Audio Two-fer – Sneaker Speakers And DIY Mid-Fi Woofers


Nike Air Force 1 shoes are probably some of the most well-recognized sneakers around the world, aside from the always timeless Chuck Taylor All Stars. So when [Alex Nash] was asked to create some art using something ordinary with a goal of turning it into something special,  he immediately grabbed a pair and got to work.

His vision was to build a set of PC speakers by embedding a small amplifier and speakers into a pair of Air Force 1s. As you can see from the pictures on his site, they look awesome. He doesn’t say how good they sound, but we’re betting they perform better than that old pair that came with your last computer.

When [Stacy] was in college, she didn’t have a ton of room or money for a nice audio setup, so she decided to build a pair of speakers rather than buying them. She admits that these “Mid-Fi” woofers won’t be the centerpiece of your Hi-Fi setup, but they still sound pretty darn good for $50 DIY speakers. She compares them to units you would find in the store for $300+, and they sound so good she continues to use them as a compliment to the rest of her Hi-Fi setup now that she has a place of her own.

16 thoughts on “Audio Two-fer – Sneaker Speakers And DIY Mid-Fi Woofers

  1. The CTC spacing on the sneaker speakers is attrocious. There will be horrible comb-filtering. But I doubt the response would be half decent even with proper spacing. That said, I don’t really know what the crossover is, but judging by the looks of things, if it’s below 6kHz there will be issues with a spacing like that…

    The mini monitors are good looking. A little disappointed there was no response graph, but then again that is time consuming and requires a calibrated mic. I would probably cut inner hole back more as it is likely to colour the sound.(IMO you don’t want it acting as a port with a chamber behind it, you’ll end up having strong resonances at certain frequencies. Not unlike how a guitar works.)

  2. Hi, I did the mini-monitors.

    Basically, the lack of a response curve is because I only have a couple of Sony Stage Mics, not studio quality. Plus, these were meant to be in near proximity to a wall. The bass frequencies are not the strong point, but work quite well when using on a desk with stands that have decent isolation. I used thick glasses, turned upside down, filled with open cell foam, and rubber foam for the speakers to sit on. They do best with acoustic, jazz, and vocals. The design is meant to work with the speakers which is one of the reasons why Bamboo was chosen (excellent grain and acoustic properties). I knew that I couldn’t expect to have great isolation for the properties desired in a speaker that size and with specs that would dictate a semi-open enclosure anyway.

    At the moment, I have it working in tandem with a 6.5″ poly woofer that handles everything 2k and lower and a 3/4″ ferrofluid dome tweeter handling 8k and north. The large enclosure is made of solid, straight grain oak and these minis sit on top with some foam tape to isolate. It lets this speaker and enclosure do what it does best. It is colored, but in a nice way ;) I use headphones for mastering and critical listening (no room considerations to worry about).

  3. @StacyD, Great explanation :) They turned out great looking as well. Anyways I’m glad their unique sonic fingerprint is working well for you.

    @ Dopestick, I get that it is art, but if they go that far as to imitating functioning speakers they could at least get basic speaker design right. Having less than 1/4 wave centre to centre spacing is nothing new. A single full range woofer could have worked just as well in those sneakers. I doubt it would have been any less aesthetically appealing. But it’s art, so I suppose it can’t be “Wrong.”

  4. Sorry about the double post. But…

    Bret! Wow those look great. Hi-Vi makes some great little woofers :). Which models are those? I envy your skill at finishing speakers. I have no problem designing and building great sounding speakers. But when it comes to making it look good I fall flat on my face. Great job!

    Anyways here’s mine with first coat of primer:

    With the finish:

    In my livingroom:

  5. abomination.

    first of all, that guy can quit acting like the sneaker speaker idea is original. second of all, if its an art project, why in gods name would you place the speakers in the most aesthetically displeasing fashion?

    props to everyone making their own custom speaker boxes though, keep up the good work.

  6. I think putting wildly unrealistic expectations on the otherwise harmless speaker hack built into a pair of sneakers (HELLO) is the most glaring mistake being made here.

  7. “Nike Air Force 1 shoes are probably some of the most well-recognized sneakers around the world.”

    Yeah. See also the World Series. And World Wrestling Entertainment. And many other examples of USAians replacing the word “USA” with “world”.

    Hell, I’m not even sure what “sneakers” are.

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