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Anyone Tried Making a Cab Yourself??

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by BassWolf, Oct 5, 2004.

  1. BassWolf


    Aug 14, 2004
    Lately I've been considering the somewhat daunting endeavor of building my own cab. A friend of mine says he built a 300w cab, paying only about $80 for materials (although i don't know what type of speakers he used). He emailed me the schematics but I'm a bit hesitant to embark on this undertaking.
    Has anyone here built a cab? Any advice on rattle proofing the cavity, speaker selection, or anything else? Thanks.
  2. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
  3. DubDubs


    Aug 23, 2004
    Los Angeles
    Plenty of people ask this question. The thing is to build a cab you end up spending just as much or more than buying a cab 90% of the time.
  4. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    Absolutely untrue.
  5. tubster


    Feb 5, 2003
    Southwest Spain
    If you ever decide to TRY to sell, you will not raise as much $$ as the blood and sweat that you put into it, even if you do manage to sell it in the first place. On the used market, no name cabs do not usually command the price of the wood.

    If resale is not an issue, you can save a lot - if you know what you are doing.

    Good luck if you decide to go ahead!
  6. davepack

    davepack Supporting Member

    Jun 16, 2004
    Denver, CO
    and you'll need to polish up your math/basic physics.
    There's a few decent books out there...
    I built some regular home stereo speakers, and they sound great. Saved a lot of money. Unfortunetly, I gave the book away, so I don't know the title. Do an Amazon search.
  7. I have built several (about 11 actually).

    One was a 4 x 12 that was huge. I baffled it internally into individual cells for the speakers to within two inches of the rear of the cabinet Top and bottom I installed angled baffles to bounce the low end toward the ports. That was by far the best sounding cabinet I have ever used.

    I built two 1 x 15" Folded Horn Cabinets, a very exacting design, with good success. The only thing I didn't like was they had a little less bottom end than I wanted. But they did sound very clean and loud.

    I also built two 1 x 15" cabinets front loaded and very deep (20") with a large horn port at the bottom. Those speakers sounded very clean and deep with good clear bass. I loved those cabinets but got talked into selling them by my Drummer to get some "factory made" cabinets. The Cabinets I made appeared to be "factory made" but didn't have a recognizable logo, and he was really into that.
    I bought two 1 x 15 Carvin Cabinets (that I still have) but they never had anywhere near the same presence, it was a huge mistake.

    I also built 6 4 x 12 cabinets that ended up being used for guitar... kind of like Marshall Stacks in fact used with Marshall Heads. They sounded very good for guitar but would have sounded better with Celestions rather than Eminence speakers. They looked really cool as I used white/cream colored tolex and a cream colored grille cloth.

    It is most important to understand that within limits for bass you must make sure that the cabinet has enough volume or internal area. It is also important to make it solidly, with as few removable panels as possible. Also I have always felt that porting is very important. I am not a believer in the round "tuned" ports using a cardboard tube or plastic pipe. Regardless, I am no guitar/bass rocket scientist, but I have made some highly successful cabinets... all of which I wish I still had (except the guitar cabs...).

    I say this because if you have a reasonably good woodworking aptitude, and have a reasonable ability to grasp somewhat oblique concepts, you can make a great sounding cabinet as well.
  8. Rhythmalism


    Sep 25, 2004
    Alright, good to see so many d.i.y.ers here!

    If he paid $80 to throw the whole thing together, the woofers were most likely crumby car woofers (jensen, pyramid, pyle, or even worse).
  9. YOu can get the Carvin Eminence speakers, they sound great.


    And really by the time you buy wood, insulation, hardware, handles, corners, covering material (tolex, other vinyl or carpet) and grille material plus the speakers it won't be a huge savings over a lower line cabinet. But it gives the chance to experiment and make your cabinets customized the way you want them... :D
  10. Folmeister

    Folmeister Knowledge is Good - Emile Faber Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    Tomball, Texas
    I built two small bass cabinets. Let me recap the lessons learned:

    1. I suck at woodworking

    2. I suck at soldering

    3. Power tools are really scary when you are obssessive-compulsive about your hands

    4. I must be nuts

    I just bought an Accugroove. Leave it to the professionals
  11. That is one very good alternative... Accugroove rocks!
  12. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    It's not as easy as going to the store and picking up a nice cab, but it's also not as expensive. If you do a little planning and research before diving in, it should be a piece of cake.

    I'd like to second the statement of resale value. Although there are rare situations to the contrary, you can pretty much plan on making anything if you need to dump it.

    For your first project I'd advise trying to approximate an existing cabinet style (such as a 2x12 with a tweeter). It allows you to have a good starting point and it's likely that several people have done it before and posted online about it.

    My first cabinet building project happened after reading about someone building a gig-worthy 1x10. I gave that idea a shot and ended up building a 1x12 extension cab (no tweeter) that sounded great. The driver manufacturer had already plotted out response curves for a range of box and port volumes, so it was just a matter of designing a ported box with the right volume and assembling it out of MDF. It took all of an afternoon and ended up costing me very little.
  13. r379


    Jul 28, 2004
    Dallas, Texas
    Building speaker cabinets (especially ported or bandpass boxes) is not just a matter of deciding what size box you want and putting any old speaker in it. The simplest way to design a box is to get software from either Eminence Speakers or Harris Technologies, Inc.

    Check with both of them to see what they offer. Harris's software is more complete and comes with a comprehensive instuction book and they also offer software that will help you design your own crossovers. Eminence, on the other hand, sells assembled crossovers.
  14. i built two bass cabs both 1 x 15" which i copied the dimensions from a Trace Elliot cab and built it using chipboard and Emminence delta 15 bass speaker. Sounded as good as Trace and cost me about £70.00 ($100 ) and i was very pleased.Sold them later on ebay and got my money back as well, of course my time as labour costs wernt recovered but thats what you get with home brew cabs.

    I have seen inside several cabs, Ashdown Ampeg Trace Elliot and take it from me the build quality is pretty easy to match or beat.The covering at the end is the tricky part, good luck
  15. slinkp


    Aug 29, 2003
    brooklyn, NY, USA
    At age 18, knowing nothing, I built a 1x15 cab loaded with an EVM 15L. That thing delivered a clean punchy sound and survived tons of abuse for about 8 years before the driver finally developed a nasty rattle. At that point I decided to junk it because the cab itself was starting to fall apart due to the 1/2" ply I used and my poor woodworking. I think I lucked out, I knew nothing about cab design and it "should" have sounded awful.

    I also later built a 1x12 cab that I use for guitar, and used to use for bass at acoustic gigs. This one's a lot more solid and sounds pretty good. I used a scavenged 12" driver from an old Ampeg cab where the other driver was blown. Hmm, maybe I should resurrect this cab, it's not getting much use lately and I liked it :) Might have to re-do the math, I think the port's tuned too high.

    My advice, for a first-timer, find an existing design for the particular driver you want to use, and follow it to the letter. For anything else you should really take the time to educate yourself.
  16. I plan on building 4x12 cab this fall I was thinking of using the paint on truck bed liner (rhino liner) from Home Depot instead of Tolex for the cab covering. Has anyone done that?
  17. K Dubbs

    K Dubbs Just graduated from OSU, Go Bucks!

    Mar 16, 2002
    Toledo, Ohio
    I did it on a 12x6.5" cab i built this past summer. If you're looking to do a flat texture, it's sort of a nightmare making it even. if you're looking for textured, it's easier, but afterword if you scratch it it's obvious. I used not rhino liner but a brand I got at meijer. This stuff certainly can't be anywhere near up to snuff with line-x or rhino liner because the stuff i used chipped easily and in general looked like crap. I ended up carpetting over it.
  18. Minger


    Mar 15, 2004
    Rochester, NY
    i'm considering building one, a lot of the reason being I don't have an amp or anything right now.

    But then again, theres a used Ampeg B-100R at a place nearby, their site lists it as 'good' condition...
  19. To paraphrase a comment about Linux: DIY cabinets are cheap only if your time has no value. ;)

    I´m not saying building your own isn´t worth it, but it can become a chore if saving money is your only motivation. Especially so if you don´t have any experience or interest in woodworks and/or don´t have access to proper tools. My friend has been building himself a guitar cab for months and he´s starting to get really fed up with the whole thing.