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Thread: My Hartsfield DIY Project

  1. #1
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    My Hartsfield DIY Project

    Hi everyone,

    So about two months ago I began probing the forums after being inspired to build my very own Hartsfields. I was asking questions about drivers, crossovers etc. I had very little knowledge about JBL product line, other than a few of the classic guitar and bass instrument speakers. Since then, I have learned a lot from everyone and continue to learn about the history and the JBL product line. The project is now well under way so I thought is was time to document the progress.

    So way the Hartsfields?

    Drawbacks? Many! Massive, heavy, expensive, dated, complicated.
    Pros? Folded horn, dynamically revealing, powerful, JBL has the best drivers around, fantastic sound, and totally cool.

    The main attraction for me was JBL's no compromise attitude in trying to blow Klipsch out of the water. JBL had the leg up, even though the klipshorn predated the Hartsfield, since JBL had the best drivers in the industry. This coupled with the best cabinet in the industry would surely be magic.

    Second, I love the idea of high efficiency horns. Perhaps this is just the engineer in me, but minimizing driver movement while getting desired listening levels makes sense. I guess this is a little backwards from the initial days of horn speakers.

    Volume level was the most desired characteristic, shaping the development of horn speaker systems. Theaters and stadiums needed louder PA systems and horns were the answer. Minimized driver movement was simply a side effect of the horn design. For me, minimal motor distortion and unparalleled transient response seems key for high fidelity; and are all benefits of a full horn system. That is if you can make a horn structurally sound, which does not add coloration. (Enter JBL)

    For drivers the current lineup is: 15" 130A, 2441 Compression driver, 075 tweeter. I’m using JBL 3115 can N700 Crossovers (500 and 7000Hz), which I soon plan to rebuild with air core inductors and better caps.


    The woodwork involved with these cabinets is simply staggering. Complex joinery, small pieces with complex angles, lots of fitting and gluing. Even using JBL plans in conjunction with CAD drawn plans, it is hard to wrap your bran around the project. Plenty of errors in both plans also help bring about headaches!

    So... instead building it myself I have hired a good friend, Fred Goldstein of Heartwood Custom Interiors LLC, to do the building. His craftsmanship is second to none and attention to detail is spectacular, as I have come to know his work well over the years. I should also note that he has made small modifications along the way to better the design. For instance, the baffle for the midrange horn has been contoured to continue the shape of the horn, rather than leaving a hard 3/4" deep lip at the mouth. This kind of detail has been added everywhere in its construction.

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    For materials we are using mainly 3/4" Baltic Birch for all of the structural pieces and 3/4" medx moisture resistant MDF for large flat surfaces that are to be veneered. Joinery is biscuit-ed for pre aligning and added strength. Everything is glued as well as screwed together. They really are the nicest cabs around and much better than other repros or what JBL would have used at the time. No Home Depot cheap-o ply or cut and shaped 2x4's in this cabinet!

    A good chunk is out of the way.

    Next steps: Assembly of inner horn to outer cabinet. Caulk and smooth all facets and joints in the pathway of the bass horn. Then spray the assembly with black paint to smooth the wood inside of the horn pathway.


    More to come,
    Matt

  2. #2
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    So... instead building it myself I have hired a good friend
    Hardly DIY then

    Sorry I couldnīt resist

    I am looking forward to more pictures.

  3. #3
    Senior Member BMWCCA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by more10 View Post
    Hardly DIY then

    Sorry I couldnīt resist
    Unless you create your own tools, or make your own plywood, or plant your own trees to harvest for the wood, everyone along the way has some assistance. I give credit for the idea and some of the grunt work.
    ". . . as you have no doubt noticed, no one told the 4345 that it can't work correctly so it does anyway."—Greg Timbers

  4. #4
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    I originally planed the project to be a full DIY but with amount of wood working needed, a full wood shop is necessary. I don't think a table saw in my garage would cut it. (no pun intended)

    Sorry for the rotated pictures, not sure why that happened!

    I should also note that I repainted all the crossovers and added new mini 5 way connectors. Once They are up and running I will replace all the caps and inductors.

    I also repainted the JBL 2310 pro lenses. These were fun! I disassembled the stack and sandblasted every aluminum piece. I didn't care for the black anodized finish and it started to flake off on the hard edges. I rounded off all of the hard edges and powered coated in a small oven one at a time. They came out great but it took a very long time.

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  5. #5
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    lots of work

    yep. i built my own hartsfields, but i have also build 4530 copys...way less work ,almost as good sound.take up a little less space

  6. #6
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    hartsfields......grossly heavy

    man are them hartsfields heavy once you add 75 lbs of speakers.i liked my 4530's because the horns were in a separate box on top..way easier to move.i had to drag my hartsfields up stairs...wow.what a job to get them in the house..now the wife dont like the size.they are huge when they are all together
    Quote Originally Posted by mbeards View Post
    Hi everyone,

    So about two months ago I began probing the forums after being inspired to build my very own Hartsfields. I was asking questions about drivers, crossovers etc. I had very little knowledge about JBL product line, other than a few of the classic guitar and bass instrument speakers. Since then, I have learned a lot from everyone and continue to learn about the history and the JBL product line. The project is now well under way so I thought is was time to document the progress.

    So way the Hartsfields?

    Drawbacks? Many! Massive, heavy, expensive, dated, complicated.
    Pros? Folded horn, dynamically revealing, powerful, JBL has the best drivers around, fantastic sound, and totally cool.

    The main attraction for me was JBL's no compromise attitude in trying to blow Klipsch out of the water. JBL had the leg up, even though the klipshorn predated the Hartsfield, since JBL had the best drivers in the industry. This coupled with the best cabinet in the industry would surely be magic.

    Second, I love the idea of high efficiency horns. Perhaps this is just the engineer in me, but minimizing driver movement while getting desired listening levels makes sense. I guess this is a little backwards from the initial days of horn speakers.

    Volume level was the most desired characteristic, shaping the development of horn speaker systems. Theaters and stadiums needed louder PA systems and horns were the answer. Minimized driver movement was simply a side effect of the horn design. For me, minimal motor distortion and unparalleled transient response seems key for high fidelity; and are all benefits of a full horn system. That is if you can make a horn structurally sound, which does not add coloration. (Enter JBL)

    For drivers the current lineup is: 15" 130A, 2441 Compression driver, 075 tweeter. I’m using JBL 3115 can N700 Crossovers (500 and 7000Hz), which I soon plan to rebuild with air core inductors and better caps.


    The woodwork involved with these cabinets is simply staggering. Complex joinery, small pieces with complex angles, lots of fitting and gluing. Even using JBL plans in conjunction with CAD drawn plans, it is hard to wrap your bran around the project. Plenty of errors in both plans also help bring about headaches!

    So... instead building it myself I have hired a good friend, Fred Goldstein of Heartwood Custom Interiors LLC, to do the building. His craftsmanship is second to none and attention to detail is spectacular, as I have come to know his work well over the years. I should also note that he has made small modifications along the way to better the design. For instance, the baffle for the midrange horn has been contoured to continue the shape of the horn, rather than leaving a hard 3/4" deep lip at the mouth. This kind of detail has been added everywhere in its construction.

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    For materials we are using mainly 3/4" Baltic Birch for all of the structural pieces and 3/4" medx moisture resistant MDF for large flat surfaces that are to be veneered. Joinery is biscuit-ed for pre aligning and added strength. Everything is glued as well as screwed together. They really are the nicest cabs around and much better than other repros or what JBL would have used at the time. No Home Depot cheap-o ply or cut and shaped 2x4's in this cabinet!

    A good chunk is out of the way.

    Next steps: Assembly of inner horn to outer cabinet. Caulk and smooth all facets and joints in the pathway of the bass horn. Then spray the assembly with black paint to smooth the wood inside of the horn pathway.


    More to come,
    Matt

  7. #7
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  8. #8
    Senior Member spkrman57's Avatar
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    WOW

    Great project!

    Ron
    JBL Pro for home use!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by more10 View Post
    Hardly DIY then

    Sorry I couldnīt resist

    I am looking forward to more pictures.
    "With a little help from my friends"

  10. #10
    Senior Member maxwedge's Avatar
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    It's neat (awesome!) and all but please rotate your pictures. You know, it's kind of hard on the neck. Edit: missed post 4

  11. #11
    Junior Member Audione's Avatar
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    my hartsfield DIY project

    Beautiful work. You have definitely gone the extra mile with Baltic birch, expensive, nice to work with, smells good when you cut it. It is quite a project, I know as I have made in excess of fifty of these cabinets. The pair that I am completing in the next couple of weeks are veneered in koa and will be sent to San Diego. Very nice work.

  12. #12
    Junior Member Audione's Avatar
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    I just read your choice of components. I was curious what made you choose a 130A?

  13. #13
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    Hi everyone,

    It has been a while since I posted on this project and I have had some very positive feedback from members.
    The horns have since been completed and I felt it was time to follow up with remaining build pictures.


    Enjoy!


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  14. #14
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