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-   -   Printing my tower speakers - Need input on speaker selection (http://www.wakeworld.com/forum/showthread.php?t=796882)

tuneman 02-07-2013 2:40 PM

Printing my tower speakers - Need input on speaker selection
This spring, I'll be using a 3D printer to print out my tower speaker enclosures. I haven't started the design yet because it's all up to speaker selection. I'm looking for input on this and would like to achieve the best and maybe loudest possible sound. However, I want to do this along with bragging rights on how inexpensive they are (I have free access to a 3D printer).

So, don't use the word Wet Sounds in your response. Let's limit it to Parts Express components (parts-express.com), or similar.

I'll be mainly wakesurfing, but would still like to hear the speakers when 80ft out. I've got 300W RMS per channel at 2 Ohms and will go as big as 10" speakers, if needed. Open to HLCDs or standard tweeters and multiple drivers.

Tell me what you think would be the ultimate setup. Drivers, tweeters, crossovers, etc.

Thanks for the help in advance!

Brearly_Mason 02-07-2013 3:06 PM

What printer are you going to use? A custom build? Few will have enough travel to print a good speaker enclosure without having to do it in sections. I have a Makerbot and am working on building a larger unit with my son. The Makerbot might be able to print a single 6x9 speaker enclosure but it would be tough, at least for me.

david_e_m 02-07-2013 7:21 PM

I would want a midbass/midrange driver with a poly/kevlar or poly/glass cone.
I wouldn't want a light treated paper cone that has break-up modes like a guitar speaker even though it may offer greater sensitivity.
I would have to make a compromise between a low 'Q' driver, low resonance driver with lower midbass extension in a small pod---a high efficiency driver for greater projection---and enough upper midrange response to splice well with an HLCD. I'm not sure that I could ever find a single speaker that does all those things well so I would have to prioritize and compromise.
I would want a very large tweeter compression driver, 2" minimum or much larger, so it could reach down farther into the lower midrange and I would couple it to a fully developed horn. Since this type of larger tweeter/horn would likely give up some extreme top end, I would probably go with a bullet horn super tweeter to accentuate the treble well above and away from the vocal range.
Since speakers do not have a stable and linear impedance, I know I could never get an off-the-shelf crossover that would sound good. I would probably avoid all the complexities, testing and measuring of passive crossovers and go with an actively crossed-over bi-amped or tri-amped tower system with steeper filters. I would also be circumventing the insertion losses of passive crossovers. With an active system I think the dynamics would be outstanding.
That's the short list.

Earmark Marine

tuneman 02-07-2013 8:07 PM


Originally Posted by Brearly_Mason (Post 1805503)
What printer are you going to use? A custom build? Few will have enough travel to print a good speaker enclosure without having to do it in sections. I have a Makerbot and am working on building a larger unit with my son. The Makerbot might be able to print a single 6x9 speaker enclosure but it would be tough, at least for me.

I'll probably print the enclosures on a Fortus 900mc. It has a 3' x 2' x 3' build envelope. I work for the company that makes these printers. Here's a previous thread of some stuff I printed:


Awesome feedback, David. Thanks!

mikeski 02-11-2013 11:07 PM

It's going to be tough to find the right driver. After building my own system one of the main reasons I decided to go with WetSounds was the driver materials, not to mention they simply were louder and sounded better than my homegrown speakers. I spent about a month of testing before I finalized my crossover design on my homegrown speakers, go with David's suggestion for bi-amplification and save yourself that headache.

Most pro-sound high-efficiency/high-output drivers are paper coned drivers. I like the Dayton PS-220 drivers but they are paper coned drivers. I would try to find a speaker with an aluminum or epoxy-fiberglass frame and a Neodymium magnet. I would also try to stick with butyl surrounds as foam or woven surrounds tend to deteriorate in the sun more quickly. The Vifa NE180W is interesting but I am not sure if a wood coned speaker will hold up to the torture we place on our tower speaker systems. It's also a little small on the cone area. Both of these drivers are also not very high on the power handling side of the equation. The B&C 8CXT is a contender if you want to go the coaxial route but these look like treated paper cones as well...

Best of luck.

david_e_m 02-12-2013 4:51 AM

Yeah, that Vifa is an interesting speaker. The 6.5" version, from 120 to 2200 Hz, would be awesome in a home two-way satellite accompanied by a sub.

tuneman 02-12-2013 11:59 AM

We can't go expensive. Trying to prove you can build some quality tower speakers with little dough. Ok, how about 4-Goldwood GW-10PC-8 ($42 each)


Add 2-Pyle PDS772 1" Titanium Horn Drivers ($48 each)


Coupled with 2- Dayton Audio H07E 6" x 6" Waveguides (thinking less honk when wakesurfing)


And if I need a bit more sibilance, add on 2-Selenium ST200 Super Tweeters ($20 each)


Great idea about bi-amping. What do you recommend for a good active x-over?

shawndoggy 02-12-2013 12:12 PM

do you already have amps? if not many modern amps have built in xovers that are already set up for running active.

for example: http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_...PI-P600.2.html

You'd want the woofers run bandpass (so the really lows go to your sub and the highs go to the tweets). Getting the gains right so you are attenuating the tweets to the woofers is a challenge.

tuneman 02-12-2013 12:33 PM

Geez, I'm out of touch. I built and judged car audio systems for a living many years ago and amplifiers were expensive then. $1 per watt, for the good stuff. I currently have a Kicker ZX series amp in the boat, but don't recall if it's a 4 or 5 channel. I also have a PPI A600.2 Art Series. I was originally thinking of using only that for the tower, but will now bi-amp. No x-over on it.

david_e_m 02-12-2013 1:34 PM

You do not want to add a super tweeter to add sibilance. You want to stay at least an octave above the highest fundamentals. So no lower than 8kHz. Given the sensitivity advantage, I would prefer even a higher filter point with less attenuation for a bit of a rising characteristic on the finer/smaller percussion. But it really doesn't apply to such a small 1-inch compression driver which has plenty of top end range. It would only be applicable packaged with a larger compression driver that has better midrange contribution and rolls off at the top end. The written info on the Pyle playing down to 500 hz is bull. You want to stay an octave above the resonance with at least a 3rd order slope or it will sound nasty. The horn states it is only good down to around 2 kHz. You are going to be challenged to get a 10-inch that will reach that point without getting ugly. But with drivers in that price range you are going to have to make major concessions.

Earmark Marine

Kracker 02-12-2013 9:06 PM

I built my own tower speakers and used digital designs VO series speakers. Sound great and super loud. My buddy has 2 pro 485 and 2 pro 60s and side by side they are very close. And mine cost 1/4 of what his did.

tuneman 02-13-2013 7:38 AM

Nice setup, Kracker. David, the sibilance comment stems from an inside joke. I wasn't serious. Thanks for the responses, everyone.

Let me throw a reminder into the mix. I'll be PRINTING the enclosure. So, I could print something that would be impossible or impractical to make any other way. So, what could be totally outrageous, but still sound half way decent? An elaborate transmission line? A hundred 4" speakers? There may not be anything better/simpler than the traditional setup, but it's something to keep in mind.

cowwboy 02-13-2013 7:40 AM

I can't wait to see the results. Your bimini looked great. I wish I had a printer in my garage!!

david_e_m 02-13-2013 8:23 AM

David, the sibilance comment stems from an inside joke. I wasn't serious.

Okay, I totally missed the ssssssibilancccccce joke.

skuhleman 02-13-2013 10:41 AM

I also built a set of the home brew HLCD's. I ran 1 pair of Eminence Beta 8cx coaxially with the asd1001 i think in a set of 7.7" polished bullet cans. I used the eminence 2.5k crossovers on them with a L pad in each can for each compression driver. I ran it off a 2ch bridged at 650 rms at 4 ohms. treated the cones with wet look. Honestly I was extremely happy with them. I still spent like $600 total but like $250 of that was the polished cans. I thought they were clear and loud. Everyone that was ever out with me always coplimented on them. I ran the woofers at 80hz on the amp and just turned the gains down a bit to give a fuller sound.

mikeski 02-14-2013 12:13 AM

I should also mention that my homebrew Beta 8CX-Alpha 8 setup built in 2005 is still alive and well on my neighbors 2002 X-Star. He loves them. I coated the paper cones with wetlook from parts express. They hold up well in brief rain and splashing but I would not leave them outside for long periods of time.

tuneman 02-14-2013 8:43 AM

Realizing that I'll be removing the speakers regularly to stick the boat in the garage, I think 8" woofers will be the way to go. Ten inch woofers will be just too big and bulky. I'll have 2-12" subs in the boat and 6 full range 6.5".

Here's my latest thought for a traditional design:
8" Woofers: http://www.parts-express.com/pe/psho...90-312&scqty=4
2" Selenium Drivers: http://www.parts-express.com/pe/psho...64-226&scqty=2
Selenium Exp. Horns: http://www.parts-express.com/pe/psho...64-316&scqty=2

Kinda more than I wanted to spend on drivers, but I figure that's gonna be the most difficult to tune.

skuhleman 02-14-2013 1:08 PM

How many of those 8's are you going to run? also how many compression drivers?

david_e_m 02-14-2013 2:55 PM

You could easily run four 8"s with two tweeters for balance although four 8"s still won't keep up if the two tweets are wide open.
I would get both the response curves and impedance curves before pulling the trigger. In any case, this info is critical before set-up.

Earmark Marine

tuneman 02-14-2013 7:53 PM

2 Attachment(s)
I'll definitely run at least 4 woofers (8 if needed) and only two horns. Here are the curves. What am I looking for?

david_e_m 02-15-2013 5:18 AM

First, the tweeter resonance is around 900 Hz so you would need an 18 dB slope at around 2K at the lowest or 12 dB slope around 2.5K. The horn flare limit is around 2 or 2.2K if I remember correctly. So the tweeter and horn absolutely dictate the lowest highpass frequency.
Then you are hoping that the woofer can get that high to bridge the gap. The woofer just barely reaches that point on-axis as shown. However, the off-axis (not shown) will fall off much earlier.
There are a few things you can predict with certainty.
The woofer will progressively narrow its dispersion and tend to beam around 1 to 1.5 kHz.
The woofer will begin to display some upper end nastiness when driven hard begining with that same frequency. Keep in mind that the response is taken at 1 watt. As you drive the woofer harder every irregularity (as a result of varying nodal modes) you see in the response will be more pronounced. Every irregularity will be more pronounced off-axis.
The tweeter will be done above 10 kHz off-axis. That's okay as you will not hear that high outside of your driveway.
So overall, it's not bad. A 2-way can only do so much. From here, as you change drivers to correct one weakness you are just trading for a different weakness. You could do better with a woofer having a more exotic cone at four times the cost but I understand why you don't want to do that.

Earmark Marine

tuneman 02-15-2013 1:53 PM


Originally Posted by david_e_m (Post 1806843)
So overall, it's not bad. A 2-way can only do so much. From here, as you change drivers to correct one weakness you are just trading for a different weakness. You could do better with a woofer having a more exotic cone at four times the cost but I understand why you don't want to do that.

It all makes sense now, David, thank you!

So, since large diameter/lower frequency compression drivers are way out of the price range, should I add like four 5.25 woofers to make up the gap (3-way)? Trying to get that woofer to reach 2K just seems silly. Or do I just bite the bullet on better 8" woofers?

david_e_m 02-15-2013 2:21 PM

I just shared what I saw from the basic graphs and spliced that together from what I know from experience. I couldn't do any better with your budget than you have already done.
Check out the Earmark facebook. Upper icon on the home page. I did a blog or article (I'm not sure I even know what a blog is) that gets into nodal modes and the correlation between physical cone behaviors and the response curve that you see. I think you'll enjoy it.

Earmark Marine

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