New Builder Looking for Crossover Design Help: 2 Way Bookshelf

Wow! So much excellent advice and encouragement.
My high school build were around 48" x 30" x 25" with 18" subs, and i don't remember the mids or tweeters. But the cross over was an off the shelf Realistic brand along with the drivers. I used 1/2" hardwood (some sort of Asia hard cedar, I was living in Pakistan at the time) for the frames and 1/2" ply for the baffles and backs. There was a 2 2/12" port in the front. Little to no dampening materials. I believe the crossovers were limited to 150 watts each.
Those speakers filled many, many spaces over the years from bedrooms in concrete and brick constructed homes to small apartments to large living rooms in traditional stick bult US homes.
The defining characteristics of those speakers was "earth shaking bass" at all volumes, and impressive mids and highs. My music tastes vary widely. At the time of construction it was mostly Pink Floyd (not just the popular albums), the Doors, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Beastie Boys and many old school rap and hip hop acts. That morphed into the early days of bass heavy techno and industrial music (NIN, Kraftwerk, Moby, etc). Jazz and blues came alive on those things, symphonic music sounded amazing as did radio staples like Def Leppard, Guns 'N Roses, The Cars, Talking Heads, Michael Jackson and so much more. Those speakers were paired with two satellite speakers and made VHS and DVD based movie night awesome.
The amp was a 4 channel Realistic plus a 24 band EQ, Realistic tape deck and later a Sony CD player.
My goal is to find something that can come close to those but with a smaller foot print. So a larger tower is my initial thoughts. Skinner and in the 36-40" height range. I like the 3-way ported idea and am considering hosting the crossover outside the box for easy rebuilds and mods.

I think A4eaudio's advice is sound. I have a copy of Vance Dickason's Loudspeaker Design Cookbook (6th edition) and have started a notebook to capture suggestions and advice and definitions, diagrams etc. I recently earned a Masters Degree in Urban Planning so now, I'm minoring in DIY speaker design because.... well, maybe I just don't have enough going on in my life and I like great sounding speakers.
My initial budget for the 3-ways is $1,000 to start. Still planning to use hardwood frames (not interested in painting or veneering) and know enough about carpentry to be able to make them look good, flat and sturdy. The baffles will probably be MDF or plywood (final treatment TBB). I don't mind spending a couple hundred on good wood, these are going to be front and center so my wife will insist that they at least look excellent (she's a professional interior designer).
I care more about the sound coming out. So, $500 to $600 or more on components does not bother me, and I realize that there will be a couple hundred on crossover parts.

In the meantime, I will work on these CV's and modify the baffle to fit a decent driver, as this is really going to be about crossover design and learning modern speaker building techniques. I'll probably end up getting a calibrated testing mic and more software as I go along. It appears that this is unavoidable, and sounds very interesting. Plus I can then test the speakers I have and see what it is about them that doesn't sound good to me.

As for established designs, I am looking at a hybrid of Troels Gravensen's Discovery 861 and the CHR Towers (Sonnora Design).
Phew, feels like I'm back in college again.
You might also consider something like this: Paul's write up provides gives a good idea of the concept and sound. Not as large as your school build but more manageable in terms of size and weight:

These may not have the required WAF, but look very impressive, 'Uluwatu' by Curt Campbell:

As regards your CV cabinets, I don't have enough knowledge or experience to recommend anything in particular but Forum members should have suggestions. As noted, I've only used others' designs with one exception. Therefore, I've relied on their considerable crossover expertise and experience.

I've used the following 6-6.5" mids/woofers:

  • Peerless SDS160: great value, very nice sound, needs a large cabinet to play deep bass, doesn't need many XO parts;
  • Dayton DC160-8: good bass in small-ish vented cabinet, mid range a bit muted but smooth sound when used properly (see "Classix II by Paul Carmody)
  • SB Acoustics SB16pfc-8: very nice sound, similar to the Peerless, great value, but funny frame shape (now available with round frame).
  • Dayton RS180P-8: looks and sounds great, needs treatment in the crossover to suppress peaks etc. More expensive than the previous three.


  • Vifa BC25TG: great value, nice sounding. Have used it with Peerless 830656, SB16pfc, DC160 and SDS160. See Classix II write up and Michael Chua's web site for more info ans uses for this tweeter;
  • Dayton DC28F: nice sound, value now not as good as Vifa, sticky dome attracts dust, mosquitos and fluff. Used it in Curt's 'Tritrix' which sound really good for the $;
  • Peerless DA25-6: very good sound, well made, used with Peerless 830656 in a two way;
  • Morel CAT378: used in Slapshots: expensive, but sound great and will play loud;
  • Vifa XTSC90-04: 'ring radiator' very nice sound but needs a few extra crossover parts; small and unobtrusive.

Hope this gives you some ideas.

To add to Geoff's suggestions, there is a post on the Swap Meet section from a diyaAudio member for the parts for a DIY speaker project by the name of the "Elsinore". The listed price of the parts is within the OPs stated budget. The designer is from Geoff's homeland, Australia :), and the design is well documented. It is a relatively high efficiency speaker like the Uluwatu with sensitivity of around 92dB, and presents an easy load to the amplifier. 4 x 6.5 woofers per cabinet give it decent cone area.


Any chance to listen to the Elsinore? IIRC some folks in Melbourne have built these (but we know Melbourne is a vast city of millions... :)).
The shipping price from Oz would probably cost more than the parts, but there is indeed a set for sale here, in the US:

The Elsinores are very well reviewed, widely built and look most impressive, if you have the right room, i.e. large. Excellent thread on this Forum.

Joe Rasmussen lives in Sydney, which used to be Australia's largest city but it's been overtaken by Melbourne - unfortunately for us.

For Geoworx, Zaph Audio's website has a good selection of driver tests which should prove interesting, although some of the drivers are NLA: some good information on how easy/hard they are to work with, construction quality etc.

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  • Dayton RS180P-8: looks and sounds great, needs treatment in the crossover to suppress peaks etc. More expensive than the previous three.
Yes, Geoff, I see that the Dayton RS/PS 180's need some crossover treatment. I have watched several build videos and they all end with some additional crossover work needed to tame the Dayton 180's. But that is okay, its the learning experience I am after.

My new thoughts are to cut away the Cerwin Vega! baffles and make new ones in 1/2" MDF. Next investigation is front ports vs rear ports.
GeoWorx DIY,

1/2" MDF is too thin. Better to choose 3/4" MDF or even better 3/4" ply.

Since you are planning to cut away the CW cabinet's front baffle, maybe consider keeping roughly 1" on all sides (like a frame/border) of the old baffle; you can fix the new baffle with screws on to this "frame", and use a gasket to make it airtight. With a removable baffle you can test different driver combinations if you fancy.
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they are ported in the rear and are, unfortunately, placed against the wall.
Sealing the port by pushing them airtightly against the wall or (much better) by stuffing the port may be beneficial to compensate for the increased room gain.
Speakers with rear ports are usually designed to be (more or less) free standing.
One benefit of a rear port is the reduced audibility of port noise, port resonance and other undesired higher frequency output.
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In my quest to understand crossovers, I disassembled a satellite speaker I own and took out its crossover for a look see.
The donor in a ENERGY Take 2. It is a two way satellite speaker and there were four of these in the house when we moved in (I have two still in use).
Can the community help me understand what all the components are?
I started labeling them and poking around as to what they do.
The ones I need more information about at #2, #3, #, and #5 the copper inductor coil.



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brown component in the lower left corner
1 µF capacitor, 5% tolerance, metalized film, according to the text on the image.
For 3 digit’s capacitor code, the first two digits are the capacitance value in pF and the third digit is a multiplier factor of first two digits to calculate the final capacitance value of the capacitor.

The 3rd digit ranges between 0-6. It can’t exceed more than 6.

. . .

If 3rd digit is 5, it means multiplier factor of 100000.