Home Theater Forum and Systems banner

1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm very familiar with most brands of speakers, but I'm rather new to DIY and was curious how the value of DIY options compare with Polk, SVS, B&W, ect...

There are certainly a lot of variables and exceptions, but I'm just looking for some generalized information as a starting point.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,251 Posts
I'm sure you'll get more from your money with a DIY sub ...:yes:

Specially you can brag to friends and family about your build :whistling: . :bigsmile:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
59 Posts
Alex:

It's hard to beat that "Look what I did" feeling!
You're not likely to build something right off the bat that's better than you can buy but eventually you will learn enough to make exactly what you want. And that's hard to find at any price!

Steve
http://www.kn7f.com/Theater/
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
493 Posts
I just installed an exterior door on one of my rental houses.

Lowe's wanted $300 for the installation. I did it for free if you don't count the $100 reciprocating saw, the $300 nail gun and compressor and lets not forget the approximate 20hrs labor. But man, its in there perfect. Matter of fact, I now go around looking at all other doors and find that a lot of them are crooked. lol

On the one hand, I don't mind buying $400 in tools as I've been wanting them for years and can use them on other projects and I kind of enjoyed tearing everything up and putting new in and getting it perfect, but if it was going to be only a "1 of" project, then I lost money. I think that's how some of these do it yourself projects turn out.

One very good example of a DIY project that I thought went wrong was when Ilkka over in Finland (a very well know subwoofer tester) had built either one or two subs with what was considered a very good off the shelf driver and amp. We just knew that it had to outperform everything else out there. He was honest enough to admit that it didn't. Was it his design or the components, I guess we'll never know. But if he couldn't do it, I seriously doubt that I could.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
22,577 Posts
Good point about the tools Jim. I have added a few to my arsenal because of DIY projects.

I am not sure about full range speakers, but I would think many of those who have built their own believe they are better than anything they could buy with the money they spent building their own. To me... the best speakers I have ever heard are Martin Logan... nothing I have ever heard can come even remotely close to what these speakers can do. I don't imagine there will be many (if any) DIY'ers out there making any electrostats.

OTOH... I fully believe there are lots of DIY subs out there that will surpass the best of the manufactured subs dollar for dollar and even less dollar for dollar. The right driver and design needs to be used and they can do very well.

While DIY can be fun and give you that satisfaction of doing it yourself, there are times where I just ain't motivated to DIY and would rather buy. I have no problems being satisfied with products like SVS makes... they are very well built and solid performers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
316 Posts
Re: Value of DIY vs. Manufacturedhtttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn nnnn

Good point about the tools Jim. I have added a few to my arsenal because of DIY projects.

I am not sure about full range speakers, but I would think many of those who have built their own believe they are better than anything they could buy with the money they spent building their own. To me... the best speakers I have ever heard are Martin Logan... nothing I have ever heard can come even remotely close to what these speakers can do. I don't imagine there will be many (if any) DIY'ers out there making any electrostats.
One can engineer and build a DIY speaker using dynamic drivers that will match and exceed even the highest end ML. But most (even experienced) DIYers seem to overlook some of the critical characteristics that give a ML it's specific SQ characteristics, which besides it's rear radiation, has a lot to do with it's lack of resonances, thus resulting in extraordinary timbre purity of recorded material.

-Chris
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
15,054 Posts
Bang for buck if done correctly, DIY is better in many ways but as has already been said if you dont have the proper tools and knowledge subs like HSU and SVS are a great alternative. I think the key thing here is money, DIY can be half the cost for a comparable sub, that is if you dont count your time as money.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
22,577 Posts
I think time is something that is hardly ever factored in with DIY... probably because it is more like fun... at least at first I think it would be for most people. After doing it a while, it might begin to feel like work. At any rate, you have to figure that time you spent is what you are paying extra for when buying that manufactured sub. You also have to figure paying for those tools, which ain't cheap. If you have the time and resources already paid for, then it becomes economical indeed.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
I was hoping to find more of a dollar ratio of some kind...

These are the speakers I was looking at

http://www.parts-express.com/projectshowcase/impresario/index.cfm

Materials cost ~$160 + wood. Would the resulting speaker likely sell for say $300 each in a store then?

(Figured building a pre-designed DIY would be the best starting point, as then I could quickly get a decent starting point and tweak it to get a better understanding of changing specific crossovers, boxes, internal foam, ect...)
 

·
Plain ole user
Joined
·
11,121 Posts
There are really too many variables to make such a determination. Personal preference, materials used, marketing, reputation, performance, all vary so much and are hard to quantify in terms of selling price that it would be impossible to create a meaningful relationship like you are trying to find.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,585 Posts
I'm one of those that think you can save a decent wad of cash going DIY as well. There are many many many pre-designed kits out there that can be bought which, when you factor in just the raw cost, will out perform a store bought speaker.

As for a ratio -- I think it depends. The more you spend on the raw materials (Drivers, etc) the more you save by going DIY. I think I've heard someone actually make a 2-1 comparison at one point. Maybe less, maybe more.

I came across this kit on sale for $59 (from $164). It doesn't include the enclosure or the ports or some of the other small parts you'd need, but that would be an excellent experimental speaker I'd think.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
493 Posts
JCD,

Well, it would appear that there are varying degrees of DIY. With some, you get all the parts and you just have to put them together. Other's like the one you linked too requires cabinet building skills, tools, and finishing skills that can be a lot of fun if you do it right and it turns out nicely. I think the key here is can you do it well and would you enjoy building it?

I don't know about any economic savings. If you're only interested in building one set, then the equipment/tools cost would eat up your savings. If you're going to make it a hobby, be sure to guy good equipment.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
60 Posts
Apart from the cost of components if you add a tradesmans labour.
R+D
Marketing costs.
wholesale margins
shipping costs
the retail margins
taxes on the final $$$
+ who knows what else is added $$
I'm sure choosing the components well and going with one of the many proven designs diy should come out well infront.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,585 Posts
JCD,

Well, it would appear that there are varying degrees of DIY. With some, you get all the parts and you just have to put them together. Other's like the one you linked too requires cabinet building skills, tools, and finishing skills that can be a lot of fun if you do it right and it turns out nicely. I think the key here is can you do it well and would you enjoy building it?

I don't know about any economic savings. If you're only interested in building one set, then the equipment/tools cost would eat up your savings. If you're going to make it a hobby, be sure to guy good equipment.
God point -- it this i a one time deal, and you don't already have the tools, then the overhead is going to be pretty high. The first set I built, I borrowed the relevant tools. The sub I built was the same. As was the second pair of speakers. For the fourth, I've purchased most of the tools -- tools I'll mostly be using for other stuff as well.

Anyway, all excellent points.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
649 Posts
For my .02, I think one point of DIY is that it's better if you have enough time to do more than one. As with anything else, I think the first one or two are learning projects and then once you have some experience, you feel like you can really build that "one" special sub. I'm sure this may not be the case for the experienced wood worker but probably applies more to people who are doing it for the first time.

Bob
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
493 Posts
One question that probably should be addressed in this thread is can you buy the drivers, crossovers and designs to go into a speaker or subwoofer that the better known brands use?

I get the impression that these manufacturers have special components made up just for them and have an engineer come up with designs that don't follow the canned programs. Do they really have the "special sauce" or is it always off the shelf stuff??
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
60 Posts
Some of the big names in audio may produce their own drivers but many use of the shelf drivers.
Madisound is good starting place for drivers and the associated bits but there are many others.
Google diy loudspeakers and I'm sure you'll find projects aplenty.
Many of the diy suggestions are complete with driver selection,box design and crossover layouts.
Subs would be the simplest with a chosen driver then adding one of the plate amps which come complete with all the connections.

Some manufacturers though do have some stock drivers modded to suit.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
57 Posts
A well designed, well executed DIY speaker has the potential to outperform any mass market speaker. It's probably hard to draw a line where mass market leaves off and high end starts. There are some characteristics of mass market speakers that cause them to not reach their potential in sound quality.

A big factor is cabinet bracing. Mass market speakers may use thinner walls and/or fewer braces. Cabinet resonance can manifest as a sort of smearing in certain frequency ranges which may be described as a lack of detail or possibly excessive warmth. If you have the woodworking skills to build a well braced cabinet, you can address an issue that affects most of the speakers any of us would typically buy.

Because everything is a trade off, mass market speakers need to be engineered to be profitable at a given price point. Besides cabinet quality, driver and/or crossover quality may have to be compromised. A less than ideal crossover slope may be chosen to keep the parts count down and you may be lucky to get any tweeter padding.

Using a proven design by some of the better speaker designers (Zaph, Roman Bednarek, the guys on HTGuide, etc) built with good cabinets can get you high end sound for a close to mass market price. I'm in the process of building 5 speakers for HT, 3 Natalie Ps for the front and 2 Modula MTs for the surrounds. I estimate I'll have about $1500 in materials by the time I'm finished.

On the subject of drivers, it's true that some manufacturers use bespoke drivers which allow them to build 8 ohm MTMs where the DIY version would be 4 ohm. There are still a lot of driver choices for the DIY market that produce some great sounding speakers.

Jim
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
302 Posts
This discussion focuses on monetary value, which is the least significant variable for me. The value of DIY anything is in the doing. Learning how to build boxes and XOs, measure things we can hear, optimize our audio environments, etc. It's the time we spend doing that gives this value.

You can buy speakers, but may find the most fun comes from auditioning - I find that shopping is more fun than buying.

You can't buy peace of mind, but you can find a lot of it in sandpaper and wood, or circuits and drivers, or whatever aspect draws you in. That's the real value of any hobby, and that's what DIY is for the vast majority - what you do with the time that's yours, that no one else takes from you.

HAve fun,
Frank
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
493 Posts
I'm starting to see 3 camps developing. 1) Those who can't afford mid to high end speakers and would like to build some on a one time basis thinking that they'll get the same quality. 2) Subwoofer builders who over a span of years will build several subwoofers with the intent of building the perfect sub and 3) The guys who just love to build things and the object of their construction is speakers and subs. These guys probably have a lot of other construction they've done around the house.

I'd say that 2 and 3 are fine. My concern is for those in group 1 who don't own the tools nor have the woodworking skills that for a one time thing think that they can build a set of high end speakers. Sometimes we have to know our limits.
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top