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$$$ DIY vs Brick & Mortar vs Factory Direct

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  • johnastockman
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • lunchmoney
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Green Machine Mowing
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • terryo
    replied
    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

    Leave a comment:


  • jclin4
    replied
    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...

    Leave a comment:


  • tubbsbright
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • sbrtoy
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • echrisconnor
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • brianpowers27
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • brianp
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • philiparcario
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • Sooper
    replied
    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!

    Leave a comment:


  • Pete Schumacher
    replied
    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!!!

    Leave a comment:


  • tubbsbright
    replied
    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.

    Leave a comment:


  • critofur
    replied
    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...

    Leave a comment:

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