Speaker Location

I finally got tired of sitting directly under one of the speakers in my ’70 Caravel. Been thinking of moving them toward the closet or fridge for years. The bolt of intuition hit me just this weekend–HEY!, there’s plenty of room behind the fiberglass dome on either side of the control panel. I mean, like plenty. The speaker is only 3.5″ deep behind the face of the panel and there is about 7″ depth there. This is a moderately robust 7×9″ speaker.

I felt around and it appeared there were no wires or structure to interfere, so out comes the pencil and saber saw. Wack–the first one goes in easy.

Not so the second one. The TV charging wire comes up on the curb side of the windows and excess wire is curled around randomly behind the fiberglass. Whip, zip, cut that sucker in half. The cut was at a point that gave me a few inches of blue wire, just enough to get a wire nut on it and splice the ends back together. You can just see the red wire where it’s attached to the blue–the red goes over the ceiling to the back end.

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The finished product is on the right, with the door to the bookcase open. I like this box–with only four screws all the interior dividers come out and can be reconfigured. In addition, the whole box comes out of the overhead with only four screws.

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They sound much better when standing in the kitchen or in the back–true stereo. And it’s way more comfortable sitting at the table. The speakers are about one more foot away from your ears and not pointed so directly at them.

I could have taken the control panel cover off (as you can see, it’s a prototype for later instruments) and reached inside to check behind the new hole, but it appeared that the power wires went “down”, not “across”. Oh, well, not too much harm done.

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I really don’t like the speakers sitting right by my ear when I’m sitting down up front. So I had planned to move them, just as I did in the Caravel. I placed the speaker templates and cut out new holes for the speakers in the plastic dome. Surprise, there was a plywood backing plate behind the control panel.

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When I found the backing plywood, it motivated me to try something that I’ve wanted to do for some time–shield the acoustic energy from the speakers from the shell. With the speakers in the walls and vibrating the shell, I always feel like I’m imposing my NPR news on the guy next door who’d rather listen to Rush Limbaugh, ugh. Replacing that backing plywood with a wider piece, wide enough to back the speaker cutouts, would allow me to build some small speaker enclosures right into the backing plate. To be effective, these little boxes need to be air tight (hey, we’re not building a bass reflex enclosure here). Even then, they may not be very effective, but they will make me feel better about running the radio late at night (the rear speakers are already in portable outdoor TEAC boxes). So the boxes are built strong and tight.

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There is a lot of room up behind the plastic dome. The smallest space is at the upper outside corner of the speakers, about 4″ from the plastic dome to the outer shell. The boxes are 3″ deep, with 3/8″ plywood back, so there is about 1/2″ clearance, minimum. The entire 48″ long contraption easily slides up through the 51″ wide bookshelf opening.

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