Putting together your own custom speakers is not dissimilar to building a car. It can help to take a holistic approach because there are so many elements to consider.
Stop for a moment and focus on what your aims are along with what could have the biggest impact on them. Size, performance, budget and the quality of the components are going to be 4 of the key players.
Read on to find out what goes into building a custom-built speaker system to be proud of.
Some Key Considerations
How you intend to use your speakers should be one of your first considerations.
It’s going to have a crucial impact on your choice of drivers, the grill, the enclosure and the speakers’ size.
So, for example, do you plan to use your speakers indoors or outdoors? Do you need speaker cones that can withstand high levels of humidity?
Having an idea of how loud you need your custom-built speakers to be and what kinds of sounds they will be reproducing will also be critical. They’ll have a direct impact on the powering requirements of your system.
The sound pressure level (think volume) gets measured on a log scale in decibel sound pressure level (dB SPL). A single decibel is the smallest perceptible change in sound level that the human ear can detect. Here are a few examples:
- Speaking in a whisper – 15 dB SPL
- Regular conversation – 60 dB SPL
- A lawnmower – 90 dB SPL
- A jet engine or rock co- 120ncert dB SPL: about the threshold for pain.
The chances are you may not have endless space for the speakers you want. The depth, diameter and any required weight limitations you have will be key factors when selecting the materials that will go into making your speakers.
Ultimately the quality of what you put in your enclosure will determine how good the sound is that comes from it. Quality counts and that’s why we would always recommend going for transducers, drivers, coaxials, horns and crossovers from expert manufacturers. These include Eighteen Sound and B&C, 2 of the best in the industry.
Despite both companies having their headquarters overseas, we’re able to offer you the opportunity to create DIY speakers online by supplying you with their components directly to your front door.
The Anatomy of a Speaker Explained
A driver is the generic name of a part of the speaker. The tweeter is a driver for high-frequency sounds. Another element is the woofer, a key driver that produces lower frequencies. The subwoofer (sub) is a speaker that reproduces low-pitched audio frequencies most commonly referred to as the bass.
Every sound system, that includes the one in your car, needs a crossover to direct sound to the correct driver. Subs, woofers and tweeters should get low, mid and high frequencies respectively.
Coaxial loudspeakers let sound from 2 drivers originate from one single source. This allows for a wider field of listening to a synchronized combination of speaker drivers. This is when compared with loudspeaker enclosures that contain physically separated drivers.
A transducer receives a signal in the form of one kind of energy and converts it to a signal in another form. In effect, they take electrical energy and turn it into sound. The central components of most transducers are a moving coil and a diaphragm. It is the cone of the speaker that emits the sound.
The physical size of speaker drivers corresponds very closely to the sound. For instance, for a good bass response, you’ll need to be able to physically move a lot of air. The only way to do this is with a large speaker. We’d always suggest going for a manufacturer like Eighteen Sound or B&C as they have such an extensive variety of quality drivers in different sizes.
If you want a high-frequency response you’ll need a small speaker cone that gets moved rapidly. These differing requirements are why you have bass, midrange and treble speakers so you split the frequency ranges to the appropriate drivers.
A woofer tends to reproduce frequencies below 150 Hz and will almost always be 5 inches or larger. A midrange driver is best for sounds from 100 Hz up to 4 kHz or 5 kHz. They are normally 2.25 to 5 inches in diameter. A tweeter is smaller still and best for higher frequencies from 2 kHz to 20 kHz.
Always Put Quality First
B&C has the full range of drivers you’d expect from a quality manufacturer. These are going to maximise your listening experience. We offer B&C speakers from 1 inch to 21 inches. If there’s a specific speaker part you want that you don’t see on our website, we can check with the manufacturer for you and order the component, especially for you.
The Eighteen Sound products we sell are the result of exclusive technologies, extensive research and stringent production control. These are high-end components that put quality and accuracy first and foremost.
Your Speaker Cabinet or Enclosure
How you choose to house your speakers will depend on their size and where you intend to use them. They may, for example, have to fit into a small space in a car door.
It is crucial to remember that a speaker’s enclosure type and the materials it gets made from will have a significant impact on durability and sound quality. They are an integral part of the engineering process to get just the right sound you are looking for.
Enclosures normally fit one of these categories:
- Sealed: airtight and helps tune the sounds at low frequencies
- Ported: improves low-frequency response
- Passive radiator: ideal for cars and smaller spaces
For free-standing speakers, as a rule of thumb, you should stay away from perfect cubes. Use a rectangle box with bevelled edges on the front. Sharp edges on the front of the speaker box can cause distortion. Rounding the edges can make a huge difference.
Talk to the Experts About Your Custom Speakers
Surgesound is a distributor of the world’s leading speaker driver manufacturing companies serving high-end audio customers in Australia and New Zealand. We are proud to be the official partners of Eighteen Sound and B&C.
We love to talk to you about your custom-designed speaker system. We recognise that building custom speakers online can be complex. Our team of experts has the experience to offer the best possible advice about DIY speakers online.
If you have any queries, questions or special requests, get in touch with one of the team today.