These Apple-inspired Speakers Would Make Steve Jobs Envious


Reader [Brett] sent in the build log of his beautiful set of Apple-inspired computer speakers for us to look over. Having seen our recent post on DIY speakers, he thought he would throw his hat into the ring as well, and we’re glad he did.

He wanted a nice set of speakers to complement his iMac, but couldn’t find anything he liked that would provide the sound quality he was looking for while closely matching the design of the computer. The speakers are constructed out of MDF with CNC milled acrylic front and back panels. Hand-built crossovers reside inside the speaker boxes, which provides for a clean, polished look. He originally planned on building a pair of subwoofers into his desk, but ultimately settled on building a single subwoofer to sit on the floor.

The finished product is simply stunning, and we would have a hard time believing they were a DIY project if we didn’t see them come together piece by piece. Do you think you can match [Brett’s] handiwork?  If so, feel free to share your speaker builds in the comments.

14 thoughts on “These Apple-inspired Speakers Would Make Steve Jobs Envious

  1. HiVi B4N 4″ Aluminum Midbass Round Frame

    for anyone looking to make satellite speakers for a surround system or desktop speakers for a computer, the drivers used in this project are a GREAT choice. I’ve used them in some computer speakers using CNC rings to make plywood cylinder enclosures, for the price, these drivers can’t be beat. Somewhere on the web there is also a schematic for a notch filter that improves the freq response nicely when used in boxes ~1.5 L in volume… maybe I can find it again…

  2. Just a detail.
    The “greatest amp” + “greatest speakers” + “greatest cabinet” doesn’t make always the “greatest audio equipment”.
    Anybody with some musical and audio knowledge know that.
    Most times it make a simple audio equipment (sometimes worst), but always make the most expensive.

  3. Looks great :)
    I don’t think I’ll ever be able to match those construction skills. Those speakers are gorgeous. I’m not an apple fan, but still I think they look great. I got a new table saw a few months ago, so maybe in the spring I’ll have something that can compete with these :P. But I doubt it, I always end up with panels that aren’t quite square, or have a warp. Or when I sand it there is waves in the finish…

  4. @Fallen: You may want to review some furniture-building instructional videos, like the ones by Norm Abram. The techniques he and others teach can be applied to any sort of woodworking. Also, since you’re building speaker cabinets you can get some great resources from RadioShack of all places. They still publish a speaker building book that goes deep into the math involved in proper porting and cabinet size/shape, speaker types, crossovers and amps etc.

  5. Very nice job! Thanks for sharing all the details, it gives me plenty of ideas!

    @Stendall: Just a detail: not one word of what you wrote is relevant or positive, and it appears that you cannot even spell Stendhal properly.

  6. I have a set of HiVi speakers, and I love them.
    The only drivers I might recommend more for the price, are Tang-Band. Usually a little more expensive than HiVi, but they do sound nice.
    I retrofitted an old Harman Kardon computer speaker pair with 3″ Tang-Bands, and they’re very sweet.

    This build is awesome though. Great look, great construction, and solid driver selection.

  7. If I could have got the drivers in silver I would have. They are aluminum cones so they kinda fit in with the rest of the aluminum hardware,

    I wanted the laser cut acrylic and black hex bolts to really hide as much as possible and make it look very seamless and clean. The speakers are made from 6 pieces of MDF and after all the bondo and sanding you cant see the seams, even up close, so I think I accomplished my goals.

    Are they the best speakers out their? No. But they are verging on audiophile grade speakers and certainly the best looking speakers I can find for my Mac. Like mac’s or not (VM ware), milled aluminum looks pretty hot and these speakers keep my desk looking clean.

  8. “The actual silver from the speaker throws it all off.”

    I have absolutely no idea what you’re saying. What “actual silver from the speaker”?

    This build is insane. I echo Fallen’s comments, exactly. This guy took an insane amount of time and I’m sure used the right tools and best practices. Probably a sanding block for sanding, etc. The amount of patience represented here is astounding. Props for an incredible finished product.

  9. Their was a great deal of sanding. 3 rounds of bondo, primer coat (4 coats each time) and sanding by hand with a sanding block after the initial fit dry sanding was done. This made the top coat of paint glide on super smooth and require no sanding or gloss coat.

    Lots of pictures in the build log of the process. As I said before, I used all automotive grade paints so that helped speed the process and will help it hold up in the long run.

    I also ended up building a “dexter” kill room from 4mil plastic as a paint room for spraying the automotive paint with an air compressor. It’s alot more work mixing the paint and chemicals and worrying about drying times and what not but the results are worth it. :o)

  10. I don’t believe in single standalone subwoofers, I think the best way is to have a proper sized speaker that does the bass, and you need at least 2 bass sources, that thing that you can’t locate low sounds is hogwash in my opinion – based on experience.

    Don’t forget they also once said 128Kbit MP3 were practically equal to a CD and all you need, I mean we all know that’s rubbish too, it just shows how they tend to claim things when it fits what they have on offer. And yes it’s handy to have 2 tiny little speakers in many settings, and then just use a subwoofer as an ’emergency solution’ if you will, but really if you don’t have top then don’t.

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