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Multi-Way Conventional loudspeakers with crossovers

The best cabinet material !!!!
The best cabinet material !!!!
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Old 5th July 2015, 03:24 AM   #1
Clausen is offline Clausen  United States
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Default The best cabinet material !!!!

OK...first of all let me say this....


For years before I was even considering DIY audio, I bought a pair of ACI (Audio Concepts Inc) Sapphire III's from my little brother.

Probably the most impressive thing about these speakers were the cabinets, they were made from 1 inch HDF! (High Density Fiber board.) The knock test on these makes everything else seem amateur!

To make a long story short when I decided to build my own speakers, naturally I wanted HDF! But we had huge problems there.

The problem wasn't just not being able to find it, nobody even knows what it is!!!! But with a diligent internet search and a LOT of CREATIVITY I found the hands down solution to building speaker cabinets with HDF !!! No JOKE!


Let me clarify right here I am working out some details but my first test seems like it will work WITHOUT improving anything from my first trial.


Okay so here goes.


I am currently building the popular Elsinores project. And in one post Joe mentioned one of the biggest improvements you could make to the cabinet was to build just the front panel out of HDF!

"But the thing that I believe would improve the box most is the most simple (and yet difficult at the same time), take a look at the newer Dynaudio designs, that baffle of theirs made of high density fibre board. I have heard a pair of Lenehan ML-1 speakers in both standard and 'Signature' versions and this was the only difference. Make the front part of the box structure out of this material and I believe the improvement would be greater than anything I have covered so far, no kidding!" (The "Elsinore Project" Thread)

So I have spent the last several weeks...not to mention several years trying to source HDF! But it wasn't happening! You can get it but you have to buy a few thousand dollars worth of inventory!


But I did find something called "hardboard". And as it turns out it is the same thing as HDF, but it's just come is thin sheets.


So I got the idea of laminating several sheets together to make the thickness needed to build a cabinet!


So I bought a sheet of it, ripped the sizes I needed and this afternoon laminated them together...and all I can say is WOW!


WOW, WOW, WOW!!!!

On a single 9" X 4' panel the knock test hurts your knuckles! I am not kidding! It is like concrete, without any bracing of even a structure! For speaker building I think it was the smartest move I've made!


I used 7 total 1"x 4"s with braces behind them and my test piece is not as straight as I'd like. Which I am sure once even thing is put together would not be a problem, but tomorrow I'm going to get a half sheet (4' x 4') of 1/2" hardwood plywood and make a "former" to keep the rest of the laminations straighter!



I'll update when I have more to tell...and pictures.
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Old 5th July 2015, 03:30 AM   #2
Top Shelf is offline Top Shelf  Canada
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Old 5th July 2015, 04:16 AM   #3
Sprags is offline Sprags  United States
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Even though MDF and Hardboard is supposed to be homogenous in that it is consistent in density which should theoretically make it the best material to use for speakers I like the idea of laminating it as you are doing. I think that step adds a bit of strength to it so that it helps prevent warping and sagging. MDF is also prone to absorbing moisture as I bet HDF is but not as much. I think after building anything with MDF it should be sealed someway before any other process takes place.

I like the idea of laminating MDF with plywood for that reason.

However
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Old 5th July 2015, 04:18 AM   #4
planet10 is offline planet10  Canada
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The best cabinet material !!!!
I used to use HDF. One of my mentors did just what you did some 40 years ago… multiple thin layers laminated together under a 10 ton press. You are making a plywood. Even cheap MDF gets better if you use thin layers and make plywood.

MDF itself is not a good material for making speaker cabinets.

I find quality plywood even better. The best sheet material we have used is stranded bamboo plywood.

dave

PS: note that most do not know how to interpret a knock test.
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Old 5th July 2015, 04:21 AM   #5
xrk971 is offline xrk971  United States
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The best cabinet material !!!!
Two layers of MDF bonded together with viscous rubbery glue or a sheet of rubber in between for CLD may work even better the HDF by itself. I don't know but I recall someone measured differences between materials somewhere.

Laminated bamboo flooring panels (5in wide) can be used if bonded together. Might be cost effective.

I have seen solid 1in thick plate glass as speaker cabinet material as well as granite, concrete, and Corian counter tops.

Last edited by xrk971; 5th July 2015 at 04:23 AM.
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Old 5th July 2015, 04:30 AM   #6
freddi is offline freddi  United States
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The best cabinet material !!!!
one of my 1955 Karlson K12 walls and wings are made of 1/8" hardboard laminated to 5/8" fir plywood with a Formica covering = pretty stiff - perhaps just something laying around in one of their 7 "factories" as other cabinets were 3/4" plywood
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Old 5th July 2015, 04:35 AM   #7
planet10 is offline planet10  Canada
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The best cabinet material !!!!
Back in my HDF days i often laminated both sides of 1/2" with formica. Really stiff…

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Old 5th July 2015, 04:59 AM   #8
zman01 is online now zman01  Bangladesh
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The best cabinet material !!!!
Quote:
Originally Posted by xrk971 View Post
Two layers of MDF bonded together with viscous rubbery glue or a sheet of rubber in between for CLD may work even better the HDF by itself. I don't know but I recall someone measured differences between materials somewhere.
IIRC the above mentioned "sandwich" is for side panels. I have also read that using a sandwich of two different materials like one layer HDF and one layer of ply might possibly be even better.

For baffles what I understand is that more rigid the better. IIRC from the Elsinore thread Joe Rasmussen advocates making the baffle stiff and strong, specially around the tweeter area.

Calusen,

Gluing up on thin panels sometimes leads to a bit of bend. You can have a look at some quality multi-layer plywood too if available. Bamboo laminates look and feel very nice - light and strong.
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Old 5th July 2015, 07:18 AM   #9
xrk971 is offline xrk971  United States
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The best cabinet material !!!!
CLD isn't just for side panels. The baffle is the most important part that benefits - CLD panels don't lack stiffness - they just absorb vibrations better through shear forces.
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Old 5th July 2015, 10:56 AM   #10
markbakk is offline markbakk  Netherlands
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Quote:
Originally Posted by planet10 View Post
PS: note that most do not know how to interpret a knock test.
That is an understatement. Even measurements with accelerometers glued or screwed to cabinet walls are hard to interpret. Sound transmission measurement isn't that simple with home and kitchen appliances.
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