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With all of the interest in my cassette boombox audio mod I decided to write up a complementary tutorial - reusing computer speakers. Modifying a boombox for an audio input is great for portable applications, but reusing a pair of computer speakers is more suitable for more permanent installations and cases where you need some physical separation between the left and right channels.

Used powered computer speakers are extremely inexpensive. They’re generally sold at yard sales and thrift stores for $5 or less, including their “wall-wart” power supplies. These speakers generally have permanent audio input cables with a 3.5 mm stereo (mini) plug which plugs into your computer’s line out port (typically color coded lime green).

These aren’t fantastic state-of-the-art speakers you’d want to use for a high end home theater system, but they’re decent, and certainly worth the price. Occasionally I’ll come across computer speakers with a subwoofer (a large speaker designed to replicate bass sounds) very inexpensively too. They’re called 2.1 (pronounced two dot one) because they have two main speakers plus one subwoofer.

There are many ways computers speakers can be reused – add stereo speakers to a DVD player, inexpensive amplified speakers for an MP3 player, a high quality speakerphone for your cell phone, and to add surround speakers to your computer to name just a few possibilities. Basically any piece of electronics with a standard 3.5 mm (mini) audio output jack can be used.
 
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tecneeq5 months ago

I don't get this. It's like an instructable on spoons and how to eat soup or ice cream with them.

philip42 (author)  tecneeq5 months ago

Maybe for you, but not for others. I've shown many friends how to use used computer speakers to add stereo to a DVD player, a speakerphone for a smartphone, etc. and they've all appreciated the information instead of making a snide comment about teaching them how to use a spoon.

Also, an extremely high-tech gamer friend was astonished when I suggested that he add a pair of speakers to his computer for surround sound - it just never occurred to him!

GG_Beta1 year ago
Great instructables, I've picked some really cheap and great speakers on goodwill stores and yard sales.
As a tip: some old compaq speakers (around 95 to 99) have JBL 4ohm drives on them.
Im actually building a hi-fi stereo amplifier using 2 brideged Tda40 IC's for running 6 of these speakers.
knife1412 years ago
I totally agree with you -- used pc speakers are the best buy out there for low-cost audio, and I've picked them up used for as little as $5. Not only do I used them on my computers, but on a dedicated internet radio, an mp3 player, and for the audio on a talking robot head that I built. They can also be disguised, as in an instructable I did some time ago:

http://www.instructables.com/id/Vintage-Speaker-Cabinet/

Nice job on the instructable!
philip42 (author)  knife1412 years ago
Thanks. I see them all the time at $5 - and at this point I think that it's too much(!). I've got about three spare pairs of speakers in my workroom ready for projects, so I only pick up additional ones if they're $3 or less unless they're extremely decent ones.

I did pay $4 for the 2.1 subwoofer + 2 speakers I mentioned in the instructable, but only because it had the subwoofer and had two sets of inputs.