Waterproofing speaker box? - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old May 25th, 2005, 01:03 PM
Helihntr
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Hunter Seley
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Waterproofing speaker box?

Hey guys,

Just put a new sound system in. The old one had finally had enough and quit about three weeks ago. Anyway I had the local Audio shop build a box to hold 2 eight inch subs. They wanted to charge me all sorts of money to waterproof the box. The box I have is probably made out of that crappy compressed wood and it is already covered with this gray furry fabric. My question is what is the best way to waterproof the box? The box is removable. Thanks.


In case anyone wants to know what I had put in..... Eclipse Sirius satellite radio with ipod jack, 4 JL audio 6.5 Speakers, JL auido 6 channel marine amplifier, 2 JL audio 8 inch subs. Sounds amazing, since I only had two of the original land rover speakers working when I bought the truck!
Thanks for help.
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  #2  
Old May 25th, 2005, 01:49 PM
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Mike Hippert
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Well the crappy compressed wood may be MDF (medium density fiberboard) which is good stuff for making speaker boxes out of. You can paint it but you need the right primer, then you could put some outdoor paint on it to protect it from rain. You may want to pull it apart first and run a bead of silicon down all the joints also.
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Old May 25th, 2005, 02:36 PM
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Everything around me is the MDF - which, sorry to say Hunter, I think will not last more than a season. I agree fully with Mike, every inch of the box needs to be coated with a good primer, then outdoor paint. MDF is just not good in water.

Has anyone found outdoor speaker boxes? I have Alpine round 8" marine speakers in the rear tub, (tub = water) but stock speaker attachments (so they rattle). I'd love a short tower made of thick plastic to house them in. Maybe the garden rock type will work ?? Interesting to look at.
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Old May 25th, 2005, 11:50 PM
artm
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Well, if it's already covered with fabric I assume you'll be removing it.

I say exterior oil-base primer and oil-base porch enamel. Two coats to fill in al the nooks and crannies and you're all set..

I also assume the box is NOT vented. If it is then you may want to paint the inside as well. Of course, if it is vented then it will never be waterproof but is still worth painting the inside.

The shop could have used a plastic box, as long as it fit the space. Finding such a box may be a challenge but they're out there.

Finally, you really don't have to go 8". A Bazzoka 5" or 6" sure does pump it out. Plus it fits easilyand I'm sure they make them with watertight housings by now. If not, it's a lot easier to find 5" or 6" plastic tubes than boxes.
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Old May 26th, 2005, 10:47 AM
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As was stated earlier MDF (or any pressed wood fiber board) is NOT water friendly. Another thing to watch out for is MDF needs special screws. Regular wood or drywall screws will not hold MDF together for very long. Marine grade plywood would have been a much better choice for a D-90.
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Old May 26th, 2005, 11:24 AM
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What about using a fiberglass gelcoat on top of the MDF, or would it hold?
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  #7  
Old May 26th, 2005, 11:41 AM
artm
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Why??? Isn't oil paint cheap enough for ya? I'm telling you, if a porch enamel can hold up to water then why wouldn't it for the occassional splash in a truck?

The guys that made the box certainly glued it together, if they did it right. If they were told it was for "marine" use then they would have used a marine glue. Once you glue that sucker down there's nothing more you need.

I used to make speaker boxes and particle board and glueing was the norm - no nails, no screws. Then you laminate the finish over it. In fact, particle board was preferred to plywood because of its inertness to resonances.

Now, for midrange drivers I would use a cut off plastic tub in the hole for them, say from a bleach bottle. Packed with poly-fill it was the perfect chamber. Nowadays plastic is used for woofer applications - you can't get more waterproof than that!

Oil paint, oil paint, oil paint...
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Old May 26th, 2005, 11:58 AM
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So, idiot proof it for me:

1. Use MDF, joints set with marine glue (+/- MDF screws)
2. Oil paint everywhere
3. Insert speaker
4. crank it up! (my new favorite Holt's the planets - MARS. Messes w/ the mind classical real loud).

Art, my concern is I get daily H2O from condensation as we have something here called marine layer morning fog - oh you are in Boston so are aware of such things.. In a month or two it will be gone and dessert heat/dryness will return. Sounds like the above is a solution.

Next trick is the dash mount - why? My 6yr old daughter is an ABBA/DuranDuran fan and with the remote control - I wondered why a car radio had a remote - she can point and hear the same song again and again and again and agai.......
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Old May 26th, 2005, 12:05 PM
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They only thing I might be worried about is that the speaker is still exsopsed to the enviroment. I think JL does make Marine speakers.

Duh they do I went to thier homepage and right there was a bg add for Marine stuff

http://www.jlaudio.com/press/Marine05.html

I am not sure exatly how they have rated the speakers for salt spray testing though.
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Old May 26th, 2005, 12:31 PM
artm
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Arthur Maravelis
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Paul,

Well, I assume you want to make your box. If so I would try to find the right plastic one. But now you're in speaker design hell. Well, it used to be hell as it was a trial and error thing - you make an enclosure, fit the driver, check frequency response, resize enclosure, refit, retest, etc..

Then software became available to do the hard stuff. Basically, each driver has audio parameters. For its set of parameters there is a corresponding RANGE of box sizes (volume) that will have different frequency responses (what you hear). For woofer applications that basically means what your low end will be and how much of a boost at a frequancy near and above this low end.

That boost comes from vented systems - those with a hole in the box. They usually sound better because of it, although they may not have the better response curve. Better is subjective. Nowadays, with long throw woofers and enough power you get the same effect in a smaller non-vented (sealed) box. For wet applcations obviously you want a sealed box.

When you build your box you must know what volume to make for the response you want. The simplest way is for the manufacturer to tell you that for a given volume your low end will "x" Hz, whether you want a vented system or not and what the size of the vent will be.

That's really it. Once you know the volume you build a box with whatever dimensions suit you, as long as the volume is correct. This isn't too critical, mind you. being off by a little is not a problem, especially in a non-critical application as a car audio system.

If a plastic box is out and you want to go MDF then all you need is glue. Screws are a waste and may even compromise the joint. At each joint you should fit a brace, all around the glue points. That is, you will butt joint the sides. At each butt joint run a strip (say, 1/2" square) along the length. You will then apply glue to the side and this brace, into which the other side will rest.

So, in a typical sqaure box, you:

1. brace the left and right sides all around with 1/2" square strips glued
2. glue on the top, bottom and rear
3. cut out your opening for the front
4. paint the inside
5. glue on the front
6. paint the outside
7. stuff the inside with poly fill
8. screw on the driver

Done. Your box will have the low end already calculated. Frankly, you won't tell the difference between 30Hz and 35Hz, maybe even 40Hz. Again, this is a non-critical application and you probably don't have audiophile ears. Even if you did you'll never get audiophile sound in a truck!

So, the hardest part may be getting those driver parameters from your manufacturer. I think that has become easier since the car audio boom began as most reputable shops reference them when building your box. If you get a guy slapping on a driver on any size box because it has to fit here or there, he doesn't know what he's doing. Sure, you may get a boomy bass but it will be crappy and most certainly not as specified for the driver.

This is a science. Fortunately, it is a science easily understood and used by the ordinary hobbyist.
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