Zaph Audio ZA5.2 Speaker Build

  • Advertise with us
Project by Jim Y posted 01-21-2013 08:51 PM 5742 views 6 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

These were our first set of speakers. I decided to go with a proven design and the Zaph kits from Madisound were well regarded. My soldering skills are not up to snuff, so I bought the crossovers pre-assembled.
We found the walnut veneer on CL for a great price and went with the iron on method. Hardest part was wrapping it around the round over on the baffle. We finished them with Watco danish oil by wet sanding it in with the grain on the first coat, and wiping the remaining. I think we applied about 5 coats total.

Sorry I don’t have any assembly pics, this was our first “real” project and we were too wrapped up to grab the camera.

Under the speaker boxes in the second pic, you can see my 1934 Delta Uni. More on that on another post.

8 comments so far

View Gianni's profile


232 posts in 2214 days

#1 posted 01-21-2013 11:47 PM

These turned out nice. I wonder how many of us got into woodworking because of our audiophile habit.

View Jim Y's profile

Jim Y

8 posts in 2192 days

#2 posted 01-22-2013 12:10 AM

Thanks. There are a few whoopsies in there, but I’m very happy with how they turned out.
I had always wanted to try my hand at speaker building. The hard part for me is the designing. I bought the Speaker Design Cookbook and was intimidated by the formulas and graphs. I think that’s what makes the Zaph kits so great. John Krutke did all the heavy lifting with the measurements and testing. All I had to do was build a box.

View BigRedKnothead's profile


8542 posts in 2222 days

#3 posted 01-22-2013 02:08 AM

Cool. Never even thought about making my own speaker boxes.

-- "At the end of the day, try and make it beautiful....because the world is full of ugly." Konrad Sauer

View Tomoose's profile


422 posts in 3613 days

#4 posted 01-22-2013 04:10 PM

Those are awesome – I have long been looking at buying that exact kit and now you have probably pushed me over the edge. Is MDF the way to go since it is so dense and acoustically inert? I think I am intimidated to try veneering…

Can you post a sample of how they sound? ;)


-- ā€œI am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.ā€ Pablo Picasso

View Gianni's profile


232 posts in 2214 days

#5 posted 01-23-2013 12:22 AM

There are aome pretty good online calculators that plot the response and let you tweak the box and port size to see the effect. Much easier than the old days with the scribbles and calculator.

View Jim Y's profile

Jim Y

8 posts in 2192 days

#6 posted 01-23-2013 10:01 PM

After a bunch of looking around, I went with MDF for two reasons – stability and acoustically dead. Also, I had it on hand and I couldn’t seem to rabbet plywood w/o it splintering all to heck.
The PVA iron on method was dead easy and has so far (over a year) held up. I wouldn’t recommend it for a critical application but for covering a speaker box, I think there’s little risk of movement, especially with the MDF as a substrate.

I have seen the online calculators and such, but as adventurous as I am in building a set I haven’t heard, there are at least some reviews on their performance. Eventually I plan to strike out on my own, but not til I build THESE

View Rick1970's profile


8 posts in 1453 days

#7 posted 04-04-2015 02:34 AM

These turned out nice. I wonder how many of us got into woodworking because of our audiophile habit.

- Gianni

Add me to that list.

-- I'd rather be making sawdust.

View Incredibleman's profile


1 post in 779 days

#8 posted 12-04-2016 05:28 AM

I used to use Watco “light walnut” on coffee tables when I did finishing at a woodworking shop. It looked great, but we always would spray lacquer over top to seal it (so you can set your coffee on it).

One time somebody brought one in that was a few years old and it was grey. Apparently the sun fades that stuff.

I read on a speaker forum yesterday, someone suggested rubbing high SPF sunblock on stained wood to prevent sun fading. Never tried it myself.

Since this is a woodworking forum instead of a speaker building forum, you probably all know a lot more than I do, just thought I’d mention it.

Gorgeous speakers though. I’m looking at building Zaph’s ZA5.5tt now. I guarantee mine won’t look as good as yours, but I’m OK with that.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics