How To Design Your Own Speakers In 6 Steps | Step 1 - The Plan – KMA Speaker Kits

How To Design Your Own Speakers In 6 Steps | Step 1 - The Plan

 

Hello, my dudes!

We're gonna build a speaker together. Yep, we're gonna go through the whole process of designing and building a speaker, starting with this video and blog post. This is it, we wade into the water together with step 1, the plan.

So lets back up for a moment. This is the beginning of series of videos taking you through my design process for building speakers. My plan is to do a number of these series all on different projects, so you can see how the process stays relatively the same but can adapt to different projects.

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THE PROJECT

This first project is a DIY build kit I’m developing for Parts Express. It doesn’t really have a name yet. I’m just calling it PE Kit, for now, maybe I'll come up with something while writing this! We'll see!

The first step of designing, anything really, but specifically a speaker, is coming up with a plan. There are some specific questions we need to answer to efficiently move forward to future steps.

1.) What is this speaker going to be used for?

    Examples: Home theater setup, casual music listening, critical music listening, home theater and music listening, portable casual music listening…

This kit will primary be used for music listening.

2.) Where are these speakers going to be used?

    Examples: Living room, bedroom, on a desk, outside…

I want these speakers to have a wide purpose, from desk speakers to living room listening. So I’m going to write "general". Specificity is best here, but this will work too as long as it gets your mind thinking about the project.

CONSTRAINTS & GOALS

The answers to the above questions will now be used to decide design constraints and goals used in future steps. But there’s a good chance you’ve already been thinking a lot about this project already. So let's list these now.

Constraints

  • Budget
  • Dayton Audio Components
  • Unique
  • 2 Channel Stereo
  • Smallish Enclosure Size

I’m a big believer in constraint being the catalyst for creativity, so remember, the more self-imposed constraints the better. You can always cut back on constraints down the line.

Goals

  • 50 Hz Low End
  • 2 Woofers
  • Thin Front Baffle
  • Simple Construction

Goals are like your wish list. What does this project look like in your dreams? The more specific the better.

THE TWO DECISIONS

This is all great information we'll need to reference as we continue the design process. But there are two really important decisions we need to make right now: enclosure type and crossover type.

These two decisions don't necessarily have to be final at this moment. You can make a decision now, go through the next few steps, decide you want to try something different, come back to a different decision, and move forward again. This step, like most of the design steps in the future, is an iterative process.

But we need to start with something and using our constraints and goals, we can usually narrow options down pretty considerably.

Enclosure Type

I've done a video on selecting an enclosure type that goes into some depth, but the most common enclosure types are: sealed, ported, or passive radiator.

So let's start with sealed. Looking at our constraints list, sealed definitely works to help us stay in our budget because no port means fewer components. It also helps with our simple construction goal for the same reason.

BUT a sealed enclosure doesn’t normally have the bass extension that a ported enclosure has and since we are looking for 50Hz low end a sealed enclosure isn’t the best choice.

Now a passive radiator is a great choice when enclosure size is limited and you are still looking for a good low-end response, so that's a plus. The negatives of a PR is increased cost since you’re adding a component, you're also complicating the construction a bit. On the positive, it can add to the uniqueness of the project. I don't see passive radiators in many kit projects.

This is where your project priorities come into play and these are mostly personal to your project. In this particular case, I think I can still stay in budget while using a port or maybe a PR and I don’t think adding either will complicate the project enough to give up the low end.

So I’m going to stay away from sealed in this case and go with a ported enclosure or maybe use a PR design if my budget allows it. 

Crossover Type

I also have a video on selecting a crossover type, but some examples of crossover types are 1-way, 2-way, 2.5-way, and 3-way. With the most common being a 2-way crossover setup.

The number refers to how many times the audio spectrum is split. So a 1-way or point source isn’t split at all, the full audio spectrum is delivered to the listener through one speaker. In a 2-way crossover, the signal source is split into two frequency bands, the highs go towards the tweeter, and the lows go to the woofer(s).

This is a pretty easy choice for me, I’m going with a good ol 2-way crossover. So I’ll be adding a tweeter to this project.

THE END

So that's pretty much it for step one. Just make a plan! I hope I’ve added enough hard points and questions to make the outline of the plan a little easier, but that gets you started!

I’m not certain when step two will come out, but I’m hoping for next week or the week after. I want to start putting out more regular content, so look forward to that.

Until next time!

-Kirby


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