Recycled Leftovers

Recycled Leftovers

Scott Stillman

Project Category:
Freestyle Speakers

Project Level:

Project Time:
8-20 Hours

Project Cost:
$100 – $500

Project Description:
My adult son thought I had too much Covid Time on my hands so he told me to build a Speaker. I had a bunch of audio parts from projects not started or purchased too many. So began the Recycled Leftovers. The main part was repurposing a pair of JBL L26 cabinets.

Design Goals:
Create a great sounding pair of JBL clones, with-out the price tag. Use as much of my leftover parts as possible and keep the cost reasonable. Plus – have fun building them.

Driver Selection:
I love Eminence. The first reason is Made In America. The second reason – they sound great. The third reason – crank up the volume and they pound out the music. I selected Delta 10A because the sound curve is a little better than the Alpha 10A which I have used before, and they fit the cabinet.
The tweeters are 8 Pioneer 2.5 inch drivers, that have sat around the house for over 10 years.

Enclosure Design:
JBL L-26 cabinets. Purchased for $6.00 at the Thrift store. There was a single Radio Shack driver in one, but other than that the cabinets were bare. The wood in these cabinets would cost over $100 to purchase and then you would have to build them. They were in fantastic shape, a little sanding and a coat of oil.

Enclosure Assembly:
I did have to fill the 4 inch midrange/ tweeter hole. This was done with a piece of 1 inch pine and wood glue. I purchased a 2.5 inch hole saw and drilled the 8 Pioneer tweeter holes. I also removed the old cross-over ( more about that ). Installed new binding post. The old ones were spring loaded and falling apart.
I also purchased new front Grill Cloth. A material that is used in vintage style Guitar amps, simple in color, strong and see through, so the sound is not lost. This was a little difficult to work with but looks good, I need to work on the corner EARS. The material sticks up and out a bit. The old material was a thick polyester that looked like a sound baffle.!!!

Crossover Design:
I am a fan of simplicity. I built a 2nd order Butterworth at 3000 hz. I might change it later to 2500 hz., but will wait and listen to the speakers for a while. This has been my go to crossover for many projects. The inductors are hand wound from a coil of 16ga and 18ga wire. I purchase inductor bobbins from the internet, to help wind them. I also have a LC meter to determine the correct winding. The capacitors are Dayton Polypropylene. The old crossover ( picture ) looks like a simple 1st order low end and 2nd order high end, crossed at about 2500hz. along with a 8 ohm adjustable resistor for sound balance.

Tips & Tricks:
Projects always take way longer than expected. Even with the cabinets built, there is 15-20 hours into this, maybe more. Plan plan plan, think about what you are doing before you commit. If you drill that hole, its there, make sure its right. I stuffed the cabinets and the sound disappeared. REALLY. Sounded like dirt. Pulled the stuffing. I used metal screws and will need to magic marker the heads. So what !!. they were cheaper than black screws, you can see them through the speaker cloth. Go find some good cabinets at the thrift store and save yourself some time and $$. Did you notice I saved the old JBL Logo

Just finished them and they sound great, maybe a bit bright on the high end, but I like vocals so that is good. Nothing that the bass and treble controls can’t handle. They also look fantastic. The vintage Grill Cloth was a questionable purchase, but I am happy with the results. I would definitely do this project again, if a set of old cabinets come up. More people need to repurpose their leftover castaways. These speakers belong in a good size room as they put out a lot of sound. Eminence will always be my main go to driver selection. Made in America, and super sound.
New JBL-100 speakers cost $2k each !! Mine cost $275 total. I would be willing to put these up against a pair of 100’s.

About the Designer:
I have been building speakers for a long time. Nothing fancy or special. A similar project with old 501’s were repurposed with Eminence Alpha 10A and survived 5 years of college parties at my son’s apt. They are now great garage music makers. I also have a Home Theatre project called ” WallZ ” on this website. These projects make you think and test your building skills. But to me listening to good music and being able to play it loud once in a while is the goal.

Project Parts List:

Eminence Delta 10A Driver
Speak Grill Cloth – Burgundy 1 yd
Dayton Audio 4.7 Capacitor
Parts Express Binding Post


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