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 Zaphaudio.com 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)
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.
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 good introduction
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.
Another speaker blog which is worth exploring:
Excellent site on McIntosh by its chief engineer
New French site which is worth a look:
Good Swedish DIY speaker site
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
Good theoretical DIY site
Good site by an electronic engineer
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
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.
LM3886 power op amps in parallel good analysis
Excellent blog on headphones etc.
The comic genius of Mel Smith et al in Hifi shop
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
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:
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
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 legendary Elpico/Vox combination used by Dave Davies of the Kinks
More on using small amps
Good article on guitar effects
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
A little footnote to the Consort tape recorder picture. Courtesy Radiomuseum.org. 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?
The designs presented on this blog may not be used for commercial purposes without my written consent.