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Picture of Speaker Box to Amplify Tablet Sound & Vibrations
darch resonator-28 low res.jpg

Have you ever stuck your phone in a mug to make the sound louder? This simple DIY project works on the same basic principle to amplify sound from an iPad using a small capsule speaker, with a few added extras thrown in.

This fun piece of kit is called the "Darch Resonator" in honour of its creator, Dave Darch. It is a simple hack to make a basic speaker box, to mount and hold a small capsule speaker to use with an iPad to amplify sound. This enhances the iPad as an accessible musical instrument.

Using stuff you can probably find around the house you can:

  • Amplify sound from a small iPad speaker
  • Feel vibrations from the sound - great for if you're playing music on your iPad in a group, or for someone who is hard of hearing
  • Have a secure hands-free way to hold a speaker & iPad at the same time

How we use it

Dave realised that in noisy classrooms or performances, the small speakers we use to play sounds from iPads weren't really cutting it. They needed a boost and some extra amplification. Also, in that busy rehearsal space full of wires, people and instruments, it can be awkward to find a position for the speaker that’s safe and secure. The Darch Resonator takes care of all of that.

Plus, mounting the speaker in the Darch Resonator has a massive added bonus... it lets some sound vibrations be physically felt through the folder. This means it’s easier to tell when you’re making sound in a noisy performance and it is a fun sensory experience too. We use it a lot in our workshops with young people and it helps them to connect with the iPad as an instrument and to understand which of the sounds they are creating through this extra sensory feedback.

How hard is it?

Not hard at all! This is a beginner level project, with no special skills needed and not too much technical equipment to get hold of. We reckon it will take between 20 - 40 mins once you've gathered your materials, depending on how confident you are at making stuff. This could also be a fun thing to make with kids.

Off we go!

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
darch resonator-2 low res.jpg

Here's everything you need to gather to make & use your very own Darch Resonator:

  • Lever arch file / ring binder (if you buy one, around £5, we used a spare one, kindly donated)
  • iPad
  • X-Mini 2 capsule speaker (£12.99)
  • Compass (£1.50)
  • Pencil
  • Screwdriver - Cross-head
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • 2 80cm pieces of 10ml Velcro 1 wrap - double-sided to secure to itself (around £7 for 2m or £18.50 for a 25m roll)
  • 18cm x 30cm piece of non-slip matting (£1.65 for 1.2m)

(Prices checked online, April 2019)

Optional extras

As the old saying goes, there's more than one way to cut a hole... these optional extras are some of the other things you can use to make this speaker box. If you don't have any of these, don't worry... just use the stuff above.

  • Cutting mat
  • Stanley knife
  • Drill
  • Drill bit (any size)
  • 60mm hole saw drill bit
  • Splitter (which you can use to attach more than one speaker)
  • Glue
  • Elastic
Nice setup! Do you have a video so you can hear the results?
Drake Music (author)  Penolopy Bulnick4 months ago
Hi Penolopy, thanks! We will add a video, thanks for the suggestion!