building decent monitors???

Discussion in 'Monitoring' started by took-the-red-pill, Jan 21, 2005.

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  1. took-the-red-pill

    took-the-red-pill Active Member

    Jan 10, 2005
    Near Clagary
    Home Page:
    Hi guys.

    I'm hearing that your monitors are very important to the overall quality of your mixes.

    2 questions:

    I was wondering if it is worth building my own? And if so does anybody out there know of some good plans, complete with driver and crossover information?

    Also, is it worth it to build concrete enclosures so the bass isn't escaping out the back of them?

    FYI, I have construction experience that allows me to achieve most anything, even if it hasn't been done before, but my budget is limited.

  2. dasbin

    dasbin Guest

    there are lots of plans for speakers out there, but very little in the way of studio monitors. i'm assuming you already have an amp - otherwise it gets a lot more complicated. don't even think of building active monitors unless you have extensive electronics experience.

    one pair of DIY speakers that i know would work very well in a studio is the ProAC clones.. do a search on Google. however, it has its downfalls - first, they're designed for mid-field listening rather than near-field, so the balance might be weird close-up. second, they're really quite expensive to build.

    below the level of ProAC's, it's probably more worth it to just buy monitors. the mass production economics driving the 'budget' monitors make (some of them) far better than you could build for the same price.

    concrete enclosures are a complicated endeavour. usually only used in fixed-installation subwoofers. i wouldn't recommend trying unless you're an expert speaker builder and know exactly how to achieve the sound you want - which you aren't, because you had to ask this question. MDF is a perfectly suitable enclosure material.

    as a side note... i've been interested in building a subwoofer with a CoverCrete HD-based enclosure. HD is a polyurethane concrete overlay mix that hardens like concrete but is more flexible and will dampen more, not to mention it's way more attractive.
  3. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    On the plus side:

    There is lots of info on the web by searching "speaker building". Companies like Parts Express, have parts, speakers(Maybe good enough maybe not?) and, most important, books on speaker building. You certainly might save money. Some experience building cabinetry(Or at least familiarity with building "lingo"), would be a plus as well.

    Down side:

    No matter how good the individual parts you use and how well you follow the plans, what do you have when you're done?

    Astoundingly accurate, professional quality, critical monitors? Or, nice looking, good sounding, reasonably priced speakers?

    How will you know?

    I think(At least I hope?) that a decent chunk of the money we pay for "store bought" monitors is for the elaborate testing done before, during and after building. The testing alone should be as stringent and professional as the speakers themselves. This is the part the home-builder may not be able to do well - or well enough.

    Inotherwords, the best plans may get one very close - with no testing, perse of actual response. Maybe not. Without the knowledge and equipment to analyze..? And even if one does have the equipment, what do you do to make even slight changes in the sound of the speakers, if you deem such to be neccessary? What do you cut/add/move/replace?

    Can you build speakers? Nice speakers! Yes.
    Can you build critical monitors? I don't know.

    Excellent monitors cost thousands of dollars. Building them might only cost you hundreds. If the interest in building is there, it certainly would be worth your time to read-up on the subject and decide if you could do it. Even if your research says "no", your education would help alot when you eventually go to the store to buy a set...

    Teddy G.
  4. elektro80

    elektro80 Guest

    The way I see it, the only reason you would want to build your own monitors would be to use high end drivers. Very few of the so called studio monitors have really high end drivers. You can also improve the speaker cabinets some. Concrete is a bad idea. Sand is more like it.

    In order to do all this you will need a lot of knowledge and experience. You can just as well spend 1000-2000 USD on some decent monitors and use at least the same amount of money on treating your room.
  5. frob

    frob Well-Known Member

    Apr 23, 2004
    there is also a material cal line-x that is good for speacker enclosers, its used mostly for truck beds and is available in any color.
  6. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    Right On Stein!(As they used to say here, long ago.)

    It would be pretty easy to put the same money into really fancy speakers(drivers) - themselves - as one might put into a complete manufactured set of what we call "high-end" monitors... Though again, knowledge of just how to do that would be paramount. In this case, saving money might still apply, but only "saving" over the price of manufactured "super" monitors(Sometimes dozens of 1000's of dollars!).

    Too, any monitors can sound their best only in
    a proper environment. So spending one's money/time/acquisition of knowledge on how to get the room "right", would always come before buying or building any monitors. Though I suppose a studio designer may have in mind a very particular monitor scheme as they design a room, a good room is a good room to some degree and most any competent monitors might do well in most good rooms - though even there some "after-tuning" of the room/monitor setup may still need to be done.

    You might look around in your own area for some knowledge? Even here in Lancaster County(PA Dutch Country), when I was involved in putting together the first multi-track recording facility for a radio station here, we found there was a well-known "room tuner"/custom speaker builder(A "Dutchy"), within about 5 miles of the station - who offered to come in and make suggestions with hope of receving no more than a "cup of coffee" for his time. Worth a look-see... We did end up buying his speakers. They were very nice. Very nice indeed...

  7. elektro80

    elektro80 Guest

    Yeah, great advice coming from TeddyG.

    Truth be said, you can make relatively decent speakers for your living room using a mix of inexpensive drivers from like Focal, SEAS and others.. and add tweaks that simply will not make any sense economically for ordinary HIFI speaker vendors. The resulting speakers might be musical, pleasing and simply wonderful for living room use.

    One pretty good and straightforward design I can recommend for your living room is this one:
    It is designed by Joseph D'Appolito.

    It is a completely different matter to make truly great studio monitors.

    I reckon room treatment is the place to start... and then shop for monitors. Getting all this in place will not really solve any problems. The really hard thing is to actually learn to use your new room/monitor combo. If time is money, then learning to listen and understand what you hear is where you will be spending your "money"
    However, learning is fun..

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