4.1 Portable Surround Sound for Laptop. AKA Noise Box




Introduction: 4.1 Portable Surround Sound for Laptop. AKA Noise Box

If you have an old computer surround sound system laying around. Why not turn it into a portable surround sound for a laptop !?
I have had this 5.1 for a long time. Its served me well with my tower PC. After the tower died I switched to a laptop.
The 5.1 sound system has seen little use. But, I have found myself wanting a portable sound system so this was my solution.

With all the speakers attached to the Bass box like in pic one. I call it the "Noise Box".

Notes with laptop use.
If you use only the headset jack you will only get the front two speakers to work.
For full surround sound you'll need a laptop sound card or a usb sound card. Unless you have higher def outputs that can be matched up..

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Tools and Things You Need

I used these things:
one x 5.1 surround sound system with all its wires.
several x  twisty ties to bundle wires.
one x screw and wire bracket.

and these Tools:
screw drivers
Measuring tools like, plastic calipers or a ruler/tape measure.
hack saw
rotary tool like a rotozip or dremel that can cut wood/dense particle board.
drill and bit that can make a hole for rca jacks to pass through.( optional as the rotozip could do this...)

Things I will do but didn't :
attach a handle or carry strap. belt + screws or maybe a handle off some junk I find.

Step 2: Measure and Mark

First check the placement of the front "bass" speaker and circuit board. Measure the height, width, and depth of the surround speakers. If it seems like it will fit move on to precision measuring.

Step 3: Precision Measuring

Measure precisely where you want them to sit in the box. and mark it.
Depth I measured from before the fabric to the back of the surround speaker.
Width I measured across the surround speaker but just behind the fabric part.
Height for this I measured from the very bottom of the front of the surround speaker to the top of the rear of speaker.
If you look at the picture of the finished box with all the speakers on it. You will notice they stick up a bit. the lower part of the back is about even with the top of the bass housing. and the front bottom rests on the lowest cut I made on the bass housing.
Curve of the back; I used a piece of paper and marker. Trace the curve holding the speaker upright. cut out the curve and trace the onto the bass box.

Step 4: Cut and Chop

Before you proceed to cut up the bass speaker box.
Remove all the plastic and fabric parts. and
Remove the speaker and circuit board.

Pic 1; I started by using the hacksaw to cut out the straight cuts that run up and down the bass speaker box.
 Don't go past where the curve begins or the bottom most cuts on the side.

Pic 2; Then I followed my traced rear curves and bottom most line on the sides with the rotozip.

Missing Pic;  Drill or zip out a hole in the back of the box above all the wire hook ups.
 You will pass the speaker wire through this hole from the inside of the box to the outside.

Step 5: Test Fitting and Touch Up.

Test fit a speaker.
I trimmed only enough so that I achieved a snug fit when the speaker was pushed in.
Use a file or rotary tool if your close to a tight fit file it.
If you have a good amount to remove. Perhaps the rotary tools won't bite to deep. Use caution though... take to much off and you'll need straps to hold the speakers on the box.
My speakers are snug enough that it can be carried without them falling out.

I also added the wire bracket to hold the volume control on the top of the box.

After that clean it up. If you want paint the woody areas or paint the whole thing if you like...

Step 6: Wire and Admire.

Feed the speaker wires in through their respective speakers holes. Then out the hole you drilled in the back of the bass box.
plug in the wires and use twist ties to bundle the wires up. I bundle the front speakers together and the back speakers together.
also bundle the remote wire up and tie it. behind the remote (on top of the box) in the pics you can see the remote bracket and screw.

I carry the transformer and 1/8th stereo wires in my laptop case. The rest i carry and plan to put a handle on it.

Plug it in and test it out.
If all went well you can now admire your work and enjoy your "noise box" or surround system.

The Mad Science Fair

Participated in the
The Mad Science Fair

ShopBot Challenge

Participated in the
ShopBot Challenge

Holiday Gifts Challenge

Participated in the
Holiday Gifts Challenge

Be the First to Share


    • Backyard Contest

      Backyard Contest
    • Silly Hats Speed Challenge

      Silly Hats Speed Challenge
    • Arduino Contest 2020

      Arduino Contest 2020

    4 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea and nice information 4.1 portable surround sound for laptop

    DIY  Dave
    DIY Dave

    8 years ago on Introduction

    Great idea! Where do you set it when you are using it? Underneath your seat?


    8 years ago on Introduction

    You should seal the speakers to the cabinit, bass will suffer otherwise.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Indeed sir, how about some plastic to fill the holes where the speakers are stored. do you think a thick zip lock bag and silicon would do the job ?
    That its self might create a certain sound...

    Perhaps a stiffer plastic would be necessary.
    Keep in mind I remove the speakers which leave some large holes to fill.
    I don't want to just silicone them into the box...