DIY Subwoofer and Midbass module Project

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DIY Subwoofer and Midbass module Project

How I went about building a 2way bass system which consist of 4x18" long throw subwoofers and 4x15" midbass modules. This plays together with a pair of vintage 4way JBL 4343B studio monitors which also has 2x15". The system is placed in a rather small room and is able to push more air than what is in the room. :)

This article begins with the concept and reasoning behind the system. Then we move on to lots and lots of pictures throughout to show the build process of these DIY subwoofer enclosures and the four midbass modules. To help you navigate you can use the table of contents.

  1. Reasoning behind building a large two way bass system
  2. Deciding on subwoofer box volume and drawing plans
  3. Building the first subwoofers
  4. Building of modules for chest-pounding midbass punch
  5. Building more subs to reach the ultimate lows
  6. Putting on some finish to make the bass system pretty
  7. The Result: How the subs and midbass modules turned out
  8. Key takeaways from the DIY bass system project

Why build a big two way bass system?

The World's best subwoofer driver

This was my (first) attempt at audio related DIY, and boy was it a lot of fun. The first objective was building no less than four sealed subwoofers with LMS Ultra 5400 – an 18" driver from TC Sounds. These drivers weigh 86 Lbs (40 Kg) each and are known for their 33.7 mm linear excursion and ultra low distortion.

LMS Ultra 5400 subwoofer driver

It might look brutal, car audio related and SPL focused, but this is probably the worlds' best long throw subwoofer driver for amazing extension and low distortion in small enclosures. For the technically savvy Data-Bass has an excellent analysis of the LMSU driver up on their website. Subwoofers from legendary companies such as SVS are NO MATCH for an LMSU!

Actually, one of the worlds most expensive subwoofers, the $36,000 Magico QSub-18 seems to be employing dual opposing LMS Ultra 5400 drivers(!)

Magico QSub-18

Is that an LMS Ultra 5400 sitting in the QSub 18 furthest away?

Drivers inside the Magico QSub

This is allegedly a picture from inside of the QSub and we can clearly see a couple of familiar drivers.

So, its probably safe to say that this is no ordinary car audio subwoofer and if there is any doubt left in you rest assured it'll be gone by the time you've heard one of these drivers. :)

Separate drivers for top notch chest pounding midbass

With bragging about the driver aside, let's move to the second objective which was building four midbass modules for sound reinforcement and extreme capacity and headroom in the all so important midbass. For this purpose JBL 2226 drivers were chosen and placed in small sealed enclosures as that would suffice for the frequency range at which they would operate.

Two way bass system concept sketch

If you're like me you're not just into headphones but all things audio, and bass is a major and vital part of audio reproduction. Music or movies without bass is like a concert without people – sad and depressing. The peculiar thing about bass is that it's the most difficult thing to get right in a stereo or home cinema system. With headphones it's much easier to achieve great bass due to high sensitivity because of the ear's proximity to the driver, the lack of room related acoustical problems and so forth.

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The reasons why getting that glorious, clean, hard, tight and deep bass is so difficult is primarily due to the lack of headroom, too much distortion, annoying room modes which creates peaks and nulls in addition to poor low frequency extension.

You might look at this and think to yourself, why in heaven's name would you want that much displacement in such a small room? The thing is you can never have enough headroom and chasing headroom makes your system grow exponentially large quickly as each doubling of identical subs will only gain you (theoretically) 6dB increase in output under optimal conditions. Also, for each doubling of distance to the source you lose approx. 6dB of output. Furthermore, couple this with the fact that sealed subwoofers don't offer a lot of low frequency sensitivity and output and you'll realize that to get extension and headroom an awful lot of subs is required.

A case can be made to use ported subwoofers to get more output in the audible range (down to approx 20 Hz), but my belief is that optimal sound quality is achieved with sealed system, both because of the extra low frequency extension (into the single digits) that sealed systems offer, as well as less group delay (meaning some frequencies will arrive later than other, and all the complex acoustical interactions that arise from that).

Furthermore, the more headroom you have the less distortion you get. Distortion is basically frequencies which are reproduced but shouldn't be there. An example is that you're trying to reproduce 20 Hz but have a lot of distortion so you will also reproduce other frequencies than the fundamental, which again is 20 Hz. This distortion will make your system sound louder than it really is, not because 20 Hz is playing loud, but because the distortion (which is more audible to humans) is dominating.

Human hearing sensitivity to bass

Human hearing is less sensitive to low frequencies than high frequencies and the sensitivity depends on SPL, so when we're in bass territory and listening to a low distortion system it will not not sound very loud even when you're playing at extremely high sound pressure levels. One way of compensating for this is to even out the perceived frequency response when listening at low volume. In fact, that's why old audio gear use to have a loudness button. The button was used to compensate for human's dynamic sensitivity to frequencies depicted in the illustration below.

Human

Notice the upper curve which is quite linear as opposed to the lowest curve which is not. No wonder we like loudness, it sounds fuller and richer because of our lack of low frequency hearing sensitivity in the lower octaves.

We've naturally evolved into being sensitive towards sounds such as twigs breaking, because that can mean a predator is lurking near by, we're not evolved into hearing distant bombs going off.

Smoothing out bass response with several subs

The other thing is that you want several subs to smooth out the room modes. Room modes are basically peaks and nulls in the bass response due to sound waves interacting in destructive ways. With peaks you can always use DSP (equalizer/room correction/bass management) to eliminate them, but trying to boost room created nulls will be like throwing power into a black hole. Also, when you try to correct for the the bass response at one point in space (often the sweetspot) you will effectively make it worse in another point in space. Furthermore, acoustical treatments to absorb low frequencies will be huge and very expensive, so the easiest and cheaper way is DSP and several subs.

Some audiophiles will insist that a good two channel system should be void of subwoofers. This is problematic not only due to the lack of capacity because no normal sized speakers – not even horn loaded ones – can supply the headroom required to get the party started. Another thing about having the speakers do all the work is that the optimal placement for the stereo imaging might not be the optimal place for the bass, so you basically have to choose one over the other. When optimizing a playback system there will always be tradeoffs.

A few words on deep bass void of distortion

In the system you're about to see being built over the next several pages, the texture of the bass is so well defined and crystal clear. The pitch so perfect. The tactile feel so insane – punching you in the chest, stomach and throat depending on frequency.

The system never ceases to deliver, and many times I've been shaking my head in pure disbelief that it's even possible. The low distortion makes it seem like you're not playing that loud even when you push the system into the 120 dB territory – and even then have the urge to keep cranking it up! It's amazing what you can accomplish with some wooden panels a dose of determination and well engineered drivers!

Deciding box volume and drawing plans for the subs

The DIY bass system project begins

It's important to note that I am by no means an expert in this field and this was my first DIY speaker / subwoofer / bass project. It was extremely fun and I learned a lot throughout the process which was based on four main phases.

Estimation of performance with WinISD

(1) Learning to use WinISD, a neat and free piece of software which is used to estimate the performance of a chosen driver in a given construction. In this case, sealed enclosures. Then you use the software to find the optimal internal working volume for the driver given your goals and constraints. There are some good tutorials on using WinISD on Youtube, and I've also found that a lot of people in the DIY Audio forums are very helpful if you get stuck.

Maximum SPL with no room gain added

WinISD Max SPL LMS Ultra 5400 subwoofer

WinISD Max SPL JBL 2226 midbass modules

WinISD, full two way bass system

As you can see the the 4xLMSU subs in the system will be capable of 112dB @ 10 Hz and 123dB @ 20 Hz before potential boundary and room gain kicks in. These values are within the linear excursion where distortion is low, so this will yield extremely high sound quality. Furthermore, the midbass modules has a lot of output capacity and far more sensitivity than the subs so combined and crossed over in the 60-70 Hz region will make for a very capable 2way bass setup.

Bracing structure and calculations

(2) Deciding on bracing structure, calculating dimensions of the enclosures given room constraints but still keep the internal volume at the desired size after bracing, driver displacement etc. This was mainly done using spreadsheets.

Drawing 3D models of the enclosures

(3) Learning to use (the free noncommercial version of) Sketchup to draw the construction(s) in 3D to get a visual representation of how the end result would look. Then decide on design and make a cut list for panels.

Building and measuring the performance

(4) Build the enclosures iteratively while measuring acoustical performance, correct for inherit limitations with DSP, decide on damping amount and so on. Make the subwoofers and midbass modules look pretty and enjoy the bass.

Building 8 enclosures for subwoofers and midbass modules

Panels for building subwoofers

The story of these DIY sealed enclosures began with some sheets of 3/4" (19mm) MDF. The reasoning behind using MDF is that of price to performance. You can use harder and more expensive plywood which has a higher natural resonant frequency, but the resonances of these enclosures will still be out of the subwoofers operating frequencies and not play much role anyways.

Exterior of DIY subwoofer enclosures

xray vision on the DIY subwoofer box drawing

Bracing structure of DIY subs

Exploded view of DIY sub box

The plan was to convert them into what is depicted in the 3D drawings above, and while drawing is easy, building the subwoofers in MDF is a far bigger undertaking.

Building the sealed DIY subwoofers

Panels for subwoofers cut

The panels were soon cut to size – burn marks and everything – with as little waste as possible due to a genius and free cut list panel optimizer.

Gluing subwoofer

With the use of clamps the panels were snugly glued together, no screws allowed! These will be some hardcore subwoofers, I wonder if they'll hold! :)

Gluing subwoofers

For subwoofers this size and with the expected forces that would work within them bracing is of maximum importance.

Gluing subwoofers together with more clamps

And so the story went.

Gluing front baffle on subwoofer

With one of the double baffles glued in place these enclosures are ready for some sanding. Thank God for motorized sanders!

Sanding the first baffle of the subwoofer

Sanding the enclosure to prepare for the second baffle. 3/4" (19mm) doesn't cut it, we need at least 1 1/2" (38mm) front and rear baffles.

Gluing second baffle on sub

The subwoofer box is starting to take shape as the double front baffle is clamped into place with massive amounts of wood glue.

Sanded and braced subwoofer enclosure

Inside sanded and finished subwoofer enclosure

Cutout for Neutrik SpeakON connector

Both subwoofers ready for woofers

After another round of sanding and they begin to look like serious subwoofer enclosures ready to yield low frequency punishment to whoever thread in their way, mwohahahaha! :)

Gasket, cable and Neutrik SpeakON chassis connector

You can never be too careful and sealed subs should have an extra gasket and high amperage rated Neutrik SpeakOn terminals for optimal performance. The cable is thick to keep the resistance low.

SpeakON connector attached to subwoofer enclosure

This should be air tight and able to handle massive pressure and power. :)

Voice coil and basket of TC Sounds LMS Ultra 5400 subwoofer driver

As will this massive dual voice coil on the TC Sounds LMS Ultra 5400 18" subwoofer driver. This baby can take 2kW continuous and 8kW peaks no problem. :) This is the basket assembly. These monster drivers ship in two boxes, one for the top assembly and one with the motor.

Tc Sounds LMS Ultra 5400 subwoofer driver

This might not look crazy, but these things weigh 86.2 Lbs (39 Kg) each. They are not exactly cheap either.

With a linear excursion (xmax) of 33.66 mm it's probably the best long throw subwoofer driver in the universe. :D This driver is all about low distortion, maximum sound quality and a lot of output!

DIY Laser pointer to align TC Sounds logo of subs

A custom contraption with a green laser pointer is set up on a tripod to align the TC Sounds logo precisely. I wish there was no silk screened logo, but that's just life.

LMS Ultra 5400 inside subwoofer enclosure

It fits! :D

Close range measurements of bass response using UMIK-1

Close range measurements being done to correct for sealed enclosures' inherit early frequency roll off by the use of a Linkwitz Transform. We want to dig DEEP and be LOUD about it.

Test run of dual LMS Ultra 5400 subwoofers

Time to test drive the dual subwoofers to see if they're worth making pretty or scrapping. Here together with a pair of vintage 4-way JBL 4343B studio monitors with upgraded charge coupled crossovers and actively divided between the 15" woofer and the midrange, hf and uhf driver to keep the bass as tight as possible. miniDSP 4x10 functions as a preamp, DAC and DSP doing important jobs such as being an active crossover, bass mangagement and time alignment system.

These sealed subwoofers were above satisfactory, being able to push a lot of air and punching insanely down low with very little distortion, but as donut drivers with massive excursion and limited sensitivity in the midbass they needed some help, and so the DIY project continued.

Building modules for chest pounding midbass punch

Digging deep into the lower octaves is a lot of fun, but you also need that tight hard midbass punch from approximately 70-150 Hz.

Panels for midbass modules cut

And so new panels were cut to size, no burn marks this time around. Getting pro! :D

Clamping and gluing midbass modules

Damping internals of midbass modules

Then damping each enclosure with some cheap duvets from IKEA as they contain poly fill which has excellent properties for speaker damping.

JBL 2226 midbass module damped vs undamped

It's obvious why you want to damp the enclosures. You get more sensitivity down low, a smoother overall response and you get rid of those ugly cancellations and phase shifts at 550 Hz and most of the problems at 1.5 kHz. Safe to say the damping stayed.

Midbass modules and subwoofer test drive

More listening: Each midbass module is 42L net internal working volume and has a JBL 2226 driver which can take 600w each. Wired in parallel representing a 4 Ohm nominal load and each side being driven by an Emotiva XPR-1 mono block with 1kW continuous @ 8 Ohms and about 1.7kW @ 4 Ohms. Let me just say it this way: These 2226's make for a SOLID midbass punch. The 15" 2235h drivers in the vintage 4343B studio monitors are no slouches but the 2226 packs some serious punch.

With the added SPL capacity above 70-100 Hz and more space to spear it was time to give the subwoofers some aid below 60-80 Hz and so the DIY venture continued.

Building more subs to reach the ultimate lows

MDF panels to cut for subwoofers

Measurements to make, MDF panels to cut.

Clamping and gluing diy subwoofer

You can never have enough clamps when building subwoofers. Deja Vu anyone? :)

DIY subwoofer bracing matrix

Fast forward and we're left with this (again). I wish I had used thicker MDF for the bracing structure, but later compensated by reinforcing the walls inside the enclosure. For my next build I will be using 3x3/4" (3x19mm) layers of MDF laminated together, because that will be stronger than thicker panels as the core of thicker panels are often softer than that of the thinner sheets.

Routing cutout hole for the subwoofer driver

Routing the cutout for the 18" LMS Ultra 5400 subwoofer driver (again!), wohoo!

Finished DIY subwoofer boxes

Almost finished sealed enclosures! Oh the anticipation!

Damping the subwoofers for maximum sensitivity

After careful consideration and multiple measurements it was obvious that damping with polyfill gave a fair amount of added sensitivity down low as well as smoothing out irregularities (outside the pass band, notice shift @ ~360 Hz). I tried no damping, over damping (like in the picture above), but found the measurements and subjective result being optimal with about 15.98 ounces pr cft or 16g/L.

LMS Ultra closed subwoofer, damped vs not damped frequency response

DIY Subwoofer system w/ quad LMSU and JBL 2226 MBM's

DIY bass system with quad LMS Ultra 5400

This I like! Bummer that the drivers look like something pulled out of a SPL competition for car audio... Oh well, it's all about performance ! :D

2-way bass system with quad LMSU subs and 2226 midbass modules

First test drive yielding a BIG FAT JOKER GRIN due to the insane amount of low frequency extension and capacity. The midbass modules punche you so hard that you could go into cardiac arrest! :D The system was a grand slam total success, but it required a lot of tweaking with the xovers to make it sound right. The midbass modules were hard as hell to integrate, primarely due to limitations in positioning.

After using the system for quite a long while I realized I'm running out of space, I'm well on my way of building the world's largest headphones and if I open the windows the room transform into a massive ported sub! :D This does not look good anymore.

From good looking stereo system to ugly DIY dungeon

What was once a great looking room with Woo Audio WA2 OTL headphone tube amp, Audeze LCD-2 headphones, JBL 4430 vintage studio monitors, a pair of Emotiva XPR-1 monoblocks and a high end MyTEK STEREO 192 DSD DAC has now turned into an ugly DIY dungeon with even larger studio monitors and a multitude of car audio subwoofer drivers, PA drivers and PA amplifiers, haha.

JBL 4430 vintage studio monitors and Emotiva XPR-1 monoblocks

So what to do? Well, as the saying goes «you can put lipstick on a pig but it's still a pig», and even though the above system looks order of magnitudes better than the JBL 4343B studio monitors and the 2 way DIY bass system I wouldn't trade in the capacity for anything. Once you've hears something like this you can never go back and only dream of going even bigger. Period.

Giving the bass system some finish

Although I enjoy the smell of MDF in the morning, the DIY look had to be improved upon, and this was actually the most time consuming parts of the build. I would never dream of trying to go for high gloss, doing that and getting things flawless is RESPECT!

I routed the seams of all the enclosures with a V bit and then filled them with car chassis filler that can withstand vibrations. This was done so the seams on the subs wouldn't crack open and show after heavy use.

Midbass enclosures routed and filled seams with car filler

Midbass enclosure boxes primed

Mid bass modules with black matte top coat

Black midbass modules with JBL 2226 drivers

After priming and giving all four MBM's their matte black top coat the four subwoofer enclosures was next in turn.

Subwoofers primed and given top coat

To keep the paint wet and easy to work with I used buckets with warm water to raise the humidity. I was silly to use a water based primer and paint, don't do that when painting MDF! It will not give you a smooth surface and I had to do many, many coats and sand in between. It sucked and I went on full tilt about it.

Bass system half way done

So a little over half way done, but not happy about the silver screws that came with the subs; they stick out like sore thumbs. We're going for all black matte finish here so hurricane nuts were installed and black anodized machine screws ordered.

The DIY plan and final result

DIY subwoofer project plan

DIY subwoofer and midbass box results

DIY subwoofer and midbass modules with TC Sounds LMS Ultra 5400 and JBL 2226

DIY 4 x TC Sounds LMS Ultra 5400 DIY subwoofers

After a bit of this and a bit of that all things were in place and things positioned. Wooop, wooop!! :D Very, very happy and feel extremely lucky to have such an amazing system!

The subwoofers are driven by two LabGruppen FP14000 Sanway clones (14kW peak power) while each pair of midbass modules is wired for 4 ohms and are driven by an Emotiva XPR-1 per side (1.7kW). This system is not power limited but excursion limited.

When it digs into the single digits you no longer hear the bass, but feel it, and I'm not talking about things shaking, I'm talking about a warm feeling within the ear. It's like a warm lovely hug, lol.

Some last words on bass systems

Although this system looks quite insane for most normal people, it is by no means crazy in comparison to what's really out there. This system was chosen as I am space limited as the room it sits in is small. If I had a bigger room I would opt for far more drivers with less excursion than the LMS Ultra 5400 has to achieve the same or more output and quite possibly get better results for the same price.

It's always better to choose cone area over excursion; excursion is not your friend but your enemy. Cone area is your friend, because you want as little movement as possible to keep distortion low. If you are room limited like me but still want a lot of headroom, then there is no options but using long throw drivers, and again, the LMSU is most likely the best long throw driver in the world.

Key takeaways from this DIY project

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If I were to do this all over again screws would be used in addition to wood glue. Only gluing takes a lot of time and clamping things into place is very difficult in some situations. I only used glue to make it a challenge, but all the extra time it took was not worth it.

Get a proper plunge saw and cut all sides with 45 degree angles to eliminate the need for routing the seams with a V bit and filling them with car filler that allows for vibrations. The filling is done so the seams won't come open. Some people use Bondo for this purpose.

If I couldn't do 45 degree angles (it's difficult to get tight tolerances for a perfect fit) I'd be sure to have a proper flush trim bit for the router handy. I did not have that until after I had built all the enclosures and if there is one thing that will make your job a lot easier it is cutting the panels with a overhang and then just use the flush trim bit to rout off the excess.

Also, as I alluded to earlier, I would rather have built all of these enclosures in triple layers of 3/4" (19mm) MDF if I were to do it again. Even though the front and rear baffles in the subwoofer boxes are double, I still think there is room for improvements by making the enclosures even more rigid. Bracing structures would be double layer. This will also give the enclosures more weight and stability which will translate into a more efficient system where less is going to waste through vibration.

Tnuts VS hurricane nuts

Never ever use Tnuts. I was warned against using Tnuts but being a stubborn idiot I went ahead and tried it anyways. What ended up happening was them falling out from the baffle when trying to secure the driver. What can happen with these is that while the driver is secured they can lose the grip on the rear of the baffle and then you have very slim chances of taking the screws out and you basically have a driver which is extremely hard to remove! A much better alternative to T-nuts is hurricane nuts (aka wood threaded inserts). They screw into place – often with a hex drive / Allen key – and you can put them both on the front and the rear of the baffle.

Check out popalock's video tutorial about installing hurricane nuts on Youtube. Don't use water based primer and paint on MDF. I learned this the hard way. When you use water based finishing products the wood fibers in the MDF will rise slightly and give you very small dimples. These are impossible to sand away, trust me I tried.

Last words and credit to knowledgeable people

A confession is that the stream lined plan and follow through outlined in this document was fabricated to make the article flow better, lol. What really happened was I bought one LMSU, liked it so much I bought a second one, that left me satisfied, but I wanted to achieve spectacular punch, so went ahead planning for four midbass modules, as I was researching those LMSU was rumored to be discontinued as Parts-Express would no longer carry them, so with great pain I quickly bought two more, LOL. Sorry about leading you on thinking I'm so organized guys, but I have articles to write here, LOL! :)

Also, I want to thank the wonderful and helpful people in the DIY speakers and subs section over at AVSForum for their feedback, help and patience with me. Especially thanks to LTD02, BassThatHz, popalock, Notnyt, A9X-308, tuxedocivic, splotten and SeekingNirvana for their time and input [sorry if I forgot some of you :(]. Also want to thank anders1234 who first introduced me to the Ultra drivers and many other great guys who are extremely kind in sharing their time and knowledge with other enthusiasts. You guys rock!

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Discussion on DIY Subwoofer and Midbass module Project

Wow! What a totally fabulous looking setup, and great looking crafting! Totally impressed! 

Thanks man, I must admit I'm very proud of the end result and my ability to follow through given the total lack of wood working experience prior to the project. It looked bleak at moments as you can see from the pictures, haha, but that black matte paint really made it look hardcore and beautiful imo. Guess I'm totally biased because I made them though. lol

VERY impressive brother!!! The system looks great after you painted the subs. It's definitely the best bass repoduction iv'e ever heard, and i really look forward to hear it again now that my eyes get some candy Out of it too. 10/10

Thanks, appreciate that coming from a person with your vast listening experience and a well renowned interior decorator like yourself. :)

I'm very inspired by this and would like to use your work for my exact build. I want to start with the mid base boxes because the jbl 2226h drivers are avaliable right now. I contacted TC Sound and they will be peoducing the LMS again in the first part of next year. When it comes to the JBL midbassbox would you also do those in "3×3/4″ (3x19mm) layers of MDF laminated together" or was that just for the LMS subs and does that include on either box build the interal compartments also being 3x19mm or all baffle components ?

Very excited to start this, I've been looking for a system that can produce cheats throbing bass but still be a clean sound and in a sealed box.

Hi, BB.

Glad to hear my build has inspired you and that TC Sounds is coming back! :) I'm in the midst of newer projects now, and the idea is to use LMSU for the ultra lows like I am now, 2226 for the mid bass, 2123 for the lower midrange, 2446 with Be in 2360A horns to around 8-10kHz and 2404 for uhf.

I'm going to use at least 1" MDF + more bracing on the new enclosures for 2226. If you laminate 3 x 3/4" for the midbass modules that will certainly be enough, haha. I only used 1x3/4" and some dowels + polyfill. It could certainly have been build better, but this was my first project.

2226 in these small sealed enclosures may not be what they were intended for but it works very well. Have you seen Scott Simonian's setup? He has 12x2226 in 45L enclosures. Google him, he is on AVS Forums. Maybe the geniouses on that forum may help you find an even better driver than 2226 too? I would not replace mine as I'm very happy, but it may be wise to look around. I think some people were talking about some Eminence Pro drivers which have a lower fs and doesn't require a lot of volume/porting to reach 40 Hz (if that's where you want to go).

Integrating the midbass modules is hard, much harder than subs. You need to have them stacked next to your speakers because they will reproduce lower vocals and such. It's also important with a clean response to about 1kHz to get chest thumping bass that will make you blink uncontrollably, haha.

I had good success stacking them on top of the speakers, but right now I'm using them from 40-800 Hz together with 2446 in 2360A and 2404 for uhf. It's excellent!!! Very snappy, very punchy in these small sealed enclosures which 2226 was not really made for.

Let me know what you end up doing! I'll post some articles here on my future build. Waiting for some new tools and such before I can start making some saw dust. :D

Those look totally awesome, I'm still kinda a beginner to the large scale, I normally work with 12 drivers but anyways I was wondering how is the higher end? I plan on putting 4 15 woofers and 4 15 subwoofers and I was wondering what should I do for the higher end? Thanks 

Hello Nathan. I'm not an expert on drivers, but as you are probably well aware the driver specifications and intended use dictate the performance in any given application. I'm also not sure if you're referring to the JBL 2226 drivers or the TC Sounds LMS 5400 Ultra woofers, but I assume you're talking about the 15" JBL's, so here is my take.

Right now my setup looks like this:

  • 4 x LMSU from 0-60 Hz mono (subwoofers)
  • 2 x 2226H from 60-120 Hz stereo (one per side)
  • 2 x 2226H from 60-1000 Hz stereo (one per side)
  • 2 x 2446H compression drivers in 2360A horns from 1000-8000 Hz stereo (one per side)
  • 2 x 2404H drivers from 8000 and up in stereo (one per side)

As you can see I use two 15" drivers per side, one is crossed over lower than the other, but there is an overlap. The reason for this is to get higher sensitivity below 120 Hz. When the drivers starts rolling off another one comes in. This improves the sensitivity in the low end and makes the balance better in my system.

As for the high end of these JBL 2226H 15" drivers I'm not impressed. I think they work very well up to about 300-400 Hz, but anything above that is a big compromise in my opinion. Because of this I've also got a pair of 10" drivers, namely JBL 2123H which will go from about 300-400 Hz and up to 1000-1500 Hz. This will yield a better midrange as a 10" driver will not beam as early as the 15" and will improve the sound quality because the driver does not have to handle any bass. The penalty is lower sensitivity and lower power handling, so the system will not be able to play as loud as before. At the same time I don't need the extreme SPL capability of this system as it can make you deaf without a sweat. I intend on writing a long article of this build as soon as it is done.

A little side note. I'm under the impression that a multi way speaker done right will most often outperform most two way speakers as each driver will only cover a small pass band and be able to reproduce that pass band with lower distortion. At the same time they are far more complex and expensive to build.

There is one two way speaker I consider a great success though, and that's JBL M2. They cost half a fortune but if I were to get something new those would be it. The JBL M2 speakers employ JBL's 2216Nd 15" drivers which can be bought for $560 each. That's an expensive driver, but they perform extremely well in the top and low end. If I had the money right now I would get four of those and replace the 2226 drivers and not use the 2123 drivers.

I hope this helps, but remember that I'm just a noob in terms of speaker design and driver knowledge. Also I'm a bit off a JBL fan boy. :)

can u please tell me the price  

Hello

Price? This system is priceless! :D But seriously, I don't have the exact price at the top of my head, but the LMSU drivers alone was about \$1k each before shipping and import taxes, then there was the amplifiers, cabling, the 2226 midbass drivers, materials, connectors. It adds up quickly. Maybe \$8k or somewhere around there for the bass system. That's shipping and tax included though, and that varies from country to country.