The Rubik’s Rocks
August 15, 2011 | 2:07 am UTC

The iconic ’80s puzzle Rubik’s Cube does double-duty as a subwoofer.

Paisley used MDF for the tiles on his subwoofer because of its acoustic and durability attributes.

Zachary Paisley needed a subwoofer to complete his new home theatre. But being strapped for cash, he decided he would make his own. Instead of following current trends and designing it to blend into the background, he wanted to make it a centerpiece. A Rubik’s Cube was the perfect “solution.”

“It was on my way to work, passing by a toy store in Harvard Square (Boston) and seeing jigsaw puzzles, that the idea of a Rubik’s Cube sub came to me,” says Paisley. “After that, there was no turning back.”

Paisley says the key to the building process is choosing the right driver to build around. “Different drivers and driver types are going to produce different qualities,” he says. “The key to a successful sub is building an enclosure that will enhance those qualities.” He also stresses the importance of calculating volume, displacement and clearance figures of the driver before constructing the base box.

The base box needs to be heavy and sturdy enough to handle the immense pressure and vibrations coming from the sound waves of the driver, Paisley says. He used butt joints when constructing his, but adds that dovetails can also be used. “Regardless, all joints need to be sealed entirely with glue so that no air may leak through,” he says.

The outer skeleton of the sub is made with MDF tiles rounded over with a router and made to look like the squares of the toy. Then, each square is painted. Paisley recommends automotive grade paint. Finally, the box is stuffed with poly-fil, and the amplifier and driver cutout are sealed with gasket tape and screwed on.

At the moment, making the subwoofer is purely a hobby for Paisley. “I have daydreamed of perhaps starting a business making my sculptured-speakers,” he says. “I’ve actually drawn up plans for Legos, Poker Chips, PEZ dispensers and classic vending machines. It really is a full-time job making these; my Cube took the better part of three months [to make].”

As for why the subwoofer features the puzzle in its solved form, Paisley says that was the $64,000 question during the building process.

“I wanted to make it solved from the get-go, just because I knew it was going to bug the hell out of me to see it unsolved, just like it did when I was a kid and I couldn’t solve it in its miniature form.”

To learn more about the Rubik’s Cube subwoofer and its construction, visit

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.