Speaker Building Design Team 2017
Kerry recently separated from the U.S. Navy after serving 8 years as a nuclear submarine officer. In his time with the Navy, he picked up a significant amount of experience in acoustic and electrical theory. Today, he works as a Project Manager in Ann Arbor, MI. Kerry has been a long time speaker and DIY addict, beginning with car audio in the ’90s. While other kids were trying to get the most “boom” from their cars, Kerry was installing and tweaking his system for maximum sound quality. Kerry got into DIY crossover design in 2012. Since then, he has designed and built around 2 dozen speakers. Kerry focuses on using high quality, low distortion drivers with wide overlap to get the best sound while minimizing the complexity of a crossover. He looks for unique drivers that offer specific benefits for a chosen design to use in a way that maximizes the positive traits and minimizes the negatives. Kerry recently started a website with instructional videos to help other DIY builders learn the basics of crossover design and speaker measurement techniques.
David is a 52 year old mechanical/heat transfer engineer. He has been interested in audio from the time he could take apart transistor radios. All through high school, he would draw up speaker arrangements with most of them being individual enclosures with the drivers placed at the mouth of a horn. After high school, eight years of working construction and school he received his sheepskin in mechanical engineering and started work in the boiler business and the migrated into the process heater business. During that eight year period, he also became accomplished in iron work, millwright, and welding. He became quite disenchanted with the whole engineering field and in the year 2000, he decided to go back to what he really enjoyed doing which was building furniture. He and his wife opened a gallery so that they could sell his furniture and speakers.
He began building speakers in August of 2009 when Madisound offered a recession buster kit. He had just begun to look into building speakers and was blown away by the prices. This is when the SoundCrewe Audio designs came to fruition. The first set was built with very little design experience. He wanted to use the horn design that he had drawn years ago but, had since learned a little about the volume of air behind the driver and turned a set of enclosures. Some of those at PE may remember the green set he brought to MWAF in 2011. This was the first set to be actually designed and measured. And more than one person commented during that event that Nora Jones made the hair on their neck stand up. He was hooked.
Currently, he is working on the issues involved with producing multiple units with a high degree of accuracy and consistency. The complexity of creating these enclosures belies the simple shape. He currently has established designs the two previous 7” two way floor standers and a 3” two way desk top. He is also finishing up a 5” two way floor stander design and a three way all Accuton cell design.
Today, he builds furniture on spec for the gallery and custom projects. His main focus and an inordinate amount of time have been towards the development of his speakers.
Neil is a retired engineer who worked at the Same Defense Company for over 30 years. He grew up in California and got a degree from UC Berkeley in philosophy, and worked as an electronics technician when he moved the family out to Virginia. He went back to UVA to get an EE degree and later got an MSSE when his work involved increasingly more Systems Engineering.
Neil started building audio electronics with his father and built kits and circuits from the RCA Transistor Manual throughout high school. He has a passion for high quality audio, and has built many speakers and amplifiers—most of which are experimental that explore new design possibilities. Many of these designs have electronics that need to be controlled by software, so Neil has developed a significant amount of PC software for modeling speakers as complex systems and for real time control of active speakers. Along with electronics and code development, Neil enjoys the woodworking aspect of speaker building.
Neil has three kids who are now on their own, but lives with his wife and two Corgis. He’s got 3 grandkids in Atlanta and 2 in Oregon, and he and the wife are trying to figure out where to move next to be closer to the families.
Grant’s interest in DIY audio must have begun from birth. He is the son of a music teacher and an electrical engineer, so it was only natural to follow this path. He can remember many listening sessions on his father’s “not so vintage at the time” setup of Thorens, Kenwood, and ESS. “Spoiled” describes his introduction to audiophilia. He feels it’s his duty to instill an appreciation for high fidelity audio onto his son, as his father did for him.
He is a Technology Education teacher from Long Island, New York. He has the rare opportunity to teach his passion. He teaches the Introduction to Audio Systems courses. During which, the students build speakers of their own design. This capstone course is his personal favorite because it encourages the students to use math and science without them knowing it.
He loves the creative outlet that speaker building provides him. He tries to learn new techniques with each design and rarely build the same speaker twice. There is no perfect speaker but he is in search of perfection. He enjoys the challenge and believes it is not a fool’s errand.
His most gratifying speaker building accomplishment came when he built a pair for a friend. His friend’s love for music was not realized through his docking station. Grant sourced a vintage Onkyo receiver and set him up. He friend now listens often with his son. He can only feel proud and honored that his friend has the opportunity to experience music with his son, as Grant did with his father.
He looks forward to sharing his audiophile journey with the Parts Express community.
Marty has been an active participant in the DIY community for well over a decade and is a regular attendee of events in the upper Midwest such as the annual Iowa DIY and the Chicago gatherings. He’s created well over a dozen speaker designs, with an eye towards simplicity and a nod to the past and current designers of our community. His designs are both his own and a collaboration of the ideas and efforts of he and other members of the DIY community, and he cherishes the many great friendships made though this hobby. His interest in audio and design comes through his secondary education and his degree from the University of Wisconsin system.
Marty lives in Wisconsin and is an active supporter of the states Home Teams like the Brewers, Packers and Badgers. He’s the father to one high-school age son, and an avid hiker, golfer, and community volunteer.
John is a former design engineer turned manager. He has been interested in stereos and building speakers since reading his first Stereo Review in 1978. Today John enjoys designing and building speakers as a creative outlet. He likes to include something different in each of his designs whether it’s an open baffle or an unusual shape or finish. John lives in Manchester Missouri.
Eric is a stay-at-home Dad that has been building speakers for over 20 years. He loves music of many genres ever since he can remember. Him and his wife are foster parents, and live in Plymouth, Ohio with their dog Macy. He is the Head of Sound Ministries for his church, and has an interest in both home and pro audio. He finds the wide variety of ways to build great-sounding speakers simply fascinating, and loves finding new and creative ways to bring music to life. He enjoys using drivers that he hasn’t seen in other projects, and loves expressing his artistic side in this amazing hobby.
Chuck lives in Laporte, IN with his wife of 20 years and their 3 kids. He is a millwright by trade in the steel industry. Chuck’s Dad is the one that started my journey in audio. He had a console stereo when Chuck was a kid. When one of the speakers went out, he dove into it and fixed it. He was 12 years old at the time. At 13, he started installing car stereos for friends and family and continued in car audio for a number of years. Even doing some competing in the late 80s.
Chuck continued in car audio design for some time even owning his own shop for a time. In 2009, he attended the InDIYana event hosted by Ben Shafer and was hooked on DIY. The next year he attended and haven’t missed an event.
Thru the generosity of the DIY community, he has learned, grown, and been able to build some incredible speakers such as the Konnections that he did (with great help from PE) for a local church.
It’s been an incredible journey and one he is enjoying immensely. So much so that earlier this year, Chuck started Mosaic Audio Design in which he is working with a local venues (churches, clubs, etc.) in designing and installing purpose built, permanent installs.
Thomas Zarbo, Jr.
Thomas has been interested in audio and speakers since he was a kid and his father and he took the drivers out of an old console stereo and placed them in some spare wood boxes. Since then, he’s been designing and building speakers and subwoofers as a hobby, and it brings him a lot of enjoyment. He loves to design and build speakers that stretch his abilities, and force him to come up with ways to solve problems. He has Parts Express, and many folks that frequent the “Tech Talk” forum, to thank for patiently teaching him the basics — and beyond — of speaker box, measuring, and crossover design. Likewise, it is his goal to make this process more ‘approachable’ for others getting into the hobby.
He’s probably a little different than the other ‘Design Team’ members in that he frequently builds other folks’ designs. For example, he’s built a set of Chris Roemer’s ‘Neo Nano’s’ and ‘NTN’s’, several of Ben Shaffer’s ‘Triumph’ Subwoofers, and ‘Rubyk’ speakers, a few of Paul Carmody’s ‘Overnight Sensations’ speakers, and a few pairs of Jeff Bagby’s ‘Quark’ speakers, among many others… all while continuing to learn, and build his own original designs. Why build other folks’ speakers when you are capable of designing your own? Because these — as well as a host of others — are among some of the best designed speakers that exist…where the whole ended up being more than the sum of their parts… and they demonstrate the art of ‘getting the most out of the design’ to a high degree. In fact, there are many fantastic designs introduced on PE’s own “Tech Talk” forum and by the “Speaker Building Design Team,” and he’s honored to now be a part of that group of designers.
Looking ahead, he has had several ideas that he thinks are pretty unique for this year’s round of projects… including a tiny — but higher end, easy to build speaker design… a sleek and unique compact amplifier… a clever sound system for ‘travelers,’ as well as a few ideas for stylish, small-but-powerful 2.1 systems based on a combination of new drivers, and some old favorites.
Michael Zisserson started tinkering with speakers at 13 years old and by 18 he was building replicas of famous loudspeakers. During this time, he grew his audio knowledge working for a local Hi-Fi audio store. In 2004, Michael graduated from New England Tech. with a degree in Electronics Engineering Technology while managing a retail audio/video store called Cambridge Soundworks. Through the years, Michael kept studying loudspeaker design, became a reviewer for Stereomojo online and continues to design and build loudspeakers whenever he is not adventuring with his family. Speaker building and listening to music with local audio enthusiasts occupy most of Michael’s leisure time, but as filler he also enjoys hiking/geocaching, survival training/camping, reading, and home improvement.