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  • My other interest...

    I've been admiring J6's cue thread and mentioned I make hifi speakers for myself and as commissions for other people. I've probably built 10 pairs, number one is my own which have formed the backbone of my system for a couple of years, one set are demo beaters to give people and idea of how they'd sound in their own room and setup and the rest were commissions. My cabinet work and finishing is still a work in progress but getting better all the time, as it improves I charge a bit more for the speakers.

    These are my own, not the best cabinet work but sound brilliant, for the hifi buffs they're a high efficiency (101db at 1W) bottom firing back loaded horn design with a separate front loaded dipole compression tweeter.



    This is a picture taken at a hifi show of the two latest builds, they are the same basic design as my own pair (as I'm a big fan of it as they are easy to place in a room and sound very natural) but with different size and type of drivers, the biggest difference is in tweeter quality, the later designs get 90% of the performance of mine for 40% of the cost (mainly due to tweeter).



    Also on the bottom two shelves of the rack is a home made phono stage (for amplifying the tiny signal from the record deck) and a home made dac (it improves the sound from a cd player and contains a streamer for listening to music from a computer). Why do I do all of this? Well the answer is I can't afford to buy kit of the quality that I can build, the supply line from manufacturer to customer multiplies the cost of materials and labour by between 6 and 8 times on average.

  • #2
    Is that a valve amp on the left? Looks sweet. I build guitar FX pedals for the same reason, well I used to, haven't done any in a while. That fuzzface that Hendrix used, you can buy them for about £100, the circuit has about 15 components in it, most costing pennies. Would love to build an amp someday.

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    • #3
      It is, not one I've built but so good and cheap (secondhand) that I can't build one to match it at the money it owes me. I am starting to mess around with solid state class A though which sounds like a valve amp without the fragile glass bits....

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      • #4
        Looks great .

        Do you need to do calculations and stuff on the dimensions of the boxes to get the correct type sounds.?

        I know nothing about that kind of stuff . I did used to build subwoofer enclosures for friends cars when I was a teenager . A sub or two and then a Perspex viewing window for the AMP . Nothing special

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        • #5
          good work des, looks impressive. how long does it take to build from start to finish? and what kind of wood finish do you use if any?

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          • #6
            The first ones took about 3 days to make the cabinets. The drivers need about 200 hours of running in and then about 2 hours to assemble them into a usable state.

            The last pair had two coat of sanding sealer with a very fine rub down after each and then two coats of a good wax polish. It makes them easy to repair the finish on if they get knocked.

            The small ones are white high gloss finish with an iron face and foot plate. I used vinegar on the iron to get a speedy rusted surface that's slightly uneven. I then clearcoated the rusted plate, gives them a modernist/industrial kind of look.

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            • #7
              My other interest...

              very nice looking kit

              silly question maybe but why so long for the driver(s)?
              Up the TSF!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Catch 22 View Post
                Looks great .

                Do you need to do calculations and stuff on the dimensions of the boxes to get the correct type sounds.?

                I know nothing about that kind of stuff . I did used to build subwoofer enclosures for friends cars when I was a teenager . A sub or two and then a Perspex viewing window for the AMP . Nothing special
                These were designed by a well known speaker designer as a bit of a sideline. I did some test builds for him and redraw them for him with a few changes. I could go that route but it'seems been done before so I decided to fine tune rather than reinvent something that's already well known.

                Dean the drivers are modified PA units with very stiff cones and strong magnets. Being a mechanical system they need time to loosen up, the ones in my own speakers were still, slowly, improving after 300 hours. They produce more bass and the midrange settles back into the sound stage over time, they will also get louder as they bed in for the same volume setting on the amp.

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                • #9
                  My other interest...

                  thanks for the explanation

                  I like the rust look, but first thought it was a burr wood of some kind
                  Up the TSF!

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by DeanH View Post
                    thanks for the explanation

                    I like the rust look, but first thought it was a burr wood of some kind
                    I've built an identical set for my eldest so can take some closer images, I'm really pleased with the end result

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Despearce View Post
                      The first ones took about 3 days to make the cabinets. The drivers need about 200 hours of running in and then about 2 hours to assemble them into a usable state.

                      The last pair had two coat of sanding sealer with a very fine rub down after each and then two coats of a good wax polish. It makes them easy to repair the finish on if they get knocked.

                      The small ones are white high gloss finish with an iron face and foot plate. I used vinegar on the iron to get a speedy rusted surface that's slightly uneven. I then clearcoated the rusted plate, gives them a modernist/industrial kind of look.
                      i recon your on to something here des, what would that set a music lover back for a sound system like yours?

                      and what is your work area like, seems to be a lot of sanding work?

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by j6uk View Post
                        i recon your on to something here des, what would that set a music lover back for a sound system like yours?

                        and what is your work area like, seems to be a lot of sanding work?
                        Hmmmmm, is the boss looking? The large ply speakers I've just built would have to be around £1100 for me to make a reasonable profit but you'd spend £3k minimum to match them new, the smaller ones in ply would be £450. All of the electronics are secondhand or diy, the turntable was £300 secondhand plus £300 for the cartridge new(stylus as DJ's would call it), the phono stage cost £400 to build so you'd spend £1800 to match or beat it usually. The amp was £500 secondhand but would be £1500 new and the DAC (digital to analogue converter) cost around £750 to build (I know at least one guy who sold a £6000 DAC after getting one of these made for him.

                        Thing is you can get 90% the sound of my setup for under £1k using the smaller speakers I build, buying a decent cd player, dac and amp secondhand for £500 and enjoying it. The trick is knowing what kind of sound you like and what kit goes together to get you there. The mantra is speakers first and up to half of the budget for them but ensuring they work in your room.

                        I've had a serious system for 20 years, been building the electronics for 10 years and speakers for 2 plus so have lots of experience with matching kit (I do hifi kit reviews for a couple of websites as well). I'd happily help anyone who wants advice if they're interested, it really doesn't have to cost a fortune. I recently bought a set of speakers that are 25 year old, cost £600 new and I paid £60 with stands for the middle one of the 3 boys, are they as good as mine, no, but still sound great on the end of a decent cd player and amp.....

                        I work in our cellar at the moment in bad weather and the back yard when it's dry and sunny. not great but at least the cellar is dry and stays a constant 4-5 Centigrade all year round

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                        • #13
                          Why did the cartridge and stylus cost £300? I remember the good old days of ruining records with a 2p stuck on the cartridge, most Dj's wouldn't even know what a turntable is these days, I'm not sure why being a DJ is still a thing TBH.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by jonny66 View Post
                            Why did the cartridge and stylus cost £300? I remember the good old days of ruining records with a 2p stuck on the cartridge, most Dj's wouldn't even know what a turntable is these days, I'm not sure why being a DJ is still a thing TBH.
                            2p! ouch

                            1/2p was usually enough

                            [how many TSFers out there are scratching their heads not knowing what we are on about ]
                            Up the TSF!

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DeanH View Post
                              2p! ouch

                              1/2p was usually enough

                              [how many TSFers out there are scratching their heads not knowing what we are on about ]
                              1/2p ehh, them were the days lol, my son throws 1p, 2p, 5p and even 10p away, i'm forever telling him to stick them in a jar

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