Record Player to Largest iPod Speakers Ever

November 8, 2006

Awhile back we found a good deal ($10) on an old Columbia Records Phonograph player that was cool looking, but not functional in the slightest. The speakers were blown out and the amp system was tube based.  It didn’t even hum when I plugged it in.  So I decided to gut it and add some newly acquired/free computer speakers to it, making it into the largest iPod speaker system on the block.

Old Electronics

Some of the original Electronics

The whole process wasn’t that hard at all.  All it involved was removing all the speakers and electronics that were in it previously, and fitting the new speakers and electronics in.  The hardest part was finding ways to attach the much smaller new speakers into the holes left by the old ones, without spending any money.  Attaching material I found include lighting fixture brackets and other random metal scraps from our house.  I also created some make-shift padding out of a ‘super’  rag that we hadn’t used much.

new Speakers

New Speaker Setup

I think the whole process went pretty well, and the sound quality is about as good as you would expect from free computer speakers.  Luckily I’m not an audiophile.

This week, I’ve been trying to use the old Volume controls to control the volume of the new speakers, with limited success.  The original setup has three knobs: ‘Loudness’, treble, and bass.  What’s really going on under the hood is that the treble and bass loop back to the volume potentiometer to mess with the high and low ends.  This is unnecessary and non-functional, so I decided to use the volume knob to control the left channel and the bass knob to control the right channel.  This works, but the problem is that the change in resistance in these two devices is apparently not linear.  Meaning, there is not much increase in volume until you get towards the last bit of turning, and then it gets really loud, really fast.  I’m pretty sure this is a problem with the potentiometers and not with my wiring job, although I was just winging it and was using probably the worst soldering iron ever created.

So, now the next step is to go to radio shack and grab some volume knobs that are actually made to control volume and were produced in the last decade or so.  If I can get them to fit in the same spots, then that should make my modification a bit more functional.


Schematics included 

pump up the jams

ready for jamming