Author Topic: Iphone / Speaker console and Armrest  (Read 2062 times)


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Iphone / Speaker console and Armrest
« on: March 23, 2023, 19:27:24 »
I know from reading many posts on hear, there have been many different solutions to improving the sound
experience for music. Be it from adding period or updated kick panel speakers, to off the shelf Bluetooth speakers etc.

Until recently I was pretty happy with the set up I had with a hidden amp and rear speakers powered by an iPhone.
although I started to feel it needed something in the front. I looked at the kick panel speaker option. To find the
correct speaker covers was proving difficult and the ones that I could find were way overpriced. If I am honest I also did not
really like the look of them anyway. I was also reluctant to cut holes in my kick panels.
Therefore I decided to redesign my iPhone dock system to incorporate 2 speakers either side. I have seen a similar speaker positions
in Astons and e types.
The new design allows me to dock an iPhone, which in turn is charged and connects to the hidden amp that powers,
The speakers, components in the rear (woofer and separate tweeters) and 2 speakers within the console.
I also added a blue tooth module so that the passenger can also connect via Bluetooth.

Not wanting the iPhone on show, it is hidden behind a chrome speaker cover from an Aston Martin DB5. Simply open the chrome grill, dock the
Phone and close the grill.
Next challenge was how to control the music playing from the iPhone ? In the past I had used a steering wheel mounted Bluetooth
button to control volume, stop, play, FF and RW. It did work but I was never a fan of it. Adjusting the volume by pressing buttons was not
great. The rest worked great.
This time I built my own volume knob. A Potentiometer from AliExpress and a little help from YouTube, job done. I can now control
with volume of the iPhone with a period Becker knob. I also made a fader to control the balance front to back.  The Bluetooth button
used to play, stop etc. No longer mounted to the steering wheel.
All works extremely well and I am pleased with the result.
Sure there are much simpler ways to go with this, but I like a challenge. Everything is easily removeable. No drilling or cutting of
Anything was needed.
With that little project complete I thought I would start work on an armrest. The result of my effort is in the photo below.
Friction fit into the wooden tray. Hinges to the rear. It also has a wireless charger in the base.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2023, 08:02:40 by alpinaltd »


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Re: Iphone / Speaker console and Armrest
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2023, 23:45:48 »
Hey Darren,

Looks well integrated into the Pagoda aesthetic to my eyes.  Love the chrome speaker grill. It has a true retro look reminiscent of some older Mercedes.   Bravo!  I like the fact that it’s completely reversible too.

There’s a guy on YouTube who builds some amazing center consoles. Some contain speakers, storage, charging ports, cup holders, a/c vents, etc.  Like your project, he uses materials to match the interior.  It makes for a cohesive look.   His channel is called Meca Upholstery Tips if anyone wants to check it out.   

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Jack the Knife

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Re: Iphone / Speaker console and Armrest
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2023, 01:54:37 »
Magnificent work, Darren. I was hoping to do a deep dive into speaker solutions myself at some point, and your post is very inspiring to me!

Have you ever seen the 300SL/Adenauer speaker grilles? I often thought they might be cool to use in lieu of the rather ugly W113 speaker grilles that are placed down in the foot well. It also confuses me why Mercedes wouldn't just match the handsome wooden grille on the dash with something with a similar aesthetic down below. Looks like an afterthought.

I often think that one could get the chassis of an AC unit and retrofit it with speakers, perhaps using nice wooden grilles.

I've seen various period photos of aftermarket sound systems and radios and such often mounted under the dash, just like you have done. This one is by the Schaub-Lorenz company. They were a good manufacturer of transistor radios back in the 50s/60s that sadly has been reduced to a shell of itself, one of those trademark names that gets applied to cheap generic goods, like Westinghouse. How sad. Anyway, I think they and others like them look cool under the dash there.

I also feel one could sacrifice the heater vents for speakers. It's a nice place for them. Mercedes certainly made better use of the center console area on the 107. I don't agree with the material choices as they felt cheap and look cheap, but the design is pretty good. E9s, E-types, and the DB6 all used that space for some speakers on the sides.

Note speaker location here on the BMW:

Another idea I've seen on some Porsches is hiding them inside of the map pocket in the door. Underneath the armrest is a pretty cool stealth spot, I think. Only works if you have the superior hard-sided pockets, of course, and not the loose lame bags of the later cars. Yet another stealthy spot is inside of the seats with the escutcheon on the back working as the speaker grille of sorts. Unfortunately there just isn't a good place for tweeters unless, again, one is willing to cannibalize the heater vents. Lastly, should you not have AC, one perhaps could put some under the dash with some holes cut out of the underdash panels (covered with a cloth of course) to allow for the flow of sound.

Anyway! Can we get some close-ups of the knobs, please?
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Re: Iphone / Speaker console and Armrest
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2023, 06:41:12 »
I’ve a pair of tweeters under the original dash top grille….
James L
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Re: Iphone / Speaker console and Armrest
« Reply #4 on: March 26, 2023, 19:52:35 »
Jack, here are my iPhone volume control knobs as requested.