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Old 21st February 2015, 06:40 PM   #1
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Default Looking for advice on a buying/building a subwoofer amp

I have a fairly unique scenario.... I collect arcade machines and there are a number of machines that I would like to add a subwoofer to in order to give the in-game audio an extra punch.

There is some added difficulty being that it's an arcade machine.

Of course not all machines are like this but most DO NOT have pre-amplified audio available, most games are actually amplified by the same PCB that runs the game. which means that the only way to get line-level audio would be to hunt down the traces on the board and make modifications to it, which is not something I'm going to do.

Also a large portion of games are only mono, and only have 1 speaker in the whole machine, some are mono with 2 speakers, and then of course there are some games that have stereo audio.

Power available inside an arcade machine is of course 110V AC, and most have a power supply with 5V (10A) and 12V (2A) channels, 5V is mostly used for the game board and games can be finicky with fluctuations but using the 12V should be fine as long as there isn't an enormous draw, it's safe to assume that the game is using 1/2 or less of the power available. in most cases All power, including AC is provided by either screw terminals or molex connectors.

What I'm looking for is a simple, inexpensive solution that can provide cross-over and amplification for a 6" or 8" subwoofer as well as a good solution for converting amplified audio into a good line-level that can be used as an input.

inexpensive and simple is key because I'd like to setup about 10 of these for different machines so that means differences in cost and time to setup increases 10 fold. I don't mind building the amps myself it's the installation into the machine that needs to be simple.

I know a lot about electronics in general but I've never built any audio equipment.

Any advice is welcome.
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Old 21st February 2015, 06:50 PM   #2
Mooly is offline Mooly  United Kingdom
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Lol, well arcade games and subwoofers aren't really my thing but...

12 volts is hugely limiting because the supply voltage determines the achievable output power. You could use SMPS type set ups (like car audio) but that would kill the 2 amp supply and its hardly simple diy.

Something that 'might' work could be a conventional car audio type chip amp running in bridge mode to double the voltage drive to the speaker. Whether that would give you enough acoustical output though is another thing altogether.
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Old 21st February 2015, 06:59 PM   #3
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I know that machines that do use external amplifiers usually come with their own small 17V or 24V power supply for powering just the amp. I wouldn't be opposed to this but of course something like a wall-wart style supply wouldn't work as there aren't any outlets inside the machines. and of course a separate supply adds to the cost.
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Old 21st February 2015, 07:11 PM   #4
Mooly is offline Mooly  United Kingdom
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There's no real way around the lack of volts I'm afraid. It might be worth you trying a one off prototype and seeing if it really is loud enough.

I forsee problems with it loading the supply though. An external supply is the way to go.
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Old 24th February 2015, 11:08 AM   #5
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What's your opinion on this unit: MCM Custom Audio Subwoofer Plate Amplifier Module 120W RMS | 50-6269 (506269) | MCM Custom Audio

it looks like it hits all of the features I'm looking for
-reasonable price
-all in one unit including power
-built in crossover
-can accept either amplified or line-level input

the power cord could easily be cut with terminals added for connecting to 110 inside the cabinet.
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Old 24th February 2015, 05:18 PM   #6
Mooly is offline Mooly  United Kingdom
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Looks OK. You couldn't really build something of that spec for that price when you add up all the bits and bobs needed.

Yep, worth a try for sure.
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