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Thompson

TransducerTheory
LoudspeakerDesign

FA4740

KrisThompson

Thompson

FunctionalGoals

ThespeakersIintendtobuildwillbeusedasstudio/mixingmonitors.They

willbethemainformofplaybackformycomputerwhereIdomostifnotallofmy
songandsoundcreation.Sincetheyaremixingmonitors,theywillneedto
accuratelyreproducetheentirespectrumofhumanhearingascloselyaspossible
andwithaslittledistortionorcolorationaspossible.Also,sincemosthome
listeninghappensaroundthe75dBto85dBrange,myspeakerswillbeableto
producesoundofhighqualityinthatrangeaswellaslouderifneeded.1

GiventhatImnotsurewherethesespeakersaregoingtoliveIamgoingto

buildthecabinetstobestreproducesoundsinafunctionallysizedbox.Theywillnot
besmallbookshelfspeakersnorwilltheybeleviathansthatstand6feettalllikethe
WilsonAudioSpecialtiesMAXXSeries2.Theywillberoughlythesamesizeasthe
CM7sin212,whichshouldallowampleroomforthewoofersandtweeter.2The
subwooferwillbemadeinthesamewayastheThunderactivesubwoofermadeby
NorthCreek.3ThisisbyfarthebestsoundingsubIveheardandIvealwayslikedso
Idecidedtomakeonemyself.

Beingstudiogrademonitors,theywillbeabletorecreatetheentire

spectrumasaccuratelyaspossible.Withthesubwoofertheyspeakerswillbeable

1LoudspeakersPg.250
2http://www.northcreekmusic.com/CM7/CM7TowerCabinet.PDF
3http://www.northcreekmusic.com/Thunder/ThunderInfo.htm

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togetdownto20Hz.Thewooferswilltakeoverfrom100200Hzupto1000Hz.The
tweeterswillcoverfrom1000Hzup.Allthefrequenciesillbecoverasflatas
possibleduetomydriverselection

Whilethespeakersreachcrisp,clearsoundsIalsowantthemtolookgood.

Thecabinetswillbeproperlyconstructedandwillbeaclosedboxtypeforthe
woofer/tweetercabinetandalsoasealedboxforthesub.TheMDFwillbefinished
withblackglosspaintaclearcoatenamelforprotection.

Thesespeakerswillproducehighqualitysoundfromeachdriverthatis

sensitiveat90dB.Thesubwooferissensitiveat90dB4,thewoofersat88dB5andthe
tweeterat95dB.6Duetothetweetershighersensitivityitwillhavetobeattenuated
tomatchtheothertwomoreclosely.

TechnicalGoals

ThesespeakerswillbeabletopumpouthighSPLlevelsbutnotridiculously

high.Withthesensitivitiesofallthedriversbeingnear90dBmyspeakerswill
producethatSPLataonemeterrange,whichiswhereIwantmyspeakersbe
spatiallycomparedtomewhenImixormakesongs.Thiswillbedoneby

4http://www.madisound.com/catalog/PDF/peerless/830844.pdf
5http://www.madisound.com/catalog/PDF/seas/P18RNX_PH135008.pdf
6http://www.madisound.com/catalog/PDF/neocd3.pdf

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attenuatingthetweeterdownto90dBandkeepingtheotherdriverswherethey
are.

IntheendlesssearchofdriversIlookedatinthisprojectIcameoutwith

onlyneedingtomakeathreewaysystemtoaccomplishwhatIwanted.Iwantedto
getasubwooferthatcouldgoallthewaydownto20Hzprettyeasilyandwastold
thatthesubwooferin212hadaPeerlessXLS12subwooferwithapassive
radiator.7SincethisisthesubwooferIwantedtobasemyownsubwooferoffofI
chosetogowiththesamesetupneverlookedback.TheXLSIoriginallypickedhad
afrequencyresponsenear20HzthatwasabitjaggedandIthenlookedattheXXLS
subandithadamuchbetterresponseinthatrangesoIwentwiththeXXLSoverthe
XLS.89

7http://www.northcreekmusic.com/Thunder/ThunderInfo.htm
8http://www.madisound.com/catalog/PDF/peerless/830844.pdf
9http://www.madisound.com/catalog/PDF/peerless/830500.pdf

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PeerlessXLS

PeerlessXXLS

Formywoofer/midrangedriverIwasinterestedinfindingadriverthat

couldgetprettylowbyitselfandstillgohighintothefrequencyrangewhile

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keepingaflatresponsewithlittledistortion.Ilookedonmadisoundandother
websitesbutdidntfindanythingparticularlyinterestinguntilIwenttozaphaudio.
Heretheyhadalistofdriversandpeerreviewsonthem.Theyrateddriversontheir
sounds,usability,andconsistency.ItwasherethatIfellfortheSEASPrestige
P18RNXP7PolyConeWoofer.Ithasalargemagnetforgoodtransientresponseas
wellaslongcoppercladaluminumvoicecoilthatcantravelfarandhaslittle
distortion.Thedesignaroundthespideralsoreducesniceescapingfrombehindthe
cone.Ontopofallthatthedrivercangofrom40Hzupto2500Hz,whichwaswhatI
waslookingfor.Thefrequencyresponsecurveisalsoreallyflatupto1000Hzand
getabitwobblyafterbutnotbyreducingoutputbutincreasingit.10
SEASPrestige7PolyConeWoofer

10http://www.madisound.com/catalog/PDF/seas/P18RNX_PH135008.pdf

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Mysearchfortweeterwasssimpleone.Iwaslookingforaniceflatresponse

fromarelativelylowfrequencyforatweeter.IfirstlookedattheHiViRT1CA
IsodynamicRibbontweeterandlikedwhatIsaw.11Theresponsecurvelookedvery
nicefrom1000HzandupbutIcontinuedlookingandcameacrosstheFountek
NeoCD3.0Ribbontweeteranditsresponseblewtheotheroneoutofthewater.12
Thistweeterwasflatfrom1000Hzallthewayupto40,000HzandIrealizedthis
wasthetweeterIwanted.Itwillhavetobeprotectedfrommyactivedigital
crossoverlikeJohnhadtodowithhistweeter,butitwillmakemyspeakerssound
amazing.

11http://www.madisound.com/catalog/PDF/hivi/rt1ca.pdf
12http://www.madisound.com/catalog/PDF/neocd3.pdf

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FormycrossoversIwasntsurewheretostart.Thewholeideavery

confusingonceyoustarttogetintotheliteratureonit.Aftersiftingthroughpages
andpagesonitIdecidedonanthreewayactivedigitalcrossovernetwork.This
beingthefirsttimeIameverdealingwithbuildingacrossoverthetaskwas
daunting.Ireadaboutthemandactivehadalltheperksoverpassiveduethe
possibilitiesthatactivegivesyou,nottomentionthelongevity.13Anactivesystem
allowyoutopowereachsetofspeakersonitsownampwhichpromotesflexability
aswellasgivesyoutheoptiontochangesettingsonthefly.Itookitonestepfurther
andwentforadigitalcrossoverthatwill:a)allowmetochangedelayandfilter
settingsdependingontheroomIendupinandb)keepthehumanelementoferror
outofmydesign.IvechosenthesamecrossoverasJohndidduetoitsfunctionality
andprice.IwillbeusingtheBehringerUltradriveProDCX2496.

MycrossoverpointswillbebasedonthefigurebelowfromIntroductionto

LoudspeakerDesign.Itshowsthesuggestedcrossoverpointsfordriversdependent
ontheirdiameter.Mysubwooferwillbea12driversomycrossovershouldbe
below863Hz.Thisisfartohightogofromstereotomonosound.Iwillcrossoverat
100Hztoallowforthebasstoseemtocomefromthemainleftandrightspeakers.
Thecrossoverbetweenmy7SEASdriverandmytweetershouldbenohigherthan

13LoudspeakerCookbookPg167

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1730Hz.14Iwillcrossoverat1500Hztoallowadequateroomforboththetweeter
andwoofertosumandtakeadvantageoftheniceresponsesfrombothdriversat
thatfrequency.

MyamplifierswillbeanAlesisRA150topowerthetweeter.Thisamphas

50Wofpowerinstereo,whichprovidesheadroomovermy17Wnominaltweeters.
ACrown602willdrivethe7woofersinstereomode.Thisampprovides300Wa
channelandmywooferhaveashorttermRMSof250Wandanominalof80W,
providingatonofheadroom.ThesubwooferisdrivenbyaCrown402,whichisset
tobridgedmono.Sincethesubneedstobepowerful,theampwillprovidea
whopping900Winbridgedmono,whichismorethanenoughtodrivethesubat
100Wnominal.
FormycabinetdesignIoriginallywantedtobuildacasesimilartocaseLin
theimagebelow.15Thisdesignofferstheflattestresponseacrossthespectrumbut

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isalsodifficulttobuild.Imnotproficientinmywoodworkingskillsandamnot
willingtomakeacasewithcompactangleswrongandhavethesoundsufferinthe
process.Iwillinsteadfollowthecaseinstructions
fortheThundersubasitisdisplayed.Thecaseis
thetypeoflookIwantformyspeakers,andsince
Imnotgoodwithwoodworkingitwillbeeasierto
followapremaidsetofinstructions.16
SimilarlyIwillbasetheothertwocabinets
offoftheCM7Towercaseinstructions.17Ilikethe
ideaofcreatingatallertowertoreachupand
abovethebackofadeskwhileplacingthespeakers
behindthedesksincethisismostlikelywheremyspeakerswillendup.Iwantto
bringtheheightupto4feetandkeepthewidthanddepthandgetridoftheport
sinceitwillnotbeneededtoextendbass.

15LoudspeakersPg89
16http://www.northcreekmusic.com/Thunder/ThunderInfo.htm

17http://www.northcreekmusic.com/CM7/CM7TowerCabinet.PDF

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WorksCited
Newell, Philip, and Keith Holland. Loudspeakers for Music Recording and Reproduction. Oxford: Focal
Press, 2007
Murphy, John L. Introduction to Loudspeaker Design. Andersonville: True Audio, 1998
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Dickason, Vance. Loudspeaker Design Cookbook 7 Edition. Peterborough: Audio Amateur Press, 2006
Totem Acoustics. 2009. Totem. Totem Acoustics: Totem Acoustics. http://www.totemacoustic.com/
(accessed January 21, 2009)
Lyons, John. 2007. The Alamo Speaker Project.
http://wiki.fa.mtu.edu/wiki/index.php/The_Alamo_Speaker_Project (accessed February 8th, 2009)
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Dlugos, David. 2008. T-line Speakers. http://t-linespeakers.org/ (accessed February 8 , 2009)


Behringer. 2009. Behringer: DCX2496. http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/DCX2496.aspx (accessed
February 8th, 2009)
NorthCreekMusicSystems.2006.CM7LoudspeakerSystem.http://www.northcreekmusic.com/CM7/CM
7_Loudspeaker_System.htm.(accessedFebruary11,2009)
NorthCreekMusicSystems.2006.ThunderSubwoofer.
http://www.northcreekmusic.com/Thunder/ThunderInfo.htm.(accessedFebruary11,2009)
HollywoodDJ.2009.AlesisRA150.http://hollywooddj.com/ra150.html.(accessedFebruary11,2009)
GrabCart.2009.AlesisRA500.
http://www.grabcart.com/product/ele/accessories/instrumentproalera500ale/AlesisRA500.
(accessedFebruary11,2009)
MadisoundSpeakerComponents.2009.MadisoundSpeakerComponents.Inc.
http://www.madisound.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=45(accessedFebruary11,2009)
SEAS.2008.SEASPrestigeP18RNX7PolyConeWoofer.http://www.madisound.com/pdf/seas/H1350.pdf
(accessedFebruary11,2009)
FountekElectronicsCompany.,Ltd.2008.FountekNeoCD3.0RibbonTweeter.
http://www.madisound.com/catalog/PDF/neocd3.pdf(accessedFebruary11,2009)
Peerless.2008.PeerlessXXLS12Subwoofer.
http://www.madisound.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=45_338_381&products_id=1470.
(accessedFebruary11,2009)
Peerless.2008.PeerlessXLS12Subwoofer.http://www.madisound.com/catalog/PDF/peerless/830500.pdf.
(accessedFebruary11,2009)
Krutke,John.2008.Zaphaudio.http://zaphaudio.com/6.5test/.(accessedFebruary11,2009)
SwansSpeakerSystems.2004.HiViRTC1AIsodynamicTweeter.
http://www.madisound.com/catalog/PDF/hivi/rt1ca.pdf(accessedFebruary11,2009)