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December 26, 2008 / consort3

Loudspeaker projects

This is a blog about  DIY loudspeaker building.  I hope to publish some reasonably priced projects.  One of the best sites in that genre was but from UK eyes at least most drive units Zaph mentions are not easily available to UK residents.  Big change from the 1970’s when KEF made arguably the best drive units and they were available at cheap prices. From memory in 1971 about £6 for a T27 tweeter, £8 for a B200 woofer and £6 for a KEF crossover, which gave you the components for a Chorale! About £75 for a built pair of Cadenzas (the forerunner of the renowned 104) Listening to Led Zep or Deep Purple with the Cadenza’s going full chat was awesome. Mind you we did blow up a few T27s. For the uninitiated the Cadenza was an ABR design and full chat means with the ABR at max excursion. It was lucky that the reasonable price,  reasonable fidelity Shure M75 pickup and Akai 4000D tape deck came out at the same time enabling one to have a decent system at a reasonable price. I got taken back to those times with this song by the Moody Blues (not Knights in White satin!):

Psychedelic music rools!

Here I try to use drive units readily available with cheap shipping from UK, EU or Ebay suppliers. Among possible suppliers are:

CPC a Farnell company (shame they do not offer the entire MTM range which Farnell also own)

Wilmslow audio

Rapid electronics


Blue Aran

Digikey do the Peerless range with free shipping over £30

I am grateful to Hoge for pointing out Beranek’s Law (1954):”It has been remarked that if one selects his own components, builds his own enclosure, and is convinced that he has made a wise choice of design, then his own loudspeaker sounds better to him than does anyone else’s loudspeaker. In this case, the frequency response of the loudspeaker seems to play only a minor part in forming a person’s opinion.”

I have been recently mainly influenced by Jeff Bagby, the 2 John K’s, (Krutke and Krekovsky) Roman Bednarek, Jon Marsh, Troels Gravesen,  Lynn Olson and Wolf,  all of whom have published work on the internet. The best forums for DIY speakers are the Parts-express, the Diyaudio, HTguide and the AVS DIY speakers and subs, also Hometheatershack. Nice thread by Jeff Bagby on the background:

Note only one European ( Troels) in the list. I forgot to mention Tony Gee Humblehomemadehifi in Holland hardly humble!  I am sure this is because the US suppliers,  Partsexpress and Madisound who have a wide range of drive units avaliable at reasonable prices, do not have equivalents in the UK. Recently even Zaph is complaining about drive unit prices and looking at whole speakers as a source, a thought which had occurred to me. Before them were Thiele, Small  Keele  Fincham, Linkwitz and many others who have contributed to this difficult art. Much thanks to Don Keele for publishing his monumental works on the internet. Not a lot of people know that Laurie Fincham was a bass player which may explain why Kefs had good bass. Vance Dickason reckons that “ultimately, it is an eclectic combination of driver timbre, driver placement, sharp or beveled edges, crossover and low-frequency design, the degree of baffle (cabinet) damping, and the room interface that describe the subjective experience.

This blog also reflects my eclectic musical taste, my interest in unusual cars and other random stuff.

The blog assumes some  knowledge of speaker and electronic design, This blog is a good introduction

Excellent introductory booklet showing how things were done in 1983

A little known speaker-building website is here:

For those of us of a certain age this site will bring back memories:

Back in the day one speaker chassis that was readily available but not highly regarded was the EMI 13X8 There was a better version 14X9 used on Monitor Audio MA3 and B&W DM3 I found a curious homage to the 13X8 here:

I had an idea to use 2 Tangband W69-1042 ellipticals to replace the 14X9 if you are interested contact me.

🆕Excellent Drive unit database:

Another speaker blog which is worth exploring:

Excellent site on McIntosh by its chief engineer

New French site which is worth a look:

Other interesting French sites

Good Swedish DIY speaker site

🆕Good Italian DIY speaker site

Curts Speakerdesignworks

Mark Hennessy’s website, good on BBC speakers and Musical fidelity amps

Jim Lesurf’s website, good on Sugden amps

Jim is also working on a Hi-fi database

What Jim did on Concorde

Good theoretical DIY site

Good site by an electronic engineer

Good site on audio  simulation using LTspice

Good review site for small speakers

Internal photos of Hi-Fi gear

Good objective blog, mostly digital stuff

Blog on digital audio from an erstwhile reviewer

Interesting technical articles

I must be moving to the High end. Here is an appropriate forum

Alternatively if you are a bit boracic

Lots of links

Romy the cats website

Only just found these websites:

I forgot Audiokarma!

🆕Very active British audio-visual forum:

Heard of a Yuichi horn? Here is his site

Useful discussion on French website of the closure of Yuichi’s Geocities site

Not much on the web on active loudspeakers, here are a couple of sites first in German

🆕Specialist bass forum

🆕Retro Hifi forum

Vintage Hifi blog

Diy audio electronics

Loads of amplifier designs

Loads of Valve amps

Good speaker blog

Good free Hi Fi magazine

GR Research have been going since 1995

As they say in Cornwall (the place that taught the world mining and steam engineering) , proper job done on the 3886 power op amp

Amusing definition of Cornish phrases

Considering the pleasant laid back pastoral vibe of Cornwall now it is strange to consider that in the 1790’s it was the Start up of Start ups with Murdock and Trevithick inventing the Steam Loco and the hot technology of the time being strong steam. Cugnot had beaten them to it but his machine was not practical. Incidentally, the Davies Gilbert who was Trevithicks scientific mentor was also the man who collected Cornish Christmas carols.

The unofficial anthem of Cornwall, Trelawny

LM3886 power op amps in parallel good analysis

Excellent blog on headphones etc.

The comic genius of Mel Smith et al in Hifi shop

🆕Now a sales meeting

The Hi-Fi trade used to call us tech-geeks “anoraks” This blog should be re-titled “Confessions of an Anorak” The BBC recently put out an excerpt of a programme on Hi-Fi enthusiasts in 1959 where the overcoat of choice were Duffle coats!

KEF having been going for 50 years! I am thinking of doing a clone of the Blade

If you thought KEF were old Celestion are 90 years old! Must be one of the oldest speaker companies still going. Celestion specialists:

Incredible DIY Nautilus speakers

Talking of old stuff, I recently went to a trad jazz concert. My interest in jazz was awakened around 1967 when a teacher livened up a general studies class by telling us the history of jazz and playing early recordings. Later about 1970 I went to the local pub and there was a band the Washboard syncopaters playing. Amazingly the band is still playing in the same pub.

Stan Getz Desafinado

For those that like their jazz more trad or dixieland Louis Armstrong:

Why Jazz is exhilarating

Lou on the parts express forum has  come up with the 7 stages of DIY speaker addiction. I would say I am somewhere between 6 and 7 Here:

It is uncanny how  that describes my speaker design experience. Your first one works, your second one is fantastic, then you spend 10 years tryng to make one as good as your second one. These days I just hook up the DCX2496 and tweak that until I get what I want. But there is a lot of knowhow in coming up with a simple crossover so I have played with PCD to get a feel of what I need to do. Another guy on the Parts express forum whose postings I like is Johnny Richards, especially as he started with a Radio-Shack drive unit like me (Tandy in the UK)

Interesting article on the acoustics of small rooms:

How to hi-jack power and bandwidth from your mobile phone

You need the 3.5mm headphone jack though
I have just watched the BBC documentary on Jim Marshall of amplification fame. He copied the Fender Bassmaster, Legend has it that he took the feedback resistor off. If its there. presumably it is a high value!

Marshall are moving with the times, here is a Marshall smartphone:

Marshall designer reveals all!

Another pioneer recently departed is Charlie Watkins of WEM. John Lennons 5 watt WEM Clubman amplifier sold at Sotherbys for £54,000 and all Charlie got for it originally was 14 guineas!

Another guy with a similar background to Jim Marshall and Charlie Watkins was Ivor Arbiter, but his forte was drums. More on Arbiter including the legendary Fuzz-face :

Technology of the Fuzz-face

🆕Honey Lantree used Dallas drums


🆕Modulated effects pedal design–An-empirical-approach

I mentioned Marshall and Wem,  the other British amp makers are here:

Last but not least, perhaps the progenitor of British guitar amps, the Vox

The unusual role of Vox in the invention of the Wah -wah pedal

The mathematician behind the auto-tune

The legendary Elpico/Vox combination used by Dave Davies of the Kinks

elpicoelpicobackAbove: the back of the Elpico. If Dave used this as a preamp surely slashing the cone would not make much difference?

More on using small amps

Good article on guitar effects

Why rock guitarists prefer Valve amps

🆕Useful effects pedal site

New way of getting distorted guitar amp sound:

Keep your classic old hardware running:

Wonder where your neodynium magnets come from?

Methinks this article applies to HI-Fi:

What are Veblen goods? Hi-Fi fits the bill apparently

A tractor beam of sound

Interesting article about Cymbal maker founded in 1623

Vintage Consort tape recorder

A little footnote to the Consort tape recorder picture. Courtesy Dansette (1951-1969) were the iconic make of record players back in the 50’s and 60’s in the UK. I was not aware that they made tape recorders as well. There is even a Consort3 model! If anyone has a picture of that model please let me know. They used a BSR TD2 deck. There was a slightly later TD10 model used in language labs, remember those?

Sad to hear that Richard Lord,  founder of REL Acoustics of Sub-woofer fame has passed away. A gentleman of the old school, he offered to market my loudspeakers back in 1993. Alas, I did not take him up on the offer.

Is it time for active speakers?

The internet is a means of archiving. The massive quantity of information sits there, ready to be interpreted, if only something coherent can be extracted from the fog. This blog has turned into my attempt to get something coherent.

What is Audio woo?

🆕Snake oil

🆕What ever happened to the laser turntable? You can still buy one:

🆕It is helpful to know some acoustics:

🆕I wondered why there is not much activity on the forums these days, it seems everyone has migrated to Facebook!

The designs presented on this blog may not be used for commercial purposes without my written consent.


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  1. Mr WordPress / Dec 26 2008 12:13 pm

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