This is my first instructable for a project I did two summers ago, before heading to University for the first time. I found these old speakers during a garage clear out and decided that they deserved better than being left to decay. I was after a speaker for use during first year....gatherings... and figured I could make something cool and unique using these.
Please ignore the un-decorated room in the second picture, I'm redesigning the kitchen at the moment. It'll look good when it's finished!
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Step 1: Initial Tests
I began by purchasing the amplifier and cables I needed to test the speakers. I picked up a Lepai 2020+ 2 channel amplifier and some copper speaker cable. Connecting them together was straight forward enough, I combined one of the Alpine and Kenwood speakers into pairs to create a left and right channel, hoping that the symmetry would lead to a balanced sound. The speakers were connected in series into each of the Lepai's channels. I then used an audio source to test the amplifier and sound quality.
Here is the newer model of the amplifier I used, I recommend it highly: https://www.amazon.co.uk/LEPY-2024A-Plus-Amplifier...
Step 2: Design
I was after a retro boombox design, so used a CAD package to model a simple speaker box. A combination of front firing and upward firing speakers would be enough to evenly fill a room with sound. After double checking the layout, I moved this design in to a 2D design package that could be easily manufactured on a laser cutter. I was after something relatively light weight, so settled on 9mm MDF. I didn't want to use screws or fixings, so left in a border that would allow me to create lap joints.
Step 3: Make
For fabrication, I chose 9mm MDF for it's price, durability and machinability. I used a laser cutter to quickly and accurately create the panels, then used a table saw to create grooves on every panel apart from the sides. From there I used PVA glue to bond the panels together and left to dry.
One of the oval cut outs was fixed to the inside of the base panel for the amplifier to be secured to.
I then used mahogany stain to transform the MDF, applying two coats to get a full finish. I used a heavier brush to imitate grain which worked quite well.
Handles were sourced from a local shop, and began life destined for kitchen doors. Placing them on either side provided a robust way of transporting the unit and gave a location to wind the cables around when not in use. I've also attached a luggage strap to both handles providing a convenient way of moving the unit whilst keeping my hands free.
Step 4: Finishing Touches & Closing Thoughts
Two holes were drilled in the back (for the power cable and auxiliary cable). For two years I used my laptop/mobile phone to provide a signal, but recently upgraded to a chromecast audio which transformed the unit.
This design can be modified to accommodate any speaker set, and provides more than enough power to fill a room.
It's a little low on bass, but provides a wall of sound that can reach high volumes whilst retaining clarity. I therefore used an external DAC with my laptop to allow me to connect a friends bass heavy PC speakers (Logitech I believe) to provide a proper soundscape.
If I were to do this again, I would create a cut out in the back plate for better resonance and bass response.
Thank you for reading, if you have any questions please ask!!