Building your own custom speakers has got to be one of the most rewarding, straightforward and cost-effective DIY activities I've come across. I'm absolutely shocked that it hasn't had a larger presence on Instructables and in the community...well, until now of course.

Some speaker projects can be complete in a weekend, while others can go on for years. Budget speaker kits start around $100, while top-of-the-line kits and components can add up to several thousands of dollars. Regardless of how much you choose to spend on your speakers, you'll likely be building something that will sound as good as commercial product that off the shelf would cost as much as 10 times more.

So, if you've got access to a table saw, a jig saw, a drill, some wood glue, clamps, and a place to make some sawdust, then you've got the opportunity to build your own custom speakers.

This Instructable will cover the entire process, from sourcing components, to tips and tricks, to exotic and inspiring finishing options.

The images below show just a few of the speakers that I've built over the last 10 years.

Step 1: Why?

Back in 1997 I attended the Home Entertainment Show with my father. We had the intent to build the best speakers that we possibly could. We listened to just about every manufacturers flagship model. I recognized all of the drivers from the DIY catalogs, wondering which one would reign supreme.

At the end of the day, after the votes were in, we both selected the JM Labs Grande Utopia's as our favorite model, hands down. Since then, it's been widely agreed that the Grande Utopia are among the best sounding home audio speakers in the world. The only catch is that back in those days, the speaker sold for $40,000, and now the updated model, equipped with a Beryllium tweeter, costs even more.

JM Labs uses affiliate company Focal brand drivers. Now here's where it gets interesting...the same line of drivers used in the JM Labs loudspeakers, can also be purchased from Zalytron. My father and I purchased an extremely similar set of drivers, from the same product lines that JM Labs uses, including "W" cone woofers and audiom inverted metal dome tweeters, and built our own "DIY Grande Utopias" for only $3,000. I would never claim that they are an exact copy of the Grande Utopias, but they do sound absolutely amazing, and at less than 1/10th the cost, it's hard to argue. That, my fellow Instructables users, is why I think everyone should build their own speakers.
<p>I enjoyed reading this post with all the comments. A few things really hit the mark for me. I do like Focals. I used their 5&quot; W sandwich woofers with phase plug and inverted dome tweeters to build my last set of speakers (transmission) lines and I love the way they sound. I also find Zalytron has some great prices. I used to get lots of help from Elliott senior back in the day.</p><p>Although it is satisfying to build kit speakers I really enjoy designing my own unique speakers (that way I have the only ones). Designing crossovers for two way speakers is not really too hard (lots of information on the internet) but be prepared to do some tweeking (I bought True Audio RTA software to test the speakers as I built them). Easy to use and inexpensive but you also need to buy a decent test mike (test mics are also not expensive compared to microphones for vocal recording).</p><p>I haven't built anything now for at least 5 years but I have been itching to build another transmission line (this time using something like a 7&quot; Scanspeak woofers and Hiqufon tweeters).</p>
<p>Can you post an less ellaborate speaker system for beginners? Thanks!</p>
Your photo of glue on the end side, and description here [paint the glue] are a bit conflicting. The glue in the photo looks 'poured' on and does not cover the entire joint. <br> <br>I apply glue on the entire surface, &quot;rubbing&quot; it into the grain. The gives a stronger bond, and helps prevents any gaps which would affect the sound quality. <br> <br>You do not need a river of glue - more glue does not mean a better joint. {Of course, too little glue will mean a bad joint!!!]
You can save a lot a time and grief and lower risk of over-sanding but simply wiping away the glue that has oozed out. I use a dry rag to remove most of it, then a moist rag to remove what is left.
&quot;Each crossover will need high quality speaker wire running to,&quot; <br> <br>Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh come on. wire is wire at audio frequencies. good quality copper wire of sufficient gauge is ALL that is needed.
<p>Nice instructable. I think the recommendation to buy a kit if this is one's first build is crucial. So much can go wrong (especially if you are not familiar with electronics, woodworking, or both) and having that kit can really give an understanding of speaker design without the expensive trial and error. One can examine it like a puzzle, rather than puzzle over it, if that makes sense.</p>
<p>The Blackhole 5 Link (as of April 2015) listed in this Instructable.</p><p><a href="http://www.soniccraft.com/product_info.php/blackhole-p-50" rel="nofollow">http://www.soniccraft.com/product_info.php/blackho...</a></p>
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so how would you just do regular computer speakers? like the green wear that goes into it. sorry im not a electronics person. are the computer speaker as intricate as stubs like what your making?
I made a deadmau5 head that plays deadmau5. I modified a deadmau5 helmet and modified it.
<p>Sounds awesome! Do you have it online to show?</p>
--i'd just like to point out that you said you &quot;modified a deadmau5 helmet and modified it.&quot;<br>:)
oh lol Thanks. little embarassing.
Just reading through and the LDSG site appears to have moved or been taken down (the snippets.org domain looks to have changed owner). But for anyone interested, it can still be viewed at the <a href="http://web.archive.org/web/20090430212255/http://ldsg.snippets.org/">Internet Archive</a>.<br>
<p>Is there any problem sound-wise with using thick hardwood instead of high density fibreboard? Mahogany is pretty dense. This would only be for small speakers.</p>
<p>Sound wise it shouldn't be much different, however, hardwoods can warp with changes in humidity as there is often a strong grain pattern. This is mitigated with MDF as it has no grain structure to warp.</p><p>If you only want Mahogany as an aesthetic consideration, then veneers can easily be applied to MDF or plywood.</p>
I love this instructable. I have a question, what type of mask do you use while you'are cutting the wood? I use a 3M mask.
<p>Congrads for a nice Instructables and the ability to build speakers. That is about as nice as I can get. You build speakers, but its not very difficult to build something, if the design and know-how is done for you. As a hobby speaker designer of 9 years, I find your lack of dedication to the art of sound disturbing. High density fibre board (which is a good substitute for birch ply), nice drivers and filters in a pre-designed box...can't go wrong with the average I guess. </p><p>You give a good introduction to the world of speakers. No doubt in that. But to inspire people in the art... I will give you a challenge: build speakers without filters. Or without an enclousure! It takes intuition, imagination and a good ear to design speakers. But it takes a pair of hands to build them! </p>
<p>I built a set of speakers out of two consecutively cut, hollowed out tree rounds from a historic diseased elm tree. I found that design to be rather unique and challenging, but I do hear your point if you compare that to building speakers without any enclosures at all. Thanks for your feedback and glad to hear you enjoy making speakers as well.</p><p><a href="http://www.instructables.com/id/Tree-Speakers/">http://www.instructables.com/id/Tree-Speakers/</a></p>
<p>As an exercise in different materials, I made speakers out of metal. A closed, omnidirectional woofer with a point-source fullrange. It's rather difficult indeed to design speakers when the calculators have been modeled for ply-mdf (even the original Thiele-Small calculations are optimised for plywood). There is a whole range of different situations for different designs. In audio, it truly is a case of: &quot;If its designed for everywhere, it works nowhere&quot; That's why I use calculators for base volume and imagine(I have trained for this) different responses in a room. Kinda like a wide range simulator in my brain. </p>
<p>Is there a reason for not using a joint of some type on the face (biscuit, mortise &amp; tenon, etc.)?</p>
<p>Thank you for making this post! It really helped a lot when making my own.</p>
Love the log speakers. very inspiring.
Nice job but can you put a PDF of it's sizes because I'm gona build them 
&quot;Good Vibrations&quot; by the Beach Boys is a fantastic test track. With the rich Hammond B-3 sound, the soft vocals, and the echoing high climax, it puts your system through a workout.
wats up with the golden rectangle spiral...? just filler or does it serve a purpose?
the golden ratio, persect beauties? well its this thing where every part i the ratio of the bigger one. search up golden ratio
i undesrtand the golden ratio, i'm just curious why it's <em>here</em>...?<br/>
same here... maybe were expected to apply it..<br>
IIRC this shape is used as an ideal towards which the enclosure is supposed to be designed. It's been about 30 years since I thought about any of this, but there are a variety of types of speaker enclosures. For example, the famous Klipsch Horn speakers use a folded-horn enclosure, and I'm sure its design is related to this "golden ratio".
ah alright, thanks man
wats up. can u help me for making speakers. <br>
slm ayhan isminden anladıpıma g&ouml;re t&uuml;rks&uuml;n:) <br>adım fatih istanbulda oturuyorum benim ingilizcem pek iyi değil o y&uuml;zden sana ingilizce yazamıyorum :( <br> acaba senin bu kabin yapımı hakkında bilgin var mı. bende kendime &ouml;zel bir kabin tasarlamak istiyorum.ama bu işi profesyonelce yapmak istiyorum bana yardımcı olabilirmsin ? <br>ilgine şimdiden teşekk&uuml;r ederim <br>
Great, now that you've made these speakers, all you have to do is connect it to a device in order to play out sound. Check out:<br> <br> <a href="http://www.learningaboutelectronics.com/Articles/How-to-build-a-simple-speaker-circuit" rel="nofollow">http://www.learningaboutelectronics.com/Articles/How-to-build-a-simple-speaker-circuit</a><br> <br> for an idea on how to connect speakers<br> <br>
What cheap mid range speakers can I buy?
Hi great instructable :), just wondering if anyone has the dimension of the tower and the subwoofer ? thnx
I'm always looking back at this instructable and have finally aquired all the tools I need to make some decent units of my own for my home cinema system.<br>However, as a first project I was thinking of doing something a little different. I have an abundance of scrap Fire extinguishers due to my work, and was thinking that these might make interesting speaker cabinets for my office to use during presentations.<br>Perhaps a woofer in the bottom of a 9 litre Water extinguisher would work well as a floor facing unit. They're desinged to hang on walls, so brackets and stands are easy to make/re-purpose.<br>Would the cylindrical nature of the extinguishers make them sound rubbish though? or indeed the materials they're constructed from, either thin stainless steel or reasonably thick aluminium?<br>I might have to try it with some cheap old computer speakers I've got kicking about and see what happens.
Hmmmm, if Skrillex sounds good on a 5&quot; sub, I wonder how good it'll sound on a 20&quot; sub....
the wooden horn with the caption that says coax is false, what you see in the middle of that fostex driver is called a whizzer cone. it is attached to the center of the larger cone around the dust cap and it moves on the same singular axis/voice coil
The horns look cool, how did you make them?<br />
Most of those pictures are from DIY audio websites and other open media sites.<br>Theres a ratio for horn speaker to developing the curve and length to make the flare. one of the most common methods for modern horns is to use a circle of r radius suspended in air at n distance with a set of ropes or chains. R and N affect the horns distortion sensitivity and frequency range. there are quite a few different types of horn enclosures. there are folded horns that are built inside of a square box with a large opening. then you have your traditional cone horns and of those you can have front loaded (the front of the speaker fires into the horn) back loaded (the horn is attached to the back of the speaker) and then you have your special cases such as the unity horn and off axis push pull systems. <br><br>anyway back to how to make them once you have the dimensions of a straight conical horn that you need you suspend the circle and then tie the chains or whatever from a center point to the outer ring of the circle. gravity will create the natural curve for the horns flare. from there you can shape wire frames to the shape of the chains ect put a spacing brace between wires to retain the ratio of expansion and then fold it up so to speak to make the overall dimensions and footprint smaller. at this point you have your mold then make the actual horn from anything you want, paper and resin, fiberglass,aluminum ect ect
Nice Instructable! I am a builder and designer and am very interested thus in engineering as well. I have designed and built very low budget sound stage and recording studios as a novice and bricoleur and have just followed my instincts. So it is my understanding that density is key to sound &quot;proofing.&quot; I have found acrylic sheets to be some of the most sound deadening material there is as well as rolled roofing. Not so good in construction with the fire codes though. Polycarbonate is fire rated. I am trying to apply my limited undersatanding to your instructable and one thing that I don't have a huge understanding about is isolation. Which elements of design and engineering in your project benefit the most and least from isolation. How would &quot;floating&quot; joinery in the cabinet affect audio quality? Someday I will build my own speaker cabinets and I would be very tempted to use silicone as an adhesive depending on the answer to this question. Even further from there the concept towards &quot;floating&quot; isolated panels without biscuits. How would that effect the sound quality?
iv just had ago at recessing some speakers that im making with a dremmel and is not a bad job one tweeter recess was a bit funnky. and if i was doing it again i would have made the hole afew mm smaller and used the barrel sander to finnish off but you live an learn. thank god for crayons <br>im using a real wood vanier cut at 45 deg ( miterd corners ) and glued over 3/4 &quot; chipboard. clasic box design. deep rarther then wide. 1 ft 2 ft 3ft with 10&quot; driver <br>should be good
Those orange speakers are so BA. I don't know anything about speaker building, but I want to learn just so I can make those. = j
Hot glue or construction adhesive can be a source of rattles ... if it comes loose in a spot then you have a hard lump of something tapping against the side of the box. <br><br>I usually use polyfill which doesn't need to be attached to the sides of the box, but if I use something that does I'd recommend spray or brush/roll on contact adhesive, since it stays soft and rubbery and thin so there is no potential for making noise.<br><br>Whatever you use be careful that it doesn't have solvents in it that will attack the suspension material of the drivers.<br><br>If you're going with a home made design based on calculations using TS parameters make sure that account for whatever you use for sound deadening since it can have some interesting effects, instead of taking up volume it slows the waves in the box causing it to act larger than it actually is. Also, many calculators out there assume a loose plyfill filling in the numbers they calculate.
I agree about the dripage, but is it ok to wipe that up with a damp rag at clamping time, and not need the sanding off when it is dry ?
Wiping tends to make a bigger mess... let it dry or partially harden and then scrape it off with a cabinet scraper or a sharp chisel
I usually build 3 sides at a time, rather than 4 or if 4 I try to make it 2 adjacent rather than opposite sides... that makes any bracing or internal baffles much easier to install if you don't have 2 sides on the box yet.<br><br>If I get stuck doing them in the order that you're doing them, then I either use a set of the quick grip clamps like you have in a few of the pictures or pipe clamps with the jaws reversed to spread/slightly bow the box sides. I'd bet that would give you enough room to use the small biscuits that you're using.<br><br>Also, for most speaker designs you'll want to ease the hard corners of the support braces to minimize chances of wierd wave reflections in the box/standing waves/weird tuning issues.
OH, one other thing that I forgot... for smaller drivers (anything needing a 6&quot; or smaller hole), forget all this and just use a circle cutter (one used in a drill with a single or 2 cutting &quot;wings.&quot; Most will cut up to a 6&quot; hole and the only layout that you have to do is mount the center point and adjust the cutter position to the correct radius, the whole thing will take less than a minute on a drill press, where a circle cutter on a router will take 10-15min including setup... (of course, I only have one router and it usually lives in my router table so I have to pull it out and swap plates as part of the setup.<br><br>This is also probably the fastest way of making cutouts for terminal cups (if you choose to use them) and round ports.

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Bio: I've worked for Instructables off and on since 2006 building and documenting just about everything I enjoy doing. I am now the Creative Programs ... More »
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