Costs associated with speakers spiralling out of control?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Mike_Reznik, Dec 19, 2002.

  1. Mike_Reznik

    Mike_Reznik Stunt Coordinator

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    Now I know I'm not having any original thought here and I'm sure it's been discussed before but I just have to start this thread.

    Is it just me or are some of the associated costs of this hobby getting out of control?

    Here's my gripe. What the hell is up with the cost of speaker cables and interconnects, stands, remotes, racks, etc... ?

    I recently moved my Paradigm Studio 20s to the front of my HT to use as mains. They used to be mounted on the wall as rears. The cost of this speaker is only about $550 - $600, but to buy ANY decent Speaker stand cost about $200. I found a nice pair of used Mini Monitors to use as my new rears for about $250 used, but to buy a stand for these guys is going to be another $150 - $200. For that price I could have bought a floor standing speaker... too bad I need a bookshelf. What the heck? Don't get me started on wires and interconnects.

    Is it just me or does anyone else feel this way?
     
  2. george.Legeza

    george.Legeza Stunt Coordinator

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    I've only recently started looking at HT as a hobby, but I agree. I know I don't fit the mold that the average person here does (that is, I'm a college student and I don't have a lot of disposable income), but I agree with what you're saying. By the middle of January I'll probably have spent over $1200 on speakers alone. By itself that doesn't bother me, but things become a bit ridiculous when you start figuring in the costs of cables, stands, racks, etc. I was actually making a list of exactly what else I would need last night and it occured to me that with the money that will be spent on accessories I could have easily gone one step higher on the quality of my main speakers or even my receiver. Or, at the very least, I could have a center channel speaker instead of dealing with only 5 speakers (including subwoofer) for another month or two.
     
  3. BrianWoerndle

    BrianWoerndle Supporting Actor

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    This is where you have to start thinking creativly. You don't have to buy $200 speaker stands. You can use almost anything for a stand as long as it is stable. Look at what I used for my rear speakers. It is not the most elegant, but it get the job done, give me storage for my HT magazines, and only cost me $20 for both of them.
    Think outside the box a little. You don't have to use a 'speaker stand'. Look around, I bet you will start to see a bunch of different things that the speakers could be placed on.
     
  4. Mike_Reznik

    Mike_Reznik Stunt Coordinator

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    Trust me, I'm all for thinking outside the box. but I would also like to say married (don't ask me why) My wife would kill me if I tried to use milk crates as speaker stands. She has a hard enough time as-is with the equiptment rack and speakers in the living room. If I tried to pull that out on her, I'd be looking for a new living room to put my speakers in. [​IMG]
     
  5. george.Legeza

    george.Legeza Stunt Coordinator

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    You could always save money by building your own stands, assuming you're any good with your hands. My dad used custom-built stands for his speakers for about a year before he bought 'real' ones. The ones he built looked nicer, in my opinion, though. Too bad he threw them away. [​IMG]
     
  6. Jay C

    Jay C Extra

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    I use the plaster columns you see at craft stores for front stands. Some wall paint and a spray of texture paint (white blobs) and they came out nice. Sorry but the only picture I have of them isn't a close-up.
    Jay
     
  7. James Bergeron

    James Bergeron Supporting Actor

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    Hehe, my center channel is sitting on boxes! BUT you would never know, I covered them up with black felt and it all blends in perfectly.
    See... [​IMG]
     
  8. RichardH

    RichardH Supporting Actor

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    Jay C:

    those stands for the SVS are awesome!! You have to tell me details on those. Or better yet, put up a page w/ close-up pics and instructions. I wonder if more wives out there would be willing to let an SVS in their living room if they knew it could be laid down on its side like that??!!?
     
  9. Brett DiMichele

    Brett DiMichele Producer

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    You can spend thousands of dollars on "High End" AV Racks.
    You can spend thousands of dollars on "High End" Isolation Devices..

    Or you can be Creative..


    I have seen some great creativity in this hobby...

    Rather than spend $500.00 each for isolation blocks, a
    simple concrete block that is new,sealed and painted works
    just as good. As for stands, you gotta shop around or build
    your own.

    I love the idea of using plaster roman columns for surround
    stands. There are also many other options and some prebuilt
    stands are faily affordable. Sanus's line of stands generally
    are priced in the $50.00 to $90.00 range per pair and I don't
    consider that to be too bad.. Some AV Racks can be had in
    the hundred dollar range, others cost $300.00 or way more
    it just all depends if it's worth it to you. Building your
    own is a great idea too, A Flexy Rack is inexpensive and
    looks so great that many companies have copied the DIY'rs
    idea and sell the dang things for hundreds of dollars when
    you can build your own for less than 50 or 60 dollars.
     
  10. James Bergeron

    James Bergeron Supporting Actor

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  11. Brian Foley

    Brian Foley Agent

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    These stands from Parts Express are quite nice, and cost less than $100/pair:
    Parts Express Speaker Stands
    Of course, you get killed on shipping, but not paying tax helps a little bit. Taller stands cost only slightly more.
    For all the reasons you've mentioned, I've been taking the DIY route. About a year and a half ago, I built a very nice powered subwoofer (essentially the same as the ACI Titan, $1150) for about $500. This took the better part of a week to do, because I built the cabinet and veneered it myself. Ready made cabinets are available for many designs, however.
    More recently, I just finished building 5 of the North Creek Borealis kits. Even after paying someone to build the cabinets and grilles, I still paid only about $500 per speaker. The nearest commercial equivalent to these speakers is the Meadowlark Shearwater, Hot Rod version, which uses the same mid-woofer and tweeter, and comparable quality crossover components. It costs $3200/pair. It did take me 3 evenings to assemble the kits, but only because I had to wait for some things to dry overnight. Anyway, my five speakers plus subwoofer cost less than one pair of the Shearwaters.
    My next project is to make some speaker cables similar to these "Sand Cables" (the guy who made them is named Sandy). I just ordered the parts and all necessary tools this afternoon, and to build the equivalent of five 15' bi-wire cables it is going to cost me about $180 (less than $40 for a single 5 meter cable). According to the review linked above, these are comparable in both sonic and build quality to the Better Cables Premiums, which cost $160 for ONE 5 meter bi-wire cable.
    The project after that will be to build a component video cable, a subwoofer cable, and some interconnects based on the instructions on this web site. These are going to cost a little more to make than the speaker cables, mainly because special tools are needed to strip the coax and crimp the RCA plugs. But I don't think I'll spend any more than I spent originally on the generally mediocre stuff that they will be replacing, and they are significantly better.
    Anyway, the point is: if you want to stretch your audio dollars, you can save a ton of money by building things yourself. For that matter, you can save a bunch even you don't build them yourself, if you know where to look. The Ellis Audio 1801 speakers are reportedly as good, if not better, than the speakers I built for $1000 pair, and these can be purchased fully assembled for that. And you can buy audio and speaker cables very similar to the ones I'm going to be making from CS Cables and Signal Cable. These cost about half again as much as I'm going to pay, but there's nothing for you to do but plug them in. Folks on the DIY forum here can probably point you to lots of other good deals like these.
    P.S. Just noticed that you are in Ohio, as Parts Express is. So you wouldn't save on tax, but shipping might not be bad. Not sure if they have a storefront where you could just pick them up yourself.
     
  12. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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  13. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Mike: we feel your pain. Anyone of us on a budget/with a family know we have to make compromises. But that does not mean we cannot have great sounding HT systems without endangering the kids college fund.
    You can make your system sound great, but look ugly. The accessories people know this so they price a lot of things in the $50-$200 catagory. The more style it has - the more $$ it can cost.
    But people here have given you some great ideas. Flexy racks for 8-10 components can be built and look good for about $100.
     
  14. Mike_Reznik

    Mike_Reznik Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks everyone for your replies. I know there are others out there with the same feelings/frustrations. And you guys have given me some good suggestions.

    I wish I were a bit more handy and I would definately look into some the DIY stuff. I have always gone the research, listen, research, and bargain hunt route. That has served me well as of late. I have found some great bargains on ebay and on audiogon.com. And many other great sites out there (this one not excluded). This is a wonderful hobby and I have spent thousands of hours reading message boards and magazines (my wife can vouch for that!:b ) I have been at it since 1993 when I got my first onkio receiver and bose speakers (sorry, I was young and ignorant) and have progressed upt to a dedicated HT with Paradigm Studio and B&K Reference equiptment not to mention the thousand other pieces like interconnects and cables, racks, etc...

    The reason for my origianl post is that I have recently been force to change jobs and have taken a tremendous pay cut. To try and save a little money, I sold off my Studio 100s and B&K ref7270. I moved my Studio 20s to the front and I picked up a pair of min mons for the rears. But then had to buy new stands and speaker wires. It just surprized me how much the cost of this stuff was.

    Is it just me or does it seem like as HT has become increasingly more popular and thousands of new products have hit the market, the prices have gone up insted of down? Not to say that there isn't affordable equiptment out there, b/c there is. But more so, the good stuff seems to cost more that it did before.

    I still think it's a great hobby and I will continue to upgrade and tweak, and I might even look into the DIY stuff a little. I just think it gets to be a little frustrating at times. Then again, maybe it's just easier to go from a ford to a BMW then from a BMW to a ford.

    Thanks for listening to me rant for a bit.
     
  15. Wayne Ernst

    Wayne Ernst Cinematographer

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