Homemade Stereo Speakers

Built approximately 1983. This page written February 26 2005

Once again, we mentally go back in history. As (going backwards) we pass the early 1990s, the world wide web, and with it the consumer internet disappars. As we pass 1984 or so, the majority of home computers, specifically the cheap and ubiquitous Commodore 64s, also disappear. What, then, was a technically minded teenager to do in those days? Why, fool with stereo equipment of course.

I had been permitted to remove the speaker elements from an old, disused console stereo in a neighbour's house when I was perhaps 12 years old. And my mom had bought a pretty decent stereo system. So of course I built my own crude speaker cabinets and attached them as a second set of speakers. A few years later, a family friend gave me a stereo receiver that he had built from a kit in the 1960s and I got my own cassette deck and I needed real speakers.

I wanted the speakers to look good, so I made pencil drawings of the front view of the woofer and tweeter elements that I had chosen (from Radio Shack), so I could fine tune the front panel layout on scale drawings. Incidentally, the tweeters cost about $17 each and the woofers about $25 each. For cross-overs, the tweeters already came with an electrolytic capacitor, plus I used the inductors out of the old console stereo.

I've always hated hollow, boomy bass (don't even get me started on modern bandpass tuned subwoofers) and I figured resonance could be minimized by building tank-like sturdy enclosures. Accordingly the sides are solid pine about 1" thick, the front and back panels are 3/4" plywood, plus there is lots of bracing inside, and scraps of 3/4" plywood glued and screwed to the inside of the side panels. Check out the inside view. The cavity is loosely filled with pink fiberglass insulation.

Did it work? The speakers still didn't have particularly flat bass. But they did the job, and I used them until 10 years later I got some huge Radio Shack speakers at a garage sale, which had 8" woofers and 10" passive radiators and truly awesome (and not boomy) bass.

The foam speaker surrounds have still not disintegrated, but the speakers are in storage in the attic.

I'd meant to fabricate grille frames for these things to "finish" them but I never got around to it.

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