Picture of Make a Speaker and Amplifier without complicated electonics
Speakers 104.jpg
Speakers 067.jpg
For a while now I have wanted to make an audio amplifier, but I haven't really had any good opportunities or means to the end. When I found out about the Mono Audio Amp Breakout from Sparkfun, I started to get exited. Its perfect for what I wanted. It's effective and soldering in the right wire is no more difficult than setting up a regular sound system. Not to mention how great it looks in that laser cut mirrored acrylic case. Enough Talk. What does it sound like?

Step 1: Materials and Tools

1 USB  micro jack
2 Potentiometers, not logarithmic, mine are logarithmic and there is a narrow range of control now
2 Mono Audio Amp Breakout Boards
1 Switch
1 3.5 mm jack
8 bolts and nuts of appropriate sizes

Tools(This is what I used, you could probably get away with less)
Soldering Iron
JB weld
Sand paper
Helping hands are practically a necessity, but if you are dextrus enough you might slide by without them
Chisel and hammer, Theses come in really handy when I find out my laser cut design wast good enough, which is often.
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abdoulsani3 months ago

wow! nice one dude.

coolbestman1 made it!6 months ago

I had made the amplifier with stereo board which makes me easier to control the sound for the both the speakers at once. The acrylic housing is good. the stuffs i used are 4 ohm speakers and plywood for housing. even then it looks awesome...

Fahad Nadeem8 months ago

can you add more watts and speakers.but the ohms will be the same right.8ohms

i want to 5 speakers with bass

can i build them

Of course u can build it. But u have to use high powered amplifier and it is better to use stereo amplifier to mono..

Wrynsky16911 months ago

Hello, I was wondering if you had a link to the sketch-up design, or details on how to make it. I will get the plugin for Ponoko, but I don't know how to recreate the design.

Nice 'ible, I'm using it as inspiration for a school project!

too complicated!!!!!

nerd74731 year ago


I need help, how do I wire this to two AA batteries and a headphone jack to go to a 3" 2.5W speaker?

I am wanting to make a mini mono amp with input for phone or guitar.

The link is to a stereo 2.8W Amplifier breakout

TheGreatS (author)  nerd74731 year ago

Adafruit has a great tutorial for this.


Here is the page you are probably looking for.


Happy Making!

thanks for the link I will buy this soon

doosantech1 year ago
BRAVO.... I've been wanting to build one for my car for a few years now but I lack the knowledge of electronic components to do so... hints this question I'm about to a ask....lol... I'm trying to add a remote bass knob to my amp that was soupossed to just plug in via a phone jack...but my amp lacks the jack... I want to replace the potentiometer on the amp with a phone jack, any chance you could be of any assistance if you have the time?
for future reference, you would get more bass and better sound out of it if you cut a vent about 1-1.5" circle in the back.
TheGreatS (author)  purple people2 years ago
Thanks! I'll remember that.
Fozzibehr2 years ago
I Like Your instructable, but I was wondering if there was something like this for a higher powered boombox?
wdsims632 years ago
Next time, grab some heat shrink tubing and slip it on the wire before you put it back together. Looks better and won't slip off accidentally.
TheGreatS (author)  wdsims632 years ago
If only I had the money to buy heat shrink and a heat gun. :'(
Maybe someday...
smoak TheGreatS2 years ago
Heat shrink isn't that much and a quick passby with a lighter and you can shrink the tube. Or if you have a variable temperature soldering iron use that at the lowest possible heat to shrink it.
TheGreatS (author)  smoak2 years ago
I was actually just watching some Adafruit videos and saw them use the back of the soldering iron. Brilliant! I'm definitely going to buy some as soon as I can get to the store.
marksstudio2 years ago
Outstanding tutorial! Timely as well. I am building small speakers for a workstation as I have some perfectly suited drivers laying around. Since viewing your excellent tutorial, I am contemplating a few changes to the plan; Why not attempt an amp?
Thanks and regards.
TheGreatS (author)  marksstudio2 years ago
This is and amp, as far as my understanding of an amp goes (quite signal goes in, less quite signal comes out), but there are certainly better (and louder) options out there that offer way more control over what comes out of them. But my goal was to amplify speakers for a laptop, so anything that required more than the 5 volts would not have worked out well for this project.
smoak TheGreatS2 years ago
Firstly, I think him saying "I am contemplating a few changes to the plan; Why not attempt an amp?" was about his plan. Since he already had a plan to do basically this but without an amp, you're 'ible made him want to add an amp.

Secondly, I decided the other night I was going to make an old set of computer speakers USB instead of wall-wart. With one of the speakers having the amp inside and the other just the speaker (as it already was done that way). So this made me think, why not move the amp to a separate box and then have to plug the speakers into the amp, that way I can add more sockets for speakers (maybe boosting the amp a little prior) and can have as few or as many (within reason) speakers as I want! So thanks for the 'ible. Gave me some ideas on how to change things about.
techhobbit2 years ago
You are a genius! This is a beautiful piece; the extra care in size comparisons brought tears to my eyes. The combination of SparkFun, a SketchUp designed/Ponoko cut, morror finished acrylic case, and Sugru, puts this ible in the top 1%! (IMHO)
And, its a well done, and thorough instructable! Great job!
tseay2 years ago
I really like your style. And here is a little suggestion. All that nice plastic will direct LED lights to the edge giving a nice glow on those awesome laser cuts. It will take a bit more power, but a LED glow, would give your project more awe points.
TheGreatS (author)  tseay2 years ago
I wish that would happen, but to get the mirrored effect on this acrylic it has an opaque backing on it. But I like that idea a lot. Diffused acrylic plus the LED's would really make this amp super awesome. I'll remember that for a future project.

Thanks for the complements!
Trickynekro2 years ago
Personally I would refrain from using the USB as a means of power, unless it´s a must like these being laptop speakers or something like this, I would also have included a power jack for a cheap switching power supply, pretty small these days and light, not making themselves a problem carrying around. So if the USB power supply is a must you might think of adding an electrolytic capacitor at the input rail, helps with the bass frequencies.
Apart from that that´s a really nice project, I love the case! Keep it up mate!
TheGreatS (author)  Trickynekro2 years ago
Yes, this is for a laptop. Naturally I would have chosen better amps if I didn't need this to be small(ish) and powered solely off a laptop.
cody3052 years ago
This looks very useful and easy to do! Does this one (or do you know of one) that also has a "tone" or "bass and treble" controls? On a related note, I have been wanting to make a preamp for my main audio amp that has AVC (automatic volume control) to help limit the volume excursions on movies or music that can really overwhelm folks with delicate hearing. Do you know where to get something like that? Thanks for a great "ible"
TheGreatS (author)  cody3052 years ago
No, this one only has volume control. From what I've seen on his web site (here) you would be better off talking to this guy for almost anything dealing with audio.
wdsims632 years ago
So, you have a volume knob for each channel? Did you know that you can get stereo volume knobs?
I like the look of those knobs though.
TheGreatS (author)  wdsims632 years ago
Yes, for the knob for each channel, and no to the stereo volume knobs, but thanks for sharing. Looking back I really should have done more research before starting oh the project. Oh well, at least it works. That's more than I could ask for for many of the other projects.
TheGreatS (author)  Wroger-Wroger2 years ago
That's nice! Do they sell the connectors that go with it, or would one just solder wires onto the pins?
DustySeven72 years ago
or you can crazy and use TDA 2050 chips and build completly from the ground up
TheGreatS (author)  DustySeven72 years ago
That kind of defeats the purpose of the "without complicated electronics" part of this instructable, which was kind of the main purpose here. But the plus side of your method is I would get more control over my the amp, which for some people is a must. For anyone else reading this comment, there is a great tutorial on making an audio amp with the TDA 2050 chips here.
nerd74732 years ago
did you get all of the boards from sparkfun?
TheGreatS (author)  nerd74732 years ago
Yes indeed!
that is cool
MartyMart2 years ago
Nice ible! However, this will save you time and money. DealExtreme has a DUAL channel 3 x 3 watt amp for $3 :) It even has the wire leads w/ plugs attached! See here:

Mini Digital 3W+3W Amplifier Module Board

They also have some sweet tiny 3 watt speakers

I just built a guitar amp with these and let me tell you they are awesome! 

TheGreatS (author)  MartyMart2 years ago
Those are amazing! If I ever do this again I will definitely be using those.
This is the reason I love instructables. Those with another way are always happy to share. 
I hear you bro! This site has fueled my fire too! I've done a lot of research on battery powered amps and somehow stumbled on that DX 3x3. Good find to say the least.

That said, nothing wrong with going old school and building one!!!
netgrazer2 years ago
Nice 'ible!
One remark though:
For size comparison neither a "270 shell", or a Sugru sachet, or that coin thingie make a lot of sense to people who have never seen them. A match or a CD/DVD/BR for example are ubiquitous in all cultures and will probably still be around in a couple of years. A ruler (with both imperial and metric? :) ) works well, too.
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