Join us for the 2019 Annual Speaker Design Competition located in Springboro, Ohio during the Midwest Audiofest hosted by Dayton Audio & Parts Express!

New location this year! The Speaker Design Competition will take place at Conover Hall 285 Conover Dr. Franklin, OH 45005
Register Now! See Registered Participants


FRIDAY, JULY 12TH, 5PM - 7PM: Meet & Greet and Registration

All entrants in the Speaker Design Competition are invited. This is a great opportunity to interact with your fellow audio enthusiasts and the event judges! We will have music playing and some new products on display from Dayton Audio & Parts Express. The Open Unlimited category will follow the Meet-N-Greet.

FRIDAY, JULY 12TH, 7PM - 9PM: Speaker Design Competition Part 1 (Open Unlimited)

The Open Unlimited category will once again be held on Friday this year.

SATURDAY, JULY 13TH, 7:30AM - 8AM: Early Entry into the Tent Sale

Registered participants of the Speaker Design Competition will have early access to the Tent Sale at Parts Express, Saturday morning from 7:30AM-8AM. In order to gain entrance into the Tent Sale, you must wear the Speaker Design Competition shirt given to you at the Meet-N-Greet on Friday.

SATURDAY, JULY 13TH, 7:30AM - 8:30AM: Open Registration

For those who will be unable to attend the Meet-N-Greet, we will have open registration Saturday morning.

SATURDAY, JULY 13TH, 9AM - 4PM: Speaker Design Competition Part 2 (Under $200, Over $200, Dayton Audio)

There will be a 1 hour lunch break from 1:00PM - 2:00PM (tentative). We will do our best to end on time by 4PM, and winners will be announced at 4:30PM.




The Parts Express parking lot is available for Campers, RV's... and possibly cars with comfy seats. However, we really don't want to see you sleep in your car, so we've listed some local hotels and motels above that are affordable and available for you.

*Note to campers: There are NO HOOKUPS, just asphalt with painted lines – but at the right overnight price, free!



Speaker project must use all Dayton Audio drivers in the project design. Any dollar amount or size is welcome.


Projects less than $200 per pair to build ($ limit for drivers only). Speaker project can include any brand drivers.


Projects greater than $200 per pair to build ($ limit for drivers only). Speaker project can include any brand drivers.


Open Unlimited includes speaker projects that are active or cannot be categorized in the other 3 categories.
If the speaker design has been entered in the Open Unlimited category, the same design without active components cannot be entered into any other category.

*There will be 3 winners from each category



# Artist Title Category
1 Billy Idol White Wedding Open Unlimited
2 Talking Heads Burning Down The House Open Unlimited
3 Billy Joel Zanzibar (album version) Open Unlimited
4 Bonnie Raitt Silver Lining Dayton Audio
5 Michael Jackson Beat It Dayton Audio
6 North Mississippi Allstars Granny Does Your Dog Bite Dayton Audio
7 Nora Jones Come Away With Me Over $200
8 Marc Cohn Walking In Memphis (digital version) Over $200
9 Resphigi Pines of Rome Near A Catacomb Over $200
10 Tracy Chapman New Beginnings Under $200
11 Dire Straights So Far Away (album version) Under $200
12 Hugh Masekela Stimela Under $200


The judges will use the following criteria to determine the winners of the Speaker Design Competition:

  1. Craftsmanship (visual)
  2. Originality / Design (visual)
  3. Tonal Balance (audio)
  4. Clarity (audio)
  5. Imaging (audio)

The speakers under test are driven with a music signal fed from a CD player to an Emotiva Stealth DC-1 preamplifier, with no upstream signal processing, crossovers, or equalization. The Emotiva DC-1's internal DAC and digital-domain volume control are used. The Emotiva DC-1's balanced line outputs feed a stereo Emotiva amplifier to power the entries. Designs featuring additional channels of amplification, active crossovers, equalization, or other processing (including DSP) are restricted to our Open Unlimited category. For systems in the Open Unlimited category, the available outputs from the source are balanced (XLR)/unbalanced analog (RCA), and optical Toslink.

There will be 3 one-minute snippets of music listened to by the judges. These music selections are played per entry, each one minute in length, and these selections are the same for all speakers in a category, but different sets of tracks are selected for each category, with the selections for the categories having higher priced and more complex speakers being more challenging and possibly revealing of sonic flaws. Before each speaker plays, the level is set using pink noise, with SPL monitored via our calibrated Dayton Audio OmniMic V2 system, so that all speakers play at the same level.

Each speaker will be evaluated and rated by the judges, then tabulated and results entered into a spreadsheet. These results will be combined with the audience submission votes to declare winners in the aforementioned categories.

Judging sheets will be sent by mail to the designer's home address following the event. In the event of a tie within a class, the judges will select the ultimate winner.

Please Note:

Commercial entries or entities are prohibited: Individuals or entities that sell finished speakers (part time, full time, or any time) are excluded from registration. Should it be determined that you are in the commercial sales of finished speakers your entry will be removed. Please contact us should you require further explanation or clarification.

Contest committee members will have final say whether a project is excluded or not from competition.



Having roots in the DIY hobby himself, Jerry McNutt holds a BS in Electrical Engineering from Auburn University. As most young DIY'ers experience, studying took a backseat as he found himself more often in the garage building cabinets and systems rather than the Auburn Library. He built his first speaker project, a DIY Subwoofer, from an article in a magazine back in 1984 using a 12" McGee Radio driver that was manufactured by Eminence. He considers this time of speaker building as preparing him for a career in the audio industry. Professionally, he's been involved in creating OEM drivers for Ford, Honda, and Chrysler. For over eighteen years, Jerry has been working at world-renowned Eminence Speaker LLC located in scenic Eminence, Kentucky. Jerry began as a Design Engineer at Eminence Speaker and now is their Product Design Manager.


Tom Perazella is a retired Group Director of IT who began building audio kits at age 15. He has a Bachelor of Science Degree from UC Berkeley and is currently a member of the Audio Engineering Society, Boston Audio Society and DC Audio DIY Group. In addition to traditional audio electronics, Tom has built sophisticated AC power soft start units that handle large arrays of electronic equipment and provide protection against over and under voltages. His speaker protection designs integrate power over time with rates to cover different heating and cooling cycles and can detect frequencies out of the range of the drivers. Tom has designed speakers using planar magnetic and Heil Air Motion Transformer drivers for mid and high range units, and very high linear displacement sealed box subs. He has also extensively used DSP for crossover and equalization. Tom has written for Audio Amateur, Speaker Builder and AudioXpress magazines for over 20 years and currently resides in the Washington, DC metro area.


Vance Dickason founded Speaker Research Associates (SRA), which published the first and second editions of the Loudspeaker Design Cookbook. Vance then joined forces with Audio Amateur Inc. and became editor of Voice Coil, and contributing editor to Speaker Builder Magazine (Now AudioXpress). Vance also wrote Loudspeaker Recipes. Vance has had articles and reviews published in Audio, Sound and Video Contractor, EQ, and Auto Sound and Security magazines. Vance has served as the Test & Measurement Chairman for Audio Engineering Society Conventions and Conferences. Vance received the AES Citation Award in 1995 for his contribution to audio education. He was also presented the Beryllium Driver Award from ALMA. Vance has lectured on LEAP/LMS CAD system design and provided corporate seminars on this subject for Harman International (JBL, Infinity, Revel), Samsung, Kenwood, and Klipsch. Some customers that employed his test and measurement services or had designs created for the marketplace include Atlantic Technology, Kenwood, Stillwater Designs, Signet, M&K, Epson, Audax, Samsung, Niles, Microsoft, Artison, Triad Speakers, Terra Labs, HIVI Research/Swans Speakers, and Parasound.


1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each category will go home as prize-wielding champions!

  • 1st Place in each category receives: $250 PE Bucks and a trophy
  • 2nd Place in each category receives: $100 PE Bucks
  • 3rd Place in each category receives: $50 PE Bucks

Please Note...

Speakers registered in the competition may be selected as the featured DIY project in an upcoming Parts Express Sales Flyer.
Parts Express and Dayton Audio cannot be held responsible for lost or stolen speakers, however every measure will be taken to protect your speakers from damage or theft.

Feel free to reach out to us at staff@midwestaudiofest.com with any questions you have!
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