Exotic speakers

Hello there,

Starting a topic without really knowing what to expect from it. I am playing at a gig outside in two weeks, and have to find some speakers. I can borrow some from friends, but I have been trying to transform issues into contextual challenges that impact (positively?) my music. So I am looking from alternative ways to emit sound. And, maybe irrelevant but still, I am playing next to a small gorgeous waterfall. I think this is awesome.

This is the context. I am not starting this topic to solve this specific question (although it would be a nice collateral) but to open a discussion about “exotic speakers”, DIY, lo-fi etc…, interesting things with a plug at one end and sound at the other.



If you get a couple nice surface transducers you can pretty much turn any surface you want into a set of speakers. Tables, the wall, panes of glass, pots and pans. The sound will adopt the characteristics of the object’s natural resonance so you can get some interesting effects from them. Very easy to do, you just need a way to securely mount the transducer to your object.


Any recommends for those? I see some for sale, but I also know you can turn a regular piezo into a transducer somehow.

A piezo is pretty similar if you just plug it into an audio output, just much weaker. I originally got a transducer to pair with piezo pick ups for turning random objects into plate-reverb-type-thingies and it can be a lot of fun.

Dayton Audio are the only ones I’ve tried, and they work really well. They have all their products listed and described here. What you get will depend on how much power you need and what you plan on sticking it to, but you should be able to find what you need there.

Also worth pointing out that you can essentially do the same thing by ripping the driver out of an existing speaker. But transducers are cheap so that doesn’t really make sense unless you have an unused one sitting around somewhere.

Specimen Horn Speakers

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I’m fascinated by horns. Not all of these pins are horns, but many of them are.

I’m especially intrigued by folded horns (typically wood) and perfectly smooth horns (often ceramic and thrown on a wheel).

I wouldn’t want to hike to a waterfall with a horn though! Unless maybe it somehow folded up? Hmm…

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Somebody has been much busier than me on Pinterest:

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You would have enjoyed this:

Ridiculous, but sounded pretty good!


Hemispherical speakers: http://microphonesandloudspeakers.com/2017/04/21/hemisphericalloudspeakerslaptoporchestras

Distributed mode speakers:

Voight tube speakers:

Dodecahedron speakers:


I’ve spent some very enjoyable evenings listening to jazz through a friend’s voight tubes. Excellent clarity and imaging.

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Leslie speakers are fun. I have one ripped from an old organ which i need to fix up a bit to make it more easily usable (add legs/a box plus I need to wire up a switch to change speed, it has two separate motors rather than an actual speed control) but my quick test sounded great. It’s basically a large down-facing speaker over a spinning polystyrene scoop, would actually be easy to build. some kind of motor/turntable and weird-shaped styrene or other material constructions to create different sounds could be interesting

Salut Harold :wink:

Fascinating topic; I’ve been exploring unconventional speakers in a studio and performance setting for a while now.

My findings so far – except for what has been cited already – revolve around speakers with a diffusor: take a regular speaker, mounted in a regular enclosure or on a large plate (open-back), and put a plate of metal/wood/acrylic on top of it, so as to block all sound (must be airtight). Then pierce a large hole in this plate, more-or-less aligned with the center of the speaker, but smaller than it. The sound diffuses at 180 degrees (like radio waves in a radar), and gives a very different feeling than traditional unidirectional speakers. I’m experimenting with hole numbers, sizes and placements and getting very varied frequency responses.

Also interesting (to me): dropping/attaching various objects (metal, cardboard…) directly on loudspeakers cones, or blocking the travel of the coil in various ways to create distortions/rattlings. Requires some assiduous dumpster diving to find old speakers to experiment with :slight_smile:


Oh, bonjour Matthias ! I was just reading your interview on Hannes’s blog.

Horns didn’t cross my mind but they’re indeed a great solution. + I guess you’d need less power to get the same dB. Reminds me of this great festival that took place for a few years in the French Alps called Echo, maybe some of you know it. I got some images for you :

12 tons horns. In the mountains. Here’s their website. I found the pictures on the 2015 page, which is also translated in English.

Wow that’s some great ideas. I’d love to hear how it sounds.


I’ve been reading about the various speakers used with the Ondes Martenot and I really want to try creating something similar to the Palme speaker. Has anyone tried anything like this? It looks like the transducers are somehow connected straight to the bridge that the strings are connected to, so they get a stronger excitation signal than if they were relying purely on sympathetic vibration.

I imagine a zither could work really well for this, but I’m going to try some experiments with my guitar and cello once I get ahold of a properly sized transducer.

EDIT: forgot to post this article as well–goes into much more detail about the Palme itself and mentions an instance of someone who seems to have created a similar device from a zither.