Those who use speakers often feel the requirement to use stylish speaker boxes that can amp up the look of the whole music system. But buying or investing in a brand new speaker box can be an added burden sometimes. If you are looking for something alternative, try making a speaker box all by yourself.
DIY projects can yield excellent results if you have some planning and the tools needed. You will find readymade speaker box kits at just $100. On the other hand, you can also get the materials like wood, glue, and jigsaw and measurement tools to start on your own.
Furthermore, you can also build a speaker system with a box and one or two customised woofers per your musical needs.
What is a Speaker Box?
Before you start the building basics, let’s know some facts about the speaker boxes. Technically, the speaker boxes, loudspeaker cabinets, or speaker enclosures are wooden boxes where you install the loudspeakers, tweeters, and other peripherals and even amplifiers to create a whole system.
Speaker Box- Why Do You Need It?
A lot of people often ask if they really need the speaker boxes. Well, if you ask any music lover or anyone who deals in music or audio, they will say yes.
It’s because the speaker boxes make the bass effect richer and deeper and also increase the sound quality. In most entry-level speakers, the sound quality has decreased quite a lot. The sound may not offer the richer and more immersive effect you yearn for.
It happens because the wooden boxes keep the speakers and woofers in a fixed position, which results in better sound quality. On top of that, the wooden speaker boxes also absorb the vibrations from the drivers and minimise unnecessary sounds to enhance the original sound quality.
The speaker box enclosure also has some role in improving sound quality. The air entering the speaker box gets compressed and filtered by the driver diaphragm.
Hence, the resulting sound waves easily reach the back cone. The air pressure increases inside the box, and the resultant force increases the electrical signal while keeping the driver locked in its position. In the end, the sound waves become denser and more precise, offering you that immersive and richer bass effect with clear audio.
What Kinds of Speaker Enclosures are There?
1. Infinite Baffle/Free-air
The infinite baffle speaker boxes are not technically boxes or closed enclosures. The woofers are stored inside a board with multiple holes. Due to such innovative design, these speaker boxes also occupy less space.
Due to the design, the baffle board extends a lot in different directions. Hence, the sound waves produced by the wood never reach the edge of the baffle board. Thus, the waves created at the back of the speaker do not intersect with those made at the front.
As a result, the resonance is at a minimum level from the infinite baffle boxes. Hence, the output has a richer sound effect without any distortion.
- These speaker boxes do not require much power
- No resonance and diffraction
- Less distortion
- Since the back and front waves are not easily separated, they may not be accessible in some situations.
- The woofer is more prone to damage and can easily reach its maximum excursion level.
2. Sealed/Closed Enclosure
These are quite popular as anyone can build such boxes. A sealed or closed speaker box is made of a closed air-tight box and contains a woofer. It is ideal for those who want a car audio system or need a sound system with a rich bass effect. But, such speaker boxes need more power, and the inclusion of an amplifier is recommended.
To build a sealed speaker box, you first need to calculate the internal volume of the box. Besides that, you must also include a damping cloth inside the box to dampen the vibration in such boxes. The output is less than the system’s resonance frequency. Here. The trapped air creates a spring effect that returns the woofer cone to its “zero” position when no signal is present.
Sometimes, long fibre wool or fibreglass is used to fill the box to increase the adequate volume. On top of that, the enclosure also has a small hole that is used to manage the internal and external air pressure with respect to the barometric pressure.
- It is ideal for smaller spaces
- Easy to build and easy to design
- The design errors do not affect the sound quality
- Can handle high power
- Offers excellent sound quality for short or sudden sound waves
- Smooth roll-off of 12 dB for a richer effect
- These speakers are not efficient enough.
- It may require an amplifier to work properly.
3. Ported/Vented Enclosure
The bass reflex or ported or vented enclosure speaker boxes are known for offering excellent sound quality while maintaining e efficiency. Such enclosures come with a port of fixed length and diameter. This port is used to create a fixed resonant frequency.
The sound waves coming back from the woofer are reversed when they go out of the port. Hence, all the sound waves coming from the box are front eaves. As a result, the output sound increases and becomes clearer.
The sound waves that are lower than the set frequency do not come out and are used to cancel unnecessary eaves. Hence, the port works as a sealed enclosure and a vent to offer a richer sound effect.
- It is highly efficient(3 dB)
- Speakers can reach lower frequencies
- The distortion is minimum
- The transient response is not that great
- Bass reflex can become quite noisy at higher volume
- The boxes are larger and occupy more space
- The complicated design makes it challenging to build with novice knowledge.
- The roll-off of 24 DB is steeper than many other designs.
In the case of a bandpass speaker, the woofer or speaker is stored inside a box with two chambers. The sound hence can come through more than one port. The woofer can emit sound waves louder than the bass-reflex variety.
The port numbers determine the order of the bandpass speakers. The 4th order bandpass speaker comes with one port vehicle, the 6th order bandpass speaker has two ports. On the other hand, the 8th-order bandpass has three ports.
The best part about such a speaker is that it offers a loud sound even with a limited frequency range.
- The efficiency is high. As per theoretical calculation, it is 5 DB higher than the sealed speaker boxes. The efficiency is higher for 8th-order bandpass boxes.
- The output sound is louder even at a limited frequency Hence, it is ideal for rock or hip-hop music.
- Lower woofer excursion and minimal damage on the woofer
- The boxes can be huge and will require a lot of space
- The design is complicated, and the design error can drastically decrease the output sound quality
- The woofer may get damaged at higher volumes. But, the signs of damage are often difficult to detect
- The sound may get gloomy at higher volumes.
- Insulation – one good example is either a polyfill or fiberglass
- Speaker Driver
- Wood Glue
- Black Speaker Cloth
How to Build a Speaker Box
Here is a step-by-step guide to building the speaker box-
Step 1: Choose a Subwoofer or a Woofer Along with the Kind of Enclosure
The first step is to choose the design. You need to select the speaker box depending on the type of music you hear. You need to find a suitable template for the speaker. If you are using a kit, you will find the template design alongside the kit.
If you are doing it yourself without a kit, try to understand the design with some research. Also, consider the space where you intend to play the speaker box.
Step 2: Making the Enclosure & Determining the Dimensions
In the next step, you need to build the enclosure. So, first, you must create the speaker box’s internal volume.
The depth should be at least 2 inches more than the depth of the woofer you are using. Again, measure the subwoofer’s diameter and add one or two inches to the length and breadth to create the speaker enclosure.
Next, calculate the internal dimension. For this, subtract the wood thickness from the enclosure’s external dimension.
Step 3: Cut the Wood
The third step is to cut the wood boards to create different parts of the enclosure. You can use MDF, wooden ply, or soft wood as per your preference. Always get a larger ply to ensure you get enough material at hand. Take wooden ply or MDF of a minimum thickness of 1.5 inches.
Now, take a circular saw or a jigsaw. After that, cut smooth square pieces to form the box walls. You will need seven pieces—one each for the back, top, bottom, and sides and two for the front side.
Now, you have to create the hole for the subwoofers. First, measure the diameter of the woofer you are using. Now, take a compass to cut the exact circular shape. Alternatively, you can also use a template out of cardboard to get the perfect shape.
Always mark the panels to ensure you get the right ones assembled.
Now, at the back side, create a small hole for inserting cables. You can also use a drill to make the hole.
If you want to make the speaker box extra study, you can always reinforce the joints with smaller parts of the wood. 2″ X 2′ wooden strips are best for this purpose.
After cutting, make sure to smoothen out the edges using sandpaper. You can use 200-grit and 160-grit sandpaper to finish the look.
Step 4: Assemble & Join the Pieces of Woods Together
It is time to assemble and join the pieces to form the speaker box. Take a generous amount of wood glue and attach each part carefully.
Try to spread the glue faster as soon as you apply that to the surface of the wood. Always add extra glue in the joints and holes, so the pieces stick together. The adhesive should be at least ¾” thick to ensure the pieces stick together.
Make sure to let the glue dry for at least 24 hours before you start the next step.
After the glue dries up, it is time to add the support braces. For this, apply a thin layer of glue and place them in its designated position.
Step 5: Customization of Speaker Box
The box is ready, and it is time to create the ideal sound box. For this, you need to add the sound-dampening material. You can use long-fibre wool, polyester foam, or acoustic foam, per your preference. The dampening materials that come with adhesive are easier to stick. You have to attach those to the inner walls.
But, if you are using foam or wool, apply some hot glue on the box’s inner surface and attach the dampening material part by part.
Always leave space for the terminal cups, holes, and drives. Wait till the glue dries up.
After that, start putting the wires in place. Place the cables in the correct position and fix these with hot glue or wire holders.
After the wires and the dampening material are fixed, it is time to fix the front and back panels.
If you want to customise it further, you can colour it or add some cool stickers. There are also other ways to customise the speaker box. You can refer to the internet to get ideas.
Building a speaker box can be a delicate and rewarding project. The process becomes easier if you start with proper planning and follow each step with dedication.
If you plan to get a customised speaker box, you can use this article as a starting guide and continue researching to find the best design for your speaker box.