is it more economical to "build" my cabs? tips?

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by muhammadsmith, Jul 4, 2003.

  1. i'm kind of strapped for cash, but i'd like a nice bass rig. i wanna invest in a good preamp, a clean power amp (probably a carvin PA unit), and since i'm gonna be direct-inputing to PA's, i'm less interested in investing a lot of money into a great cab. that said, looking at prices for speakers and unloaded cabs, it may be more economical to buy unloaded cabs from avatar or something then buy speakers to put in myself off of ebay? is this gonna be much cheaper than just buying loaded cabs, and is it gonna be something i can learn to do with limited wiring skills (knowing how to solder, etc.)? any tips that people who've built their own cabs can lend me? i think building my own actual cabinet would be beyond my expertise having never really worked with wood, but hell, if you think that's a good idea too say so... thanks in advance for any help!
  2. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    In the pre-Avatar days building a cab was cheaper. Nowdays you build cabs for enjoyment, satisfaction, or if you want something that's different to what is readilly available.

    My home made cabs are econimical but only because I'm in Australia. Ready made cabs cost a bomb here due to transport costs. And Avatar aren't available here. Having said that a local company called "Ebony" is making cab out of Eminence drivers that are cheaper than anything I could build out of retail components.

    I'm also lucky in that I am friendly with a speaker wholesaler who sells me drivers at wholesale prices. All I need to do now is convince him to expand his range of brands :)
  3. mikemulcahy


    Jun 13, 2000
    The Abyss
    Save yourself the headache and buy a good mid priced cab. You can probably come close to your costs by buying say an Avatar 4x10 or a used cab of sorts. Check out the classifieds here. Great deals can be had.

    Good luck.

  4. ESP-LTD


    Sep 9, 2001
    There are some fine raw loudspeakers coming across ebay; there is also a lot of low grade crap readily available. Unless you study cabinet design awhile you can easily confuse the two.

    I have priced it out before, and you can't compete with Avatar. When last I checked, a simple Avatar cab costs about $50 more than the parts. If you buy Avatar you have resale; if you make it yourself it is worth half as much.

    Another good option is buying an empty used cab from a music store; they commonly get such things and pull desireable speakers and the box is pretty cheap.
  5. Absolutely not.


    I build all my own because I cannot find what I want in commercial offerings. Saving money has no part in building my own, because I do not have the advantage of mass purchasing discounts or mass production labor. There is a lot of work that goes into building a cab, and a lot of design work prior to cutting the first board. Your time has value, even if it is strictly being done for enjoyment.
  6. adouglas


    Jun 23, 2003
    Bridgeport, CT
    If you build, be sure to take into consideration the actual, final cost of everything. The cost of a cabinet isn't speakers + crossover + hardware + covering.

    It's all that PLUS screws, wood glue, spray adhesive, the odd tool/drill bit/whatever, solder, etc. etc. ad nauseum. Don't forget to add sales tax since you're buying all these materials locally. If you build, keep all your receipts and add them up. The end result might surprise you.

    Everyone winds up doing a lot of DIY projects eventually, usually associated with owning a home. The hard lesson I've learned after many years is that it's NEVER as cheap as you think it will be. Often it winds up costing as much as double your original estimate, just from getting nickled and dimed to death.

    And if you value your time at all, forget it. Even if you pay yourself far below minimum wage, the cost of doing it yourself is prohibitive.

    So, I second the recommendation to buy an Avatar. It's cheaper.
  7. thumbtrap


    Jun 26, 2003
    This doesn't really change the equation but ... Why does Avatar put them in such tiny boxes tuned so high?
  8. jdombrow

    jdombrow Supporting Member

    Jan 16, 2002
    Colorado Springs, CO
    The problem with DIY cabs is getting as good design. It's not just a matter of building some boxes and putting some drivers in, or even buynig some unloaded cabs and putting in drivers of your choice. Good cabinets have a lot of research behind them to get the most out of the cabinet and the driver.

    There are plenty of good used cabinets on the market.

  9. ESP-LTD


    Sep 9, 2001
    Small boxes are easy to carry and so folks like that idea, and they are also cheaper to build.

    High tuning boosts cab output in the mid-bass region at the expense of low-end response. Most folks have never heard what a flat response sounds like and so are blissfully unaware of what they are missing.

    With the exception of a very few, most manufacturers are guilty of exactly the same things. I respect Avatar for the fact that they tell you what they are doing up front, most manufacturers don't play it that way.
  10. yeah, i'm a cheapskate, i know. i'm gonna have to give in a get an avatar; i see what you all are saying =p

    thanks for all the help

    btw, i think some DIY is good in one sense: it's good to know how to DIY repair musical stuff. it's much easier to buy tuners off of or ebay, or fix ungrounded wires in electric guitars than to take them to a music store. but yeah, i'm looking, and the cost seems like it's gonna be prohibitive to make my own, and i'm not super passionate about doing something like that myself

    hmm... being new to bass amps, i've realized i don't know what flat frequency response is....

    time to start a new thread
  11. thumbtrap


    Jun 26, 2003

    As soon as the machine shop class starts back up this fall - I'm pondering trying to make a bridge & tuners out of bar stock on the Bridgeport. Just because. If I can get my project down to something simple enough to get done in a few weeks of class time and have some sort of educational point to it (ie, like internal single point threading or something else I've never done before) I may attempt it. Cheaper? Bwah aha ha hha haha . Youre kidding right? People who go to the extents of making stuff out of metal have long ago realized about the cheaper part, and do it because we have a deep seated need to be able to prove to ourselves that we can make whatever we need or want, or imagine - just because.
  12. i feel bad for u guy if,in my school kids have the machine shop make the kahler trems for basses,for 10 bucks. the coped mine. i just found they ahve been doing it.
  13. Petebass


    Dec 22, 2002
    QLD Australia
    Come again.......
  14. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    Word! Years ago, I bought these books by a guy named Dave Gingery about making your own foundry, metal lathe, shaper, milling machine, etc... I've done the foundry and actually melted and poured some aluminum billets, (aluminium :) )... Lately, I've been thinking about pouring some bridge castings and finishing them off on a Bridgeport at work... Why??? Like thumbtrap says... 'Just Because' :D

  15. thumbtrap


    Jun 26, 2003
    Yeah, Dave Gingery is a nutcase fer sure. How to make a machine shop with a buzz box and somebody else's machine shop might have been a better series.

    If I do anything (it's not currently developed in my head enough to start) it won't be a Kahler copy (ewwww bass trems you people are sick), but some sort of original interpretation of a straight pull bridge mounted tuners for single ball strings.

    We're pretty far afield of the original topic though. All us nutcases should get our own forum since we keep meeting on other peoples threads.
  16. :D Now THAT'S Funny!!!You could always do that in your spare time, and charge the price of a kahler!If you word your sales pitch right, you wouldn't be lying....


    PS....It's amazing how people will find ways to be dishonest without being directly dishonest.
  17. iam confused by wat u ment , o well.

    im sorry about my spelling but no lie kids in my school have the machine shop make a copy of my trem for 10$ i go to a tech school. go to a tech highschool, and have them make parts for u. all u have to pay for is the metal.