DYI Open-Baffle Speakers - is it hard to do?


Nov 8, 2019
Fort Worth , Texas
- Hi KPC , I hope you see this - I am a little late to the party, but I saw your post and thought I could help .

- I have a very good working knowledge of a lot of Open baffle speakers - which seems to be mostly lacking in the well meaning responses you got to your question. - lol.

- First there are MANY different designs of Open Baffle Speakers just as their are many different designs in regular box style speakers, So it makes a real difference which Open Baffle speakers you are talking about when asking the questions that you have.

- I am very familiar with Nelson Pass's speakers , and since you are new to the Open Baffle concept and are interested in getting your feet wet with OB speakers there are much easier and maybe even better sounding speakers drivers that you can use , rather than trying to make the exact speakers that Nelson did. So I would highly recommend trying a much easier driver to see if you will like the Open Baffle sound!

- There is a new speaker driver for use in Open Baffle speakers that I am most likely going to buying very soon for myself , and it's the one that I would recommend for you to try. It is from a company that wasn't around when Nelson designed his first Open baffle speakers which is quite a few years ago. The company is called Lii Audio - ( Pronounced Lee Audio) , and the specific speaker driver is their F15 speaker driver , and it is selling for $ 399.00 a pair at the moment.

- The company makes some of the Best full range speaker drivers out there! - They do make other drivers but this is probably the best choice for you. - - - - - - if you want to discus their other drivers we can .... but to get your feet wet and to try open Baffle speakers I think it is your best choice for the money.

- The speaker driver Nelson used is over a thousand dollars and that is without the many bass drivers you would also need as well. - I would guess that his speaker design is around - $ 1,500.00. ---- And this Speaker on the Open Baffle I am going to recommend may even sound better.

- The reasons to use this speaker driver are first it doesn't need to have extra Bass drivers added to it , second is it is a lot less money than the drivers used in Nelson's design , Third it is a much easier design to make than Nelson's OB's - ( Open Baffles ). The fourth reason is it that doesn't need a crossover.

- ( By the way - You can easily add an extra Bass driver to the system later down the road if you decide you want or need more Bass for your room - - feel free to ask me about it if you are interested , but many folks decide they don't need it. )

- Generally speaking most speaker drivers will work in many different size and shape Open Baffles ( the baffle being the vertical board you mount your driver to) - that being said most will work - " Best " - in a fairly specific size and shape of Baffle / board that they are mounted to.

- ( I wish there was a simple explanation , or hard and fast rules when it comes to open Baffles size and shapes.... it has to do with the different frequencies coming from the speaker driver , and if you end up digging deeper into the concepts behind Open baffle speakers down the road you will learn and understand more of the reasons ).

- The very easy shape and the shape that is best for this F15 speaker driver is kind of an oval or barrel shape. - - ( You could just use any square or rectangular baffle , but you will get much better results using this shape ). - As to why this shape.... Many people have tried many different baffle sizes and shapes and this is the best by far for this F15 speaker driver.

- And there are two basic sizes you can choose from , one is a little smaller than the other but they are the same shape. There are simple plans available for the two sizes , both baffles are best made 1 1/2 - to - 2 1/2 inches thick .... 2 inches is probably the best thickness for the money.
- The first speaker size is - 36 x 29 x 19 inches , the baffle size itself is the 36 x 29 inches - ( the 19 inches is the depth of the base the Baffle is sitting on that keeps the speaker upright and steady).

- The second size is 42 x 32 x 19 inches - again the 19 inches is for the speaker base. Which size you choose kind of depends on how much room you have , what is the size of room the speakers will be used in , and or personal preferences... ( Also it can depend a little on which wood you choose because real exotic woods will cost more money.)

- My recommendation is to use an inexpensive wood to start with like Pine , Spruce , Maple , Cherry or Oak even. Or you can even choose to use simple MDF or Baltic Birch Plywood if money is really tight - you will need to layer MDF or the Baltic Birch Plywood to get the 2 inch thickness ---- Or if money isn't to tight you could just choose your favorite wood right up front for the first Baffle. - Also for some folks looks are Very Important and only Exotic hardwoods will do. -- ( But also keep in mind if you fall in love with the Speaker you can always just make your Ultimate baffle using your favorite wood for it any time down the road, you just unscrew the driver , and then screw driver onto the new Baffle)... but it's up to you.

- There is a great Audio company called Decware that are making and selling this particular shape / design of Open Baffle Speakers, I'll leave the links to the speakers below. They cost a lot of money from them because of the time and money they put into their Speaker design, and two inch thick hardwood isn't inexpensive and the real exotic stuff can be harder to cut.

- - But if you do it yourself you can save most of that money!! -- The cost to diy this speaker is much , much less , the final cost depends on which wood you choose. - - - ( If you have the money you can just buy the Speaker from them and save some work but not everyone can afford do that or wants to do that. )

- Here are a couple of links so you can go look at the Speaker designs - ( Don't get freaked out by the prices ) - lol

- (This is the smaller speaker )

--- https://www.decware.com/newsite/ZMS2.html

--- You can buy the plans for this Open Baffle speaker from decware for - $ 30.00

- And Here is the larger Open Baffle speaker design,

--- https://www.decware.com/newsite/ZMS.html

--- the design is actually free for this larger speaker.... I know it doesn't make sense that the bigger design is free..... I think what happened was the fellow who built the design Steve Decker - ( the owner of Decware) - wanted to share with the guys on his Forum his build process , and he built the larger of the two designs first, and so he gave the size information out to them and latter didn't want to take the posts down , so the information - the dimensions are in that Forum Thread.

- here is the thread Steve talks about the design, and where the plans are:


- About Decware Audio --- they make great speakers but are best known for their tube audio equipment and they make some of the BEST tube amplifiers out there!! They have been making Tube Amplifiers for 25 years, and they have gotten lots of great reviews over the years...

- But during the last year several of the top Online Audio Equipment Reviewers reviewed their smallest tube amplifier their SE84UFO Tube Amplifier - ( $ 995.00 ) - and gave it Rave reviews , and Then that same little Amplifier the SE84UFO , just won an Amplifier of the Year Award at one of the most well known Online Reviewers!!


- Here is the Amplifier of the Year Award video:


- I hope you find this and that it helps you , or if not maybe somebody else ,

- Kind regards , Dean

- ( PS. - I have always been interested in this little Tube Amplifier , so I finally was able to buy it this year .... and I have been ABSOLUTELY AMAZED by this little amp!!!!!!!! ).

- The Best sounding Amplifier I have Ever owned -- ! ! ! ! ! !

- - - Spoiler alert - - it did take a few hours of paying music to break it in , at first things sounded a little harsh , also the sound could get fairly muddled when complex music passages were playing , and there wasn't much Bass at first.... , But at around 50 hours it started to Really Sound Good !!! ........ and I am at about 75 hours of play time on it now and it Sounds REALLY GOOD!!!!!!!!

-- ( They say that it takes about 100 hours for it to completely break in the Tubes and the components in the Amplifier - so I am excited!!!!! )
Last edited:


Fleetwood Sound
Oct 12, 2011
Dean, wondering if you are still here and if I can pick your brain for some thoughts?



Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2019
An major audio reviewer visited Nelson Pass’s home and loved Nelson’s homemade Open-Baffle Speakers. I got a list of speaker transducers and crossover components but have no idea if I’ve enough ability or need help to construct.

Although I’m a fairly intellectual analytical guy, my knowledge of electronics is very rudimentary/non-existent.

Online research was fruitless - all I get when researching how to set up crossovers is subwoofer integration.

1) Is DIY Open-Baffle Speakers beyond just mounting on boards, wiring and fittings, adjusting the crossover, or...?

2) Is it difficult to set the crossover?

3) Should I try to get guidance/help especially with setting crossover?
Did you ever build a speaker?


Nov 13, 2017
Palm Beach County, Florida
I had a pair of Lii Open Baffles built for me last year to Lii's specifications. IMHO, the full range driver stinks. There is a huge mid-range dip that sucks the life out of the speaker. It measures the same way it sounds. As soon as I heard the finished build I told the builder it had a giant mid-range suckout. He smiled and showed me the graph of the driver (he measured it himself) that confirmed it. He ditched the crossover and built a new one to turn it into a 3-way design adding a tweeter for 5Khz and up. It made the speaker a lot better but it's worth no where the near the $3k it cost in parts & labor.

p.s., I have no ax to grind, Lii Audio was perfectly nice and easy to deal with and I have good ears and good gear. The 10" Silver driver just sounds like garbage. I have thought about trying another FR driver there instead but I don't think I want to throw any more money at this. The 15" Lii woofer is pretty good.

About us

  • What’s Best Forum is THE forum for high end audio, product reviews, advice and sharing experiences on the best of everything else. This is THE place where audiophiles and audio companies discuss vintage, contemporary and new audio products, music servers, music streamers, computer audio, digital-to-analog converters, turntables, phono stages, cartridges, reel-to-reel tape machines, speakers, headphones and tube and solid-state amplification. Founded in 2010 What’s Best Forum invites intelligent and courteous people of all interests and backgrounds to describe and discuss the best of everything. From beginners to life-long hobbyists to industry professionals, we enjoy learning about new things and meeting new people, and participating in spirited debates.

Quick Navigation

User Menu

Steve Williams
Site Founder | Site Owner | Administrator
Ron Resnick
Site Co-Owner | Administrator
Julian (The Fixer)
Website Build | Marketing Managersing