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Here is the worlds cheapest subwoofer project designed by Ed Schilling.
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Thanks Bruce! Guys, it is not a joke. I'm using a Crown XLS 1000 amp for the sub amp. I use a 1% 600 ohm resistor to knock the signal from my CFA or F5 speaker outputs down to a reasonable level for the Crowns RCA inputs. A plate amp with speaker level inputs has also been used with great success but the Crown is bad ass. I'd get the 1500 if I were to do it over.....only because the s/n ratio on the 1000 is the worst of all in the series (97db vs. 103db). Even so, it rocks. We tried them with Henry's XLS 2500 as well....holy crap...but since I'm cheap and a freaking 1000 (!) claimed watts in bridged mono into 4 ohms is still overkill and is much cheaper than the 2500 I went with the !000.
I have tried stereo, I built two, and so should you but I run mine in parallel for 4ohms and run the amp in bridged mono with the low pass set to 63hz. I use a "Y" connector to combine the 2 channels for the Crown. The resistors seems to protect the F5 and CFA from having the outputs "y'ed" together but be careful and make sure your amp can tolerate this connection if you go this route. This is a "free to you all" project. I'm not selling anything and it is not a money maker at all for me. It is for all you guys that are like me......you want something that kicks ass, is almost free, have a wife that lets you get away with the strangest things in your house, and you value performance above style. I'll be happy to answer any questions..... Ed ps.....when I built the first one I knew it was "killer" and told Brian at Madisound he should sell "buckets of these once people find out about it" (pun intended). So if you do order a pair of drivers please try and get a note to Brian what they are for.....Madisound has been good to me and I'm happy to help them sell a driver that is so freaking awesome in such an easy to build project. I don't get a kick back! Order 2......otherwise you'll wish you did and besides you'll have concrete left over and buckets are almost free!
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Now that is really cool, Ed!!
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Most excellent Ed! I have a mono-sub, an old KLH that's been in my life forever. And while conventional thinking says mono is fine for subs, there are a few camps that say stereo subs will improve the image and soundstage.
My head is swimming at the moment because I just started the journey into open baffles and the miniDSP toys. Eventually I will need to add some 30-60Hz subs. Yours look simple, compact and affordable enough to build two. I'm thinking Bruce needs to design a nice, quiet subwoofer amp. In my research I've found that there are many plate amps out there being used to power subwoofer systems. Their owners extol the virtue of how great the sound is, but when you drill down for details you inevitably find that these systems emit levels of hum that I would find unacceptable. It's amazing how many "audiophiles" there are out there that have never heard a truly quiet amp and think hum is somehow the price of admission. Not!
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Alan, yea, it sure seems that stereo subs close to the mains would be best. I just hate it when what seems best turns out not to be! I used one, then 2 in stereo, then 2 in mono as described. The mono config. clearly integrated better and they just disappeared. I've not dug the RTA out so I have no idea of the response but I can tell you this, playing "Bye, Bye Baby" off Madonna's Erotica with the levels set correctly I started cutting the system up and before we ever heard a hint of distortion or compression the thudding bass made my Cal. Delta transport skip like an LP! That song pressurized my room, it was insane. Then we put on John Prine and Iris Demint and they were in the room....no bloat at all. Most any amp will work as a sub amp if you can deal with or have an electronic xover....the signal can come from the main amp speaker terminal Like I use. The Crown XLS series are dead quiet. My 1000 cost 259 bucks delivered and has all the features needed, $260 + 140 (pair of drivers) + 15 for 2 buckets and lids + ~25 bucks for concrete, screws, feet and silicone. Not much money for 2 subs, a proper amp and an hour of time! You only need make the cable to connect the Crown to your main amps speaker terminals. Keep in mind, I actually build a small bass augmenter to sell and can certainly build a wood enclosure. Will I build a box for those drivers? Not a chance, worse than that, these things are better than my Cube. This would be upsetting to me except I'm about performance for the buck, not about "making a buck". If I can save folks a dime, I'll do it so long as it's not "false economy". Don't get me wrong, the Cube is very small, prettier and does it's job well. These are not pretty, cost nothing really and are better performers. Dang it! So what do you think I'd recommend for someone looking for "bass"? Have fun guys and please do report back if you build a pair, feedback is a good thing! Ed ps.....you'll be shocked at how little the bucket vibrates....you'd think it would shake, rattle and vibrate....nope, dead as a doorknob.
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If these open baffle speakers work out, I'm thinking about selling off all my Altec gear except the 604Ds. That will free up audio cash to the tune of $5-6K, so I'll have a little $$$ to invest in a decent sub system. The Tang Band W8-1363SB are double the price of the Peerless, but they spec out pretty well with a 12mm Xmax. Anything I'm missing in using them in your design, Ed?
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don't take this wrong! I'm not trying to be harsh! Yes, there is a problem. A speaker is a please not a collection of parts. Substituting the driver makes it a completely different system. It could be better it could be worse. It is impossible to predict. My "design" is valid only if built exactly as described! system The use of the bucket and the concrete to stiffen and eliminate "drum effects" in the lid are creative for sure but it is the sum of the parts that makes it good...... Here is an example of how things can be "better" but not "better".......... The original driver in my Cube was a Tang Band neo sub driver. It had lots of xmax and handled plenty of power. It "worked just fine". The "problem" was it was light! The Cube at high outputs could literally walk across the room! Sticking a plant on it helped....bricks were better! This only happens at high levels but long before it runs out of output it would start walking on a hard floor. So I looked at other suitable drivers with conventional magnets. I found the Peerless 6-1/2". The "rithmatic" said it would work in the enclosure but it had half the xmax which was troublesome. The good news is that it weighed a LOT more. The end result was virtually the same performance and the weight went up enough that it no longer traveled across the floor. And the Peerless was cheaper! The xmax turned out to be a non issue. Point is, one never knows, experimenting is good, I encourage it but when building speakers any thing other than building as described means you've built "something else". exactly I appreciate the question and sincerely hope you do not think I was "preaching" to you! I think we discussed this in the "can I use thin wood thread" I'm very consistent here, ask me how I feel about subbing "better parts " in a kit I'm putting together before I've built it as supplied! Ed
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Hey Alan, nope on the DSP but I have a friend who is starting to mess with it.
The short answer on the driver would have been......"not tried it". I'm good where I am but I'd not be disappointed if you tried one of each and reported your findings No one building a pair of these things will regret it, unless their wife kills them for bringing buckets into the living room. To avoid that I built a decorator model. Ed
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Ed, maybe you can place a small table cloth over it, or place it under one of those 3 legged decoration tables with a table cloth put over and place a nice plant on top of it. Wife may love that
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Ed, So cool! "Hill Billy Deluxe" I have to build a pair. I like the real tree decorators touch, but I think I will spray mine with a coat of truck bed liner, in the tradition of the Arizona Sand Billy.
Thanks for sharing.
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Any chance you could measure the response quickly, just to see about where the 3db down point is?
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Hey Steven, nope. All my equipment is buried in my "room from Hell" and I'm way too busy to drag it out and fool with it. I have a dedicated computer for measuring speakers and other things. It's buried too. When I get all the stuff I have to do done I'll spend some time and take some measurements but really I am not too interested in the numbers. Knowing them won't make it better or worse....and they are "stupid good" as "bass augmenters/subwoofers". I've got about 40 years experience building speakers and I've built some insane TL subs. These are "stupid good" for moderate outputs in a "normal room". Build 2 pair if you want "stupid high output".
Wish I had better news for you. Just build a pair or two . Ed
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Thanks and no worries, good enough for me I've been following you for years but am in Australia so everything doubles in cost (or more) with shipping prices. Still, I'll get a quote for the subs and an amp to augment my GR Research Super Vs Thanks again, Steve.
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About fifteen years ago I built a pair of sealed, two-way monitors using ceramic chimney tile, with 3/4" front baffle and back panel glued to the enclosure with lack silicone. Drivers were Seas and Vifa, with a simple first order network. The front baffle was sloped to align the voice coils. I welded together some very nice 18" stands, filled with sand. They imaged fantastically well, though needed some power behind them. Modified from a previously published article (I built the original first, by the way, but preferred the sound of the more simple, parallel network to the original, series crossover).
I happened to glance at some large, nicely-glazed ceramic planters on sale outside the grocery store the other day, and, with the five gallon bucket subwoofer in mind, pondered the use of the heavy ceramic planters for sub use along with either a 10" or 12" driver. The tops of the planters were flat, and would lend themselves perfectly to the a correctly sized, round piece of plywood with a driver cut-cut out. I would prefer to screw the driver onto the board. The enclosure could then be drilled for binding posts.
Certainly this would cost more than a bucket, but it's an idea I'd like to try for myself. The aesthetics would lend themselves very well to our furniture and room design. My ever-patient wife has put up with some pretty crazy projects in the living room for more than twenty years. I'd like to design something that both sounds good and does not take away from the hard work she has invested in making our living room look nice. And I'll save the five gallon bucket sub for a small system in the attic space I built-out for amp building and repair!