To Buy or Build, Budgeting for Noise

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So hello everyone, got some questions for ya all. I am looking to either buy or build a sound setup for use at work through my shift to replace my current car radio boombox. My current system isn't quite loud enough and distorts badly at higher volumes.

So my environment start off. I work in a large warehouse with some loud equipment. Equipment noise is around 85db to 95db, and everyone wears 20db earplugs. The building is about 200' x 200' with a 40' ceiling. I usually setup my music system between two workstations, so about 30' from each station.

My setup is a really ugly amalgamation of parts I cobbled together :D. I got a pioneer single Din car radio that says its 50w x 4 max power, 22w x 4 rms. I got pair of pioneer 4"x4" 25w 4ohm 90 sensitivity speakers, and a pair of kicker 6"x8" 50w 4ohm 90 sensitivity speakers screwed to plywood connected to it, the setup is powered by a bench dc power supply rated at 650w. Max volume is listed at 63 on the Din, and distortion starts in the 50's and starts clipping around 55.

My system isn't loud enough for the environment I'm using it in. It gets used 8 hours a day 5 days a week. I've blown one power supply and a pair of speakers already. So I want to setup a new one. Doesn't have to be anything special, just stereo output, ok quality, movable, and damn loud. Affordable is preferable.

So will it be cheaper to buy or build my getup? Powered or passive speakers? Amp? Best way to hook in source? Without being a giant mess? What am i looking at price wise for my options? And anything else you guys or gals think I should know? Is there any other info I need to provide to assist those helping me? Oh, and you all know I love ya all to death right? :spin:
You already work in a very loud environment, and you plan to add more noise? Ouch!

How about going at it the other way.

Use IEMs, in-ear monitors, that will block outside noise and let you listen to music at a much lower volume and as a bonus, save your ears? It's cheaper than ever to get them custom fitted to your ears, you'll get to wear them all day and forget you are wearing them.

Tinnitus is not fun, believe me.

Compact setup with a small MP3 player in a pocket, and you get to move around and still hear the music.
At previous jobs the pocket mp3 player with Bluetooth or buds was my main go too. But with the increase in hearing lawsuits against companies over the years. A number of workplaces are restricting in ear music, even though OSHA is staying out of it and has made no documentation on the matter.

My last two jobs have both adopted such a policy, even though they cared not how loud any of the workers played external music. It's interesting how business owners are reacting to perceived lawsuits.
What kind of specs should I be looking at then for speakers?

High efficiency is the spec to look for IMO. You probably won't be able to notice a "superior sound quality" in such a noisy environment, therefor anything that can play loud enough to overcome the noise without clipping or breaking will work.

A pair of eminence beta cx10, with ASD:1001 tweets, off the shelf eminence crossover (they designed one just for this pair). Put them in Karlsonators "the speaker that kicks butt in large spaces" thread will have more info. You could screw the two speaker boxes together, put a plate amp on the back, a handle on top, or even some dolly wheels on the end (like a suite case.)

The advice above about PA speakers is wise, and maybe not too different from my idea.

I currently have some cx12 and asd1001, and I like them fine, but they're in a small mid range cabinet with 2 15" woofers under them which is huge. I'm going to put them in carlsonators (they won't "need" the woofers to help anymore). I'll save them for loud party speakers, or move them out to my shop. I'm building something smaller for the living room.

See here for example photo
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The CX10 and tweets look doable. I found the Eminence PXB3:3K5 crossover, but mostly in relation to the CX12 speakers. It seems like it would work, but that's a best guess on my part.

If I went with a build like this, how much power should I be looking for in my amp? Any recommendations?
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The smaller Beta 8cx in a 0.25 cu ft ported cabinet per Eminence's recommendation will produce 123dB at 200w max power. Needs a 100Hz high pass filter to reach max SPL. You probably don't need anything below 100Hz in your environment. That's quite a compact box with some serious SPL.

With a larger 0.6 cu ft box you can get f3 of 73Hz and max SPL of 113dB at 250 watts.

Suggested cabinets here:


Joined 2003
Unless they've made dramatic changes to the Beta series since the days when Avatar/Adire were using them, they can't play at anywhere near rated power at any acceptable distortion levels, so 'we' are back to large PA speakers or possibly 'suspended' [spaced up high] line arrays of relatively cheap ceiling 8" PA co-ax drivers that with their 'pitched' mids/treble and super high Qt should suffice to be efficient 'enough' down in the voice 'bass'/mid-bass music range.

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Dunno about the days of Adire, but the Beta 8cx's are a new design - the TS parameters appear different and the driver looks different. I think 123dB is optimistic and sure distortion would probably be bad, but I don't think OSHA would allow a work speaker to play that loud. But playing at circa 4 to 8 watts, probably HD is not too bad.

I have the new Beta 8cx's and they sound quite clean with a PRV D280Ti comp driver and a miniDSP XO using an IRS2092 200w amp. I never play it above 100dB though.

Here is the native response of what the Beta 8cx by itself is capable of in an XKi at about 90dB - very low HD:

As you can see I had a vent harmonic issue at 1kHz. With the cone loading that the XKi gives to the driver, I think pushing this up to 110dB it woud probably still sound pretty clean.

In an XKi with a compression driver and playing at 90dB, the HD levels are quite reasonable:

Here is the XO plot (yes, it's rough and sloppy but I was still working on a vent harmonic issue at 1k combined with native dip there from driver response):

You can listen to sound clips here:
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I'm not a speaker guy and don't know a lot about technical acoustics but from watching a few YouTube demos I wonder if it would work to point a mono (summed stereo) synergy horn down the central axis of the work area corridor. (ie. On the far side of one work station, aimed along a line through both work stations.)
This video (build thread here) makes me think it might be possible to have something that can make itself clear without the need to overpower the ambient noise. Wild imagination?
a Frazier CAT40 is pretty good and sometimes cheap - light on bass, clear mids and treble with an 8" woofer and little horn - Beta 8cx in a similar cabinet might be ok - CAT40 sounds like it has good alignment but I've not been able to see a good square wave out of mine yet

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