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DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

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  • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

    Hey Brent and welcome to the TT forum! This is one of the best forums of any type that I have participated in over the years... top notch in every way.

    As for amps, either will work perfectly fine. I prefer more watts in every situation; better than pushing a small low power amp with less headroom and potential to clip earlier.

    These DML panels are a perfect first DIY speaker build... easy to build with even very minimal tools. The Ultras sound excellent but so do the Thrusters so go for it. An hour+ is all you need to build a very nice sounding set of loudspeakers. Add another hour to build frames, cover with grill cloth and wood sides and you have a nice looking set as well.

    Post with any questions and good luck man!!
    Last edited by rmeinke; 06-14-2015, 12:07 AM.

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    • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

      Originally posted by rmeinke View Post
      Hey Brent and welcome to the TT forum! This is one of the best forums of any type that I have participated in over the years... top notch in every way.

      As for amps, either will work perfectly fine. I prefer more watts in every situation; better than pushing a small low power amp with less headroom and potential to clip earlier.

      These DML panels are a perfect first DIY speaker build... easy to build with even very minimal tools. The Ultras sound excellent but so do the Thrusters so go for it. An hour+ is all you need to build a very nice sounding set of loudspeakers. Add another hour to build frames, cover with grill cloth and wood sides and you have a nice looking set as well.

      Post with any questions and good luck man!!
      OK my Thrusters should be here tomorrow. Just a couple of questions. I know I should sand of the skins and coat with a 1 to 1 wood glue and water 2 coats front and 1 coat back. Chamfer the edges with a router ( how much and what size?) I am not sure on frame isolation. I have lots of wood. Just don't know how to build the frames. If they sound good I have lots of Walnut and some cherry to pic from.

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      • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

        What do you guys use to sand these things off? I have a little Makita palm sander with 80 grit and the stuff ***** up under it and leaves deep gouges. I didn't puncture the paper (too big of a hurry) if that helps. The sander also wants to take off and go everywhere is this normal with this stuff ? I tried hand sanding with a drywall block and it smooths things out nicely but leaves long striations and I don't know if this will effect the sound. Even with the 220 grit the sander still ***** up. Do these need to be super smooth ?

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        • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

          I haven't been on here for quite a while.

          Here's a photo of my prototype DML, it has 4 panels, 1 exciter per panel. The exciters were low power as "Thruster" style was not yet available.
          With all four panels connected maximum wattage was probably around 40 watts. I bought the exciters in bulk from P.E., and they didn't have much technical information.
          Anyway, the panel material I used at the time was corrugated plastic.the kind used for making small signs.
          Bass was solid to 50 hz, I EQ'd the very high end. Overall, I'd say the sounded pretty good!

          Jack
          Click image for larger version

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          In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.

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          • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

            Originally posted by buke9 View Post
            What do you guys use to sand these things off? I have a little Makita palm sander with 80 grit and the stuff ***** up under it and leaves deep gouges. I didn't puncture the paper (too big of a hurry) if that helps. The sander also wants to take off and go everywhere is this normal with this stuff ? I tried hand sanding with a drywall block and it smooths things out nicely but leaves long striations and I don't know if this will effect the sound. Even with the 220 grit the sander still ***** up. Do these need to be super smooth ?
            Hey Brent! I use a palm sander too. I don't punch holes in the sandpaper either... I just move in long strokes across the panel lifting it off after each pass. Then I occasionally have to use my hand the "knock off" the bits of foam that stay on the sander. Its really a technique that you get down after some practice. Same with it going off on its own... have to have just the right amount of firm grip and less pressure on the panel material.

            Mine are not always smooth either but I can still get them to look pretty good. Like I said, I tend to take long passes across the shortest dimension of the panel... working in nice straight lines. Makes for a nice looking panel. Not that it really matters but I like them to look as good as possible.

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            • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

              Capn'... you made it over to the TTF... good to see you here too!!!

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              • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

                Originally posted by rmeinke View Post
                Capn'... you made it over to the TTF... good to see you here too!!!
                Hey, Thanks!

                I decided to dabble again.

                I ordered 2 DAEX32U-4's on the 16th on the basis that P.E. said they would be in on the 17th, they weren't! So I ordered a couple of DAEX32EP-4's yesterday. and cancelled the
                DAEX32U-4's.
                I figured I'd play around with the DAEX32EP-4's for I while. I did ask P.E. to email me when the DAEX32U-4's came in.
                As you know my last design used light weight multiple panels, so I don't know if there's enough mass to get the bass response I had with the cheap low power exciters.

                Just to back things up a bit. I think the main reason that multiple exciters were used in the beginning was low power specs. I also suspect that multiple exciters applied to smaller panels is more of an interference issue than using large panels.

                In any case, I feel strongly about using 1 exciter per panel for best DML "magic" and high frequencies.
                Since moving to the Mid West, my listening room is very tiny. Add that to the fact that a usable work space in even more of a premium. Such is the plight of the lowly DIY'er.

                Jack
                In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.

                Comment


                • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

                  Originally posted by rmeinke View Post
                  Hey Brent! I use a palm sander too. I don't punch holes in the sandpaper either... I just move in long strokes across the panel lifting it off after each pass. Then I occasionally have to use my hand the "knock off" the bits of foam that stay on the sander. Its really a technique that you get down after some practice. Same with it going off on its own... have to have just the right amount of firm grip and less pressure on the panel material.

                  Mine are not always smooth either but I can still get them to look pretty good. Like I said, I tend to take long passes across the shortest dimension of the panel... working in nice straight lines. Makes for a nice looking panel. Not that it really matters but I like them to look as good as possible.
                  Thanks for the advice. Another thing about routering the edges. Do you usually try to make the edges fully rounded or just a lite round over ? I got my panel at Lowes it's there brand and it's kinda of a aqua color. When I bought it there saw was out of order so I had to rough cut it in the parking lot with a pocket knife. The wind was blowing about 20 mph it was a chore just to get to my truck. I'm sure I was a sight to watch wrestling that board ; ) Depending on how they sound will determine the type of frame I'll make. Now I got to clear a way to the table saw to square them up. Thanks again for your help.

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                  • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

                    I would probably would have been poking fun of you if I saw ya in the lot at Lowes... funny... the things we do to get the job done!

                    Personally, I use a 3/8" round over bit to break the edges and then hand sand so straighten the edges and clean up the very rough routing job. Because the panels are large and the material is soft its hard to route it nicely so hand handing is really required.

                    To cut EPS/XPS, I had a hard time cutting with a table saw. I ended up using a quality razorblade/utility knife and a 48" alum. measuring stick as the straight edge. That worked the best for me but might have been my technique on the saw too but thought I'd mention.

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                    • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

                      Originally posted by captainjack115 View Post
                      Hey, Thanks!

                      I decided to dabble again.

                      I ordered 2 DAEX32U-4's on the 16th on the basis that P.E. said they would be in on the 17th, they weren't! So I ordered a couple of DAEX32EP-4's yesterday. and cancelled the
                      DAEX32U-4's.
                      I figured I'd play around with the DAEX32EP-4's for I while. I did ask P.E. to email me when the DAEX32U-4's came in.
                      As you know my last design used light weight multiple panels, so I don't know if there's enough mass to get the bass response I had with the cheap low power exciters.

                      Just to back things up a bit. I think the main reason that multiple exciters were used in the beginning was low power specs. I also suspect that multiple exciters applied to smaller panels is more of an interference issue than using large panels.
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                      In any case, I feel strongly about using 1 exciter per panel for best DML "magic" and high frequencies.
                      Since moving to the Mid West, my listening room is very tiny. Add that to the fact that a usable work space in even more of a premium. Such is the plight of the lowly DIY'er.

                      Jack
                      Awe man, I see the Ultra's are in stock now. :-( The Thrusters are still nice too... you should enjoy them.

                      Most definitely... multiple exciters were needed in the past for high output and power handling. 4 of the low cost, 5W exciters on thin ply is still not as loud as a single Thruster. And as you would know, the interference caused pretty significant HF loss... if I remember correctly... 6db loss over the last octave... ouch.

                      Have you been able to compare panel performance in a small room vs. large room? It might have been me adjusting to the more diffused sound quality and the exciters breaking in but to me, they really opened up once I was able to get them into a larger room and pulled out into the room. Still, I'll build a small, thin DML for my small listening room to have an alternative to my open baffles... gotta have me some magic panels! :D
                      Last edited by rmeinke; 06-20-2015, 11:38 AM.

                      Comment


                      • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

                        Originally posted by rmeinke View Post
                        Awe man, I see the Ultra's are in stock now. :-( The Thrusters are still nice too... you should enjoy them.

                        Most definitely... multiple exciters were needed in the past for high output and power handling. 4 of the low cost, 5W exciters on thin ply is still not as loud as a single Thruster. And as you would know, the interference caused pretty significant HF loss... if I remember correctly... 6db loss over the last octave... ouch.

                        Have to been able to compare panel performance in a small room vs. large room? It might have been me adjusting to the more diffused sound quality and the exciters breaking in but to me, they really opened up once I was able to get them into a larger room and pulled out into the room. Still, I'll build a small, thin DML for my small listening room to have an alternative to my open baffles... gotta have me some magic panels! :D
                        Wow! I didn't think they'd be in that fast. I hadn't checked their site, so I appreciate the tip off.

                        I just ordered 2 of them, I'll be able to make a comparison. Sadly my listening area is really small, under 1200 cubic feet.

                        Many Thanks,

                        Jack
                        In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.

                        Comment


                        • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

                          I need an 8 ohm exciter that will be used on a large 1" XPS panel, dimensions might be 26" x 60" or close to it. Looking for high efficiency, and at least 20 watts power handling. Output below 100hz is not much of a concern. What exciter would you suggest I use? Most of the ones recommended in this thread are 4 ohm. I'd try two 4ohm in series but from what I've read a single actually gives more output. I'd also try a push pull setup with one exciter on each side of the panel but I don't want to see one on the front.

                          Thanks,

                          Jason

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                          • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

                            Originally posted by jasonb View Post
                            I need an 8 ohm exciter that will be used on a large 1" XPS panel, dimensions might be 26" x 60" or close to it. Looking for high efficiency, and at least 20 watts power handling. Output below 100hz is not much of a concern. What exciter would you suggest I use? Most of the ones recommended in this thread are 4 ohm. I'd try two 4ohm in series but from what I've read a single actually gives more output. I'd also try a push pull setup with one exciter on each side of the panel but I don't want to see one on the front.

                            Thanks,

                            Jason
                            Hi Jason,
                            Even a small panel (18x24 est) will get down to 100Hz so given that I would consider 2 smaller panels. Placing 1 exciter in high on the lower panel and the other low on the upper panel will also help placing more high frequency output closer to ear level. Most prefer large panels but to me smaller panels do have better dynamics and detail as the large panel excursions clear the panel more quickly. 2 - 26x30" panels will have output down to 40-50Hz so more than enough LF output for good integration with a sub.

                            Efficiency is in the 91-92 range for a typical modern 4ohm exciter. The Ultra and Thrusters are excellent for 4 ohm. For 8ohm exciter I want to try the Tectonic Elements TEAX25C10-8/SP... high BL and fairly low Fs should provide for a good sounding panel. I hope to get a 2 panel array with the TEAX25C10-8/SP... hope to report back fairly soon.

                            Have to run, but drop by with any more questions!

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                            • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

                              I received the 2 Thrusters I ordered from P.E. on Friday.

                              I found 2 of my old 12x12 panels in the garage and mounted a Thruster on each one. I have to say, the sound is not bad. The panels are leaning up against my MMG's, supported on one side.
                              I took a photo of of my old and cheap spectrum analyser reading pink noise with both panels running, this was at my listening position.
                              As you can see from the photo, things look pretty flat to 250 and tapers at 125 hz. Oddly enough tonal balance on most music is quite nice, doesn't sound shallow as the analyser shows. A person could pretty much sit contently and listen for hours.

                              It's been a couple of years since I've played with exciters, One thing I recall is that the panel edges "really" need to be terminated. Left undampened the ear notices a ringing that's not read on a spectrum analyser. Also more than ever I feel very strongly about using 1 exciter per panel. I remember going as high as 8 exciters on 1 panel, they played really loud but with the addition of each exciter high frequencies became progressively less.

                              Jack
                              Click image for larger version

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                              Last edited by captainjack115; 06-21-2015, 05:09 PM.
                              In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that I learn from him.

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                              • Re: DIY Flat Panel Speaker Love

                                Just got one panel done and was checking out and wow. Running from my little NAD 7125 after about 3 mins of play at 1/3 volume the exciter died. I left everything flat on eq it just stopped. Listening to America Horse with no Name. Damn it sounded good till it stopped sounding. Are all of these this fragile? I really liked the sound but if it won't work but minutes what the heck are they good for? The source was my computer ripped cd thru a Teac UD-301 dac to the receiver . The receiver is only 25 watts IIRC so it wasn't over powered. Kind of disappointed . Would have both of them done but I have a bumble bee nest in the hot tub and they attacked me stinging me on the hand so I retreated to finish the other later. I guess I'll rma this one and see what happens it was the Dayton DAEX32EP-4 Thruster.

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