DIY Acoustic Speakers For Your Mobile Phone

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Audio has become increasingly important in mobile phones. A decade ago, when smartphones were just emerging, we didn’t expect much in this area. We could play songs out loud from phones (even before smartphones, in some cases), but we never really expected quality sound. That has gradually changed over the years, to the point that we’ve come to expect decent quality audio when we play music from our phones. And the improvement hasn’t reached a ceiling yet! According to early rumors, the iPhone 8 believed to be coming this fall will be upgrading its speakers for “dual speaker stereo sound.”

That’s a promising development, and is even more meaningful when you consider the fact that we no longer rely on mobile phone audio just for music. We also count on it for other forms of entertainment. Perhaps most importantly, we need good sound whenever we stream video content from our mobile phones without headphones, and this is an increasingly popular activity. Platforms like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, Amazon Instant Video, and countless others all allow us to watch high quality video content from devices that fit in our palms. And it’s always best if the audio can match the video quality.

The same is increasingly true of gaming. While some games utilize only the most basic sound effects, others employ audio as a means of making experiences more immersive. Something like a poker or blackjack app can now go as far as providing live dealer feeds, so that users can actually visualize casino environments as they play. This experience is further improved through the addition of quality audio that helps to heighten this sense of reality. It’s only one example, but a good illustration of how audio content in gaming can be as important as it is in streaming content or music.

The improvement of mobile phone speakers is terrific news in relation to all these needs, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money for louder sound. You can still significantly enhance the sound of your phone with some creative DIY. This kind of solution is mostly useful for playing music, but can come in handy for video too. It even works for slower paced games like casino titles and puzzle games. The idea is to build an acoustic speaker that your phone can slot into, magnifying the sound for a truly impressive result.

Photo via Make It Love It

How is it done? There are all kinds of designs out there for homemade, acoustic mobile speakers. But somewhat surprisingly there’s actually a fairly standard design that’s emerged as the favorite, and all you need to build it are a few woodworking tools and 11 small pieces of wood.

Your first piece should be about 12″ x 6″, and about half an inch thick. Your third piece should be the same dimensions, but from the center on the top you should cut out a hole the size and shape of a little over half of your iPhone. Think of this hole like a dock, where your phone will be resting while it’s placed in the speaker. Cut out nine smaller pieces from the middle board, half an inch thick in all directions, to trace the border of your third piece, including around the hole you made for the phone. You should leave only a tiny gap at the base of that hole wherever your phone’s speaker is.

Once you’ve cut out all your wood, glue the smaller border pieces on top of the solid 12″ x 6″ board, in the exact shape of the identical board that you cut. The result should be a 12″ x 6″ base with a border protruding from it, so your phone can sit in the space you’ve allowed. Then you should take the remaining board (the one we called the third piece) and measure to the exact center of each side. There you should cut a 2″ hole on both sides. At that point you’re ready to glue this board on top of the border pieces you already attached to the 12″ baseboard – and once it dries you’re done!

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You can find more detailed instructions here, but the basic project is pretty straightforward. And you’ll be stunned at how much the audio improves, whether you’re watching a movie, playing a casual mobile game, or just listening to some tunes.

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