DIY - hobby or real money saver?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jedd, Mar 12, 2002.

  1. Jedd

    Jedd Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2002
    Messages:
    298
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Assuming the work and time is priceless, can you achive real good results in the DIY-sub field? Results like deep bass, nice timing and good finish?
    How hard (and costly) is to make somethink like Eric Jones does?
     
  2. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 1999
    Messages:
    4,948
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    What impression do you get reading these threads or looking at the "Sonosub projects" link at the top?

    You can outdo any sub out there, the money you save depends on the tools you have and the chosen project...although saving money is the worst reason to get into DIY.
     
  3. James Slade

    James Slade Second Unit

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2001
    Messages:
    250
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I personally haven't saved any money buy building speakers, what I would say is that I got better value. I can build a sub that sounds at least to me better than a commerical offering say an SVS it will cost me about the same as the SVS but have a bit better performance. This is of course excluding labor, then DIY is very expensive.

    Can people build stuff that looks as good as Eric Jones, sure some people can, but not everybody. You can definetly build things that sound as good. Eric is very talented no question. If you are talented and have the gear sure you can do it. It is easily to get help online with building and designing a speaker you will have no problems there. But as far as finishing and woodworking I see a lot more questions than answers.

    I have built a shiva box sub. the sound is great the looks are okay. I just built it as per the plans, no rounded corners, no veneer, just paint. The rest of my system is real wood Paradigm studio's and the sub doesn't look that good standing next to them, if I had black ash speakers it would be perfect. My second project is a Tempest sonotube. This is a different story. The wood in the endcaps is more expensive than the driver and I spent hours and hours sanding and finishing. This sub isn't done yet because I have yet to find the perfect material to cover the tube, but when I do this thing will look great!!!!!!!!

    I could never sell this sub, it just wouldn't be worth it. The shiva box, I would love to sell, even though it sounds terrific.

    Bottom line I think you should be speakers for fun. Don't bother to build a speaker you won't love.
     
  4. Jedd

    Jedd Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2002
    Messages:
    298
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    The first impression - it costs more, looks worse, but has a lot of fun to deal with. [​IMG]
    But I just start looking.
    Is it possible to achive good results staying under the $500 for everything?
     
  5. Dustin B

    Dustin B Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2001
    Messages:
    3,126
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Cost savings depends entirely on the tools you have available and how elaborate of a finish you want. If you have to buy all the tools just for this sub project, then your cost savings goes out the window. It also can go out the window if you get really fancy with the finish (but again, really fancy means you won't see anything like it commercially).
    Deep bass and good timing is the easy part. $150USD Tempest with a $130USD plate amp and another $100-$200USD or so for enclosure materials can easily result in a sub that I would take over a SVS Ultra/S1000. $100 Dayton 12" DVC and a $100 plate amp, plus $100-$200 for the enclosure again can result in a sub I would take over a SVS 20-39PCi. $200USD can get you a very nice finish.
    But the finish can be the hard part and can add a lot of cost. It depends entirely on your patience, your natural skill level and how far you are willing to go to develop your skill level (or how good a craftsman you can find to help you for free). As well as whether you start using expensive laminates, veneers or hardwoods.
    I disaggree with Jack that saving money is the worst reason to get into it. It's why I built my sub. I couldn't afford the commercial equivalent. I guess in that statement lies the stipulation to Jack's statement I need added to it, to aggree with it.
    If you really want the end result and can't afford the commercial equivalent, you won't regret the choice to DIY. If you really want the end result and can afford the commercial equivalent, you might regret the choice to DIY.
    If you dig wood working and want a fun hobby, you definately won't regret getting into DIY. Right now I'm the first if. But from the experience of my first sub, in a few years I might become the third if [​IMG]
     
  6. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 1999
    Messages:
    4,948
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
     
  7. Hank Frankenberg

    Hank Frankenberg Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 1998
    Messages:
    2,573
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    If I can build a Tempest sonosub for $300+ that equals a $1500 sub, I'd say that's a COST SAVINGS reason to do it.
    For regular speakers (mains), the delta is even greater [​IMG]
     
  8. Brian Bunge

    Brian Bunge Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2000
    Messages:
    3,716
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    And Hank is pretty particular about how he spends his money![​IMG]
    Brian
     
  9. Jack Gilvey

    Jack Gilvey Producer

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 1999
    Messages:
    4,948
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Yep, never said that you couldn't save money (of course), quite the contrary. I've recommended that on more occasions than I can remember.

    As you move into larger drivers, the cost doesn't really go up all that much, but the class of subs to which you can compare gets much higher. This is why I typically recommend going right to a Tempest, not that much more expensive to build, but you can leave the consumer boxes in the dust.

    And the COST SAVINGS gets much higher as a result.
     
  10. Jedd

    Jedd Second Unit

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2002
    Messages:
    298
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Can you recommend something to read (or explain) to understand
    1)the base terms like EBP, Xmass etc
    2)the difference between ported and sealed designs, cubes and sonotubes
    3)the difference between Shiva and Tempest (except the size [​IMG]?
     
  11. Kerry Hackney

    Kerry Hackney Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2000
    Messages:
    206
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    You can definately build better speakers for the money than you can buy. You do have to consider the investment in tools, but... you DO NOT have to have a full woodworking shop to build speakers. Most people have at least some of the tools you need anyway so they are, in effect, free. From there, you have to have some amount of practicle skills. You have to have the ability to cut straight lines. You should be able to operate a router. Very basic wiring and/or the ability to follow instructions.

    If you haven't ever done these types of things I would suggest that you not set out to build your dream speakers the first time. Build a small inexpensive set for a bedroom or as a gift. Don't spend much on the drivers and get the feel of it. Also there is a tremendous amount of support here if you get stuck. Subs are one of the biggest bangs for the buck around in my opinion.
     
  12. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1999
    Messages:
    38,779
    Likes Received:
    492
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    The only reason I built my 5 speakers after building subs was to offset the front end cost of buying the $200-$300 of tools I picked up for what I needed to get done. Being able to spread out the cost made the speaker building a much more viable and economical choice and exercise. Plus having a friend with a kick-butt wood shop made the wood cutting a non-issue, I just had to spec out every little piece of MDF/wood and their dimensions before I showed up, lest I waste my friend's time trying to figure it all out on the fly. Bring a cut-sheet with all the dimensions, it'll make things go a lot smoother.

    But I still think it's a hobby, and like any hobby, you can sink as much or as little as possible and get out what you put into it.
     
  13. For me, DIY is both.

    For instance, my EGOs were a major money saver. I think it would take it would take serveral grand (atleast $5-10k) to equal them...and it cost me less than 1.5K IIRC.

    My sub was more of a Hobby..and a money saver. Sure, I have spent $1700-$1800 on it, but I would be willing to put it up against a Krell MRS or the velodyne HSG18.
     
  14. Brian Hepler

    Brian Hepler Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 1999
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    DIY can be a great money saver, but I think some of the replies here have overlooked an aspect of the equation.

    I can build a DIY subwoofer that will annihilate a commercial sub costing over a grand. Groovy. I can do it for well under half of the cost. Spiffy.

    But what was I looking for? For a while, I was very happy with a cheap POS Aiwa subwoofer that I got for $100. I was hoping to eventually get my system up & running with a sub that cost somewhere in the $200-500 range. My wants were not great.

    So now I have a cheap-ass 5.1 setup with plastic boxes that I paid $90 for the set, matched with a DIY sub that I built for $300 that can hang with the commercial offerings that cost about $800 or higher. Did I save any money? Not really. I would have been quite happy with a $400 commercial subwoofer. But I didn't get into DIY to save money.

    So here's the breakdown: You will save a lot of money by building your own if you would otherwise spend a lot of money because you require a lot of performance. If you need the performance of a $2000 speaker/subwoofer, by all means, get into DIY!
     
  15. Brian Fellmeth

    Brian Fellmeth Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2000
    Messages:
    789
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Jack's point in the second post is well taken. Taking on DIY projects only to save money will end in disaster and frustration. It is imperitive that you enjoy and relish the PROCESS. Only those with woodworking/finishing experience and tools can have success with DIY when savings is the sole motivation.
     
  16. James Mudler

    James Mudler Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 1, 2001
    Messages:
    207
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    DIY is a curse [​IMG] I agree that cost savings should not be the main reason to get into DIY projects. For example, if your budject is $500 for mains, then you can spend $500 for commercially units or spend $500 for a DIY. The DIY should result is a higher quaility. Are you saving money....NO. BUT when compared, the $500 DIY vs 2K commercial units.... yes.
    The value is the quality gain vs dollars spent.
    For me it is a hobby. I have a full woodshop and testing equipment to aid in my projects and I learn something new every time. I am no where as knowledgeable as some others here. Hope I made sense.
     
  17. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1999
    Messages:
    38,779
    Likes Received:
    492
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Also, remember, the pride of creation can be thought of as "priceless" once you work out all the kinks on your DIY projects.
     
  18. Kevin Deacon

    Kevin Deacon Second Unit

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2001
    Messages:
    319
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    In my case DIY does not save me money any more.

    Once I realized I could build my own speakers I set out to build the Audax A652 kit. I saved a ton of money building this set, which cost me about $600 total.

    Now that I proved to myself that DIY does yield a superior product for less money, I find myself wanting to build the Proac 2.5 clone, which will cost around $1,000. I want to keep spending money on better quality drivers. Hopefully to Proac clone will be the end, probably not.

    I would have never thought about upgrading my speakers so soon if I had first purchased a commercial product. I also would have not spent more than $1,000 on a pair of commercial speakers.

    I guess I have the DIY bug and will probably end up building speaks for many people I know. It's nice to know that I will have speakers that rival $2000 - $5000 commercial products. To top it all off, my wife doesn't mind.
     
  19. MannyE

    MannyE Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2000
    Messages:
    232
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    110
    Location:
    Miami Beach
    Real Name:
    Manny Elgarresta
    Interesting thread...
    Here's what happened to me...
    I wanted to build my own preamp and amps because I heard a tube-based system once and got hooked on the tube sound, but was blown away by the multi-thousand dollar price tags I saw for tube equipment.
    For 650 bucks I bought a preamp kit (100) and monoblock amps(550) that were fun and easy to build AND I was very impressed with the beautiful music they made. Very close to the multi-thousand dollar systems I had heard for under a grand!
    That there is what DIY is all about!
    But now....on to the darkside....
    Like drug pushers....your first project is a little taste and it tatses gooood. So you want more...pretty soon the wood bases (nice alder) weren't good enough anymore...no I had to have something unique...didn't I? So lets go to the store and buy some primer, sandpaper, and black lacquer, because "Wouldn't the bases look cool with a black piano finish?" About 50 hours and I don't even know how much money spent on paint and rottenstone and automotive abrasives....a nice piano finish...I'm done right? NOPE! One of the pushers mentions Black Gate capacitors, Holco resistors , Hovland Musicaps...silver wire...Vampire RCA connectors....gold speaker posts....Out comes the wallet and the blue smoke rises once again! Done right? NOPE!
    A chance trip to a cabinet shop and a slab of ebony calls out to me.......Goodbye piano black...hello Ebony veneer. OK now I'm done...see?
    http://home.bellsouth.net/personalpa...=33140&ver=3.0
    Nope...OF COURSE NOT! I'm now working on a five channel version of the Foreplay preamp and trying to figure out how to stuff 5 channels of 2A3 amplification into a more or less sane configuration so I can have a tubed HT.......of course that means I have to now figure out some high-efficiency single-driver enclosures blah blah blah...
     
  20. Eric M Jones

    Eric M Jones Second Unit

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2000
    Messages:
    393
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    I was quite surprised to check out this thread and see my name mentioned in the opening paragraph. [​IMG]
    Most who have already replied are some of the best DIYers on the forum I think they've answered things pretty well.
    I started building DIY speaker mostly because I had crappy speakers and I found (through the forums) that I could build amazing sounding speakers for a fraction of what a commercial equalivent cost. Mind you I also have been an avid woodworker since I was about 12. So I saw DIY as a great way to merge two of my favorite hobbies.
    Jedd,
    Go for it. At least try one project then you'll know if all that was mentioned above is worth it to you.
    -EJ
     

Share This Page