Want CNET to notify you of price drops and the latest stories?

It's a boom box. It's a vintage suitcase. No, it's a BoomCase

Sacramento, Calif.-based artist Dominic Odbert makes fabulous-looking portable speaker systems out of old suitcases. Each BoomCase is a one-of-a-kind creation.

Steve Guttenberg
Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Stereophile.
Steve Guttenberg
2 min read
The Silver Knight BoomCase BoomCase

Sacramento, Calif.-based "Mr. Simo" makes one-of-a-kind speaker facades out of old suitcases. They look amazing, so I got in touch with the company's owner, Dominic Odbert, to learn more about his designs.

Each BoomCase is a unique creation, so if you see one on Odbert's Web site that catches your fancy, don't think about it too long, because once it's sold, there's never going to be another one exactly like it.

Odbert's has a background in fine art, and he's been building audio gear since he was a kid. Odbert and his small staff hand-build all of the BoomCases, and Odbert likes to use suitcases from the 1930s or 1940s, though he also uses more recently made suitcases. Odbert reinforces and cross-braces the interiors of the cases.

Ever since Odbert started BoomCase in 2009, he has made sound quality a top priority. He uses very efficient Class D amplifiers sourced from a small California company, and he gets the battery packs from an Oakland supplier (BoomCases can also be plugged into an AC power outlet). The rechargeable battery runs for more than 10 hours on a charge.

Odbert told me that most vintage suitcases are made out of wood, which he claims helps produce a rich sound. The woofers and tweeters are individually selected for each project, though he uses a lot of new Sony and Pioneer drivers, plus older speaker drivers.

The Double Trouble BoomCase BoomCase

There are mono and stereo (in one case) BoomCases, though Odbert has made pairs of speakers from time to time. He will also design and build custom BoomCases to his customers' requirements.

As I browsed the BoomCase Web site, the BullDozer ($875) caught my eye. This 400 Watt BoomCase uses a flat 12-inch woofer, plus 6-inch woofers and tweeters on the side panels. It's wrapped in a vintage tweed striped suitcase with leather trim. The BullDozer, aptly named, is 21x21x10 inches in size, and it weighs 19 pounds.

If you're looking for something a little smaller, check out the Double Trouble ($500), which is fitted with an 8-inch woofer and horn tweeters on both sides of the case. It's 15x12x10 inches, and it weighs 14 pounds. There's a wide selection from which to choose.

Prices range from under $300 to $4,000, but the most popular models cost $500. That sounds very reasonable for hand-crafted, made-in-the-States audio designs. BoomCases are sold direct, and in a few brick-and-mortar stores.