Nathan Gallardo

Sound Design || Music || Audio DIY || Game Dev

Talk Box [You know, like Foo Fighters. Or… Bon Jovi.]

[DISCLAIMER: Mains power is lethal, don’t mess with wires etc. if you’re not sure what you’re doing. Seriously.]

Need to get the edge over the other Bon Jovi or Daft Punk tribute acts? I’ve got your back.

The point is to spend as little as possible so just see what you have laying about before you start spending money. This project cost me £6. I used:

– An old PC speaker

– 13mm (internal diameter) plastic tubing (Bought from ebay)

– A CD spindle case

– Old cds

– Mono plugs and sockets

– Socks

– A little plastic box

You just want the powered speaker with the circuitry, so throw away the spare. Open her up. You can see in this photos the ‘tweeter’ is just a little black circle of plastic. Cheeky bastards.

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Remove the speaker from the housing.

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It’s important to keep the circuitry encased safely, you don’t want to be touching it by accident while it’s plugged in or letting dust etc. in it. Don’t touch any of it, even unplugged: capacitors can still hold charge. I really suggest you seal the circuitry back up in the speaker box and just run the speaker and wire out a wee hole.

That said, I took mine out and installed it in a plastic box. Again, I suggest you don’t fiddle with the circuitry at all.

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You need to house the speaker in something airtight so that the sound is forced up the length of the tube. I used a 50 stack CD case I had. A lunch box or something else might work, I’ve seen plungers and PVC end caps used. It should be reasonably sturdy though, a shopping bag ain’t going to work. The CD spindle works really well because you can chop down the spindle and just plug the hose straight onto it.

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Chop down the spindle, leave about 4 cm or so. Flip it over and you may need to trim any raised bits because we’re going to mount the speaker here.

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I used plenty of hot glue to attach a CD to either side of this base, just to strengthen it a bit and attempt to kill excess vibration/sound leakage. I’m not sure you need to do this but I figured it might help.

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Now, centre your speaker over the hole, and hot glue it down. I guess duct-tape will work too, but hot glue is good for this sort of stuff and I had it handy. Cut a notch in the rim of the clear case top so you can run the wires out.

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I intend to source some sound-proofing foam or styrofoam or something to fill the case, but for now it’s got socks in it to try and limit sound leakage from the CD case. Once I’ve done that I’ll ditch the duct tape and hot glue the whole thing together to ensure the case is airtight.

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You can see there I’ve actually cut the speaker free from the circuitry, and added a plug and socket to the speaker and circuitry so I can disconnect the two parts.

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So you can see the tube fits easily onto the speaker. The whole thing pulls apart into three components: tube, speaker and circuitry.

And here’s a demo:

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