Oct 30 2023

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Oscar’s Backyard BBQ

A major tenant of Little Bass Heads Sound Systems (LBH Sound) is education. We design and build custom sound systems for specific clients in specific situations. We are guided by a few core design ideas:

1) Everything should be easy to cut and assemble.

This means that we use standard sized and cheap plywood and that all of our tool paths are simple and easy to understand.

2) We should be able to replicate the system years from now and in different countries.

We do not require special hardware – including speaker drivers. We strive to ensure that all designs can be completed using off-the-shelf components that are readily available. If you are not able to find the exact same item, a substitute can often work for about the same price.

3) We freely teach our methods to everyone that wants to learn.

Everything we do is Open Source – our files are given away for free! – and we love having conversations about all of our design decisions and how to assemble a final product.

With this in mind, we have gotten quite close to Oscar Lopez of The Inapropirates Burning Man camp fame. He has used quite a few of our sound systems for different events and has even helped us to assemble some boxes. His favorite system to date is our Backyard BBQ… but he has some new design ideas that he wants to experiment with.

A) Everything should run off 12v
B) He wants to be able to easily scale up the sound

Mike has come up with a relatively straight-forward solution that we are playing around with now.

One (1) Beyma 15″ sub driver (link) ($350)
Two (2) 6×9 tops (link) ($100)
One (1) Planet Audio equalizer (link) ($50)
One (1) NVX 4-channel car amplifier (link) ($250)

Top hats, NL4 cables and connectors, speaker stands and speaker wire will run $100 to $200 more. We hope to cut this out of three sheets of .47 in poplar shop plywood that is currently running $50 per sheet.

This set-up will all run off a 12v battery of whatever size Oscar wants to use. We love our two different 100 amp hour LiFePO4 batteries (link 1) (link 2) but he can decide at a later date how much power he wants. 100 Ah should run these boxes at full volume for well over 8 hours a single charge. That’s a lot of hours.

In the interest of scaling up the sound, we are experimenting with adding an additional pair of 6×9 tops to see if the single amp can safely power all four at the volumes he is looking for. If he decides that he needs even more bass – and who doesn’t want more bass?!? – a solution may be to purchase a single sub amp that can power two subs instead of one and use the 4 channel amp to power just the tops.

An alternate plan that we are thinking about is to just build a second system – giving him twice as many drivers quickly and easily. The equalizer we are using allows for a simple RCA cable to run to a second system allowing both to run off the same audio source.


The major changes from the original Backyard BBQ we designed for Keith Citch, is that this system uses a car audio amplifier instead of the large 110v one. Additionally, because the amp is separated from the subwoofer cabinet, no single box should be too difficult for a single person to lift in to a car for transportation. And because all of the parts (with the possible exception of the bass driver) are standardized and easy to find, people can mix and match components according their local market and tastes.

And… speaking of local tastes, we are also experimenting with an alternative bass driver – the Ciara 15.00SW-4 (link). The Beyma can reproduce bass notes down to 30Hz, weighs 20 pounds and costs $350. The alternative Ciara goes down lower, all the way to 20Hz, weighs 26 pounds and costs $410. Each driver requires a different box, so we will design two different bass boxes in order to give people the most flexibility.

[Mike Hatt says: The 4 channel amp, while enough for the Beyma driver, would starve the Ciare driver for power and never get to even half its full potential. Also, that 20hz, while accurate in specs, would never be reached in a box small enough to be as portable as Oscar wants.]

This extremely mobile sound system, for between $1,000 and $1,300, should absolutely rock! We expect it to sound better and play for longer than any battery-powered system costing $2,000 or less. And… Oscar get’s to build it himself!

With the design specifications agreed upon, lets get to work designing…

Permanent link to this article: https://lbhsound.com/wp/oscars-backyard-bbq/

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