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$$$ DIY vs Brick & Mortar vs Factory Direct

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  • #31
    Re: $$$ DIY vs Brick & Mortar vs Factory Direct

    I would be impressed if I actually heard some factory direct gear that could compete with the SQ of the DIY crowd.

    When you say factory direct... name a brand. I always hear the term and think of the retail products but just slightly cheaper.

    Are you talking about HSU subs?

    I for one think that speakerbuilding is a great hobby and would like to think that at best I am "breaking even" when I compare my spending to what I might have paid for speakers vs factory direct or online.

    Speakerbuilding is like the a triathalon because it moves you through so many disciplines in order to complete a project.

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    • #32
      Re: $$$ DIY vs Brick & Mortar vs Factory Direct

      You have to take the "value" of your time out of the equation when figuring what DIY projects are worth. The simple fact that I've built somethig myself gives me infinitely more satisfaction than simply buying something. It gives me results I can be proud of. The lingering question though is: "what if I took the same $$ I spent on this project and bought something off the shelf. Would it sound better to an impartial listener?" I believe that in most cases the answer is No. If it is a well designed and exectued project.

      I think it's safe to say you can take a well done DIY design, and almost always find a commercial design of significantly greater cost which sounds worse to you. There you go. You beat a commercial giant and may have justified DIY.

      However at certain price points (usually the very low and very high), the big manufacturers have an edge. I've heard $1500 B&W 6 series which blow my mind. I've also been pleasantly surprised by $50 crappos. Most of our DIY projects seem to range in cost from about $150 - $1,000, as do most commercial designs. This price point is where I think DIY excels.


      Recently I was at the Rocky Mountain Audio Fest. I got to hear systems costing 10s of thousands of dollars. Systems by Avalon Acoustis and YG Acoustics, both of which I loved. Others I didn't which were equally expensive. Lots of the appreciation of sound is subjective. If you know your money is well spent on your DIY project and that you would be hard-pressed to buy something that sounds better, there's a huge reward. Or if you can simply rest assured that there's something more expensive out there that doesn't sound as good to you(that will almost always be true). If it helped you stay sane and release some stresses, even better. If your wife tolerates the end-results... wow.

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      • #33
        Re: $$$ DIY vs Brick & Mortar vs Factory Direct

        Originally posted by brianpowers27 View Post
        I would be impressed if I actually heard some factory direct gear that could compete with the SQ of the DIY crowd.

        When you say factory direct... name a brand. I always hear the term and think of the retail products but just slightly cheaper.
        Selah Audio
        Salk Sound
        ACI
        GR Research
        Nomad Audio

        These are just a few, and I have to say I have heard many of them sound superb.

        Also to say you have never heard a commercial design that really impresses you, well I would ask how many have you heard? The world is full of new ideas and bright new minds constantly improving their products. Witness all the new manufacturers at RMAF this year....I would say don't hold a bias against either, but take into account the cost (including tools if you don't have them), time, and resale of DIY and if it works for you great, it is an excellent hobby.

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        • #34
          Re: $$$ DIY vs Brick & Mortar vs Factory Direct

          Originally posted by sbrtoy View Post
          [...but take into account the cost (including tools if you don't have them), time, and resale of DIY and if it works for you great, it is an excellent hobby].
          I think once you add in time you're going to lose the value argument pretty quick. (Unless you're married and time spent in the shop is more valuable than time spent with your wife, then you might come out ahead.)

          Throwing in resale is another dagger in the value argument.

          In a straight up pound-for-pound cost of materials comparison, it looks FD is close to DIY, but not quite there w/ quality, especially in the mid 500-1000 range echrisconnor was talking about.

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          • #35
            Re: $$$ DIY vs Brick & Mortar vs Factory Direct

            Originally posted by Jeff B. View Post
            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.
            Agree wholeheartedly that the learning is an important part of the DIY equation. This is what has led me down the path from kit building to building published designs, to re-working crossovers and now to beginning to design simple 2-ways. And the journey has been great fun at every stage...

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            • #36
              Re: $$$ DIY vs Brick & Mortar vs Factory Direct

              Originally posted by sbrtoy View Post
              Selah Audio
              Salk Sound
              ACI
              GR Research
              Nomad Audio

              These are just a few, and I have to say I have heard many of them sound superb.

              Also to say you have never heard a commercial design that really impresses you, well I would ask how many have you heard? The world is full of new ideas and bright new minds constantly improving their products. Witness all the new manufacturers at RMAF this year....I would say don't hold a bias against either, but take into account the cost (including tools if you don't have them), time, and resale of DIY and if it works for you great, it is an excellent hobby.
              Another one to add to the list above is the Exodus Audio "Kepler" speaker. Great sound and received a very good review (and a Reviewer's Choice!) at Soundstage! online magazine.

              See the review here: http://www.soundstage.com/diwhy/diwhy200804.htm


              Best Regards,
              TerryO

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              • #37
                Re: $$$ DIY vs Brick & Mortar vs Factory Direct

                ive never heard ANY DIY gear at ANY price that sounds as good as my BOSE does:p

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                • #38
                  Re: $$$ DIY vs Brick & Mortar vs Factory Direct

                  When I listen to a speaker I've built, the satisfaction goes even further than the "that sounds amazing and I built it" level...

                  It's like I have x-ray vision when I listen to my DIY speakers... I can see all of the painstaking attention I paid to the internal construction... air tight joints, bracing, proper lining and stuffing, nice crossover, etc... even if this level of attention to build quality has only a minor effect on sound quality, the satisfaction of a job well done is immeasurable.

                  I drove the point home the other day by taking apart an old Pinnacle speaker I no longer use... lovely on the outside, but what a piece of crap on the inside, where the manufacturer knows you'll never see it.

                  I can't imagine spending even 10 times more and achieving this level of satisfaction.

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                  • #39
                    Re: $$$ DIY vs Brick & Mortar vs Factory Direct

                    Originally posted by lunchmoney View Post
                    When I listen to a speaker I've built, the satisfaction goes even further than the "that sounds amazing and I built it" level...

                    It's like I have x-ray vision when I listen to my DIY speakers... I can see all of the painstaking attention I paid to the internal construction... air tight joints, bracing, proper lining and stuffing, nice crossover, etc... even if this level of attention to build quality has only a minor effect on sound quality, the satisfaction of a job well done is immeasurable.

                    I drove the point home the other day by taking apart an old Pinnacle speaker I no longer use... lovely on the outside, but what a piece of crap on the inside, where the manufacturer knows you'll never see it.

                    I can't imagine spending even 10 times more and achieving this level of satisfaction.

                    Now you know what I had to deal with for 20 years where I worked...shameless deceit, poor quality materials, outrageous price tags. When a simple 10" woofer 2-way from Speakerlab can best many well-known high-priced speakers, no matter the configuration, you get torn between your love for better SQ thru DIY and your commitment to your job. Fortunately, the owner was a DIY'er, and we carried brands that did offer good SQ & performance for the cost. Yet, there were still folks who just had to have that certain brand name, thinking that the more they spent, the better it would be. Add in the feeling of satisfaction you mentioned, you're right about the spending more money part.

                    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

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