Vintage Console Subwoofer Conversion

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Be warned, this is all a bit slap-dash and is more of a proof of concept on a whim sort of thing, but the results are promising. :yes:

Background: A few weeks ago I picked up a vintage Clairtone console, gutted it completely, and installed my tube amp, netbook, DAC, and a pair MarkAudio Alpair 10.2 in it. Tuned the speaker enclosures close to driver Fs (35Hz). The bass response blew me away, but the wooden grilles on the front attenuated the highs considerably. EQ helped and I had it sounding very good, but I preferred the sound stage and imaging of the Alpairs in the Pensil cabs, so I returned them to those cabs.

But, then I missed the deep, rich bass I was getting from the console. I've been considering all sort of options to get that bass back, and yesterday I decided to try one of these options.

I still have the old 12" woofers from the console, so I screwed them onto the baffles I had made for the Alpairs and tested them with a plate amp that I had pulled from a crappy "Vector Research" sub. I could tell the drivers were capable of pushing substantial bass, so I installed them into the console enclosures. Then I cut a rectangular hole in the back of the console for the plate amp, installed it and hooked everything up.

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An externally hosted image should be here but it was not working when we last tested it.


As you can see, I didn't even bother cutting the holes bigger. For all I know, this is helping by providing some damping...
An externally hosted image should be here but it was not working when we last tested it.


An externally hosted image should be here but it was not working when we last tested it.


I do not have the T/S parameters for the drivers, so the port tuning is basically random. Hence, the balance of the bass leaves a lot to be desired. I am crossing it over to the mains at around 55-60Hz and somewhere between there and 30Hz there is a definite hump. It isn't a "one note wonder" sub, but it isn't even close to perfect...

Its a proof of concept, after all, and what it does prove to me is that the amount of bass this cabinet can produce is absolutely ridiculous. :eek: :yes: The volume knob on the crappy little plate amp only needs to be at about 8 o'clock to produce very deep, rich bass. I tried it at 12 o'clock, just for sh!ts n' giggles, and it was absolutely thunderous! The entire main floor of the house was buzzing.

The huge bonus, of course, is that it all disappears into the console, along with all the other gear. Invisible bass has very, very high WAF. :)

I have not decided 100% yet, but I might just go ahead and buy some affordable new 12" woofers for this project, so I will have the T/S parameters and then I can properly tune the cabinets for a smooth, musical response.

If I can get this running the way I think I can, my full range speaker options suddenly become almost limitless. :)
 
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Don't be surprised if the new woofers sound a little 'dry' in the console. The old woofers likely have quite a high Q and a high Vas.

I've actually decided to build a T/S testing setup with "audioTester V3.0" so I can extract the T/S parameters of these old girls. They are quite capable, as far as I can tell. I have several other drivers that I'd like to test as well...
 
Nice job! I like how you just get an idea and attack and "just do it" like a Nike ad says. You slap it together and hook it up, and sometimes it just blows you away with how well it works. I had a similar revelation when I built my first foam core speaker and it was so easy to throw together and then surprised the heck out of me with how good it sounded.
:cheers:
 
There's something to be said about that nice warm, rich, high Q, low damped vintage sound. I just don't want you to be disappointed when you put nice shiny new muscle drivers in there and wonder where it went. :) It'll be be interesting to see how they test.

I won't pretend to know very much about the difference in sound based on different parameters, but I was reading about Q-factor today and I think I get what you are saying. I also did some reading on AlNiCo; I am pretty sure these woofers have AlNiCo magnets. According to some, this produces a distinct sound.

This makes me think it is well worth-while to learn how to test and set up a test system. It is a skill I will benefit from either way, and being able to tune the enclosure exactly to the drivers will allow me to appreciate them to the fullest.
 
Nice job! I like how you just get an idea and attack and "just do it" like a Nike ad says. You slap it together and hook it up, and sometimes it just blows you away with how well it works. I had a similar revelation when I built my first foam core speaker and it was so easy to throw together and then surprised the heck out of me with how good it sounded.
:cheers:

Thanks!

Like many of us around here, I just love to tinker around with stuff like this. Retirement can't come early enough (and it is still over 2 decades away). You hear about these guys who retire and then die of boredom. That won't be me! :D

[goes off to see what scraps are lying around for the bedroom amp enclosure]
 
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