Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 4

DIY Speakers Take the Stage at Midwest Audiofest


Home Theater Review




HDTV-Video Source Components Preamps & Receivers Amplifiers Loudspeakers Media Servers Accessories Dealers Forum

AV News
Search HTR:




Enter Search Term

Home Theater




DIY Speakers Take the Stage at Midwest Audiofest

By: Brent Butterworth, August 17, 2015

Subscribe to our FREE weekly newsletter

Print this article

Midwest Audiofest, which took place July 10 and 11 in

Springboro, Ohio, has become something of a Sturgis for do-ityourself speaker builders. The event, hosted by online audio
distributor Parts Express, features the Speaker Design
Competition, in addition to a car audio competition, an audio swap
meet, and an open-house sale at Parts Express HQ. I happened to be
in the area during a recent road trip, so I decided to peek in on the
competition to get an idea of where the state of the DIY speaker art lies.
It's a timely question because DIY speaker building has become radically easier over the last few years.
With so much design information available online, inexpensive design software such as WinSpeakerz,
and low-cost measurement packages such as Room EQ Wizard and OmniMic now available, anyone



Subscribe to HomeTheaterReview.com

Home Theater News

NAD Expands Range of Headphones with
Apple to Delay Streaming TV Service Until
Crestron Now Shipping Wireless, BatteryPowered Photosensor
Sesame Street Moves to HBO...Sort of
Logitech Announces New Integration
Partners for Harmony Home Control System
LG's First Curved Soundbar Launching This
Yamaha Debuts SRT-700 TV Speaker Base
DALI Introduces the Opticon Speaker Series
Consumers Have Saved More Than $500
Million from Energy-Efficient Set-Top
Hulu Plus Loses High Percentage of
Subscriber Base

with a little bit of technical competence and a lot of patience can now build a high-performance speaker of
their own design. Or, as I learned from looking over this year's entries, they can build charming, wacky
creations that make any mass-produced speaker seem bland by comparison.
The Speaker Design Competition took place in a large ballet
studio, an environment that the organizers acknowledge isn't
acoustically ideal; however, with several dozen pairs of speakers to
evaluate plus about 70 audience members and a table of three
judges to accommodate, some compromises had to be made. The
judges were: Vance Dickason, author of the Loudspeaker Design
Cookbook and editor of Voice Coil magazine; Peter Noerbaek, founder of high-end loudspeaker company
PBN Audio; and Jerry McNutt, product design manager for Eminence Speaker.

1 of 4

Slideshow: 10 Hot

18/08/2015 18:01

DIY Speakers Take the Stage at Midwest Audiofest


Each pair of speakers was set up by its designer, with its listening level set using pink noise and an
OmniMic set to read sound-pressure level. Three one-minute snippets of music were played through each
speaker. I was there for the under-$200 category; for that one, the musical selections were Louis
Armstrong's recording of "What a Wonderful World," Brian Setzer's recording of "Mack the Kniife," and
Linda Ronstadt and Nelson Riddle's recording of "What's New?" After the music was played, the designer
got up to give some background on the design and materials, explain the choice of drivers, and describe
the technical details, such as crossover points and slopes, port tuning, etc.

Even though I was all the way in the back of the room, where I heard almost entirely ambient sound and
almost no direct sound from the speakers, I could tell that several of them reflected of a solid knowledge
of audio engineering. The ones that didn't sound as good usually balanced their so-so performance with a
great deal of creative imagination. I was happy to note no common theme: I saw two-way designs,
three-ways, and one-ways, with dome tweeters, ribbon tweeters, ring-radiator tweeters, horn tweeters, or
no tweeter at all. In some cases, the workmanship put most of what you'd see at a big audio show to
shame. Several models were built from laminated hardwoods, machined into curvaceous (and quite rigid)
shapes using CNC equipment. I even saw one with a cabinet made from 3D-printed plastic.

2 of 4

18/08/2015 18:01

DIY Speakers Take the Stage at Midwest Audiofest


One of my personal favorites, speaker #21 (shown above), was a gorgeous D'Appolito-type (woofertweeter-woofer) design built from hardwood salvaged from an old farmhouse. Even though its six drivers
cost less than $200 total, I thought it delivered an impressively neutral and dynamic sound. "Nice low
crossover point," I thought when I heard it, reacting to its wide dispersion and open sound that reminded
me of my Revel Performa3 F206 tower speakers. (I later found out the crossover point was 2.3 kilohertz,
just a hair higher than the one in my F206s.) This surprised me. Based on what I've seen from a lot of
upstart speaker companies, I expected a lot of these DIY speakers wouldn't reflect so much design savvy.
I was sad to learn later that it didn't win, but of course I couldn't hear the speakers anywhere near as well
as the judges could.
Top prize in each of the four categories was a $250 Parts Express gift certificate, a trophy, and a one-year
subscription to audioXpress magazine. For a full description of the contest and a complete list of winners,
check out the Speaker Design Competition web page. If you're interested in testing your skills against
those of the nation's top DIY speaker designers, next year's competition is on July 9.

Additional Resources
Audio Overshadows Video at CE Week Show at HomeTheaterReview.com.
CES 2015 Show Report and Photo Slideshow at HomeTheaterReview.com.
CEDIA 2014 Show Report and Photo Slideshow at HomeTheaterReview.com.

3 of 4

18/08/2015 18:01

DIY Speakers Take the Stage at Midwest Audiofest




Home Theater Review



Sort by Best

Join the discussion

Phil Davis 4 hours ago

No electrostats?
Reply Share

Brent > Phil Davis an hour ago

No. Most of the guys seemed to be using Parts Express drivers. There was a category
specifically for speakers with Dayton Audio drivers.
Reply Share



LG to Expand OLED 4K TV Lineup

Honeywell RTH9580 Wi-Fi Thermostat


1 comment 18 days ago

AvatarCharlotte Great article. For those who live

outside US like me, you can access Netflix,
Hulu and similar media stations on your

1 comment 2 months ago

GoldenEar Triton Five Tower Loudspeaker


SVS Prime Satellite 5.1 Speaker System


4 comments a month ago

5 comments 2 months ago

AvatarBrent Hi Mark. Sadly I have not heard the

Pendragons so can't comment on them. Wish I
could help....

Avatarmicknkeef I think that was hk's point.


Add Disqus to your site

Follow Home Theater Review

Home Theater Review on Facebook
Home Theater Review on Twitter

AvatarN Man I bought and am Using this

Thermostat. and have only one issue with it.
To use the Android/Iphone app to control


More Information on Home

Theater Review
To contact HomeTheaterReview.com, view our rate
card, ad specs or to read our privacy policy

4 of 4

Luxury Publishing Group Inc.

15332 Antioch Street
Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

18/08/2015 18:01