How to Build a Stage Monitor

By Christian Mullen

Whether you need a monitor for your home studio or for a venue, you can make your own to customize its design and save money. By following specific instructions, you can make a quality monitor to help musicians hear themselves on stage during a concert or in a studio while recording.

Cut two pieces of 1/2 inch plywood to 17 inches by 22 inches, two pieces to 14 inches by 22 inches, and two pieces 17 inches by 14 with a table saw. When assembled, this will be the monitor's shell.

Cut out an area for the speaker jack on the back piece, which can be either one of the two 22" x 17" pieces you just finished cutting. Use a drill to make a large hole, large enough to insert the jigsaw blade for cutting. Insert the jigsaw into the hole and cut a rectangle or square out of the wood large enough to fit the speaker jack plate. You can place the speaker jack anywhere on the back, but most are located in the center. This plate can vary in size dramatically, but many are 4 inches by 4 inches. Measure your speaker jack and cut the hole for it accordingly.

Cut an area in the front piece to place the 15-inch speaker, which will be the other 22" x 17" inch piece you have not worked on yet. Draw a circle using a compass just over 15 inches in diameter. Attach the speaker using screws in the holes located on the lip of the speaker.

Cut out an area in the front piece of wood above the hole for the 15-inch speaker for the tweeter. Drill a large hole for the blade of the jigsaw to fit and use it to finish the hole for the tweeter. Measure the front of the tweeter for size, as they can vary in size from as small as 2 inches square for piezo tweeters to 8 inches wide and 2 inches high for high dispersion horn tweeters. Attach the tweeter with wood screws in the rectangular or square area you have cut for it.

Attach the sides and top to the back of the monitor with nails and glue. Glue the pieces first and then nail them to hold them together. Allow the glue to dry before moving to the next section. This will make the basic shell of the monitor, but leave the front of it off until you attach the speaker and tweeter.

Wire the speaker and tweeter to the speaker jack in the back of the shell. Use the diagram that comes with the speaker for reference. For most wiring jobs, attach a wire from the input of the speaker plate to the positive terminal of the tweeter and one more wire from the input to the positive terminal of the 15-inch speaker. Connect wires to the negative terminals and wire to the output of the speaker jack. Make sure you wire the tweeter and the speaker independently to the speaker jack.

Attach the front piece with the 15-inch speaker and compression driver to the shell you have made. Glue first, then nail the front on to the shell and use epoxy to seal any noticeable gaps.

Cover monitor in audio speaker carpeting by using spray adhesive to the back of the material and on the wood of the speaker box. Press the material down with force to make good contact so that the glue sets well.

About the Author

Christian Mullen is a graduate from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in finance. He has written content articles online since 2009, specializing in financial topics. A professional musician, Mullen also has expert knowledge of the music industry and all of its facets.