So as you know, I’ve been taking old radios and turning them into little music players to put around the house or give as gifts. Basically just keeping the shell of the original speaker and replacing the inside with new parts that work. I’ve been pretty happy with the ones that I’ve made so far but I think that I found my coolest radio to date. An old drive-in movie speaker. Like the ones that you used to hang on your window when there actually were drive-in movie theaters.
The speaker is metal and has a knob (potentiometer, whatever) already built in, so replacing it ain’t no thing. I also found a new (low powered) amp that can be powered with a simple USB plug, and even better, 3xAA batteries, giving it a portable option.
This was an incredibly simple project since the amp that I bought fit the original knob perfectly. In fact the most difficult part of the whole thing was just trying to get the damn thing open. Turns out that a lot of these old drive-in speakers had special screws that required a special kind of screw driver. A quad fluted screwdriver to be exact. So hot.
Since I see myself wanting to make more of these (I’ve already ordered 3 more drive-in speakers!) I’m trying to figure out ways to improve on this simple setup. More than anything I want it to be simple but versatile, which is why I gave it the USB power option. Because the amp draws such a small amount of power it could really be plugging into almost anything (batteries, computer, typical phone charger). I might even be able to fit a blue tooth receiver in it somehow, to make it portable AND wireless. That would be pretty sweet.
While I have enjoyed and am quite proud of all of the repurposed speakers/radios I’ve tampered with, this speaker turned out extra special. I don’t know whether it’s the retro look, the fact that I didn’t really have to change much to get it to work, or that it kinda represents the two worlds of film and music and fuses them together for me. Probably all of the above.