US 3883195 A
A speaker unit includes a generally rectangular cabinet having a loudspeaker mounted on the back side of a front grill of the cabinet and a control panel mounted at the front of the cabinet at the top of the grill. The control panel is recessed inwardly from the intersection of top and front planes defined by the edges of generally planar top and side members of the cabinet. The top-front corners of the cabinet as so formed by the top and sides provide protective barriers against breakage or other damage to the various manually manipulated elements such as rotatable dials mounted on the control panel.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Walker SPEAKER UNIT HAVING RECESSED CONTROL PANEL  Inventor: Thomas A. Walker, Tustin, Calif.  Assignee: Music Man, 1nc., Anaheim, Calif.
 Filed: Oct. 5, 1973 [211 Appl. No.: 404,094
 US. Cl 312/7 R; 179/1; 312/244; 190/37  Int. Cl. A47B 81/06  Field of Search... 190/37; 312/7 R, 244, 257 R, 312/257 S, 257 K; 179/1  References Cited UNITED-STATES PATENTS 1,988,132 l/1935 Murray 312/7 R 2,218,052 10/1940 Rosen 190/37 2,580,916 1/1952 Hodge 312/7 R 2,581,967 l/1952 Mitchell 312/7 R 2,626,025 l/1953 Sherman 190/37 [451 May 13,1975
FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 570,913 3/1959 Belgium 312/7 R Primary E.\-aminerCasmir A. Nunberg Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Fraser and Bogucki  ABSTRACT A speaker unit includes a generally rectangular cabinet having a loudspeaker mounted on the back side of a front grill of the cabinet and a control panel mounted at the front of the cabinet at the top of the grill. The control panel is recessed inwardly from the intersection of top and front planes defined by the edges of generally planar top and side members of the cabinet. The top-front corners of the cabinet as so formed by the top and sides provide protective barriers against breakage or other damage to the various manually manipulated elements such as rotatable dials mounted on the control panel.
8 Claims, 4 Drawing Figures PATENTEB 13%975 V 3,883 195 SHEET 2 OF 2 SPEAKER UNIT HAVING REcEssED CONTROL PANEL BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field Of The Invention The present invention relates to speaker units, and more particularly to speaker units of the type designed for use with electrical musical instruments in which a loudspeaker is mounted within a portable cabinet together with a control panel for control of the loudspeaker from the cabinet. i
2. History Of The Prior Art Electrical musical instruments such as electric guitars are often used in conjunction with one or more portable speaker units. Each speaker unit comprises a cabinet of rectangular or other appropriate configuration having one or more loudspeakers mounted therein together with certain electrical components for controlling the speakers as well as performing certain other functions. The electrical components are coupled to a control panel mounted at the outside of the cabinet and including a plurality of knobs, dials and other elements for controlling such things as the volume of the loudspeaker.
Speaker units of the type described above are subject to considerable wear, tearand abuse because of their portable nature. The speaker units may be transported to a new location such as where a band or orchestra is to play, set up, used, and then turned off and disconnected, only to have the entire process repeated over and over. As a result it is usually necessary to build the speaker units in such fashion that they can be subjected to constant handling.
One of the biggest problems present in current speaker units of this type is that of damage or destruction of the various elements mounted on the control panel. For example, it is not at all unusual to have or more rotatable dials or knobs on the control panel together with a number of switches, jacks and indicator lights. In speaker units where the control panel is conveniently placed for both visual and manual access such as at the top of the front of the cabinet the various dials and knobs as well as other of the control elements may extend well beyond the outer surfaces of the cabinet. It frequently happens that the cabinet is knocked over onto the floor, bumped against another object or otherwise subjected to rough treatment and handling during use of the speaker unit. Because of the protruding control elements on the control panel the various dials and knobs thereof as well as the actual control elements themselves are frequently damaged or destroyed. Such occurrences not only impair the appearvance and possibly the usefulness of the speaker unit,
but may even render the unit unusable such as where a rheostat, switch or other control element is broken or destroyed. A
Accordingly it would be desirable to provide a speaker unit in which the control panel is conveniently mounted for visual and manual access and at the same time protected against damage or destruction of the various control elements mounted on the control panel.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION The present invention provides a speaker unit in which an externally mounted control panel is recessed inwardly relative to opposite corners at the top of the front of the cabinet to protect the control panel. The
protruding top-front corners are provided by a generally planar top of the cabinet having an upper surface lying within a top plane of the cabinet and extending between opposite, generally planar sides of the cabinet. The sides have front surfaces defining a front plane for the cabinet. The control panel is mounted at the top of the front of the cabinet so as to be relatively close to and yet spaced apart from as well as parallel to the line ofintersection of the top and front planes. A front edge of the top extends along such line of intersection at the opposite ends of the top before recessing inwardly to an intermediate portion thereof parallel to but spaced apart from the line of intersection. This recessed portion of the top facilitates visual and manual access to the control panel. At the same time all parts of the control panel including the protruding dials and knobs are completely inside of both the top and front planes as defined by the protruding corners at the top of the front of the cabinet.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The foregoing and other objects, features and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following particular description of a preferred embodiment of the invention, as illustrated in the accompanying drawings, in which:
FIG. 1. is a perspective view ofa speaker unit according to the invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a portion of the speaker unit of FIG. 1 illustrating the manner in which the control panel is recessed inwardly from the protruding corners;
FIG. 3 is a rear view of the speaker unit of FIG. 1 with two of the back panels shown in dotted outline for clarity of illustration; and
FIG. 4 is a sectional view of FIG. 3 taken along the line 4-4 thereof.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION FIGS. 1-4 illustrate a speaker unit 10 according to the invention. The unit 10 includes a generally rectangular cabinet 12 having generally planar top and bottom members 14 and 16 respectively and generally planar opposite side members 18 and 20 of like size and shape. The back of the cabinet 12 is partially covered by two panels 22 and 24 shown in dotted outline in FIG. 3 for clarity of illustration. The front of the cabinet 12 includes a grill 26 and a control panel 28. As seen in FIGS. 3 and 4 a loudspeaker 30 is mounted on the back or rear side of the grill 26. A handle 32 is attached to the top member 14 to facilitate carrying the speaker unit 10.
As seen in FIG. 4 the grill 26 includes a relatively thin, generally planar panel 34 which extends from the bottom member 16 up to the bottom of the control panel 28. The panel 34 has an aperture 36 therein through which sound from the loudspeaker 30 passes. A grill cloth 38 of appropriate fabric or metallic composition is extended over thin, elongated frame members 40 mounted on the panel 34 so as to be disposed in spaced-apart, parallel relation to the panel 34. The grill cloth 38 permits sound generated by the loudspeaker 30 and which passes through the aperture 36 to exit from the cabinet 12 while at the same time obscuring the loudspeaker 30 from external view and otherwise enhancing the appearance of the speaker unit 10.
The control panel 28 which includes a plurality of manually manipulated elements 42 such as dials, knobs and switches, forms the front part of an electronics tray 44 mounted to the under side of the top member 14 by an arrangement including a plurality of bolts 46. The tray 44 is adapted to contain electronic components (not shown).'Such components which are coupled to the various manually manipulated elements 42 may be used to effect control of the loudspeaker 30 as well as to provide matching, balancing and other desired effects.
It is the manually manipulated elements 42, many of which have protruding dials or knobs, which present a problem with respect to use of the speaker unit 10. More specifically in many conventional units the control panel 28 is mounted on the outside of the cabinet 12 in such fashion that the various dials and knobs protrude outwardly beyond the outer surfaces of the cabinet 12. ln such instances the various manually manipulated elements 42 and the knobs, dials and handles therefor are easily damaged or destroyed. For example, in a number of conventional speaker units the dials and knobs of the control panel protrude well beyond the front surface or plane of the cabinet so as to be easily broken if the speaker unit is accidentally dropped on its front face. Other dangers exist including the common problem of striking the various dials or knobs against a wall or other object as the speaker unit is being carried or transported.
According to the invention the control panel 28 is recessed inwardly relative to the front and top of the cabinet 12 while at the same time being disposed so as to provide ready visual and manual access thereto. The side members 18 and have front edges 50 and 52 respectively which define a front plane of the cabinet 12. The top edges 54 and 56 of the side members 18 and 20 respectively combine with the top surface of the top member 14 to define a top plane of the cabinet 12. Accordingly the front and top planes intersect along a line extending from the left top corner 58 of the front of the cabinet 12 at the intersection of the edges 50 and 54 to the right top corner 60 of the front of the cabinet at the intersection of the edges 52 and 56. The top member 14 has a front edge 62 which coincides with the intersecting line of the planes along segments 64 and 66 thereof at the opposite ends of the top member 14 and adjacent the corners 58 and 60 respectively. An intermediate portion 68 of the front edge 62 is recessed inwardly so as to be disposed in spaced-apart, parallel relation to the line of intersection of the front and top planes. Because the outer surface of the cabinet 12 is usually covered with a material such as leather or vinyl which is somewhat sensitive to abrasion and wear the various corners of the cabinet 12 have metal plates mounted thereon. Thus the corners 58 and 60 include plates 70 and 72 respectively.
The grill 26 is mounted within the cabinet 12 so that a lower edge 74 thereof is disposed parallel to and spaced-apart from the front plane of the cabinet 12 by a first distance. An opposite upper edge 76 of the grill 26 is also parallel to the front plane and is spaced apart from the front plane by a second distance greater than the first distance. Accordingly the grill 26 forms a relatively small angle with respect to the front plane. The control panel 28 has a bottom edge 78 which abuts the top edge 76 of the grill 26. Accordingly the bottom edge 78 of the control panel 28 is parallel to and is spaced apart from the front plane by approximately the second distance. A top edge 80 of the control panel 28 is parallel to and spaced apart from the front plane by a third distance greater than the second distance. Accordingly the control panel 28 forms an angle with respect to the front plane which is greater than the angle formed by the grill 26 with the first plane.
Because of the disposition of the control panel 28 as well as therecessing of the front edge 62 of the top member 14 the control panel 28 is readily accessible from both .visual and manual standpoints. Thus although the speaker unit 10 is often placed on or close to the floor or at low heights, the panel 28 is very easy to see because of its inclination relative to the cabinet 12. By the same token manual access to the various manually manipulated elements 42 is facilitated by such construction. At the same time the control panel 28 is protected by the protruding corners 58 and 60 as previously discussed. This is due partly to the fact that all portions of the manually manipulated elements 42 including the dials or knobs thereof are inside of the front and top planes. At the same time the manually manipulated elements 42 are visually and manually accessible through both the top and front planes.
While the invention has been particularly shown and described with reference to a preferred embodiment thereof, it will be understood by those skilled in the art that various changes inform and details may be made therein without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention.
What is claimed is:
l. A portable cabinet for housing a loudspeaker and electrical controls therefor, said cabinet having opposite sides of like size and shape with each of the sides having front and top edges intersecting at a top-front corner thereof, the front edges of said sides lying within and defining a front plane for the cabinet and the top edges of said sides lying within and defining a top plane for the cabinet with the front and top planes intersecting along a line extending between the top-front corners of the sides, a control panel having a plurality of manually manipulated elements extending therefrom, the control panel extending through substantially the entire distance between the opposite sides of the cabinet and being mounted adjacent and generally parallel to the line of intersection between the front and top planes so as to be manually accessible through the front and the top planes, said panel being disposed so that all parts thereof including the manually manipulated elements are inside both the front plane and the top plane.
2. The invention defined in claim 1, further including metal plates mounted on and covering the top-front corners of the ends.
3. The invention defined in claim 1, wherein the control panel has a generally planar front surface and the manually manipulated elements include rotatable dials which extend outwardly from the front surface.
4. The invention defined in claim 1, further including a top having opposite ends mounted on the opposite sides, a top surface coincident with the top plane and a front edge which coincides with the line of intersection between the front and top planes at the opposite ends of the top adjacent the sides and which extends inwardlyto a portion thereof intermediate the opposite ends, the intermediate portion of the front edge being generally parallel to and spaced-apart from the line of intersection between the front and top planes.
surface between upper and lower edges thereof and is mounted so that the lower edge thereof abuts and is generally coincident with the top edge of the front grill and the upper edge thereof extends into the region of the top and is parallel to and spaced-apart from the front plane by a third distance greater than the second distance.
6. A speaker unit comprising a cabinet, a loudspeaker mounted within the cabinet and a control panel mounted on the cabinet, the cabinet having an opposite pair of corners at the top of the front thereof defining an outer front plane and an outer top plane of the cabinet and the control panel being mounted so as to be adjacent and inside of the front plane and the top plane and to extend through substantially the entire distance between the opposite corners.
7. The invention defined in claim 6, further including a grill having the loudspeaker mounted on the back thereof, the grill being mounted adjacent and forming a first angle with the front plane, the control panel being disposed at the top of the grill and forming a second angle with the front plane larger than the first angle.
8. The invention defined in claim 6, wherein the cabinet has a generally planar top extending between and joined to an opposite pair of generally planar sides, the top having an upper surface coincident with the top plane and a front edge which extends outwardly to the front plane at the opposite ends of the top, the sides each having a front edge which lies within the front plane, the front edge of each side meeting the front edge of the top at one of the opposite ends of the top to provide the cabinet with corners extending outwardly from the control panel to form protective barriers for the control panel.