This Turntable Cabinet is a way to have a record collection, a turntable, and a good speaker system in the limited space of my small apartment.
Why vinyl in the age of Spotify, you ask? Here are a few reasons. To a sensitive ear, digital music has a sterile, tinny quality. Vinyl, on the other hand, is warm and smooth. Also, who can deny the nostalgic charm of the occasional dust-induced crackle?
Vinyl has the added benefit of forcing my frantic brain to be patient and experience the record as the artist intended: as an entire piece, with songs played in the proper sequence and a pause in the middle to flip to the B side. Also, since I can't have an endless stream of vinyl records for $8.99 a month, I'm forced to carefully curate my collection. Here's a great article on some of the less considered virtues of vinyl: http://consequenceofsound.net/2013/05/five-reasons-you-love-your-vinyl/
Step 1: Design
The design has a few basic parameters.
1) The turntable I chose is rectangular and sits on a table top. Because of that, I decided to integrate a record storage cabinet. 2) I wanted the piece to have everything you need to enjoy the music, so I integrated a sound system that could also be used for digital music. 3) Records are about 12"X12", so this would be the height and depth of the cabinet.
All of these parameters worked together for a simple solution. Originally, I was going to mount it on the wall, but when I brought it home and held it up on my wall to see how it would look, my wife said "that looks awful, why does it need to be on the wall?" As usual, she was right.
I went back to Fusion 360 (where I design pretty much everything) and designed the legs you see in the finished photos.
Fusion 360 is free for students and hobbyists, and there's a ton of educational support on it. If you want to learn to 3D model the kind of work I do, I think this is the best choice on the market. Click the links below to sign up:
I made the piece using 3/4" plywood and 1/4" plywood for the sound system face plate. Everything fits together like a puzzle and joins with glue and brad nails.
Step 2: Parts, 3D Files, and Templates
an Amico latching stainless steel switchFile Types:
pdf: Printable layouts of the parts. These must be printed at full scale! The "Turntable Cabinet" file must be printed at 48"X48" and the "Faceplate" file must be printed at 24"X36".
f3d: This is the fusion 360 file. Feel free tweak it to your liking!
iges: This is an exported 3D file for people who aren't on Fusion.
dxf: This is the cad file of all the templates.
- Pyle Turntable: This one had good reviews and only cost $68. It sounds fine and is pretty well built, but it doesn't have autostop which is kind of a bummer.
- Pyle Compact Turntable Preamp: You can't just plug a turntable into a pair of laptop speakers- you need an amp. This one had good reviews, didn't break the bank, and sounds fine.
- Bose Companion 2 Speakers: This is a desktop speaker set I'd had for years. Instead of making my own system, I just took this one apart and used the guts.
- Switches: I used an Amico latching stainless steel switch for the main power (I love the look of this switch), and a stainless steel stomp-box 2-way switch to change the audio input to the speakers.
- I had an old Airport Express laying around as well, and I figured this would be an easy way to pipe in digital music when I wanted.
- Hardware and Materials:
- I used 3/4" Maple Veneer Plywood for everything but the face plate.
- The faceplate is made of 1/4" Maple Veneer Plywood.
- I used Maple Veneer to make a wood skin for the top of the turntable so that it would match the rest of the cabinet.
Step 3: Cabinet Assembly
I cut the pieces out on the Metabeam Laser Cutter we have at the Pier, but you could easily make this project using the technique described in my Digital Fabrication by Hand instructable. All you'll need is a jigsaw and/or a circular saw, and a cordless drill. The faceplate will be tricky to reproduce: I would recommend just drilling a bunch of holes for the speakers instead of the snazzy slot pattern I made.
With the pieces cut out, I put them together as shown in the diagrams using wood glue and a brad nailer. For the upper back panel with the key holes, I used screws and countersunk holes so I could remove it later if I needed to access the electronics inside.
When the glue was cured I did a couple of coats of spray-on satin Polycrylic finish with 320 grit sanding in between.
Step 4: Electronics and Tray
The electronics are pretty simple; they're just a matter of disassembling the speaker set and installing it in the electronics tray.
First, I cracked open the speaker set to get the guts out. These things are really well made, so I ended up using a Dremel with a cutoff wheel to get through it. There are two boards inside- one has the audio inputs and power receptacle, the other has the volume knob and headphone jack.
Next, I put the tray together using wood glue and clamps.
The volume knob has to be at the front of the cabinet, but there was no way to get that to work with the board it's connected to. To solve this problem, I just removed it from the board, and connected it with soldered jumper wires. I made a small bracket with screw holes that keeps it flush against the face of the tray.
The two position switch switches the input from the turntable (the line coming out of the amp) to the airport express. All of the audio feeds have to be grounded, so I just routed everything to the ground screw on the amp.
The speakers and boards all connect to the tray with small wood screws. I used some scraps of cork for the backs of the boards to keep them from rattling from the speaker vibration.
Step 5: Veneer Top
NTo make the whole piece match, I added a veneer top to the turntable. I used some Super 77 spray adhesive and carefully lined it up before smoothing it down. I oversized the veneer a little bit and trimmed it off with an exacto.
There's a power strip inside the cavity to power to the amp, turntable, speakers, and airport express. I used double-sided velcro on everything to keep it from rattling with the speaker vibration.
Step 6: New Legs
Like I said in the intro, the piece just didn't look good hanging on the wall. I made the leg assembly shown in the diagram with wood glue and screws, then simply inserted the cabinet. It fits perfectly, so there's no need for fasteners.
Step 7: Party Like It's 1969
It sounds awesome! No rattling, no buzzing, and the frequency response on the speakers is pretty good. It would probably sound system, but this suits me just fine. It also looks great in my living room.