Tag Archives: music

How to build a DIY subwoofer

How hard could it be, he thought. Google it, he said. So that’s what I did. This happened… and shaped the next 2.5 years of my nerd life.

A bit of back story. 3.5 years ago I decided to quit Facebook and lay off social media. Bloody good decision, that. With all the new time I had on my hands, I thought I’d finally buy a sub and do some musics. I couldn’t decide what to buy, so I had a brainwave – I’ll build one.

It turns out building speakers is a bit more in depth than I thought.

To build speakers, you need plans, all the bits, and a basic knowledge of carpentry. None of which I had. But I did have an internet. So I used it, and eventually ended up at this thread: Reed Exodus Anarchy 25Hz tapped horn. (Respect to the creators of these plans)

lil-mike

I knew that low (25hz) was good, and the plans looked pretty comprehensive – so I went for it. This is where we step back in time to a previous blog post: Building a subwoofer card prototype. I built a mini prototype. I can’t remember why, shits and giggles really, but it sort of worked and gave me enough confidence that if I could do it with card, I can do it slightly bigger, with wood.

Then I realised that I knew nothing. About anything. So I thought I’d take apart an old Cambridge Audio 2.1 sub I’d had for ages that was making some funny crackling noises. Maybe I’m good at electronics, I thought. Maybe I can fix it I thought. So I took it to bits, looked at it for a while, then put it back together to see if looking at it had fixed it.

DIY-Subwoofer1

It hadn’t. But it did still work. Amazingly. Incidentally – that volt meter you see to the right of the photo above still hasn’t been taken out of the packaging and used. It appears me and electronics don’t really care for each other.

I now know this is a 4th order band pass enclosure design. Even now I only sort of know what that means. Back then I just thought it was a bit weird there was a hole (port) and a space behind the speaker. That’s a waste of space I thought. Should have made the box a bit smaller.

Wibble fade to later.

It turns out that one of the (many) quirks of speaker design is that the driver is matched exactly to the enclosure. It further turns out that the specific driver these enclosures are built to work with are only available from one source. In the US. And they do not ship internationally. Slow clap, me.

After much googling, I found another driver that I could just about use that is more commercially available. If you live in Germany. And speak German. Or want to spend more than the speaker itself on shipping from the US. So with a wing, a prayer, and judicious use of Google translate, eventually a small, beefy Tang Band W6-1139SIF 6-1/2″ driver landed on my doorstep.

Then I had to build a complicated folded (tapped) horn shaped box. Bloody ages that took. finally I got this thing built and realised that I need a decent amp to power it. So I borrowed a power amp.

anarchy driver comparison

Then I realised that sub woofers only play bass, so I need to feed it just bass. Which meant crossovers. Which meant electronics. And working out what the hell crossovers are. So I didn’t do that. I bought an active crossover that had knobs on. Loads and loads of knobs. And had to work out how to make the damn thing go.

DIY-Subwoofer7

Eventually I finished and sealed the thing – and it worked! Finally, I had phat, deep bass… after many, many months of toiling and some £s.

Well that worked, I thought. Maybe I should build more. Because more is better…

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Using Masking Fluid is Terrifying

…and knackers your brushes. Which is not entirely unexpected. So don’t use good brushes.  I took my own advice.

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I finished the inking last night (this morning… *yawn). Showed it to my daugther this morning (the world’s harshest critic, after my wife). Her favourite was Gerry Shark, but apparently she loved the rest too. Bless. She also dropped the bomb that she (*eyelash flutter…) wants to help me paint it. Eep. Erm, OK.

Barry-what-and-friends-and-band_2

I figured that I can get her to drip some paint on to the background for the sea and stuff. As long as I mask out the main characters which I’ll paint later, it should be alright… right?

Masking fluid is weird stuff. I’m sure there must be some sort of proper way to paint it only a google away. But, Sunday.

Earth Breathe

I made a little animation. Yesterday morning I posted this on twitter:  “Thought experiment: the earth rotates 365 time per year and has four seasons, imagine that cycle in 4 seconds, the planet breathes”

Triggered off by this thought about how quick the seasons change as you get older, I chopped out a loop from the start of Massive Attack’s ‘Heat Miser’ for the breathing and lashed 4 x 20frm mixes together in Flash and posted up to youtube

I wanted to get this up ASAP so its basic. I’d like to have painted little watercolours for each of the seasons but it is what it is.

Bristol Nelson Street Art Gallery Block Party

I ♥ the Nelson Street Art project. Proper lovely vibes down there this afternoon. So much effort gone into transforming a drab 80’s concrete jungle into a full on garden party, Brizzle style. Blown away by the astroturf and big blocks of live plants adding to the mix. Big-ups to Bristol City Council (who’d ever thought I’d hear myself saying that!) for having the chops to spend a not insubstantial amount of public cash (word on the street is upwards of 80k) on something so downright cool.

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Frogball EP by Cropmaster Flex vs Munkmaster Mick

I used to love creating Mix tapes… and when CD’s became the format of choice I cut loose with inlay artwork – loads of fun! This is Frogball EP, its ‘a nice mix’

It all fits together to make quite the package! Unfortunately the Master copies of all of the mix CD’s I produced at Coldharbour (Infamous home of the best house parties in Bristol, where I cut my teeth as a DJ…) all got stolen in the great CD robbery of 2001, along with the rest of my prized collection. Still makes me chuckle now looking at this Artwork. All the images were scanned from a big collection of National Geographics. enjoy!

The Old Duke Jazz Festival

You’ve gotta love the Old Duke pub on King Street, finest purveyors of squeaky Jazz and Blues Noodlings. Every year they put on a free outdoor jazz festival over the last Summer bank holiday weekend, and it rocks! Last years highlights were ukulele maestro’s the Rinky Dinks and the amazing One man blues machine and Old Duke Sunday resident Eddie Martin and the Little Big Horns. There was even a cameo from DJ Derek singing with Eddie, nice.

Mr Wolf's

I can hand on heart say I witnessed something I’ve never seen before at a Jazz Festival. During Eddie Martin’s encore track there was a spontaneous mosh pit. The middle of the crowd opened and the people inside went mosh-mental! If it was a punk, metal or hardcore fest I could understand it… but the blues? nice.

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