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speaker build

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Blog entry by haskins posted 01-08-2015 11:59 PM 1822 reads 0 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In the planning stage now. We got the tritrix kit (speakers only) for christmas. See link below.
I picked up a sheet of plywood for the build, but after doing some reading im not sure if i got the right material. Mdf is more commonly used. I dont think accoustically it matters to me but from an effort, cost, and appearance route it might. The mdf will have less tearout for the routed speaker recess and edges but the plywood will be easier and maybe cheaper in terms of the big surfaces. I’m weary of veneers and some of the special paint. If i went the plywood route i dont know if i could get away with mitered corners (haven’t seen that done) or if i would be better off with edge banding. Trying also to minimize the cost but not to the point of spraypainting it. Welcome any thoughts.

http://www.parts-express.com/parts-express-tritrix-mtm-tl-speaker-components-and-cabinet-kit-pair--300-702

-- father son woodworks



18 comments so far

View altendky's profile

altendky

169 posts in 1673 days


#1 posted 01-09-2015 01:53 AM

I built a couple sub boxes awhile back with 1” MDF. I can’t say I’ve heard a plywood speaker but even old and cheap speakers use particle board (I think that’s the right term). I used the lock mitre bit but it certainly didn’t provide much bending strength. I think it will end up ok as a whole unit though. I also used the Spax screws available at Home Depot though I remember reading lots of recommendations of confirmat screws. I’ll try to get my pictures up somewhere and answer any questions you’ve got. Not that my answers will be right, but perhaps they will help you come up with your own better idea. :]

View wunderaa's profile

wunderaa

243 posts in 1666 days


#2 posted 01-09-2015 02:08 AM

Bought the kit several years ago from PE and did the build. MDF is definitely the way to go for speakers, but quality plywood (baltic birch specifically) can be used without issue. I originally planned to veneer, but I was worried about the size and the roundovers. Doable but I didn’t want to learn veneering on such a large project. I ended up priming and painting them jet black, then polishing to a mirror finish. 6 years on, they still look and sound amazing. Not much in the bass department by design, but pair well with a subwoofer. Look forward to seeing what you decide to do!

View haskins's profile (online now)

haskins

126 posts in 701 days


#3 posted 01-09-2015 03:08 AM

I’m in the same boat regarding not learning how to veneer on this project. Painting sounds like a good option. PE carries a paint/roll on coating as well that is made specifically for speaker.

http://www.parts-express.com/acry-tech-duratex-roller-grade-speaker-cabinet-texture-coating-black-with-textured-3-rolle--260-100

From the mfg.
http://store.acrytech.com/Speaker-Cabinet-Coating-DuraTex-Roller-Grade-Black.html

It has favorable reviews but is pretty pricey.

Thanks for the input guys

-- father son woodworks

View altendky's profile

altendky

169 posts in 1673 days


#4 posted 01-09-2015 03:25 AM

I got my pictures posted, just in case. I did plan to do a black texture (months later and still not finished, so it goes), though I was going to go with a spray can bedliner and they were going to go behind the seats in my pickup. The TriTrix sort of speaker doesn’t really look to me like a professional sound production or pickup speaker so I would personally tend towards something a bit sleeker.

View haskins's profile (online now)

haskins

126 posts in 701 days


#5 posted 01-09-2015 05:52 AM

Altendky, thanks for the pictures. Its nice that you have a cat willing to guard your projects while the glue dries..ha. i have looked at the router circle cutting jig you were using. Cutting circles with the router is new for us. Would you recommend the one you have over making one. The kit im doing has concentric recessed holes to be cut. I saw pe had black screws with rear anchors http://www.parts-express.com/cat/speaker-mounting-kits/315. I’m going to have to order a terminal plate from them or amazon.

One thing is this kit is not very complete and the instructions leave a lot to be desired. Thanks for all the info

-- father son woodworks

View EEngineer's profile

EEngineer

1061 posts in 3076 days


#6 posted 01-09-2015 12:58 PM

I have been building speakers for a long time now. Acoustically, the material does make a difference. MDF is best – it has more mass (hell, it is more than 50% glue). Furniture plywood (9-16 plys) is next best – again, I think the extra glue content helps and they go to extra lengths to eliminate voids. Last on the list would be construction grade plywood (5-ply 3/4”) – voids and knots that you can’t even see lead to odd resonant effects in large panels and it isn’t nearly as massy or as stiff as furniture grade ply or MDF.

I have done mitered corners on furniture grade plywood boxes with good results. The corners never come out quite perfect on big boxes but careful work can keep the mismatch within the top good layer of ply and make them look as good as if you did them out of solid wood.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View altendky's profile

altendky

169 posts in 1673 days


#7 posted 01-09-2015 01:10 PM

The cats will sit on anything new, even if they end up with a drill bit jamming into their belly. I went ahead and bought the circle jig because, well, I like buying things and sometimes I don’t bother resisting it. I’m sure a home made one would work just fine and in some cases might actually be better. Having the array of predrilled center holes does allow you to just pick a center without any adjustment, though then you don’t have any adjustment if you want to fine tune. I think it ends up being a personal preference. The 1/8” pin that came with it rusted up so I just use the shank of 1/8” drill bits instead now.

Since I did a double front baffle to get flush mount drivers and still have a beefy baffle (plus, it’s a sub box not standard speakers) I had the issue of aligning the two holes in the two baffle pieces so you’ll see I didn’t cut the whole way through all the way around. Assembled them together using the same 1/8” holes used for the circle jig to align the pieces while gluing and then cut out the tabs and then finish with a flush trim bit. Will you be doing a single piece front baffle? I don’t know material thicknesses you are looking at or if you are going for a fully flush driver mount.

If I have to order fasteners I tend to get them from Fastenal (like the #10-32 socket cap bolts for this) but I did order the hurricane nuts from PartsExpress. I wasn’t too keen on the big spikes of standard T-nuts when used so close to the edge of the material. I did spread some glue on the nuts before inserting them (and made sure to keep it out of the hole). Inserted them and let the glue dry with the bolts clamping them in place. I think a couple had a little bit of issue with their threads so check before you insert them, but mostly I think my issues were imperfect alignment. Also, if you aren’t picky about it you can always just screw the drivers in. Generally that will work fine since it’s not like the drivers are getting removed daily. Also, again there is potential for difference between a sub and standard drivers given the massive difference of, well, mass.

I decided to make my own recessed terminal plate and use their individual binding posts. Just an appropriately sized and shaped hole so you can still get your fingers around the nut to tighten it. Then a backing plate (more MDF in my case) with the binding posts attached inside the box. I’ll post those pictures later if I find them.

As to material, it was my understanding that the MDF also provides more damping than other materials due to the well mixed composition of glue and wood. Don’t discount your ability to hear the difference. Certainly, if you build one set of speakers and listen to only them you won’t know what accounts for their sound but I wouldn’t be surprised if you could hear the difference between plywood and MDF given the opportunity (not to say that I have had the opportunity myself). If your ears want to be discerning they probably can be.

FYI, the kit says it was supposed to come with a pair of binding posts.

View haskins's profile (online now)

haskins

126 posts in 701 days


#8 posted 01-09-2015 04:03 PM

Looks like i need to grab some mdf and run by the local fastenal store. Yes i was going to shoot for recessing the front speakers. I shoud have plenty of material in a sheet to learn on if necessary. I watched a veneer video or two so i may try and do that too.

It seems that many people dont put any type of front cover/grill on. Yeah it looks good but I can just see it getting poked or hit, so i’ll probably try and make something. It will probably double as a way to hide any mistakes on the front. PE has a plastic kit but its like $50 for two.

Once this thing is sealed up i’m not sure how you access the crossover should something fail. One build i saw, the guy made a base and put his crossover in it. It doubled as a means of stability as these are tall and narrow. I’ll probably try and wire it up and mount it all so that it can be pulled out of a front speaker hole. I guess hot glue will hold extra wire out of the way.

Thanks again for all the input.

-- father son woodworks

View PoohBaah's profile

PoohBaah

41 posts in 1004 days


#9 posted 01-09-2015 05:25 PM

Check out the Drunken woodworker on youtube. He recently made new boxes for his speakers out of Walnut plywood and they look amazing.

View haskins's profile (online now)

haskins

126 posts in 701 days


#10 posted 01-12-2015 06:07 AM

Routed speaker cut outs with opportunastic holes in router base, added a few new ones through the plastic faceplate. Wished i had one of the dedicatdd jigs. Anyway all fit good checked with speakers.

Decided on building Tall boy version which is 48 inches. If i had cut very carefully instead of overcutting each piece and inch or two you could get the whole speaker out of 1 sheet. I have a sheet of the right kind of birch plywood and will use that for the top and bottom..horizontal pieces. mixing mdf and plywood? I Did not account for the mdf being 49 inches wide so we have to trim the bottom this week. I will add some kind of base, work on the crossover, and finishing details.

The front port version of this speaker is supposed to let you put it closer to the wall. The taller version also gets the highs closer to ear level.
Semivisible crossover? The other alternative is a strip of birch plywood to close up the open back portion and make it more of a solid back.

I may modify the back bottom inert portion of the speaker to make it look more like a stand.

-- father son woodworks

View altendky's profile

altendky

169 posts in 1673 days


#11 posted 01-12-2015 12:34 PM

Being the smallest pieces, I would expect the damping properties of the top and bottom to be the least important. If plywood goes anywhere then that’s probably the best. You might also be able to get a 2×2 or 2×4 piece of MDF to finish it off without a whole sheet leftover. :] Anyways, looking good, I bet you’ll be hearing the music in no time.

View wunderaa's profile

wunderaa

243 posts in 1666 days


#12 posted 01-13-2015 01:29 AM

Here’s some pics from my build. Keep us updated!

View haskins's profile (online now)

haskins

126 posts in 701 days


#13 posted 01-13-2015 06:27 AM

Woneraa, that is very shiny. What is your surface painted with? I was thinking about using the acry tech coating (PE) but maybe i won’t now. Also, how did you attach your grills. Very nice build, I’ll be happy if ours turn out half as good.

Got the speaker inserts placed today. Not much margin for error on drilling those holes. Trip to home depot and fastenall to get the parts, neither had everything i needed. Working on crossover next and to try and figure out the base.

-- father son woodworks

View wunderaa's profile

wunderaa

243 posts in 1666 days


#14 posted 01-14-2015 12:20 AM

Great progress!

The grills are magnetic. I buried neodymium magnets in the face and have felt covered washers on the frames. Also put a grill on the back to keep out dust.

For the paint, I chose an automotive paint and primer. No spray system so I brushed on and sanded. And sanded. And polished. And polished. Doing it again, I would find someone with a spray booth!!

View haskins's profile (online now)

haskins

126 posts in 701 days


#15 posted 01-20-2015 01:04 AM

More pictures.
Oil based, high solid primer sealer
acrylic paint

-- father son woodworks

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