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  • Is DIY worth it

    I came across a very interesting and intense posting over at the AVS forum between Jay Kim and several of the AVS forum members (some also hang out here). Its an older post but it brings up an interesting point about building someones design and it not being valid unless its measured "in box" http://www.avsforum.com/t/903927/new.............Does this mean that every design created by DIYers should be measured in box to meet the original design spec, Is that the ideal scenario. Not everyone is equiped to do such measurements Does someone like myself worry about spending a good sum of money (and its only gotten more expensive recently) and not expect equal performance. Do commercial speaker companies measure every speaker before selling them. Maybe its all subjective.......One of the members fired this first shot: "Attempting to design speakers without hands on measurements is a fool's errand. And a longwinded attempt to rationalize this practice is nonsense". Whos right....any thoughts

    BobC

  • #2
    Re: Is DIY worth it

    It's just like DIYing anything else. You don't really do it to save money. You might, but not likely. You do it because you can say you did it... if you're looking to build one set of cheap speakers and be done with it, go to Walmart and buy the Andrew Jones pioneers, you'll love them.

    Trying to build speakers without measurements is silly. Do you do math without numbers? Spell words without letters? No.

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    • #3
      Re: Is DIY worth it

      I would think that simulation works to get close but truly measuring in box response will render the best results. It is like any science experiment you did in school, you always had to do the math, and calculate what may happen before you found out you were right or completely wrong. I would most likely only trust a design that I knew had physical data to back it up and not someone fudging numbers to make a flat response.
      If we all reacted the same way, we'd be predictable, and there's always more than one way to view a situation.
      What's true for the group is also true for the individual. It's simple: Overspecialize, and you breed in weakness.
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      • #4
        Re: Is DIY worth it

        Designing without actual measurements can be very hit or miss, but ultimately your odds of success are way higher with measurements. Some people have the patience and the trained listening skills to do it by listening alone, but it is not common. I wouldn't call it a fools errand by any stretch of the imagination, but the best DIY speakers I have heard have almost all been the result of careful in-box measurements and good listening. Some of the poorest performing (including my own) were done from pure sims using manufacturer and/or 3rd party supplied data. And yes, I would dare to wager that short of ultra-cheap mass produced eBay specials all manufacturers acquire measurements before doing design work.

        DIY is always worth it, if you feel the time and money were well spent. If you are starting from scratch, though, it is a very expensive hobby to get into. The costs amortize as you build more. If you already have a woodworking hobby, then cost of entry is considerably less. Please keep in mind that saving money is rarely a reality in this hobby. The costs add up quite fast, and we tend to ignore certain costs when we talk about it. This is all a tangent of your original question, of course, but is one aspect of DIY.
        Don't listen to me - I have not sold any $150,000 speakers.

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        • #5
          Re: Is DIY worth it

          How old is that thread? I have no measurement gear aside from a DATS, and I was actually discussing things with SWMBO earlier, and I realized that my process goes something like this: Model the box using T/S params. Account for the baffle diffraction. Design a xo, letting the drivers tell me where THEY want to cross, so they're comfortable at the xpt. Make sure the phase is aligned and the power response looks good. Build. Listen. Tweak. Enjoy.


          All of it is accomplished with third party measurements and JeffB's suite of design tools, and I don't use HALF of what is available in each of them. If you account for the offsets even reasonably close, and do as I do, you'll get a really good sounding speaker. One can take things far beyond what I do in that suite, and take that level all the way to great, as long as SOMEONE has measured the drivers reasonably accurately. Several years ago, that may not have been possible, but it certainly is now.


          Mark
          You go your way, I'll go mine. I don't care if we get there on time.

          ~Pink Floyd

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          • #6
            Re: Is DIY worth it

            that AVS thread gave me a headache. I am going to have a drink and open the chatroom.

            Whichever way you design for yourself, is fine. If you publish design for others, disclose your design methodology.
            http://www.diy-ny.com/

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            • #7
              Re: Is DIY worth it

              Originally posted by Mark65 View Post
              How old is that thread? I have no measurement gear aside from a DATS, and I was actually discussing things with SWMBO earlier, and I realized that my process goes something like this: Model the box using T/S params. Account for the baffle diffraction. Design a xo, letting the drivers tell me where THEY want to cross, so they're comfortable at the xpt. Make sure the phase is aligned and the power response looks good. Build. Listen. Tweak. Enjoy.


              All of it is accomplished with third party measurements and JeffB's suite of design tools, and I don't use HALF of what is available in each of them. If you account for the offsets even reasonably close, and do as I do, you'll get a really good sounding speaker. One can take things far beyond what I do in that suite, and take that level all the way to great, as long as SOMEONE has measured the drivers reasonably accurately. Several years ago, that may not have been possible, but it certainly is now.


              Mark
              And those little black box speakers are a tribute to your ear Mark. They were excellent, balanced, and smooth through the crossover region.
              R = h/(2*pi*m*c) and don't you forget it! || Periodic Table as redrawn by Marshall Freerks and Ignatius Schumacher || King Crimson Radio
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              • #8
                Re: Is DIY worth it

                I personally do think that rolling your own is worth it, providing of course, that you enjoy the process. I like to build things, and if it weren't speakers, it would be something else. Come to think of it, I do build a lot of other things. Much of what I see being built by other woodworkers would be much less satisfying to me. Remember that old joke about making things in woodshop -- something about everybody making an ashtray? When we become adults we make adult equivalents of ashtrays for the most part. Stuff that nobody really wants, and when we get somebody to take what we've made, they usually do so primarily to avoid hurting our feelings. When you make speakers though, people usually treasure what you've made, assuming they're reasonably presentable and sound good. To me, making speakers is much more satisfying because what we make has value. Before some master craftsman jumps all over me, I do realize that there are woodworkers who make things of such high quality that they are highly prized.

                I have a pair of the Andrew Smith Pioneers I bought just for the heck of it. I listen to them now and then as sort of a comparison benchmark. I paid less than $100 for them and I'd have to say the average person who doesn't have a high quality speaker to compare them to will be quite pleased with them. For the person who's going to be satisfied, if not enamored, with their level of performance, and who doesn't enjoy the building process, DIY really doesn't offer a better choice. When you compare the costs involved between the Pioneers and DIY speakers costing about the same amount, then add on the fairly extensive amount of work involved in making your own, there's little reason to roll your own unless you enjoy the process.

                On the other hand, if one is willing to spend a bit more money, I'd say that DIY begins to make economic sense. I heard Lou Corragio's Picolattas over the weekend, and the experience left me doubting that a commercial speaker of comparable performance could be purchased for anywhere near the cost of building them. Particularly if the commercial speakers are of similar size.
                Tritrix HT:http://techtalk.parts-express.com/sh...d.php?t=222519
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                • #9
                  Re: Is DIY worth it

                  I wouldn't call it a fool's errand, but results will vary. I'm in the process of a build using simmed measurements and what looks flat in PCD doesn't sound perfect. I anticipated this though and thus ordered extra stuff for tweaking. I've also built other's designs with both good and bad results. It depends upon what "worth it" means to you. For me the overall experience is rewarding and thus worth it. Money wise I wouldn't say I saved any going the diy route. Sure have learned a lot though and still have a lot more to learn.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Is DIY worth it

                    I think it's worth it. If I had to, I could build without measurements. I built some pretty decent 3-ways in the early eighties that way. The end result would not be as good as what I can build with measurements, but with the right drivers, some creativity, and a lot of patience, at the very least, I could make an awesome rock and roll monkey coffin type speaker. It might need a touch of EQ to clean things up, but so what. How flat do you think most car audio systems are? People love these "nonflat" systems. The ability to play loud, and clean is almost as important as playing flat on axis.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Is DIY worth it

                      Originally posted by upsman View Post
                      I came across a very interesting and intense posting over at the AVS forum between Jay Kim and several of the AVS forum members (some also hang out here). Its an older post but it brings up an interesting point about building someones design and it not being valid unless its measured "in box" http://www.avsforum.com/t/903927/new.............Does this mean that every design created by DIYers should be measured in box to meet the original design spec, Is that the ideal scenario. Not everyone is equiped to do such measurements Does someone like myself worry about spending a good sum of money (and its only gotten more expensive recently) and not expect equal performance. Do commercial speaker companies measure every speaker before selling them. Maybe its all subjective.......One of the members fired this first shot: "Attempting to design speakers without hands on measurements is a fool's errand. And a longwinded attempt to rationalize this practice is nonsense". Whos right....any thoughts

                      BobC
                      This issue is talking about purely simulated designs. Yes, without measurements verifying the results, it is essentially unproven. That does not mean that it is not a very good sounding speaker, just that its actual measured performance is unknown.

                      I can tell you first hand, using measurements from the same source taken under the same conditions for all drivers makes the biggest difference, getting the Z offset right is a close second. It is very hard to accurately guess the Z axis once you get above 6.5" driver sizes.

                      There are hundreds of DIY designs available that were designed with in box measurements, and have measurements of the results posted. That old argument really is a non issue
                      http://jaysspeakerpage.weebly.com/

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                      • #12
                        Re: Is DIY worth it

                        Some people are all "thumbs" and shouldn't be allowed to do anything DIY! Then again there are your craftsman types who excel at everything they do.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Is DIY worth it

                          Originally posted by prighello View Post
                          I wouldn't call it a fool's errand, but results will vary. I'm in the process of a build using simmed measurements and what looks flat in PCD doesn't sound perfect. I anticipated this though and thus ordered extra stuff for tweaking. I've also built other's designs with both good and bad results. It depends upon what "worth it" means to you. For me the overall experience is rewarding and thus worth it. Money wise I wouldn't say I saved any going the diy route. Sure have learned a lot though and still have a lot more to learn.
                          Yeah, the learning part makes it worth it, regardless of how many mistakes.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Is DIY worth it

                            I think you have to be able to measure them or get someone to measure them for you. Back when I was knee deep into speaker-building, I did something that I didn't even know was wrong. I was ignorant of the situation. I attached the the tweeter hot to the woofer inductor instead of the source hot. When I finished off a pair, I would take measurements of my handiwork. There was always a dip near the crossover region. So I would keep changing out capacitors, inductors, and resistors until I could get it as flat as possible. So in the end, I wired the crossover wrong but adjusted it with changes in the tweeter design to bring it up flat again. I guess you could call it some sort of quasi-serial crossover .

                            Everyone that heard my speakers fell in love with them. If I wouldn't had the measurements on axis and off axis every time I made a change I would have failed miserably. That was almost 6 years ago before I learned the mistake. I even won third place in Iowa with a pair of speakers I built. Got rave comments that they heard instruments in the tweeter that they couldn't hear from others' since we used the same soundtrack for everybody's speakers and you got to play your favorite one song that was under 5 minutes long. And these were electrical engineers telling me this. The moral of the story is you may have done something wrong and have no idea that something is wrong and you think you got a winner when you don't without measuring the result of the final crossover in the box and preferable up high and outside where the first reflection doesn't come as fast as it does when you have them in your bedroom. So yes, I would have been an utter failure had I not had the measurement equipment to verify my crossover was working and that the impedance was right.

                            I remember one time I built pair of speakers for my co-worker for his suburban. I measured them many times and got the crossover design done but was getting cocky back then so I didn't verify the impedance. In a few days he came back and said something is not right. I took an impedance sweep and sure enough near zero impedance on one speaker. The other was correct, so I looked at the crossover and sure enough I had put it together wrong and sent them out the door without checking first. After that, I always checked both measurement and impedance. Lesson learned the hard way and another reason to be measuring them.

                            Paul
                            "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

                            Projects:
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                            • #15
                              Re: Is DIY worth it

                              If I remember correctly, Jay was more an example of the exception rather than the rule. He really impressed a lot of people with his approach and his designs, the biggest caveat being some rough going in terms of communication in the beginning. In the end though it still came down to personal taste. Some people liked the way he 'voiced' his designs and some didn't. At least he was upfront though with his sonic preferences...

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