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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Panel Bracing the Main Cabinets

Here you can see this loudspeaker cabinet has the internal bracing in place just prior to glue up. You'll notice I'm using pocket screws. Pocket screws are an easy way to firmly hold the bracing in place while glue is drying therefore no clamps are needed. I decided to use panel bracing along with a cross brace which anchors the baffle between the woofer and the waveguide cutout.

The "glue" I'm using is called PL Premium. Its a polyurethane construction adhesive commonly found in home improvement stores, or here on Amazon. It expands as it cures which helps fill in gaps, unlike your typical wood glue which shrinks. Its very messy to work with however, so wear nitrile gloves and be careful. It has the consistency of peanut butter and sticks to whatever it touches. Once you get it on a surface, its very hard to remove.

Panel bracing is a bracing scheme which increases the resonant frequency of a panel by physically subdividing it so acoustically it appears as several smaller panels. Panels tend to vibrate at a frequency determined by a formula which takes in consideration the dimensions of the panel as well as its density, bending stiffness and a few constants.

Our goal is to attenuate these resonances enough that they won't color the sound of the loudspeaker's output. We do this by first pushing the panel's resonance frequencies up and out of the band used by the woofer by altering the panels apparent dimensions via bracing.  Second we then attenuate those resonances with mass and stiffness. One could write a book on this topic alone. I've studied cabinet construction of JBL's 4xxx line of classic studio monitors and note they have done a great deal of research in this department. Not trying to reinvent the wheel, I've chosen this tried and true method to quiet these enclosures, plus a few other considerations not seen here to add a degree of overkill.

If you're interested in pocket screws, I started out with this kit Kreg K4MS Jig Master System with Pocket Hole Screw Joinery Kit. If you're a DIY type, you'll be amazed how many uses you'll find for pocket screws!