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bugden

Why do my new DIY speakers sound so average?

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I have finished building my floor standing speakers and wired one of them up last night only to be dissapointed by what I heard. If looks could kill then these would leave you for dead, but if sound could kill too then these might so the job too! Actually they don't sound that bad, just really distant and with no midrange whatsoever! I figure the midrange is the fact that I am using a 2 way crossover in a 3 way system ( I have a 3 way crossover at home to try out) and that "far away" sound is probably the cabinets being too big, but I thought the massive amounts of damping would have sorted that out. Any thoughts, suggestion?

 

I am running Vifa 5 inch midranges, 6 1/2 inch woofers and tweeters. Cabinets are 1 metre high, 55cm wide and 75cm from front to back.....so huge!!! All rimu and split into three chambers, gradually larger from woofer to tweeter. Only holes are very small for speaker wires.

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What impedence does it all work out as? 4, 6, 8ohm? How do you have the 2 way crossover set up - I imagine the 5 and 6.5" off one tap and the tweeter off the other? If so are the 5 and 6.5 in serial off it or parallel?

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nixon76;72039 wrote:
What impedence does it all work out as? 4, 6, 8ohm? How do you have the 2 way crossover set up - I imagine the 5 and 6.5" off one tap and the tweeter off the other? If so are the 5 and 6.5 in serial off it or parallel?

 

I am using a P13WG-00 (8 ohm) for the midrange, P17 6.5inch (8 ohm) for the woofer and 4 ohm Vifa tweeter which escapes me and at the moment running both woofers of one tap in serial.

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So the woofers are presenting a 16ohm load and the Vifa a 4ohm load via the cross over. Is it possible that the crossover can't cope with a 16ohm load?

 

As an experiment how easy is it to disconnect the 6.5"? You won't have any (decent) bass but you'll see if this improves the midrange.

 

If this does improve things then the 3-way cross over is the answer I'd say. Or you could try running the two woofers in parallel.

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bugden;72036 wrote:
I have finished building my floor standing speakers and wired one of them up last night only to be dissapointed by what I heard.

 

I'm not sure what amplification you're running but if the channels aren't true mono (i.e. completely separate) then isn't this putting stress on your amp? Or have you got an equivalent dummy load on the other channel?

 

(Disclaimer: I don't really know what I'm talking about ;))

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nixon76;72043 wrote:
So the woofers are presenting a 16ohm load and the Vifa a 4ohm load via the cross over. Is it possible that the crossover can't cope with a 16ohm load?

 

 

 

As an experiment how easy is it to disconnect the 6.5"? You won't have any (decent) bass but you'll see if this improves the midrange.

 

 

 

If this does improve things then the 3-way cross over is the answer I'd say. Or you could try running the two woofers in parallel.

 

I am using crossovers from Kef Concertos (apparently) which are really old so that might be the issue, although they sounded ok out of the box.

 

I can definately de-solder the 6.5 and check that. It sounds so far away and half as refined as I had expected. agian that could be the big ass cabinets. The extra pair of 3 way crossovers I have didn't sound as good out of the box as the kefs which is why I didn't use them.

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nixon76;72044 wrote:
I'm not sure what amplification you're running but if the channels aren't true mono (i.e. completely separate) then isn't this putting stress on your amp? Or have you got an equivalent dummy load on the other channel?

 

 

 

(Disclaimer: I don't really know what I'm talking about
;)
)

 

I am using a Nakamichi AV-10 with bi-wiring (only bi-wired from amplifier) that puts out 100 watts per channel (for real) and directing all the power to one channel. I definately think it can handle it

 

(Disclaimer: I DEFINATELY don't know what I'm talking about )

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Mate, in my limited experience (naff all) I don't believe you just can't stick drivers into a cabinet and expect them to sound good.

 

You need to have the cabinet design carefully thought out and the crossover pretty close to get a good result straight off the cuff. You can then tweak the box with more/less stuffing and tweak the crossover as well. Wise words and pics were shown to me about how the pro's do it. They build the cabinet and line it with matting/fluff (forgot the name) and give it a test run. If they don't like it the remove the side and tweak the internals some more until they get it right. Then and only then, they do the veneer/finishing. From what I have read as well, if the cabinet is to be built using real wood, they will build a test box 1st.

 

Did you look for any completed DIY projects using the drivers you have?

 

With my MTMs I copied a popular design (cabinet and X-Over) so it was all very straight forward.

For my upcoming MLTLs I will be doing the same with the cabinet but will there will be some experimenting with the X-Over.

 

I can only offer help in the woodwork but you have that sorted. When it comes to crossovers etc, I am stuffed and call upon the gurus which is where you are at now.

I hope you resolve your issues and congrats for giving it a shot.

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spacies;72048 wrote:
Mate, in my limited experience (naff all) I don't believe you just can't stick drivers into a cabinet and expect them to sound good.

 

 

 

You need to have the cabinet design carefully thought out and the crossover pretty close to get a good result straight off the cuff. You can then tweak the box with more/less stuffing and tweak the crossover as well. Wise words and pics were shown to me about how the pro's do it. They build the cabinet and line it with matting/fluff (forgot the name) and give it a test run. If they don't like it the remove the side and tweak the internals some more until they get it right. Then and only then, they do the veneer/finishing. From what I have read as well, if the cabinet is to be built using real wood, they will build a test box 1st.

 

 

 

Did you look for any completed DIY projects using the drivers you have?

 

 

 

With my MTMs I copied a popular design (cabinet and X-Over) so it was all very straight forward.

 

For my upcoming MLTLs I will be doing the same with the cabinet but will there will be some experimenting with the X-Over.

 

 

 

I can only offer help in the woodwork but you have that sorted. When it comes to crossovers etc, I am stuffed and call upon the gurus which is where you are at now.

 

I hope you resolve your issues and congrats for giving it a shot.

 

Hi Spacies. I read up about your project but never got around to seeing any pics. Did you have some up on this site? I would love to see how they turned out.

 

I am a very impulsive person and not at all familia with anything to do with speaker building (well I have gained a very small but usefull amount of information since I started) which I fear is a dangerous combination, especially in the eyes of people of opposite persuasion.

 

I am a through and through, "read up about it (not get to technical), give it a shot and if it doesn't work out keep giving it a shot until you succeed" kind of guy and wasn't blessed with the brain to work out complex equations so this has been hard but a lot of fun.

 

The whole thing was way out of left field for me as the boxes (no backs or fronts) were bought of Trademe as a surprise win for $26! I just kind of went from there. I will load some pictures on this thread later on (by the way how do I do that?)

 

The crossovers are very close to the drivers and an absolute minimum amount of speaker wire has been used. I think I will try Nixons suggestions and then look at the internal chambers and experiment with making the chambers smaller.

 

The midranges and tweeters were out of another DIY project (someone elses) and they sounded ok. A little weak, hence the later 6.5 woofer. Thanks for your interest and suggestions along the way. I took you advice on getting the same brand speakers and am happy with that decision :)

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Hey Bugden,

 

I purchased the Loudspeaker Design Cookbook (7th edition) and it is a fantastic reference book for designing loudspeakers. It is very techinical but unfortunately designing speakers is a very technical process. As was eluded to in a previous post you can't just chuck a few things together and expect to get any reasonable results.

 

I'm giving myself 1-1.5 years to heavily research my speaker project so that I get everything as close to perfect as possible. I'm also saving up for testing equipment and speaker design software.

 

There are heaps of kits out there which I reckon would be a pretty good way to learn as well. I considered doing this but in the end I thought I'd go about learning through research so I can save my money for a speaker that I really want to build.

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Me and you would get on like a house on fire Budgen.

I could whip up cabinets in a flash, plonk in a driver and they would probably sound crap.

 

I use build before I think (I blame that on my video games 'cos I have built so many) but with the new project I have had to make a change for the best. Thats made me realize I am not so clever after all.

 

You have very good drivers and there is no reason why you can't get them to sound VERY nice. Just a bit of experimenting to be done now.

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marx;72054 wrote:
Hey Bugden,

 

 

 

I purchased the Loudspeaker Design Cookbook (7th edition) and it is a fantastic reference book for designing loudspeakers.

 

 

 

I'm giving myself 1-1.5 years to heavily research my speaker project so that I get everything as close to perfect as possible. I'm also saving up for testing equipment and speaker design software.

 

 

 

 

I need that book. Might buy it now.

I feel dangerous with tools and drivers and little knowledge.

Pity you didn't have that equipment now because I need some measurements taken. Good luck and wise decisions you have made.

 

Back on track.

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Hi Marx

 

I don't think my marriage would survive 1 year of speaker building ;-) I went looking for a speaker building book today but didn't have any success.

 

I won't be going to the extent of testing these speakers with any fancy equipment but on the other hand I didn't just "chuck a few things together" really either. I did a lot of reading up on how speakers work and all the related aspects so I guess what I am saying is I am serious in a, "yahoo" serious kind of way. I never wanted a kit as I like things one of a kind so that was never really an option, but then again I didn't plan this all, it just kind of happened. I am confident that with some tweaking and some more good advice that I will get these sounding pretty good. I don't expect anything groundbreaking, just a decent sound.

 

Good luck with your project. It's good to see that your going about it the sensible way :)

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Budgen,

 

1st up you need to address the crossover. That will make a hell of a difference.

Once you get that sorted then look at stuffing the cabinet with damping and experiment with reducing the internal volume if you need to.

 

I would recommend to really pay attention to how they sound right now and look forward to a big surprise when you start tweaking them.

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spacies;72063 wrote:
Budgen,

 

 

 

1st up you need to address the crossover. That will make a hell of a difference.

 

Once you get that sorted then look at stuffing the cabinet with damping and experiment with reducing the internal volume if you need to.

 

 

 

I would recommend to really pay attention to how they sound right now and look forward to a big surprise when you start tweaking them.

 

I concur with that,sort that xover first as I think it could be the main problem.I have played around with those vifa drivers [6-7'] and found them quite forgiving of cabinate size.They reponded well in a large box and almost lost nothing when I mounted them years later in a box half the size.

I used the same xover network and they just sounded slightly thin comparied to their sound in the large box,but were not talking night and day here.

I had them in a 60 litre box wired in parallel.I had the midrage crossing over at around 3000hz [i think]cant quite recall.

Good kuck

Ps I think I have the speaker desingn cookbook somewhere,got it from madisound for 11usd +postage.If you want to pay $80 jaycar have them.What a rip those guys are!!

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These things are hard to say without seeing the build but if this was mine and the boxes are close to what the drivers need then the XO's stick out as an issue. The Kef ones are made for the drivers they mated up to and the older Kef stuff sounds nice and has a modern cleanness to it but you could do better yourself for your speakers. The older Kef XO's have all the coils on the same plane to start with.

 

Practice with cheap parts and an SPL meter. Sweep both the speakers full range. Add a cap to the tweeter based on the nominal impedance and see how it works in the real world. You can unwind a coil to match also, then from the values of the cap & coil can get pretty close to the actual resistance and use an online calculator from there if you want to go to 2nd order or whatever.

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This may be obvious - but have you checked all 3 drivers are in phase?

 

I know when you have L + R (speakers) out of phase you get a very wide "distant" sound from tweeters ...

 

just my2c.

 

Cheers, Shane.

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Bugden,

Hey I admire & encourage all DIYers :D

 

But you've got to check out the xover carefully... map out the cct of it... esp the 3-way one. Do you think you can do that? Do they have any identifying info one them, numbers, brand, etc?

 

Another thing...the KEF Concerto was a 3-way, with 8ohms drivers, crossed over at 400hz & 3.5khz. The circuit is here.

 

Your cabinet is HUGE, but that is OK... for now...can be addressed later.

 

Go to it!

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spacies;72063 wrote:
Budgen,

 

 

 

1st up you need to address the crossover. That will make a hell of a difference.

 

Once you get that sorted then look at stuffing the cabinet with damping and experiment with reducing the internal volume if you need to.

 

 

 

I would recommend to really pay attention to how they sound right now and look forward to a big surprise when you start tweaking them.

 

Yeah I am definately going to address that issue. I think I will build my own or get someone to assemble the right parts and then do the soldering myself so at least I had some part in them. I actually listened to them again last night and they sounded a lot better than the first time. It's going to be a trial and error game for a while but I am looking forward to it. I will be interested to see how the 3 way crossovers I have sound in them. Can you recommend anyone who might be able to help me out with quality crossover parts?

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Plenty of suppliers of good xover parts.

 

I'd check out what you've got right now & rebuild/upgrade parts/tweak the cct.

 

What does your 3-way xover look like, in detail?

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steven bilbee;72067 wrote:
I concur with that,sort that xover first as I think it could be the main problem.I have played around with those vifa drivers [6-7'] and found them quite forgiving of cabinate size.They reponded well in a large box and almost lost nothing when I mounted them years later in a box half the size.

 

I used the same xover network and they just sounded slightly thin comparied to their sound in the large box,but were not talking night and day here.

 

I had them in a 60 litre box wired in parallel.I had the midrage crossing over at around 3000hz
[i think]
cant quite recall.

 

Good kuck

 

Ps I think I have the speaker desingn cookbook somewhere,got it from madisound for 11usd +postage.If you want to pay $80 jaycar have them.What a rip those guys are!!

 

Good to hear that you had good results with the Vifas. Jaycar are a rip! Also really slack. I ordered a part off them over a month ago and when I ring to ask for it I just gat the old "We'll call you, don't call us" rap.

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Low Orbit;72084 wrote:
This may be obvious - but have you checked all 3 drivers are in phase?

 

 

 

I know when you have L + R (speakers) out of phase you get a very wide "distant" sound from tweeters ...

 

 

 

just my2c.

 

 

 

Cheers, Shane.

 

How do I check if they are in phase? Man i feel like such newb...but thats probably because I am one

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OK, as low orbit sez.... check that red is connected to red... black to black on ea driver.

 

ie. from amp to xover.

 

Xover to driver.

 

The Xover should have +ve & -ve marked.

 

If not, we'll need a good pic of it/them.

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Owen Y;72086 wrote:
Bugden,

 

Hey I admire & encourage all DIYers
:D

 

 

 

But you've got to check out the xover carefully... map out the cct of it... esp the 3-way one. Do you think you can do that? Do they have any identifying info one them, numbers, brand, etc?

 

 

 

Another thing...the KEF Concerto was a 3-way, with 8ohms drivers, crossed over at 400hz & 3.5khz. The circuit is
.

 

 

 

Your cabinet is
HUGE
, but that is OK... for now...can be addressed later.

 

 

 

Go to it!

 

Thanks Owen. I think the 3 way is a generic one as it doesn't have any branding on it. It looks pretty crust and cheap to be honest. I will look into it more tonight and load some photos for all to see.

 

The crossovers I have are SP1005 and I am 99% sure they are 2 way so much be from different speaker, other than concerto. Any thoughts on which one?

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