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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 => SR Forum Archives => LAB Subwoofer FUD Forum Archive => Topic started by: Ryan Stubbs on December 17, 2010, 03:57:02 pm

Title: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Ryan Stubbs on December 17, 2010, 03:57:02 pm
I just received my first pair of Labs. My first impression? Holy crap these things are big and heavy! What did I get myself into? However, once I got 'em hooked up to my new it4000, I couldn't stop smiling. I have now confirmed for myself that a pair of Labs blows a pair of la400's straight out of the water. No comparison really. These things are scary loud. I had my mixer set up under the attic door which quickly began raining insulation and dust forcing me to move. Good times! I couldn't be happier with them. My neighbors on the other hand, well that's a different story. Special thanks to Silas Pradetto for a deal done right. Now I just need to buy a trailer so I can roll these things up a ramp instead of having to heave them into a truck bed.
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Silas Pradetto on December 19, 2010, 04:41:12 pm
Glad you like them Ryan. Glad the freight company didn't destroy them, for once.

I'll have the Itech preset file for you shortly, it really cleans them up.
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Martin Toft on January 04, 2011, 01:19:52 am
Yeah, Silas, how do you set them up with a crossover and eq and whatever to make them sound better? i have a crown xti4000 that i believe have the same HI-Qnet functions as the iTech has. I am planning to build a pair soon if I have time. Hearing all these positive things about them makes it very tempting to start the project Smile

thanks, Martin Smile
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Tim McCulloch on January 04, 2011, 09:51:36 am
The XTI and I-Tech are very different in terms of their EQ capabilities.  Download and install Harman System Architect (not Band Manager) and drag one of each amp into the "venue" space and double click to open the control panel for each.

Explore the EQ, both input & output to discover the differences.  That said, it is usually possible to approximate I-Tech settings in the XTI, but it is not always possible to exactly duplicate them.

Have fun, good luck.

Tim "ported custom settings for XTI last month" Mc
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Silas Pradetto on January 04, 2011, 09:56:56 am
Tim McCulloch wrote on Tue, 04 January 2011 09:51

The XTI and I-Tech are very different in terms of their EQ capabilities.  Download and install Harman System Architect (not Band Manager) and drag one of each amp into the "venue" space and double click to open the control panel for each.

Explore the EQ, both input & output to discover the differences.  That said, it is usually possible to approximate I-Tech settings in the XTI, but it is not always possible to exactly duplicate them.

Have fun, good luck.

Tim "ported custom settings for XTI last month" Mc


I finally got presets over to Ryan, hopefully he can get them loaded up and working properly.

The XTi can do nearly nothing compared to an Itech. Sure, they both have reasonable EQ, but the Itech has all the limiters, load monitoring, proper clip protection, and other features that the XTis lack, along with really good sound quality and power. (I find the XTis very wimpy, especially on horn loaded subs which present a reactive load.)

If you're making the jump to LABs, get a real amp, or don't bother. It's not a jump that should be half-assed. Think: if you were actually upgrading to a $5000 subwoofer, wouldn't you want to use the proper amp with it?
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Tim McCulloch on January 04, 2011, 11:51:45 am
Silas Pradetto { wrote on Tue, 04 January 2011 08:56


If you're making the jump to LABs, get a real amp, or don't bother. It's not a jump that should be half-assed. Think: if you were actually upgrading to a $5000 subwoofer, wouldn't you want to use the proper amp with it?

Silas, you have the proper perspective on this.  Take note, Martin.
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Martin Toft on January 05, 2011, 12:25:03 am
wow. haha that is an insane difference! i had no idea, but i'm only 17 and trying to explore the subject Very Happy and the xti is just $700 so that fits my budget better Smile but is it really a $5000 subwoofer? i can't wait to start building these monsters. they are not for me, but for a DJ friend Very Happy i will let them know about the amp Very Happy

Thanks for helping me guys! I need every piece of advise and knowledge i can possibly get so i appreciate your help!

and please don't hate just because i'm 17. Everyone has to start somewhere. Maybe a little too advanced start but i like a challenge Smile
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Tim McCulloch on January 07, 2011, 11:50:18 am
Martin Toft wrote on Tue, 04 January 2011 23:25

wow. haha that is an insane difference! i had no idea, but i'm only 17 and trying to explore the subject Very Happy and the xti is just $700 so that fits my budget better Smile but is it really a $5000 subwoofer? i can't wait to start building these monsters. they are not for me, but for a DJ friend Very Happy i will let them know about the amp Very Happy

Thanks for helping me guys! I need every piece of advise and knowledge i can possibly get so i appreciate your help!

and please don't hate just because i'm 17. Everyone has to start somewhere. Maybe a little too advanced start but i like a challenge Smile


A challenge you shall receive.  Trust me.

When Tom Danley designed the LABsub, it was to prove that certain large manufacturers weren't putting any "special sauce" in their subs and that competent builders could have a sub that was equal to or exceeded the "big guys" products for 20% of the cost.

While $5000 is a stretch (considering what is available and at what prices, now almost 7 years later), to say the LABsub is equal to or better than subs costing $2000-$3000 is not a stretch at all.

Have fun, good luck.  Oh, you need air-tight wood joints, so practice your cabinet making skills!

Tim Mc
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Ryan Stubbs on January 07, 2011, 12:39:13 pm
I finally got my amp's firmware updated and can now use System Architect properly. I like it when things work. I was so impressed by my first pair of Labs, I couldn't resist buying a second pair. They will be here Monday. I can't wait to hear what a block of four sounds like. Now I just need to find a second pair of SLS960's at a good price and my system will be complete...well I say that...something tells me I'll be wanting to trade in the XTI6000 for another IT4000 for the tops. I like the idea of being able to monitor the system wirelessly from anywhere in the venue.
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Martin Toft on January 07, 2011, 06:00:43 pm
Will be fun though. What kind of epoxy should I use? I heard west systems epoxy works good but what kind? Would birch plywood work best for a build like this?

Thanks Tim, appreciate the help.
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Tim McCulloch on January 07, 2011, 11:47:54 pm
There has been a lot of discussion about adhesives.  Use Google and search on "glue epoxy" and append this - site:srforums.prosoundweb.com and the returned hits will be filtered to this domain only.

Consensus is the West System is overkill and unnecessarily expensive for this application.

Yes, baltic birch is recommended.

Have fun, happy sawdust.

Tim Mc
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Evan Kirkendall on January 08, 2011, 10:03:15 am
Martin Toft wrote on Wed, 05 January 2011 00:25


and please don't hate just because i'm 17. Everyone has to start somewhere. Maybe a little too advanced start but i like a challenge Smile


17? I started annoying Tim here when I was 15! Laughing

The LABs are a great value sub. Just get a real amp to drive them, and you'll be happy for years to come.




Evan
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Martin Toft on January 08, 2011, 01:44:15 pm
I started looking for all the plans today and started making a booklet and printing out everything and putting it all together. hopefully I will find epoxy and wood today.

I'm selling my XTI-4000 and a pair of Turbosound Txd-151 tops for about $3000. yeah i'm lucky to sell it all for a price that good. Then i can just pay a little more and I have an i-Tech HD or an i-Tech. is the i-Tech HD worth the extra cost? i have been looking at it lately and it looks like an outstanding amp.

Again, Tim and Evan, thanks for all your help Smile
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Tim McCulloch on January 09, 2011, 01:25:52 pm
Hi Martin-

Evan is still annoying, but he's a lot smarter than he was 6 years ago. Wink  What helped him here is that he's not a whiny, petulant baby with an attitude.  You seem to be well-adjusted, too.  I think you'll enjoy your time here and learn a great deal.  Stick with us.

You really don't need to use epoxy.  The expense and short open life once mixed makes them less than desirable for a weekend builder.  The consensus was that Elmer's Professional Carpenter's Glue.. now it's Elmer's "Wood Glue MAX" has the right combination of strength, workability and price.  You don't have to go overboard.

What about your exterior finish, and what application methods are available to you?  Some builders have used black paint on the interior and had Rhino or similar truck-bed liners applied to the outside, others have used Sherwin-Williams Polane-T (water based).  I'm betting some have rolled on flat black latex from the local home store...  Regardless, a search will give you lots of ideas and you can see what others wished they had done.

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: John Chiara on January 09, 2011, 11:26:50 pm
Tim McCulloch wrote on Sun, 09 January 2011 13:25

Hi Martin-



You really don't need to use epoxy.  The expense and short open life once mixed makes them less than desirable for a weekend builder.  The consensus was that Elmer's Professional Carpenter's Glue.. now it's Elmer's "Wood Glue MAX" has the right combination of strength, workability and price.  You don't have to go overboard.



Tim Mc


I guess the extra effort might be a pain but I have 6 "normal" labs and 2 "epoxy" ones and the epoxied boxes are super solid. the labs have large expanses of single plywood sheet....and the extra thickness of the epoxy really makes the box "feel" tight..but I have no measurements.
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Silas Pradetto on January 10, 2011, 11:00:54 am
John Chiara wrote on Sun, 09 January 2011 23:26

Tim McCulloch wrote on Sun, 09 January 2011 13:25

Hi Martin-



You really don't need to use epoxy.  The expense and short open life once mixed makes them less than desirable for a weekend builder.  The consensus was that Elmer's Professional Carpenter's Glue.. now it's Elmer's "Wood Glue MAX" has the right combination of strength, workability and price.  You don't have to go overboard.



Tim Mc


I guess the extra effort might be a pain but I have 6 "normal" labs and 2 "epoxy" ones and the epoxied boxes are super solid. the labs have large expanses of single plywood sheet....and the extra thickness of the epoxy really makes the box "feel" tight..but I have no measurements.


John, properly done with PL-Premium there will be no difference.

The biggest difference in LABs that I've seen is going from cheap plywood to real Baltic Birch plywood.

Martin, I never like to discourage anyone, and I'm only 23 and have built 16 LAB subs, but I highly recommend you think twice about it unless you already have a full-fledged wood shop and ample precision wood construction experience.

My first set of four LABs probably took me a hundred hours to complete, and they were just OK. Nothing overly special.

You WILL need a very precise table saw. I'm talking 1/64 inch precision. Your $200 Ryobi isn't going to cut it. Plan on having several routers, or you are going to spend more time changing router bits than anything. You will not be using anything other than a table saw and a pile of routers for this project. If you think you need a circular saw or jigsaw, you are doing something wrong.

Four LABs will cost you $4000 in parts to do properly. Also consider the time you are going to put into the project. It's probably not worth your time to build them for a friend, unless he's a really, really good friend. To recoup your investment you'd be looking at selling LABs for $2000 each.

Also note, building LABs specifically to sell is against the copyright.

I don't like to discourage, but there are far too many people that think they are going to take on LAB construction as a casual project, in which case they will be sadly disappointed at the outcome.

Building LABs is roughly equivalent to building a car from scratch.
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Tim McCulloch on January 10, 2011, 01:26:27 pm
Agreed, if one doesn't have Norm Abrams facilities and skills, this isn't a project to begin with.

A similar sub is available in flat kit form from Pi, if Wayne is still making/marketing them.  He has everything pre-cut and ready for assembly or offers (offered?) kits requiring more assembler-fabricated parts.

The precision required to build an air-tight horn sub is not trivial.

Have fun, etc.

Tim Mc
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Art Welter on January 10, 2011, 02:30:40 pm
Silas,

Having designed and built cabinets similar to the Lab Sub, and having also built a car from scratch, I can say that the two are not comparable, building a car is far more difficult and time consuming.

I can also say that absolute precision is not needed to build a good sub, paintable latex caulk can be used to fill minor gaps. Airtight is airtight, and sound waves from 10 to 40 feet long could care less if all the joints "look pretty".

An old friend of mine used to make a pair of six foot tall 18" scoops in a weekend using a circular saw, jig saw, drill, belt sander and copious amounts of caulk. Though the cabinets looked ugly, they made plenty of bass. After seeing how much time a router can save, he did start using one.

I do agree that using Baltic or good quality domestic birch (hard to find lately) will make a difference in output, and that epoxy is not needed.

Art Welter
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Jeff Bailie on January 10, 2011, 03:34:33 pm
I built 6 Labhorns with no prior wood working experience.

I did spend about 30 days watching YouTube tutorials prior to making sawdust, so I could get to know the names of the joints I was trying to cut. And so I wouldn't cut my fingers off.

I spent time to make quality Jigs for the Flare pieces, and cut them on my table saw.

I Dovetailed and Rabbit Eared all the outer panels.

I used biscuits to join the inner module.

I used West Systems Epoxy on everything.

I used 18mm 13ply Baltic Birch.

The cost was just over $1000 per sub.

It took me 48 days to build 6 Labhorns.  Shocked  About 400 hours.

I bought a very nice Table saw with a 54 inch fence, a Biscuit Joiner, a Router, and a new drill. So add about $2500 to the total.

Your also gonna need Amps, A system possessor with Delay for your tops, and a bunch of cables.. (this is when it gets expensive)

I'm not trying to discourage anyone either. I have 12 labhorns now. They are awesome. Totally worth the work in my opinion.

But....  Lately people have been selling used ones in the Lab Marketplace for under $900 a piece. Which by the way is crazy cheap. You may want to just buy some. Something to think about...

P.S. Your going to want more than 2.  
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Martin Toft on January 10, 2011, 10:07:09 pm
ok. there is a lot of different opinions here. what i'm getting out of it is that since i'm not a skilled woodworker i should not attempt to start a project like this. and that's OK. you guys have a lot of experience and are professional. It is very much sense in what you are saying. it is just hard for me to realize how hard it is, but as i had problems understanding the plans, i figured it was more advanced than i had anticipated. the reason i wanted to build these LAB's was because i think woodworking is fun and i like speakers and PA. it will probably be my future hobby. what bothers me is that i don't understand how this can be so hard! (and yes i don't know anything about the build yet.) I am a person that can't quit at this point. I never give up on anything! But my understanding is that a LAB beyond my level of knowledge and i will simply not be able to make it. One other reason i really wanted to make them is to help my new friends out! I felt that if I could make them a subwoofer this great i would feel very much appreciated! And I would also be very proud to have accomplished such a build. But one thing i have learned throughout the years of a stubborn teenager is to listen to others and their advices. Especially in a situation like this where i stand very weak.I also want to build them because i want to learn and i love getting smarter and gaining knowledge.

Since this is as hard as you say it is a solution to the problem could be to build a different sub! with an easier design. one that maybe will work better (if possible) for a mobile dj setup! If you have any suggestions please help me out!

one thing that i have found out is this. As I actually am a foreign exchange student from Norway and just live here in Arizona temporarily, intelligent high school kids are hard to find. i don't mean "school smart" kids but socially smart and at the same time intelligent. talking to you all is great as you are people i can learn from, instead of people i teach it to.

Thanks again guys
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Jeff Bailie on January 11, 2011, 03:38:42 am
Sweet... I had a foreign exchange student from Norway live with me when I was younger. He was from Oslo. He was also super intelligent. And Damn he was good at Football!

All the more reason to start collecting the tools needed for the job.

I'm just a fairly educated American and I pulled it off! haha..

As a beginner, I would would try and slide tackle the Flair Pieces First. If you can get those cut correct the rest isn't so bad.

Sorry for my lame soccer pun.  
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Ryan Stubbs on January 11, 2011, 10:38:12 am
I'm curious to know why Labs cost as much as they do to build. Is it the Baltic Birch that costs so much? Where does the majority of the expense come from? I know they are an outstanding sub for the price, but to an outsider it seems like they wouldn't cost as much as they do.
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Tim McCulloch on January 11, 2011, 03:31:26 pm
Hi Martin-

If you need a hobby, there are certainly worse things than building subwoofers while on exchange.

If you're in or near a major city, there's a good chance you can rent shop time in a woodworker's collective.  Inquire at the places that sell cabinetmaker's supplies or imported hardwoods.  The guys at the big home centers might know, too, but I put my bets on craftsmen suppliers.  You will have access to a fully equipped shop and probable offers of help from other crafters in the facility.

The only downside to this will be that you'll build subs you really like but are unlikely to send back to Norway.

Even if you do a mediocre job of building, you'll gain experience and knowledge.  In the end, that's what you're pursuing.  And some kick-ass low end!

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Tim McCulloch on January 11, 2011, 03:44:15 pm
Ryan Stubbs wrote on Tue, 11 January 2011 09:38

I'm curious to know why Labs cost as much as they do to build. Is it the Baltic Birch that costs so much? Where does the majority of the expense come from? I know they are an outstanding sub for the price, but to an outsider it seems like they wouldn't cost as much as they do.


Baltic birch is a lot of the cost.  It doesn't commonly come in convenient 4x8' sheets, typically they're roughly 5'x5'.  There is a lot of waste.  You can order 4'x8' sheets but often about 3" or more around each edge isn't 'finish grade' and it's more expensive per S.F. than the 5' panels.  This also changes frequently, so you'd be advised to contact your hardwood vendor for current prices and availability.

On average, Baltic Birch is about 4x the price of softwood plywood in the USA.

The woofers are around $250/pair.  The aluminum plates that cover the woofer hatches are about $40 each to fabricate, some have paid much more, others have paid a little less.  It's a 2-per sub item.  Other things, like jack plates, corners, handles, casters, grilles, etc run up the costs, too.  This kind of hardware can easily total up to around $200 by itself, not including all the wood screws you'll use in the build.

Print out the plans, find some pictures in the "LABporn" thread and print them out, too, showing the finish and hardware.  Take that to your local high school woodshop teacher and ask him/her to break the project down with you.  You'll understand how it *can* cost $1000/per.  I think the minimum we heard someone building LABsubs for was around $650.

Remember, though, that you're building a sub that WILL compete with commercial products that sell for twice or more your costs.  That's what you need to focus on if you intend to build these.  Otherwise build some generic 2x18" boxes and call it a day.

Have fun, happy sawdust.

Tim Mc
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Helge A. Bentsen on January 11, 2011, 05:21:20 pm
Tim McCulloch wrote on Tue, 11 January 2011 21:31


The only downside to this will be that you'll build subs you really like but are unlikely to send back to Norway.

Have fun, good luck.

Tim Mc


Shipping stuff from the US to Norway is quite cheap, there are some freight companies specialising in this so we can buy cheap stuff from Ebay, mail-order etc. and ship it by them. I bought 4 used SH-50s this way, shipping was around $600 for all four.
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Martin Toft on January 11, 2011, 10:53:37 pm
O now i don't know what i am going to do... i live around the phoenix area so i guess renting a shop is an option, and a good idea! but, there are so many people saying that it is a good idea and people saying it's not. i mainly want to build for the experience part, but also to hear how they sound and use them for the mobile DJ applications. my host father has a experience working with wood and he said he understood all the plans and everything. he just needed a good shop that's all. so maybe renting a shop is a good idea? i don't know yet. it would definitely be a fun project and a great experience. i will look further into it.

i don't need to send them back to Norway. Even though that's breaking the rules. But if i find the build successful i can just build more when i get back home. And that is in about 5 months. so i have quite a lot of time.

Tim, should I really do this?
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Duane Silveira on January 12, 2011, 03:48:46 am
Martin Toft wrote on Tue, 11 January 2011 19:53

O now i don't know what i am going to do... i live around the phoenix area so i guess renting a shop is an option, and a good idea! but, there are so many people saying that it is a good idea and people saying it's not. i mainly want to build for the experience part, but also to hear how they sound and use them for the mobile DJ applications. my host father has a experience working with wood and he said he understood all the plans and everything. he just needed a good shop that's all. so maybe renting a shop is a good idea? i don't know yet. it would definitely be a fun project and a great experience. i will look further into it.

i don't need to send them back to Norway. Even though that's breaking the rules. But if i find the build successful i can just build more when i get back home. And that is in about 5 months. so i have quite a lot of time.

Tim, should I really do this?

Martin, why be so wishy washy?? The plans are in complete detail, free of charge, with all the support from forum members along with years of "chat" specifically about the lab sub. Ive built 5 so far with excellent results. I just jumped in and went to work. First step is to buy the wood and either rent, borrow buy or steal the tools for the job. Ok dont steal them. The main thing is to TAKE YOUR TIME. Dont rush the job. Measure twice and cut once. By the way you dont need a shop either. I cut all my pieces in the backyard and assembled them in my living room with the comfort of heat and a flat screen tv . Yes my carpet is now destroid Confused But thats beside the point. So....no need to ask someone wether you should do it or not. You make the choice. Procrastination never gets you anywhere. Good luck!!
Title: Re: My first pair of Labs
Post by: Martin Toft on January 12, 2011, 07:53:17 pm
ok. good answer duane. i thought of it as i went to bed yesterday. i don't want anything to stop me from this as i really want to!

ok. so for building two. how much wood would i need? how many sheets? approximately? and would i need more than one 1 liter can of epoxy? or how much

and the flare part. that is "kind of" like building a horn right?
And the one thing i don't understand. where and how are you wiring it all? they should be wired in parallel right?  do you pull the wire through the panels around the driver? and in free air inside the horn?

Thanks for answering questions.