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Get Impressive Audio and Style With Your Own DIY Sound Bar

Break away from the boring black plastic aesthetic and show off something you made yourself.

the popular mechanics diy soundbar
Bradley Ford

Earlier this year when we were testing sound bars here in the Popular Mechanics office, I noticed the models we had were all slightly different shapes—but they were all basically black plastic. Yes, there are a few available in white, or silver, but I got to thinking of designing my own. Admittedly, it’s hard to beat the performance of a commercially available, professionally designed sound bar. But I found it is possible to build one that you’ll be proud to display and sounds great while costing less than $200.

The sound bar I built is an active model that has its own 2.1 channel amplifier, with right and left channels, as well as a sub-woofer. The right and left channels are 50 watts each, and the sub-woofer is 100 watts. The amplifier has controls for volume, treble, bass, sub-woofer frequency, and sub-woofer volume. The sound bar also has Bluetooth capability, so it can work as a stand-alone speaker. I chose Dayton Audio products for the individual speakers, four 20-watt compact transducer-style speakers, and one 40-watt mega bass exciter. To house the components, I designed a mid-century modern inspired enclosure with rounded corners and retro speaker cloth.

You can follow this speaker project exactly, substituting your choice of finish, and speaker cloth for colors or tones that suit your taste. Or you can use the project as the inspiration to design your own enclosure, and/or select a different amplifier module and speakers. In either case, I encourage you to get creative and make something great.

The Parts and Materials You’ll Need

    Tools You’ll Need

      Building The Enclosure

      Installing the Components

      Finishing Up

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