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Discussion Starter #21
So I needed to come up with some actual measurements for this project - espeically since I decided that I'm defintiely going to have a professional create the box (and make the cutouts, etc).

This is what I came up with in MS-Paint. Obviously, not a professional "blueprint", but hopefully it will make things go smoother when I go to get the box made up. This is NOT to "scale" (when I say that, I think of Doc Brown in Back To The Future!). :)

I kind of want to put *something* in that big blank area above the radio. Thoughts as to what I can put there? Maybe just some engraved design the woodworker comes up with to make it look nicer??

I also moved the tweeters to be centered above the woofers - just looks nicer and saves a little on the box size as well...

Any other thoughts about the overall design of this? Opinions on changes, etc?

Thank you!

 

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I kind of want to put *something* in that big blank area above the radio. Thoughts as to what I can put there? Maybe just some engraved design the woodworker comes up with to make it look nicer??
I'm thinking your smart phone goes there, for when you're playing audio from it. Maybe make a cubby hole for it, or put a little shelf there. Or affix some sort of phone mount in that position (ala the kind used in cars).

Maybe move the radio down a bit to make more room for it. Or move the radio up and put the smart phone space below it.

Or, go to the junk yard and get some A/C controls to mount there, just for looks :) You can wire up the lights in them to blink with the music :)

[Edit]BTW, do you already have the speakers? You could go with some 6" coaxes and forego the separate tweeters. That would simplify it and allow you to make it a bit lower in height.

[Edit2]Also, it complicates the cabinet ($$) but you might want to make the backside removable in case you need to get in it to service something.

Doug

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lol a nice 8 inch woofer would fit on the top panel maybe :)

i'd do a couple of nice heavy duty handles on the side. a cool metal plack with your name over the head unit maybe? or an equalizer/audio level gauge or something. just throwing out ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Thanks guys - some great ideas! While I wouldn't normally be using a phone to play back music (since it's already and Android-based unit with full wifi/SD/USB, etc), using a phone *would* come in handy if I ever took the radio somewhere where there is no wifi service - so that's a great idea. Need to figure out the best way to do that - I'm thinking just a very small shelf with an indentation in it to rest the phone in/on.

Doug - yes, I do already have the speakers. It's a set of component Pioneer TS-D1730C 6.75" speakers (a decent set of speakers), which is why I have the tweeters separately. Trying to use what I have here - otherwise, I defintiely would have went with a set of coaxial speakers.

I *definitely* need the back to open/come off to provide access to the insides. Originally, I was thinking of using some of that cardboard-type backing that you sometimes see on older stereos (usually has a bunch of holes in it to let heat out) - but at the same time, that may affect sound quality - so not sure that's the best option. Maybe I'll just have the use the same wood used for the rest of the box, but put the back piece on hinges with some sort of latch at the top.

I appreciate *all* ideas and opinions - so please - don't anyone be shy!! :)

Need to figure out a good carrying handle solution as well. I don't want the handle to take away from the overall looks too much (I want this to look really nice), so not sure how to handle that yet (no pun intended). :)

Really looking forward to getting this done... Will be sending my "blueprint" over to the woodworker people soon - have to come up with something for the phone shelf first....

Thanks again!
 

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Discussion Starter #28
Wanted to post an update on my progress...

Per your suggestions, I moved the radio up and added a small shelf that will hold a phone in landscape mode. I put the shelf below the radio because if you had the phone connected to the aux-in headphone jack on the radio I didnt' want the 1/8" aux-in wire hanging down in front of the radio screen. Here is the latest "mock up" of the radio with measurements:



Regarding the box itself, I never heard back from the cabinet maker that asked for more details when I sent him the picture before I added measurements. So I then thought of someone else to make the box. My wife buys these handmade wooden animal "sculptures" from a retired guy that has his own little woodshop behind his house. The wooden animal sculptures he makes have won awards and are simply *stunning*. They are all wood, but you'd swear that there were real feathers on these things - they look so real (she's bought an eagle, a couple of owls and a few blue-birds from him). They are VERY expensive (the amount of time spent making them is crazy), but they are simple awesome. He's also made full-size furniture for himself and other family members. Anyway (got off topic there!), I called him up and he was perfectly willing to make the box for me! So the box is being made now. :)

About 3 days after I met with him to go over the details for him to start making the box, the cabinet maker finally responded (keep in mind this was like 3 weeks after I sent him the diagram):

Hi Jim,

Sorry I missed your email.* We would be able to take care of your radio box.* Unfortunately no matter how I try pricing this project it gets expensive, I would estimate this taking one of my guys around 5-7 hours at $75 per hour plus material.* So based on that information I would estimate this project to be between $395 - $557 plus tax.

Please let me know if this is something you would like to move forward with one way or the other.

Needless to say, I was NOT willing to spend that much on my wooden box anyway - and I believe his estimate was for an unfinsihed box. :)

In comparison, the retired guy said it would be $75-$100 + the cost of the lumber - and he will finish the box as well. :) I *think* he is going to use cherry wood.

Will post pics when I get the box! I told him that I was in absolutley NO hurry and to take his time, so I have no idea when it will be ready. I'd rather him take his time - I'm in no hurry here.
 

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Console radio

One thought I wanted to share on this, and it may be going on a tangent, but an idea I have that keeps circulating in my head is to use a head unit in a 1930's style console radio cabinet, replacing the radio face in the pic. The mids and tweeters would go in the outboard front panels and the sub in the middle. The +12V power supply(s) would be hidden in the back.

While I like the looks of finished wood, with all the angled cuts and curved surfaces, I wouldn't even consider trying something like what's in the pic. But the idea of having a similarly sized cabinet with a few simple facets such that the front corners are beveled, and the upper front portion tilted up, seems within reach. Still, I'd want to paint it - with all those angles, trying to keep all those joints tight, for staining, would require me throwing away lots of lumber :)

Anyway, I thought this different approach was worth mentioning :)

Doug

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Discussion Starter #30
Hmm - I'm sure my local cabinet maker could make you that style of setup for about $684,129.19 (+ tax) - unfinished, of course...

Just an option. ;-)
 

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Hmm - I'm sure my local cabinet maker could make you that style of setup for about $684,129.19 (+ tax) - unfinished, of course...

Just an option. ;-)
The funny thing is, when I was a little kid in the late 60's, these cabinets were a dime a dozen. Besides the radio consoles, console TVs and TV/stereos were common, too. After the radios and TVs quit working, folks would sometimes keep them as furniture, but often would throw them out where they could be had for next to nothing.

My dad acquired two old TV consoles from his uncle to use as storage in the garage. With the picture tubes and electronics removed, and some shelves added, they worked great :)

Doug

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My thoughts, your radio box is quite spot on with the overall performance. It doesn't particularly matter what wood you use from particle to oak, you're not going to hear any tonal differences but what does matter is what aesthetic you like and how durable it is. Any tone from wood is overpowered by speakers rather than any acoustic sound, but with that being said you'd ought to design something that compliments your sound. A bigger box resonates were a smaller frame won't as much, the sound at the back of your speakers are going to fill the box much like the Impala's rear deck speakers do.

But since you got the box ordered maybe you can copy other monitors for fit and finish of the box, place fabric or short fiber carpeting, that's what recording studios have had the walls but now they have designed foam padding too. Since your box appears to be relatively sealed system you may want to have some way to relieve sound waves, heat, air pressure, etc. Don't need much, just a fan cut out would be okay. From what I know from guitar amplifiers, tube and high wattage amps generally are designed with a open back for air cooling with some having a fan on heated surfaces. I don't think 12V 6A powered units would be enough heat to require an open back, but open back plays a role in sound too.

I like your idea, it's a perfect way to use an unwanted system along with unused speakers.
 

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Had not seen any mention of this, but are you having the box built with separate chambers? If it were me, I would build it so that the speakers were chambered off internally from the electronics, with doing so you could have the speaker box chambers sealed/glued and your hinged back access only to the middle would not need to be sealed nor any worries about how tight it closed. Would also make it possible to vent the middle portion where your electronics will be and even add a fan to circulate air in that section if needed. Just a thought and you may already have planned it this way but I had not seen any mention. You would not need an access panel on the back for the speakers since they are easily removed by screws from the front. Ideally if it were my project for appearance sake I might be more inclined to make an access hinged door below the middle portion. Would be cleaner looking if the back was solid, jmho.

Another consideration, I think you had at one point asked about porting the speakers, you can check the cu ft of the box sections(inside dimensions), if it is big enough porting would not be needed. Before finalizing the box, might check to see what is suggested from pioneer for those speakers in a sealed box. Might be some minor adjustments that could be made on the front end adding an inch or two here or there rather than later coming back and determining the box is not allowing enough air to move.

With as much as you are looking to spend, might as well do it right.
 

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Discussion Starter #34
No, I did not have the box built with separate chambers for the speakers. This is just a "fun" project and it's not going to be an "audiophile" quality sound system. :) I'm only spending about $150 on the box. Everything else, I had on-hand already - just putting some un-used parts together into a wooden box for a decent-sounding, very-versatile media player. I just wanted it to look nice instead of something I threw together myself (screws showing, crappy wood, not strong enough, etc). The amount of "stuff' that this unit will be able to do is awesome - since it runs Android and has a 7" screen, I can even use it to watch TV, play youtube videos, etc. Hell, I can even use it to "cast" the video to a big TV if I wanted/needed to. There is just so much functionality packed into these small 2DIN car radios - especially if they run Android - the possibilities are limitless. Although, being tied to a power outlet is kind of a limting factor. Who knows, maybe I'll modify it to use rechargeable batteries at some point, but that is not planned at this point.

I wanted to keep the box "open" inside to give me plenty of room to work. I *may* add some type of insulation to the inside of the box, but even that will be on an "as needed" basis depending on sound quality. But I think that the unit will sound pretty good as-is, especially since I have Viper4Android working on the head-unit. Hell, with Viper4Android, I even got just a single stock Impala door speaker to sound pretty good - without any enclosure at all, just sitting on my workbench while testing the headunit. :)

That being said, if I'm not satisfied with the sound quality, I can always go back and do whatever I need to in order to get the sound quality where I want it, so I appreciate any and all input - keep it coming if you guys think of anything else! Any unusual uses you can think of being that it runs Andoird?
 

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Check out what I did to a stock Impala radio!

I even went the extra mile and added the XM tuner, and a Raspberry Pi computer.

I swapped the front circuit board out with one from a Pontiac Torrent, so that's why the buttons light up red.
 

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Discussion Starter #36
The funny thing is, when I was a little kid in the late 60's, these cabinets were a dime a dozen. Besides the radio consoles, console TVs and TV/stereos were common, too. After the radios and TVs quit working, folks would sometimes keep them as furniture, but often would throw them out where they could be had for next to nothing.



My dad acquired two old TV consoles from his uncle to use as storage in the garage. With the picture tubes and electronics removed, and some shelves added, they worked great :)



Doug



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Yep, I remember that a LOT of people used to put their new TV's on top of their old console TV's when they died. :) The old TV's were actually pieces of furniture that looked really nice - and people used them as stands for their new console-less TV's. While I'd take a modern flat screen over one of those old TV's any day, you still need a piece of furniture to put the flatscreen on (if you don't hang it on the wall).

I remember the old console stereos too - those long things with the horizontal sliding doors on top that revealed a turntable and AM/FM tuner.... Ah, the old days....

Times sure have changed! Man, you are making me feel really old now, Doug - thanks a lot! ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter #37
Well, I went and picked up my "car stereo in a box" today! All that I can say is "WOW!!!". Pics coming soon (have to take some). :)

Now I have to get it all wired up...
 

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Discussion Starter #38
Here are some pics...

Here is the front:


The back:


Top (with the hinges to open the top):


The phone/tablet shelf at the bottom:


The inside view from the open top (nothing hooked up yet):


Handles on the side:


Handles from the bottom (so you can see how the handles are done):


And he even put feet on the bottom for me:


I was only expecting a wooden box with cutouts for the radio and speakers - but he actually mounted everything, made and put handles on the sides, put the top on hinges and even put feet on for me. :) This thing is 100% furniture quality! A little bigger than I expected, but damn is it nice!! Love it, love it, love it! All for $200 (I gave him $250 as I felt $200 really wasn't enough)! I just can't get over how nice this thing is in person (the pictures really don't do it justice).

Thoughts?
 

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Here are some pics...

<snip pics>

Thoughts?
Looks grand!

Turned out very nice. I like the stain - not too dark, just right.

The finished insides surprised me, but that will make it more durable - it won't absorb moisture which would allow it to expand and contract.

It's got a 60's vintage look to it, which I like very much.

Doug

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Discussion Starter #40 (Edited)
OMG - I cannot *believe* how good this thing sounds! I couldn't resist and connected the speakers and power brick last night and this thing sounds like a hifi home stereo - and a good sounding one at that - and that is without any speaker "filler" or anything. I had a hard time turning it off it sounded so good. I guess the large size really helps the bass - it sounds absolutely incredible - and I really haven't even "tuned" it fully yet.

I did run into a few issues that I have addressed/need to address (please help with #3 !!):

1. The bottom is made from a thin piece of plywood (much thinner than the rest of the wood) and it was vibrating due to the bass at louder volumes. the way it was built, there is a ~1/4 gap between the pieces that would normally touch the floor and that thin plywood "bottom" (hard to explain - will have to get a pic). Believe it or not, I fixed that with a rubber "wedge" that I originally bought to fill the gap at the back of the headliner in the Impala (where the headliner meets the rear windshield - an attempt to fix headliner vibrations before I sound-deadened the roof - it's actually made for car dash gaps. :) Never used it in the Impala because it wasn't thick enough for the headliner gap. Works *perfectly* for this though. :) ( https://www.ebay.com/ulk/itm/273379761906 )

2. The lid also vibrates because of the bass at louder volumes. I'll put some felt around the where the lid meets the box to fix that. Easy fix. :)

3. I'm so upset at myself for this one... While messing with it at higher volumes last night, I used my hand to put downward pressure on the lid for a few minutes while listening at high volume. However, when I removed my hand, I found that the heat from my hand (I guess?) left a permanent handprint on the top!!! I'm guessing that the varnish wasn't fully "cured" yet??? I was *so* upset. I got it about 98% fixed just using some pledge and letting it soak in- not sure if that will be a permanent fix though. Will probably try some better wood "conditioner" this morning (I have some Amish wood milk or something like that which I forgot about). Is this a "normal" thing with newly finished wood?? Absolutely worst case, I can sand it lightly and apply some polyurethane, I guess (may not be a bad idea for the top anyway, just to help protect the finish a little more than regular varnish).

But damn - never expected it to sound *this* good. :)
 
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