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View Full Version : Birch vs 3/4 MDF SPL box



xSPLoder
07-31-2012, 10:50 AM
I've heard both good and bad things for each. Any professional suggestions or recommendations? I already have the wood for each in my garage so I want to keep it between those 2. The box will be used for music and burbing

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I've been told that birch is stronger, lighter and reduces box rise

Phoenix Risen
07-31-2012, 10:51 AM
birch, much nicer to work with than mdf

CAT MAN
07-31-2012, 10:51 AM
mdf is used to make boxes for a reason. birch is a good second option though. its stronger lighter but resonates at a higher freq.

shawnjdog
07-31-2012, 10:52 AM
I always stick with mdf... if you need more strength add bracing and glass resin. and really I would not advise using a burp box for music... unless you plan on changing the ports which I have seen many times.

Phoenix Risen
07-31-2012, 10:52 AM
mdf is used to make boxes for a reason. birch is a good second option though. its stronger lighter but resonates at a higher freq.

which is what you want for a burp enclosure.

xSPLoder
07-31-2012, 10:53 AM
mdf is used to make boxes for a reason. birch is a good second option though. its stronger lighter but resonates at a higher freq.

im working within the 42-49HZ range.

---------- Post added at 09:53 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:53 AM ----------

FYI, it's also going to be slot ported, no aero's

shawnjdog
07-31-2012, 10:57 AM
im working within the 42-49HZ range.

---------- Post added at 09:53 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:53 AM ----------

FYI, it's also going to be slot ported, no aero's

then how are you going to use it for music as well?? removeable slot ports are a lot of work. and I highly doubt that the enclosure will be big enough for a daily setup because I hope you will be making it small enough to up the mechanical power handling of the sub and to keep box rise down.

disturbed471985
07-31-2012, 11:00 AM
Birch/

xSPLoder
07-31-2012, 11:00 AM
not daily music, in the class I compete in this year I have to do 2x 30 sec runs of music. Next season i'm moving up to another class that does burps or sweeps

Phoenix Risen
07-31-2012, 11:01 AM
regardless, the difference in the rez frequency of the material of the enclosure is mainly deadened by bracing if properly built,

and makes very little real difference.

xSPLoder
07-31-2012, 11:02 AM
not to mention that I am going to double layer the box

Phoenix Risen
07-31-2012, 11:04 AM
then how are you going to use it for music as well?? removeable slot ports are a lot of work. and I highly doubt that the enclosure will be big enough for a daily setup because I hope you will be making it small enough to up the mechanical power handling of the sub and to keep box rise down.

there is such a thing as a burp box that is only a burp box, not everyone needs to play music...

---------- Post added at 10:04 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:03 AM ----------


not to mention that I am going to double layer the box

you will be much happier with birch, its massively easier to work with and will be much lighter when finished.

xSPLoder
07-31-2012, 11:06 AM
there is such a thing as a burp box that is only a burp box, not everyone needs to play music...

---------- Post added at 10:04 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:03 AM ----------



you will be much happier with birch, its massively easier to work with and will be much lighter when finished.



Awesome, thanks for the advice. I think birch is prolly the all around smarter option.

Phoenix Risen
07-31-2012, 11:08 AM
i used birch once and decided i would never mess with the royal pain in the *** that mdf is.

xSPLoder
07-31-2012, 11:09 AM
I know 1 for sure plus with birch over mdf, it cuts way better and less mess than mdf LOL

pro-rabbit
07-31-2012, 11:22 AM
I only use MDF for any and all SPL builds I have ever done. This includes any of the records we set before and any of our clients builds we currently do.

We also only use MDF in pure SQ builds.

We only use Birch if the client truly wants it, and/or if weight is an issue. Other then that, MDF is and always will be the way to go.

---------- Post added at 09:22 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:22 AM ----------


I know 1 for sure plus with birch over mdf, it cuts way better and less mess than mdf LOL

Get a dust collector and that is fixed.

xSPLoder
07-31-2012, 11:25 AM
Get a dust collector and that is fixed.

Thing that kills me though is whenever I am using my jig to cut the sub hole on mdf, the dust covers up the line im trying to follow and drives me nuts when I have to stop every 4 seconds to whipe to dust away hahaha

shawnjdog
07-31-2012, 11:26 AM
there is such a thing as a burp box that is only a burp box, not everyone needs to play music...

---------- Post added at 10:04 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:03 AM ----------



you will be much happier with birch, its massively easier to work with and will be much lighter when finished.
he said that he wanted to play music as well. maybe you should learn how to read.

pro-rabbit
07-31-2012, 11:27 AM
Thing that kills me though is whenever I am using my jig to cut the sub hole on mdf, the dust covers up the line im trying to follow and drives me nuts when I have to stop every 4 seconds to whipe to dust away hahaha

Get a router with a circle jig and hook said router up to the dust collector.....fixed :suave:

xSPLoder
07-31-2012, 11:30 AM
Never messed with one before. I just might have to. When it comes to boxes, I not the most inclined but everything else I have locked down

shawnjdog
07-31-2012, 11:31 AM
Never messed with one before. I just might have to. When it comes to boxes, I not the most inclined but everything else I have locked down
designing and building enclosures is a fine art... take the time to learn all about them and you will be very happy.

xSPLoder
07-31-2012, 11:33 AM
I got a buddy that is good with them teaching me but I am the type of person that likes to hear more than 1 persons opinion. I am a sponge soaking up knowledge when it comes to boxes LMFAO

hispls
07-31-2012, 12:13 PM
I use plywood and I have talked to guys that have done world records that use it. Brace when appropriate, double layer if you can, and the only difference is weight, weather resistance, and how much easier it is to work with.

cyn
07-31-2012, 12:16 PM
I prefer Japanese Maple or Birch over MDF.. after using the 3... but mine is mainly the weight factor..

xSPLoder
07-31-2012, 12:21 PM
I prefer Japanese Maple or Birch over MDF.. after using the 3... but mine is mainly the weight factor..

I'm trying to cut down on weight in my explorer. Running 2 subs that alone almost weigh 170lbs plus batteries, box and amp. Thing is, Ill be running 5k next year and need something that can handle that kind of power without blowing apart.

cyn
07-31-2012, 12:26 PM
I'm trying to cut down on weight in my explorer. Running 2 subs that alone almost weigh 170lbs plus batteries, box and amp. Thing is, Ill be running 5k next year and need something that can handle that kind of power without blowing apart.

I had less issues with the Maple and Birch coming apart than MDF.
The box I have my HC in right now is MDF and it is basically blowing every seam apart on 1200watts and this is the first box I have ever had do that. I did always have Issues with the sub bolts/screws pulling through the mdf. The Japanese Maple is about 10-15% lighter than the Birch and costs a little more but looks much better. and yes I use 2" woodscrews every 6" plus wood glue..

pro-rabbit
07-31-2012, 12:28 PM
I had less issues with the Maple and Birch coming apart than MDF.
The box I have my HC in right now is MDF and it is basically blowing every seam apart on 1200watts and this is the first box I have ever had do that. I did always have Issues with the sub bolts/screws pulling through the mdf. The Japanese Maple is about 10-15% lighter than the Birch and costs a little more but looks much better. and yes I use 2" woodscrews every 6" plus wood glue..


Any box "blowing" apart is a failure in construction not the material. If you sub is pulling the screws that hold it down out that is also a construction issue as it is caused by the baffle flexing.

Chriszle
07-31-2012, 12:29 PM
I've been running 5k worth of power to my subs in a box made from 3/4" MDF. Double baffle front, no internal bracing other than the ports and 45s in the corners. No issues whatsoever. There are no screws in the box either :).

xSPLoder
07-31-2012, 12:30 PM
my double faced mdf box now is blowing apart with my XFL's and I plan to drop in my HD's or something bigger. Both will be running off the same amp but with the XFL's I was at 1 ohm now Ill be going down to .5 so I know that box will be crying after.

CAT MAN
07-31-2012, 12:31 PM
yeah mine did the same thing til i braced the back beter

xSPLoder
07-31-2012, 12:33 PM
blowing apart as in splitting where the screws were screwed in too btw

CAT MAN
07-31-2012, 12:34 PM
blowing apart as in splitting where the screws were screwed in too btwbad glue joints on your end

cyn
07-31-2012, 12:34 PM
As I said this is the first box I've had the Issue with coming apart at the seams but I have done every box the same.. One Piece at a time let dry for 3-4 hours then do the next Piece. Pre Drill all holes for the screws etc... I have had 3 MDF boxes where Screws would basically pull out with the sub. #8wood (http://www.caraudio.com/forums/usertag.php?do=list&action=hash&hash=8wood) screws 1.5" long , And have had 1 box that I used all threads on and it basically pulled the washer & nut halfway through the MDF... But 4 boxes out of 30 or so isn't that bad of an Issue as It could of been bad wood from the shop or User Error / Moisture Buildup or something else..

pro-rabbit
07-31-2012, 12:34 PM
blowing apart as in splitting where the screws were screwed in

Splitting wood is also from poor build practices.


If your enclosure..

Blows apart
Has splitting
Subs pull screws out
Flexes

This means you need to look at how you build and do better.

xSPLoder
07-31-2012, 12:37 PM
I actually bought this pre made from a friend that was rocking it in a Tiburon. I needed a box 3 days before a show. That's why I want to make sure this new box is done right

Sonic.
07-31-2012, 12:41 PM
Go with the mdf.

quackhead
07-31-2012, 12:44 PM
18mm Baltic Birch is used in Pro Audio sub systems that handle that kind of power for a reason..It is lighter and stronger. About the only advantage of MDF is the cost...if cost is not the issue, then use the superior material.

xSPLoder
07-31-2012, 12:46 PM
Up here in NY 1 full sheet of MDF is $29. My buddy found a place in Buffalo that was selling the birch for $32 a full sheet

Chriszle
07-31-2012, 12:53 PM
18mm Baltic Birch is used in Pro Audio sub systems that handle that kind of power for a reason..It is lighter and stronger. About the only advantage of MDF is the cost...if cost is not the issue, then use the superior material.

So your saying that Birch is acoustically equal to or superior than MDF?

BlurredVision
07-31-2012, 12:58 PM
I use plywood and I have talked to guys that have done world records that use it. Brace when appropriate, double layer if you can, and the only difference is weight, weather resistance, and how much easier it is to work with.

I was in Lowes looking at the wood and plywood looks much like birch. Can't remember the price you

bhsdriller
07-31-2012, 01:01 PM
**** birch....I don't like how it machines vs mdf

Just wheel my table saw out of the garage onto the driveway, dust problem solved. Same with router and sander

---------- Post added at 09:01 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:01 AM ----------

and like the others said....if your box is blowing apart then your not building it right lol

quackhead
07-31-2012, 01:06 PM
this whole thread depends mostly on what TYPE of birch plywood you have......is it 5'x5' Baltic Birch?....as I said earlier..it is superior, but you need to know exactly what type you have, because some "birch plywoods" have lesser qualities/thickness.

xSPLoder
07-31-2012, 01:09 PM
**** birch....I don't like how it machines vs mdf

Just wheel my table saw out of the garage onto the driveway, dust problem solved. Same with router and sander

---------- Post added at 09:01 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:01 AM ----------

and like the others said....if your box is blowing apart then your not building it right lol

I didn't build the first box. I only cut the second face plate and jigsawed the holes for it because the original holes were cut too big

quackhead
07-31-2012, 01:10 PM
**** birch....I don't like how it machines vs mdf

Just wheel my table saw out of the garage onto the driveway, dust problem solved. Same with router and sander

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and like the others said....if your box is blowing apart then your not building it right lol

yea, it is stronger and you need sharp tools and a slower feed rate....but I have literally machined both and the Birch won't gum the cutters as bad as MDF

pro-rabbit
07-31-2012, 01:19 PM
Also, don't get birch from a hardware store like Lowes or HD. Their Birch is not void free, it can be ordered by they will rape you in charges for that. You are better off finding a lumber yard that will allow for direct sales.

AudioAnonymous
07-31-2012, 01:25 PM
Just use both. :)

quackhead
07-31-2012, 01:27 PM
So your saying that Birch is acoustically equal to or superior than MDF?

Depends on the driver being used and the type of Birch and the ear. I assume you are referring to critical listening in the higher frequencies. A driver surrounded by birch that sounds bright might benifit from MDF, and vice versa..if the driver sounds too muddy, Baltic Birch might be the better choice. Both are very close acoustically. For subwoofer duty, Baltic Birch is the strongest and lighter of the two, assuming material thickness is the comparison. As far as true noticeable acoustic differences, try Solid wood vs MDF.

xSPLoder
07-31-2012, 01:38 PM
We got it from a lumber store

bhsdriller
07-31-2012, 01:39 PM
Also, don't get birch from a hardware store like Lowes or HD. Their Birch is not void free, it can be ordered by they will rape you in charges for that. You are better off finding a lumber yard that will allow for direct sales.

this....I even got a piece from a small local lumber yard that was the worst I've ever seen, looked good from the edges but once cut the layers were practically peeling apart. Haven't been back for anything since

Check your wood

tc300
07-31-2012, 01:44 PM
i used birch once and decided i would never mess with the royal pain in the *** that mdf is.

I take it birch cuts better and easier than mdf..??

pro-rabbit
07-31-2012, 01:58 PM
I take it birch cuts better and easier than mdf..??

Yes and no.

---------- Post added at 11:58 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:58 AM ----------


We got it from a lumber store

I would check the Birch. Most "lumber stores" do not have void free wood.

AlanHall
07-31-2012, 02:06 PM
I stopped using mdf 2 yrs ago. With birch and aurrco ply.. no predrilling.. no splitting.. sooo much easier to handle a full sheet alone. Takes Louisiana humidity so much better. Definitely stiffer to. Ive had zero complaints or notice a difference in sound either. And the aurrco ply is usually under $30 a sheet.

quackhead
07-31-2012, 02:07 PM
Yes and no.

---------- Post added at 11:58 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:58 AM ----------




I would check the Birch. Most "lumber stores" do not have void free wood.


^this....if it is just some birch plywood that you have and are unsure of the glue/layer quality used then I would not use it. I would buy new, or go with the MDF you have.

stevew007
07-31-2012, 02:17 PM
im confused! are you testing this or asking the same question every other person asked?

xSPLoder
07-31-2012, 02:20 PM
I have some really nice birch board at my house now too. I'm going to go with the birch and see how well it holds up and if it doesn't, Ill go with MDF. The birch I have now doesn't peel layers at all and cuts pretty well

CHEMMINS
07-31-2012, 02:23 PM
Chances are if it is not in a 5' x 5' sheet....it is not russian baltic birch which is void free. It is also not cheap. for a 5x5 sheet, you are looking anywhere from $75-$100 a sheet - for 1".

You can get 4x8 sheets of void free birch, but it extremely rare.

chargdbassbuick
07-31-2012, 04:31 PM
Thing that kills me though is whenever I am using my jig to cut the sub hole on mdf, the dust covers up the line im trying to follow and drives me nuts when I have to stop every 4 seconds to whipe to dust away hahaha
use your lungs to blow away the saw dust covering the line while your cutting , thats what i do . hope i could help

xSPLoder
07-31-2012, 04:34 PM
use your lungs to blow away the saw dust covering the line while your cutting , thats what i do . hope i could help

yeah, that's what i try to do but sometimes it just builds up so much so quick that it doesn't all come off

xSPLoder
07-31-2012, 04:35 PM
Chances are if it is not in a 5' x 5' sheet....it is not russian baltic birch which is void free. It is also not cheap. for a 5x5 sheet, you are looking anywhere from $75-$100 a sheet - for 1".

You can get 4x8 sheets of void free birch, but it extremely rare.

It's the same birch board that home depot carries but at $80 a board. Lumber yard out of town has the same stuff for $32

Canaan
07-31-2012, 04:38 PM
Get a router with a circle jig and hook said router up to the dust collector.....fixed :suave:


Yep.

Grab one of these and you're all set :)

G0562Z 3HP Double Canister Dust Collector. (http://www.grizzly.com/outlet/3HP-Double-Canister-Dust-Collector-/G0562Z)


Even ones like this will get the job done for a week-end warrior.
http://www.grizzly.com/products/1-HP-Wall-Hanging-Dust-Collector/G0710

http://www.grizzly.com/outlet/1-HP-Light-Duty-Dust-Collector/G1163

xSPLoder
07-31-2012, 04:42 PM
Yep.

Grab one of these and you're all set :)

G0562Z 3HP Double Canister Dust Collector. (http://www.grizzly.com/outlet/3HP-Double-Canister-Dust-Collector-/G0562Z)

I don't make that many boxes to spend that kind of money for something. I'd rather buy a shop vac and tell my wife to hold it LOL

CHEMMINS
07-31-2012, 04:42 PM
It's the same birch board that home depot carries but at $80 a board. Lumber yard out of town has the same stuff for $32

Yeah, it is a birch veneer.....means the outer layer is birch, the inside isn't. HD will not carry 4x8 sheets of BB, hence why your "lumber yard" has it for $32 a sheet.

xSPLoder
07-31-2012, 04:45 PM
Ive used this same birch board for other things and it came out fine, I just don't know how well it will take the beating from my subs

psych0ticnemes1
07-31-2012, 04:47 PM
I say stick with MDF and brace it well. In the end, how much of a difference are we really talking?

CHEMMINS
07-31-2012, 04:51 PM
I say stick with MDF and brace it well. In the end, how much of a difference are we really talking?

30+ lbs per sheet of weight savings.

psych0ticnemes1
07-31-2012, 04:56 PM
30+ lbs per sheet of weight savings.

Good point, but I meant related to SPL. I don't think he minds the extra weight in this case.

Boomsday
07-31-2012, 05:01 PM
I say stick with MDF and brace it well. In the end, how much of a difference are we really talking?

weight it is a huge difference I didn't believe it at first but after I started using birch I will never go back to mdf. a single mdf box for my gfs 12 weighed almost as much as my birch box for 2 15s

Julian
07-31-2012, 05:10 PM
Birch Pros (13 ply birch not the ****** kind)
Light weight, easier on tools, can be stained nicely, and less dust.
Cons
Can be 2-3x the cost of MDF, if you do not know how to cut it properly the veneer can come off

MDF Pros
Cheap, easy to sand, did I mention cheap?, very dense.
Cons
HEAVY!, The formaldehyde laden dust is horrible for you, Hard on tools, can split easily

If you want the best of both worlds Trupan Light or MDF Lite will be the best between the two in terms of lightness and density.

psych0ticnemes1
07-31-2012, 05:22 PM
I wish I could find that stuff around here.

JayDubb757
07-31-2012, 05:44 PM
I didn't read all of the posts, but here's my 2 cents.
Use Baltic Birch if you can afford it--real BB comes in 5'x5' sheets.
I don't recommend any other Birch ply, unless it's void free.
I've been working at a cabinet shop for 10+ years, we buy a lot of that $30 Birch---for box building, it *****!! most of it is imported from China.
It has voids all in it , it's susceptible to de-laminating, and it's usually bowed.
Not all 13-ply is good--this Chinese **** has 13-plys. Our B grade and A grade plywoods usually have 5-plys and they're around $90 a sheet.
Used a lot of Trupan MDF as well, IMO it ***** as well---haven't built a box out of it, but built plenty of doors and cabinets out of it, and I don't like working with it.
We buy Ranger board brand MDF, and I have no problems with it.

A cabinet shop should be able to order any type of wood you want.

audio-pro714
07-31-2012, 09:01 PM
Don't use cheap grade birch, use atleast a 9 ply birch. The cheaper birch can and most likely will have voids in it or poor laminating something you definetly don't want.

cyn
07-31-2012, 09:18 PM
I've bought MDF from Lowes and Home Depot that had voids in it lol and soft spots... same with some other wood... We have a Shop here that Sales Japanese Maple 9ply i believe @ 45$ My 4cube gross box weighs less than my 2.1cube gross mdf box by about 15-20lbs easy... I tend to stay away from Lowes and Home Depot after the Last Maple ply I got from them had a 1/4 inch gap through the whole middle of the plywood

05fronty
07-31-2012, 09:35 PM
i think my next box i will use Mahogany

disturbed471985
08-01-2012, 04:44 AM
Danny and Craig bout sums up what is superior... I dnt think weight is an issue in a concrete floor and door car....