Perhaps the trickiest obstacle for the aspiring DIY speaker builder to overcome is obtaining a quality set of cabinets. There are companies that offer pre-built speaker cabinets, which is one solution worth considering. All of the pre-built cabinets I have encountered, however, have a narrow baffle plate. The largest speaker that can be installed is an 8-inch driver. While this is acceptable for a conventional multi-driver design, it does not work for designs employing large-diameter, full-range speakers. For instance, the Audio Nirvana product line has both 10-inch and 12-inch full range drivers, which require a 14 and ½-inch front baffle. For those DIY enthusiasts who want to give these unusual drivers a try, they must commit to building their own cabinets. Quite frankly, very few people have access to the wood working equipment needed to build a solid cabinet with a high wife acceptance factor. Fortunately, a cabinetmaker has stepped up, and developed a flat pack cabinet kit for the Audio Nirvana drivers.
Frank Wyatt is an experienced woodworker, with the skills and equipment required to manufacture a quality cabinet for the Audio Nirvana drivers. The cabinets are precisely built on a computer controlled router table. A CNC router is both sophisticated and expensive, and is responsible for the accurate cuts needed to build a high quality speaker cabinet. While accurately cut panels are the first step to achieving a successful speaker cabinet, the assembly process is equally important to the final outcome. The flat pack kit includes a thirty-page assembly CD that walks the customer through the assembly of these cabinets. This tutorial gives even the most inexperienced audio hobbyist the information necessary to successfully complete this project, and have a cabinet that is both functional and attractive.
The basic kit for a pair of Audio Nirvana 2.8 cabinets starts at $285 plus shipping. These cabinets are raw MDF, and the builder will need to decide how to finish the cabinets. Popular choices are often a textured paint, or applying a wood veneer. For the person who wishes to forgo the finishing process, a kit using maple veneer is available for $330. Some audio enthusiasts feel that MDF is a compromised material for use in speaker cabinets, and prefer to use birch plywood. Baltic birch cabinet kits are available for $370 a pair. Frank also has a selection of associated items needed to complete the cabinets. With the wide range of options available for the flat pack speaker kits, a person can easily balance the initial cost of the kit against how complete they require it to be.
The instructions for the cabinets are well written and contain excellent visual aides to refer to during the assembly process. Frank describes how to lay the individual pieces out, and a method for applying tape to the edges in order to fold the cabinet and produce sharp corners. The tape also aids in keeping the glue in place, and results in a neat joint. Included in the instructions are how to install the internal braces, and the proper way to apply glue to ensure a solid cabinet. Perhaps the most interesting tip from the assembly process is how Frank recommends clamping the cabinet after all the pieces have been joined together. For this project, the hobbyist does not need to invest in hundreds of dollars of specialty clamps, but just gather up a couple of bicycle inner tubes. The inner tubes can be cut and tied in such a manner that the clamping pressure is spread out evenly along all the cabinet joints. This kit is well thought out, and with a little patience, anyone should be successful putting these cabinets together.
A successful DIY project is one of the most rewarding undertakings that an audio hobbyist can experience. The sound quality that can be achieved from a well-designed kit is almost always superior to the performance that is obtained from a commercially manufactured component. The sweat equity that the hobbyist invests creates a personal connection to the component. The experience and knowledge that is gained through the assembly process allows the audio enthusiast to have an understanding of what it takes to make a great piece of stereo gear. The Wyatt Woodworking cabinets and Audio Nirvana drivers are an excellent project for the aspiring DIY hobbyist to cut their teeth on. Also, the audio enthusiast with a modest audio kitty can achieve sound quality that far exceeds their financial investment in the speakers. Frank Wyatt provides all the information and tools necessary to facilitate a successful completion of this project. A$$A readers looking for a fun DIY project, or an inexpensive way to enter the world of single driver speakers should carefully consider this speaker kit.
from aﬀordableaudio, By John Hoffman