Music Technology
How-To: Build your own speaker cabinets

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Noah at Instructables writes:

Building your own custom speakers has got to be one of the most rewarding, straightforward and cost-effective DIY activities I’ve come across. I’m absolutely shocked that it hasn’t had a larger presence on Instructables and in the community…well, until now of course.

Some speaker projects can be complete in a weekend, while others can go on for years. Budget speaker kits start around $100, while top-of-the-line kits and components can add up to several thousands of dollars. Regardless of how much you choose to spend on your speakers, you’ll likely be building something that will sound as good as commercial product that off the shelf would cost as much as 10 times more.

You can win the speakers noah made in the Art of Sound contest.

16 thoughts on “How-To: Build your own speaker cabinets

    1. Not quite “just a box.” If you’ve never built a speaker enclosure, you may not understand how much the enclosure affects the resulting sound.

      Enclosures can be as simple or as complex as you want. The theory can be math-heavy (look to the web for resources), and relies on knowing the acoustic characteristics of your speaker drivers.

      As for building drivers, I recall a Make article about building them using magnets, a coil, and dixie cups.

  1. My apologies, I changed the title to reflect more accurately what the article is about. I found it very interesting considering the depth to which Noah covered the interior design of speaker cabinets, which affect the sound just as much as the speaker itself.

  2. The complaints about this being just another box site are certainly valid.

    Also, boxes suck for speakers. Where are the drum and pyramid shaped designs that don’t automatically introduce standing waves and distortion?

    Why waste all that energy, the little of it that is actually turned into sound, with batting?

    1. Batting improves bass response and reduces resonance & rattling in the enclosure. It’s pretty common.

      Googling “speaker building faq” turned up this page with more enclosure information you might be interested in:

      http://www.diyaudioandvideo.com/FAQ/Build/

      I know I’ve seen better, more detailed resources, but they’re eluding me just now.

  3. Here is the link to the speakers from junk article mentioned above: http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2009/05/joeys_bottle_cap_headphones.html?CMP=OTC-0D6B48984890
    It was a fun project.

    A few years ago I bought some new speaker drivers for some old cabinets. It was a good way to reinvigorate a decent set of cabinets. I got the drivers at http://www.youdoitelectronics.com/ Rather than getting paper cones, I got some nice polycarb ones. They are still working perfectly well now.

    This book looks like it is a good deal and likely has some valuable info: http://www.amazon.com/Designing-Building-Testing-Speaker-Projects/dp/007069429X/ref=pd_sim_b_1

    Making subwoofers became a major obsession with a collection of my students. They cut mdf with circular saws using a guide track and jigsaws for the holes. Some others used the Shopbot. It helped them get a good hang of designing physical objects and assemblies with Computer Aided Design. Measuring for assembly with 3d parts does require you to keep in mind the thickness of the material. After his last final exam, the end of his school obligations done, one student came in and cranked out a speaker box for his jeep, installed it and rode off in a cloud of dust.

    Definitely, make some speakers. Send up the links to the documentation you make!

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Becky Stern is a Content Creator at Autodesk/Instructables, and part time faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts Products of Design grad program. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions, and she's created hundreds of free online DIY tutorials and videos, mostly about technology and its intersection with crafts. Find her @bekathwia on YouTube/Twitter/Instagram.

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