DIY: Parabolic Speaker

By Steven French

Parabolic speakers are designed to output sound that is highly directional, meaning it can only be heard when you are standing in a specific spot. These types of speakers are often used in museums and locations where designers want sound in a specific area without it spilling into other areas. Professional parabolic speakers are finely-tuned and expensive instruments, but you can make your own simple parabolic speaker from common materials. When the project is finished, you will have a speaker that you can point in a single direction without much spill over.

Things You'll Need

  • Small powered speakers
  • Large plastic serving bowl
  • 1 inch PVC pipe (10 inches long)
  • Drill
  • 1 inch hole-cutting drill bit
  • Sandpaper
  • Hot glue gun

Step 1

Cut a hole in the center of the bowl with the drill and the hole-cutting drill bit. Rub the cut area with sand paper until it is smooth and free of jagged edges.

Step 2

Slide the PVC pipe through the hole until the end sticks out slightly higher than the lip of the bowl. Apply some hot glue to the inside of the bowl where the PVC and the bowl meet. Allow it to dry.

Step 3

Place one of the powered speakers up against the side of the PVC pipe so that the speaker points down toward the center of the bowl. Apply some hot glue to the speaker and press it against the PVC. Hold it in place while it dries, then repeat with the other speaker, placing it on the opposite side of the PVC pipe so that it is also facing down toward the center of the bowl.

Step 4

Drill a hole through the PVC pipe an inch below the speakers and thread the speaker cables through the hole and out the open end of the PVC pipe on the other side of the bowl.

Step 5

Plug in the speakers and connect them to an audio source such as an MP3 player or stereo and point the opening of the bowl in the direction you would like the sound to go.