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Author Topic: BYOS (Build Your Own Sub) - Who's done it?  (Read 1537 times)

Dave Roy

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BYOS (Build Your Own Sub) - Who's done it?
« on: June 12, 2014, 05:49:14 am »

A local operator has built and operates 6 of the Tuba 45's from www.billfitzmaurice.com/ and they sound outstanding!

Has anyone tried building their own subs before? What are some of the pros and cons. Lightweight, cost-effective, ultra-efficient, the sensitivity is insane... These home-built subs seem to be too good to be true; is there something I'm missing here?
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Ivan Beaver

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Re: BYOS (Build Your Own Sub) - Who's done it?
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2014, 07:14:31 am »

People build their own subs all the time.  I would argue that most people that build cabinets start with subs-they are generally easier.

But just because you do it yourself does not mean it is right-or better.

A lot depends on your skill as a builder (it is A LOT more than just nailing some wood together).

Even a good design can sound like crap if not done properly.

There can be some advantages to building your own (I did it for all of my years in the rental business) and some real disadvantages (depending on your market).

There is a reason commercial subs cost more.  But cost can be a hard thing to figure.  What is  your time worth?  Do you already have all the tools?
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Ivan Beaver
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Richard Turner

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Re: BYOS (Build Your Own Sub) - Who's done it?
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2014, 09:05:14 am »

A local operator has built and operates 6 of the Tuba 45's from www.billfitzmaurice.com/ and they sound outstanding!

Has anyone tried building their own subs before? What are some of the pros and cons. Lightweight, cost-effective, ultra-efficient, the sensitivity is insane... These home-built subs seem to be too good to be true; is there something I'm missing here?

Yes I have built quite a few sub boxed in the past. As well as guitar amp cabs, replacement guitar combo amp shells etc/

What you lose are generally the following:

Any hope of a resale value. there may be slight resale value if you build something excellent based on recognized plans such as labsub, tuba, etc. This said look into the JTR Growler, it started as homebrew and is now well regarded in some circles. But so far as a ported front load cab save yourself the headache and buy name brand.

Any brand recognition/rider friendlyness. Again unless your last name is Rat or Claire your homebrew stuff will likely have you spend more time and effort explaining what you are providing where as an old EAW or JBL box has a proven track record

The latest technology, geberally any ready made plan is for drivers in the 1 or 2 generation back class of driver, todays powered subs use processor controlled amp modules, differential drive woofers, extreme excursion woofers some cones are moving over 1" fully controlled the whole time, no more sheet of paper in the wind flopping arond. A lot of the plans were developed around 400w 5mm or less xmax components. Putting a modern driver in them without reworking port size, rebracing etc will just not work.

Hardware is not cheap

Proper coatings are not cheap, ratfur is so dated.

I'm not trying to discourage you but unless you are a competent woodworker with tools its not even remotly feasable, Adding the price of a table saw router, cutters ,cordless drill, painting equipment should be enough to make you think twice if they are not things you have.

What is your labour valued at? Unless this is an enjoyable hobby project would you be paying yourself above negative 10 dollars an hour to work on it? What I'm getting at is would you be better off working and putting said earnings toward a name brand purchase.

If you do go ahead use void free Baltic birch ply plenty of glue plus screws and corking on all the joints, any leaks are bad. a 1000w par can in a dark room will find them all for you.
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Spenser Hamilton

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Re: BYOS (Build Your Own Sub) - Who's done it?
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2014, 11:33:08 am »

A local operator has built and operates 6 of the Tuba 45's from www.billfitzmaurice.com/ and they sound outstanding!

Has anyone tried building their own subs before? What are some of the pros and cons. Lightweight, cost-effective, ultra-efficient, the sensitivity is insane... These home-built subs seem to be too good to be true; is there something I'm missing here?

I've built a few home brew subs, including the Tuba 30, a 2x12 Lab BR designed by Art Welter (who frequents this forum and will probably be along any time now to offer his insight), currently looking at a stack of wood that will soon become an 18TBW100 loaded Keystone Sub (also designed by Art).

If you don't enjoy the smell of sawdust, don't waste your time. My Lab 12 subs sound quite good and have deep bass response, but they aren't the most efficient box so it takes quite a few to fill a larger venue. I think Art has moved away from the Lab 12 design at this point and just runs Tapped Horns and Slot Loaded boxes, I'll let him pipe in with all the differences.

Regarding the Tuba Subs, I finally found a good use for mine...
http://1drv.ms/TOfqZn
« Last Edit: June 12, 2014, 11:43:51 am by Spenser Hamilton »
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: BYOS (Build Your Own Sub) - Who's done it?
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2014, 04:01:52 pm »

A local operator has built and operates 6 of the Tuba 45's from www.billfitzmaurice.com/ and they sound outstanding!

Has anyone tried building their own subs before? What are some of the pros and cons. Lightweight, cost-effective, ultra-efficient, the sensitivity is insane... These home-built subs seem to be too good to be true; is there something I'm missing here?

I'd have several questions about the performance of any BFM design - the ones I've heard don't sound/appear to meet the vastly optimistic numbers promoted by Bill or his builders and there is a phenomenal lack of performance consistency between builders and even individual batches of builds.

If you're building for your own use; if you don't have to answer to band engineers or production managers; if you or your employees are the sole and exclusive users and your clients are happy with them, build whatever trips your trigger... but don't expect anyone else to get excited about them or express a willingness to use them.

Ivan and Richard T lay out the reasons, and they're right.  That said, this forum is about building subs, and specifically the LABhorn designed by Tom Danley to prove that a horn-loaded sub needn't cost $4000 and perform poorly.  BFM has a forum for builders/fanboys and if you wish to get some back-slapping and congratulations, go there.  If you're interested in building subs that will withstand scrutiny by folks that design & build speaker systems for a living, stick with this forum.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2014, 04:08:43 pm by Tim McCulloch »
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duane massey

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Re: BYOS (Build Your Own Sub) - Who's done it?
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2014, 06:42:46 pm »

Tim, it seems that most of the advice given on this forum to DIY'ers is "Don't Do IT!"
I agree with all the potential reasons not build your own, but I also feel that someone who wants to try it should be offered encouragement and support, not gloom and doom.
If you're not in a major market, only need to satisfy your own needs without concern about riders, and can afford to take the chance, go for it.
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Duane Massey
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Tim McCulloch

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Re: BYOS (Build Your Own Sub) - Who's done it?
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2014, 07:09:41 pm »

Tim, it seems that most of the advice given on this forum to DIY'ers is "Don't Do IT!"
I agree with all the potential reasons not build your own, but I also feel that someone who wants to try it should be offered encouragement and support, not gloom and doom.
If you're not in a major market, only need to satisfy your own needs without concern about riders, and can afford to take the chance, go for it.

I built my own subs and they served me well, but I was usually the sole person that needed to be happier than the bands.  Today?  With name-brands selling for not a whole lot more than building similar quality cabinets and paying near-retail for the raw speakers to put in those cabinets.... naw, I'd personally pass.

The big deal is, of course, having a competent design, but the critical factor is the quality of the woodworking and making the joinery 'industrial grade' to be air-tight and survive transportation.  Too many amateur builders simply can't pull it off and suffer through their disappointing results until they scrape together enough cash to buy something else.  I'm not trying to discourage anyone from making sawdust, but having been down that exact path I think it important to do so with eyes wide open.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2014, 10:23:00 pm by Tim McCulloch »
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duane massey

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Re: BYOS (Build Your Own Sub) - Who's done it?
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2014, 09:39:53 am »

Definitely eyes wide open, but most of us old guys just closed our eyes and jumped in.
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Duane Massey
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Bill Hornibrook

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Re: BYOS (Build Your Own Sub) - Who's done it?
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2014, 01:53:25 pm »

A local operator has built and operates 6 of the Tuba 45's from www.billfitzmaurice.com/ and they sound outstanding!

Has anyone tried building their own subs before? What are some of the pros and cons. Lightweight, cost-effective, ultra-efficient, the sensitivity is insane... These home-built subs seem to be too good to be true; is there something I'm missing here?
Before you go out and start building Tubas, I'd suggest you take a very critical listening test (if you can talk this operator into it). I confess I've never heard Tuba 45s, but I have read a few things from folks whose opinion I trust (and who are outside of the BFM fanbase) and those who measured found their frequency response quite non-linear (to say the least).

My own questions about whether BFM designs are any good come not from his cabs, but from his advice on sub placement in a DJ forum I hang out in. He insists that anyone who isn't corner loading his subs is just doing it wrong, and those of us who place our subs on the dance floor or on either side of the stage are uninformed idiots.

A few years ago (thinking I might be missing out on something) I gave it a shot - and tried corner loading my subs in a few rooms. The results were always horrible.

Like others who've responded to your thread, I've built my share of subs over the years. My last (and probably final - I hope I'm coming to my senses) home build were 21" B&C subs for when I DJ. I built the box on provided their website. But I went into this project with my eyes open. I knew what I wanted in size, frequency response, and budget - and these looked like the best way to get there.
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Miguel Angel Castro Rios

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Re: BYOS (Build Your Own Sub) - Who's done it?
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2014, 12:05:46 pm »

A local operator has built and operates 6 of the Tuba 45's from www.billfitzmaurice.com/ and they sound outstanding!

Has anyone tried building their own subs before? What are some of the pros and cons. Lightweight, cost-effective, ultra-efficient, the sensitivity is insane... These home-built subs seem to be too good to be true; is there something I'm missing here?

As the folks here have mentioned. Anything you build won't be easy to do, it won't be rider friendly and won't have much resale value.

Now, if your market doesn't mean dealing with riders. Then you should be ok. I'd suggest you to look at some other designs tho.
And on the plus side, you will feel the pleasure and pride of saying "I build them" and to many of us, that's worth it.

If you have the tools and time to do it, go for it. It's very time consuming but for a lot of people it's worth it. A lot of the old folks here have done plenty of profit out fo DIY subs. Specially the Lab.

I say, if you can, give it a shot, just know that it's not easy and requires dedication.
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