Guitar Speaker Cabinet Actually Belongs In Garbage Can

Trash Can Guitar Cab

[Dano] builds a lot of guitar pedals and amps. He needed a speaker cabinet dedicated to this task in order to be a consistent reference when checking out his electronic creations. He ordered a couple of 10″ guitar speakers…. and they sat around for a while.

Then one day at the craft store, he stumbled on an inexpensive wooden trash can. It had a tapered design and came with a lid. As would any normal person, [Dano] immediately thought these would make a perfect speaker cabinet so he bought two of them.

The trash cans would be used in an upside-down orientation. The intended lid makes for a well fitting bottom of the cabinet. Holes were cut for the speaker and two terminal blocks. Since these cabinets would be used for testing a bunch of different amps, two different terminal blocks were used to permanently have multiple connector types available.

A pair of modern kitchen cabinet handles were used as carrying handles for each of the two cabinets. If a speaker cabinet one speaker tall is cool, a cabinet two speakers tall must be twice as cool. To get there, the two cabinets were bolted together using electrical conduit as an industrial looking spacer. Those brackets bolted to the sides of the bottom cabinet are actually Ikea shelf brackets that [Dano] had bought and never used. The Ikea brackets support casters making for easy moving around the studio.

Overall, [Dano] is happy with how his cabinets sound. They are very unique and interesting at the least. We’d be happy to play some riffs through them!

20 thoughts on “Guitar Speaker Cabinet Actually Belongs In Garbage Can

    1. That thin, not good without significant stiffening and adding a lot of damping material inside. that thing will resonate like mad without adding at least 4 cross braces to tie each side together. I would have also added a layer of asphalt roofing material, then a layer of cheap foam back carpet and then polyfill for good measure.

  1. Most of the basic guitar amp boxes that I have heard do the job ok but are not brilliant in terms of faithful reproduction of the input waveform. I can’t see why the trash can version should not be a good reference box (as long as you don’t put too much power into it of course).

    1. If you’re going to be comparing amps, it’s best to have faithful reproduction rather than giving one amp an unfair advantage because it just happens to sound cool with your trashcan speakers. It’s not objective.

  2. Having several panels of similar size, made of thin material will likely cause resonances at specific frequencies. Sweeping a sine wave through the amp/speaker would make the resonant frequencies clearly audible. This is a good hack for using inexpensive readily available materials for a different purpose, but I wouldn’t use something that had its own acoustic signature as a reference.

      1. I think I rushed that explanation. lemme try again. when it comes to audio equipment, a unique sound is prefferable. this isn’t just determined by the speaker itself, but the box too. shape, construction method and can vastly influence a final piece. if this we’re a stereo system I could see how the shape might be an issue. but its not a stereo. It’s a test rig for audio pedals. That’s the difference. It’s designed for the sound he wanted. so instead of complaining about the enclosure (which was the inspiration for this fine work) lets appreciate it.

        1. When trying to tell a difference between amps, a neutral non-unique sound is preferrable. Otherwise your test is just GIGO because you can’t tell what difference is because of the amp and what because of the speakers.

    1. Most, if not all, “classic” guitar cabinets have a distinctive acoustic signature, just look at all the “amp modeling” apps out there and you will see they all offer a variety of cabinets, 4X12 Marshall Stack being the most popular from what I’ve seen. As far as a reference cabinet is concerned, it is just that, a point of reference. If you keep the speaker as a constant and change amplifiers, guitars, effects, what have you, you can evaluate the differences in the variables. Trust me, you probably don’t want to do this with studio “reference” monitors as these sound horrible with most guitar rigs, unless your rig is an amp model! As a guitar player I am quite familiar with the subject and you will find loads of boutique speaker cabs out there which feature the acoustic signature of various materials and construction techniques, like box jointed pine or baltic birch ply, and can cost several hundred dollars for a cabinet alone, sans speaker(s).

      1. You missed my point. I understand how musical instrument amplifiers are made, and why. I’ve repaired and modded plenty. My comment stated that a component with a particular ‘sound’ of its own normally is not used as a reference because its characteristics will alter the sound of what you’re testing, obscuring what you’re presumably listening for. That’s what he built this for, a reference. It’s OK for speaker cabs to have their own tone, but you usually don’t want that extra influence when you’re trying to evaluate the sound of something else.

        1. A reference is a reference, it’s as simple as that. You get to know the sound of your reference and then you can compare other elements by connecting them to it. If I grew up listening to the radio on a 2″ paper cone speaker in a transistor set, then I could listen to anything through that setup and understand how it compared to the sounds of the “classic hits”. In a recording studio, Yamaha NS-10 monitors were the standard for many years despite their relatively poor frequency response. Why? Because everyone used them and they were a *reference* point.

    1. I don’t like criticism of comments since I think every voice has something to add. But criticising a comment criticising comments is a little hypocritical.

      So, I’ll just say “cool, thanks for sharing!”

  3. The non-parallel sides are a plus. Helps break up standing waves. Still they will ring like a cajon-box drum. Come to think about it, those dustbins should make a good one. Just put some ball bearings in a cavity on the inside.
    Jam out either way.

  4. interesting design, how did you figure the ports? hit or miss.
    These are odd enough they just might sound good. However it would make more sense to make them out of a much denser material like MDF the thin plywood is labile to resonate like a acoustic guitar., then again that would add a tonal quality to your sound unheard of before. I’d like to hear them because they are different.
    We took a sonotube and a dirt cheep subwoofer and made a sub out of it and ran it off the radio power adding a 30 HZ pot to it, believe it or not it sounded amazing for what it was. We used blanks from cutting sub box speaker hols out and made a back and rings for it to hold the sub and seal off the back wave.
    Carver’s Amazing Loud speakers used a 4′ tall ribbon tweeter and 2-4 12″ subs in a free air setup that sounded amazing if placed in a room correctly.

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