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Thread: Open Baffle Design

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    Open Baffle Design

    Hey all, I have several sets of dual concentric and point source drivers I've tested and played with over the years and want to try to build an open baffle for them to use in my listening space.
    Has anyone ever done this?
    Are there any tricks or secrets I should know about?
    Ive got the following drivers to use
    Tannoy 6"
    Tannoy 8"
    TB W8's
    Dayton PS220's
    Any help would be greatly appreciated
    H-

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    Re: Open Baffle Design

    I haven’t done them but have heard several at shows and read extensively about them. The one thing you’ll need is cone area and a relatively clean/uncluttered room for them to sound their best. Cone area because they don’t make as much midbass/bass as an enclosed driver and an uncluttered room so you don’t get a lot of waves bouncing around or you’ll get quite a bit of cancelation down low. For the midbass side, I’d try using multiple 8” speakers or step up to a 12” or even 15” midbass. The speakers I heard had dedicated high frequency drivers but I don’t see why you couldn’t build an open-baffle line array.
    Last edited by dgage; 02-28-2020 at 04:09 PM.

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    Re: Open Baffle Design

    Danny Ritchie, GR Research is all things open baffle.
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    Re: Open Baffle Design

    Quote Originally Posted by dgage View Post
    I haven’t done them but have heard several at shows and read extensively about them. The one thing you’ll need is cone area and a relatively clean/uncluttered room for them to sound their best. Cone area because they don’t make as much midbass/bass as an enclosed driver and an uncluttered room so you don’t get a lot of waves bouncing around or you’ll get quite a bit of cancelation down low. For the midbass side, I’d try using multiple 8” speakers or step up to a 12” or even 15” midbass. The speakers I heard had dedicated high frequency drivers but I don’t see why you couldn’t build an open-baffle line array.
    So what Id like to try is a single driver on a baffle to start then maybe expand to multiple drivers on a baffle if this works in the room.
    I have a 12” sub that will cover the lower octaves so if I can get down to 100hz that would be optimum I think. I know the Tannoy’s will do it easily it’s just making the proper baffle for it.


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    Re: Open Baffle Design

    Quote Originally Posted by dgage View Post
    I haven’t done them but have heard several at shows and read extensively about them. The one thing you’ll need is cone area and a relatively clean/uncluttered room for them to sound their best. Cone area because they don’t make as much midbass/bass as an enclosed driver and an uncluttered room so you don’t get a lot of waves bouncing around or you’ll get quite a bit of cancelation down low. For the midbass side, I’d try using multiple 8” speakers or step up to a 12” or even 15” midbass. The speakers I heard had dedicated high frequency drivers but I don’t see why you couldn’t build an open-baffle line array.

    To start off, I know this is a 4 month old thread. With that being said...


    Hate to say it, but this is all pretty much incorrect.

    Cone area for an open baffle design (OB) is the same as for any enclosed design, more efficiency, better power handling, and more overall output capability, and yes, but to a less degree, bass extension capability (as far as mid-bass reproduction is concerned. What helps for better mid-bass and/or bass in an OB is a lower FS, higher Vas, and a Qts closer to 0.60 or higher. And of course, a little extra Xmax than normal is a plus as well. The lower the FS is and the higher the Qts is, typically the less EQ is needed to reach a desired lower frequency. But above all of that, the larger (wider) the baffle is, the lower the driver will be able to reproduce bass before those low frequencies wrap around the baffle and start cancelling out the front and back waves. The smaller, a.k.a. - the narrower the baffle is, the higher that bass or mid-bass is going to start rolling off. Of course, for absolute bass reproduction, as with any design, more cone area the better. No replacement for displacement, unless of course you start talking about much greater Xmax capabilities.

    As for the "relatively clean/uncluttered room"... Well, that's also not entirely true. With OB designs, they interact a whole lot less with the room than traditional enclosed loudspeakers, especially 90* off to either side of the baffle's plane, because that is where the cancellations are at their greatest, so there's very little sound output leaving the sides of the OB's and interacting with the side walls of the room they are in (this does NOT include about what happens in front of the baffle's plane between the loudspeaker and listening position). Also, OB loudspeakers do not "load" a room the same way as traditional enclosed loudspeakers do, so you don't have nowhere near the amount of issues of standing waves and such with an OB.

    Of course, if you have a fairly acoustically lively room with hardwood or tiles floors and light furnishing, you will want to treat said room with some kind of acoustic treatments to get optimum performance from the loudspeakers and to minimize room interactions, but this goes for ANY kind of loudspeaker, whether it be an OB, sealed, ported, planar, omni-directional, whatever. All loudspeakers in any given room are going to have 1st and 2nd reflection points on the side walls in front of the speakers, between them and your listening position, as well as 1st point reflections on the floor and ceiling, again, between you and the speakers.

    At a minimum, you will want to put down some kind of area rug that spans the distance between the speakers themselves, and between you and the speakers to help minimize that first reflection point on the floor. This is a cheap and easy solution that makes a big difference in the overall sound. This is exactly what I did in my room, and it immediately eliminated the "smearing" of vocals and instruments, improving the clarity dramatically. It also helped improve sound stage width and depth, as well as tighten up the imaging. And all of that from a $129 area rug that I bought at Lowes.

    If you want to keep going from there, then you have to start looking at mounting acoustic panels on the side walls to treat those 1st and 2nd side reflections. Either use absorbing or diffusing panels, or a combination of the two. Going beyond that, you can also treat the front and rear walls, mount a "cloud" panel setup on the ceiling, place bass traps in all four corners of the room, and the list can easily go on and on, and costs go up and up.

    Now on the other hand, if you have a fairly acoustically dead room, meaning wall to wall carpeting, curtains, heavy plush furnishing, then you may want to treat with just some properly sized and placed diffusion panels, and still use bass traps on all four corners of the room.

    But now I'm going much further than this thread started out as, so I'll stop here. And again, yes, I know this thread is 4 months old already. I just don't like seeing ill-informed posts continuing to go on misleading people. I felt it my duty to correct a few things in this thread just in case the OP is still dabbling in this project and still had questions that may be answered in my post here.
    Last edited by SQ_Blaze; 05-31-2020 at 12:37 PM.
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    Re: Open Baffle Design

    With open baffle, you could have an issue with phase causing nulls in the bass region that you wouldn’t ever have to worry about with a sealed enclosure. So I’ll say you may be right but you also could be wrong depending on the setup and configuration of a particular room and speakers.

    But then again, that is true about speakers in general, the room can greatly affect how a speaker sounds. But I still contend, placement of open baffle matters more than for enclosed speakers.

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    Re: Open Baffle Design

    Quote Originally Posted by dgage View Post
    1) With open baffle, you could have an issue with phase causing nulls in the bass region that you wouldn’t ever have to worry about with a sealed enclosure.

    2) So I’ll say you may be right but you also could be wrong depending on the setup and configuration of a particular room and speakers.

    3) But I still contend, placement of open baffle matters more than for enclosed speakers.

    Again, this is incorrect.

    1) Phase has nothing to do with it. With proper, capable drivers being used for bass reproduction, it's the limits of the size of the baffle that causes the limits to bass response. Simple as that.

    Sealed, ported, bandpass, transmission line, horn, whatever it is... Enclosed bass drivers load and pressurize rooms and energize a room totally differently than an OB does. Those enclosed drivers are what excite room modes (peaks and nulls) which are different for different size rooms.

    2) Not to sound arrogant, but I'm not wrong.

    3) Again, wrong. As I said before, OB loudspeakers do NOT care about placement nearly as much as any other loudspeaker design. This goes for open baffle, magneplanar and electrostatic designs. Any enclosed design, room placement DOES matter a lot more.
    2001 Lexus LS430
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    Re: Open Baffle Design

    If the front wave meets the back wave with (in)appropriate phase, there will be cancellation. This is how noise canceling headphones work. How do you figure open baffle is immune from this phenomena?

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    Re: Open Baffle Design

    That is exactly what I said in my 1st post. However, it is NOT a "null" as you put it. It's just that the baffle doesn't support the bass at those frequencies.

    A null is a dip in response, sometimes due to the crossover point or a room mode. What you're referring to is bass roll off. Totally different animal. So just choice of wrong word on your part. And that bass roll off has nothing to do with the room or its room modes.
    2001 Lexus LS430
    Pioneer DMH-2660NEX | Pioneer GM D1004 | Helix DSP.2 | Rockford Fosgate Power T400X4ad | Morel TiW 634Nd | Audison Prima AP1 | Dayton Audio Ultimax UM8-22

  10. Back To Top    #10

    Re: Open Baffle Design

    So are we at least in agreement that OB needs larger midbass drivers to have the same amount of midbass as a non-OB comparable speaker. And if so, what is your thought on why that is required? If we don’t agree, we won’t agree as my performance requirements must be greater in my home theater.

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