Like the one from the beginning of Back to the Future
March 30, 2010 1:30 PM   Subscribe

Someone should show him how to make his own website.
posted by rocket88 at 1:33 PM on March 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

I would love to build my own speakers but I'm not much of a carpenter. Also I'm poor.
posted by tommasz at 1:43 PM on March 30, 2010

Yeah, a couple of years ago I built myself a tall crate. A couple of 14-inch cabinets with 32q tweeters and rack bottom subwoofers that could handle a 42q without an second of buzz. Cost me about 45 dollars and was made mostly with gaffing tape, pie tins, and paper plates, but it could replicate a broad-range spectrum up to and including 2,000 Hz. The key was that I funneled the sound through 1/4 inch copper wire that I coated in gold, and the shape of the cabinet, which relies on convection for its acoustics ...

Aw, hell. I'm just making it all up. I don't know what a single one of those words means. Even "pie tin." What is that, a pie made out of tin? Yuck! Who would want to eat that?
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:51 PM on March 30, 2010 [5 favorites]

Man, AZ -- sounds like you woulda gotten at least 3 or 4 quads per channel out of that thing.
posted by JohnFredra at 1:56 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

I prefer the cheap route.
posted by 47triple2 at 2:03 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yeah. 220... 221, whatever it takes.
posted by travis08 at 2:03 PM on March 30, 2010 [3 favorites]

I love building things - I have a whole garage full of tools from wood working to mig welding
I love speakers - I have a 5000 watt PA system that's been powering multi-hundred person parties for nearly a decade, along with my fairly decent home theater and a pair of gorgeous studio monitors.

But after digging into speaker building in college and building a few custom sub enclosures (so they would fit under a couch on cinder blocks. I... miss the bass couch), and reading about all of the engineering and decisions and whatnot involved in actually Doing It Right... I left doing it right up to the speaker companies. It may be somewhat less expensive to do yourself, but it's a LOT of work, and I don't think you're going to end up with anything substantially different than what's commercially available.

Unless you want to build subs that will fit under a couch. I'm pretty sure no one is serving that market.
posted by flaterik at 2:14 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

That's mighty technical for a DIY site. A better title might be How to build your own loudspeakers if you already know how to build your own loudspeakers.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot at 3:25 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Could we get Arman Bose to show us how?
posted by beelzbubba at 3:59 PM on March 30, 2010

Bose might be able to show you how to market the hell out of something made out of a bunch of cheap paper cones and an equalizer.
posted by TrialByMedia at 4:27 PM on March 30, 2010 [2 favorites]

My dad's an audiophile tinkerer. He started out building his own speaker cabinets, moved on to building tube amps, and has recently started making his own turntables, with custom tone-arms. He's not a "gold-plated speaker wire" audiophile so much as a "does it work and why" audiophile.

Last time I visited, he brought me into his garage/workspace to show me his latest mad science. I was expecting something big and weird with glowing tubes and transformers the size of an adult's skull. Nope. He had nailed some speakers to upright planks.

No cabinets, no subwoofers, just tweeters and mid-range speakers nailed to planks.

Of course, growing up I'd seen him experiment with all manner of cabinet configurations, and he'd show me why he'd set them up the way he did. According to every bit of established lore these planks should sound awful.

They sounded great, better than they had any right to according to commonly accepted principals.

So, how do you build loudspeakers? Any way you like, really.

Of course, he was using a custom amp built from new-old stock tubes, the speakers were vintage British something-or-others with custom crossovers, and god knows what else. Your results may vary.
posted by lekvar at 4:28 PM on March 30, 2010

I'm fascinated by this sort of thing, but given the number of DIY sites emphasizing stereo, I don't know how I can use it to figure out what speakers to use with my Dolby Pro Logic amp.

I prefer the cheap route.
posted by 47triple2

Pfft, trust those audiophile snake oil salespeople! Like I need to splurge on a new shiny penny, I'm sure it works just fine with a tarnished one and a little polishing.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:52 PM on March 30, 2010

Shoot AZ, for a minute there, I thought you were describing an update to the old "Sweet Sixteen" hifi speaker from the January, 1961 issue of Popular Electronics. Over the years, I musta built 9 or 10 of those things, every time I got a bunch of old radio/TV speakers collected on my bench, and a sheet of 1/2" plywood. For about $10 over the cost of the plywood, I'd even cover the front in old '50s style glittery "grille cloth" and buy a cheap set of 4" taper legs, and varnish the whole thing like 1960's Danish Modern. I found it wasn't really all that necessary to use 16 identical drivers, and that you could actually get pretty good results using different combinations of everything from 6 x 9" car door speakers, to tweeters swiped out of blown out KLH 17s and Dynaco A-25s. Most guys interested in hifi kept buying bigger and bigger amps, as transistor amplifiers grew into the 100 watt + / channel range, and so, by 1973, there were a lot of early acoustic suspension speakers laying about, with blown crossovers and woofers, from some instant of bliss when a high power transistor amp blew. So, I always had plenty of tweeters and mid-range drivers hanging around, from my better heeled hifi friends, and cranking out an old "Sweet Sixteen" or two a year, as a retro project, was a good way to recycle all those little bitty audio titties drivers.
posted by paulsc at 4:57 PM on March 30, 2010

Technically speaking, he's building cabinets, not speakers. If he really was doing DIY speakers that would be awesome.
posted by GuyZero at 5:01 PM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

Dr. Marshall Leach is a professor of EE at GaTech specializing in audio engineering. He's sorta the anti-Bose in that (gross oversimplification ahead) instead of doing lots with minimal wattage and clever/complicated design, he prefers lots of watts and straightforward designs. He has a senior project course on building your own speakers, and has most of the info online ( I know any number of folks still using their Leach senior project speakers 20 years later. Might be something to look at as well.
posted by kjs3 at 6:06 PM on March 30, 2010 [4 favorites]

Similarly, the fEarfulâ„¢ DIY speaker design for bass players.

Bill Fitzmaurice also sells speaker designs.

A lot of people in the TalkBass community have built these speakers from scratch as their 'learn carpentry' project. I live in a NYC apartment, so, sadly, I won't be building any speakers any time soon.
posted by MesoFilter at 2:04 PM on March 31, 2010

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