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Multi-Way Conventional loudspeakers with crossovers

Is MDF  or plywood better for speaker cabinets?
Is MDF  or plywood better for speaker cabinets?
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Old 10th November 2019, 08:15 PM   #21
DPH is offline DPH  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonSnell Electronic View Post
MDF is a carcinogen. The dust is very dangerous! Use ply wood everytime.
All wood dust has been associated thusly, but, yes, MDF dust is pretty nasty. Unfortunately, anything coming off a table saw or sanding is extremely fine and wont to get deep into your lungs, so I would strongly recommend that everyone treat all their woodworking as if they were working with MDF.

I realize this is a near-religious talk (being polite), but one could make an excellent speaker case out of OSB truth be told(and I have): as said above, the design of the cabinet outweighs the material. Anyone who pays the smallest amount to structural design learns that, especially because we hardly care about strength as we exceed our need by a mile achieving a desired stiffness and damping. Exception is going thinner with high quality ply for pro-sound.
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Old 10th November 2019, 08:16 PM   #22
Mario Pankov is offline Mario Pankov  Europe
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Is MDF  or plywood better for speaker cabinets?
Plywood has more sustain than MDF which is not good for speaker cabinets (but a very good feature for musical instruments). The better cabinet would be a combination of two types of material. For guitar cabs plywood has the better tone (lively) compared to MDF or PB.

MDF boxes can be very dead if designed properly, I`ve yet to hear a very dead box made out of standard thickness plywood. Plywood has some advantages and disadvantages:

Pluses

- durable
- lighter than MDF if you want to carry arround
- might add some organic feeling to the sound (my observation, subjective of course)

Minuses

- very prone to chirping which makes finishing much harder - I use high quality Freud tungsten carbide router bits and plywood chips a lot, especially at the bottom of cutouts. One way to solve is to add paper tape which keeps it somewhat in place
- might colour the sound a bit
- more expensive than MDF
- if you want to pain it, it needs a a lot more preparation

Generally, I would use MDF for about anything related to speakers. Its dust has to be collected as it contains formaldehyde but in Europe it has to abide to the E1 regulation standard which means the formaldehyde content would be at around 1/1000 of the danger zone.
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Old 10th November 2019, 08:16 PM   #23
Galu is online now Galu  Scotland
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People can safely work with plutonium if their workshop is set up correctly and they wear the appropriate gear!

When working with MDF, you should have appropriate dust collection, proper ventilation and air filtration, and wear an appropriate personal respirator (a NIOSH-approved dust mask for particulates) when sawing or sanding.
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Old 10th November 2019, 08:54 PM   #24
planet10 is offline planet10  Canada
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Is MDF  or plywood better for speaker cabinets?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mario Pankov View Post
Plywood has more sustain than MDF which is not good for speaker cabinets
That is questionable. If one pushes the potential resonances high enuff, and of high enuff Q, they will never get excited so it is as if they are not there at all.

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Old 10th November 2019, 08:58 PM   #25
scottjoplin is offline scottjoplin  Wales
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Sustain just means not enough damping surely?
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Old 10th November 2019, 09:15 PM   #26
daanve is offline daanve  Netherlands
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Don't forget chipboard.
A sandwich of 12 mm chipboard and two 4 mm sheets of MDF or ply make a 20 mm panel with better properties for speaker enclosures than single sheets of MDF or plywood.
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Old 10th November 2019, 09:29 PM   #27
Galu is online now Galu  Scotland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daanve View Post
Don't forget chipboard.
My enclosures are made of chipboard, but it is important to choose the correct grade.

Quote:
Chipboard is available in a number of densities; normal, medium and high-density. Normal density is fairly soft and 'flaky', high-density is very solid and hard (often used for worktops and fire doors) - medium density is somewhere in between.
The random orientation and size of the wood chips results in superior vibration absorption properties to those of MDF with it more homogenous structure.
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File Type: jpg Chipboard.jpg (7.0 KB, 467 views)
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Old 10th November 2019, 10:02 PM   #28
6vheater is offline 6vheater
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Send a message via ICQ to 6vheater Is MDF  or plywood better for speaker cabinets?
Who is this Snell?

I guess the Baltic birch must be the stuff that grows just down the road from here and just about anywhere there is woodlands..common as anything!
Needs lots of bog land and water & I guess likes cold winters.

When I came to make my cabs I chose to use a support mask in MDF or chipboard whatever it was, from a salvaged soviet cupboard I cut up.
The support mask construction has some big advantages in sound projection, placing the driver out of the direct box area.
I am a great believer in making the front which mounts the drivers absolutely rigid and chamfering the outer edges, so we made that and the top a good 1" thick.

The whole thing must weigh a good 80kg+ as I can't lift it,- no way.
See it's bigger than my huge old freezer

The MDF or whatever they used, was covered in a typical delicious heavy varnished verneer, looking like real wood.
The front and top we made from ASH, it's 1.2m high with 2 HUGE drivers on it, and the ports which were salvaged cardboard tubes I got out of a big plotter from a local printer.

This should give you some ideas, common sense mostly and a brilliant local Baltic workshop.
They did all I asked and bought the right special hole cutter and chamfered the driver holes, just like they should be.

Click the image to open in full size.
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File Type: jpg huge_speaker_1059.jpg (73.8 KB, 461 views)
File Type: jpg top_1109.jpg (65.6 KB, 461 views)
File Type: jpg monster_1122.jpg (101.6 KB, 390 views)
File Type: jpg port_1080.jpg (116.4 KB, 135 views)

Last edited by 6vheater; 10th November 2019 at 10:23 PM.
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Old 10th November 2019, 10:16 PM   #29
nigelwright7557 is offline nigelwright7557  United Kingdom
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I have always found plywood lighter and easier to work with.
I ran a mobile disco for many years so lightness was good carrying speakers upstairs.
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Old 10th November 2019, 10:18 PM   #30
Lojzek is offline Lojzek  Croatia
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I am in agreement with Galu on the chipboard being a remarkably good choice of a material and my personal preference as well. A quote from Stereophile review of Wharfedale Linton Heritage, page 1st.

Comeau has a clear preference in cabinet materials. "Personally, I'm a fan of high-density chipboard for cabinets and pioneered, for Wharfedale, the sandwich of chipboard with MDF skins that we now use. I have a raft of technical research which shows the superiority of chipboard over MDF."
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