DIY PA style speakers

Discussion in 'DIY' started by Sheddingskin, Nov 26, 2011.

  1. Sheddingskin

    Sheddingskin Active Member

    I'm going to have a lot of time on my hands over the next 4 months and I've got the itch to make something, so I think I'll tackle a new set of speakers.

    I want to build a pair that, if I like them enough, will replace my CV DX-5's or be used in addition to them. I would like to get at least as much bass out of them as the CV's, but I want a wider, more encompassing sound if that makes sense. I know a lot of it has to do with the raw power and set up, but I want something closer to the sound that you get from sound reinforcement at concerts. Loud, chest thumping, clear sound that seems to surround you.

    As far as power handling I'd like it to be fairly high as they will be powered with a Crown XLS-402 amp for now and probably another more powerful pro amp in the future.

    I should mention that I mainly listen to electronic music and metal, with classic rock and alternative thrown in there for when I just want to chill out.

    Are there any plans for anything that would fit this already out there? Or can anyone make any recommendations? I don't have a price set yet but the cheaper I can do this for while still sounding good the better.

    Any help would be appreciated!
  2. donprice

    donprice Wound up workin' at a gas station.... Subscriber

  3. GordonW

    GordonW Speakerfixer Subscriber

    I've built stuff like this, quite frequently.

    I'd recommend a good set of 12" or 15" woofers, and an E-wave high-frequency setup.

    I custom-build (recone) woofers just for this. I have a cone kit that I absolutely love in this setup. I've built 12" and 15" versions, into woofer frames from various manufacturers. Power handling limited only by what woofer frame you start with. PM me for details...

  4. jocko_nc

    jocko_nc Super Member

    I would go with subs, EQ them and run with independent amps. That will make the cabinetry and crossover work so much easier. You can add or subtract pieces as you want. It is no fun having to re-work a large cabinet a couple of times.

    I DJ's a party a couple of weekends ago using (what turned out to be a pile) of my vintage stuff: Klipsch Heresy on pole stands. (Don't fault me, I got them with the flange in the bottom.) 1x15 DIY Eminence bass cabinet. 2X10 DIY Eminence cabinet. The problem was getting the two bass cabinets to behave. I ended up with a separate amp channel and EQ for each. Mid bass punch to the 10's. Thump to the 15.

    Man, it really sounded sweet in that large room!

    The Heresy is a fine sounding speaker in its own right, the main issue being bass. Much better sound quality than a typical plastic PA speaker used by DJ's. Plenty loud when run with subs. Also, they really open up on a pole. ???.

    Properly EQ'd, the Eminence kicked. What really impressed me was the mid-bass. The impact sounds of a kick drum. The snare. It sounded like a stinkin' AC-DC concert. I could more than feel the snare, I could taste it.

    Anyway, I would go with a flexible, modular approach.
  5. nashvillebill

    nashvillebill Super Member

    The big question, to me at least:

    What are your woodworking abilities?

    What tools do you have and how much knowledge do you have of joinery? If all you have is a handheld circular saw, and have never built anything that requires more than nailing two boards together, then building a good set of speakers (PA or otherwise) may not be cost effective.

    Shucks, even though I have a decent workshop downstairs, I'm not sure building PA speakers is cost effective. Carpet, glue, wood, corners, feet, handles, etc all add up....
    And folks like this have empty cabs for $50.

    Of course, building something tailor-made may trump the cheap-price approach.
  6. mortron

    mortron Active Member

    There was a lot of good things I have read about Bill Fitzmaurice designs and he offers some interesting and efficient designs which can be had for relatively cheap if you can find drivers at a good price. I don't know what kind of frequency response you end up with, but big SPL seems to be the flavor.
  7. westend

    westend Audiopile Subscriber

    All good suggestions above. I find that a horn based bin delivers a more disperse, involving sound than a straight cabinet. A compression driver with waveguide or horn mates well with the bass bin. This is basically what has been used in sound reinforcement for larger venues. You can also accomplish this at lower power levels if efficient drivers are used.

    If Gordon has some of those custom reconed woofers available, that is probably going to be a good choice and you can decide on a cabinet based on those. I would suggest you seriously consider subscribing to AK and looking through the Bartertown section, too. The $25 subscription price would be offset many times over by the deals that are offered there, should you find what you're looking for (and you will).
  8. whoaru99

    whoaru99 Part-time Iconoclast Subscriber

    I've considered some of those, but some/many of the designs seem to require moderate to high degree of woodworking capability. If you need to have someone else make the cabinets I think the relativity of good price goes out the window.
  9. bowtie427ss

    bowtie427ss arigato gozaimashita Subscriber

    If it's any consolation, i'd wager that you have more than adequate patience and common sense to get thru any of BFM's designs with complete success.

    If you can cut panels to precise dimension, some with 1 or 2 cuts on a mitre, then you're 90% of the way there.

    If i can do it, you can too.:yes:
  10. mortron

    mortron Active Member

    Many of Bills designs require only straight edge cuts, and I think you even get plans to make a jig to aid the cutting, if you don't have a table saw. The Omni look simpler, as does the SLA.
  11. mortron

    mortron Active Member

    Many of Bills designs require only straight edge cuts, and I think you even get plans to make a jig to aid the cutting, if you don't have a table saw. The Omni look simpler, as does the SLA.
  12. petehall347

    petehall347 the brandy coffee man

    scoops are a well proven design for p.a cabs as are y bins ..if your amps can take a capacitive load maybe stick some large caps in the bins to give you good bass ? next thing would be an active crossover/ crossovers .. then some mids and tops ...3 decent amps and your away .. you could also put everything in the same boxes and use one amp or tri wire them .. i dunno there's a few ways to do it
  13. Sheddingskin

    Sheddingskin Active Member

    Thanks for the ideas everyone!

    I do have some decent woodworking skills and have just about every tool available other than a bandsaw, so I should have no problem with that.

    What if I rebuilt my DX-5's? The cabinets are already messed up so building new ones would help, and in the process I could upgrade certain components like the tweeter to an ewave. Is this a good idea?
  14. drtechno

    drtechno Active Member

    a 402 amp is not that much power, as I use the equivalent macro-tech on P.A horns.

    I would use an xls 5000 (just to make the rack look more pretty, because a macro-tech 3600 usually alot more $$$) on a pair of subs like evx 180A's in bass reflex sub boxes.

    and use a modest dbx analog crossover.
  15. whoaru99

    whoaru99 Part-time Iconoclast Subscriber

    I'm guessing $1,000 in just sub drivers alone isn't in the picture, but maybe??

    Stating the budget is always a good idea when asking for recommendations.
  16. jsixis

    jsixis Nothing sounds better

    go look at a music store, I bought a new pair of Peavey SP2G's and matching floor monitors for 350 each. You can't build them for that price and you could probably find working ones in the 150-250 range.
  17. Sheddingskin

    Sheddingskin Active Member

    I really would rather build them myself if I can, and I'm not going to worry about the subwoofer situation for a little while. I'm really looking to rebuild my DX-5's with an intact cabinet and a little better performance. How feasible is this?

    I feel like these speakers could use some repairs anyways, so why not use these as a base and end up spending less than $500? They're going to be in a pretty hostile environment, a fraternity house, so I'd rather not put a ton of money into them when they will most likely end up with beer, and ash (and hopefully no bodily fluids) on them.
  18. whoaru99

    whoaru99 Part-time Iconoclast Subscriber

    Yamaha Club series PA speakers are a pretty good speaker for that sort of thing. Usually they sell used for quite reasonable prices yet will go head to head with other mfg. product lines priced a couple notches higher up the scale.

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