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  • DIY Passive soundbar?

    Hey guys, I am planning to move my Gr-Research XLS Encores to my office (which I am turning into a office/hometheater) when I get a new TV in the living room. We will be wall mounting the TV and the wife wants a clean look in the living room, so the boxy speakers have to go. I have in ceiling surround speakers, a sub and a dedicated receiver that I will be keeping in place so I need to replace the front three channels. I haven been looking at some of the passive sound bars on the market, but got to thinking about doing some more DIY.

    What I want to build is a 3 channel sound bar speaker, but it is actually pretty simple since it would essentially just be three tiny speakers built into a long thin box. Anyway, I cant seem to find much from anyone else doing something similar, although I will admit time is a precious resource sometimes and I havent spent a ton of it searching. So, I am looking to this community for guidance. Are there some nice plans out there for small mini satellites using a 3 or 3.5" driver that I could adapt in a horizontal array, or has someone else already made something similar?

    If I just picked some drivers and tweeters, is someone willing to help me figure out what other components I might need (crossover components)?

    I probably sound like I am in over my head, but I can assure you I am not. Just havent had much time to do the leg work. If you guys think this is a fools errand and I should just buy a $600+ passive 3 channel sound bar, I value that feedback as well.

  • #2
    Not sure what you mean by 3-channel sound-bar speaker. Typically 3-channel would be 3 speakers, e.g., left, center, right; but you might mean 3-way sound bar (tweeter, mid, woofer).
    Not sure if it is what you are looking for but there are Helium speakers as well as a Helium soundbar.
    Searching the Forum (upper right box) I also found "Dayton Diy Soundbar", "Dayton Audio PS95-8 in a Soundbar", "Shelf Soundbar build", ...
    I don't know if they are what you are looking for, but it looks like there are a decent number of options out there.

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    • #3
      Thanks for some guidance on what to search for. The helium sound bar is similar to what I’m seeking except I want it to be passive and add a center channel to the array. That’s what I meant by three channel. The bar would house all three channels in one bar. Left center right. I am torn between doing a two way design or just using some full range speakers. Never tried full range and not sure if they would provide the type of sound quality I’d like.

      Basically looking to do a DIY version of this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B0050...LkL&ref=plSrch

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      • #4
        Look into the 4" dayton coax units. You will need a crossover. Crossing to a sub, they don't need significant volume to work well.
        https://www.facebook.com/Mosaic-Audi...7373763888294/

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        • #5
          Maybe build these http://www.123toid.com/2017/12/the-r...ild.html?m=1on for the ends and a single one of these http://www.123toid.com/2018/01/the-reveal-mtm.html?m=1 for the center channel

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          • #6
            I'm biased in my own preferences and it depends on your space, room, etc. But...I find the imaging (have no idea if that is the right technical term) of having the left and rights further apart than would be possible with the all-in-one soundbar. The typical recommendation is that the Left, Right and listener create an equilateral triangle.

            Jeff F.'s recommendations of 123Toid's builds look good as well as Helium Left and Right with Helium Soundbar. (The sound bar is passive in the sense that it uses a passive rather than active crossover. Just don't use the amplifier the designer used...add binding posts and run your own amplifier to it.)

            (See note below in edit)
            Last edited by a4eaudio; 02-22-2018, 12:01 AM. Reason: Edit: Looking at the Helium soundbar I'm not sure that my description is correct. I think it is a two-channel rather than a single center channel - so why you don't have to use the amplifier he uses,

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            • #7
              Yeah, I am definitely coming up with some ideas now. Dont get me wrong, I would much rather have 3 separate speakers but the wife isnt budging on this one. In my office/ theater, that is a different story, but the living room is the wife's.

              Jeff, I was actually just looking at those speakers and thought I might try combining them into a single enclosure. I also considered modifying the helium soundbar by adding a center channel to it and not including an amp, but I think I found my answer. 123Toid made a sweet looking two channel soundbar http://www.123toid.com/2017/12/diy-d...sound-bar.html

              I think I will make that, but make it wide enough to fit a center channel in there. I estimate it will be about 50" wide, but I am going with either a 70 or 75" TV, so that would be fine for my application. I may mess with the placement of the speakers a bit to push them as far to each side ( for the left and right channels ) as possible to help with separation a bit. Making it wider to fit the center channel should help with that a bit too. If I go ahead with this build, I will try to document it and share. I am pretty sure I will be going this route. now, I need to get my shopping list together.

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              • #8
                Yeah...the trade-off between the optimal speaker setup and the happiness level of the wife usually tilts towards a happy wife!

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                • #9
                  (For a 3/ch soundbar, on the small side) it would be pretty hard to beat 3 AURA NS3s (or ND90-8s) in about 0.45 vented cu.ft. If you felt like you would like better top end dispersion (and many would) you could tack on some tiny tweeters, maybe up in the 4k to 8k range.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Brodon View Post
                    Yeah, I am definitely coming up with some ideas now. Dont get me wrong, I would much rather have 3 separate speakers but the wife isnt budging on this one. In my office/ theater, that is a different story, but the living room is the wife's.

                    Jeff, I was actually just looking at those speakers and thought I might try combining them into a single enclosure. I also considered modifying the helium soundbar by adding a center channel to it and not including an amp, but I think I found my answer. 123Toid made a sweet looking two channel soundbar http://www.123toid.com/2017/12/diy-d...sound-bar.html

                    I think I will make that, but make it wide enough to fit a center channel in there. I estimate it will be about 50" wide, but I am going with either a 70 or 75" TV, so that would be fine for my application. I may mess with the placement of the speakers a bit to push them as far to each side ( for the left and right channels ) as possible to help with separation a bit. Making it wider to fit the center channel should help with that a bit too. If I go ahead with this build, I will try to document it and share. I am pretty sure I will be going this route. now, I need to get my shopping list together.
                    Assuming that the box protrudes about 4" from the wall, is there any restriction on the height? Is 7" too much? Eight?

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                    • #11
                      Could do 3 OS MTM's.

                      https://sites.google.com/site/undefi...htsensationmtm

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                      • #12
                        Let me stop you before you go awry.....DON'T do the multiple horizontal MTM thing. Off axis response is typically terrible through and below the crossover region and I've lived and experienced it no matter how hard I tried. If you have 7" of height to work with, an offset vertical MT is a much better solution. And if you need to keep it slim to appease the wife, choose horizontal MT as your compromise. Forget fullrange drivers if any of the seating is 30 degrees or more off axis from the center channel. In either case, with such small drivers use a close proximity subwoofer and cross high around 100hz.

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                        • #13
                          You could make it a 2 channel soundbar but do an ambiophonic/optimal source distribution setup using a minidsp box+ambio plugin between the TV and amp. Then you can set it up like WMTTMW. Or I second the use of coaxial drivers.

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                          • #14
                            I wonder if two speakers, left and right, might be better than a three channel LCR arrangement given that most soundbars have the L and R only about 36-48 inches apart.
                            I believe most HTR's have a "phantom" setting for the center. I've never owned a soundbar, but I am thining of building one. just curious.

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                            • #15
                              Here's a project that may interest you ... The Alpha Cinema Grand by mzisserson.

                              Project Gallery Overview

                              http://projectgallery.parts-express....-cinema-grand/

                              Tech Talk Build Thread

                              http://techtalk.parts-express.com/fo...-cinema-grande

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