Speaker Suggestions!

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Oooooh boy, you've just opened up a can of worms :) I assure you, there's going to be plenty of posts in this thread. But first, lets get the fundamentals down.

For starters, what sort of cabinet design are you looking for? MTM's, 2-way towers, pyramids, separate highs mids and lows, etc etc. Perhaps you'd like to try to clone an existant speaker? Let us know, and we can continue further in this subject matter.

Then, there's the type of music you listen to. This can be factored into determining what size drivers you'll need. If you want deep bass, you're likely looking at a 10 or 12 inch driver. If your into acoustical music, you may be able to build some monitors or bookshelves. Again, it all depends.

If you want me to throw out some speaker manufacturer, there's again a good deal to choose from. If cost is no object, theres Scanspeak, Focal, Eton, Vifa, and others for the highs and mids, and some good woofer manufacturers are Focal, NHT, Shiva, Peerless, Dayton, etc etc. Based on my own experiences, I favor Scanspeak and Focal tweeters, Scanspeak's carbon fiber/paper midranges, and the Focal 11 and 13 inch kevlar drivers for the lows, although they are ridiculously pricey. Let us know the fundamentals that you're going off of, and we can help some more.
I dunno about the WAMMs. Can it be done, possibly. But its way beyond my reach. However, modular cabinets similar to that can be made. Anyways, a good site on speaker cloning would be http://www.klone-audio.com. They constructed an X1 Grand Slamm clone that looks damn nice, among several others, including Legacy's Whisper speakers.

Here's a link for you: http://members.home.net/exquisiteaudio/links.htm

It has links to an awesome looking Wilson WATT klones, as well as some JM Lab Utopia klones. If you go under the "speakers" section of the site menu, you can take a look at the site's owners Utopia project as well. There is also a link from that page to a non-klone site with some amazing speakers as well.

Kloning can become very complicated. It all depends on what you can get your hands on. It takes a good deal of research, and some speakers can be kloned much more easily than others. The majority of high end loudspeaker companies have their drivers made for them, but you can often identify what manufacturer the speaker was made by, and find its commercially available counterpart. The more complicated you get, the more difficult it will be to klone the speaker. The Klone-Audio site has a good article on what goes into kloning a speaker. But in the long run, you can literally save thousands upon thousands of dollars in kloning the commercial offerings. Is it exactly the same level of performance? Probably not. Is the difference in sound over $10,000 -$100,000+ worth? Thats where its up to you...
Bryan, right now I'm looking for a speaker system for playing music though I have future plans for building speaker system for my home theater. I really don't have any idea regarding the type of box. I want my speaker system to sound netural(the box or the drive should never add extra bass, mids or treble in other words it should be flat). Though one cannot express human's sound precieving nature in form of words, I just gave an idea for what I'm looking for, I guess this would be of some help for you'll guys to give me some suggestions.


Thanks for your previous posts in this thread.
Another important factor that we need to know before giving any further advice is how much money you have to work with. This can be the determining factor in several DIY projects. Also, what tools do you have access to? This too, can be an important factor in cabinet construction.

Also, if you don't want to design your own loudspeaker, there are numerous designs out there that are very well known (i.e Lynn Olsen's Ariel speaker project) that I'd be happy to provide links for.
Hey, Xavier, I hope you don't mind me piggybacking on your thread. I'm looking for suggestions too.
Okay, I'm looking for something small and relatively cheap, maybe $200 US or so per channel for drivers. I was looking at a 2-way with a 4 or 6" woofer. I may add sub(s) later.
My brother in law is a carpenter, but without a lot of experience building speakers.
I'm not interested in designing my own (maybe next time), too busy with other DIY projects. Suggestions for links to designs would be great. I've looked at http://www.solen.ca already.
Thanks in advance.
diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
Joined 2001

Are you looking for 2 speakers to handle the whole load or would you care for two smaller speakers plus a subwoofer?

There are full range speakers, (woofer, midrange and tweeter), that go almost as low as a subwoofer, but also perform well higher up.

Basswise, allow me to give a general guide to cutoffs to aim for. Remember, the lower the bass cutoff, the more bass you get but the bigger the cabinet.

A) 42 Hz. Normally the lowest note on a bass guitar, and therefore likely to be the lowest note on the record/CD you will play. Large loudspeakers with 10 and 12 inch bass units costing thousands have this cutoff. If you go down to 42 Hz, many knowledgeable people feel that a subwoofer is not necessary.

B) 30 Hz. Used to be very hard to find a speaker that went this low. In years past, was considered "the lowest of the low" for the home listener. Now, it can be achieved without a subwoofer. It requires a cabinet twice as large as a 42 Hz cutoff.

C) 16 Hz. Strictly subwoofer territory. While theoretically below most instruments, I made a huge subwoofer once out of a closet, (4 15" drivers) that went down to 16 Hz, and let me tell you, it made a difference in all kinds of music. Relax-most subwoofers are not nearly so large.

Back in the eighties, somebody tested all the low frequency sources of sound. Soundtracks didn't make it-the lowest frequencies were on music CD's. Only about 5 CD's had music below 16 Hz, as I recall. So I would call 16 Hz the lowest practical limit. Let the millionaires with 24 inch woofers and a special room built behind those woofers to enclose them listen to the 5 CD's.

The reason to determine the bass cutoff first is there is no sense building a speaker large enough to give good bass performance, then adding a subwoofer later. You save time and money building the Left and Right channels small, and letting the subwoofer carry the bass up to 100 Hz or so.
A 6 inch speaker in a compact box should handle the frequencies above 100 Hz quite well.

On the other hand, if you want two fairly large speakers-no subwoofer-then you must build those two speakers larger to give good bass performance.

It all boils down to whether you consider yourself a "bass freak" or not. 42 Hz is actually quite low for most people.

A cutoff of 42 Hz can be had with an internal cabinet volume of between 1 cubic foot and 1.5 cubic foot, using a high fi woofer that costs under $100-perhaps well under $100.

[Edited by kelticwizard on 10-16-2001 at 06:02 PM]
Kelticwizard: I think that you have some valid points, but others that I disagree with.

First, I think that the satellite/sub combo isn't a bad idea, but it's far from optimal in my opinion. If you want to go down to 16 hz, you're going to need at least a 12 inch driver. However, I don't think that a driver of this size should be crossed over near 100 hz. In fact, my sub is crossed over at around 40 hz, and I think that it sounds awkward when crossed over above 80 hz. However, a 10 inch driver can approach that 100 hz crossover point with greater ease than a 12 inch driver. So, if you really want to replicate the sound to its fullest extent, then you could be looking at a two way, plus a 10 inch sub and a 12 inch or 15 inch sub for the sub-25 hz bass.

Also, yes, 42 hz may be the lowest note produced by a bass guitar, but at least the majority of my cd's aren't entirely live or instrumental. There is often software added notes which are considerably lower, and I can name quite a few DVD soundtracks which go below 30 hz as well.

Another thing you must remember, is that the less a driver (cone) has to move, the less distortion it is going to introduce. This is largely in part why you see many of todays speakers incorporating multiple midrange drivers, and then larger 10 or 12 inch drivers for the lows (I could also mention the less common line array speaker.)

But again, every speaker is bought or designed with a purpose in mind. Sure, you can save money by using a satellite/woofer combination, but in my opinion, I wouldn't want to build any speaker short of full range (at least down to 36 hz) for use as a reference speaker. Its better to be prepared for a track that exhibits deep bass, than to generalize and come up short when it does come around.

1. Just how much money are you willing to shove down this rathole called audio? Are you a nut like most of us? Will you be turned over to the dark side as someone here mentioned?

2. How big is where you live, and where you are likely to live for a while? It makes a difference in the the speakers you should build/buy. Those across the pond look at those of us in the US like we are nuts with our huge floorstanders.

3. Music only, mostly TV, or a mix? Can you have two setups? Sub-question - what music do you listen too? I like R&R, blues and some classical, some jazz - makes my choices really hard. The speaker that voices classical and then pounds out live rock recordings are strange animals. Ask it play a movie and its triple hard.

4. Wife, kids or dogs and cats? (i guess with subs, fish count too).

Finally, there is no perfect here. We are all searching for it, but have not found it yet. So you will have to make some choices.
diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
Joined 2001

I am getting the impression that Xavier is not so sure what kind of speaker he wants exactly. I think he has it in his head that he can save mucho bucks building it himself, (he can), so I think he is asking us for advice for some "nice speakers".

Therefore, I think we should stick to tried-and-true configurations and use established quality companies in our recommendations. A 10' subbass for 100 Hz down to 40, crossing over to a 12" sub-sub-bass from 40 down to 16 Hz might work great, but it is off the beaten path. And expensive.

I find that the small satellites-big subwoofer works best for three piece configurations. Large speakers crossing over to a sub that carries only one octave seems a waste of space and effort. You have to find space for a pair of large speakers, THEN find a place to put a large sub.

As for bass cutoffs, of course they are arbitrary. But after examining the cutoffs of expensive speakers for many years, as well as listening, this is the best list I could put together. Your own recommendation-36 Hz instead of 42-is less than a quarter octave lower than mine. Less than 3 keys on the piano. Nothing is more confusing or more of a turnoff than hitting a novice with an endless number of choices. The lowest note of a bass guitar makes as much sense for a cutoff as any. I have always considered it the highest cutoff you can have and consider yourself as having a truly high fidelity speaker.

Most DJ's speakers have 60 Hz cutoffs. In the tradeoff between high efficiency and bass cutoff, it is pretty well established that 60 Hz covers most of the bass notes for normal listening. So professional equipment makers decide that 60 Hz is low enough, and decide to increase the sensitivity so the speakers play loud enough to fill a hall. 42 Hz is a half octave below that professional cutoff.

I also gave Xavier the choice of going lower. If he wants lower than a 42 Hz cutoff-and he might-he probably will have to increase the size of his enclosure above 1-1.5 cu. ft, unless he wants to pay $150 or more for a bass speaker.

I am trying narrow down his choices for him.
diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
Joined 2001
Two drivers I had in mind were the Vifa M26WR-09 in a 1.5 cu ft. box, or the Peerless 831727 in a 1.5 cu ft or 2 cu ft box if Xavier wants just two speakers.

The Vifa is a 10" which will go down to 42 Hz in a 1.5 cu. ft box. $82.35 at http://www.madisound.com.

The Peerless will go down to 35 Hz in a 1.5 cu ft. box, or 30 Hz in 2 cu. ft box. $54 at Madisound.

Both are well respected companies whose major business is making drivers for loudspeaker companies. Their speakers appear in units that cost thousands.

If somebody just asked me offhand, with no other information, where would be a good place to start to build a nice set of speakers, these two units would come to mind first. Of course, the recommendation would change if he became more specific. But the common conception of a home loudspeaker is usually between 1 or 2 cubic feet.
Guys, thanks your posts. I'm involved in software, but my mind has always been on Audio(Amplifiers etc but not speakers). I'm from India and right now I'm the US. I have no idea which driver, mid or tweeter are some of the best in market or its manufacturers. I don't know where to get them for the only online places I know are PartsExpress, MCMElectronics etc...My intentions to build a speaker system is not because it will cost less but it can outperform many, many speaker system. One will get very badly disappointed to know that speaker system they bought spending thousands of dollars sounded bad than GM's factory car speakers.
I like the option of BookShelf speakers with subwoofer. When I started looking for speakers for my home theater I estimated an amount of $3500/- for all 7 speakers and a sub woofer. I don't know whether this is too little/moderate/high, so I cam here to know about some of the best drivers, mids and tweeter and some of the best box design etc..
Guys I hope you'll continue to help me in bringing my dreams come true.


diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
Joined 2001

So you know what you want after all. Excellent.

A couple of questions:

A) About how big a subwoofer are you willing to tolerate, volumewise? You can give the answer in liters if you want.

B) How large the bookshelf speakers?

C) You are willing to spend $3500?

D) You want a seven speaker setup plus subwoof? Or left channel, right channel, and subwoof for a stereo?

Parts Express and MCM are excellent places to buy speakers, as is Madisound, http://www.madisound.com. Zalytron, http://www.zalytron.com, is also recommended, and has a retail store on Long Island if you are in the NYC area.

Parts Express has two excellent subwoofers, a 10" and 12", in the Dayton Titanics. Madisound sells the NHT 1259. The Shiva-Bryan just built one with it-is also highly recommended, http://www.adireaudio.com. There is also TC Sounds for subwoofers, http://www.tcsounds.com.

These are just recommended places and brands for your consideration. By no means is the list complete.

[Edited by kelticwizard on 10-18-2001 at 12:09 AM]
In any case, I'd suggest the use of the Adire Audio AVA-250 amplifier with the sub. It gives ample power for a single driver, and has adjustable phase/crossover/output levels which are easily adjustable to your desires. This eliminates the need for passive crossovers, and also saves money in that you need not by another active crossover. I use this to power my sonosub, and have had great success with it. It costs under $300.
Guys, thanks again. Though my intentions were to build for music(L + R & Sub), I changed my mind incourse of time. Now I'm interested in all seven channels and a sub woofer. Volume of the sub can be some where between 3.5 cu.ft. - 6 cu.ft. I don't know, does those size seem fine? Thanks guys, awaiting your post.

Entering the DIY world...

Something to consider is an evolving system using your own DIY 'hand-me downs' as the effects speakers. So start by building a modest pair of mains. I recommend a kit MTM configuration. Use these as a learning experience. When you want to 'upgrade', make a new set of bigger/more complicated mains and use the 1st pair as rears.

Regarding subs, if you have room for a larger box seriously consider using the Adire 15" Tempest. This is a very good driver and provides almost as much radiating area as 2-12"s for much less money.

BTW, TC-Sounds doesn't sell retail. They only sell OEM in 500pc lots. If you're interested in high excursion drivers checkout http://www.blueprintdrivers.com. Their 1503 is an excellent value.

Hope this helps

diyAudio Moderator Emeritus
Joined 2001
For the subwoofer part, I suggest you consult this thread right from this forum. It is the one where Bryan built his Shiva subwoofer. It also has a wealth of information from other contributors:

One of the contributors there mentioned Audiomobile as a possibility. I have not tried them, but their specs indicate tremendous performance from a smaller box than other makes. http://www.audiomobileinc.com/main.htm

Just one thing to re-emphasize. If your box is 3.5 cu ft to 6 cu ft, then please try to go all the way down to 16 Hz. As I stated before, there are but a handful of CD's with material under that, (one of them-surprise!-is the cannon part from the 1812 Overture) but a fair amount of CD's with frequencies 16 Hz or above.

[Edited by kelticwizard on 10-18-2001 at 11:32 PM]
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