Variety in Design

Blog Forums DIY Speakers and Subwoofers Variety in Design

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    • #8838

      This hobby, by definition, is all about some sort of design. You want to build a speaker, no matter the type, you design an enclosure / mount for the driver(s). You want to build a component, you need to design, at least, the enclosure if not the actual component itself. You want to build an instrument, you need to design some aspect thereof. You get an idea (some call it an “itch”), come up with a design, and then you build it. Even if you think that there isn’t any design in “winging it”, that’s just design on the fly.

      So, the big question is, how do you design and is there any software you use for that particular type of design?

      Since this is my question, I’ll go first. (Captain Obvious strikes again!)

      Speakers: I take the goal in mind and look for an inspiration wherever I think that might be. For example, someone I am thinking of building a small portable pratice amp for has had an affinity for mid-century desgn. I do a Google picture search for a specific term (50’s living room furniture) and browse till I find some possible candidates. Downloaded into my folder for safekeeping, I then turn to the driver selection, either on hand or via catalog. If T/S parameters are present, I use them to come up with what I want to use. Take into account all the other things needed and then I get a beginning box size. If no T/S parameters are available, it’s by eye and lots of past experience. 

      For T/S parameters,  I started doing design by hand back in the early 80’s. I have a spiral bound chock full of designs for drivers from back then. I got a computer in the 90’s and learned BASIC. Currently I have programs adapted or completely written by me, and when I check them against the current crop of software, it’s all spot on. 

      Electronics design, I use Circutmaker Student. So far, it does what I need it to do, and if I can ever recover my old HDD, I’ll have full blown Circuitmaker 6, along with EZTrax. For now, perf board is okay enough.

      I don’t dabble in microcontrollers, so I’m not into that type of programming. I do, however, write some HTML from time to time, mostly with Notepad.

      In between all of this, paper, pencil, pen, straightedge, and calculator are close companions. I find it easy to sketch something out rather than go full force into design before I can tell if I’ll like it or not.

      Oh, and I do use some online calculators / simulators when it’s more convenient than firing up the big computer or laptop. Browser based design often works on a phone’s Web browser.


      That’s what I do. What do you do?

    • #8839

      That is chock full of great information.  I must say I do a similar approach when I design a speaker.  I ask myself, what have i seen lately that is really cool/ inspiring?  Then I ask myself, how can I adapt that into my design.  For example, the the boombox build-off of 2018 – which I won.  It was an auto themed build.  So I asked myself what do I like and what inspires me.  And since I love cars, I immediately thought the rear end of a super car would be really cool.  But I didn’t want it to be an exact replica.  Yet to this day people argue if it is a Corvette or a GTR.  In reality…it was freehand, 😀  My next step was to ask is it doable?  After some quick mockups for box size in WinISD, I knew it could work.  But I didn’t want it just to work, I wanted it also to be functional.  Since I knew it was going to be ported, I knew I wanted to make the exhaust the ports and the spoiler the handle.  It took some working out in WinISD, but once I got it figured out, I knew it was possible and away I went. 

      More recently, I have been working on the Wavecor Towers.  The inspiration for those came from live edge river tables that are becoming popular.  My hope is to bring that same look into the realm of speaker design.  But for that, I not only need to use WinISD, but also a program like sketchup to map out exact box size after port, etc.  To make sure I can hit the target response I want.

    • #8840

      Cute story for you guys … and just to make it better, it happens to be true.

      I’m an old fart, 68 in August. But as long as I can remember I’ve had this thing for electronics. As early as 1960 I was messing with record players and radios, taking them apart to see how they worked and then taking the punishment for destroying yet another household item, By the time I hit grade 11 I knew more about electronics than my physics teacher… which lead to some very interesting moments in class. It just came naturally.  After high school I landed a job driving an egg truck at night to gather eggs from the local farmers. During the day I went to electronics courses at the local trades college.  At the end of my courses, diploma in hand, I did a Friday-Monday transition from driver to technician so it’s fair to say that I started my career in electronics by driving an egg truck.

      Now, I had one of those idiot brother in laws who just has to be better at everything… you know the type.  Well, I’m a couple of years into servicing office equipment he’s just getting into the same game and he has the nerve to tell me that I don’t know what I’m talking about. Big mistake… Over the next year and a half he got to watch me start with a big piece of card stock –the proverbial blank page– and take it all the way to a 100% DIY stereo system, complete with a Pre-amp with phono stage, 9 band EQ, dual tape loops, ability to equalize recordings… Power amp at 200w/ch with meters and clipping indicators… Speakers with dual wall cabinets, 12″ woofer, 2 X 4″ mids and 2 X 1″ dome tweeters, all Phillips Deforest.  Then came the moment… In 1978, after I’m already selling copies of my system, idiot boy has the nerve to tell me his Marantz is better… I just reached over cranked up a couple EQ bands and let him listen to the dishes rattling in the kitchen for a couple of minutes… he never challenged me again… And I was hooked, audio was my “thing”.

      So now after 30 years in various aspects of electronics, a couple of patents with my name on them, and a long stint as a service manager for a big international firm I’m retired and still dabbling in design and occasionally taking small jobs building things for people. I’m an apartment dweller so I can’t exactly set up a woodshop so I have mostly stayed with my first love, setting up home audio and video systems for friends and friends of friends..

      But after all this inspiration still hits from time to time … “What If” is still a big part of my life. So these days I tend to use LT Spice for prototyping circuitry, TinyCad for finalizing schematics and a variety of online tools to make life easier.  Way back when I got started none of these super nifty design aids even existed, it was all done by hand and I used to have bushel baskets full of discarded prototypes. I think it’s a lot easier today… and it’s still a great hobby that tends to turn into a profession.

      If someone can recommend a good PCB layout tool, perhaps with online ordering, I’d be happy for the recommendations… 

    • #8847

      A lot of people I know in the UK use PCB Wizard with Live-Wire which is the Spice program which will link to the pcb wizard & build your circuit, but true audiophiles would draw the circuit out on the pcb wizard template not making a mess if wiring i.e  as if you built it on stripboard then wanted professional looking fiberglass board version.

      I also use the Micro-Tak Fiberglass Board here in the UK (CPC & Rapid are best prices UK) as it seems to UV Light box transfer quick around 2 to 2 1/2 mins & develops quite well with no missing copper cladding (due to poor photo-resist ink not sticking onto the copper properly with cheaper boards) around the edges, so you can make full use of the board you have. I like to use 100mm X 160mm boards for all my circuits to keep the board size down & put in smaller boxes or make a copper clad board soldered around it (as seen already).


    • #8848

      I’ll look into it, thank you.

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