an odd question about subs & their pricing...

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Anthony*B, Sep 30, 2003.

  1. Anthony*B

    Anthony*B Stunt Coordinator

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    ...and let me preface this by stating that I have absolutely NO doubt that the subs from companies like SVS & Hsu etc. are worth every penny!

    My question is this: where do the prices from subs come from? obviously a reasonable amount of $ goes into the engineering of a sub, but what about actual physical material costs? the cost of the drivers/amps used etc.? the cost of the beautiful finishes? the reason I ask is that I may never come to the point where I could spend 600$+ on something like a sub, but would love to have the great sound (or something close) to what the "better/best" subs sound like, & would love to build it myself...I have little to no concern w/ how the sub LOOKS, but a lot of concern w/ how it sounds!
    am i foolish to think that I could even come close to the sound of an expensive sub w/under 300$ worth of material, a lot of research, and some hard work/creativity?
    are the drivers/crossovers/amps etc. found in these wonderful higher-end subs really so much better than say a PE premade Xover/ 250 watt all-in-one amp, reasonably priced sub driver? I'm sure the companies everyone loves use awesome materials/drivers etc., no doubt...but one day when I decide to build my own sub, am I going to be disappointed (assuming of course I built it correctly [​IMG] )?
    any & all opinions are welcome!
     
  2. Mark Seaton

    Mark Seaton Supporting Actor

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    Check out the DIY section of HTF. If you are motivated you can most certainly match the performance of more expensive subwoofers if you are willing to invest some "sweat equity" in lew of cash. More importantly, if you are short on huge power, remember that efficiency can get you the same results as big power, but at the expense of large enclosures. An Infinite Baffle subwoofer is probably the best example of this, and a solution I have used on a couple of occasions for friends.

    Regards,
     
  3. Jeremy Stockwell

    Jeremy Stockwell Supporting Actor

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    Nope. I did it using a Tempest and came in just a hair over $300. I originally was using an old Pro Logic receiver as amplification, but have since replaced it with a dedicated sub amp. The major expenses were:
    $150.00 driver (from Adire Audio)
    $050.00 6' of 24" sonotube (from local construction co.)
    $020.00 49"x97" sheet of 3/4" MDF (Menards)
    $080.00 glue, caulk, bolts/nuts, paint, fabric, etc.
    $300.00 (approx.)

    If you need amplification, that will probably put you over the top, but you might be able to use a less expensive driver or a different alignment and get your costs down.

    If you're really interested in DIY, post over in the DIY/Advanced forum and you'll get all the help you'll need.

    JKS
     
  4. Nhan_H

    Nhan_H Second Unit

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    Jeremy,

    Just wondering....if you were to value your time at say $10/hr, how much would that have added to the cost of the DIY sub?
     
  5. DarrenAlan

    DarrenAlan Stunt Coordinator

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    It would be hard for a DIY sub to beat the performance of the 10" Dayton kit available through PartsExpress, especially with a reserve price of about $265 plus $42 shipping for a total investment of around $310.

    If you add up the price of the driver, cabinet and amp separately, you're looking at more than the kit and you'd still need to buy spikes & sound dampening material.
     
  6. Anthony*B

    Anthony*B Stunt Coordinator

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    i have the 125$ Dayton new sub (the heir to the Miny Mity I believe) and am very pleased w/ it (although i am trying to defeat a hum problem it is having that a ground loop isolator could not solve-on to better/shielded cable now [​IMG] )...i just have a real itch/desire to build my own sub, not sure why...i do know that i am not NEARLY ready to do it yet, hehe...it's just one of those "one of these days" type dreams I'm having!
    the real solution to my dilemma is to find a better paying job [​IMG]
    p.s. I had a feeling this question may have been better suited to the DIY section, but in the end decided to post it here...

    p.s.s. these forums are wonderful/invaluable! thanks & cheers to everyone involved!
     
  7. Jeremy Stockwell

    Jeremy Stockwell Supporting Actor

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    Well, a few hundred, at least. But I spent these hours over the course of several months in which I was working on the sub for a few minutes here, an hour there, etc. (I had an infant at the time who is now almost 20months) I was also taking my time, learning (sometimes by trial and error), double-checking measurements, fixing mistakes, etc.

    I guarantee DIY-ish OEM's like Hsu, SVS, Adire, etc. don't spend 30+ hours building a single subwoofer. They'll spend that and more on the front end with R&D, but I was using a tried and true design, thus didn't have that to contend with.

    I definitely recommend going DIY. Until Nhan_H brought it up, I had never really considered the time I spent in terms of money. I enjoyed the learning/building process (most DIY-ers will tell you the same). There's also the experience of watching a DVD with some killer LFE track and hearing it in all it's glory through a sub that you built. Priceless.

    JKS
     
  8. Stephen Hopkins

    Stephen Hopkins HW Reviewer
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    If you go into the used market there are even greater savings. I built a Shiva EBS sub for under $250 including the amp. $75 for a used driver from a fellow HTF member, $130 for a 272W plate amp from PE, less than $50 in MDF, paint, trim wood, and stain. I have no doubt it performs just as well as say a 20-39 PCi or PB1-ISD.

    That said, I'm right now considering upgrading both the driver and amp (AV12, Crown XLS202). Even with these upgrades, the price is still under $475 and now it's in the same class as a 20-39 CS+ w/a Samson 700, a PB1+, or a 20-39 PC+. all of which would cost $825 - $1k
     
  9. MikeLi

    MikeLi Supporting Actor

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    Off topic here a bit but I admire all you DIY's. Wish I had the time and space and equipment to try some different things. What a wonderful thing to be able to say... I built that thing that will shake the whole house....
     
  10. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    In terms of time spent, that largely depends on a few factors.

    1) Are you building an existing design (like the ones on Adire's white paper) or are you designing from scratch? Expect the design process to take at least a few days if you don't understand the tools and theory. Using an existing design makes things easy (cut sheet is done, etc.).

    2) Quality of finish. Most people can build a box in 1-3 hours (depending on tools and talent). However, finishing the enclosure can take (seemingly) forever. I would strongly suggest veneer or formica (vs. painting & sanding). The cost is easily made up in terms of time spent!
     
  11. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    Another thing people forget is tools, this cost alone (unless you get to borrow for free) makes it where I've told people "unless you intend to build two or expect to upgrade within 1-2 years buy a great pre-built". Imho I think that you break even when you do the second diy sub, but this is also considering that you don't consider labor/time it takes to build it (if you think about it, when you build a sub it really costs you the equivolent of 1.5 times your hourly wage as this could actually be the time you might can spend at work to buy a sub assuming you already own the tools).
     
  12. alan halvorson

    alan halvorson Cinematographer

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    It has always been said that the retail price of a manufactured product is about 4-5 times that of it's actual cost to manufacture, including parts cost (manufacturers, of course, buy in bulk and thus their cost is quite a bit less than the retail price of the parts).
     
  13. Anthony*B

    Anthony*B Stunt Coordinator

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    the key thing to remember for my situation is that I do already have most of the necessary building tools (3+ yrs. of remodeling our hideously out-of-square Willy Wonka House [​IMG] if I ever get up the $ and the guts to try & build my own sub, I would have no problem going by a pre-designed diagram or some such thing...I'm WAY too "green" to be trying to design my own sub at this point...I will have to check out all the advice given here...the tempest sounds like a good possibility, as do the Adire "white paper" things (not sure what they are right now [​IMG]
    clearly, from what is being posted here, the amp & driver combination make a big difference in the performance of the sub...I was under the impression that the enclosure was the most important factor...
    shows you how little I know at this point [​IMG]
     
  14. Robert_Gaither

    Robert_Gaither Screenwriter

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    If you own your own home then I'd suggest an infinite baffle sub (search for "ThomasW" or "12 dancing Shivas") and this way the only thing people will see are the grill of the sub and maybe the binding posts in the wall. Two Tempests or 4 dayton IB15s and a partsexpress plate amp would let you have a sub built for under $600 that would literally kill any sub you could buy pre-built in terms of quality bass.
     

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