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$$$ DIY vs Brick & Mortar vs Factory Direct

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  • #16
    Re: $$$ DIY vs Brick & Mortar vs Factory Direct

    What if we narrow the discussion a bit, talking about $50 Best Buy Insignia's and $10,000 B&Ws and the even bigger range of DIY projects is a huge topic.

    More specifically, how does the AV123 stuff compare to the PE kits (projects or kits that can be bought w/ PE Cabinets)?

    http://av123.com/component/page,shop...art/Itemid,37/

    They both seem pretty similar to me value-wise....similar construction and finishes. Assembly isn't an issue for me, so let's not count "labor" into the equation.

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    • #17
      Re: $$$ DIY vs Brick & Mortar vs Factory Direct

      In terms of money (and time is money too, not just the cost of materials) DIY is hard pressed to beat something like the very well built and excellent sounding KRK ST-6 that's $200 a pair at Guitar Center. You do this hobby because it's fun and you can do something unique.


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      • #18
        Re: $$$ DIY vs Brick & Mortar vs Factory Direct

        Originally posted by tubbsbright View Post
        What if we narrow the discussion a bit, talking about $50 Best Buy Insignia's and $10,000 B&Ws and the even bigger range of DIY projects is a huge topic.

        More specifically, how does the AV123 stuff compare to the PE kits (projects or kits that can be bought w/ PE Cabinets)?

        http://av123.com/component/page,shop...art/Itemid,37/

        They both seem pretty similar to me value-wise....similar construction and finishes. Assembly isn't an issue for me, so let's not count "labor" into the equation.
        the av123 tower is rated at an f3 of 48 it needs a sub it is a large box that still needs a sub.

        the doc k's have an f3 of 40hz half the size same price almost certainly a better x over.

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        • #19
          Re: $$$ DIY vs Brick & Mortar vs Factory Direct

          Whoever said that a lot of retail speakers gave them a headache; im right there with you. Its like people dont understand that super bright blaring trebble is NOT a good thing. I dont understand what is so hard about the concept.

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          • #20
            Re: $$$ DIY vs Brick & Mortar vs Factory Direct

            Your AV123 example looks nice. To make a fair comparison to a DIY speaker, you would need to see the enclosure construction details, the crossover schematic and components, and the driver specs.

            Without taking one apart, you just don't know what's inside.

            Someone, (you?), should do a comparison to say, the Tritrix side by side, and decide for yourself. If you are looking for justification of DIY, I can't help.

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            • #21
              Re: No resale value

              Originally posted by sbrtoy View Post
              One thing to remember about DIY is that essentially it has no resale value aside from parts, which means if you like having multiple pairs of speakers then have at it and tweak away, but if you often get the upgrade bug don't plan to sell them off to finance a new big ticket purchase.
              Very true. I think a lot of people see something handmade, and high quality, and immediately think, "There must be a way to make money with this." It happens to lots of folks involved in the hobby, and people around them. We hear our creations and think, "Geez, these sound really good," and they usually look pretty good, too. But good luck trying to sell any of it. Go over to ebay and look to see if any "custom made speakers using Dayton drivers" are selling. :(

              But DIY is great for those who have that "audiophile gene" (that's the only logical explanation I can find for people who have this obsession we do), and either like to tinker, or are willing to break out the power tools and try building something. I've always had lots of audio equipment around the house; DIY has just helped me have higher-quality stuff, and it costs less than I used to pay at the HiFi boutiques and pro audio shops.
              Isn't it about time we started answering rhetorical questions?

              Paul Carmody's DIY Audio Projects
              Twitter: @undefinition1

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              • #22
                Re: $$$ DIY vs Brick & Mortar vs Factory Direct

                Originally posted by tubbsbright View Post
                What if we narrow the discussion a bit, talking about $50 Best Buy Insignia's and $10,000 B&Ws and the even bigger range of DIY projects is a huge topic.

                More specifically, how does the AV123 stuff compare to the PE kits (projects or kits that can be bought w/ PE Cabinets)?

                http://av123.com/component/page,shop...art/Itemid,37/

                They both seem pretty similar to me value-wise....similar construction and finishes. Assembly isn't an issue for me, so let's not count "labor" into the equation.
                I've seen these speakers and heard them...the cabinet quality/construction is not as good as the PE cabinets. Considering the SQ, the PE kits have the edge AFA XO design goes...much more refined. Non-fatiguing compared to the harsher mid & high-end nature of the AV...typical of commercial speakers. The AV speakers aren't very heavy for speakers of that size, so that gives one indication of how solid the cabinets are built. Price-wise, comparable, but not AFA the SQ is concerned.

                John A.
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                • #23
                  Re: $$$ DIY vs Brick & Mortar vs Factory Direct

                  Originally posted by tubbsbright View Post
                  Love to hear all of your thoughts on a few things:

                  1. DIY is a way better bang for you buck than B&M, but only *marginally* better than FD?

                  2. DIY might save you some $$$ with larger tower-sized speakers, but bookshelf/monitors are pretty competitive?

                  3. A big material savings in DIY is cabinets but once you go the pre-made cabinet route it eats into your potential savings?

                  This is all assuming a straight-up $$$ for material/drivers comparison, and doesn't include any tools/labor.

                  You made it only about money. For me it never was. It was about my quest for knowledge, the love of learning, and the joy of listening to my own designs. This alone has more value than you can accurately put in material terms. My early designs were not that special, some were good, some were poor. My current designs I would put up head to head against any similar commerical product.
                  Click here for Jeff Bagby's Loudspeaker Design Software

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                  • #24
                    Re: $$$ DIY vs Brick & Mortar vs Factory Direct

                    Originally posted by sbrtoy View Post
                    One thing to remember about DIY is that essentially it has no resale value aside from parts, which means if you like having multiple pairs of speakers then have at it and tweak away, but if you often get the upgrade bug don't plan to sell them off to finance a new big ticket purchase.

                    There are some commercial designs with very poor designs and construction, but others are frankly amazing and involve a great deal of CNC/Finish/Material costs that justify their design and manufacture. It is really not that hard to figure out which are which if you do some research.

                    Factory direct is a middle ground, less resale and less economy of scale, but sometimes very very good performance.

                    I have a "factory direct" model that would sell for $5k+ if sold retail, I sell it for $2399. Search for Roberts Rapide if you want to see what component cost looks like.
                    is the Roberts Rapide stuff the same as Mark & Daniel?
                    if so...sbrtoy and the MD service center is right down the street from me here in Tucson. ZOMG!

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                    • #25
                      Re: $$$ DIY vs Brick & Mortar vs Factory Direct

                      Originally posted by djg View Post
                      ...If you are looking for justification of DIY, I can't help.
                      I've never heard commercial speakers that sound absolutely great, at any price. I've had/heard commercial systems that were fun to listen to, that were good for parties, that were great for home theater, that were decent for music, but far from perfect. Show me one that will fool me into hearing a cello playing in the room, or a trumpet right there, in front of your face. The only speaker I've ever heard that could make me think I just heard a real live trumpet playing right there in the room with me was a one-of-a-kind custom built omni driver who's only commodity part was the wire used to wind the bobbin. The cone was custom molded, the motor was a custom machined steel pot with a custom ordered neo magnet and a custom cut pole piece. Oh - wait - the enclosure had a couple commodity components also: sono tube and birch plywood. I suppose you could say the glue and the speaker wire were also not custom, but I don't consider those to make a difference...
                      "...this is not a subwoofer" - Jeff Bagby ;)

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                      • #26
                        Re: $$$ DIY vs Brick & Mortar vs Factory Direct

                        OK OK I get it...DIY is sometimes a better value, sometimes not.

                        I def. got the DIY bug, and at this point can't say I've done it for the $$$ savings. It'd be nice to someday say "I spent $500 on this speaker, and it sounds and looks as good as this $2000 speaker", but I'm not quite there yet.

                        Part of the appeal of DIY to me is knowing exactly what you're paying for...you get full driver specs, details on all the crossover parts, and know exactly what the cabinet is made of...there's no guessing at what crap they might have thrown together for a commercial speaker.

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                        • #27
                          Re: $$$ DIY vs Brick & Mortar vs Factory Direct

                          Originally posted by critofur View Post
                          I've never heard commercial speakers that sound absolutely great, at any price. I've had/heard commercial systems that were fun to listen to, that were good for parties, that were great for home theater, that were decent for music, but far from perfect. Show me one that will fool me into hearing a cello playing in the room, or a trumpet right there, in front of your face. The only speaker I've ever heard that could make me think I just heard a real live trumpet playing right there in the room with me was a one-of-a-kind custom built omni driver who's only commodity part was the wire used to wind the bobbin. The cone was custom molded, the motor was a custom machined steel pot with a custom ordered neo magnet and a custom cut pole piece. Oh - wait - the enclosure had a couple commodity components also: sono tube and birch plywood. I suppose you could say the glue and the speaker wire were also not custom, but I don't consider those to make a difference...
                          You really need to hear Salk Sound's version of Jeff Bagby's design that debuted in Richmond InDIYana last spring. It sounded like Doc Severinson was in the room with us!!!
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                          • #28
                            Re: No resale value

                            Originally posted by undefinition View Post
                            ...DIY is great for those who have that "audiophile gene" (that's the only logical explanation I can find for people who have this obsession we do)...
                            Well Put Undefinition, I've had the "audiophile gene" since I was a kid and experienced music through a great system (my dad's Telefunken system he pieced together as he served in the Army in Germany in the late 60's early 70's).

                            I don't count the time spent with a $ figure because it's great HOBBY. I learn something cool just about every time I get an idea and try to see it through to fruition. Time-invested most always pays itself back several times over with knowlege gained and at some point, some really, really nice sounding speaks!

                            When you compare in the experience of crafting your own speakers to buying speakers premade, there really is no comparison, DIY wins easily for me!

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Re: No resale value

                              Originally posted by Sooper View Post
                              Well Put Undefinition, I've had the "audiophile gene" since I was a kid and experienced music through a great system (my dad's Telefunken system he pieced together as he served in the Army in Germany in the late 60's early 70's).

                              I don't count the time spent with a $ figure because it's great HOBBY. I learn something cool just about every time I get an idea and try to see it through to fruition. Time-invested most always pays itself back several times over with knowlege gained and at some point, some really, really nice sounding speaks!

                              When you compare in the experience of crafting your own speakers to buying speakers premade, there really is no comparison, DIY wins easily for me!

                              It is a good point. I built an Oak staircase. I think speaker building help a lot to make it. I spent 1100 in oak to make the staircase. I only miscut 1 piece of oak a 3 dollar spindle. I know speaker building was the reason for such accurate cutting of wood. My neighbor paid over 5k to have his built.
                              I put down a prefinished wood floor from home depot. It was oak and I spent days matching the stain of the oak stair case to that of the prefinished floor. Using that miscut piece of stair case. I came really close to a perfect match. I know that came from speakerbuilding.
                              I also used to gamble I go to a program to not gamble. It is like AA but for gamblers. I have not bet since July of 1990. I spent hours reading racing forms all to no avail. "They are off you lose" That is a quote any guesses as to what TV show. I spend hours with DIY but at the end of the day I have a good speaker not losing tickets. That is worth all the money in the world.

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                              • #30
                                Re: $$$ DIY vs Brick & Mortar vs Factory Direct

                                "Factory direct" has kinda been neglected in this discussion so far, but some of the smaller companies that market this way DO offer good value on high quality products. I'm thinking outfits like Audio Concepts, North Creek, and so on, that started when some DIY guy decided to parlay his hobby into a business. These guys still retain a lot of the DIY ethic, and try to design for best quality possible at each targeted price point. (Unlike an engineer with a big manufacturer, who always has some bean counter breathing down his neck). By marketing direct to their customers, they eliminate all the middlemen costs that go into a retail store product's price, and are able to offer additional services like free 30-day home auditions and personal consultation.

                                We do DIY because it's fun and educational, but if you estimate your time put into a project from inception to completion at the same wage as your regular day job, the "savings" aren't necessarily that great.

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