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Sound Reinforcement - Forums for Live Sound Professionals - Your Displayed Name Must Be Your Real Full Name To Post In The Live Sound Forums => LAB Subwoofer Forum => Topic started by: Taylor Hall on July 31, 2013, 10:27:24 am

Title: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Taylor Hall on July 31, 2013, 10:27:24 am
Hey there everyone. It's been a longtime wish of mine to be able to build one of these cabs, but never had the need or drive to actually do it until now. Between running a small convention and doing some system rental on the side we've noticed that we have a need for some low-end grunt and it looks like this design will work well for us and our applications.

Basically, before we commit the time and money towards building these it would be nice to be able to hear some in action. It's really more for my partner than for me as he's more than skeptical about how a pair of 12" drivers can match the output of something much larger. I've tried reasoning with him about how there's more to doing this than just getting the biggest driver you can and throwing thousands of watts of power at it and it's been an uphill struggle.

I'm hoping that I can slowly phase out some of the equipment we already have with something more tailored to our needs. We're reaching the point where I've pretty much maxed the potential of the gear we have (mostly seismic audio, I know I know, but it wasn't my call, I came into this venture too late to offer other alternatives) and rather than running everything ragged just to get 7/10ths I'd prefer to upgrade a few things and be able to get closer to 9/10ths with breathing room to push to 10/10ths if the need arises.

I have a feeling I've found the perfect community to pull advice from and I've already learned a bunch just in trolling around some older topics. So, hopefully you'll see some more of me around and possibly a build thread in the very near future. ;D
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Sean Hennessey on July 31, 2013, 10:35:14 am
you have provisions to lift and transport lab subs?  how many can you possibly lug?
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Tim McCulloch on July 31, 2013, 11:25:13 am
Hi Taylor, and welcome to the forums.

The origin of the Tom Danley's design for the LABhorn was to prove that anyone with cabinet making chops could build/own a sub that rivaled or exceeded the performance of a well-known 3-letter (not west coast) company's product that sold for 3x or 4x the price of a nicely done LABhorn build.  Tom got Eminence to make custom drivers for his design and the rest is history.

That all said, there are now commercial systems that will cost 1.5x - 2x the expense of a plush LABhorn build and come closer to the performance.  Most of these are smaller and potentially lighter as well.  Don't get me wrong, I like making sawdust, too, but I think you need to consider what 40 hours of your lives can accomplish on the revenue side rather than being an undocumented and uncompensated expense of the build (hint: factor the value of shop labor into the cost basis).  You might not be saving as much as you think, and often it's more productive to spend 40 hours landing a couple of new clients than "saving" by building a custom product.  Trust me.

More information about the nature of the work you do most often, the amount of area needing coverage, the SPL required, etc will help us guide you to a better determination regarding suitability LABhorns or other products.

And finally, a couple of thoughts that have evolved over the life span of the LAB:  The wrong product at the 'right' price is still the wrong product; and Buy once, cry once.

Don't be afraid to purchase used gear from reliable firms.  It is your ticket to better gear at lower prices.
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Taylor Hall on July 31, 2013, 12:20:38 pm
you have provisions to lift and transport lab subs?  how many can you possibly lug?
Right now our max would probably be 4 labs before needing a bigger truck and more helper bees. However, our (my) current plan is to start with a pair and see how well they compliment (ie completely overpower) what we have and go from there.

lotsa words

Oops, should have included some of that info in my original posting.

I'm fairly familiar with the history of the labhorn and Mr. Danley's contribution to the live sound scene. It's the intent he put into this design that drew me back to it after several years.

I should add that the rental side of what we do is more primarily aimed at "meeting in a box" type things. There's simply too much competition in Atlanta with larger, well-established names for us to try and get into the market of larger venues, plus it's not what we're wanting to do so it's a win/win for us. This is more of a hobby than a business for us, the convention is where we make the most of all this. With that being said, the Labs would likely only be brought out once, possibly twice a year (for our convention and one other that we partner with for tech) for use so the transportability isn't a big issue, especially since our storage facility is within a couple miles of both venues. I'm well aware of the time and monetary costs of building these cabs.

As far as what we will be using this for, the space is about 8,000 sq ft with 16ft cieling. The room is about 40' x 100', but we don't expect to push past about 50' past the stage given the amount of bodies between the there and back of the room. It's never filled to capacity anyways . It's primarily for EDM (no, not just dubstep) but will probably pull double duty as a live band setup within the next couple years. I'm also more or a quality over quantity guy. Anyone can make something LOUD, I want it to sound GOOD and am willing to sacrifice a few blown eardrums to accomplish that. After attending a show by a duo know as Justice a couple years ago, I was blown away by the quality of the sound that was put out. It was loud, to be sure, but everything was so clear. It was wonderfully balanced and left an impression on me that is still solid. Granted, a lot of that also comes down to tuning the setup to the venue, but having a decent setup to begin with goes a long way. Here's a video of what I'm talking about goes into their live production: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gk3SHyYGc38

I'm also not against going to a different design if it will better suit what we have laid out. We're on the same page as far as the right tool for the right job, that's why I'm looking to upgrade this equipment (and leaning towards DIY options as time is something we have plenty of, money, not so much) to something that will better suit our needs. So every few dollars we save on cabs is more we can put towards amps and other equipment to build a better foundation for ourselves.

I'm also not against buying used, but it seems most of the gear is pretty heavily picked over by those other companies I mentioned earlier as they have the disposable income to snatch it up at any given price where we do not have such a luxury. If I knew we could sell off a hefty portion of the gear on a moment's notice to fund a deal that came up, I'd likely be in a very different position right now. That being said, moving forward we should have some "play money" once we settle with our venue for the following year, so we might be able to snag some quality used gear, yet.

Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Taylor Hall on July 31, 2013, 08:25:52 pm
After a bit more consideration and consulting with a local gearhead it looks like going with the labhorn won't work like we hoped with our situation. While they would certainly offer increased sub-bass output, we wouldn't have enough real estate at our disposal to make full use of their throw distance. It seems if we were in a larger space or outdoors we'd have a better chance of properly utilizing these cabs.

That said, it looks like we're going to shift to a dual 18" cab as it should better suit our smaller space. I'll probably still build a pair of these just for the halibut in my free time as I've been needing something to tinker with. Time to start shopping again!
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Ivan Beaver on July 31, 2013, 08:49:36 pm
. While they would certainly offer increased sub-bass output, we wouldn't have enough real estate at our disposal to make full use of their throw distance.
So exactly what does that mean?

Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Mac Kerr on July 31, 2013, 08:53:08 pm
After a bit more consideration and consulting with a local gearhead it looks like going with the labhorn won't work like we hoped with our situation. While they would certainly offer increased sub-bass output, we wouldn't have enough real estate at our disposal to make full use of their throw distance.

Huh? The bullshit meter is in the red.

Mac
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Rob Spence on July 31, 2013, 09:18:07 pm

That said, it looks like we're going to shift to a dual 18" cab as it should better suit our smaller space. I'll probably still build a pair of these just for the halibut in my free time as I've been needing something to tinker with. Time to start shopping again!

There is a set of plans available for a dual 12 cab using the lab12 drivers that appears to be much easier to build than the Labhorn. Also smaller.

Edit:
There is a thread in the DYI forum at "soundforums.net"

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Sean Hennessey on July 31, 2013, 09:45:28 pm
Throw distance (headscratch).

I dont think it plays as big a part as you think it does...   :-\

edit:

Oh snap I slept on this one lol .
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Ivan Beaver on August 01, 2013, 07:30:10 am
There is a set of plans available for a dual 12 cab using the lab12 drivers that appears to be much easier to build than the Labhorn. Also smaller.

Edit:
There is a thread in the DYI forum at "soundforums.net"

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD
And the trade off (there is always one) is the output is much lower-so it takes a lot  more of them to get the same otuput.  I don't remember the freq response and how it compares
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: David Morison on August 01, 2013, 07:46:20 am
As far as what we will be using this for, the space is about 8,000 sq ft with 16ft cieling. The room is about 40' x 100', but we don't expect to push past about 50' past the stage given the amount of bodies between the there and back of the room. It's never filled to capacity anyways .

Huh?
Help me out here, I know I'm more used to those newfangled metres we use here in Europland than Ye Olde Feete but I'm pretty sure the arithmetic is still the same - if your room is 40x100 (of anything) then its area is 4000 sq(anythings), so where's the other half of your 8000 sq whatsits coming from?
Do you need to cover that area too?

Cheers,
David.
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Taylor Hall on August 01, 2013, 10:09:08 am
Judging by the candor of some of these responses it seems the person I was talking to was blowing smoke, or, at the very least working on false/skewed information. I'm all ears here, folks. This is virgin territory for me so whatever you guys have to offer I'm more than willing to hear.

Oh snap I slept on this one lol .

Hah, it does make sense in that regard, at least. ;D

Sorry for the confusion, David. I did some sleuth work and found out that the dimensions of the room on the event space's website were incorrect (well, technically they were correct, but they had the TOTAL meeting space listed instead of the individual room's space, thus the 10,000 sq ft figure). The actual dimensions are 65' x 100' (20m x 30m) giving a 6500 sq ft (600 sq m) area. The ceilings were still 16', so at least that figure was correct.
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Sean Hennessey on August 01, 2013, 03:54:14 pm
so you're dedicated to going the DIY route?  Do you know what your power situation is going to be (both from the actual venue, and in forms of power amps)? 

The Lab Sub does sound great.  some of the best sounding shows I've been to have deployed them (all electronic music mind you), vs offerings from PK sound (subs were fine,  but the balance of the system was trashed every time), D&B (not enough rig for the gig was the only fault) NEXO, etc, esp eaw/jbl lol. 

That being said, there are plenty of other DIY designs out there, and if you have sufficient budget you can build a GREAT dual 18 for 1/3 the price of what its gonna run you normally, or spend a month or 2 learning horn resp and design your own FLH or Tapped horn if thats what your into. 
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Taylor Hall on August 01, 2013, 04:49:54 pm
Right now the DIY route seems to be the most cost-effective for us as we don't have quite enough money tucked away to comfortably drop on decent used gear. Being a convention 95% of our income comes all at once over the course of one week during the year so we have to be very careful about how we spend it the rest of the year until we get that big deposit again. Plus, it's easier to sneak little purchases (a driver here, a couple sheets of wood there) past our money holder than one large purchase. What we do posses is a large amount of free time between now and then and a budget fully capable of handling a pair of these cabs and a suitable amp to power them.

We use all our own equipment, we actually upset the in-house tech provider quite a bit when they were told that our 1000+ person event needed absolutely no tech. We're in a bit of a unique position as we don't have to rely on any outside rental company to work our panel rooms, viewing rooms and main events space. Supplied power worked well for us this past year, we had a large drop with several 20A circuits that we were able to section our amps into. Wasn't ideal, but it got the job done fine and we didn't trip anything throughout the night. We're currently running Behringer EP4000s (which has effectively turned our rack into its own gravity well) which will be phased out as funding becomes available to get some lighter gear. For now they're running like champs and have served us well through several shows.

Oh man, don't get me started on hornresp. I've tried using it but there are so many variables that I just don't know how to calculate or have the foggiest what they even mean. I've looked at a couple guides that have been posted on various forums, but they read as if they're more aimed towards those who are already familiar with cabinet design and the parameters associated with it. That being said, I'm trying my best to wrap my head around it and would love to try my hand at my own custom box one day (even if it's complete crap ::) ).
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Sean Hennessey on August 02, 2013, 04:13:09 pm
If dual 18s are your goal, the EP4000 is likely to be underpowered (and I probably would not trust it bridged into 4 ohms for long).  They'll hobble by for labhorns at least though.   

The amps you already have are heavy,  try searching for heavy, used alternatives with better rep.  You wont find them for as cheap as the ep4k, but they will be cheaper than going out and buying new itechs etc.
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Taylor Hall on August 02, 2013, 05:39:19 pm
They actually run in 4ohm stereo rather well. But yes, bridging the amp is really out of the question for what we're looking to do. I'd sooner run at less than ideal power for a bit while better amps can be sourced than risk blowing an amp (and potentially other components).

That's more or less the plan. We'll likely do them one at a time. Those Crest amps in the marketplace were quite tempting, and at a good price, to boot. If they're still hanging around by the time we get these built we might grab one or two depending on how our budget looks.

I'm also in talks with several machine shops in the area with CNC routing capabilities. If the price is decent it will save us a buttload of time getting them built and add an extra layer of precision that we couldn't get from a table saw and hand router. We shall see.
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Sean Hennessey on August 02, 2013, 06:59:11 pm
i dont doubt they do 4 ohm stereo nicely.  but they only do about 1k (or more like 750) into 4 ohms.   I suppose if you could source 4 ohm drivers, you can make it work, 1 channel per driver (so one amp per box) for a dual 18.
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Taylor Hall on August 03, 2013, 03:09:00 pm
Yeah, that's an option but not one I would really consider except for a last resort since it would suck up too many amp channels. We're going to be upgrading amps from here on out so as we get new boxes we'll also get new amps that will better handle the increased output demands.
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Taylor Hall on August 04, 2013, 11:26:41 pm
So an interesting development has cropped up. I've managed to find a local selling 4 LABs already assembled using the Eminence drivers. Problem is, he doesn't have an asking price and he wants me to give him an opening offer. He seems to be flexible on the price judging from the email I received, but I'm not really sure what one of these would be worth outside of the value of the parts and materials alone. I don't want to lowball him, but at the same time I don't want to offer way too much and screw myself over. Any ideas?
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Tim McCulloch on August 05, 2013, 12:24:02 am
From a business stand point, I'd not invest any money in gear that only goes out once a year.  Excess capacity is infinitely expensive.
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Ivan Beaver on August 05, 2013, 07:39:36 am
So an interesting development has cropped up. I've managed to find a local selling 4 LABs already assembled using the Eminence drivers. Problem is, he doesn't have an asking price and he wants me to give him an opening offer. He seems to be flexible on the price judging from the email I received, but I'm not really sure what one of these would be worth outside of the value of the parts and materials alone. I don't want to lowball him, but at the same time I don't want to offer way too much and screw myself over. Any ideas?
Consider that the "average" labsub (varying a lot depending on the construction and finish-handles-wheels etc) is around $1,000-not counting labor-that would be a start.
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Taylor Hall on August 12, 2013, 04:31:19 pm
From a business stand point, I'd not invest any money in gear that only goes out once a year.  Excess capacity is infinitely expensive.

I just noticed that one of my previous posts got some info left out when I had to retype it after Firefox crashed. We actually gained a couple rentals for our full system through some local DJs so we actually have a "legitimate" cause to pick these up as they will let us flex quite a bit more muscle sound-wise over what we have now. Between those shows and the other convention that we rent to we will completely recoup the total cost before the end of the year. All we're waiting on is for our money person to OK it and with any luck we'll have four new (to us) LABs sitting in our storage facility ready to melt some faces.
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Rick Powell on August 16, 2013, 09:51:58 pm
Most sellers of LAB subs have a hard time getting $1000 apiece for them; even though they may be put together well, there's that "no brand name" and question of "what's inside the box" build quality, as well as its size and weight making it undesirable for a large segment of would-be sub cabinet buyers.  I have seen some units that I know were well built go for just north of $600 or so.  They are an insane bargain at that price, if the build quality is there and you are capable of hauling them.  OTOH, you'd have no trouble selling a JBL SRX 728 for $1k.
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Taylor Hall on August 19, 2013, 01:44:05 pm
We're going to inspect them tonight to be sure everything's in order. If all goes well we'll be picking them up this weekend.
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Taylor Hall on September 09, 2013, 11:53:34 am
Well, things were not well with the subs. Two drivers were kaputt (one blown coil and one needing a recone) and a couple of the cabs were banged up to the point that the casters had been ripped off.

We tried talking the guy down but he wouldn't budge from his initial price even after seeing that the stuff was clearly wrecked. We got a feeling that there was more to this deal than met the eye so we walked away from it. So word of warning to anyone who sees 4 LABs surface in the Duluth, GA area, they're not kosher.

It wasn't a total loss as we had a backup plan in place so we used the truck we had rented to go pick up a bunch of ply from home depot and got to cutting that same afternoon. We should have a completed box by this wednesday once the drivers come in. They won't be LABs, but they'll get the job done for what we need and at significantly less than what we would have spent for a set of derelict LABs.
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Sean Hennessey on September 11, 2013, 01:06:46 am
a lab 12 is prettty cheap.  IDK, might have still taken it if the price was  right.  if one had a blown coil and the other a trashed cone, then I would say they both needed a recone (reconing replaces the VC as well, as far as an eminence recone kit is concerned)
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Ivan Beaver on September 11, 2013, 07:46:56 am
a lab 12 is prettty cheap.  IDK, might have still taken it if the price was  right.  if one had a blown coil and the other a trashed cone, then I would say they both needed a recone (reconing replaces the VC as well, as far as an eminence recone kit is concerned)
One of the big problems with the lab sub-is that many get built by people who have never built a cabinet before and do a poor job-or they try to "improve" on the design-yet they have no knowledge of what they are going and simply guess.  NOT the way to design a horn.

So the quality of construction varies from excellent to piss poor and the product not performing anywhere near what it should.

Are there are any air leaks?-poor joints that buzz?-lack of bracing-inadequate seal around the driver and so forth.  That can make a big difference on how well it actually performs-and you can't tell those types of things from looking at the outside of the cabinet.
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Taylor Hall on September 11, 2013, 09:52:40 am
There were several joints for the horn vent that were showing significant amounts of daylight and one cab looked like it had been "fixed" after they realized something was way off. We also noticed when examining the drivers that the plates covering the two that were blown had no adhesive left to their seal while all the others did. He knew these things were blown and was just going to pass it on to the next owner without even telling them on top of all the other little things.

Had he been up front about what damage had been done to these cabs then this likely would have ended differently. He obviously wasn't expecting anyone to show up with a voltmeter and screwdriver and half a head of sense. Could we have fixed the drivers? Yes, easily. Could we have fixed the cabinets? Debatable. There were a lot of little things that were obvious and easy fixes, but like Ivan said without being able to see the entirety of the inside we have no clue how well the rest of the box was built and we weren't willing to gamble on something like that when we could build our own for only a bit more than he was asking.
Title: Re: Anyone in Atlanta have a Labhorn I could test drive?
Post by: Richard Turner on September 16, 2013, 10:19:02 pm
If you are dead set on building them I would seriously  consider getting quotes from a couple professional commercial cabinet shops to do the cutting.

A shop with a real panel saw could probably cut the  4 kits out in a half day/ 6 hours, maybe a bit longer if you wanted the  routering and boring done for the speaker mounts baffles and side covers done even at $70 an hour its still cheaper than wasting a piece of 18mm birch with a mis cut and they would likely be better on price of the materials than you would ever get from a hardware store by special order as well as they may already have some offcuts on hand  that work out .

You will save money by hiring a professional to do the cutting. trust me on that


as far as a front loaded tuned port dual 18 box, dont waste your effort time or money on it there are far too many used name brand boxes to be bothered with it, unless you are willing to own the homebrew box forever and ever it will be worthless to sell, as in pull the raw drivers out sell them and burn the box when you're done where a used jbl/eaw/yorkville/mccauley, dare i even say peavey box will always have some worth on the used market.

Heck a peavey QW218 sub has street price of ~$1200 has a nice finish ( you do realise nice texturelac, gatorguard, truckbed liner etc finish for the home brew box runs about $100 a gallon plus clean up/shop supply costs) and 5 year warranty if you register it and use a crest/ peavey amp ( I forget the specifices on the extra 2 years) but those amps you have would be in the red anyway pushing a dual 18 sub anyway they just dont have enough stuff inside,

Realistically even adding in a new amp, lets look at the peavey stuff, have it open on a national large MI retailer, IPR7500dsp street price ~$1000, CS4080HZ ~$1200 both rated 2KW @ 4ohm

plus they are offering 24 month interest free financing to qualified buyers

so have a look at those numbers, factor in 5 year warranty, capital cost depreciation on the gear vs your tax situation, etc etc,

I'm up in Canada very heavily taxed as individuals but as for businesses we get to write off sales tax paid on new equipment (but have to charge it on deporeciated out used equipment sold off at selling price) 15% depreciation first year(half year) then 30% of depreciated value each subsequent year, so basically after 5 years the piece is worth 20% according to the accountant yet is usually worth half of new in real life so needless to say best plan is to sell it half of new with a few months warranty remaining, customer happy with piece of mind of bit of warranty remaining, Seller(me) happy that if they take it and run the ba!!s off of on first night out and destroy it I'm not on the hook for selling bunk gear, I let the warranty cliams dept explain burned black voice coils on tweeters aren't warranty covered.