Thursday, March 13, 2014


Man, I've been able to work in the shop for a few days with the doors open.  I was actually sweating the other day.  I get SO much more done when I can do that.  Working under heaters just sucks.  Spring is finally showing it's wings.  About damn time.

On the MVW front we've finalized all the current designs.  There are 2, maybe 3 new cabs coming though.  A GC26, a GC210, and possibly a new home audio cab.  GC28's are done, just waiting for me to do the final assembly and finish work for pictures for the website. 

The first iteration of the GC210 is an animal.  Just an enormous wave front.  It's somewhat of a departure from the other cabs in that it uses an off the shelf line array waveguide for the tweeters.  The second iteration of the cab will get constructed next week.  The first has a few anomalies that we know how to fix.  There has been enough research and burned plywood now that Steve and Tom can get very specific on what to do in a box to cure something.

If you want insights into MVW cabs be sure to check out the next issue of Bass Gear Magazine.  The MAS bass cabs are lighting up.  There will be a complete review of MVW bass cabs, AND an article by Steve and Tom explaining the technology, and a drawing of the inside of a cab.  The bass guitar world has been quick to pick up on the qualities of these cabs, and this is kind of a thank you.

On the fEARful/fearless bass cab front Dave's fearless line is going great guns.  They got high praise at NAMM this year, winning a best of show.  The fearless line is not DIY, but the fEARfuls are great build it yourself cabs.  Especially with one of my kits. :-).  But of course I'd be glad to build a fearless for you.  There are lots of models, I'd encourage you to visit his forum at the link.

Tools.  Nothing new to report, no new toys.  But, we did some swapping around.  We replaced Sam's contractor SawStop with a cabinet model I had in storage.  He's finally in a place he'll be at for a while, so the heavier saw was worth the move.  So, if anybody needs a frickin' fabulous table saw, drop me a line.  It's this one, with 36" fence and the wheel option.  In pristine shape.  I ain't shipping it though.  $1200 if you do it here, I'm going to put it on craigslist at $1400 before long.  You never see used SawStops for sale.  Ever. 

Keep warm, keep cutting plywood out there. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Okay, I know it's cold.

Man it's been tough to get anything done the last month and a half. It's just freakin cold.  Everywhere.  My shop is heated, but not heated to handle the kind of cold we've been getting.  Running the pellet stove wide open, an overhead 220 radiant and a small heater will just about make it bearable after running for a couple of hours. PL cures slow, takes a couple of days for a cab to get strong.  Be sure if you're building right now to dampen the joints before you glue up.  PL requires moisture to cure properly, and there's not much moisture in the air when it's this cold. I set the small fan heater in front of the cab to keep it warm enough for the glue to cure properly. 

I know it's not just me either.  I get emails and see posts in the forums all saying "when it warms up I'm going to build xxx". 

It's supposed to get to 60 by this weekend.  I'm guessing we'll all be running around in tee shirts and shorts after getting used to 15-20 being the highs.  Man I hope so.  I need to test some new cabs outside. 

Yes, new cabs.  You heard it here first.  A new GC28, revised waveguides, a couple of db more output, smoother response.

A new RachÉ12, first of a new series of subs.   Bigger, stronger, deeper. Not for the faint, they're big, close to horn cabinet size.  I haven't decided on a name for them yet.  RachÉ something something to differentiate them from the more easily portable originals.  .

Lastly, a new monster.  Tops to go with the new line of subs.  The GC210.  2 10" drivers in an MVW configuration top.  It's a beast of a cab.  Not pole mountable, at least not on my stands, it's for big venues, outside, anyplace you need huge wavefronts and lots of horsepower.  

There will also be some exciting new stuff on the DIY front in the next 3 or 4 weeks.  At least 2 and maybe 3 new cabs by noted designers avialable exclusively through Speakerhardware.  Stay tuned, stay warm, keep building.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Alrighty Then.

Been venturing out into the home audio world with the MVW cabs.  They're utterly stunning for home audio.  I assume all you readers here are hooked up with me on facebook , but in case not here's some pics of home system I shipped a few days ago.  Technically it's the GC2512.  We call it Wally. 

I learned a few things doing this system.  I'd always just had mediocre luck staining BB.  It's blotchy, and does not take stain well. Cured that using General Finishes Gel.  This stuff is awesome. That's Georgian Cherry you see in the pics.  Don't sand too fine, to 120 is adequate.  If you go much higher than that it doesn't take on as much color. 

While I was at Woodcraft getting the stain, of course I shopped around.  And found a solution to the problem of sanding inside I talked about in the last blog. 
These things kick ass.  You do have to be a little careful as they'll sand a divot.  But man the time they've saved on making the interior corners pretty on all my cabs is huge. You can get them here

I was pretty proud of myself when I left Woodcraft.  I only spent $130.  I could have easily added another zero to that number.  They just have cool stuff. 

Don't forget, all kits are free freight right now.  Instead of bitching about the cold and snow, go BUILD something.  It always warms the heart.  Does me anyway. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

New year, new stuff, new outlook.

This is the year it all happens.  MVW cabs come to market.  New DIY Designs from the BigE guys.  New DIY designs from Bill Fitzmaurice.  New DIY designs from another famous designer are on the way.  We are stepping up the game this year. 

TBH the last few months or so SpeakerHardware hasn't met my expectations.  I've had delays, slower shipping than I want, UPS and Fedex slowing down, trouble getting parts, and me.  Part of it is growing pains.  I've outgrown my systems yet again and have to develop new ones for pulling parts and tracking inventory.  We are finally on track though with Sam running his own shop in Lawrence, which will speed up flat packs considerably.  He has far more time to run a shop than I do. We are going to improve everything we can as quickly as we can. 

On the tool front I am on the hunt.  Prep work takes a long time on the MVW and BFM cabs.  Braces, horn throats, and deep cabs make getting into the corners a real pain.  I use these little rascals currently, and they work really really well.. The MicroZips are on my site, but I don't have them in stock yet.  For the volumes of cabs I'm starting to do I need a powered solution for more speed.  None of the long nose belt sanders I've found will work.  I think I'm going to have to build one. 

That's all for now.  Hope all of you have a prosperous and LOUD new year!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Big Doin's

We've launched a bunch of new stuff over the last few weeks.  Sawdust has been flying.  BFM Loudpeakers came out with a new line of simple direct radiator cabs I spent a lot of time figuring and working out in order to put them on the Speakerhardware web site.  New cabs always take a long time to get up.  Bill's cabs always have lots of options. 

I finally got Ashly amplifiers and processors up also.  If you've never heard an Ashly, you're missing it.  They will run 2 ohm loads all day long, and sound great doing it. 

Oh, btw, FREE FREIGHT on damn near every kit on the site, and the Ashly products. 

End of promotion.  Shop stuff.

We've started construction on a new MVW cab for the high end audio market.  I mean the HIGH END audio market.  PA cabs make you a lazy woodworker, or at least all the ones we do.  All butt joints, because PL is so strong.  You don't have to worry about glue bleed because it's going to get Duratexed.  Sand to 80g is more than good enough.  We don't do much fancy joinery because it's just not necessary.  .  Got to step up the game.
This cab will be all mitered hidden joints, many of them complex miters, out of Walnut faced plywood.  Price that stuff and drop your drawers.  Edge banding with walnut veneer, the works.  Been quite a while since I did this level of woodworking, it's really a piece of fine furniture.  We're building a prototype out of BB first just for practice.  I really don't want to ruin $170 sheets of plywood.  1st lesson we've learned is 45deg joints in 3/4 require 0 biscuits.  Even #10's plunge too deep. It's going to be interesting.

And a cab tip I stole from the BFM forum, a better way to mount grilles.  It works freakin great, practically invisible.  For it to work your grilles must have a 3/4 to 1" return bend all the way around, the grilles must fit within about 1/8 of the sides of the cab.  Cut a strip of ply out of 1/2 1" wide, about 1/4 shorter than inside width of the grille, for the 2 long sides of the grille.  Evenly space hurricane nuts along it, keeping them to the backside.  Use it as a template, put it in the cab, space it evenly between the opposite sids.  Mark the cab and drill holes for bolts. I used flat heads and countersunk them.  Install the strips, leaving them very loose.  Slide the grille in, tighten the bolts pinching the return between the strip and the cab.  Damn near invisible.  It or some variation is going to get used on every cab I do from now on.  Here's some terrible pics.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Hurricane Nut Installation

I see more questions on the forums I frequent about problems with hurricanes and tee nuts than ever.   Here's the directions I wrote for installing them in some subwoofer kits I designed that are now discontinued.  These pics show hurricanes, tee nuts are the same.  I don't sell nor use the tee nut style because they just don't work as well in Baltic Birch.  In regular plywood they're probably superior.  Regular plywood sucks for speaker cabs though, so there you go.  These were written for use with my speaker mount package.  Personally I have gone completely to recex screws for speaker mounting.  Easy, fast, incredibly strong.  I do still occasionally use hurricanes, primarily for strap handles. 

Set the woofer in the baffle, mark the mounting holes.  You may need to cut some excess gasket away from the holes in the frame to reach the baffle to mark it. A scratch awl or thin screwdriver works well to mark the baffle.  Remove the driver.  Drill ¼ holes through each mark, being careful not to let the bit walk away from the mark.  Drilling an 1/8 or smaller pilot is a good precaution.  Get the hurricane nuts, socket head cap screw, washers and the hex key wrench ready.

 Mix up some of the 5 minute epoxy.  Put the washer on the bolt, drop it through a hole from the front side of the baffle.  Start the hurricane nut on the bolt from inside. 

Apply a little epoxy to the barrel ONLY of the hurricane nut.  I use an acid brush. They're about quarter at the hardware store.   DO NOT GET EPOXY ON THE BOLT THREADS! 

Holding the hurricane nut, tighten the bolt with the wrench just until the flat part of the hurricane is tight against the baffle.  DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN, just pull it snugly.  You can do this with a screwgun, if you set the clutch and have a bit.  On my makita 14 is just about right. 

Remove the bolt.  Repeat for all 8 holes, remixing epoxy as needed. .   After the glue dries, and before installing the driver, spin a bolt through each nut to make sure the threads are clean.  If not, you will need to get a 10-32 tap to run through the nut, which is not a bad idea anyway.  I always run a tap through afterwards. 

This is the first in a series of tips and tricks I'm going to run. They'll be available as downloadable pdfs on my site pretty soon.  I hope to get some videos up too of various ways to do stuff.  

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Been an eventful month

Man a lot has gone on in the last month on the SH and MVW cab front.  The slow season (Jul-Sept) finally ended, about a month longer than it normally runs.  I have been going flat out now for 2 weeks and am still way behind. 

We've been doing development work on some of the flat packs.  Sam and I took what we've learned from the simpler fEARful flat packs and applied to the more complex Bill Fitzmaurice flat packs. Most of the internals are now assembled using pocket screws, and anywhere we can we're putting biscuits in to simplify construction.  It requires quite a bit of going through Bill's assembly procedures and making sure you can access the parts for pocket screws, and biscuits that don't interfere with later parts of the construction. 

Sam has moved back to Lawrence and his new place came equipped with a 2 car garage.  Wait, I mean 2 car wood shop.  Hopefully him doing most of the flat packs out of there will speed things a bit.  Our turnaround times suck, running at best 7 days, at worst a couple of weeks.  We're going to fix that.  The biggest obstacle is he has to come to Parsons for plywood.  Insane, nobody in Lawrence nor Kansas City that he can find stocks 5x5 1/2 BB.  My local lumber yard brings it in especially for me. 

New stuff is slowly appearing on the SpeakerHardware site.

 Manipulated Vortex cabs are finally off the development stove and on the market.  They'll be on SpeakerHardware until I get the dedicated GC Soundworks site off the ground.  There are 2 new models since I last wrote, a new high output version of the GC25, and an all new, completely redesigned 2x8 model, the GC28.  Some recent discoveries resulted in a rework of the 2x8 models, and the GC28 is the result.  It's a GC25, which was the best sounding cab, on steroids.  Professional pics to come. 

I'm really excited by the addition of Beyma Speakers to the lineup.  They have lots of drivers with specifications that are almost too good to be true.  Huge displacements,  wide band flat responses, the works.  The new high output GC25 utilizes an astounding 5" they build. See them here at my site. Beyma will probably become the premium driver in all the GC Soundworks MVW cab variations.  And they've been a fabulous company to work with to help me get to where I could add them to SpeakerHardware. That's really important to me.  Thanks Elvin!  A real relationship with a supplier is invaluable.  That's part of the reason you've not seen much but Eminence on my site.  They're real and real people I can talk to who care.  Beyma is working out the same way. 

One more new supplier is coming on board.  American DJ.  I've had many requests over the years to do lighting.  I know squat about lights, but once again like Beyma they've been very helpful.   They're not on the site yet, but it's coming.  One of biggest bonuses is American DJ is part of a much larger company that has EVERYTHING, trussing, dj gear, electronics, just a candy store of products.  It's pretty thrilling to get access to and offer this stuff, much of it difficult for the avg guy to source. 

Some of you may have seen on Facebook that we attended the RMAF home audio show in Denver last month.  It was a really good time.  I got to hear some insane systems, with insane price tags.  $35,000 cd players, anyone?  We learned an enormous amount.  The best thing we learned is that we can compete in that market.  And do it well.  Watch this space for announcements of groundbreaking MVW cabs designed exclusively for home audio. 

The final bit of running around was a system demo in St Louis at the Gateway Christian Church.  Typical problem gym with all the attendant foibles.  A pair of RachÉ15's and 8 GC25's just killed it.  Even smooth sound field every where.  The system was just cruising at 100-104 db. It's a praise service with a full band, so they do need those kind of levels. I hope they choose us, but if not, we learned a lot about doing demos, how to prepare, how to present, all those important things.  We could not have asked for more patient folks, as we had a few foobars on the way.

That's enough self aggrandizement for a bit.  Next post back to TOOLS and tricks.