Why a DIY Speaker Cabinet is better Than a Retail Speaker cabinet

Build the Ultimate Speaker Cabinet

When you build your own DIY Speaker cabinet you have maximum control over the style, design, and structural integrity of the box.front-view-as-seen-behind-front-baffle-layers

The truth is; unless you are willing to spend $10,000 for a set of stereo speakers, the box probably wasn’t designed or built well.

And you can build a better box for a fraction of that price…

Why do Good Speaker Designs cost so much?

Speaker manufacturers are in the business of making a profit, which is fine…

But all of their overhead and expenses does nothing to increase the performance of your speakers.

Because of this, DIY Speaker cabinet design offers a unique opportunity to significantly increase the performance of your loudspeakers.

While also decreasing the price.

No one cares more than you do about the quality of sound in your room.

To see our most recent ON SALE plans –Digital Audio Speakers and DIY Speaker Plans.

Example: the Instrument 2 Speaker Design Crossover Setup and Settings:

The Instrument 2 speaker system is a full range speaker. It uses a sealed cabinet for all speaker driver types/ chambers.

Active or digital crossover slopes are used throughout.

The use of one amplifier channel to drive each (way) or driver of the speaker system.

If you are building a simple DIY computer speakers or full range floor standing speakers this is a great way to complete your project.

Cabinet walls are at least 2.25″ thick in all places. The front baffle is almost 5″ thick.

Braces are at least every 3″ inches internally.





The benefits of this type of system are great and as follows:

1.  time coherence easily achieved

2. Phase coherence easily achieved

3. room correction

4. speaker driver correction

5. steep crossover filter slopes

6. maximum damping factor from the amplifier (no passive crossover components to degrade the signal)

7. maximum power delivered to the speaker drivers (speaker drivers coupled directly to the amplifiers)

8. If you move your system from one room or home to another you can make adjustments for the new environment that your system resides in. Try that with analog crossovers!

The end result is more musical, more dynamic, and more alive sounding than a system using passive crossover networks.

Active crossovers are known to be superior but they have not caught on in the retail market. Why?

Here are a few possible reasons;

System complexity (perceived)

Need for additional amplifiers

Misunderstood increase in system costs (perceived)

Breaks from the ‘norm’ regarding speaker design. Consumers are often wary of trying something they have not heard about. (although this is becoming less an issue)

o Active speakers are very common among pro type studio monitors.

o Active monitors can be used in home theater installations and even driven directly with a computer sound card.

There may be other valid reasons too but these are what I could come up with.


Digital or Analog Active Crossovers with DIY Speakers:

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I use a digital software crossover with my speaker builds. (Foobar crossover for music Thuneau Allocator Lite for movie playback) Chosen because of how they sound on each medium.

This is a software program that splits the signal between tweeters, midrange drivers, and bass drivers. It takes a 2 channel signal and converts to 2 way, 3 way, or 4 way output per speaker. (one way for each speaker driver) Several instances can be used at once for full surround but you will need a multi channel DAC coming out of the PC as well as preamplifier and amp channels for each active speaker channel.

The crossover slopes I use on the Instrument 2 are all 24db per octave slopes. Also know as Linkwitz Riley 4 or LR4 for short. This is a fairly steep slope and provides good integration between drivers. There is no localization of the drive units from my listening position (10 ft from speakers).

The crossover points are set at 100 Hz between the bass and midrange and 3300 Hz between the midrange and tweeter drivers. You could set these differently depending on you’re the sound you prefer.

o The audio file, music or DVD is played on an HTPC with a Foobar2000 player; itunes etc. then goes through the digital crossover and then exits the soundcard.

o I use an Echo Audiofire 8 multi channel DAC (soundcard) to convert the digital to analog signal and exit the Home Theater PC. The Echo Audiofire 8 is a firewire unit.

o The signal is now analog (after exiting the Audiofire 8) and enters the multi channel preamplifier where volume control is applied. You can use a surround processor or receiver if it has multichannel analog inputs.

o Then the signal is sent to each individual amplifier that driver the individual speaker drivers.

This makes an entirely active speaker system using digital software crossovers. It works remarkably well and is very versatile. Changes can be made in seconds. Measurements of room response, impulse or whatever can be measured very easily with the use of the PC.

Having heard what this type of system can do will spoil you. You will never go back to analog or passive crossovers. They just don’t get it done with near the accuracy, transparency or musicality of this approach. And, it makes building your DIY speaker cabinet project a bit easier and trouble free.(In my experience)

Other Speaker Crossover Options – DIY Speaker Cabinet Help:

1. You could also use a speaker controller such as the Behringer Digital crossover unit instead of the Home Theater PC and software crossover that I used.

2. Use a DEQX active crossover control unit

3. An active crossover from Marchand can be a good solution

4. Design your own passive crossovers (I don’t recommend this method) John at Zaph audio has a lot of information on his site about passive crossovers. He likes passive crossover networks so I would learn from someone who likes them if you plan to build a passive crossover. (I don’t like passive, so I don’t discuss them)

Speaker Drivers used in the DIY Speaker Cabinet (Instrument 2):

1.  The speaker drivers used are the Vifa XT25 tweeter (with dual magnets).

2.  The midrange driver is the famous Usher 8945A midrange driver for the midrange.

3. The SB acoustics 12 in driver for the bass. You could use one or two of these per cabinet. The cabinet design allows for two bass drivers if you wish.

Each driver chamber in the Speaker Box is a sealed or acoustic suspension box design. Use a well designed set of speaker box plans to complete your DIY Speaker Cabinet project.

Other Related Audio Help Articels from: DIY Speaker Cabinet:

How to make an Assembly Table – Build a Speaker Box helper
Instrument 2 Cabinet Assembly Help – Speaker Cabinet Design
Home Theater Acoustics
HTPC Build – How to Build Your Own Home Theater Computer
Home Theater Software
DIY Speaker Projects
DIY Speaker Stands
DIY Speaker Cables

Speaker Box Plans Return to Digital Audio Speakers from: DIY Speaker Cabinet
Return to Home Speaker from: DIY Speaker Cabinet

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