How to Build a DIY Speaker System With Parts You Already Have

Building your own speaker system can be a fun and rewarding DIY project. With a little bit of knowledge, you can put together a great sounding system using spare parts and components you have around the house. Here's how to build your own DIY speaker system on a budget.

Gather Your Materials

The first step is taking inventory of the materials you have on hand that can be repurposed into speaker components.

Old Speakers

If you have some old bookshelf speakers or computer speakers lying around, you can harvest the individual drivers from them. This includes the woofer, tweeter, and passive crossover.


You'll need some sort of amplifier to power the speakers. This could be a small stereo amplifier, home theater receiver, or even a computer sound card if it has an analog output.

Speaker Wire

You'll need regular speaker wire to connect the drivers to your amplifier. Standard 16 or 18 gauge will work fine.


The enclosure or cabinet is crucial for controlling sound quality. Look for materials like MDF wood, plyboard, plastic bins or other containers to house your speakers.

Other Supplies

Sandpaper, wood glue, screws, and polyurethane may be needed to build and finish the enclosure. Soldering equipment is handy for wiring crossovers.

Design the Enclosure

The enclosure contains and isolates the backwave from the frontwave produced by the driver. Well-built boxes minimize distortion and improve bass response.

Look Up Recommended Dimensions

The proper internal volume (size) for the enclosure depends on the driver specs. Look up the recommended enclosure design for your woofer. Too small and it can sound boomy. Too large and bass response suffers.

Ported vs Sealed Enclosure

Ports or vent holes can boost bass response, but require more precise box tuning. Sealed boxes are easier to build but provide less low-end extension.

Calculate Volume

Use the internal width x height x depth to calculate total volume inside the enclosure. Leave some extra room for bracing and driver displacement.

Build the Box

Cut out panels from MDF or plywood, joining them with wood glue and screws. Use caulk to seal all seams airtight.

Crossover and Wiring

The passive crossover splits the audio signal into different frequency ranges for the woofer and tweeter.

Simple First Order Crossover

A cheap and easy way is using a single capacitor for the tweeter and an inductor for the woofer. Select appropriate component values based on the driver specs.

Complex Crossovers

More elaborate multi-component crossovers better optimize the transition between drivers. Reuse crossovers from salvaged speakers or design your own.

Connect Drivers and Tweeter

Wire the drivers, crossover components, and amplifier outputs together using the correct impedance loads. Soldering helps make solid connections.

Finish the Speaker Box

Apply some finish to the wood to protect it from scuffs and scratches.

Sand Edges and Surface

Lightly sand any rough edges and surfaces to prep for finishing. Wipe with a dry cloth to remove dust.

Apply Paint, Stain, or Polyurethane

Spray paint is quick and easy but can look messy. Wood stain offers a richer look. Or use polyurethane for a durable clear coat. Apply in thin layers, lightly sanding between each coat.

Install Grills

Grills protect the driver cones and improve aesthetics. Use stock grills from the original speakers or fabricate your own from perforated metal, plastic, or cloth.

Testing and Optimization

It's time to hook up your finished speakers and see how they sound! Here are some tips for getting the best performance.

Enjoy the satisfaction of creating your very own custom speakers! Once you get hooked, the possibilities are endless for designing speakers that look and sound exactly how you want.