Sunflower speakers archive

By jason, August 30, 2011 on 10:33 pm | In projects | 8 Comments

Archiving the sunflower speakers page here:

For my third pair of DIY speakers (I know… running out of rooms to put speakers in), I decided to try a new style with an open baffle design. The open baffle designs that get most of the press are Linkwitz’s Orions and John Krekovsky’s NaOs but those use really expensive drivers with active electronics requiring multiple channels of amplification. So instead, I’m using one of Paul Carmody’s designs that he has dubbed the Sunflower XT.

It uses dayton reference drivers which are great performers at a good price. I used a few from this lineup for the ZDT 3.5 speakers from the last project as well. Also, it uses a Vifa XT tweeter which is a driver used in many high end designs that is generally accepted as an excellent tweeter with low distortion and great dynamics. Whatever that means. :)

In any case, here are a few pictures of the speaker in progress.

    March 13, 2011

The baffles:

The rears with the cutout and recess for the port:

A little photoshop on what will be the side panels (maple birch ply):

The “box” part glued up:
Sunflower xt

View of the bracing and foam on the inside:

Side panels cut and just positioned to see what it will look like:
Side view

Next step is to do some sanding and bondo-ing before figuring out how to assemble the pieces together and paint. Speaking of which, I think the “box” part is just going to be black. Either a spray textured black or a brushed/rolled on enamel flat black. The plywood sides are going to just have a few coats of a simple tung oil rub. That’s the plan right now anyway. More to come.

March 27, 2011
A few updates:
view of front/side and rear/side

The “translam” top piece (still needs to be trimmed and sanded)
Translam top

It will look something like this:
Top mockup translam

Also, here’s what I think the crossover box top will be:
Bookended crossover box top

It’s a remnant piece of hardwood (not sure what species) that I book-ended and sort of-kind of biscuited together with my table saw and a piece of MDF.

It will look something like this (carrying through the translam concept):
Crossover box mock up

Got some glue/water sealing done today also.

March 29, 2011

March 31, 2011
Got some painting done:

April 5, 2011:
Drivers installed and crossovers partially complete:

April 9, 2011
Got the crossovers done an everything wired up.


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  1. Hi Bonnie & Jason, Dave Whitley from Virginia here. I built Paul’s first version of the “Sunflower” a few years ago as my first DIY project. The finished speakers turned out slightly different (aesthetically) from what they started out, but the end result was a GREAT sounding speaker! I actually surprised myself, because I’m not exactly an accomplished craftsman, but all in all, I’m very pleased. Okey dokey, here’s my question: would you have any helpful tips/hints/etc. on how to build a matching center speaker since I now use these as my R/L mains in my H/T? I have no clue on how the cabinet should be built, and I mean, would it also be an “open baffle” design? Would I use the same drivers in the same configuration? Also, since it will go into an existing A/V rack, it will have to lie horizontally, or on it’s side. Not ideal, I know, but right now, that’s just how it’s gonna be.
    I know I’ve probably overloaded you with questions that you weren’t prepared to deal with, and that’s okay, I’ll understand if you don’t want to tackle all this! I just thought I’d throw it out there & see if I had any luck. Thanks for any consideration you might have, Dave.

    Comment by Dave — September 6, 2011 #

  2. Hi Dave – thanks for the comment. I would say you should choose a traditional center channel. An open baffle won’t work in a traditional location surrounded by AV equipment. And the existing design positioned horizontally definitely won’t work… center channels have specific technical design considerations. I would say that you might try picking an existing design that uses the same/similar drivers. Maybe the Nat P? I’ve been really happy with my ZDT 3.5 center channel. GREAT with dialog. There are a few others to choose from that I think you would be happy with. Maybe try asking around on htguide? Feel free to ask any questions you might have! Best of luck otherwise.

    Comment by jason — September 6, 2011 #

  3. This is a wonderful build. Can’t imagine why Paul doesn’t have these on his site. Nice work!

    Comment by Ben — February 24, 2012 #

  4. I dunno… I would be fine with that. Maybe he feels the other ones are nicer and he doesn’t need another example! Feel free to ping him about it though. =)

    Comment by jason — February 24, 2012 #

  5. Great looking build! I am building a set of mains soon and have been trying to decide between the ZDT 3.5 and the Sunflower Redux (I am assuming your build is the redux?). Since you have built both, I was wondering if you could give me any insight into the performance differences between the two speakers. Thanks in advance.

    Comment by Jeremy — January 3, 2013 #

  6. Sunflowers seem to be more bass capable but the ZDT have a nicer midrange due to the dome I think. Both are great… just different. If you want OB, go Sunflower. If you want straight forward box, go ZDT. I think I prefer the ZDT slightly due to the midrange though if I was forced to choose.

    Comment by jason — January 7, 2013 #

  7. Nicely crafted, beautiful looking speakers. I love it, nice DIY :)
    What amp are you using with it?

    Comment by Anil — November 19, 2013 #

  8. Thanks! I actually have given them away to a friend. He was using my DIY Aleph X monoblocks but they were a bit much for his setup so he’s just using a simple chip amp now.

    Comment by jason — November 19, 2013 #

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