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Small speaker design

Discussion in 'd.i.y.' started by mil46, May 19, 2019.

  1. mil46

    mil46 pfm Member

    Hi all, looking to build a decent small speaker. Unfortunately due to space restrictions , I am getting rid of my floorstanders and going for wall mount (via heavy duty brackets) Can either be single driver full range or traditional tweeter/woofer. Typical dims will need to be approx 280 high x 150 wide x 180 deep. These will be driven by Densen 60w cast amp and Questyle PRE/DAC
    I can get the cabinets made myself. Budget up to £800 or so.
    Im a novice but will be an interesting little project. Any ideas out there or designs that anyone has used before?
  2. h.g.

    h.g. pfm Member

    Wall mounting a speaker around those dimensions would require a crossover around 300 Hz or so depending on cabinet size and appropriately positioning the woofer near the wall and midrange/wideband driver far from the wall to remove the effect of the strong reflection off the front wall. For high fidelity this would be a 3 way but fans of single driver speakers are enthusiastic these days about crossing to a woofer around this type of frequency while keeping a smallish wideband driver for all the frequencies above. WAW or FAST are common labels for this approach if you want to google. I am not a fan of wideband drivers myself but the on wall location and your 2-way vs wideband suggestion would seem to make it a natural choice.
  3. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    Wall mounted means that a sealed box is likely best
  4. mil46

    mil46 pfm Member

    Thanks very much. ill get onto it
  5. mil46

    mil46 pfm Member

    any recommendations on driver manufacturers please. I like a nice clear midband and rather the HF wasnt rolled off? Potential to make the speakers a bit wider, say 170 wide so that I can fit a 6 inch driver. Been reading about Fostex and Jordan Eikona?
  6. Chris

    Chris pfm Member

    Robert’s Scalford AR 22 Tribute design used a refoamed AR woofer for the low bass and a Cotswolds BMR from around 300Hz up and optional supertweeters. Never heard them but always fancied having a go.
  7. mil46

    mil46 pfm Member

    Interesting but too big for my needs. cheers
  8. Hempknight

    Hempknight pfm Member

    There are some supprisingly good drivers on Aliexpress, which would be ideal for a first time. They even have some planar ribbon tweeters which you could cross at 300hz.
  9. stevec67

    stevec67 pfm Member

    In that case avoid single driver speakers IME. You want a 2-way.
  10. Manimal

    Manimal Active Member

    A left field suggestion but Zaph (well regarded DIY speaker designer from USA) has an in wall design using his own ZA14 driver. I've a friend who built a false wall a few inches deep to mount these - he's really happy with the result. He went with the ZA5.3iw - MTM. I've built the standmount ZA5.2 - TM vented 2-way and can vouch for the quality of these drivers at their very reasonable cost. See http://www.zaphaudio.com/ZA5/
  11. andrewsutton

    andrewsutton pfm Member

    You could ask IPL Acoustics if their smaller offerings are ok on a wall.
    Cheers Andy.
  12. orangeart

    orangeart KJF Audio Ltd.

    You could just use one of the Mark audio Alpair 11 ms drivers I sell. A box about 8 litres sealed would work well for your on wall position. No problem with either bass or treble extension. The Eikona might work well also but the boxes may end up larger than you want. I do stock those as well so if you are more interested in those rather than the MA drivers I can work out a cabinet for you.
    Hoopsontoast likes this.
  13. h.g.

    h.g. pfm Member

    Continuing the theme of a speaker that is actually designed for wall mounting. The 300 Hz or so crossover would mean a wideband driver in the 3-4" range with 2" drivers being unable to deliver the SPL and larger drivers having even flappier resonating cones with narrower beaming at high frequencies. If you opt for a sealed cabinet (open to debate) then an 8" driver on the side/top/bottom should just about fit. You don't need height if you only have a single 4" driver in the middle of the front baffle. Dropping to a 6.5" driver strongly limits choice because almost all examples on the DIY market are not woofers but midwoofers for conventional 2 ways designed to cross to 1" tweeters at 2-3 kHz not 300 Hz. They are obviously useable but their design will have exchanged some low frequency performance to get high frequency performance.

    The beaming at high frequencies of wideband drivers is one of things that contributes to their characteristic sound but it does mean they tend to need pointing at the listener a bit more than a speaker with a conventional tweeter. Does your wall mounting enable this or will the speakers be fixed at 90 degrees to the front wall?

    Perhaps an example of a speaker designed to be placed on wall might help. This is the Allison CD 8 which uses an 8" woofer mounted on the top next to the wall and a 3.5" midrange mounted on the front crossed at 450 Hz. It uses a tweeter to make a 3 way rather than a wideband driver but the arrangement to remove the large dip in the response at few hundred Hz is the same. Here (scroll to first figure) is an nice illustration of the problem created by placing a conventional 2 way on a wall and allow the strong reflection off the front wall to create a hole in the frequency response. Note this kind of cancellation cannot be corrected in the crossover or with equalisation it has to be either lived with or designed out.
  14. mil46

    mil46 pfm Member

    Thanks very much to all for the very helpful contributions. It looks like a small 2 way is what I will need. I have found a kit that measures 270 x 160 x 160 which is ideal. However Im not sure of the Visaton drivers. Im not an expert but I know all the usual culprits like Seas, Peerless , Audax etc etc. So the hunt is still on.

    Orangeart, I visited your website to try find a number to call you. Can you design something with those dimensions as a 2 way using SEAS/Peerless etc
  15. orangeart

    orangeart KJF Audio Ltd.

  16. h.g.

    h.g. pfm Member

    Apologies for banging on about sound quality but the majority of small speakers these days have a crossover designed for a stand out in the room and not for mounting against a wall. You can see this in the link above for that commercial 2 way which is flat on a stand out in the room (first plot) but has a raised low frequency response approaching 6 dB mounted on the wall (as well as the large dip I mentioned in the previous post). This raised response can be removed in the crossover (unlike the dip) and so you should look for a speaker with a crossover designed for wall mounting. They do exist but don't seem to follow from words like "bookshelf" or "shelf". To confuse the matter quite a few small speakers have a boosted bass even when out in the room to help compensate for missing lower bass frequencies.

    PS Visaton drivers are fine but tend to be a bit expensive relative to better value drivers like SB Acoustics.
    orangeart likes this.
  17. mil46

    mil46 pfm Member

    Thanks again. Im clearly a novice here and some of this technical stuff is going over my head. Ill ask it in another way.

    I need a small speaker to go on brackets (no option on this) , I like an open airy sound, a nice snappy bass. Heavy bass not important (and I wont get it anyway). Can I get this sort of sound from a single full range speaker or, will I be better with a traditional 2 way. I do understand there will be compromises but which of the 2 options will be my best bet.

    I appreciate everyones time and help on this
  18. h.g.

    h.g. pfm Member

    A 2 way using competent drivers and a competently designed crossover will be superior to a good single driver speaker in terms of technical performance. It will need two drivers and a crossover and so will tend to be more expensive unless you compare with boutique wideband speakers. The narrow bandwidth of the high frequencies of a wideband driver imparts a characteristic sound which may or may not be attractive but it does tend to mean you need to toe in a speaker with a wideband driver. To be fair the jump in radiation pattern of the drivers in a 2 way with the tweeter on a flat baffle rather than in a waveguide also imparts a characteristic sound.

    The simplest approach is probably to have a listen to a decent wideband driver and decide for yourself if that is a type of sound that appeals. They are usually present at UK hi-fi shows, Cranage is next month, and orangeart can no doubt point you at one or two other places you might be able to hear them.
  19. orangeart

    orangeart KJF Audio Ltd.

    I will indeed be at Cranage in the Watt room. Come and have a listen. In fact I have some ex demo Markaudio Sota Cesti MB speakers that are well under your budget although a little larger, that might be right up your street. Not DIY but a huge saving and probably cheaper than making them yourself.
  20. James

    James Lord of the Erg\o/s

    I thought the E-IX would be perfect for the OP. Right budget, size (maybe 20mm taller at 305mm) and driving amp with plenty of grunt.
    JimmyB likes this.

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