Tiki Bluetooth Speakers

Active bookshelf loudspeakers in the shape of small tiki statues. Bluetooth enabled.

Currently under construction (as of 8/20/17).

Background

My first entry for my Etsy shop, a Kids' Play Table and Stools, went nowhere. People liked it, but it was too expensive for what it was, even though I had been trying to make it smaller and more accessible. I realized that it was too similar to other items which can be found much more cheaply at places like Target or IKEA, and I needed to be targeting a different market.

I need to be making one-of-a-kind items for my store - things that you can't get anywhere else at any price. I don't remember where I got the idea, but I was wishing I had some active (powered) bluetooth speakers for my own use and somehow the idea of having one carved as a tiki popped into my brain. Maybe I was inspired by the animatronics at Trader Sam's in the Disneyland Hotel.

Design

Visual

Tikis often have huge, menacing mouths and I realized a small woofer would fit in there just fine. The eyes are trickier — as I scanned lots of photos, I noticed that they're usually squinting or bulging outward which doesn't fit with having a tweeter inside them.

Tiki Eyes are Tricky

As I've stated, most tikis have squinting eyes and I was going to have them open up somehow if I was going to put a tweeter in them and leave room for the sound to propagate. Now that I've though about it more, it would have been an option to leave the eyes bulging out and use some sort of dark mesh to conceal a small tweeter right behind it, but that would still present difficulties in the speaker design. Even with the woofer and tweeter mounted on the same plane, the tweeter's acoustic center is further forward than the woofer's and this would make that situation even worse.

Acoustic/Electronic

Initially I was not going to have the tweeter mounted on the same plane as the woofer. I was going to use a small dome tweeter without a faceplate and bring it closer to the listener so that it wouldn't be obscured by the carving around the tiki eyes. So I was leaning towards a 3rd-order Butterworth filter and would hook up the polarities to ensure that the 15° lobe was facing upward to couteract the downward tilt of the woofer-tweeter pair.

I softened that constraint for several reasons. One is that I wasn't sold on the faceplate-less soft domes I was finding. Also, I realized that using a 3rd-order filter was going to drive the price of the speaker up that much more compared to a 2nd-order one, and I wanted to keep costs down as much as possible. Lastly, I realized that I was going to be horn-loading this dome to some extent, and if anything that would push its acoustic center back. So now I'm using a 2nd-order L-R crossover @2500Hz.

Skills used: 3D CAD design, Woodworking, Loudspeaker Design

This page last modified: June 07, 2019