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Pictures from the Loudspeakerbuilding community to this speaker kit
Corresponding articles from our community
Berlin school project
To create happy ears, eyes and faces, all you need is wood, a little know-how and some friendly support from Intertechnik. What the above equation is trying to represent, with just a few pictures and the charmingly beautiful results, is the process that eight craft, music and technology-loving students at the Beethoven Oberschule in Berlin-Lankwitz enthusiastically completed over the course of the last semester.
After a friend told me about the possibility of building your own loudspeakers, I put together a Quickly 18 assembly kit for myself. Then it occurred to me that we could bring “box construction” to our school as a group project. The positive response surprised me; after a short demonstration during recess to pitch my idea, we collected two full pages of contact information from interested students. The first eight took part in the project, and in this report they talk about what they experienced and learned during the construction phase and while listening to the boxes at home.
L. Mühlfeld, Berlin August 2012
Juan, 10th grade Model: Quickly 18
Dear box donors,
I am very honored that you gave us these boxes almost for free!
When the project was first introduced, I decided right away that I wanted to be involved. That’s partly because I’m a huge music fan, and partly because it would help me meet a lot of new students I hadn’t known before. I also got to know a different side of the teacher who organized the project. It wasn’t like just being in class.
Besides, building the boxes was really, really, really fun! We met in a classroom (almost) every Friday after school. We listened to music, talked to each other and of course we had a great time!
When we needed help, our teacher helped us out or we looked at the instructions, of which we had plenty. The other thing I really liked was that not only was it fun, but I also learned something about working with electronics, which I hadn’t really ever done before.
Just a couple of comments about the excellent sound of the boxes: when I was done with them, naturally I was dying to find out how the sound was. After just a quick demonstration, I was incredibly excited! Right from the start I had been looking forward to making my own boxes, but this project exceeded my expectations. To be honest, I hadn’t expected that the sound would be soooooo phenomenal!
Finally, I’d like to say a few words in conclusion. The box-building project is highly recommended as a project – above all, it was a wonderful experience. I would definitely repeat the project if it’s offered again. As I said already, dear readers: I highly recommend it!
Yours truly, your box-building team member Juan
Timo, 10th grade Model: AX-6 Hr
Dear INTERTECHNIK team!
Heavy loads you helped me carry
For smaller things you heard my call
I just want to quickly thank you
For all those things both large and small
Thank you very much for very generously donating the speaker boxes. We had a really great time gluing, soldering, painting, sawing and sanding them.
The new white boxes are a super addition to my room, and they contrast brilliantly with the red wall. The sound is phenomenal. If you close your eyes while you’re listening to music, it feels like you’re at an amazing live performance.
Thank you very much,
Niklas, 11th grade Model: Quickly 18
I walked into the room and there were big cardboard boxes everywhere. The others were there already, so I was too late to help them carry things. After I noticed how everyone was hanging around the boxes, it was obvious: here they were. The assembly kits were here!
Now it was time to start unpacking and sorting everything. It turned out to be a smart idea to make an overview plan with little sketches of the various parts and the associated numbers. Also very helpful for future professional builders.
Then we got started right away. Since I hadn’t bought my boards yet, I started with the technology. It was really amazing to see the individual parts of a speaker, and especially to put them together myself by hand when normally they just come ready-made off the assembly line. I printed out the circuit plan and got to work with the soldering iron. It worked great, you just have to avoid breathing in the soldering smoke or you’ll get dizzy. My strategy with the electronics was to glue everything to the provided circuit board and then solder the ends of the respective parts together. That worked really well, too, because the ends always had a little bit of extra wire that you could also cut off if there was too much.
When I did finally buy my boards, I decided to finish the wiring first anyway. The second circuit came much easier with practice. What’s really fun is doing a project with recognizable results – the box, the sound. It was still going to take a while, though, since now I had to get started on the cabinets and they each needed a week to dry. That meant a little bit of rough hand-crafting, too. Sanding and cutting them to size temporarily covered one corner of our workshop in sawdust. In general, it was a really great atmosphere – our teacher played his finished speakers for us, so we could hear how our final results would sound.
Once the cabinet was finished, I painted my boxes classic white. At first I thought it would make a good foundation, but then I realized they actually look really nice like that, so I left them white. Totally sophisticated! After collecting a permanent souvenir of the project in the painting process – a paint spot on my sweater – I took them back upstairs and started installing the electronics. I was starting to feel some time pressure because I had decided to give the boxes to my father for his birthday and it was only two weeks away. So I had to take full advantage of the two remaining weekly sessions.
The speakers were wired, the electronics were screwed in, and the first box was more or less finished. Then Mr. Mühlfeld came up with the idea of trying it out right away. We connected it directly to his professional party stereo system and listened excitedly. It worked! The music was totally clear and crisp, like from a commercial box. Then we connected Mr. Mühlfeld’s box again. With the immediate comparison, we did notice that my speaker sounded a little duller than his. We thought about it for a while until my teacher said, “Well, you have the insulation in there… hmm…” No, that’s exactly what I had forgotten. Dammit! So I unscrewed the loudspeakers, put the insulation in and reattached everything. And voila – once it was connected, the sound was crystal clear! It was amazing. I could hardly believe I had built the box myself. Everything – the electronics, the cabinet, the paint. It’s a great feeling to have built such a familiar, often-seen electronic object myself. And now I know what the thing looks like on the inside. I even finished the two speakers in time for my father’s birthday.They still smelled like paint, and the boxes worked. My father was really happy, and at first he couldn’t believe I had built them myself. Even today, whenever he listens to music on his stereo through the homemade boxes, he always says, “Thanks Niklas, what a great present!” It was really a great project and a lot of fun. I also want to thank our teacher again, who made it all possible because of his ambition. Thank you! It’s super fun, and the final results are fantastic. Doing it yourself is really worthwhile!
Vanessa, 12th grade Model: Quickly 28
“We’re leaving together, but still it’s farewell.” Those were the first lyrics I heard from my new boxes at school, preceded by the spectacular intro to “The Final Countdown.” Naturally at the corresponding volume, since we wanted to appropriately celebrate the two months of work I had put into them.
But it’s definitely worth it. After all the wood-cutting, sanding, gluing, drilling holes, sanding again, six (!) coats of paint, soldering, laying cables and screwing things together, I am extremely pleased with the results. Now I have two “Quickly 28” boxes standing in my room. They not only look good, they also provide outstanding sound, considering I had really awful speakers before. What I especially noticed in addition to the great bass was that you can still hear a lot of detail even at low volume; they don’t get swallowed up. Besides, you always feel proud about having built your own acoustic equipment – how many people can say they did that?
In that sense, there’s also a connection with the Europe lyrics, even if it is quite melancholy: I’m taking off with my finished speakers, and saying goodbye to the time I spent creating them.
Julius, 10th grade Model: First Time 12
I chose the “First Time 12” for our school project. I looked at the description ahead of time and thought about it for a while. What I expected: a detailed sound!
It was fun building this box, since it turned out to be a little more complex than I thought, and during the assembly phase I got more and more excited about the results. Some of the manual labor was really hard work. The final results completely confirmed my expectations. Extremely clean high notes and a strong, hard bass. The mid-range speaker combines these two “tonal worlds.” Of course I tinkered with the sound a little and set the equalizer up accordingly… but the sound was very impressive. I also thought the construction was very elegant, especially because of the slightly hidden woofer.
Akira, 9th grade Model: Quickly AX-5
Music is something wonderful. Everyone listens to it, everyone loves it, and if someone doesn’t listen to music, he’s probably deaf or doesn’t know about it yet. But out of all the places you can listen to music, my favorite spot is inside my own four walls. For the last few years, I had a couple of speakers and a small bass box in my room, worth about $60. The sound was correspondingly basic.
But then a young, dedicated teacher at my school had the idea to help a few selected students build their own boxes, and I was totally excited! I chose the Quickly AX-5 speakers because they were not only relatively large, but their angled fronts also gave them an unconventional shape.
Building the boxes was pretty interesting, and it was obvious that everyone had fun doing it (and of course we had music going in the background the whole time). By helping each other out, we all finished our boxes in “just” half a year (well, we only had one day a week to work on them, after all).
My friend connected his amplifier to the boxes, excited to hear how they would sound. I picked out one of my favorite tracks on my iPod (Marsimoto – Eine kleine Bühne), and we were both speechless:
The bass, with its perfect rhythm, made everything in my room vibrate. The high notes – especially Marsimoto’s high-pitched voice – reached deep into my soul and switched off everything else around me.
Mr. Westendorf, 1.grade Model: Quickly 18
As I write down my impressions here, I am enjoying the beautiful, full sound of the boxes that I built for myself after all (Quickly 18).
I wasn’t actually planning to build any for myself, although I needed some – I had moved, and it was a good opportunity to swap out the old dogs attached to my stereo system – but naturally I was planning to buy some in a hi-fi shop somewhere. It didn’t occur to me at first to build my own, but I decided to do it when my colleague Lennart happened to mention the project. He was planning to build some speakers with his students to teach them the basics of electronics and acoustics. So I joined the group, even though I’m notoriously short on time and I had no idea how I would fit an extra hour of speaker-crafting into my week. But now the boxes are finished, and I’m very happy with the way they sound and look – they’re exactly the kind of thing I wanted to buy for myself.
Building the boxes took a fairly long time, since the box assembly group could only meet one afternoon a week – Fridays after 8th period – and I couldn’t make many of the dates. But if you add up the actual project time, it was surprisingly very fast.
What I really enjoyed was the wide range of handicraft activities – gluing, sanding, soldering, puttying, screwing, painting, etc. – and working as a group. The atmosphere was relaxed, we had good music (and the finished boxes were tested right away), the assembly was uncomplicated, and you could exchange tips and see how others did things. Overall, it was a good experience, with very pleasing tonal and visual results.
Thank you from Mr. Westendorf
Naturally, we all want to thank Intertechnik, the assembly-kit specialists who made our box-building project possible through their generous donation. We all had a great time exploring the insides of a loudspeaker and understanding the technology behind it. There’s nothing mysterious about building your own boxes if you use the many well-documented suggestions on this page – we recommend it to everyone who hasn’t dared to try it yet.
The box-builders at Beethoven-Schule Berlin-Lankwitz
AX 6 center by captain carot
It was all supposed to be so easy. I needed a new pair of loudspeakers. Instead of multi-channel sound, it was just going to be stereo. To keep things simple, it was also supposed to be a wide-range speaker, since I had had good experiences with those years ago. I found my gateway drug pretty quickly too: the Gradient Axis series, more specifically the AX-6 HR. However, as my wife pointed out, “You can’t do it. In a couple of months, we’ll be back to having five boxes in the living room.”
As so often, she was right in the end. Even though I was, and am, actually very satisfied with the “Axis of Good.” It’s always amazing, but true, that you don’t need more than a little bit of paper on each side to hear good music. The shortcomings of these wide-range speakers, at least on paper, are balanced out by their reproduction of the stage and voices. The theoretical catastrophe, in my opinion, is fantastic in practice.
But there was something missing when it came to movies, and – since I’m not that old yet – for new-fangled toys like video games. So what can you do when there’s no such thing as an Axis Center? After all, it’s usually pretty awkward balancing a TV on top of a pedestal speaker. Hey, we’re in the business of building our own loudspeakers here!
But a center loudspeaker with wide-range speakers? Wouldn’t that cause a lot of problems? Well, it exists elsewhere, and as Grandma always said, you won’t know until you try.
Still, I didn’t want to approach the project in total ignorance, so I started with one of the Gradient Axis boxes. I needed a little bit of calculation help, which I found in the free program HornResp, since I definitely wanted a horn reflex Center – the whole thing needed to work without subwoofers. It was soon clear that a Center with the AX-5 wouldn’t be much smaller than a Center with the AX-6; an AX-8, on the other hand, needs a lot more air behind it. Oh well, that was nothing new. People had already written about that on loudsspeakerbuilding.com.
Still, the shape of the baffle board does influence the sound to a certain extent. Since I wanted to deviate from the traditional form more than a little, I used another small freeware tool called Edge, which can calculate how the baffle board affects the sound. That particular influence wasn’t too large. I talked to Udo, who thought the room itself would screw up a lot more of the sound balance. Okay, maybe that’s not exactly how he put it, but it’s completely true.
Still, I did want them to be a little bit smaller, so I reduced the volume to 31 liters. That makes the horn channel longer, though, which isn’t very practical. So we’ll just make the horn channel a little smaller – it fits, great, let’s build it.
assembly plan, then I bought the wood and… just let it sit there, because all summer long I either didn’t have enough free time or the right weather. But at some point it’s just time, because you finally want it to be finished. So I dug out the wood pieces, realized that the man at the saw must have had trouble understanding measurements because none of the boards were exactly the right size, had the pieces re-cut, and finally started building.
The assembly itself is really simple. There is only one reinforcement on the back wall, the reflex boards and the front have a 10° angle, and that’s it.
Because that was much too easy for me, I had to go ahead and veneer the horn channels to match my two big speakers. If you like things simple, you should avoid this step!!! Adding veneers to the horn channels post-assembly is damn hard, and it only works with contact pressure or maybe contact glue. I discovered that because I had forgotten to take those details into account with the normal AX-6 HR before I put it together. So definitely add the veneer before you assemble it. The insides of the side walls and the outsides of the reflex boards are no big deal. The little strips for the top and bottom sides, on the other hand, require precision down to a tenth of a millimeter. To make sure everything else fits, they need to be cut very precisely.
By comparison, the rest of the assembly was fairly uncomplicated. Even the angles aren’t necessarily hard – in an emergency, you can use a rasp or some guide rails with your hand saw. The rest of the veneer work was no problem either, using the iron-on method. Still, I recommend waiting a little while after you iron, and then ironing out any air bubbles that come up before you start sanding and painting. After sanding it three times and applying two coats of hard oil, the woodworking part was finished.
I ordered the assembly kit and put everything together; I welded the crossover onto a little panel cut out of a cork tile, and it was finished.
Connecting the Axis Center to the AV receiver was much faster than building it. It does take a while to break it in, especially with wide-range speakers. Still, it was soon clear that this would work. Admittedly, “it just works” is a pretty short sound description, but the important thing with center loudspeakers is the difference from the front speakers; in my setup, that difference is relatively small. The Center stands on an open 50-cm-tall TV board prototype (that’s why it still looks so ugly in the pictures) – so it’s slightly lower than the normal ear height. That makes the voices a nuance lower than with the normal AX-6 HR; the bass has a little more kick but a little less depth, and that’s about it. Most of the differences probably have to do with the setup. All in all, though, I’ve never had a center speaker that meshed so smoothly with the front loudspeakers. Most of them actually do much worse than the reformatted Axis, and that’s without any initial measurements or EQ, in other words for older AV receivers or newer ones in Pure Direct mode.
There’s plenty of volume even without subwoofers, at least for a rental apartment. Since the frontal trinity goes up to 40 Hz in my room, I can really do without a separate bass. It’s just too bad that there’s no room to use the AX-6 for the rear speakers too – then the overall sound would be perfect.
But wasn’t there something else? A wide-range speaker as a center? The evil clustering in the high range? Not a problem in a normal living room. When you have two or three people sitting on the couch, it’s really no problem at all. For the typical wide-range drop-off in the high notes to be noticeable, you have to be sitting pretty far outside the axis. Plenty of horizontal D’Appolito centers make more of a mess with the sound. Another solution might be better for a full-sized home theater, but you would need a subwoofer in any case. I definitely don’t need one of those right now. Although… with a Gradient AXT-10, I could be swayed.
Sorens AX 6
When the AX5,6,8 models came out, I ordered an assembly kit for the AX6 HR. At the same time, though, I was just starting to renovate an old barnyard. It took me a long time to get around to building the AX 6. By the start of the new year, the majority of the construction was finished. There were still a few scraps of left over from my huge order of solid wood tiles, and it gave me an idea.
For the side walls, I cut 4.5 cm-wide strips out of the leftover scraps from the tiles, using a circular saw, and used them to make glued-wood sheets. Full boards were still left over for the front and back sides. The reinforcements and the reflex board were made of 18 mm glued wood (scraps from building cabinets). I quickly realized that my gluing skills couldn’t keep up with the real wood’s tendency to warp. Without hesitation, I immediately drilled 10 mm-deep stud holes (the joint glue was still damp) and reinforced the cabinet with Spax screws. Then I inserted wooden dowels into the holes. There followed an orgy of sanding with the belt sander. The earlier renovation work on the barnyard came in handy here. I removed the sanding marks by hand, first with #120 and then #240 sandpaper. The final step was applying multiple coats with parquet oil.
The openings and insets for the chassis and connection terminals were made with the router and a standard routing template, which is a little time-consuming with 3.5 cm-thick boards, but otherwise not a problem.
I simply attached the anti-resonant circuit to a scrap board with hot glue, welded it together and screwed it onto a reinforcement board in the cabinet.
I built the AX 6 in order to provide professional but cost-effective sound for my home office. A Dayton DTA1 has to do as an amplifier. On paper, the relatively high efficiency of the AXIS chassis (just under 92db/W) is a good match for the low output of the DTA1. In reality, I am always amazed by how thoroughly you can rock the house with this midget of an amplifier and the AX6. There’s nothing annoying about it, the voices sound great, and there’s always plenty of bass. The potential volume is gigantic. (Have you ever opened up the DTA1? 2/3 of it is an empty battery compartment!!!).
Of course, it can’t keep up with the high notes and the detailed resolution (for instance in the drumming of Manu Katché) delivered by the Duetta Top in my living room. But I didn’t expect it to, and the comparison is a little unfairr.
You can find the AX-HR assembly kits at