Pinball Speakers


What makes a pinball speaker sound the way it does?  First things first, age.  Many pinball machine speakers  are pushing 20 years old.  Many are incapable of producing good sound, and some have even torn or have blown.

Another consideration is the quality of speaker.  If you compare speakers of the 1990’s to the speakers of today there is a substantial difference in quality.  It is clear as a flipper, a $2 speaker is limited to it ability.

The above Stern speakers are going to be limited to its high fidelity abilities due to several reasons, lack of surround/movement, power capabilities, and quality.  But quite frankly it is good enough to push the machine out the door.  But far from good quality.

A final consideration is a pinball machines limited sound production and power capabilities.  Meaning the speakers only reproduce what the sound board is sending them.  The only way to gain better quality is to add some control to the sound set up.  This is through the means of a crossover thus allowing only certain frequencies through to certain speakers.  Also the use of resistors to push power appropriately through the system.  Example the woofer requires more power than the back box if you want additional bass. 

If you are interested in upgrading your sound, you can attempt to build your own system.  There are many speakers available out there, just be careful of Ohm rating, wiring in series or parallel, and of course mounting.  Also be conscious of the limited power available from a pinball machine.  Speakers need to be somewhat efficient as to not lose the already limited power coming from the sound board.  For this reason, a larger speaker like 10” and 12” woofers are going to be less efficient and require much more power to drive, and likely to work less effectively than an efficient 8” woofer.  So play with different option but be very careful as to not melt down your game by selecting the incorrect speakers or by wiring them incorrectly.  There are many speakers that might sound good in one application but terrible in another.

To save the trial and error, there are companies who have mastered this through developing the proper wiring, ohm ratings, crossovers, and resistance.  If you want easy plug and play you can simply purchase a complete kit from a reputable supplier.  A good place to purchase a kit is they have been servicing the pinball machine industry with speaker upgrades longer than anyone.  Product quality is good as is the service.  Their custom made speakers are built just for pinball.  Another place that carries speaker kits is Marco Specialties,


Upgrading Original Speakers