trade acct with WES components today and have a look at their offerings. I'm lucky enough that I work in an electrical/electronics company which deals with a fair whack of the distributors through Australia so that shouldn't be too hard :)

I think to begin with I'm going to go down the path of a good 6.5inch woofer and tweeter bookshelf pair. I live in an apartment so massive amounts of bass aren't appreciated too much by my neighbours (though they all want a gainclone now!)

Can't wait to start posting construction pics! :D
The first question is always "Purpose". You seem to have that covered and have made a rational decision. Well done ;)

Now the implementation.. boxes etc are easy enough, but the hardest part is getting the cross-over right. certainly not an easy job for a newby ! (hope you don't mind me using that term)

This is why we nearly always recommend using a design from someone with experience.

Have fun !!
Well considering I've never built a speaker before I don't think there is any other word but newbie :)

As for the crossover I think I *should* okay - I understand the concept of rolloff, different types of filters, decibels, components quality, inductance...etc.

I see a lot of posts regarding the difficulty of crossovers. In my possibly arrogant mind I don't see why they should be difficult - what are the main factors I should take into account other than rolloff and crossover point?
diyAudio Member
Joined 2007
Integration and the relative SPL's of the various drivers.
The whole system has to sound right ( unlike most of mine which merely sound OK ) Measurement equipment and a good program should help; then listening and tweaking; just remember why we do this:) it should be about the music not the sound.
Personally I think getting the tweeter right is the hardest part, so starting with a good tweeter is probably the way to go, then pick drivers that other people have found easy to work with.
Makes you wonder if Vifa/Peerless have lost the plot a little as that P13 has the reputation for being the easiest midrange to get right first time around.
Perhaps you should buy some really cheap drivers and try a quick project before you start on an expensive unit but I have found that the better drivers are easier to make sound good and the materials for boxes and cross-overs can often cost far more than the drivers when you start with cheap stuff that may need lots of tweaking and crossover components.
Just my thoughts and two cents worth
Have fun
:D :D :D
Interesting you mention that Moondog, I noticed I don't see many people discussing the tweeter - it all seems to be about the woofer. I guess its a possibly a sign of getting older that I get more excited hearing piercing highs than rumbling bass?

Assuming I go down the P13 path, what recommendations would you give re the tweeter?

As for the budget I've allocated a (non existent) amount of about $300AUD so all the ideas people have thrown thus far shouldn't be too difficult to implement (financially anyway).

We have all the bits and bobs to construct the crossover and wind my own inductors here at work so that eases a bit of the cost.
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