Getting started in speaker building
Copyright 2015 © Troels Gravesen

I'm not sponsored by any company or individual here, but this is some of the gear and litterature I have used for making loudspeakers. The materials shown here will set you back some 2,000 US $ minimum to get started. Besides this you need a milliohm meter to measure driver Re accurately. These don't come cheap, usually around 400 US $. Click links or images to go to websites.

CLIO 10 Measuring Equipment   http://www.audiomatica.com/

 

There used to be a long story on my CLIO equipment dating back more than ten years. It hasn't always been easy but I guess if you start from scratch these days, life should easier. That is, if you can find a laptop with a firewire port or a laptop allowing an express card with firewire connection. Check out all this carefully before ordering the CLIO system! I find it problematic that Audiomatica display the image above as though you just plug your CLIO FW into a laptop. Some customer service in terms of suitable laptops the CLIO FW would be nice. And they might have told you most likely will need a 12 V DC adaptor to run the CLIO box. If your laptop doesn't have a firewire port, then what PC Cards are suitable, etc., because PC Cards comes in a wide range of variants and you have to learn about IEEE 1394a and IEEE 1394b, etc. For the non-computer nerds, this takes quite some time and this is an ever changing world where things may change rapidly and what you think is safe for the foreseeable future may be extinct tomorrow. If you want to be on the safe side, I suggest the CLIO PCI card - but then we're no longer talking a portable CLIO - and that was one of my main reasons for buying the FW-version (05-05-2011: It appears Audiomatica has discontinued the PCI solution and there is no longer a Lite version). At the end of the day the - when working - CLIO-FW is an excellent tool. I enjoy the new applications and all the things that have been developed since version 6.52, and I find very few things I wish they would have kept from the old software.

Above from Audiomatica website and it all looks so easy, doesn't it. That is if encircled connection is in place. Make sure you have the firewire option before starting. The problem is the CLIO works real-time and you have to shut down all other programs and services to make sure there won't be interruptions during mesurements. Getting the CLIO10FW/Win7 working properly appears more complicated than first anticipated. I strongly suggest reading the technical notes founds here at Audiomatica website: http://www.audiomatica.com/wp/?page_id=983. Last but not least - and thanks to Lennart/Sweden for pointing this out - check if your laptop is suitable for high-speed applications by running this software: Download DPC Latency Checker What seems to work on both my laptops is turning off the network adaptor. Read here: http://www.thesycon.com/dpclat/dpclat.pdf. This application seems to seriously interrupt real-time applications. The general advice by Audiomatica is to have a computer dedicated to CLIO FW and nothing else. I have my Lenovo on-line via a wireless hookup - but never during CLIO work. Update 2014: Finally CLIO has put together a comprehensive paper on trouble shooting: http://www.audiomatica.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/technote_001.pdf Read it before investing. All that said, the CLIO is a wonderful tool! ~2 kEUR is not cheap, but the best toy I've ever bought.

Audiomatica has recently introduced a USB based system for 500 EUR including microphone! CLIO Pocket. Based on available info, this looks like all we need for making the basic measurements needed for crossover simulation. And it's available for MACs as well.
Complete kit can be seen here: http://www.audiomatica.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/CLIO-Pocket-Package.jpg 


My measuring equipment

To the left the CLIO + power supply and a Thinkpad 530. To the right a gain-clone amplifier to run speakers.


CLIO microphone with stand.

 

Left: Milliohm meter for measuring inductors and low-ohm resistors. Right: LCR meter and general multimeter.

Best of luck!


Simulation software (box + X-overs)

 http://www.ijdata.com/

LspCAD Standard is all you need to make good speakers, the rest is up to your ears and imagination. I mostly use the old 525 version as I can make crossover in a fraction of the time compared to version 6. Now, the old LspCAD 525 is major trouble under Win7! I found someone on the web describing what 525 does: "- the structure of the program allows you to see how changing one parameter affects multiple aspects of the design. This is a priceless feature for guys who like to experiment. For example, you have the "combined frequency response", "polar pattern", "individual phase response" windows open at the same time and tiled on your desktop. You skip through crossover components values using your arrow keys (another priceless feature) and see immediatetely what happens to all the graphs." This is exactly what the 525 does and 6 doesn't and it's a mystery to me why 6 doesn't have these features. Occasionally I use the 6 for weird circuitry the 525 can't handle. Make sure your LspCAD in running in proper compatability mode. Click start and search "compatability":

Find LspCAD and apply Windowx XP (Service Pack 2)

Windows updates may japordize this and you need to do it again.

Also read this on time-alignment of drivers.


Books by Vance Dickason, Martin Colloms and Joseph d'Appolito

Go to http://www.cc-webshop.com/Books_c31.htm


Great articles here from John Atkinson @ Stereophile: Click image to download article, 35 pages, pdf.
Directly from Stereophile here: http://www.stereophile.com/features/99/