The Universals - A DIY Open Baffle System

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matevana

The Universals - A DIY Open Baffle System
« on: 7 Jan 2018, 03:58 pm »


A common barrier into this hobby can be a lack of DIY construction skills or access to such services. While some are content cutting circles in boards, others may want an end result that is a bit more pleasing, with finishes that are tailored to a living room or den.



The Universals represent an open baffle system that yield good results with a variety of drivers, at a fraction of the cost of branded systems. They have a professional aesthetic and require minimum woodworking and no finishing skills. All of the parts can be sourced easily in the US. A bill of materials is provided for those who may want to duplicate this effort. As of January 2018, the cost per side is around $50, just add your own drivers.





The Universals consist of two main components; namely, a heavy duty suspension system (stands) and a baffle system.

The stands are well balanced, made of heavy cast iron, and will properly support a variety of baffle shapes and sizes. They are used to elevate the primary driver to a proper height; at or slightly above ear level at the listening position. Often times, driver compensation can be reduced just by incorporating this one design goal. While not necessary, the 3” diameter cast iron tubes can be filled with buckshot to gain mass, or left open to conceal speaker wire.




matevana

Re: The Universals - A DIY Open Baffle System
« Reply #1 on: 7 Jan 2018, 04:02 pm »
The baffle system is comprised of (A) the baffle board itself, (B) a universal bracket assembly, and (C) the component shelf.

(A) Baffle Board:

For years I have used cabinet doors as baffles. They are typically very dense, sealed to prevent warping, and available in a variety of finishes and sizes that can be appropriate for many DIY open baffle projects. I recommend flat faced cabinet doors with no recess, raised panels, etc. Fortunately these are often among the least expensive offerings.

For the purpose of this particular build, the baffle dimensions are 18” x 30” which is an ideal starting point for many projects.



(B) Bracket Assembly

I have used many different types of bracket assemblies to attach baffles to stands. The one proposed in this project is among the least expensive and most universal. It can be adapted for use with a variety of baffles.

Baffles are attached to the bracket assembly at 4 suspension points, and are coupled with socket cap bolts, lock nuts, and suspended on rubber o rings. All of these parts are available at big box stores, online, and other sources. You can reference my bill of materials as a starting point.

The assembled bracket assembly also doubles as a template for drilling 4 mounting holes on any appropriately sized baffle. This comes in handy when you want to change a design or upgrade in the future.

Note per sketch that there are a total of 4 brackets used per side; 2 upper an 2 lower.



(C) Component Shelf

The component shelf adapts the stand to the bracket assembly. I often use this space to mount crossover components. It represents the shortest distance to the drivers so it can be a great place to mount a small power amplifier in a direct fed application.
It should be noted that this project as illustrated, is setup to accommodate an 18” wide baffle with typical drivers. The component shelf (currently 12” x 12”) can be cut wider to accommodate larger baffles, or if more driver space is required between brackets. Always verify stability when increasing both width and height.




matevana

Re: The Universals - A DIY Open Baffle System
« Reply #2 on: 7 Jan 2018, 04:06 pm »
Bill of Materials & Suggested Sources: (Pricing as of Jan 2018 in USD, priced per side- duplicate for a pair)





matevana

Re: The Universals - A DIY Open Baffle System
« Reply #3 on: 7 Jan 2018, 04:24 pm »
Since some may be curious about other baffle sizes that can be adapted for use, this particular series of cabinet door is offered as follows:

12" Width          Lengths of 30 and 40"

15" Width          Lengths of 20, 30, 40, 50, 60"

18" Width          Lengths of 15, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60"

21" Width          Lengths of 20, 30, 40"

24" Width          Lengths of 20, 30, 40, 50, 60"


For those who might object to the exposed hinge recess on the back of the panel, I have found a source for a 35mm recess cover
available in dark brown/black.  They are available on eBay at a cost of $5.95 for a pack of 10.



 


neekomax

Re: The Universals - A DIY Open Baffle System
« Reply #4 on: 7 Jan 2018, 04:52 pm »
Wow, this is super cool! Thank you.

Is there a 'best' driver size? What about a multi-driver array with a crossover? Seems like a cheap and easy way to test active system experiments and stuff.

matevana

Re: The Universals - A DIY Open Baffle System
« Reply #5 on: 7 Jan 2018, 05:03 pm »
Wow, this is super cool! Thank you.

Is there a 'best' driver size? What about a multi-driver array with a crossover? Seems like a cheap and easy way to test active system experiments and stuff.

I really just wanted to put this out as a flexible design concept. I'm currently running a pair of small full range drivers and found the 18" x 30" baffle to be ideal. For those who want the baffle to continue down to the floor, you can easily substitute a 40" or 50" length, and add more drivers as well.  The stands are rated for commercial table tops weighing in excess of 100 lbs.

JohnR

Re: The Universals - A DIY Open Baffle System
« Reply #6 on: 8 Jan 2018, 01:57 pm »
Neat idea!  :thumb:

matevana

Re: The Universals - A DIY Open Baffle System
« Reply #7 on: 8 Jan 2018, 03:19 pm »
Thank you sir!

gregfisk

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Re: The Universals - A DIY Open Baffle System
« Reply #8 on: 9 Jan 2018, 01:07 am »
This is a really clever idea!

When I built my audio room I used these exact cabinets doors for my kitchen. Now I can build these and they will match perfectly :thumb:

What's great is Ikea has a few doors that are flat. And another few that come to mind is one that also has the horizontal lines in a cream color and a couple colors in high gloss if you like that look.

matevana

Re: The Universals - A DIY Open Baffle System
« Reply #9 on: 9 Jan 2018, 01:31 am »
Yes exactly. I’m like a kid in a candy store when I go there.  There’s a flat birch style as well as a nice high gloss gray. On the high-end there’s also a gloss designer red. It’s great how they let you buy the doors without the boxes. If you don’t live near IKEA, you can order online and have them shipped. 

I suppose you could even double up on the baffles and mount two contrasting finishes back to back. All in all lots of possibilities!

gregfisk

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Re: The Universals - A DIY Open Baffle System
« Reply #10 on: 10 Jan 2018, 01:36 am »
I suppose if you are mounting larger drivers on bigger doors you could double up for that reason as well. They would be a lot stiffer and heavier. I actually use an Ikea shelving unit for my audio rack, it cost all of $69.00 and works great until I can get around to building one.

Ikea is a great place for thinking outside the box. Prices are good and you can always find multiple uses for the products they sell. Their butcher block table tops for one. A lot of guys cut them up for audio rack shelves. Fun stuff for sure :thumb:.

poseidonsvoice

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Re: The Universals - A DIY Open Baffle System
« Reply #11 on: 10 Jan 2018, 02:11 am »
Greg, 

I actually use IKEA’s butcher block cutting boards along Herbie’s Giant Fat Gliders for turntable isolation.

Sorry for the off topic, back to Matevana’s kind OB contribution  :D

Best,
Anand.

matevana

Re: The Universals - A DIY Open Baffle System
« Reply #12 on: 10 Jan 2018, 05:31 pm »
Greg, 

I actually use IKEA’s butcher block cutting boards along Herbie’s Giant Fat Gliders for turntable isolation.

Sorry for the off topic, back to Matevana’s kind OB contribution  :D

Best,
Anand.


LOL, you know you're an Audiophile when...

matevana

Re: The Universals - A DIY Open Baffle System
« Reply #13 on: 10 Jan 2018, 11:07 pm »
Here's a few additional configuration possibilities using the same stand/bracket system:

1) 2 X 10" Woofers + Tweeter/FR in 18" x 30" Baffle

2) 15" Woofer + Tweeter/FR in 21" x 40" Baffle (widen component shelf to 15")

3) 2 X 15" Woofers + Tweeter/FR in 21 x 50" Baffle (widen component shelf to 15")