Re-utlizing vintage speaker enclosures - diyAudio
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Old 24th May 2011, 07:27 AM   #1
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Default Re-utlizing vintage speaker enclosures

Got to thinking after surveying the scavenged carcasses of many a vintage set of speaker enclosures and old consoles--some with gorgeous teak, fruit wood, walnut and mahogany solids and veneers--that perhaps not all of these need end up as smoldering ash in the fire-pit or decomposing in a local landfill.

With the high prices of ply and, indeed, all wood couldn't some of these be salvaged and utilized for DIY speaker builds under the right circumstances?

I have for example a few old AR/Leak/JBL/ADS and the lighter and smaller Philips Teak cabs that I'm thinking could be re-used in some way either for initial driver experimentation or as a final finished speaker product.

Many of these have wonderful and irreplaceable vintage grill cloth that simply can't be sourced or even reproduced today.

For example couldn't the backs be cut out of some of these to be used for a semi-open baffle kind of build?

How about for some full-range experiments?

Anyone had any experience trying this out? Problems? Limitations? Successes?

How bout using some of the nicer old consoles for Sub platforms?

Interested in your opinions and experiences....
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Last edited by devilsindetails; 24th May 2011 at 07:28 AM. Reason: spelling
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Old 24th May 2011, 08:07 AM   #2
T101 is offline T101  Bulgaria
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Totally agreed. For more than 15 years I have used a couple of beautiful ~30 L plywood cabinets for 8 inch bass drivers and 4 inch tweeters. Real veneer, lacquered in red gloss. I love them. Some time ago they lost their cloth which was beautiful. Year of manufacture is somewhere in the 70's.
And you can always rely on them for anything.
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Old 25th May 2011, 12:08 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by T101 View Post
Totally agreed. For more than 15 years I have used a couple of beautiful ~30 L plywood cabinets for 8 inch bass drivers and 4 inch tweeters. Real veneer, lacquered in red gloss. I love them. Some time ago they lost their cloth which was beautiful. Year of manufacture is somewhere in the 70's.
And you can always rely on them for anything.
Nice to hear of your experience..I was hoping others might discuss their experiences. I'm not suggesting that the ordinary particle board carcass is worthy of salvage but that some of the nicer examples with some ingenuity and retrofitting (bracing, damping, refinishing etc.) might find new and improved sonic life even with different drivers and outboard x/overs.

Maybe others will weigh in and even provide examples of what they've managed to do with some of the better lovely old enclosures.
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Last edited by devilsindetails; 25th May 2011 at 12:09 AM. Reason: clarification
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Old 25th May 2011, 12:35 AM   #4
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re:'I'm not suggesting that the ordinary particle board carcass is worthy of salvage' - I've skinned a couple of old chipboard cabs with 12mm plywood, makes a solid enclosure that is more 'dead' than ply. But I'm not sure it's worth the trouble, it's no less work than making new cabs...
As to re-using better looking ones, there are two things that need to be addressed, making sure the panels are suitably damped, & finding a driver to match the internal volume available
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Old 25th May 2011, 01:05 AM   #5
lowpoke is offline lowpoke  Australia
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These vintage cabinets really lend themselves to going down the 'econowave' route. Many of these cabs have decent and hefty 10" or 12" drivers. Replace the tweeter with a nice compression driver, waveguide and updated crossover and you have yourself a pretty good performer for minimal outlay.
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Old 25th May 2011, 01:35 AM   #6
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I did something a little different with the econowave theme, since I had just one of the pair. I left the drivers, a 10" woofer that I liked and a 2" tweeter, both paper coned. Along with a 20W chip amp inside, I put rolling casters on a base and attached it to the bottom of the speaker, and attached a small DTV flat screen on top. Along with a $40 DVD player with RGB outs. Result: A nifty mini-HT for rolling around the kitchen and patio. I need to tweak it some more to meet music standards, but works very well with the video.
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Old 26th May 2011, 05:49 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by lowpoke View Post
These vintage cabinets really lend themselves to going down the 'econowave' route. Many of these cabs have decent and hefty 10" or 12" drivers. Replace the tweeter with a nice compression driver, waveguide and updated crossover and you have yourself a pretty good performer for minimal outlay.
Very interesting!
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Old 26th May 2011, 05:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteMcK View Post
re:'I'm not suggesting that the ordinary particle board carcass is worthy of salvage' - I've skinned a couple of old chipboard cabs with 12mm plywood, makes a solid enclosure that is more 'dead' than ply. But I'm not sure it's worth the trouble, it's no less work than making new cabs...
As to re-using better looking ones, there are two things that need to be addressed, making sure the panels are suitably damped, & finding a driver to match the internal volume available
Yes...I'm not thinking of re-skinning so much as re-formatting better quality/looking cabs. I'll try and post some pics soon to illustrate what I'm thinking about.
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