DIY Bass Cabinet

Discussion in 'Amps [BG]' started by KNUGE, Apr 28, 2006.


  1. KNUGE

    KNUGE

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    I'm taking on a project.:eyebrow: I want to design and construct a bass cab. I'm looking for input and ideas from anyone and everyone. I'm thinking 2x10, 1x15. I'm off to a good start. I got a nice high end Carvin 15 for $50 from a friend. What 10"s should I use? I need suggestions for dimensions/design. What wood to use? Should I use a cross over? If so, how should I distribute the power? Or should I Bi-amp? If you have any ideas it would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice

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    Don't. Get an empty box from Avatar for the 15, maybe buy a 2x10 from him while you're at it. Garden variety 1x15, 2x10, etc aren't worth doing yourself, as you can't do it either as cheaply or as well as high-volume guys like Dave at Avatar can. DIY only makes sense for esoteric labor-intensive designs that are so expensive to produce commercially that but for providing your own labor you wouldn't be able to afford one. As for a cross-over, yes, you should use one and no, you won't find one in commercial cabs, as that's one of those niceties that increases cost, and since you can't see it they leave it out.
     
  3. snowdan

    snowdan

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    i'd say simply make a nice cab for the 15". build it sealed first with front space for later porting. that way you enjoy bulding your own cab without wasting much money.
     
  4. fookgub

    fookgub

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    Lots of chocies here. If I was doing it, I'd probably stick to the Eminence line. They have a couple new neodymium drivers intended specifically for bass. Parts Express is a good source for drivers and other speaker building supplies. I'd start there. Download WinISD, and use it to model various drivers. This is an iterative process, but you should eventually come up with a balance of box size, bass response, sensitivity, and cost that works for you.

    Once you have selected a driver and used WinISD to calculate the box and port sizes, building it is pretty easy. 3/4" void-free plywood should be fine. Make sure to brace it solidly, but don't go overboard. Too much bracing adds weight and soaks up cabinet volume, making your box bigger. Remember that ports take up internal volume, too. You need to account for all this stuff when figuring the dimensions of your box. There are many different port styles, but a simple round one is probably the easiest. You'll want to at least line the walls of the box. Carpet padding works fine... there are better (more expensive) materials, too. You may want to stuff it with fiberfill, too. Stuffing can affect your tuning frequency, so many people use it as a last step to fine-tune their enclosures.

    There are many programs that can be used to calculate crossovers. First you need to select a driver. Look at the Fs and frequency response, and make a guess at what your crossover point and slope should be. For an average horn, I'd start somewhere around 3500 Hz with a 12-18 dB/octave slope. Speaker Workshop can help you with this. Also, there are many calculators available on the internet that are much easier to use (though less accurate). Bi-amping is helpful if you already have the capabilities. If your amp already has a crossover then you won't need to build one... maybe just use a series cap for a little extra protection.

    Finally, you'll need to make some decisions on hardware. What kind of corner protection and handles do you want? 1/4" jacks or speakons? How will you mount the jack? You'll probably need a plate of some sort. How will you finish it? Carpet is fairly cheap and easy, but looks (imho) kind of shoddy. Truckbed liner is durable and cheap, but getting a good finish takes some practice. There are many other options, but you should decide all of this before you start. Don't forget about protection... you need a grill of some sort to prevent objects and people from poking your speakers. Also, you want to make a stack, so keep the dimensions of your Carvin in mind.

    For tools, you need a table saw, jigsaw or router (for cutting holes for drivers and hardware), lots of clamps, wood glue, a soldering iron, drill, and the usual assortment of hand tools. Probably some other stuff that I can't think of right now, too.

    Go0d luck!


    EDIT: I wrote this thinking you had a 15" in a cabinet already, but most of it still applies. As others have said, building is cab is not generally worth the money. Part of the problem is that it's easy to get sucked into using high-end parts when you DIY. A buck here and there, and all the sudden you've spent more than the commercial offerings. On the upside, you will surpass the quality and performance of commercial offerings at similar price points IF you start with a solid design and do a good job building it.
     
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  6. KNUGE

    KNUGE

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    Thanks, you all. This is great.
     
  7. Petebass

    Petebass

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    Read, Read, Read! The more you read, the better your result will be. Start with Vance Dickasons "Loudspeaker design cookbook". Even if you only ever build one cab in your life, it's a must read.
     
  8. SBassman

    SBassman Supporting Member

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    This is a cool thread. If you actually do it, please tell us how it goes.

    [I always want to try to build a cab myself.]
     
  9. joelb79

    joelb79 Supporting Member

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    http://www.drbasscabs.com/ - you can buy unloaded cabinets. I think the quality of them is higher than avatar because it looks like they dont use carpet.

    But i have not heard of too many people using them.. and last i knew Dave doesnt sell his unloaded cabs.
     
  10. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice

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    Carpet is actually a more expensive finish than most in terms of both material cost and labor. It's anything but cheap.
     
  11. SBassman

    SBassman Supporting Member

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    Wow - those are pretty reasonably priced cabs. I'll have to do some research on those.
     
  12. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member

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    +1000

    The first step is research and learning!

    Also, something that I always try to point out is that your cost should include one or two trial boxes that end up on the curb.

    I tend to be somewhat of a contrarian in terms of construction. My advice is that you should really consider whether you need all of the trimmings of a commercial cab. My approach is to work with scrap material and whatever is lying around, and finish with plain varnish. As a weekend warrior, I don't need something that can hold up to the rigors of touring.

    For me, the attempt to save money is already a lost cause, but I am propelled forward by my interest in learning more about how stuff works.
     
  13. mike_v_s

    mike_v_s

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    Dave does sell unloaded enclosures.

    Mike
     
  14. fookgub

    fookgub

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    Unloaded cabs are fine IF they happen to be tuned properly for your drivers. You can't just drop any old speaker in any cab and expect it to sound good. Do the calculations first.
     
  15. Petebass

    Petebass

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    ...not to mention that it's tough, has stood the test of time for functionality, and adds virtually no weight to the cab. The only people that dislike carpet are cat owners who aren't disciplined enough to keep the cat and cabs seperate. It's like letting a child play on the road then developing a hatred of cars when the inevietable happens.
     
  16. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice

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    I love cats. Preferably grilled, but broiled is acceptable.
     
  17. Crescent Seven

    Crescent Seven

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    I can say that building my 1x15 saved me NO money over the cost of an Avatar. However, I had a speaker and the box was custom tuned to it, and it's lighter than most 1x15 boxes, plus I got to cover it with retro blue vinyl and put racing stripe vinyl on the front. It was a fun project and I learned alot.

    The next cab I build will probably be an 18" box, because the number of commercially available 1x18 bass cabs is limited and they're expensive; there aren't any "budget" 18's.:D
    So building it will cost me ~$250 + labor, which is still about a $250 savings over buying a comparable commercial cab, and if I decide I don't like the sound for bass, it can be used quite nicely as a PA sub.
    C7
     
  18. smo

    smo

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    I made a pair of 15's myself, quite easy to do, however time consuming - and i get questions all the time about them.
    One thing i'd make sure of tho - build it more powerful than you need - that way you won't get too much speaker fart and your options are open from there.
    good luck,
    smo
     
  19. bgavin

    bgavin Supporting Member

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    I recently finished at Tuba 24 in Formica laminate. My beam balance scale says it added about 5 pounds to the total weight.

    Similar to carpet, Formica is not an inexpensive finish at $2 per square foot. It is very scuff resistant and durable, *if* all the edges and corners are fully protected. Bind it up like an ATA case with edge and corner protectors, and you are good to go.

    Cat piss and carpet does not go well together.
     
  20. SBassman

    SBassman Supporting Member

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    Ding. We have a winner for
    Quote of the Week.

    :)
     
  21. Crockettnj

    Crockettnj

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    ... however, with fava beans and a nice chianti...
     

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