I’ve been using a portable Bluetooth speaker in the Airstream, but with as much time as I’m spending in there these days, it’s time for something a little more “serious.” The 5.25″ speakers from 1972 are unlistenable, and I really wanted to keep the original trim (the speaker covers), so I hopped online to research car speakers that would work. I didn’t need anything “crazy,” and was happy to find a set of Infinity car speakers (REF-5022cfx) with great reviews for $50.
When they arrived, I placed them in the original speaker housing, and while the diameter was a perfect fit, the “tweeter” portion of the speaker protruded too far from the “woofer” portion, and thus pressed up against the grill of the housing. This was a pretty easy fix, but it did take a little while to scavenge the perfect objects to use for stand-offs/spacers (rubber grommets). I tried both plastic and rubber, and rubber was definitely the way to go. Not only does it have some give, but it also helps reduce vibration between the speaker and housing. I also ended up using rubber washers to replace the original nuts that hold the speakers in place.
The new speakers were already quite a bit deeper than the originals (larger magnets, deeper cone, additional tweeter component, etc.), so I knew I would need to cut away quite a bit of the insulation behind the speaker housing to accommodate the new speaker depth. I cut away the existing 1.5 inches of polyiso insulation, then TremPro’d a 1/2″ sheet of polyiso panel to the exterior skin behind the speaker hole and sealed everything back up with 3M foil tape to make sure there wouldn’t be any drafts from behind the speaker grates.
Because all this insulation is foil-faced, and since I used foil tape to seal everything up, I made sure to cover the posts on the speaker with electric tape so there wouldn’t be any metal-on-metal contact.
Before placing the speakers back in the wall, I hooked them up to take a listen, and was extremely disappointed by the thin sound, especially since so many of the reviews specifically commented on how great the bass was for these 5.25″ speakers. I realized that actually placing them on/in the wall would increase surface area and create more vibration and reflection, but I didn’t realize just *how* much of a difference placement would make. They actually sound great!
So now I have permanent front speakers that I can use with my temporary audio set up (a 12v powered Bluetooth receiver/amp that I feed with either my phone or the television) until I decide what I will be using for the whole-house media system. (More on that in a future post!)