Bluetooth speakers are a dime dozen, to the point where they’re essentially just a commodity item. But, the vast majority of the options on the market are boring rectangular affairs that will play your music and do nothing else. You’ve probably got a couple of them sitting in a drawer somewhere, and you likely don’t care if you ever find them again. This DIY Bluetooth speaker designed by Maggie Shah is far more exciting, and her tutorial will walk you through how to build your own.
Unlike most Bluetooth speakers that have forward-facing tweeters, this design incorporates a downward-facing subwoofer and upward-facing tweeter to give full 360° sound projection. The body of the device is made from a frosted acrylic cylinder packed with 40 WS2182B individually-addressable Adafruit NeoPixel-style RGB LEDs. Those give the design a really nifty light show effect that you won’t find in a dollar store Bluetooth speaker. Best of all, it uses NFC to pair with your smartphone, so you don’t need to fool around with annoying manual pairing.
The most important components of the build are an Arduino Pro Mini, a Bluetooth audio module, and a PAM8610 Class D audio amplifier board. Class D amps don’t give the best sound quality, but they’re efficient and run cool. They’re the same thing you’ll find in most modern solid-state amplifiers that aren’t intended for audiophiles. To assemble the project, you’re going to need some solid electronics skill and a 3D printer. But, the directions are thorough and should be easy enough to follow if you have some experience. Sure, it’s a lot more expensive than a commodity Bluetooth speakers, but when you’re done you’ll have a device you actually want to hold onto and show off.