El Cheapo Mid-Fi Speakers 10


First off, you should know that these were made for getting the best SQ for the smallest amount of money possible. I was a college student at the time and had limited funds, was constantly having people over and did not have the space for my surround sound system in my small bedroom. Came up with these and did the design out of ease and desire to keep the 3D soundstage, only using stereo speakers and small ones at that. In the end, these far exceeded my expectations which is why I made it public, do whatever you want with the idea/design. In fact, I currently use them in my Hi-fi home theater setup as supplemental woofers (their own crossover) on top of my other speakers as they do a lot to increase the soundstage and are especially nice for vocal performance.

These single woofer full range speakers could be made with a Dremel, Glue, and $50. Speaker Amp not included, but it was designed to work well with a Tripath “T” class amplifier which can be had in kit form for $20 (15wpc)

 Parts List:

– 2-part 20min Epoxy in Clear ($5)
– 4x Bamboo Shelf Boxes from Walmart kitchen section  ($4 each) ~$16
– 2x MCM 4″ Shielded Aluminum Woofer in 4ohm version to be powered more easily (notice how it is listed as a woofer, but does well across 60-17k in response? – much better than many single speaker full ranges) and shielded because it would be in close proximity to electronics. ~$27
– 2x sets of Gold Binding posts (for speaker wire) ~$5
– 20AWG Silver plated copper, teflon coated wire (to wire from speakers to binding posts). ~$1
– Silver Bearing solder with no lead (already had quite a bit) ~$0.10

Comes to ~$54.10

Managed to get the speaker parts for free shipping from MCM Electronics as they do run sales frequently and offer free shipping on occasion, sign up for their newsletter of that interests you.

Here was my initial design, but I realized once I had felt the speakers that they would not be all that stable once set at an angle or on stands. It also would have issues with the wave reflections and the Bamboo because it was not super thick.

With some changes, I went with this design as the final.
It works with the Bamboo like a soundboard to create a directed sound wave that creates additional height in the soundstage (something typically lacking in many speakers)
This actually uses the cut out piece from the top of the second box to create the needed backplane for the binding posts and wave direction. This also ensures that there is no wave gap to cause “wonkiness”. 
As far as building them goes, 
– Cut a circular hole out that is 4″ in diameter in the front of the first box (for the speaker).
– Now in the second box, cut out 4.5″x 5.7″ square in the center of the second box. (keep the square)
– Glue the second box face down onto the first box. 
– Place in your speaker in the speaker hole and screw into position (use more epoxy as sealant)

– Attach binding posts to the square made earlier

– Wire up the binding posts to speakers (use twisted pair for your wiring)
– Epoxy the Square to the back of the box. 
It should only take two to three hours to make both using a normal dremel tool and the bits that come with it.
They are quite beautiful too and sound comparable to those which are $300+ a set at your local shops.
   


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10 thoughts on “El Cheapo Mid-Fi Speakers

  • Charlie

    Very cool — This is something I intend to do for myself at some point. To that end: Do you have any links or resources you'd recommend on design considerations when building your own speakers? I'm not very familiar with the subject at the moment, but I do have an enthusiasm for learning. 🙂

  • StacyD

    DIYaudio.com is the BEST place to start. There are a bunch of projects that are stickied and the resources in the people there are well above any other site. DIYAudioProjects.com has a bunch of designs as well as how to go through the design process and what factors to consider. There are plenty of sites where you can get the proper equations for the speaker that you are looking to use, will tell you what type of enclosure and size would work best.

    Full Range speakers are an art form, but perhaps the best places to start as they provide great soundstage, low price, and teach you a lot about mechanical design. When doing multi-driver systems, you have to do the design of the crossovers (calculations required for two or more speakers) in addition to the enclosure and how to best isolate the drivers while having no "gaps" in the sound.

    Partexpress is a major resource for drivers, parts, and thorough design documents as well.

    Best of Luck!

  • Scott

    Good job!! We built a lot of speaker systems like this when I was in grad school – one of the great ways to sharpen them up is to add an inexpensive piezo tweeter – no crossover and it really brightens up the sound.

    Don't underestimate "found" materials for the cabinets – I still have a set made of old kitchen shelves and a friend built a monster set of speakers out of some old concrete-form plywood. The cement saturation made it as dense as sheetrock so there was never any flexing or secondary vibration.

  • kanamin

    I love the enclosure idea! I'm feeling a bit inspired now. Port tuning and whatnot is making me shy away from speaker building though…Also interesting using a woofer as a fullrange… I wonder how it sounds.