Hardwood Cab Love Anybody?

Discussion in 'Cabinets & Speakers' started by aberry9475, Nov 25, 2020.

  1. aberry9475

    aberry9475 Member

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    Kind of a rarity, but about 10 years ago, a local craftsman who I can no longer locate was offering to build speaker cabinets out of solid hardwood. I bought two of them, a 4x12 and 2x12, and recently been doing a little maintenance on them. Stupid, anal stuff really.

    The woodworking was top notch, but the T nuts and speaker bolts were cheap black oxide steel and rusted so I decided to replace them with stainless. I didn't want to remove the grill cloth. Luckily they tapped right out for replacements to go in. But they have to be painted black.. A cool trick if you ever have to do that is, get some new T nuts and bolts. Drill some holes in a piece of styrofoam and mount the T nuts into it Screw the bolts into the T nuts just to where they justttt cover the threads and then spray paint. Turns out great, and now everything is completely blacked out even when you screw the bolts in to mount the speakers (did I mention stupid anal stuff? Well, to be fair this is also convenient).

    I mistakenly lined up the convertible back wrong once and screwed extra holes where they shouldn't have been. Filled those in and sanded smooth to look like they never happened.

    The handle was kinda cheap, molded plastic which I kept, but the metal ends I stripped and powder coated.

    Also drilled some new holes to add some extra feet to make it either a horizontal or vertical 4x12 depending on the situation.

    Idk why I'm sharing this. I guess, I just love these cabs. People bash hardwood cabs. "It's not sonically neutral!" or "It colors the sound and therefore doesn't sound right!". But honestly, the sound these make is just perfect for me, from clean to crushing. And that's going up against a lot of cabs I've had over the years. They are probably some of my most prized instruments, even though they aren't technically instruments

    Moral of the story, do not fear the hardwood cab!

    t nuts.jpg

    cab.jpg
     
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  2. Sapient

    Sapient Life Coach & Birthday       Planner Silver Supporting Member Platinum Supporting Member

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    [​IMG]





    :cheers:
     
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  3. aberry9475

    aberry9475 Member

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    Lol. I've got too much time on my hands I guess. I'll just see myself out :iough::rofl:
     
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  4. SkyMonkey

    SkyMonkey Well-Known Member

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    I knew a guitarist who built his own custom stage monitor from tone woods.
    Not sure which woods, but he thought it was worth a punt on a small stage monitor cab as an experiment.
    He seemed to like it, but it wouldn't ever really translate to a setup you could record with, or that an audience would hear.
    Then again he was an insomniac with long nights to fill.
     
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  5. dragonvalve

    dragonvalve Well-Known Member

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    They are fun to look at and own but unless they are tuned which is not an exact science they may suffer from over tones vs a composite type material like birch or lighter plain pine, even good quality radiata pine MDF for that matter.

    Not every acoustic guitar out of exotic woods sounds good by mere virtue of the wood. It's a gamble to say the least and you get that one in a dozen made that might survive the build to sound as good as it looks.

    I would opt for a birch ply baffle in a hardwood enclosure to at least reduce some of the wild sonics and tame those somewhat. And I would not go typical 3/4" on the enclosure but perhaps 1/2" or even 1/4" specially if it's doved at the corners to allow the cabinet to vibrate a little although the ideal speaker cab is cement (IMO) to reduce acoustic work done on the speaker basket itself.

    :2c:
     
  6. JBA

    JBA Well-Known Member

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    I’m pretty sure you’re here to help and not try to turn physics upside down on its head.
     
  7. dragonvalve

    dragonvalve Well-Known Member

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    What about the post turns physics on its head in your opinion?
     
  8. dragonvalve

    dragonvalve Well-Known Member

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    What about the post turns physics on its head in your opinion?
     
  9. dragonvalve

    dragonvalve Well-Known Member

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    triple post:facepalm:
     
  10. JBA

    JBA Well-Known Member

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    -This guys box has “wild sonics”? Please tell us why and how you know this. Every box has dimensional and panel resonance modes: together they will colour the spectrum. For a specific rig and person (it’s also subjective) this can be considered better or worse.
    -Why does doved corners drive the thickness of the ply down to a 1/4”? You just suggested you want to tame wild sonics, but then you want to add more?? Damping has been taming panel vibration and box modes since before I was born, why not stick to this if there is a problem? Manufactures would have been saving lots of money if thin boxes with doved joints sounded better don’t you think.
    -Why would a cement cab for guitar be ideal? No panel modes but the interior standing wave go the least unchecked without damping. This is not a Hifi thread.
    -And finally, how does all this reduce the work of the “basket”? First let’s clarify that the speaker basket does no “work.” However it is the frame that supports the suspension, cone, spider, motor, magnet, and terminals.
    -Tuning an already built box implies selecting or adjusting a ported box. This IS an exact science if you know what your doing. Randomly picking a box size, xyz ratios, mixing materials, and using thin building materials as you have suggested is NOT an exact science and is simply going to leave somebody very disappointed.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
  11. dragonvalve

    dragonvalve Well-Known Member

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    This is complex and subjective.

    It appears you have taken generalizations and tweaked them to fit a non-specific category.

    A speaker like a diver off a diving board needs a steady surface for which to launch itself. A board too spongy or even loose will turn that swan dive into a belly flopper.

    Cement allows the speaker to not have acoustic work done on it so it is free to make excursions without the cabinet jumping all around making the speaker's launch more solid. If you can wrap your mind around this then you're half way there.

    Have you seen this 30 foot mil-spec speaker tower built in Taiwan?

    [​IMG]
    The cement cabinet allows the speakers to throw the sound 15 miles. Although it's designed for voice not music. How much bracing would one need to do to get the cabinet to not do acoustic work on the speakers if it were made of wood?

    [​IMG]

    Of course a cement speaker cab is not portable. Even if this is not a Hi-fi thread, acoustics still come into play and getting a motor (speaker) to operate at its potential is key.

    Look at how a Tusq nut being composite sounds better across the strings than a bone nut. It's because as it is being made one section of the nut is the same as all the rest. No voids, no different thicknesses of cell structure to create random vibration patterns.

    "Wild sonics..."

    [​IMG]

    Compare a bone nut being natural to a piece of hardwood. Each section of a piece of hardwood will have different tones vs a composite material that will be pretty much uniform.

    The baffle board is the soundboard. Just like a guitar or piano. As I mentioned I would put a good quality void free birch 15 ply for the baffle-board if I was going to go all the way on a hardwood cab. I would not use a hardwood baffle unless I tested the piece for tone. And you might imagine how that would go. Save the time and just get a composite.

    Choose your poison? Looks? Or tone?

    You can't have everything...where would you put it?

    That said I don't think a hardwood cab is off the bat for the sound not unless one did the prerequisite research on species, grade, where it came from on the planet as there are many varieties and densities per specie. Just like making an acoustic guitar.

    Using a thinner board on the top, bottom and sides will allow the cabinet being wood since we're dealing with tones out of a wood cabinet to vibrate to add to the overall sound rather than DETRACT.

    Just because thinner sides are used, it must be well braced.

    Many are familiar with Thiele-Small parameters. So this would come into play when designing a box PER the specs on any given speaker. You will be asked to provide internal dimensions per the speaker in order for the speaker to perform. It does not say what material to use.

    Since this is a Marshall forum a 4x12 sealed cab is the norm.

    But then again a guitar occupies a mid range section of the sound spectrum.

    If you want lows then you do what Lukather did for a while and invest in a sub.

    Note how back in the day they used to think that the heavier the guitar, the heavier the wood, the more sustain?

    Turns out that was wrong.

    Granted there is a lot to consider. Most companies that make speaker cabinets are going for the cost-effective approach if they are not making boutique cabinets.

    Note how over the years some prefer older made cabinets back when the economy was stronger vs the later models where costs were cut in materials and design.

    I mentioned pine because Fender cabs were made of pine. It's a solid wood but it is light.

    When you start designing speaker cabinets based on looks of hardwood, if you don't go through the research of how thick you make a cab made of a heavy hardwood vs a lighter hardwood, then IMO you're just gambling as to the outcome.

    The reason for the dove corner is to IN THE CASE OF A 1/2" or 1/4" enclosure you would have a stronger joint. Unless you carve a cabinet out of a solid core of wood, you need to make concessions.

    Otherwise you have to brace the corners internally.

    Your choice.

    The OP shows a cab with dove corners. It makes it look better as well.


    Simply since the description was a "local craftsman" offered to make speaker cabinets. But little is known if this craftsman was building speaker cabinets or FURNITURE?

    Did the craftsman do tests on each piece/species of wood, build several in each species using a specific model of speaker and come to a conclusion based on acoustics and sound?

    Gets expensive right?

    Or did the craftsman just make a certain sized box? In your choice of hardwoods and assume that one cab out of ANY TYPE HARDWOOD will work just as well?

    This is how I can surmise that wild sonics will be a part of such an endeavor.

    I tend to look at a speaker cabinet the way I would look at an acoustic guitar. It has to help sound not hinder it.

    Would you stuff your acoustic with dampening material?

    Again the wild sonics I refer to are tones that jump off a cabinet made of natural wood which are never uniform in thickness and density.

    Think of a brass instrument. The quality of the sound comes from the quality of the brass. Otherwise any brass would do.

    And then it depends on how nitpicky one might get.

    The fronts of JBL monitors were made with carbon fiber. This was to reduce "wild sonics" and create a more uniform baffle tone. But it cost too much for them to do that so they stopped.

    [​IMG]
    I have a set of these so I know. LSR28P

    If someone offered to make me a cabinet of hardwood I would ask them if they are an acoustician and had experience or I would have to go through the research of what material to use and how thick the sides are.


    Now you're putting words in my mouth, misconstruing and misrepresenting what I said coming out with the wrong idea and are venturing into fallacies of argument. :D


    I built an organ speaker made of 12mm sides top and front with 18mm bottom midsection shelves and back board and so far major acts such as Tower of Power couldn't believe their ears.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
  12. Edgar Frog

    Edgar Frog Well-Known Member

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    Those speakers in that building don't even need a cab to begin with. They are just horn loudspeakers that can be mounted (on a pole a wall you name it) not putting out any type of low end frequencies. Not to mention all the sound is projected out the front and nothing from the rear like a regular speaker. So you have no buildup of pressure on the inside at all. I assume they just built that to help hold and protect them and for the person addressing to be in a safe place (bombs/storms, whatever). So poor example IMHO. I'm not here to argue just point out something extremely obvious.
     
  13. dragonvalve

    dragonvalve Well-Known Member

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    I had a feeling someone would try and point that out.

    The object of that wall is to throw sound from Taiwan to China so it could be heard by the people on the other side.

    So why didn't they just do what you suggested? Because a horn on a pole would not create a composite wall of sound that an actual cement wall can. Just as a 4x12 cab does. It helps in the projection.

    Imagine the wind blowing past your horns on a pole carrying with it most of your dB.

    The wall acts as a soundboard.

    The front wave has to have something to bounce off just like the high dive person on a diving board.

    So poor understanding of the logic on your part IMO.


    But you are assuming that the overall volume of all those speakers would not disintegrate a cab made out of anything else. When you shout don't you find it helpful to cup your hands around your mouth to throw the sound? And when you try and throw the sound don't you arch your back and stiffen your torso to project the sound?

    Even if it is a horn there is still a vibrating coil that if worked upon by other forces will compound the coil's efforts in vibrating.

    You think low frequencies would not combine in an array like that?

    Have you seen arrays at concerts? You think all the bass is coming out of the subs? There would be midbass frequencies in that cement tower that if it were not there you wouldn't be able to hear a voice without it and across the ocean that this tower is facing.

    [​IMG]

    Not all horns sound like the piezos in your PA system.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    When you talk into a mic do you hear bass on your voice? So wouldn't it follow that an array of horns would combine the bass frequencies and use the front wall as a projector?

    You're forgetting front wave action.

    Rear wave is another issue.

    We can nitpick to find fault but that's a waste of time.

    Bass cabs back in the day were fiber-glassed by major session bassists just to stiffen the cab.

    Still on topic, hardwood is more for looks than tone. Simply because it has not been properly developed as an industry staple.
    And since hardwood is too organic for the job with inconsistent panels, it may never be taken seriously.

    But you may luck onto one that does sound "okay."

    And if it satisfies your comfort zone to have one then nothing wrong with that.

    Serious speaker making deals with uniform density of materials.

    That's why modern studio monitors made of composites are as heavy as hell. Well in the case of the array it's the sheer number of them in a line that weighs. The more sound, the more arrays the heavier that chain gets.

    Gone are the days of these:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    :2c:
     
  14. JBA

    JBA Well-Known Member

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    I have spent a good chunk of my professional career designing loudspeakers and enclosures. You have given someone some very unclear misleading advise in the first post. Second post is just a bunch of babble trying to save face. You can either keep digging the hole or stop. :shrug:
     
  15. JBA

    JBA Well-Known Member

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    And the verdict is..
     
  16. JBA

    JBA Well-Known Member

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  17. Edgar Frog

    Edgar Frog Well-Known Member

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    The front wall is the only thing that could influence anything on that building since the speakers are recessed. It's more for protection since the rest of the building WILL NOT affect anything acoustically or projection or resonance or anything. It's basically just a bunker with speakers, nothing else. All those speakers are in their own little enclosure already and will be no different on a wall or in a box. You are comparing apples to oranges
     
  18. dragonvalve

    dragonvalve Well-Known Member

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    Well if you're going to be that way I can say the same of you. How do we know your years of building stuff is any good? IS your stuff being used today?

    Saving face? Did you set out to push one into that position?

    Just because you don't understand what was said does not make you the authority.

    What that you have built is being used on a large scale and by the pros?
     
  19. dragonvalve

    dragonvalve Well-Known Member

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    Your words only make sense to you.

    Thinking outside the "box" is operative.

    Ever seen this?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Guess what everyone?

    IT'S MADE OF CEMENT!

    https://www.zmescience.com/science/news-science/speaker-concrete/

    Starting to get that Brawndo scene feeling again.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Geeze

    Geeze Well-Known Member

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    Nice looking and rock on! I got tired of pretty guitars and ugly heads and cabs and started building them mostly for my amusement.

    My two cents on the material discussion -

    Without spectrum or frequency measuring gear to test speaker/cabs how and more importantly why will we know the differences materials make to the sound produced. I would expect some variation with solid wood as each plank is unique in it's grain structure and density - but not enough to affect the sound negatively or much at all. I'd be willing to bet there would be some variations even with plywood.

    In the 20+ solid wood closed back speaker cabs I've built in the last 7 years - plywood cabs before that - I've only had one player complain about a 1936 style cab being too 'middy'. Then he changed speakers and the mids issue went away.

    Then there is the stand alone use vs. a band setting where much of the nuances get lost. Also the won't survive gigging comments - since 90% of the guitar world doesn't play professionally not really a deal breaker for most.

    T/S parameters were designed for HiFi enclosures aka linear systems [designed to reproduce sound] vs. guitar cabs that are non-linear [actually add their own characteristics to the sonic stew]. This is one of the issues the guitar world struggles with to replicate the 'speakers about to blow' sound at conversational volume - yet HiFi does it well. Of course both sound 'better' when louder.

    Now for a question - the Marshall 4x12 cab - designed to be easy to build, take the rigors of the road and featured on numerous classic rock albums - ignoring the Page et al use of tiny combos in the studio - was it a lucky happenstance that it's sound is revered or have we been trained to like it?

    BTW I laughed out loud when it was suggested the 30 speaker concrete cab would protect the speakers from bombs - pressure seeks the path of least resistance.

    Russ
     
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