Fill in the bass on your PSP

[Michael Chen] felt the sound his PSP was putting out needed more dimension. Some would have grabbed themselves a nice set of headphones, but he grabbed his soldering iron instead and found some space where he could add a bigger speaker.

Mobile devices tend to cram as much into the small form factor as possible so we’re surprised he managed make room. But apparently if you cut away a bit from the inside of the case there is space beneath the memory card. [Michael] cautions that you need to choose a speaker rated for 8 ohms or greater  in order to use it as a drop-in replacement for one of the two original speakers. But he also touches on a method to use both stock speakers as well as the new one. He suggests grabbing an LM386 op-amp and a capacitor and hooking them up. Yep, there’s room for that too if you mount it dead-bug-style. We wonder how the battery life will be affected by this hack?

Single-column Rubens’ tube

Here’s a fiery project which [Patrick] calls his Pyro Jam Can. It’s the simplest Rubens’ Tube build that we can think of. For the uninformed, a Rubens’ tube uses flammable gas to reveal wave forms passing through the supply vessel. In the past we’ve seen projects with multiple columns, which very clearly show a standing wave. But this version lacks the resolution for that, so the wave is seen as a modulated flame height.

You can see the propane feed tube coming into the can from the right. This keeps the gas flowing steadily, but a diaphram on the bottom of the can made of a latex balloon allows for modulations in flame height by pushing the gas through the aperture a bit faster than it is flowing. A speaker in the base bounces sound waves off of the diaphragm for the effect seen in the video clip after the break.

We wonder if the can will ever heat up enough to melt the balloon on the other end?

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Speaker-mounted WAV player for street performances

This naked speaker is the basis for [MaoMakMaa’s] newest project called the Wavedrone. He plans on using the autonomous and cable-less device during street performances. You can hear the effect of some stretched jazz cords being played on it in the video clip after the break. The sound is kind of an ethereal background noise that observers might not immediately realize is there.

You can see the 9V battery which serves as the power source clinging to the frame of the speaker. A 7805 linear regulator tames that battery and feeds the two IC’s on the circuit board seen to the right. The ATtiny85 is reading music from an SD card and playing it back in mono (obviously) with the help of an LM386 audio amplifier chip. The trimpots that go into the high pass and low pass filters in between the microcontroller and amplifier allow for a bit of sound manipulation, but we’re more impressed with the quality of the sound this is getting when properly trimmed.

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Fabric speaker

The theory behind speaker operation is pretty simple. There’s a coil that is attached to some type of diaphragm and a permanent magnet. When electrical signals pass through the coil a magnetic field is generated, and that field’s interaction with the permanent magnet causes the diaphragm to vibrate and create sound. But we’ve always assumed that the vibrating material must be stretched tight for this to work. [Hannah Perner-Wilson] proved us wrong by making this speaker out of fabric. It uses conductive tape as the coil on a heavy piece of canvas. The permanent magnet is resting on a table and for the demonstration the fabric is just laid on top.

Check out the video after the break to hear the sounds generated by this device as well as a design that uses conductive thread instead of tape. This gets us wondering if what we’re hearing is the result of the magnet vibrating against the tabletop? Let us know your thoughts, and if you’ve got any information about the paper-backed circuit (seen at 0:04 into the video) driving the speakers we’d love to hear about that too.

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Uncrippling lower model speakers

It looks like this low-end Sennheiser HD speaker has the same internals as it’s better-brother but has been altered to reduce sound quality. It’s not uncommon for manufacturers to hobble a product in order to sell more units at a lower price that reflects less features. Linksys WRT54G routers immediately come to mind, or perhaps the more recent Rigol 100 MHz oscilloscope hack is a better example.

In this case, that black piece of foam on the left has been added to the 555 version of the hardware to decrease the sound quality you get from the much more expensive 595 model. Take it out and you’ve got an upgrade that would have cost you more than a hundred bucks. Don’t think this is the only difference? There is a bit of a difference in case design, but [Mike Beauchamp] also found that if you acquire a replacement driver for either model you’ll get the same part.

Audio Crossover Back in Service


Audio Crossovers are an essential tool for any high end speaker system. Because most individual loudspeakers are unable to cover the entire spectrum of audible sound as well as multiple drivers are, it is necessary to split the input signal into low and high frequency parts. When a friend of [Anthony]’s was about to send off a classic Klipsch AA Crossover to be repaired professionally, [Anthony] insisted it was possible to save some money and do it himself.

The oil can capacitors of the Crossover had gone bad, so a new set of metalized polypropylene capacitors were ordered to pick up the task. After carefully removing the old caps, [Anthony] assembled the new set on a breadboard, and mounted the board to the old Crossover base (along with some tasteful McDonalds straw spacers). The entire process is detailed on his blog, and we are sure his friend saved a good deal by this home repair method. Capacitor issues are a common problem in repairing electronics new and old alike, and always a great place to start looking when devices start acting funny.

Singing: With Plasma!

While there are many ways to produce audible sound, Plasma Speakers have to be one of the coolest. Usually very complex and expensive, we received a tip for a beginners guide to making one of these impressive novelties. Handily included are a set of schematics (one very simple schematic, the other with a few artistic illustrations). There are also a set of warnings, which include sound advice to mind the heat generated by the MOSFETs, as well as making sure that your input signal isn’t too strong. The finished product is fun to listen to, so be sure to check out the example video after the break.

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