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Cabinets - Building your own - how, why, pros and cons.

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by IvanMike, Feb 19, 2005.


  1. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    This will only be a sticky for a few days.

    There are a ton of threads on this subject already. after reviewing them for a good while i decided to post a fresh one to link to the FAQ sticky as many of them were very specific to a given situation or somewhat dated in terms of listed components. I'll probably link a bunch of them to this thread, feel free to do the same. I'm looking for our most experienced cabinet builders to post in this thread to give those thinking about it a good start.

    thanks.

    Tuning Cabs

    Cabinet Building 101

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    Important For Me Tonight For a Cab Design

    Question For Bgavin and Joris -Avoiding Driver Destruction?

    Building a Cab, Am I an Idiot?

    Need Some Advice ... Cab Building and Speaker Choices.

    Speakers Natural Resonance vs Tuning Frequency

    Need Some X-Over Suggestions For Cab Building.

    Cabinet Tuning Advice Needed.

    Using WinISD To Completely Design a Cabinet.

    Cabinet Nearing Completion ... More advice Needed

    Speaker Building Question
     
  2. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    bump - need replys - :)
     
  3. I wish it could be sticky permanently. There is sooo much info at this site, but one has to be very patient and search for it. There's no perfect search engine to help weed out the unwanted threads, so it's a trial by error situation.
    I have often thought of suggesting a separate forum for cabinet design and building. Judging by all the discussions (alot of them mine!), it would be a popular area.

    Honestly, I've done tons of Google searches for information about bass cabinets and design, and I still find more information right here than anywhere else.

    Thanks for grouping these threads together. It helps..

    Mag...
     
  4. ESP-LTD

    ESP-LTD

    Sep 9, 2001
    Idaho
    I think the thread is a most excellent idea. I think many of the threads will agree that from an economic standpoint, you only build a cab because you enjoy it, and/or because the specific goal you seek is not available commercially. When you price out the components and shipping, you really cannot build a cabinet for much less than Avatar can send you one.

    Once you make the decision to build a cabinet, it's important to choose the right order (and here I suspect the debate will start). You need a clear idea of what parameter you are trying to optimize (size? low frequency response? weight?), what your environment is (do you have a 1kw power amp? do you have biamp capability?) and finally what is your budget for the project (if you only have $200, don't expect to build a good 8x10).

    Only when you have answered all these questions do you start to select speakers for the project.
     
  5. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    good news. THIs thread won't be sticky because otherwise we'd have 20 stickys at teh top of the page which is stupid. However, this thread is linked in the initial post of the FAQ thread at the top of the amps forum which will remained stickied. get it? ;)

    now hopefully we can get all of our cabinet building experts to post some basic and generic information re: how and why to build your own cabinets, and the pros and cons of doing so.
     
  6. Petebass

    Petebass

    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    I do it because it's fun. Everyone needs a hobby. Unfortunately I've got one of those addictive personalities, and my addiction to bass playing has led to other related hobbies, namely live audio and later, cab building.

    Cons - well you don't save any money. Lets dispel that myth right now. And sometimes you're experiments don't work, and that can be deflating. And it seems to be a double edge sword in that it takes a certain type of person to grasp the science of it, and another type of person who's good at the construction part. My carpentry skills are in much need of improvement. So even if the cab sounds wonderful, mine often "look" worse than commercially made cabs.

    Oh... and people are always trying to sell you whatever drivers they've got lying around .............
    "Hey Pete, I've got a JBL E140 at hame. Wanna buy it from me?"
    "No thanks, I'm right for now."
    "Go on - you could build a cab for it!"
    "I don't need another cab"
    "So. Build it anyway. You could sell it"
    "No I couldn't. You've seen what my cabs look like........."

    Someone else 5 Minutes later......
    "Pete, I've got some car subs left over from my younger days. Wanna buy em?"
    ""No thanks, I'm right for now."
    "Go on - you could build a cab for it!"
    "I don't need another cab"
    "So. Build it anyway. You could sell it"
    "No I couldn't. You've seen what my cabs look like........."

    You get the picture :)


    Pro's - it's very rewarding when it all works out. And you can design things that aren't readily available in stores, a bonus for people like me who live in restricted musical instrument markets.

    The biggest Pro for me is learning how do wade through published speaker stats. Learning which specs are meaningful and which aren't.

    I'd like to write more but I really don't know where to start. I appreciate Magento's point about having to be patient and read a lot, but unfortunately there's not a lot you can do about that. There's a lot more involved that just whacking a speaker into a wooden rectangle. There's a lot of science to it, and once you've got a grasp of that, then you've got to deal with the "artistic" side of cab building. By than I mean that there is no universal bass cab that EVERYONE likes.

    I guess the golden rule is that unless the speaker and cab are designed to work together, even great speakers will sound like garbage. This is why buying replecement drivers is frought with danger. 10's aint 10's if you know what I mean. Some like a large enclosure, some like a small enclosure, some go lower than others, some are louder than others. Buy the wrong one for your existing cab, and it won't sound any good. You might get lucky but you probably won't.

    Chosing the right driver means reading up on what "Thiele Small" parameters are. These measured specs, and the formulas that support them determine the cab size and porting. If you're looking to get into cab design, start here. Grab a book and learn these basics. It may seem a by daunting at first but once you understand this part of it, the sky's the limit. Skip this part and you may as well give up. You'll be forced to fumble and bumble around with speaker building software you don't understand and hope that everything is OK, but never knowing for sure..............

    I don't want to write a whole textbook here. I'm just trying to give a basic overview of where I stand on that whole cab builing thing.
     
  7. Passinwind

    Passinwind I Know Nothing Supporting Member

    My carpentry skills are in much need of improvement. So even if the cab sounds wonderful, mine often "look" worse than commercially made cabs.

    I feel the same way. I'm hopeless with power tools, but many people tell me the cabs I've built are the most beautiful bass cabs they've ever seen. No accounting for taste, as they say. :cool:

    In any case, the chance of making something unique looking can be a real "pro" to rolling your own.
     
  8. Do-It-Yourself because you cannot get what you want from a commercial cabinet.

    DIY when highly engineered cabs are not available commercially due to high production costs. The Tuba and DR-series bass horns are prime examples. A commercial cab maker has to charge a small fortune to cover the extensive labor costs and profit markup to build this complex product.

    DIY when a highly engineered cabinet is prohibitively expensive. Sufficient data is freely available to build high quality cabs using off-the-shelf components. Replacing a standard driver is much faster and easier than replacing a proprietary driver.

    In most cases, saving money is not the reason for DIY. Commercial cabs have to meet price points to succeed in the market place. This requires manufacturing economy of scale to prevent the cab price from becoming non-competitive. One method is the one-size-fits-all cabinet. If the manufacturer can offer a 1x15, 2x12, or 4x10 from a single cabinet type, this is a huge manufacturing cost savings. Engineering takes the back seat in this example. DIY cannot compete with mass manufacturers' wholesale purchasing power.

    DIY when you want something unique. The mass market has to stick to the high volume, saleable items. You do not. If you want a mid-bass driver that is time-aligned with the woofer, then build one. The mass market won't do it because of the high labor cost.
     
  9. Crockettnj

    Crockettnj

    Sep 2, 2005
    North NJ
    " If you want a mid-bass driver that is time-aligned with the woofer, then build one."

    is there a short version of how to explain this, or should i jsut start wading through technical stuff and try to put on my EE thinking cap?
     
  10. billfitzmaurice

    billfitzmaurice Commercial User

    Sep 15, 2004
    New Hampshire
    Owner, Bill Fitzmaurice Loudspeaker Design
    Build because it's fun. Build if you want something unique. Build if you want something that you otherwise wouldn't be able to afford. Build if you want better gear than what's available to buy.

    Don't build thinking that it's the least expensive option. Don't build thinking that it's easy. Don't build until you've done your homework.
     
  11. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    As an addendum to what Bill says, "doing your homework" may include trying more than one cabinet design before you settle on something that you are happy with.