Thursday, February 16, 2012

Old School Car Audio Bookshelf Speakers? DIY Audiophile Project

Custom Rockford Fosgate AUDIOphile Bookshelf Speakers

Ok, I admit it....I'm an old school car audio junkie! Much of my equipment is in mint condition and actually using this gear is really cool. You guys may recall my Rockford Fosgate AUDIOphile RFA-414 component system from the Old School Boombox article. I was going to need the 4" mids in enclosures anyway, so why not use some small bookshelf cabinets? Exactly! I just needed some patience, a few tools and first set of car audio based bookshelf speakers.

The donor bookshelf speaker cabinets were taken from an early 90's surround sound system by a company called Universal. The particular cabinets I used for this project had a 4" speaker, but no tweeter. No problem. A quick trip to the hardware store to get a 2 1/8" hole saw (per Rockford's RFA manual) and the mounting hole for the tweeter was done. It is interesting Rockford recommends a 2 1/8" hole as I found it slightly large....oh well, I digress.

In addition to cutting holes for the tweeters, I also had to line the interior of the cabinets with sound deadening material. The metal enclosures without the dampening material would cause some unwanted coloration (is that a word?). Anyway, I think you know what I mean. After adding the deadening material, the enclosures had a "thud" instead of a "ting". Still not as dead sounding an MDF based enclosure, but much lighter and smaller.

As with many inexpensive speakers, the donor Universal's had tiny 22ga internal speaker wire. This was easily remedied by de-soldering the factory wire and upgrading to some 16ga Phoenix Gold OFC speaker wire. I also used hook and loop tape to mount the AUDIOphile crossovers. The flush mount tweeter pods were mounted using silicon sealant and some custom brackets. Everything came together very well and I'm happy with the results.

Now, I can write all day about the process, how they sound, etc., but if a picture is worth 1000 words, then a video is worth 10,000. I created a video build log of this project and also give a sound demo of the speakers. They are very transparent, but as expected, somewhat weak on the bass output. This component system was designed to be used with a subwoofer and maybe even a midbass. My plans are to cross them over at 150Hz and other plans TBD...

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See the video on YouTube in 1080p HD or embedded below:


Sarah LaClaire said...

While I'm not as into speakers and stuff, I still share your intrest of oldschool technology, especially when it comes to things like cameras! They are so cool! One thing with those old speakers (and new ones) is that you are going to want some good sound deadening to help with quality.

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