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Thread: Building My Own L100 Cabinets?

  1. #1
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    Building My Own L100 Cabinets?

    HI All,



    I'm new to this forum and I'm looking for your input. I have been slowly acquiring the components for a pair of L100's with the intent of building my own cabinets. I enjoy woodworking, and I've read a number of threads by individuals who have restored existing cabinets. Has anyone here build their own L100 cabinets? I was thinking of using cabinet grade plywood instead of the original particle board and applying walnut veneer. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Senior Member pmakres1's Avatar
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    Enclosure material

    Hi Ralph, Welcome to the forum!

    JBL has contended that they use dense compressed wood, also known as particle board, because it is "superior to solid wood in its acoustic properties". I assume that they also considered it superior to plywood as well,
    for acoustic reasons. I'm sure some other members will chime in on this subject.

    Good luck on your project!

    Peter

  3. #3
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    Having built some speaker cabs myself (though not L100 style), I know firsthand how unattractive solid wood cabs can sound. Also, on one pair we tried a plywood baffle, and man did it suck. It was not, however, cabinet grade plywood. It was "filled" plywood with no voids, though.

    It seems like MDF is best.
    Out.

  4. #4
    Senior Member jackgiff's Avatar
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    Hi Ralph

    As long as you are planning to veneer them, MDF might be your better choice of materials.

  5. #5
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Unless you are doing something custom... it seems strange to me to build copies of the most readily available speakers JBL has ever produced. With a little luck you can get the empty cabinets practically for free. If you are going to build something yourself why not go a bit up market? JBL has better 12" woofers, mids and tweeters.

    As for wood I would second the motion for MDF. It is better acoustically than particle board or plywood.

    Widget

  6. #6
    Senior Member JBLnsince1959's Avatar
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    Ditto - MDF will sound the best

  7. #7
    Senior Member pmakres1's Avatar
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    Mdf

    I knew this would be unanimous!

  8. #8
    Senior Member saeman's Avatar
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    Smile Building L100's

    Hi Ralph: Will add my two cents worth - it's free. Have built a few pairs of L100's over the past few years - coz I personally feel that they're an awesome small size monitor AND with the scrappers out there on ebay, there seems to be an endless supply of L100 components. If you pay attention to detail you can produce a pair that will be identical to the originals and only the experienced eye will know the difference. From my observations JBL made changes in the way they produced the cabinets. Early models had veneered P.B. sides and tops, painted P.B. backs and a multi layer (10-12) baltic birch type of baffle. The later models used P.B. for the baffle. While MDF is dense and has properties that are attractive for speaker cabinet building, it is very poor when it comes to holding a screw and it does not have good glueing properties (or should I say not as good as P.B. or plywood). The baffle on the L100 has a relatively small surface area, and the enclosure is ported. You'de be hard presed to get any resonance/vibration out of that baffle if it is properly braced and the entire cabinet is built true and solidly glued. I have hunted down all kinds of expensive low/no void plywoods, I have veneered baltic birch, and have laminated baffles up to 1 1/4" thick in an attempt to satisfy the worries of not having a solid baffle. I believe it all goes back to selecting a good material and PROPERLY BRACING the baffle and interior cabinet walls. Different considerations apply if you're building a sealed cabinet using a passive or building a 10 cu-ft and up enclosure and hanging four 130A's on the baffle, but you're talking L100's. Most of JBL's big pro monitors used 3/4 baltic birch for the baffle (well braced in most cases but could be improved somewhat) or 1" P.B. Having owned and/or heard most of their big monitors and cranked them to their limits too!!! I would say that neither your ears nor the plaster on your walls could take the sound pressure levels that it would take to yield any audible resonance if the cabinet is solid and well braced. If you choose to do your veneering after the enclosure is built, you can build the entire box out of 3/4" P.B. with a table saw and router, with NO mitered joints and no screws/dowels, just glue (internal braces should be glued and screwed to their surfaces). I've done it this way many times and the results were awesome. Making the grills is really more work than the cabinets. Will be glad to help you if I can. Rick P.S. Opinions are like a_ _ holes, everyone has one.

  9. #9
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    Thank all of your for your feedback.
    For those wondering why I would go to the trouble of building the L100 cabinets, let me explain. First, I enjoy woodworking. Second, I have a friend with a pair of L100’s which I will measure and create a set of construction drawings. Third, after watching eBay for several months, I concluded that I could purchase the components and build new cabinets for less that amount that the really good L100’s were going for, after freight is added to the purchase price. I could purchase a pair that was in need of restoration, but most of these had some flaws in the components that would I would want to have repaired or replace. Currently, I have acquired a pair of Century L100 crossovers with the metal name plates, a pair of 123A-1 woofers, a pair of LE25 tweeters with new foam rings, grille mounting posts, and new foam grilles. I could still change my mind and sell these items if the right pair of L100’s came along.


    One other question that I have, is there a baffle or an enclosure behind the midrange driver in the L100’s?

  10. #10
    Senior Member saeman's Avatar
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    L100's

    The mid range sits in it's own sealed chamber behind the baffle. It is about 5" inside diameter (would have to check my notes). Made of a piece of cardboard tube with wall thickness about 1/16", blanked off in the back. It's real easy to make.

  11. #11
    Senior Member 57BELAIRE's Avatar
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    $$$$

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget
    Unless you are doing something custom... it seems strange to me to build copies of the most readily available speakers JBL has ever produced. With a little luck you can get the empty cabinets practically for free. If you are going to build something yourself why not go a bit up market? JBL has better 12" woofers, mids and tweeters.

    As for wood I would second the motion for MDF. It is better acoustically than particle board or plywood.

    Widget
    I think Widget's right on here.

    By the time you buy all the materials and spend time measuring, cutting, gluing and sanding, you'll have a couple of expensive (counting man-hours) small boxes that you could have purchased outright for less.

    I'd opt for constructing a larger format monitor utilizing 15's and compression drivers.

    L100's are nice but...no comparison
    OPUS POCUS

  12. #12
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    L100's are fairly common on Ebay but to find a pair in really nice shape and have them shipped to you without getting damaged is not that easy. A lot of people are surprised to find out just how good L100's can be when set up right and driven by good electronics. Over the years I've seen a few pairs make it into truly high end systems.

    Mike

  13. #13
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    I certainly can relate to the pride of having created something yourself, and if you really feel that the L100 is the speaker for you then I guess you should do it. I would use MDF or Baltic Birch, Finn Ply, or what ever the locally available brand of all birch plywood is and not cabinet grade plywood. I would also not use Apply Ply. These plywoods are not very dense. There used to be an all maple product from Canada that was exceptionally good, but I believe they have ceased production.

    You mentioned having the foilcals... are they in new condition with no wrinkles? They tend to get mangled in the removal process. Once wrinkled they will not look new again. That would drive me crazy...

    Widget

  14. #14
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    The foilcals I have are perfect. One is completly flat and the other has a slight curl to it. Neither one has any wrinkles in them.

  15. #15
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    That's lucky... show us pics when you're done!

    Widget

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