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Building a backpack speaker – Introduction

Listening to music while riding

While riding a bike around London you may notice that more and more people are now listening to music as they ride. This is something I have done for a couple of years now after discovering that having some music to listen to makes long commutes a lot more enjoyable, just as it does in a car or on the tube. Having a varied playlist of mellow and relaxing music to listen to also helps to keep me more calmer and less prone to those “red mist” moments so I tend to create a new playlist every month to keep things varied and always have music playing while I ride. Most riders I see day to day who listen to music will tend to wear headphones, I am not keen on this approach as I personally find that the wires to a mobile device in a pocket somewhere can restrict your movement a fair bit, and I don’t want to compromise on my awareness of my surroundings. For a few years now I’ve been using a handlebar mount for my smartphone and this allows you to play music through the phone’s built in speakers… This works well for listening to music on quiet roads but phone speakers aren’t loud enough to really be heard in heavy traffic and they don’t really give you a particularly good listening experience.

My first flirtation with external speakers wasn’t much of a success. I bought a pair of cheap capsule speakers from ebay, created some bike mounts out of an old GoPro strap and then plugged them into my phone. While it was a lot louder than listening to the phone’s speakers the actual audio quality was rather poor with no bass, very tinny treble and worse still they rattled like hell. This solution didn’t last very long as the input connectors broke on both speakers after just a couple of months.

After getting a little windfall at work and feeling a little flush for a change, I started looking for ultra-portable powerful speakers with good battery life and good sound quality. There were a couple of options from the likes of JBL and Beats but at this point in time they were very new products in a brand new rather market and they all had some serious limitations, mainly in terms of volume, bass output or battery life. You can pick any two of those criteria, but you cannot have all three. I searched high and low for months until I finally found what I was looking for… a compact, high powered, long lasting speaker with good bass. The only real compromise was that it didn’t have bluetooth. The Pasce MiniRig speaker was a great balance of power, portability and quality. Tucked into the bottle holder of my rucksack it instantly made the music experience while riding infinitely better.

 

 

 

 

Music while riding isn’t just limited to commuting though, long training rides with friends or the big social group rides like iBikeLondon and Critical Mass can really be improved by music too. Some very creative folks have gone to incredible lengths to build large high powered sound systems specifically for these events and the mood really lifts when these music bikes show up.

 

Why would you do this? trailer systems, Critical Mass, iBikeLondon. , small flat, small lift, started with minirigs, then minirigs in a backpack… as a  DIY enthusiast it scouldn’t be hard to build something a bit mroe integrated and more powerful… Compact lightweight (relatively) portably, multi-use, long battery life. look good.  How hard can it be?

Parts List

Anbee drone hard shell backpack

Bluetooth Amplifier

10″ sub

5.5inch full range

4 inch full range

fuse block

car fuses

voltmeter

call balance meter/alarm

usb socikets

switches

crimp connectors

18 gague wire

18650 3S BMS protection circuit

18650 holders

heatshrink

 

 

First Battery

The Speakers

The Backpack

 

 

Second Battery

The Lighting

 

 

 

 

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