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  • A serious question of "Why"?

    This came up in another thread and I have been trying to wrap my head around it all weekend. It was said that a TM speaker design that cost about $1000/pair could hang with a $45k pair of well reviewed speakers. Now this is not about SIZE!!! I don't care if it is a floor standing speaker or bookshelf. My question is, if the talent here (and I believe it is) in the DIY community is so good that they can take a $1000 budget and have it sound on par with a $45k speaker, why buy $10k, $25k, $50k+ speakers? My reason for getting involved was I thought I could build a decent setup to listen to while I saved $5-$7k for a really nice L/C/R (I was was thinking Paradigm Signature). Now I am wondering why buy at all? $1500 in parts, pay another $1000 for a cabinet maker to do a professional finish, and I could have a system to that goes between a 2.0 and 5.2 at half the cost.

    Obviously people have different likes. But again, with $250 being considered top shelf tweeters, $500 for woofers, You could do ribbon, metal, whatever creates the sound you like and have what appears to be an amazing setup. Even if you had a budget of $750 for woofers, $500 for Tweeters and $250 Xovers, thats $1500 for a pair. So why pay more for less?

    For this discussion I am assuming the statement on the comparison of the two speakers is true, and I believe it is. He has both, so unless you have A/B both speakers like he has ( or even similar), I have no intention of questioning his statement! Listening at moderate levels of what most people listen to at home and looking for detail, clarity, and stage.

  • #2
    Re: A serious question of "Why"?

    Many variables.
    Yes many retail speakers have huge mark up, but some do not.
    A very over priced 45K speaker, may not actually be hitting in the 45K territory.

    DIY is obviously more cost effective, but speakers in the megabuck range, often will have specially designed drivers etc, that are custom made for specific situations.
    I would think about 1K in DIY stuff is closer to maybe 5K in retail.
    45K, not even sure, I have never heard anything that high priced.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: A serious question of "Why"?

      I personally don't think a 1000$ will get you there unless you are building a kit. If you want to design your own it takes a little cash and learning to get to a point where you are knowledgeable enough to design a great sounding speaker. I would bet a lot of us have invested a few $1000 by the time we get decent at design.
      It is still a lot cheaper and much more rewarding in the end than a $10k speaker though IMO. Also a majority of us won't have the looks of a $10k speaker when we are done even if we do have the design skills.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: A serious question of "Why"?

        Telling someone a landscape is a landscape as long as the mountain looks like a mountain will make no sense to the serious art collector, and that is why some people will spend above and beyond the price to DIY. It will never change.

        As a DIY'er, I enjoy the benefits of companies like Tymphany and Scan Speak selling primarily to non-DIY outlets.
        Don't listen to me - I have not sold any $150,000 speakers.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: A serious question of "Why"?

          Originally posted by johnnyrichards View Post
          the serious art collector,
          Much like the price of speakers, some "art" just doesn't make sense. Value will always be in the eyes of the individual.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: A serious question of "Why"?

            Originally posted by Ironman129 View Post
            with $250 being considered top shelf tweeters, $500 for woofers, You could do ribbon, metal, whatever creates the sound you like and have what appears to be an amazing setup. Even if you had a budget of $750 for woofers, $500 for Tweeters and $250 Xovers, thats $1500 for a pair. So why pay more for less?
            Because people who pay more for less don't know any better.:rolleyes:
            www.billfitzmaurice.com
            www.billfitzmaurice.info/forum

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: A serious question of "Why"?

              Many upper end buyers, hear with their eyes. SQ wise, I do belive the DIY community can more than compete with the commercial offerings. It is in the finish quality that many of those commercial have us beat, but then again that gap is closing as well.
              https://www.facebook.com/Mosaic-Audi...7373763888294/

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: A serious question of "Why"?

                The "Spirit Winds" seemed to be very well received, but I believe those were custom tweeters, so not sure they could be reproduced. Part of the reason for my inquiry is that, if I budget about $750-$1000ea for my speakers, I could get that "dream setup" by the end of the year. Less than half the time needed for the $5k - $7k I was anticipating. Obviously I would like the speakers to look good, but again with DIY you can choose whatever finish you want!

                My understanding was that DIY doesn't save you $ on drivers and components, the companies that make speakers get those at a much discounted rate than the public does. My experiences with lower end speaker (<$1000) is that they skimp on building material too, mainly plastic and particle board.

                I grew up listening to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, had Mo-Town influences mixed with rap, played in the symphony in college, so I care about how the music sounds across all genres, But now I am wondering if my plan to spend $5k on a setup, would I hear a difference, or could it even be better, if i built something at $3k?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: A serious question of &quot;Why&quot;?

                  You will always hear the difference even between similar priced speakers that have different drivers and crossover design typologies. I would sugest to visit commertial audio shows and DIY get togethers so you can develope a good reference to what's what.
                  Take look here for some ideas on the projects.
                  http://www.troelsgravesen.dk/Diy_Lou...r_Projects.htm
                  http://www.diy-ny.com/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: A serious question of &quot;Why&quot;?

                    @Ironman129 -
                    There is no substitute for hearing for yourself!
                    If can spare the time (and probably save yourself some money), one of the big DIY companies is Meniscus Audio in Grand Rapids.
                    They sell a lot of kits, and can probably play a few of them for you.
                    There are also some DIYers in Cleveland and northern Ohio, where you can hear some builds.

                    Other than that, the universal advise is "start small:
                    One of the top designers, Jeff Bagby says that these are pretty special, and everyone agrees:
                    continuum-full-pair

                    So you can get a pair of those, and play them (with a sub) as your mains, then later perhaps
                    you can move those to your bedroom or study and build some big towers for mains like these:
                    finalist-full-pair
                    or these:
                    statements-pair-p

                    Ultimately every speaker has a different sound.
                    Resist the temptation to think that one particular speaker will satisfy you forever.
                    You may enjoy the diffferences without thinking "better" or "worse" absolutes.

                    Hope this helps.

                    I think I hear a difference - wow, it's amazing!" Ethan Winer: audio myths
                    "As God is my witness I'll never be without a good pair of speakers!" Scarlett O'Hara

                    High value, high quality RS150/TB28-537SH bookshelf - TARGAS NLA!
                    SB13/Vifa BC25SC06 MTM DCR Galeons-SB13-MTM
                    My Voxel min sub Yet-another-Voxel-build

                    Tangband W6-sub

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                    • #11
                      Re: A serious question of &quot;Why&quot;?

                      Originally posted by Ironman129 View Post
                      The "Spirit Winds" seemed to be very well received, but I believe those were custom tweeters, so not sure they could be reproduced. Part of the reason for my inquiry is that, if I budget about $750-$1000ea for my speakers, I could get that "dream setup" by the end of the year. Less than half the time needed for the $5k - $7k I was anticipating. Obviously I would like the speakers to look good, but again with DIY you can choose whatever finish you want!

                      My understanding was that DIY doesn't save you $ on drivers and components, the companies that make speakers get those at a much discounted rate than the public does. My experiences with lower end speaker (<$1000) is that they skimp on building material too, mainly plastic and particle board.

                      I grew up listening to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, had Mo-Town influences mixed with rap, played in the symphony in college, so I care about how the music sounds across all genres, But now I am wondering if my plan to spend $5k on a setup, would I hear a difference, or could it even be better, if i built something at $3k?
                      The SpiritWind tweeters are not custom, they are stock Scanspeak Revelator 9900's. The woofers are Audio Technology 18H52SD midwoofers. Anyone who wants to pick up a pair of each I would be glad to supply them with the crossover used.
                      Click here for Jeff Bagby's Loudspeaker Design Software

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: A serious question of &quot;Why&quot;?

                        I have heard those $50K and up speakers. Various brands, from the 10K point on up past 6-figures, for a pair is where I'm coming from. Sure, not all the esoteric brands are not worth the price. Few are, but they ARE. Many are NOT...they might have good qualities, but my own experiences show that it's in the details of cabinet construction quality and the quality of the materials used to build said cabinet. Most here know of tarted up designs where aesthetics are excellent and that's where the bulk of the money is spent by the OEM. One retailer in this area touts their Wilson line up as something that you get your money's worth. Even if the price is north of 100K for a pair. I've heard them, with some high quality amps/pre-amps. No matter what gear was driving them, I could not find where the "value" was. Obviously people do, as they sell them to those folks Bill referred to as "people who pay more for less don't know any better."

                        Having been on the counter-side of the biz, you learn about people and what motivates them to purchase certain items or brand-names. What price-point they're comfortable with. I had a person come in and he said he'd been saving 10 years to get his dream set up, the Infinity Reference Standard system. The one with the two line array towers and the amplified sub. $50,000. Visually, it was quite impressive and the finishes were also top-level. And they could play LOUD with the right combo of amplification. His eyes were watering he'd waited so long to get that set up. How could you tell someone that we offered speakers that out-performed the IRS for much less, when he was so obviously happy? The Speakerlab K pair we kept at our location that my friend and fellow employee made completely stomped the Reference Standard, but it's about perception of value like Johnny and killa mentioned. To that guy, that was his own pinnacle of greatness regarding speakers. Just seeing his excitement writing a check for the Infinity, you had to be proud of someone who has that kind of self-discipline to save that much money for his audio "love". To him, they were the "best". He became a regular customer and we got referrals because of his enthusiasm.

                        I have a career's worth of notes on the usual suspects of high-end speakers, and the current notations during my visits to the two esoteric dealers left in this area about 4 years ago. It's a different landscape now with how they approach it and the lack of knowledge they have. All done with only the OEM marketing, no hands-on, no evaluations of build/material quality, and no measurements. They don't take speakers home to use them in their own systems, nor does anyone take any evaluation notes. I thought those things were what you're supposed to do so you can offer an informed opinion based on facts, not hyperbole and marketing; if someone is interested of course, not shove it onto them. The path to my own audio nirvana could've taken a different turn, but it all started back in the early 70s with Pat Snyder and Dave Graebener taking commercial speakers apart, showing anyone who'd listen where the inherent compromises are with cost-of-manufacture restrictions, and where improvements can be made so you end up with "better", both in construction methods & materials, and XO development. Thanks Pat and Dave for sharing your own passions with me and many others.


                        John A.
                        "Children play with b-a-l-l-s and sticks, men race, and real men race motorcycles"-John Surtees
                        Emotiva UPA-2, USP-1, ERC-1 CD
                        Yamaha KX-390 HX-Pro
                        Pioneer TX-9500 II
                        Yamaha YP-211 w/Grado GF3E+
                        Statement Monitors
                        Vintage system: Yamaha CR-420, Technics SL-PG100, Pioneer CT-F8282, Akai X-1800, Morel(T)/Vifa(W) DIY 2-way in .5 ft3
                        Photos: http://custom.smugmug.com/Electronic...#4114714_cGTBx
                        Blogs: http://techtalk.parts-express.com/blog.php?u=2003

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: A serious question of &quot;Why&quot;?

                          There's no magic involved in loudspeaker design. With current software and knowledge anyone can build a top notch loudspeaker - but there's no complete 'start to finish' guide that walks you through the whole process.

                          There's lots of good facts written by people like Jeff Bagby and lots of opinions that you have to make your own mind up about. Read, experiment and make your own mind up.

                          Why do I do it? - Because it's a challenge and I like the results.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: A serious question of &quot;Why&quot;?

                            I live in Denver CO now. Would like to go to some shows, just haven't made it yet.

                            Originally posted by donradick View Post
                            @Ironman129 -
                            There is no substitute for hearing for yourself!
                            If can spare the time (and probably save yourself some money), one of the big DIY companies is Meniscus Audio in Grand Rapids.
                            They sell a lot of kits, and can probably play a few of them for you.
                            There are also some DIYers in Cleveland and northern Ohio, where you can hear some builds.

                            Other than that, the universal advise is "start small:
                            One of the top designers, Jeff Bagby says that these are pretty special, and everyone agrees:
                            continuum-full-pair

                            So you can get a pair of those, and play them (with a sub) as your mains, then later perhaps
                            you can move those to your bedroom or study and build some big towers for mains like these:
                            finalist-full-pair
                            or these:
                            statements-pair-p

                            Ultimately every speaker has a different sound.
                            Resist the temptation to think that one particular speaker will satisfy you forever.
                            You may enjoy the diffferences without thinking "better" or "worse" absolutes.

                            Hope this helps.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: A serious question of &quot;Why&quot;?

                              Originally posted by Jeff B. View Post
                              The SpiritWind tweeters are not custom, they are stock Scanspeak Revelator 9900's. The woofers are Audio Technology 18H52SD midwoofers. Anyone who wants to pick up a pair of each I would be glad to supply them with the crossover used.
                              Jeff, For the drivers, about $350ea for the woofer, $235ea for the tweeter, is that about right? That's about $600/speaker in drivers, could you give an estimate on how much the Xover components cost?

                              Comment

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