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DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

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  • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

    You may have another XPS Foam exciter experimenter here. I have 2 projects in the works, but you know, what is one more?
    I plan on attending MWAF, and may pick up some then, as it looks like the models I want to look at seem to be sold out.

    Has anyone ever used a paint? or just the dye+glue mix?

    Is there an already proven way to fasten them on a wall and dampen (significantly) the amount of excitement the wall sees? Felt? Rubber? For an apartment wall, and do not want it traveling down to the neighbors.

    This seems like a really cool straight forward project. It may end up being done before projects 1 and 2.
    "I calculated the odds of this succeeding versus the odds I was doing something incredibly stupid... and I went ahead anyway." - Crow T. Robot

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    • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

      Originally posted by bolland83 View Post
      Got the exciters in the mail today, some quick testing just holding them against various materials I had laying around shows this is a promising project. It also shows that one per panel will be more than enough for normal listening levels. So a trip to lowes to see what they had for XPS foam board followed. Picked up one of these to play with: http://www.lowes.com/pd_14539-46086-...d=3050991&pl=1 Right now I have some small panels cut out and sanded with a coat of glue/water mix drying on them. I ended up shrinking them to 13" x 21" and will use one exciter each. So my next question is, should I free mount the exciters, and do you think the ones I got will hold well with that style of mounting?
      I've never tried the blue XPS but should work just fine. I've never tried the spline mounting but since you will have another set of exciters maybe try one free mounted and one spline mounted. I've used these free mounted and they seem durable and should hold up pretty well. Looking forward to your impressions!!

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      • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

        Yeah man... more projects are better for sure. The fact that these are so easy to put together, sound fantastic and just plain fun to listen to should bump them up on the project list. Nearly instant gratification!

        I'm sure paint has been tried and while not optimal I'm sure a lighter coat would be "fine".

        Boy, no "proven" or common approaches to wall mounting that I know of bit its not terribly difficult. These exciters are much more powerful than you would think so will definitely need some dampening material on the frame where ever it touches the wall. Foam rubber seems common, paracord, velcro, felt... all work fine. I was really surprised how even a medium weight drape pulled back on the wall and a open panel improved the sound quality. So a few layers of absorption material should bring much better results.

        Do you plan on using a sub with them? Will likely be needed especially if you don't EQ them.

        Comment


        • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

          Got some prototypes made up, initial impressions are pretty good but there's certainly room for improvement. Usable bass response seems to be down to about 100-150hz, lower midrange needs a bit of a bump in the eq, and there's a noticeable resonant peak right around 4k. Nothing that can't be fixed with even the basic eq on my AVR. Once dialed in they are pretty nice, certainly listenable. I think a bit wider panel would probably help with the response issues, maybe just a bit larger all around. Overall, not too shabby though Going to go back to the drawing board and try a few other things. It's just too much fun not to experiment at this point.
          My modest builds:
          Armadillo TM, A.K.A. Lil' Dillo
          Tarkus/Armadillo build #2
          Armadillo Center Channel
          Au-Rock-O Sub
          Tarkus
          Staining MDF tutorial

          Comment


          • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

            Originally posted by rmeinke View Post
            Yeah man... more projects are better for sure. The fact that these are so easy to put together, sound fantastic and just plain fun to listen to should bump them up on the project list. Nearly instant gratification!

            I'm sure paint has been tried and while not optimal I'm sure a lighter coat would be "fine".

            Boy, no "proven" or common approaches to wall mounting that I know of bit its not terribly difficult. These exciters are much more powerful than you would think so will definitely need some dampening material on the frame where ever it touches the wall. Foam rubber seems common, paracord, velcro, felt... all work fine. I was really surprised how even a medium weight drape pulled back on the wall and a open panel improved the sound quality. So a few layers of absorption material should bring much better results.

            Do you plan on using a sub with them? Will likely be needed especially if you don't EQ them.
            Thank you! They are now #2, project #1 is nearly completed. Project #2 is just in the very early design phase.

            Good to know dampening has been done before. I will take all those options into consideration on the mounting approach. They will rarely be turned up to 11, but the annoyance level should still be at a minimum. Not to mention the vibration between the frame and wall, could really kill the sound in-room too.

            These are for an open living room to replace the 'sound' (if you can even call it that) out of the TV speakers; sub, no sub, will still be an improvement. I may get around to making a small sub for them, but an Anarchy horn is probably twice the approved volume in the space.

            Looks like Silver1omo did a painted fabric over theirs? I am thinking trying to maybe dye the glue, so the final top coat is also the paint job. I shall experiment.
            "I calculated the odds of this succeeding versus the odds I was doing something incredibly stupid... and I went ahead anyway." - Crow T. Robot

            Comment


            • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

              Originally posted by bolland83 View Post
              Got some prototypes made up, initial impressions are pretty good but there's certainly room for improvement. Usable bass response seems to be down to about 100-150hz, lower midrange needs a bit of a bump in the eq, and there's a noticeable resonant peak right around 4k. Nothing that can't be fixed with even the basic eq on my AVR. Once dialed in they are pretty nice, certainly listenable. I think a bit wider panel would probably help with the response issues, maybe just a bit larger all around. Overall, not too shabby though Going to go back to the drawing board and try a few other things. It's just too much fun not to experiment at this point.
              Yeah, these cheaper exciters are not the most smooth nor detailed... they also seem to induce a bit more panel noise. The Ultra's will be a few classes above these cheaper exciters but you will get an idea how DML panels sound and for $8 bucks the cost to performance ratio is certainly unique!

              I think the comment that I made over at AC when I upgraded from these to the Thruster was like going from a "normal" driver like an old P17 Vifa to a Scan Speak...the Thruster is smoother, more detailed and quieter. The Ultra is a step better yet than the Thruster and notably quieter which provides better detail.

              Do you just have them free standing now or did you build a frame?

              Comment


              • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

                I just did a quick and dirty upside down T stand with the exciters mounted to the upright. These things won't support the panel by themselves, so I added some squishy foam bits to the bottom for the panel to rest on. They definitely have some "panel magic" and even more surprising is how loud they are, I had to turn down the LR channels about 8db to match the subs. It seems like they're powerful enough to drive a much larger panel, so I think that will be worked into version 2. I'll post pics once I have something a little more refined worked out.
                My modest builds:
                Armadillo TM, A.K.A. Lil' Dillo
                Tarkus/Armadillo build #2
                Armadillo Center Channel
                Au-Rock-O Sub
                Tarkus
                Staining MDF tutorial

                Comment


                • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

                  Check out these quick throw togethers i did for an informal speaker meet we hold 2-3 times a year.

                  http://bottlenecksaudio.blogspot.com...-may-2015.html

                  I couldn`t believe how good these sounded. With some more tweaking they could be really good.

                  Comment


                  • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

                    Originally posted by castlesteve View Post
                    Check out these quick throw togethers i did for an informal speaker meet we hold 2-3 times a year.

                    http://bottlenecksaudio.blogspot.com...-may-2015.html

                    I couldn`t believe how good these sounded. With some more tweaking they could be really good.
                    This looks like my listening room! :-) I LOVE open baffle speakers... might have professed my love here and in other threads but after listening to OB panels it is difficult to go back to boxed speakers... even my quality mini monitors sounds muddy and last detail compared to my OBs. This really was the reason I initially gave the DML panels a try. Very glad I did.

                    Now tell us about the panel construction. How did you prep your panels? Did you treat them with anything or straight up XPS?

                    In regards to tweaking, I think the largest single improvement is applying EQ to smooth the panel response. On light weight material the response can be choppy above 10K but also below 400-500 Hz and especially in the 30-160Hz range. The low frequencies can be smoothed with more restricted suspension to prevent large panel movements/excursions at low frequencies but in my opinion there is some air and detail that disappears when you begin to apply more rigid suspension. Not to say they don't sound good as others report great results... but for my tastes a more restricted suspension method didn't sound as good to me over even minimal suspension.

                    The ultimate design for me would be tall and narrow(er) DML "line array" for a focus sound-field provided by an array and higher output and an OB panel to cover low bass duties. I have not invested as much in large panels and I could be wrong about this but I feel that a traditional OB panel will out perform a DML panel. I just have not been as happy with DML bass as i am with my open baffle bass bins.

                    So your little setup is not far off from what I hope to build over the next month or 2. Really happy to see someone combining DML and OB bass and enjoying them...

                    Comment


                    • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

                      Originally posted by bolland83 View Post
                      I just did a quick and dirty upside down T stand with the exciters mounted to the upright. These things won't support the panel by themselves, so I added some squishy foam bits to the bottom for the panel to rest on. They definitely have some "panel magic" and even more surprising is how loud they are, I had to turn down the LR channels about 8db to match the subs. It seems like they're powerful enough to drive a much larger panel, so I think that will be worked into version 2. I'll post pics once I have something a little more refined worked out.
                      Hey bolland83,
                      Well mine have been sitting on a chair propped up against the chairs back so your T stand is all together more fancy!

                      Yeah, they are efficient, I estimated in the 91-92 on a 24"x30" panel... they certainly can play loud! Yeah, let us know how version 2 goes... its somewhat addicting. Instant gratification... you can make a few versions in a day (use a hair drier to dry the PVA:water treatment!) and just plain fun listening to the results.

                      Have fun man!

                      Comment


                      • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

                        Originally posted by rmeinke View Post
                        This looks like my listening room! :-) I LOVE open baffle speakers... might have professed my love here and in other threads but after listening to OB panels it is difficult to go back to boxed speakers... even my quality mini monitors sounds muddy and last detail compared to my OBs. This really was the reason I initially gave the DML panels a try. Very glad I did.

                        Now tell us about the panel construction. How did you prep your panels? Did you treat them with anything or straight up XPS?

                        In regards to tweaking, I think the largest single improvement is applying EQ to smooth the panel response. On light weight material the response can be choppy above 10K but also below 400-500 Hz and especially in the 30-160Hz range. The low frequencies can be smoothed with more restricted suspension to prevent large panel movements/excursions at low frequencies but in my opinion there is some air and detail that disappears when you begin to apply more rigid suspension. Not to say they don't sound good as others report great results... but for my tastes a more restricted suspension method didn't sound as good to me over even minimal suspension.

                        The ultimate design for me would be tall and narrow(er) DML "line array" for a focus sound-field provided by an array and higher output and an OB panel to cover low bass duties. I have not invested as much in large panels and I could be wrong about this but I feel that a traditional OB panel will out perform a DML panel. I just have not been as happy with DML bass as i am with my open baffle bass bins.

                        So your little setup is not far off from what I hope to build over the next month or 2. Really happy to see someone combining DML and OB bass and enjoying them...
                        I copied your recommendations by first sanding off the sheen and then applying 2 coats of thinned wood glue to the back and one to the front. The panels sounded better when raised on chairs. I suspect they would sound good if hung from the ceiling although you may lose some low bass. The treble is quite impressive. Better than most full range drivers. I feel that there is some break up occurring however as we noticed that they were not quite a clean as my 3 ways with female voice.
                        I am going to experiment with panel treatments and some form of suspension also. I will report back when I have more.

                        Comment


                        • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

                          Hi Steve,
                          Agreed on raising them off the floor. Less then spectacular on the floor... mine really opened up after I got them in a larger room, pulled well out into the room and on very high tech cane hi-back chairs from my mother in-laws basement... highly recommended audio accessory.

                          On the breakup/distortion, I experience that occasionally as well and it is typically due to panel vibrating and making contact with some hard surface that it should not be in contact with. Could be the source.,, try some difference dampening on the chair backs on on the base. I use large rubber bands where the panel meets the back of the chair.

                          Included a pic of the panels next to the 18" Goldwoods in OB...
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                          Oh hey, as a tweak, try rounding the corners of the panel... that is probably a worth while change along with the EQ. Any square edge will cause some level of distortion when the sound waves terminate from the panels edge. Very minor I'm sure but since preparing the panels is such an easy job I say why not. I use a bowl to make a nice round corner then a steak knive to cut... then sand nice and smooth. Probably already had that planned but thought I'd mention anyway.

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                          • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

                            Have had the panels out after a long hiatus and am taken back by how sharp and snappy percussion sections are... its interesting to take a long break and come back and verify what your initial impressions are. There is a certain coloration that I noted at first listening... think it is the DML presentation again. Listening for a full CD and I'm back adjusted again to the presentation.

                            Other than that, the detail is again all there and as expected. But the most enjoyable characteristic is the HUGE and spacious sound stage... the soundscape just hangs in space completely unattached to the speakers. The panels are 5-6 ft away so listening to the 30" tall panels as a focused array... very enjoyable and only adds to the panel magic. Bass also sounds more full and extended... had to turn down the EQ in the low/mid bass.

                            Hope everyone is enjoying their panels... good to be back listening and hope to actually build my first "finished" set fairly soon.
                            Last edited by rmeinke; 06-06-2015, 01:05 AM.

                            Comment


                            • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

                              I got one driver back in March, and its back-ordered twin just arrived yesterday (DAEX32EP-4). I have a neighbor with some foam board insulation he wants to get rid of, so hopefully I will get to try something soon. I've got some health issues, so my progress will be really slow. I mainly wanted to thank all you guys for the cool ideas in this thread. I am sure I will be amazed at sound coming out of a piece of rigid foam! I am hoping these will work well as surrounds in a 5.1 system, or maybe just some fun speakers for the basement workshop (impervious to sawdust).
                              Statements: "They usually kill the desire to build anything else."

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                              • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

                                I'm thinking of putting a couple of these together to try out in my 14x22ish family room that has vaulted ceilings. Each would be 3'x4' (or so) 3/4" XPS, EACH with a pair of
                                Dayton daex25fhe-4, framed high-efficiency 25mm exciters (24w, 4-ohm), wired in series and positioned as described in the Parts Express exciters buyers guide.

                                If they work reasonably well, I may also make variations with different sizes, thicknesses, and shapes (preferably trapezoidal), and post some measurements.

                                I'm posting to get reactions from you folks - encouragement or discouragement, what to do, what to avoid, etc.

                                Fire away.
                                Judd

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