Instructables

Hanging Glass Speakers

Featured
Picture of Hanging Glass Speakers
Before I get into all of the details pertaining to how I made these I would like to give a shoutout to fellow instructable member randofo and his glass speaker instructable which inspired me to make my own set, but with a twist.

Alright, enough introductions lets get into it!
First off I'd like to say, if you aren't a picky audiophile and want a set of speakers that looks insanely awesome then this instructable is for you!
You are most likely wondering what exactly is a glass speaker? As randofo put it, "[T]his set of speakers resonates glass to produce sound. While this may seem complicated, the technical explanation is actually rather simple. Each speaker has a tactile transducer attached to the center, which is a device that vibrates the glass to produce sound waves."

You may be wondering how they sound and how well they work. Well the best way to describe it would be "glassy," if you ever get a listen you will understand. It has a very distinct sharp sound to it. The bass is surprisingly strong, and since the sound produced on a large surface (a lot larger than a regular speaker) you can actually feel and see it. One downside of these speakers is that the highs seem to get cut off and muffled slightly. To fix that I would suggest using thinner glass, although you'd run the risk of it shattering.
An additional interesting aspect of these speakers is that sound is produce on both sides of the speaker and it is not a one directional speaker. This seems to fill the entire room with sound better than conventional speakers.

Here is a video of the final result (keep in mind, the microphone on my phone doesn't do justice for the actual sound quality).

Anyways, enjoy the instructable!

 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
1-40 of 45Next »
mfrontuto5 months ago

I have an entertainment center with glass panels that size, could I do this with them since they are already mounted to the cabinet?

It should work.

You may get vibration noise from the hinges and cabinet though.

I think I will try rigging up some rubber gaskets and cut them to size on the top and bottom of where the glass and hinges come into contact, that should fix the problem

guitarpicker74 months ago

quick note-

PARTS EXPRESS has some new, interesting drivers:

http://www.parts-express.com/promo/dayton_audio_exciters?Nao=0&Nrpp=16&keyword=dayton_audio_exciters&isPromotional=true&N=4294967118&Nrs=collection()/record[endeca:matches(.,"P_PortalID","1")

arzie20004 months ago

can it work on plexiglass or polycarbonates? And does the transducer have to be at the middle? Can it be at the sides?

It'll work. I'd put it in the center. I'm with you, it looks a little ugly. Maybe tint the window? If you put the transducer on the outer edge of the glass, you may not get a better tone. Sound is waves. Think of dropping a rock in the middle a pond that has water that is really smooth with no waves. As you drop the rock, you will see the waves radiate out from the impact point in a circular manner. Now think of the same pond, only drop the rock closer to the edge. Some waves will travel farther out into the pond, while others will terminate at the shoreline. Hope this helps! God Bless.

I was thinking of plexiglass, just in case if it breaks, it won't be harmful around kids.
Thanks for the input, I'll try building my own and post it here as well.

Arzie, circletrack37 was my old account that had my old email. This is my new one. Fwiw. Jim

kve235 months ago

Does the glass have to be tempered or plate? Or does it matter?

Evan2010 (author)  kve235 months ago

I'm sure any glass would work just fine

guitarpicker75 months ago

andyru has it absolutely correct! The front and rear sound waves tend to cancel each other, especially at frequencies with wavelengths near the dimensions of the speaker. If you were to wrap the edges of the glass with some lightweight wood (wide picture frame style), creating a pseudo infinite baffle, which would increase the distance the sound waves travel from the front to the back, the high frequencies would return. Of course, you lose the great effect of the glass! Perhaps a frame of glass or clear/color acrylic. The driven glass panel should probably be acoustically isolated from any edge treatment to avoid mechanical dampening.

Really enjoyed the project and the photos!

-cgp

Say, CGP, if I am to understand your comment, could I use a custom picture frame to accomplish the baffle? They typically come with cardboard backing and glass for the front. What if I used the glass in the back, behind the glass speaker plus frame? Would the cardboard do? Both? Or, would this be better accomplished by fabricating an open rectangular rear frame of, say, acrylic?

Thanks, all, for the valuable insights. I had never ever heard of glass speakers before this. I'm going to use mine for entertaining and teaching my son.'.

I appreciate the kind words.

Last part 1st- almost ANY surface can vibrate enough to make sound- consider a wind-up music box mechanism. By itself, it makes almost no sound, but when you attach it to a soundboard (perhaps a wood, metal or plastic box) it becomes much louder, depending on the surface area and the flexibility (also referred to as damping factor) of the soundboard. Consider also the piano- vibrating strings, by themselves, are barely discernible. When the strings are attached to a piano's large, specially designed soundboard, the output is incredible!

My comment about a frame to hold the glass sheet soundboard (or any flat-sheet soundboard) was to introduce a method of separating the front and rear sound waves, thereby helping prevent cancellation of the front and rear sound waves. It's called a "pseudo infinite baffle", very common in open-back guitar speaker cabinets.

A true infinite baffle would be huge...

I would also consider mounting a driver of this type off-center, to help reduce standing-wave patterns in the soundboard.

FYI- these driver types have been around for decades- they were originally sold to turn an entire wall in your home into a speaker.

You are absolutely correct, and this is why they are more suitable for in wall installations, including glass wall. where the rear is "walled off" from the front.

The wall I installed the transducers has fiberglass insulation behind.

sconner15 months ago

Why not just use crimp blade connectors? No solder, and you can easily replace the wires if you want to mount them farther apart in the future.

maxhuey5 months ago

when we were travelling in Japan a few years ago, I bought 6 of this Sound Transducers from Kawase & Co. They were manufactured by AEL. I have mounted these on the room wall made of just about any materials and they sound as good if not better than a set of full range speakers. The entire wall produce the sound so one can not tell where the sound is coming from. I have also use epoxy to glue this to glass doors and windows, it produce the same good result. I have been searching all over the net for it but no result so far.

Echonic Sound Transducer.jpg
They are the echonic sound transducer wa3020. There's two on ebay right now, but they're 200 bucks each. This is from the mid-seventies, though, so they'll be hard to find cheaper as nos. you can set up a saved search for that name and number and ebay will tell you when there's a new listing.
I went back to the old building that I had installed 2 of these Echonic Transducers, the building is not occupied so I asked the owner if I can remove them. he agreed so i now have 2 sitting on my table waiting to be installed. I am going to attach them on the inside of my Aluminum garage door. The door have fiberglass insulation between the inside and outside skin. This tree is 6 years old
y neighbor is going to be very happy when I play their native dance music!
I've found a similar modern device.

http://m.ebay.com/itm/Vidsonix-Sonic-Ghost-3-Tactile-Transducer-1-Unit-/350469285633

This seems more similar to the ones you had than the HiWave one in this ible.
-Olaf

I read a couple of reviews for this one, it seem not able to produce close to a flat response and bass is not as good as Echosonics. Have not find many other reviews to judge.

at $35 (with shipping) a pop, seems ok for experiments. I hope this one does not have typical tin can sound like many other transducers, which is not good for true ghost surround sound purposes.

I went ahead and picked one up for curiosity. Just 20 bucks. I'll check back in and let you know how I like it.

Wow! that's a good find... I guess at $200 a piece, I would not call it expensive, I probably paid $30 a piece back then.

I should go yank it out of the building where I installed these puppies when it comes to time to demolish the building. I still have half a dozen of these transducers at my home waiting to be installed around the home theater room, probably good enough for 5.1 Dolby.

Would it tamp the sound too much if one edge of the glass was anchored? Because as awesome as these look hung from the ceiling, it would be rad if you could make the glass doors on the cabinet holding your stereo system do double-duty as the speakers for that stereo system!

These are seriously cool, either way. Great instructable!

If you found a way of anchoring it in a semi-flexible manner. Like thick foam tape all around. Randofo's Instructable uses rubber and this one has them suspended. There's another one out there where it's laced with paracord around a frame. In all of these, the glass is allow some movement.

Evan2010 (author)  jjdebenedictis5 months ago

Check out randofo's instructable http://www.instructables.com/id/Glass-Speakers/

He has them mounted and I don't believe it would dampen the sound at all. I was debating whether or not to place them on a window but opted against it for the neighbors sake.

telorand5 months ago

Nice idea!

I can't say I'm a fan of the sound they produce, but as you said, it's not for picky audiophiles like myself! The concept and application are both still cool, though!

Wroger-Wroger5 months ago

A few thoughts.

One - Using a very elliptical sheet of glass - with ground and polished edges, for the multiple frequency speaker.

Two - Using different sizes and thickness's of glass sheets.

Three - Using circular disks of different thickness and diameter glass, for different frequency ranges.

Four - Using a driver on each side of the glass.

Five - using a stress disperser under the driver.

The main issue is making ONE large sheet of glass cover a broad range of frequencies.

You need a Twatter and a Barker and a Middy Ranger - with a cross over network and you have it sorted.

Actually for speaker (person talking) recordings, of lectures, self help groups etc., I really LIKE the effect of a shitty open 5 or 10W speaker, glued to a post by it's magnet.

A small speaker, low power, poking up into the air like a periscope, with a kind of played 10,000 times cassette tape, then digitised into MP3 playign through it, sounds really great - fills up big areas and uses very little power.

criggie5 months ago

Does dust sit on them or get shaken off by use? Could you run the wires back up the cables for a tidier look?

dhanhurley5 months ago

Hi from Schwaben,DE.... You can put the sonic source on the EDGES of the glass... Check-out EDGE TECHNOLOGY...... Ciao ... Dhan

Foxtrot705 months ago

This is the same principle, in reverse, used in clandestine recording. In that instance an IR laser beam is bounced off the glass. The reflected beam, pulses at the same rate as the sound produced within the room, being captured via an IR photo-transistor.

imperio5 months ago

speakers .... very strange!

Could you attach a wav file '

andyru5 months ago

Hi

One of the problems with speakers is that the box, needs to approximate an infinity barrier. Sound waves emitted by 2 speakers overlap and cause destructive and constructive compound waves. If you have an open speaker with no box then sound waves can travel from the front and around to the back causing constructive and destructive compounds. This is why a stereo system can only ever approximate a live performance. This principle of destructive sound is used on noise cancelling headphones. In explanation if sine wave is added to a sine wave 180 degrees out of phase then the result is zero. This is a long standing principle of speaker box design, how do you eliminate sound coming into the back of the speaker and spoiling the sound?

the_tool_man5 months ago

This is a great concept. I may have to try it out. One suggestion I would make is that you can buy the panes of glass with the edges sanded. That way, it is safer to handle. And you don't have to wrap the edges if you don't want to for appearance reasons.

uj_boy5 months ago

I love this idea! Really great effort!

Easy question, maybe. Your choice of transducer - based on power
handling at 20 watts, impedance or just the mounting ease of double
sided tape. I have found others at 5 and 10 watts and range from 4 to 8
ohms. Thoughts/advice on using a lower watt transducer, say 5 watts at
8 ohms versus the 20 watts. I posted this same query to Randofo's page as well as perhaps you used the one he did based on proven theory.

Evan2010 (author)  iminthebathroom5 months ago

I used the one he did partly because it was tried and true and partly because I don't believe the 5-10 watt would be powerful enough to resonate the glass.

muddog155 months ago
What would happen if you used plexiglass?
Evan2010 (author)  muddog155 months ago

It would probably sound fine although be more muffled. The glass is ridged which makes the sound clearer. Although I was playing around with the transducer before I mounted it and it sounded great when placed it against the wall. It'd be interesting to make hidden speakers out of an entire wall by placing the transducer inside it.

Mr. D. muddog155 months ago

I don't think plexi glass would work. It's the make up of regular glass that makes this work.

1-40 of 45Next »