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Make Great-Sounding $40 Bucket Speakers in an Afternoon

-April 24, 2014

The Proof is in the Listening
The result is a speaker that’s rugged enough to take to the beach or a tailgate party, produces lots of sound using a low-powered amp, and sounds amazingly good. In fact, when we demoed the speakers to our somewhat dubious wives all of us were surprised at how well they compared to the ones in our living room’s sound system.

Materials List (for one speaker):
Enclosure:
-    5 Gallon Utility Bucket, with Lid – $5 or less.
 Note:  We found that the orange “Homer” buckets from Home Depot make better enclosures because they have thicker walls than the white ones from the other big-box hardware chain in our area.
-    A 12 x12-inch piece of ¾-inch plywood. This is not fine cabinetry so any grade you happen to have works fine. 

Speakers:
-    Woofer: Celestion Neodymium 5-inch full range woofer, 4 ohm - $9.99
-    Tweeter: GRS PZ1005 3¼-inch Pizeo horn, similar to KSN1005A - $1.97

Crossover:
-    Dayton Audio DNR-1010, 10 Ohm 10W audio-grade precision resistor - $1.38
-    2.2 uF 100V non-polarized capacitor -  B10A255J100DC or equivalent - $0.50
 
Total cost (minus plywood, wire and wood screws): $18.84 each, $37.68/pair

Audio Amp (optional):

Lepai makes a series of versatile little switching amplifiers with output power levels ranging from 5W to nearly 100W per channel.  The Lepai LP2020 we used for this project delivers 10W of clean audio per channel, making it a perfect companion to these speakers. It’s available in two versions, one which is powered by 12VDC or a dual-power 12VDC/120VAC model. At $20, the only cheaper way to power your rig is to dig out that old dorm room amp you stashed up in the attic a couple of eons ago. 

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