Help please, first DIY build 5.1/sub

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Hello all,

I just got hold of an AV amp and rather than spending $500 on a load of crap from Best Buy I'd like to build something. I don't really need (or want) THX level performance, just an improvement on the in TV speakers. I'm okay with the woodworking side of things but I'm basically clueless where the electronic components are concerned. I already have large floorstanding speakers for the 2 channel system so the smaller the satellites/sub can be the better.

I was looking at these -

With one of these in a sealed cabinet -

Driven by one of these -

My questions are;

Am I asking a bit much of the 3" drivers to go low enough to enough to crossover with the sub?

Is there a reason why I could not build the satellite cabinet baffles just large enough to accommodate the drivers but be much deeper? Say 8". I plan on using two or maybe three of the little 3" drivers for the centre.

And finally, except binding posts and internal wiring would I need any additional components?

Thanks very much in advance for any advice given.



Joined 2003
Not even close in a sealed or vented alignment unless this is a computer station HT where the speakers are close to the listening position and even then it would be marginal. Two/channel, maybe, if you watch movies at typical prime time TV programming levels.

IME, a single ~5.25" or dual ~4" with a rising rate suspension (accordion surround) to soft clip a bit beyond Xmax is the minimum for using 'FR' drivers in a typical small room HT app with 8" with a super tweeter being my normal recommendation.

That said, the Jordan JX92S, CSS FR125S and markaudio Alpair 12 have enough power handling to work if vented and there may be others, but I don't try to keep up with all the 'latest n' greatest' anymore since the newer, ultra-low Vas, wide BW 'tweeters' that's become so popular leaves too much of the soundtrack back at the source for me for any serious music listening and/or typical HT when run 'full-range'.

That said, if coupled to a good DSP, they can be made to give the illusion of a much bigger, higher SQ system. The ultra cheap 6" whizzer cone 'FR' drivers and 1" paper cone tweeters (~$7/channel replacement price!) in the old Toshiba 65HX81 RPTV are unlistenable when driven by the stereo system, but does a pretty good job of mimicking a small cinema array at close to reference average with the TV's internal DSP, though of course its dynamic headroom is very limited as the trade-off. Not many 'free lunches' in audio.

Yes, the cabs can have a high aspect ratio.

The CC is the focal point of a HT since it's primarily there to 'anchor' the vocals to the actors, so arguably its ~80 Hz-up performance must be on a par with the mains or even better if the mains are marginal, so multiple small 'FR' drivers probably isn't going to cut it.

Typically, one needs some damping to line the speaker's walls or just stuff them and maybe some vent tubes if vented.

Thanks for the reply. Back to the drawing board then.

since you're in Canuk-land, you could save some shipping cost on drivers if you're still interested in rolling your own with smaller FR driver for the surrounds and powered woofer by looking at

Creative Sound Solutions - Loudspeakers, Parts and DIY Speaker Kits

for surrounds:

Creative Sound - Product Details

more than double the cost of the little Peerless, but I daresay a far superior driver (one of my daily drivers is a dual system with these) - and certainly more that adequate for the bandwidth required for surrounds - it can fit as small as:

for woofer - compare this to the driver inside any $600 retail powered sub for a eduction

sub plate / separate amps anywhere from $100 to whatever you wanna spend.

You might well end up over $500 by the time you've paid yourself to build and finish all three enclosures ;), but it would mop the floor with anything in the same price range from BestBuy, Costco, Futureshop etc


perhaps I misread your original post - i.e. assumed that you already had speakers for the front row. In which case, you're definitely squeezing the lemon to meet the budgetary goal of a complete DIY 5.1 for less than $500, but my final comment above still stands.
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how's this sound, once again from Bob's menu at CSS:

L&R mains 2 X EL166+ERT26 = $90 +XO parts (maybe as simple as 1st order?)

Center/surrounds 3 @ EL70 = $147.00 no tweeter required for bandwidth of these channels

Sub - SDX10 $139/ Trio 120 $149

amp = BASH 300 $159

total parts cost $535

construction/finishing - up to you

big-a$$ smile of satisfaction on completion - priceless
Might consider an SLA(short line array) from with one of his tuba subs. The SLA can be made without tweeters with not to much missing from the top end. I've built some rough cabinets with four Tang Band 3" and was very happy with them in the living room. The peerless you asked about will likely work also.

This is DIY so experimenting is part of the fun.
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