DIY Speakers. Price/Performance ratio

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Martice, Apr 7, 2002.

  1. Martice

    Martice Screenwriter

    Jan 20, 2001
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    Being the owner of a custom built sub, I have the luxury of experiencing DIY performance without well.. doing it myself. I am in the process of sizing up some new speakers and would like to know if the price performance ratio that one experiences in the subwoofer DIY circles is similar when applying it to DIY regular speakers?

    If so, can we talk about it?
  2. rodneyH

    rodneyH Supporting Actor

    May 22, 2001
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    if you have the tools, time and motivation, go for it, I would bet you get at least double your $$$ when you DIY. The only thing that can sometimes be a problem is hearing the end product before you build (in other words how do you know what it will sound like and the sonic characteristics of the speakers), this is why I have built DIY subs, but nt speakers, I like the characteristic sound of B&Ws, so I bight the bullet and buy them 20% off (which is good for B&W).

    if you have the luxery to hear a set before you build that would be the best possible scenerio, otherwise you have to rely on others opinions (which is very hard for me to do).
  3. NikhilC

    NikhilC Auditioning

    Mar 29, 2000
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    Hi Martice,
    Actually, more so. While basic level subs are little more than a standard plate amp and a driver, loudspeakers usually need to be engineered around the cost of two or more drivers and a crossover network. This leaves a potentially larger gap between parts cost and retail price. The other nice aspect of DIY is that many small, high-end speaker manufacturers need to use the same parts as provided by many driver manufacturers to the DIY market - as there is insufficient volume to justify designing and building their own drivers. So, the parts quality can be high.
    As far as where to start - check out the Loudspeaker Driver Selection Guide. There is some good general info here on the DIY market.
    Madisound - parts distributor and message board
    Parts Express - parts distributor and message board
    DIY Audio - directory of links and message board
    The Basslist - long running mailing list for DIY loudspeaker design in general, despite the name.
    It's a rather involved field, but an enjoyable one if you appreciate this sort of thing - highly addictive once you see the results of kits or your own designs. The best way to start is to read up on the basics and look for a kit that folks recommend based on what you're looking for. That'll get you a good set of speakers to tinker with and see exactly how the drivers are made to integrate with each other and how the crossover network is designed (crossover design is something of an art).
    Btw, since this is the Home Theater Forum I highly recommend the Audax Home Theater Kit , designed by Dr. Joseph D'Appolito (quickest way to recognize his work is that he originated the MTM configuration). Parts cost for five channels runs around $650 and compares to commercial systems around $4500.
    Good luck,
  4. ThomasW

    ThomasW Cinematographer

    Nov 6, 1999
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    If you have access to basic woodworking tools and the knowledge to use them go with a kit.

    If you have access to a calibrated mic, sophisticated design and meaurement equipment, then go DIY.

    But that doesn't answer your question. I don't know about any real world multiplier. But here's a personal example.

    I made copies of the Legacy Whispers. They have a retail cost of $14,500. Mine cost between $3000-$3500.

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