DIY Newb

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Rushca01

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DIY Newb
« on: 3 Oct 2020, 07:51 pm »
Hi all! 

I have been looking to upgrade my 2 channel speakers the last couple months.  I have been looking at the spatial lines and also the GR Research NX Tremes.

I have NEVER built speakers before...I do wood working so assembling the flat pack would not be an issue but not sure about getting a good finish DIY.  I have also never built a cross over before.  I can follow plans etc so that shouldn’t be difficult. 

Can these be made and still be made “right” by a newbie DIY’er? 

mlundy57

Re: DIY Newb
« Reply #1 on: 3 Oct 2020, 09:19 pm »
Yes they can. What type of finish are you wanting? Some are more difficult than others. If you want a finish that is way outside your skills and/or equipment, you can get a body shop, cabinet maker, or furniture builder within driving distance to do the finishing

Jazzman53

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Re: DIY Newb
« Reply #2 on: 3 Oct 2020, 11:14 pm »
Hi all! 

I have been looking to upgrade my 2 channel speakers the last couple months.  I have been looking at the spatial lines and also the GR Research NX Tremes.

I have NEVER built speakers before...I do wood working so assembling the flat pack would not be an issue but not sure about getting a good finish DIY.  I have also never built a cross over before.  I can follow plans etc so that shouldn’t be difficult. 

Can these be made and still be made “right” by a newbie DIY’er?

Welcome to the AC!

Getting a nice, smooth finish on wood is rather easy if you opt for a satin finish rather than high gloss finish. 

For a high gloss, mirror finish, you would need spraying and polishing equipment and a willingness to do some extra, ultra-fine sanding and abrasive polishing steps. 

I prefer oak with a satin finish, using the following steps:
- Sand the wood smooth using 220 grit
- Wipe on an oil base stain (Min-Wax or other) and dry for 8 hours minimum.
- Spray or brush apply one or two coats of satin polyurethane (Min-wax or other)
- Allow to dry for at least 6 hours
- Lightly sand with #320 or #400 grit.  You don't need to cut deep-- just flatten the nibs
- Spray or brush apply one coat of satin polyurethane.

The above alone is sufficient to obtain a very nice satin finish. 
And if you really want to take it to the next level of smoothness and perfection; lightly abrade with ultra-fine steel wool and then apply a coat of butcher's wax (only).

My DIY speakers in the video and photo below were finished in satin polyurethane but I didn't go the extra step with steel wool & butchers wax:

https://youtu.be/Q_4sddiBEoU





Enjoy the AC!
Jazzman
« Last Edit: 4 Oct 2020, 12:26 am by Jazzman53 »

Barryg443

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Re: DIY Newb
« Reply #3 on: 4 Oct 2020, 01:10 am »
I have seen and heard Jazzman’s work up close!  He does make a beautiful piece of furniture!
He knows what he is talking about!
BarryG

Rushca01

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Re: DIY Newb
« Reply #4 on: 4 Oct 2020, 02:26 am »
Thanks for the replies.  I’m going to have to do some more research on MDF finishing.  Perhaps doing a veneer would be easier than trying to paint etc..

I do like the look of the ones Ron made at NRD.  I believe his fronts are painted MDF, and the sides are veneered.

Rushca01

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Re: DIY Newb
« Reply #5 on: 16 Oct 2020, 01:15 am »
Has anyone DIY’ed and not been happy?  Either with the way they visually turned our or in the sound? 

ooheadsoo

Re: DIY Newb
« Reply #6 on: 16 Oct 2020, 05:27 am »
Absolutely, finishing can be a nightmare.  I've not been happy with the looks of any of my diy efforts.  They sound pretty good, though.  There's no free lunch, if you value your own time, or do not enjoy the process.

guest101973

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Re: DIY Newb
« Reply #7 on: 16 Oct 2020, 06:06 am »
Thanks for the replies.  I’m going to have to do some more research on MDF finishing.  Perhaps doing a veneer would be easier than trying to paint etc..

I do like the look of the ones Ron made at NRD.  I believe his fronts are painted MDF, and the sides are veneered.

Actually it's the other way around.  Veneering itself is a lot of work and then you are right back to prepping and finishing actual wood.

Painting MDF is a lot easier.  You can get very good results with just a rattle can or even a roller with a good quality paint  And for a $100 to $150 you can buy a decent quality HVLP spray gun.

richidoo

Re: DIY Newb
« Reply #8 on: 16 Oct 2020, 04:01 pm »
Has anyone DIY’ed and not been happy?

LOL! Best question evah!    :thumb:

DIY looks easy but it snot.

mlundy57

Re: DIY Newb
« Reply #9 on: 16 Oct 2020, 05:04 pm »
Has anyone DIY’ed and not been happy?  Either with the way they visually turned our or in the sound?

Sure. I'm often unhappy with the initial result so I fix it or do it over until I am happy. That said, what it takes to make me happy with a result is a lot higher bar now than when I built my first pair of speakers six years ago.

What it takes to make someone happy is very subjective. For some, the sound is all that matters and they are happy with raw MDF cabinets. On the other end are folks who need a finish like on a Steinway piano to be happy. Where you fall on this continuum, your budget, skills, equipment, space and time determine whether you will be better off finishing them yourself or paying someone to finish them for you.

From a total cost perspective, even if you pay someone to build and finish them for you, you will still come out way ahead compared to what a comparable performing pair of commercial speakers will cost.

mdl62

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Re: DIY Newb
« Reply #10 on: 16 Oct 2020, 09:01 pm »
I have 2 different GR Research speakers and a pair of triple H-frame subs.
I have no woodworking experience and assembling the subs was very easy.
I had a professional painter paint them and I installed the drivers and wiring.
All in price has to be less than half what one would pay retail or even online.

One set of speakers Danny assembled the crossovers for me for a nominal fee and I had a local
Guy build the cabinets. I painted the cabinets with Duratex and installed the drivers, No Rez, tube connectors and wiring.
Again a great bang for the buck.

It’s kind of like buying golf clubs for me.  Once you get fit on a launch monitor you don’t fully trust buying clubs without that guidance.
I’d be reluctant to buy a non-GR Research speaker, unless I sent it to Danny to be “fixed”, as in his recent Sonus Faber video.

Rushca01

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Re: DIY Newb
« Reply #11 on: 16 Oct 2020, 10:19 pm »
I have the woodworking skills no problem, especially since this is just a glue up.  What I don’t have is paint skills....what kind of painters would look at this?  Auto?  Do they know how to paint MDF properly? 

Theronbo

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Re: DIY Newb
« Reply #12 on: 18 Oct 2020, 05:31 pm »
Big deal with MDF is priming...

It’s so absorbent, it swells.

There are many YouTube videos on painting MDF, detailing prep work.

I used something called “Sanding Sealer”. Finishes clear.

Sand the MDF first. Sand after.

I looked at various finishes...

Decided on Rustoleum ‘Stone’ finish.
1. Lots of colors.
2. Textured finish that’s very forgiving of a crappy paint job.
Applied using spray cans... but, like 4 passes... I didn’t even try to cover in a single coat... as it’ll puddle.

Just apply multiple coats an hour apart... wait 2 hours & then your supposed to wait 48 hours.






mlundy57

Re: DIY Newb
« Reply #13 on: 18 Oct 2020, 05:48 pm »
I have the woodworking skills no problem, especially since this is just a glue up.  What I don’t have is paint skills....what kind of painters would look at this?  Auto?  Do they know how to paint MDF properly?

I don't know if all body shops know how to work with MDF or if they would want to, but any automotive primer that will adhere to MDF or to a sealer on the MDF works as a base then the corresponding color and clear coats work. Ask around. Small independent shops are more likely to do speakers that large chains.

jonsk2514

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Re: DIY Newb
« Reply #14 on: Yesterday at 01:06 pm »
Hi all! 

I have been looking to upgrade my 2 channel speakers the last couple months.  I have been looking at the spatial lines and also the GR Research NX Tremes.

I have NEVER built speakers before...I do wood working so assembling the flat pack would not be an issue but not sure about getting a good finish DIY.  I have also never built a cross over before.  I can follow plans etc so that shouldn’t be difficult. 

Can these be made and still be made “right” by a newbie DIY’er?

Welcome to world of building speakers.  I am in the process of build my first set of one of Danny’s designs and would say, if you do wood working, you can build a set of these, including doing the crossovers.  The thing to remember is that there is a wealth of information in this blog.  Start with Danny’s home page:

https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?board=16.0

There are “Sticky” threads that stay at the beginning that I have found to be helpful.  For example the crossover build thread that Danny put together: https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=83325.0

And a “Build Thread”: https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=153612.0

In these and others you will find all sorts of things like how people have done assemblies and finishes.  There are threads where people talk about having automotive finishes done, veneer finishes and painted finishes.  As for finishes, see if you can get a scrap piece of MDF, cut it up and make a box and use that for practice.  I have read a number of threads discussing finishes, but it wasn’t until I did some practice runs that I found out how to actually do the finish I wanted.

There are also a number of YouTube videos that are helpful:
Peter R made a YouTube video of the assembly of NX studio monitors. (https://youtu.be/CYrdScf9eyM)

Another video that Peter made that will be helpful is the installation of No-Rez...
https://youtu.be/CtIe9XFNdVQ

Danny has made a video about assembling the crossover.
https://youtu.be/QT-GKorvjak

And Danny has made another one about doing the final wiring with some great ideas as to how to do this.
https://youtu.be/J_E4_CyHA5A

Hope this helps and that you do choose to make a set.  If you get stuck on something, ask or do a search, the answer is likely on here somewhere.

Toecutter

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Re: DIY Newb
« Reply #15 on: Yesterday at 03:21 pm »
I have the woodworking skills no problem, especially since this is just a glue up.  What I don’t have is paint skills....what kind of painters would look at this?  Auto?  Do they know how to paint MDF properly?
I would put a thin layer of bondo over the mdf and sand it smooth. Then bring it to a auto body shop they should be able to paint it.