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Plywood thickness for 15 inch subwoofer
Plywood thickness for 15 inch subwoofer
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Old 20th September 2017, 10:35 AM   #1
Jonse is offline Jonse  Norway
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Default Plywood thickness for 15 inch subwoofer


I am going to build a 3.83 cu. ft. sealed enclosure for a 15 inch subwoofer. Dayton Audio DCS385-4 15" Classic Subwoofer 4 Ohm

Where I live plywood and MDF is about the same price, so I'm going for plywood. Most threads I've read people use 3/4 inch MDF for 10-12 inch drivers, but larger drivers needs thicker enclosures right? I know plywood is stiffer, so 3/4 inch may be enough? Or should I use the thickest plywood I am able to get, which is 7/8 inch? I'm going to use dovels for internal bracing.

I'm also wondering if i should double up on the baffle? If I buy one large sheet of plywood, I will have enough to do it. But I read somewhere here on the forum that if the baffle is too thick, the driver can't breathe properly and it will color the sound.

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Old 20th September 2017, 12:17 PM   #2
Brian Steele is offline Brian Steele  Grenada
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I would definitely go with the ply. MDF is a bit easier to work with in some ways, but ply should be lighter. 3/4" is fine, once you brace it properly.

Doubling up on the front baffle will allow you to flush-mount the driver, for a nicer look. I'd consider doing this if I was building this subwoofer for home use.
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Old 20th September 2017, 05:58 PM   #3
planet10 is offline planet10  Canada
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Plywood thickness for 15 inch subwoofer
We built a push-push dual 10” subwoofer out of well braced 15mm plywood, and i had to go to heroic efforts to get any panels to vibrate. A single 15” won’t have the advantage of active vibration cancelation so you will be loading the box to a much greater extent — there are huge advantages to push-push subwoofers. 15mm is certainly a more suitable material than ¾” MDF, either would need to be well braced. Yes, doubling the baffle is a good idea.

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Old 20th September 2017, 11:47 PM   #4
nicasiox2 is offline nicasiox2  United States
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Either option will be fine, just keep in mind that that volume will require the presence of some bracing crosses, 2x2 timbers are amazing for that task.
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Old 21st September 2017, 04:15 PM   #5
Crashpc is offline Crashpc  Czech Republic
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Depends on construction, bracing, usage, speaker type and weight, power input and more. I successfully use lighter 21" in 15mm ply box, and it works very well.
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Old 21st September 2017, 04:34 PM   #6
nigelwright7557 is offline nigelwright7557  United Kingdom
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I always use 18mm plywood.
Plywood is strong and doesn't react too badly to water.
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Old 21st September 2017, 04:43 PM   #7
chrisb is offline chrisb
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As the robot who built the boxes Dave mentioned, as well as some custom gonzo boxes for a local hifi / car installer and others, I can attest that the combination of push/push and thorough bracing is definitely worth the effort.

And definitely BB ply rather than MDF; a single layer of 18 with bracing could be enough - although I think you'll want thicker than just dowels. For a 15" woofer, I wouldn't worry about it "not breathing" if baffle doubled up, but honestly, I think that time / material is better spent on bracing.
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Old 21st September 2017, 05:58 PM   #8
Circlomanen is offline Circlomanen  Sweden
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For a 40 dB attenuation of box-noise you need 1000 times Mms in static mass.
This is very simplified and does not account for flexing walls etc, but it is a good rule of thumb.

We live in a horizontal world, why use vertical topologies???
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Old 21st September 2017, 06:01 PM   #9
j.michael droke is offline j.michael droke  United States
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Plywood thickness for 15 inch subwoofer
Default plywood

Hi there: Plywood! MDF is snarky stuff to deal with. No advantage to MDF and if it gets any water on it, it swells-up (unless you want to create 1" MDF from 3/4" MDF). Baltic birch plywood, while good material, sells for over a hundred dollars for a 5x5 foot sheet here in my area. ...regards, Michael
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Old 21st September 2017, 06:31 PM   #10
scottjoplin is offline scottjoplin  Wales
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You don't need a vast amount of bracing to push the cabinet resonant frequency above that needed for a subwoofer.
Woofer Assisted Wideband is the New Testament renounce the anachronistic acronym FAST
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