Design and Build Your Own Live - Sound Speakers
Design and Build Your Own Live - Sound Speakers
Perfect Bound Softcover
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Design and Build Your Own Live-Sound Speakers is written for the performing musician, DJ, club or hall owner who wants to build pro-audio speaker cabinets rivaling the best store-bought models for a fraction of the retail price, seeks to unnderstand and improve the performance of an existing cabinet, or wants to create a unique speaker design for a particular purpose.

Written for the complete novice, this book explains driver selection, construction techniques and basic sound-reproduction concepts in a simple and friendly way. While several sample projects are included and explained, the emphasis is on giving the beginner knowledge and ability to design and build something that fits her needs and budget. Using common tools and readily available supplies and parts, the reader can create stage cabinets that are attractive, durable, powerful and efficient.

Full of explanations, usage tips and shortcuts, this book is a refreshing alternative to other publications that are overly technical, geared toward hi-fi applications, or assume electronic or woodworking experience most performers simply don't possess. Discussions of bi-amping, speaker connection, reconing, and building "rack cases" supplement the main text with real-world advice for those who haven't forgotten that the point of it all is to make music!

Preview coming soon.

Larry Mundy is a "weekend musician" and has been building speaker cabinets to support that annoying habit for many years, as well as writing short on-line articles for fellow musicians and DJ's. His knowledge of pro audio speakers and his experiences (both good and not-so-good) are digested here to help the budget-minded performer achieve good sound, even in a first time project.

Table of Contents or Excerpts


Chapter 1: Some Basic Principles

Frequency response, Efficiency, Impedance, Directionality, Phase, Power Handling, Proximity Effects

Chapter 2: Selecting Low-Frequency Drivers

Type, Size, Efficiency, Voice Coils, Magnets, Frequency Range, Xmax, Thiele-Small Parameters, Frames, Surrounds, Cone Materials, Dust Caps

Chapter 3: Selecting High-Frequency Drivers

Frequency Overlap, Compression Drivers, Piezoelectric Drivers, Midrange Drivers, Horns and Horn Lenses, Power Ratings

Chapter 4: Enclosure Design

Driver Parameters, Computer Modeling Chapter 5: Crossovers, Efficiency Matching and Piezos

Capacitors, Chokes, Voltage Ratings, Passive Crossover Circuits, Driver Attenuation, Piezoelectric Tweete

Chapter 6: Multiple Drivers: Wiring and Impedance

Parallel and Series Wiring, Impedance Mismatches

Chapter 7: Parts and Pieces

Types of Coverings, Grilles, Corners, Handles, Top Hats, Jackplates, Casters, Checklist

Chapter 8: Enclosure Dimensions and Shapes

Rectangles, Trapezoids, Wedges, Line Arrays, Cabinet Dimensions, Driver Arrangement

Chapter 9: Construction: Woodworking 101

Tools, Materials, Measurements, Assembly Techniques, Bolts and Fasteners, Balancing

Chapter 10: Covering and Assembling the Cabinet

Adhesives, Dampening Material, Wiring, Preventive Maintenance

Chapter 11: Some Sample Projects

Two-way 12" PA Speakers

  • Two-way PA Speakers with Multiple Bass Drivers
  • Three-Way PA/Instrument Speaker
  • A Stereo Guitar Cabinet
  • Amplified Cabinet with Nearfield Monitors

Chapter 12: Subwoofers and Bi-Amping

Electronic Crossovers, Multiple Amplification, Subwoofers Ð Horns, Bandpass and Bass-Reflex

Chapter 13: Wiring and Connectors for Stage Cabinets

Phone Plugs, Instrument and Speaker Cables, Banana and Speakon Connectors, Internal Cabinet Wiring

Chapter 14: Reconing a Driver

When to Recone, When to Replace, Finding a Reconing Service

Chapter 15: Homemade Rack Cases

Rackmounting, Rack Case Construction

Chapter 16: Sources: Programs and Parts

Computer-Modeling Programs, Drivers and Accessories


Since I started building speakers for live-sound use in the 1970's, there have been a number of advances in loudspeakers, computer modeling and our understanding of how live sound works. All these allow the working musician or DJ to select or build speaker cabinets that vastly outperform the designs of the past. But there is very little in the way of published how-to information to get you started doing this.

This book is written primarily for musicians on a budget, who want to perform live in front of audiences large enough that their music requires electronic amplification. Since performing music is only lucrative for a very few performers, I figure most musicians are 'on a budget,' if not actually flat broke. We perform gig after gig, hoping that our equipment can stand the strain of just a little more volume, or one more trip in and out of the van, wincing at the high prices of the latest equipment in the local music store.

For most of us, being a gigging musician or DJ also means being a part-time electrician, mechanic, carpenter, acoustic engineer and heavy-equipment mover. If you are not rich and/or famous enough to have someone else haul, set up and repair your equipment, you learn many of these skills whether you want to or not. While this book is primarily about designing and building your own liveperformance speakers, I hope it will make you a more careful consumer of factory-built speakers as well.

Some of my advice might not be considered technically complete by a professional acoustical or electrical engineer. While IÍm impressed at the depth of technical analysis possible for apparently simple principles of physics, a more detailed and technical approach might be hopelessly confusing, or simply irrelevant, to someone who simply wants to get started building a speaker. Likewise, the machinery and construction techniques of big manufacturers are geared to fast production, sales volume and minimum component cost. I can tell you from experience, you can build excellent livesound speakers without any exotic tools or an engineering background. I hope I am able to translate some fairly complex concepts into language understandable by the average person interested in building a speaker system in the garage.

I will discuss a number of live-sound concepts and speaker-building techniques in the following pages. Then I will demonstrate a few real-world projects I've built, noting the challenges that popped up along the way. These are, as they say, 'for illustration only.' I don't represent that they are the best designs; they were built for my personal use and I would not be at all disappointed if none of the readers of this book built copies of any of them. One of the joys of building your own speakers is the ability to tailor what you build to your unique wants and needs.

Q: Can I really do this myself?

A: Yes.

You can, if you're willing to spend a little time and effort. Building your own speakers requires planning and getting dirty. Most people have automobiles, but they don't build them from parts and probably have no idea what a power-steering pump does; they just know they fill the tank and turn the key and their car takes them somewhere. If it breaks, they have it towed to a repair shop, and if it's too small or big or slow they trade it for another one. If you have never opened the hood of your car, never tried to fix a broken kitchen appliance, donÍt own a single power tool and beg to have a ñtechnicalî friend come hook up your home stereo, this book is probably not for you.

But I've met very few gigging musicians or DJ's who don't have a fairly good idea of at least some technical concepts about live-sound reproduction. They've had to learn because they set up their own equipment. Or they've experienced embarrassing equipment failures. Or they've spent lots of hard-earned money on pro-audio equipment that looks very impressive but doesn't sound nearly as good as someone else's smaller, cheaper setup. This book will 'look under the hood' of live-sound speakers and describe, in something approaching layman's terms, why they look and work and sound the way they do. And if you have a few power tools and have nailed together a birdhouse in the distant past, you can build stage speakers you can be proud of

If you are a novice at all this, you may learn something useful from an evening's reading even if you never build anything. There is a lot of existing equipment out there that could benefit from upgraded drivers, or even a slight change in internal wiring. But there is no better way to understand live-sound speakers than to build one. It's not difficult, but if you want to end up with a speaker that's as good as (or better than) its store-bought equivalent, you'll need to do a little research and planning, and avoid some common mistakes that happen when you just nail up a box and stick a speaker in it.



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