Acoustics 101 : Speaker design basics and enclosure design
What you'll learn
- Design sealed speaker enclosures.
- Design bass reflex speaker enclosures.
- Understand how sound waves work and their characteristics.
- Know how a speaker is producing sound and what are the speaker components.
- Interpret the data on a speaker specification sheet.
- Understand the pro's and con's of different enclosure types.
- Build loudspeaker boxes which produce linear sound with minimal distortion.
- Design a basic 2-way crossover network
- You should be passionate about audio and sound quality.
- You need to have an understanding of mathematics at an intermediate level.
- You should own and be able to use a PC at a basic level.
- You need Microsoft Excel installed or other application that can open *.xlsx files.
Design an enclosure to match your preferences
The main purpose of this course is to teach you how to properly design an enclosure for your speaker. There is no such thing as "This enclosure is the best choice for this particular speaker". You have to take into consideration your application and your personal preferences. Do you want it to sound loud? Do you want it to sound deep and don't care about loudness? You want it to be as smooth and linear as possible? These are all just a few examples of questions that needs answering before you get to work. The final result will always be a compromise between the acoustical qualities of an enclosure. Only you can decide which sound qualities are more important to you and you should be the one who "moves the sliders".
This course assumes that you have minimal knowledge about acoustics, and therefore starts slowly with some basic information about sound waves, how they are created and what are their characteristics. Then moves on to how the speaker is designed and some other relevant information about acoustics. This is obviously needed for a beginner, but it's also good for an intermediate student, as I'm sure he will also find new information to make matters even more clear.
Most of the common enclosure types are listed, explaining their working principle, pro's and cons for each one. But, we will focus our attention for the sealed and bass reflex enclosures. These are covered with extensive details regarding their characteristics and how to design them according to the standard alignments, or to complete custom response curves.
To model the response curve of the enclosure and to calculate the dimensions of the box, two methods will be used. You will receive an excel spreadsheet, that has all that you need to model a sealed or a bass reflex enclosure with minimal difficulty. It even has a chart to show you the modeled frequency response. It's basically a complete package for a beginner. The other method is by using a paid application. There are a lot of speaker design software solutions out there but I chose : "Subwoofer design toolbox". The main reasons are : it's cheap, simple, easy to understand and it has all the basic functions. If you are a beginner it's very important to start slow, otherwise you will get overwhelmed by complicated applications with extra features that will only confuse you.
Nov 2017 Update - 2-way speaker build example and basic 2-way crossover design.
Jan 2018 Update - Added English subtitles.
Jul 2020 Update - Added more animation to some lessons.
Who this course is for:
- Audiophiles who want to learn more about sound and speaker systems.
- DIY-ers who want to build their own speaker enclosure.
- People who built enclosures by following some speaker plans, but want to understand the design process.
- People interested in acoustics and electro-acoustics
Hi! My name is Marius and I'm from Romania. I majored in economics and computer science, and have a college and masters degree in this field. Regarding the audiophile part of me, I started to intensely study this area since several years ago. It’s difficult to get a college degree in this field, since there are only a few universities around the world which have this specialization (from what I know, In Europe, there is a famous one in Denmark, and another in UK). The closest specialization would be electrical engineering, but I wanted something a bit more specific. So instead of going abroad for studies, I decided to study at home in my free time. The things I find important or interesting I write them down on my blog. Here is a list of books I have read, some of them even twice or three times :
1. Master Handbook of Acoustics by F. Alton Everest, Ken Pohlmann (McGraw Hill Professional, 2009)
2. Introduction to Sound System Design and Electro-Acoustics by Peter Swarte (DHvV Interactive Lab, 2014)
3. Audio Engineering Explained by Douglas Self (Taylor & Francis, 2012)
4. Electroacoustics by Mendel Kleiner (CRC Press, 2013)
5. The Audio Expert: Everything You Need to Know About Audio by Ethan Winer (Focal Press, 2012)
6. Electroacoustic Devices: Microphones and Loudspeakers 1st Edition by Glen Ballou (Focal Press, 2009)
7. The Complete Guide to High-End Audio 5th Edition by Robert Harley (Acapella Publishing, 2015)
8. Introduction to Loudspeaker Design: Second Edition by John L. Murphy (True Audio, 2014)
9. Sound Reproduction: The Acoustics and Psychoacoustics of Loudspeakers and Rooms 1st Edition by Floyd Toole, (Focal Press, 2008)
10. Basic Electricity (Dover Books on Electrical Engineering) 2nd Edition by Bureau of Naval Personnel (Dover Publications, 1970)
11. Distortion: The Cause Of Harmonics And The Lie Of THD by Dan P. Bullard (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015)
12. Audio Engineer's Reference Book 2nd Edition by Michael Talbot-Smith (Focal Press, 2001)
13. Loudspeaker and Headphone Handbook 3rd Edition by John Borwick (Focal Press, 2001)
14. Loudspeaker Design Cookbook 7th Edition by Vance Dickason (Audio Amateur Pubns, 2005)
15. How to Build Speaker Enclosures by Alexis Badmaieff and Don Davis (Howard W. Sams & Co, 1966)
16. Making Sense of Sound by Alvis J. Evans (Prompt Publications, 1992)
17. Designing, Building, and Testing Your Own Speaker System with Projects 4th Edition by David Weems (McGraw-Hill Education TAB, 1996)
18. Testing Loudspeakers by Joseph D'Appolito (Audio Amateur Pubns,1998)
19. Speaker Building 201: A Comprehensive Course in Speaker Design by Ray Alden (Audio Amateur Pubns, 2004)
20. Loudspeaker Recipes: Book 1 : Four Two-Way Systems by Vance Dickason (Audio Amateur Pubns, 1994)
21. The Sound Reinforcement Handbook 2nd Edition by Gary Davis and Ralph Jones (Yamaha, 1988)
The difficult part Is making sense of all the information from a text book, since there is no mentor to guide you. There is a lot of study to be done, when you have a question that needs answering. Hopefully, the courses I’m about to publish, will save you from this ordeal and give you concentrated and easy to digest information.