The Ultimate PC Sound System

Official Forum Thread

Watch on YouTube

Computer speakers are an underserved category when it comes to quality audio devices, possibly down to the small market that they occupy, so the idea behind this project is to make a sound system specifically catered for computer users and gamers.

The result is an elegant monitor shelf that houses not only two sets of high-fidelity stereo drivers but also a subwoofer for some really deep bass - an excellent addition for immersive explosions etc (and boy, it works amazingly well).

The drivers used have been carefully selected.

 

Detail is provided by a set of pretty amazing transformer tweeters, which are the Dayton Audio AMT-8:

(affiliate link) Dayton Audio AMT-8 on Amazon

With midtones being handled by some Tectonic Elements drivers:

(affiliate link) Tectonic Elements 3" Driver on eBay

As a pair they work brilliantly, although they do need a crossover so that the correct frequencies get split and sent to the drivers that handle them best. This crossover is made out of low cost resistors and capacitors as it sits BEFORE the amplifier. Essentially this splits the sound signal into midtones and treble, sending each split to its own amplifier channel (full details of this are in the build guide).

Because of this a special 4-channel amplifier is required, but it's still pretty cheap:

(affiliate link) 4-channel amplifier on eBay

The reason why this one has been chosen is because it's an AB amplifier, rather than a class D amplifier. This results in higher fidelity and a VERY low noise floor, which is important as the speaker drivers used are highly sensitive. If one were to use a class D amp (like a Tripath amp), there'd likely be some hiss unless it's a more expensive design.

While the amp is 50w, the crossover under-drives it to protect the drivers but also match it volume wise with the subwoofer.

As mentioned in the video this subwoofer is very shallow to fit into the shelf, and can hit notes as low as 41hz. I do think that the enclosure may need some modification as I don't believe it's bringing the best out of the subwoofer, but that will require some experimentation (if you do some experiments yourself please post your findings on the forum).

(affiliate link) Dayton Audio 6" Subwoofer on eBay

This gets its signal from the crossover (again, split to only allow deep notes through) and is powered by a single-channel class D amplifier (class D is fine for sub notes).

(affiliate link) 100w Mono Class D Amp on eBay

The enclosure itself can be made out of any kind of wood you like, though I used end-of-line floorboards from a hardware shop for a neat bamboo look.

For full dimensions please see the full build guide.

The resulting sound is incredibly impactful, and the drivers really compliment each other to provide a very broad soundstage with identifiable frequencies that aren't muddied - a big advantage of having a separate subwoofer.

Gaming on it is FUN! What I noticed was how broad the sound stage is, and it's easy to identify where sounds are coming from in relation to your on-screen character. Explosions are DEEP and impactful, and delicate sounds like rustling leaves are faithfully reproduced and add a lot of presence to the experience.

Full build guide:

 

Download Resource Pack

Full Build Guide on YouTube