speaker cabinet made of ...natural wood? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 32 Old 07-10-2015, 03:24 PM Thread Starter
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speaker cabinet made of ...natural wood?

I know speaker cabinets due to the need of 100% stable wood is made generaly of mdf or plywood. but recently Ive seen a new shop making guitar speaker cabinets of natural wood , mainly from african wallnut. Is it common or even possible to make those out of natural wood? ( that shop doesnt neceseraly have an old history of making speaker cabiets...)
https://scontent-cdg2-1.xx.fbcdn.net...5e&oe=560E6242
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post #2 of 32 Old 07-10-2015, 03:32 PM
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I know speaker cabinets due to the need of 100% stable wood is made generaly of mdf or plywood. but recently Ive seen a new shop making guitar speaker cabinets of natural wood , mainly from african wallnut. Is it common or even possible to make those out of natural wood? ( that shop doesnt neceseraly have an old history of making speaker cabiets...)
https://scontent-cdg2-1.xx.fbcdn.net...5e&oe=560E6242
There is nothing to stop you from making it out of a hardwood, though the reasons you already stated may make it less than ideal. However, in that case you posted, they clearly made it for more than functional purposes. The use of spalted and highly contrasting hardwood was certainly for visual appeal, something mdf and plywood won't really achieve to the same level.
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post #3 of 32 Old 07-10-2015, 03:41 PM
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MDF is speaker builders' material of choice due to it's uniformity, density and stability. If you use regular wood, I would choose something that has those qualities. Also, I would avoid cracks or knots as those might vibrate - rattling speakers would not be good.
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post #4 of 32 Old 07-10-2015, 05:04 PM Thread Starter
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also what about hardwood expansion and contraction? wont tht deform the box joints? not to mention it has to deal with the vibrations of the speaker.
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post #5 of 32 Old 07-10-2015, 05:06 PM
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My side business is building home and auto speaker cabinets as well as guitar cabinets...

http://s29.photobucket.com/user/MrMa...?sort=3&page=1

MDF is the main choice for reasons Phil stated as well as economics however I typically build guitar cabinets from 12-13mm multi ply birch with bracing to keep them as light as possible for transport.

Unlike a musical instrument you don't want the cabinet making any "sound" of it's own (some guitar/bass players I know say they prefer the "sound" of certain materials) so any material that is fairly inert or can be made inert with bracing would be fine (they used to make a specific speaker cabinet building product called "acoustic particleboard" and I have even seen speaker cabinets made from marble and granite!).

For home cabinets where the cabinet needs to look like a piece of furniture solid wood would be fine if constructed properly however what I typically use in those cases are either real wood pre-veneered MDF or an MDF carcass with real wood veneer applied. I have also used plastic laminate (Formica) over MDF and have had a finisher do "faux" finishes to match the surroundings (you'd be amazed at what a good finisher can do!)

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Last edited by Marv; 07-10-2015 at 05:11 PM.
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post #6 of 32 Old 07-10-2015, 06:57 PM
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You can make it out of a solid hardwood, just research a bit as to what would work best and suit your visual appeals. There are HW's that are solid as a rock and have very little movement.

Sound dampening should be addressed inside the cabinet, not dependent on the material. Even MDF should have dampening inside.
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post #7 of 32 Old 07-10-2015, 08:39 PM
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post #8 of 32 Old 07-11-2015, 01:10 AM Thread Starter
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what about hardwood expansion and contraction? wont that be an issue?
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post #9 of 32 Old 07-11-2015, 01:14 PM
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I'd urge you to use MDF.
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post #10 of 32 Old 07-11-2015, 04:25 PM
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Have built many speakers and have has success and failures. About 50/50..

My suggestion would be to go to an actual speaker building forum for interior speakers. There's a lot going on besides the cool looks of veneer or solids.

Other than that I'll stay out of this one as it's not my profession. Good luck
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post #11 of 32 Old 07-11-2015, 05:14 PM
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Have built many speakers and have has success and failures. About 50/50..

My suggestion would be to go to an actual speaker building forum for interior speakers. There's a lot going on besides the cool looks of veneer or solids.

Other than that I'll stay out of this one as it's not my profession. Good luck
Yes there is a lot more going on that makes a speaker cabinet perform at it's optimum however a strange thing I have come across more than a few times are clients more concerned with form than function (typically the rich folks around here that send me "designs" from architects/ desgners who are apparently more concerned with impressing people with the looks instead of the sound). Personally I would take an ugly speaker cabinet built properly that sounded great over a pretty speaker cabinet that sounded like crap.

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Last edited by Marv; 07-11-2015 at 05:16 PM.
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post #12 of 32 Old 07-11-2015, 05:32 PM
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Personally I would take an ugly speaker cabinet built properly that sounded great over a pretty speaker cabinet that sounded like crap.
+11. But the good news is you can have your cake and eat it too! Veneering is fairly easy to do. In general, I'm not a fan of veneers but this is one case where it really works out well.

I think part of the problem is that architects and designers are often evaluated based on pictures of the final product. As such, sound just doesn't factor in.
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post #13 of 32 Old 07-11-2015, 08:28 PM
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Looks sell, there's no doubt. Looks can mean a second or third look in a audio store. BUT.......It can be its down fall in a stereo review magazine and reviews across the net.

I built end table speakers at one time. Pb surrounded by solid oak. Sounded great but was too solid and had no flex. Over a period of time killed the woofer cones. These are long gone and about 15 years ago.
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post #14 of 32 Old 07-11-2015, 09:31 PM
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what were those damaged cones made from? looks like a ported design from the pics. I'm wondering if it was from: 1) being overdriven, 2) poor cone material, or 3) poorly controlled cone excursion due to lack of proper damping. How did the surrounds fare?
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post #15 of 32 Old 07-11-2015, 11:38 PM
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I used 1/2 inch Baltic Birch

speaker cabinet made of ...natural wood?-image-197945962.jpg

Pops ~ In So Cal...
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post #16 of 32 Old 07-12-2015, 09:39 AM
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what were those damaged cones made from? looks like a ported design from the pics. I'm wondering if it was from: 1) being overdriven, 2) poor cone material, or 3) poorly controlled cone excursion due to lack of proper damping. How did the surrounds fare?
These were originally early 80's Fisher brand speakers that got wet when a window was left open during a rain. Rebuilt into end tables. The internal volume was correct but square versus rectangular. As i said they worked fine but were hard on the woofers.

I have two sets of MTX AAL212 speakers with a pioneer vsx-9300 receiver One set still in good shape and the other the boxes were trash. Will eventually make new boxes for pair as I have a few sheets of ribbon stripped Sapele.

In the early 80's I traded a 1972 old's 442 for a Technics SA500 receiver,JBL L40 speakers and a TEAC cassette(unknown) player. Sold the stereo for a diamond ring for the first wife. Wish i had the car and stereo back.

Currently looking for a Pioneer VSX D1S receiver
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post #17 of 32 Old 07-12-2015, 09:58 AM
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I've built a lot of speakers for two channel audio and home theater applications. I've used MDF (my absolute least favorite), natural wood (my second least favorite), and BB plywood (my absolute favorite). They all work as long as certain "allowances" are made for their individual weakness.
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post #18 of 32 Old 07-12-2015, 10:56 AM
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I've built a lot of speakers for two channel audio and home theater applications. I've used MDF (my absolute least favorite), natural wood (my second least favorite), and BB plywood (my absolute favorite). They all work as long as certain "allowances" are made for their individual weakness.
Bob, why don't you like the sound characteristics of MDF for speaker enclosures? I would think BB would resonate too much. Or is that the characteristic that you prefer? Personally I like acoustically suspended speakers, be they full range or subs. Ported speakers don't sound "right" to me, nor do speakers that have a lot of resonance, which is why I didn't buy the at-the-time, the well-respected Dahlquist DQ10's. They resonated more than any other speaker at the time, they I had auditioned. I opted for ADS speakers, which I modified (time aligned). Likewise, I can't stand horn speakers--I prefer soft dome speakers. we all hear things differently which is why there are so many choices out there--something that sounds "right" to one person grates on the sensibilities of another.
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post #19 of 32 Old 07-12-2015, 11:03 AM
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I don't think low powered unit speakers are a problem, but high power units with good sound are going to be a bit technical. Personally I would not make a BB speaker enclosure without insulation and probably not then unless it was 1" thick.

Anybody can build a race car,speaker,or even a violin. But for it to sound or work 100% correctly does need more than a woodworking skill...
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post #20 of 32 Old 07-12-2015, 11:08 AM
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Bob, why don't you like the sound characteristics of MDF for speaker enclosures?
I didn't say I didn't like the sound characteristic, I just said it was my least favorite to use for building speakers.
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