Want advice on refurbing old speakers using RS 1354a s.

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Hi all!

I'm a newbie to DIY audio and have come here to solicit some advice on refurbishing a set of old bookshelf speakers.

To give you some background, I just set up a surround sound home entertainment system using Logitech Z5500s. The Logitechs are fine for my TV and movie needs, but are a bit lacking in the mids and highs for music listening. I have a pair of cherry veneer bookshelf speakers that have sentimental value for me because they came from my parents (long passed away) Voice of Music hi-fi stereo system that was purchased in 1962. Needless to say, the original drivers had seen their useful life. A few years ago I was at a Radio Shack that was having a clearance on some replacement speaker drivers. I bought a pair of drivers on sale for about $5.00 each, and just screwed them in as replacements for the original 6 1/2" drivers. It improved the sound, but I really didn't think too much more about it.

I thought that I may be able to do something with these speakers to help fill in the mids and highs that the Logitechs seem to lack. I'd certainly like to maintain the nice outside appearance of the cherry veneer cabinets. I thought I'd take another look at the Radio Shack drivers to see what I had and what could be done with them. Lo and behold, the drivers are RS 40-1354A full range drivers, that seem to have a following with more that a few full range enthusiasts. So, on to the question about possibilities regarding how I can make a decent set of full range speakers that can provide some bass, nice mids, and clear highs, all whilst using the cherry cabinets. Deep bass isn't a concern because it can be provided by the 10" sub that is part of the Logitech surround system.

The cabinets are basic rectangles, about 20" wide x 11" high x 12" deep. (this is an estimation from memory, I will have to measure them when I get home this evening). They originally came with two 6 1/2" paper cone drivers and a paper cone tweeter in each cabinet (room for three speakers in total). They were mounted to a thin piece of fiberboard that is behind the front grill cloth. The grill cloth is not removable. The back of the cabinet consists of another piece of fiberboard with perforations for ventilation.

Following are some of my thoughts:

I thought that I may transform the cabinets into a sealed box system by replacing the fiberboard with ~1/2" ply or MDF, and mount the 1354As to the inside of the front replacement ply behind the grill (after cutting the appropriate hole in the ply, of course). I would use the other piece of ply to seal the back with some type of weatherstrip around the inside edge. Since I need to maintain my reputation of being a miser, I'm looking to spend at most ~$50 on the transformation.

My questions are:

- Should I also add a tweeter with a crossover? If so, I'd appreciate recommendations on which ones and where to purchase. I've looked at Parts Express and saw some potential candidates for under ~$15 each, but I am presently baffled on which would be best when paired with the 1354a's. They also have some inexpensive crossovers, but again my knowledge is limited.

- Should I add bass ports to the back of the speaker cabinets? If so, size, length, and placement recommendations.

- Should I pack the inside of the cabinets with polyfill and/or place some polyfoam along the inside to reduce standing waves?

- Maybe add a passive driver? If so, which one, and how best to mount it?

- Tweaking the 1354a's? I saw some others had suggested reinforcing the metal cage and maybe adding some foam damping around the whizzer cone.

- Should I use Cat5e wire for inside connections. If so, how do I put it to best use?

I'm open to advice and suggestions before I dig in and start ripping and tearing.

Thanks in advance for your interest and responses.

Best regards,
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