How to Upgrade/replace Your Vintage Speakers

Introduction: How to Upgrade/replace Your Vintage Speakers

In this build I took a old set of blown speakers and upgrade/replaced the speakers cheap and effectively. the upgrade provided a very nice overall improvement over the speakers before. so if you need speakers on a budget and have a old set of tower speakers check this out before you throw em out.

I wrote this guide outside of instructables and carried it over so thats where i will start

So I started off with some Craig 9431 floor speakers which were made in 1977. These speakers didn't work to start. They had a 8 inch speaker and a 1 inch tweeter inside the cabinet. So I thought for a little while about where to mount the speakers in these cabinets and decided to use the back of the speaker cabinet. Which is where I will start my some-what of a broad how to build a "ghetto blaster" or upgrade/replacement for your vintage floor speaker guide. Here we go and sorry if a few steps in the process are missing pictures I'm A.D.D and forgot during those times to snap them. Also a notable factor was build time per speaker. For my first one it was 1 and 1/2 hours tops including breaks and figuring how I wanted to do it. I was able to build the second speaker in 30 minutes so i figure everyone else should be able to do each speaker at 1.5 hours each.

this video going to be in the beginning of all my instructables cause we are all princes of the universe.... and i love Freddie Mercury

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: Materials and Tools Needed

materials used
*note on materials*-you can use any front and rears like a 4x6 and 6x9s 5"and 6x9s or just 2 6x9s in the speakers.

-1 set (2) Craig 9431 speakers $$free
-1 set (2) jvc 6" mid range speakers 60 watt RMS 100 watt peak $$ free
-1 set (2) Pyle p69.5 5 way 6x9 180 watt RMS 360 watt peak $$ 20 dollars came with grills mounting hardware and 15 feet speaker wire.
- 1 set (2) 180Hz bass blocker $$ 6 dollars ebay
- 12 inches 12 gauge left+right speaker wire. 6" per speaker 5" on positive side 1" being the bass blocker. $$ free had it lying around
- solder and flux $$ 10 dollars and came with soldering gun
- 1 piece of 1/2" Plexiglas 11"s squared x 2 pieces $$ free i had it lying around but a 1/4 inch piece will do and that costs 8 dollars and can be cut at the place you buy it usually like a home depot or hobby lobby.
- 1 bottle of Elmer's blue wood glue

tools i used

- flathead screwdriver
- Phillips head screwdriver
- a hammer
- a drill
- 5/32 drill bit
- 5/16Th's drill bit
- soldering gun flux and solder
- and a swiss army pocket knife (used it for the great fold out saws)
- pliers
- wire stripping tool
- safety glasses (for soldering and when drilling and when busting the edge)
picture of tools needed

Step 2: OK So to Start

I ripped the foam off the front that was covering the speaker so I could see the layout. After a little while I realized that the front will now have to become the back. As now the back will be the front and a fresh canvas for us to start our masterpiece on. So to start you need to split about a 1/4" of the edging with a hammer and flat head screwdriver or chisel if you have one *refer to examples 1.1 and 1.2*. do this on all 4 edges, *note there is a lip underneath the board so when your done you can glue the board back down firmly. My first speaker looks worst then my 2nd cause my brother didn't listen to me to, so do it good. Some speakers you can unscrew the back, but in most cases you will have to end up splitting them open such as I had to do. *trick is not to pry too hard, so go all the way around make sure the the panel broke free of the glue with a hammer and screw driver*. dremels look like they will work nice as well if you want to do it right.

Step 3: Step 3

step 2. Now that I split the back open and I proceeded to remove the speakers inside. Making note to save the 8000Hz bass blocker connected to the tweeter. Which I can use if I wanted to add a tweeter later on. With the back off and the speakers out you can start the longest part. As I said it had a 8" speaker in it originally. So thats a big hole we need to close. This is to help better the acoustics in our speaker's cabinet. So how to do this you ask, you take the 11" piece of squared Plexiglas. I cut mine with my pocket knife scoring it with the old school can opener and snapping it carefully. I then took my bottle of glue went 3 times around the circle leaving about a 1 inch gap from the inside *refer to example 2.1*. I pushed the Plexiglas down held it for 10 minutes. I then drilled with the 5/32Nd's bit 1 hole at a time. Making sure to put the screw in before drilling the next of the 4 corners. When you drill the holes, make sure after you drill a hole in the Plexiglas you drive the screw in right away. This is important or else you take the risk of your screw holes not aligning when your done. If the alignment is not done correctly it could cause gaps that will make a rattling noise. Make sure you leave the screws a little loose loose. Then with all 4 of them in you can tighten them all the way down.*refer to example 2.2*. Now when its done the back will have a interesting look, but it will have increased the acoustics 10 fold *refer to example 2.3*.
*NOTE ON STEP 2* when putting the screws in the Plexiglas DO NOT USE a drill to drive them through the Plexiglas and in the wood. Unless you absolutely have to. As a hand screw driver should be easy enough with a pilot hole started. This is because of the torq and the force of a drill when driving the screw in. If not done it will cause the corners to lift then compress. Which will cause it to crack and or break the piece of plexi.

Step 4: Step 4

Now you take the back panel that should be in great condition. I went on-line to google and searched for the templates. I needed a 6" and 6x9 speaker template to draw on the wood. So I printed them off and then outlined them on the board with a perm marker. I then drilled 4 holes in a + pattern on the board for both speakers as turning points for my saw. Remember you want to drill to the inside of your circle and or ovals you drew. If not done correctly your speakers will fall through and the build will be lost. Now you can cut the holes. Yes i cut them by hand using a swiss army knife, it was actually easy and its a great saw to my surprise. It was probably the most used tool of the build. Now then on the templates it has the screw holes to drill, this is for your mounting hardware. I drilled all the screw holes and decided to mount the speakers *refer to example 3.1*.

This part is tricky and is better if you have a extra set of hands. So I have the holes all cut out and the speakers mounted on the board, which all will rest back inside the speaker. Now you can mock your wires up before soldering them so you can triple check its correct. *refer to example 3.2*. Now start with soldering the 6x9 first with the wire that you will hook up to the receiver. Then solder the wire that goes from the 6x9 to the mid range (daisy chain basically)*refer to example 3.3*. Also remember that a bass blocker goes on the positive connector of the midrange *refer to example 3.4*. Kay so its wired up and all screwed down tight and bolted in looks beautiful *refer to example 3.5*.

Step 5: Step 5

We are almost done now. Start by running the wire through the tweeter hole *refer to example 4.1*. Now you can stand the hollow cabinet up and insert the front panel of the speaker. Next to do is decide wether or not you want the grills on or off *refer to examples 4.2 and 4.3*. Now hook them up to your receiver make sure everything sounds right. Then open them back up quadruple check the connections you soldered. Now the speaker is done and you can use the same glue you used on the Plexiglas to glue the panel back in. Just glue all around the ledge it sits on, put it in, then glue on the front panel the inside of the lip on the speaker side. You will get a beautiful speaker now that sounds great. Then if you have any parts that chipped you can wood putty it and spray paint it all whatever color you would like on the front / top / bottom and sides. So they can look and sound great.

Step 6: Final Project

Total cost for me was about 40 dollars on this build.
which was the 20$ 6x9s from and 4$ for a bottle of elmers blue wood glue and 10$ for a soldering gun w/flux n solder and 6$ for the bass blockers...

For the record this guide is to be used as a basic reference for how you can spend a little cash and have some great sounding speakers any kid in middle school can do this for very little. believe me these speakers blow away the 40 dollar system at walmart so don't ask me to compare them again. id say to anyone with a old speaker to upgrade and a little cash, have fun! or you can buy some 6x9 boxes on ebay. and mount them inside the box and use them for monitors. good luck and as always this is another guide that has been brought to you by -DJ PROTOJEEX

Be the First to Share


    • LED Strip Speed Challenge

      LED Strip Speed Challenge
    • Sculpting Challenge

      Sculpting Challenge
    • Clocks Contest

      Clocks Contest

    8 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Good idea to upgrade old speakers, especially if they don't work at all. It's important to select good cabinets, though. My 'acid test' is to rap on all sides with my knuckles. If you hear a 'bong' sound (like a drum) the wood is too light to make a good-sounding speaker. It can possibly be improved by internal bracing, or other method of 'shoring up'; but much easier to start with a heavy, solid box. They're available for cheap at thrift store and yard sales. Also, I'd just use the old holes and buy similar sized, quality drivers. You're much more likely to come out with something smooth-sounding than by using mismatched autosound components.


    hmm.. this reminds me lol i got to fix my ...12 or 16 inch?? ( i 4 get what it is), well sub-box thing . cause its a reallly nice box just the speaker is shot completely, and it has like managed to corrode itself xD