I’m a big fan of retro electronics and in particular old audio equipment. At the risk of sounding old, they just don’t make it like they used to.
These days, a phone can provide all the audio pleasure you ever need. But if you want it to sound good you need to plug it into something. I find that a lot of phone docks or small speakers used for this are not things I would proudly display in my living room.
So I thought I’d try and take an old school aesthetic and add some modern tech inside.
This was my starting point - an old radio found in an antique shop.
It was mostly in one piece but needed a bit of cleaning up.
Some ancient connectors on the side.
Big old dusty components hidden within.
I love this. I wonder how many batteries are made in England these days.
I had thought I might be able to use some of the original components such as the switches and knobs. As it turned out I just ripped it all out, including the big old speaker in there.
A bit of dusting was required!
Once I had an empty shell it was time to test out the new components. These are pretty simple - just a basic amplifier board with two small speakers and a larger bass speaker.
These were also salvaged, but from something a bit more up-to-date.
Then all that was needed to wire it all in place. As I said, all the old knobs and buttons are now redundant and we’re left with just an on/off switch.
The finished product.
New control panel and bass speaker on the back.
I decided to just get rid of the volume buttons from the system because you can just use your phone or whatever’s connected to control that. I find it a bit annoying with things like this and you have two, sometimes three, different places where you can adjust volume.
I replaced the knackered plastic strap on the top with a leather one.
Hooked up to my phone. It sounds pretty good I must say!
I’ll keep an eye out for more old radios. I think an 1980’s boombox could work well. Another addition could be an iPod dock - maybe inside where the tape deck pops out.
I’d love to make more of these. They’d make a great Christmas present I reckon. If anyone wants one, get in touch!