Cabinet Bracing is a particularly esoteric part of loudspeaker design. I wound up working in a music store back when I was around 16, 17 years old and I was fortunate enough to work with someone, which was kind of unusual at the time, who was truly a luthier. This guy was an astounding guitar builder.
I just had a lot of questions and I think he sensed that I was legitimately interested so he taught me a lot about bracing technique, and I use it to this day in everything we do at REL because if you don’t get it right what you wind up with is a resonant drum. The cabinet itself is the single biggest detriment to what the driver and amplifier are trying to do if you don’t get it right.
And by the way, what is a brace? So a cabinet you all know is a six sided piece that has a driver bolted into it. Sometimes it’s firing forward. Sometimes it’s firing down and the cabinet itself, as I said, sounds like a drum.
If you were to knock on it with your hand, you’d hear it. It’s important that we get rid of that signature. If we don’t, it’s going to just shadow everything that you put through it. So, we start with high density fiber board on our least expensive pieces. When you step up to our middle ranges, we move up into plywoods.
We use actual laminated woods and when you get up to our reference grade stuff, we’re using laminated hardwoods that are pressure impregnated with epoxy. It’s an enormously expensive way to do it, but it results in much better quieting.
So with the bracing, what you wind up with is breaking up every one of the primary modes. If the side panel is X by X it has a certain signature. You listen to it, you tune for that. Same with the top panels, same with the other side panel and in some cases, we even go so far as to brace the front and rear panels. But what I can tell you is that it is immediately and evidently obvious.