You may have noticed that the popularity of smartphones has led to an explosion in the home speaker industry. That’s not to say home speakers weren’t popular before. But 15 years ago the very idea of a “home speaker” would have made you think either of a boom box or a bulky surround sound system attached to your television or CD player. Now, a home speaker can be the size of a cucumber (or larger), and can pair with your phone to provide sound that easily fills a room or an entire home.
In some cases, such as with the Beats Pill or Bose SoundLink Mini, these Bluetooth speakers are portable, relatively small and still able to provide strong sound. In others, like the Sonos Playbase, a wireless speaker can sound like a home theater in a box. There’s a lot of variety and plenty of excellent sound to be enjoyed.
Another reason this trend has emerged is that we’re not using our mobile phone speakers for just the occasional playlist. We’re also streaming content, and even playing games with robust audio tracks that are more fun on quality speakers. Indie mobile games are often praised for visual and audio quality, and the popular casino gaming industry has started to make use of characters and stories from pop culture in its game design. And that means there are often fun musical themes. These games, as well as all our favorite streaming shows and movies, all sound better on high quality speakers.
That said, Bluetooth has also gotten us into some unnecessary habits. Streaming content or playing a game is one thing, but if you do just happen to be listening to a playlist (or a podcast, for that matter) at home, you’re usually fine leaving your phone in one place and wandering about. And expensive Bluetooth options can be unnecessary for this. As an alternative, you can actually make your own wireless smartphone speakers out of wood and enjoy surprisingly good sound quality.
All it takes, in addition to basic tools and wood glue, is three identical slabs of wood, preferably 10-12 inches long and about six inches tall. You can find specific measurement recommendations and thorough instructions online, but the basic idea is simple. The first board makes the base and you’ll leave it as is. The second is the front and you’ll cut it in three places: once in the center at the top, and once on each side. The top cut is essentially an indentation where you will set your phone; the side cuts are circles that function as speakers. In the final board you will cut an outline made to fit along the perimeter edges of the second board (with a small hole allowed in the portion under the center cut—this is where your phone’s speakers will be situated). Then you’re all done! The perimeter outline is attached in between the base and front boards to provide a sea
led interior where the sound can be trapped and amplified.
It’s not as functional as a Bluetooth speaker when it comes to movies and games (because you need to dock your phone). But when it comes to a strong home audio experience, you may be shocked at how much this frugal, DIY solution can do for you.