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Are we better off building our own cabs?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Savage Hippie, Sep 12, 2017.

  1. A bass cabinet..
    Essentially, a constructed wooden box, maybe ported. Other bracing hardware, An input jack, some other tech stuff connecting the jack to the drivers. I'm obviously not an expert on the building process, but I've had to step back into reality because of the following..
    For years now I've dreamed of buying one of the cabs that I've always wanted. A Matamp Green, Mesa boogie, Emperor, Laney, Marshall, Sunn, maybe a vintage, non-isobaric Orange 2x12... Anyways, these are hard to find and when i do find them. They are ALWAYS expensive, or local pick-up only. Has anybody ever made an eye catching, head turning cab, that was also lightweight and put out an amazing tone? Love to hear feedback and see some pics of homemade or custom built babies
  2. bikeplate

    bikeplate Supporting Member

    Jun 7, 2001
    Upstate NY
    No thanks. I'll buy Bergantino. Leave it to the pros
  3. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Intergalactic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon sofware
    climber, marcwhy and HolmeBass like this.
  4. Rick James

    Rick James

    Feb 24, 2007
    New Jersey
    fEarful cabs are very popular, mainly because the plans are free. The designs are better than most commercial cabs, but they require high end drivers, so the money you saved on the plans you’ll spend, plus a lot more, on expensive components.
    fEARful™ enclosures for bass/drums/keys

    BFM cab plans that cost $15 (less with multiple plan volume discounts) don’t get as much love, but the designs are more sophisticated than fEarful, the plans are much more complete, and you can choose from a variety of drivers, so you might save a hundred dollars or more compared to an equivalent fEarful. BFM also has a lot more plans to choose from.

    Either way you will spend less than you would for an equivalent new commercial cab, and you can build a cab that’s better than any commercial cab, at any price.
  5. Blues Bass 2

    Blues Bass 2 Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2001
    Davenport Iowa
    I build my own cabinets now and I think they work great for what I want .

    My 212 cab weighs 44 pounds and I love the tone and volume it has . Mine has Deltalite 2512 II speakers and an APT 80 tweeter with a high-pass crossover at 5000 Hz . It's built to Eminence specs as far as cabinet volume and porting so it really works well with my 5 string and gets louder than I need . I don't know that it beats the Bergs , the Mesas or Genzlers but it's in the ballpark and the weight and size are perfect for me .

    The only downside is that it takes a lot of time to design the cabinet and crossover and then a bunch more time to actually build it . Then you have to factor in the wood and all the other components like speakers , handles ,corners jackplate and electronics . Dollarwise I think I have about $550 in the material to build it . If I added up the hours to design and build it and charged what I made as an Electrician before I retired last October I'd have a $1200 212 cab that may or may not sound as good as one of the big boys cabs . So if you know what you are doing and don't put a dollar amount on your time you can build a great cab for a little less than what a commercial built cab costs .

    I have built fEarfuls and they are really awesome and the BFM stuff is also really great . That would be the route I would take if new to the cab building scene . Just be mindfull of what your time is worth .

    For reference here is the fEarful rig I built and used , it was insanely great sounding .
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
  6. 2x12 44 pounds! Sounds good to me!
    Savage Hippie likes this.
  7. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Intergalactic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon sofware
  8. It's OK to build your own if someone has done the hard yards of working out the specs. A GOOD bass cab is not just a box. It's a specifically designed box. Search Mr Google for Greenboy, find his free plans for his Fearful (not Fearless) cabs, and build. I have built two Fearful 12/6 cabs. They are bulletproof and sound great. Port size, tuning, bracing, all these things are critical to a good cab. Also, a speaker is not just a speaker. It needs to have power handling, good cone excursion, heat resistance, all sorts of factors. The main driver for a Fearful 12/6 is an Eminence Kappalite 3012LF which is one of the best you can get at any price, the 6" is an Eminence Alphalite 6a, and the crossover network is a specific sloping shouldered Greenboy unit made by Speakerhardware.com Also, stay away from MDF, it is crap. Ideally use Baltic Birch.
    craigie, climber, rwkeating and 4 others like this.
  9. Sounds like a good idea. I always wanted to do that too. I built a car sub box, but it was as it. I like a slot port cabinet. Post some building pics !
  10. Ampslut

    Ampslut Supporting Member

    May 15, 2017
    Depends on your woodworking skills and tools.
    Stumbo, bobyoung53, pappabass and 4 others like this.
  11. Anachronism

    Anachronism Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2014
    I've built a guitar cab, and have also built a couple headcases for amps pulled from combos. After those builds, I don't think it's worth it unless you need something you can't get elsewhere, or you enjoy the build process and already have the right tools.
    Brad Johnson, Stumbo and agedhorse like this.
  12. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member Commercial User

    Dec 3, 2003
    Columbia River Gorge, WA.
    Owner/Designer &Toaster Tech Passinwind Electronics
    You might want to start by taking a look at the thread links in the Amps Forum FAQ stickied at the top of this forum. Yel_wink.

    Unlike a lot of people here, I don't really consider building up someone else's designs as being the way to go in the long run if you want to dive deep into the DIY pool. But it's a great way to learn a lot, not lose quite as much money, and get your tooling together. IME DIY building is very rarely a real money saver in the short term, especially if you factor in the often terrible resale value. Woodworking is a pretty huge hassle for me, so I've more or less sworn off any more DIY cab builds. A few of my old ones can be seen here.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2017
  13. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    I disagree. This is a common DIY argument that often proves wrong.

    Especially if on a budget, there are some amazing bargains in high quality manufactured cabinets.
    Wavy, SpruceApple, dukeorock and 24 others like this.
  14. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Intergalactic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon sofware
    Everything appears simple to the uninitiated.
    Wavy, tkonbass, cazclocker and 26 others like this.
  15. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    I think DIY is great for knowledgeable hobbyists and those who want to learn or experiment, however, I'm not sure if you factor in all the costs including your time it's really that significant of a cost savings. Buying top line components (speakers, crossovers, jacks/jack plates), quality wood, nicer hardware, etc. at full parts counter retail is rarely a bargain. While higher end cabs aren't cheap, there are some economies and efficiencies of scale employed to keep them competitively priced that make them a reasonably good value for the consumer IMO.

    Every time I think that I can build something cheaper than the pros and start looking through the parts catalog, it dawns on me that if I took the same approach with a lawn mower or a car, the MSRP on the lawn mower or car would start looking a lot more attractive, and even more so with a discount, waived transportation/shipping costs or considering the factory warranty.
  16. Roxbororob

    Roxbororob Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2015
    An exception in DIY are BFM cabs. They are very well designed and have models to match skill levels (and budgets). The cost estimates are accurate and they are economical. On top of that they perform as advertised.

    Edit to remove hoidy toidy "indeed" .....
    D M Lutz, bobyoung53 and Stumbo like this.
  17. Roxbororob

    Roxbororob Supporting Member

    Jun 8, 2015
    Not for everybody I'll admit. But for some people it is...
  18. Al Kraft

    Al Kraft Supporting Member

    May 2, 2016
    Northern Virginia
    You make a great point about exceptions. For those who have the skills and find time easier to come by than money, a well thought out kit provides those economies of scale benefits and greatly reduces the risk of taking a shot in the dark. For many people there is something especially satisfying about using an item they built themselves and that's a sense of accomplishment you can't put a price on.
    DrummerwStrings and Roxbororob like this.
  19. agedhorse

    agedhorse Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 12, 2006
    Davis, CA (USA)
    Development Engineer-Mesa, Product Support-Genz Benz
    They are better than most DIY projects, but some of the claims made are simply false (mostly with the Tuba and Jack lines) based of purely factual data. If these claims were not so freely made, and against products with a solid track record (and then exaggerated by the fanboy builders), I would be less critical of the approach.
  20. I love my DIY 112 - built to my own design via WinISD, it sounds fine - but I probably wouldn't do it again.
    DrummerwStrings, Joe Ty and Lvjoebass like this.