OT. Manufacturing: who actually MAKES speaker cabinets...

Discussion in 'Speakers & Subwoofers' started by Kenneth Harden, May 15, 2006.

  1. Kenneth Harden

    Kenneth Harden Screenwriter

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    ...assembles products, boxes/packs them, etc. I am looking for low-cost companies to make some products (cabinet/grill in particular) and am having a hard time finding anything. I would assume Mexico or China. It does not need to be anything fancy, it needs to be basic and affordable. This would most certainly be for a 'production run' (think 100's or 1000's), not just a few things.

    Any ideas? I am having difficulty.

    Thanks!
     
  2. BradJudy

    BradJudy Stunt Coordinator

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    You could start by contacting Mark Schifter (AV123/Perpetual Technologies) as he is partners in Sound Art China making cabinets for himself and a couple dozen other companies.
     
  3. Kenneth Harden

    Kenneth Harden Screenwriter

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    Any idea how I can contact him? Thats exactly what I am looking for.

    Thanks!
     
  4. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Well, an email to AVS would work. Also check out http://www.electronics.globalsources...2600/18438.htm as another example of resources. The problem, if that's the right word, is that it's going to take some time from when you submit your designs (unless they happen to have one already), receive samples for approval, and possible iterations.
     
  5. Kenneth Harden

    Kenneth Harden Screenwriter

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    All I am looking for right now is a '5 minute quote' - trying to see roughly how much it would cost for what I am looking for. I already have an idea about driver manufacturers (talked to about a half-dozen), but just need to take things one step at a time.

    I am still in the 'feasibility stage' right now, trying to figure out if my ideas will work, and how much they will cost!
     
  6. BradJudy

    BradJudy Stunt Coordinator

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  7. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Other places to look at Ken would be CNC cabinet makers in places like North Carolina (I don't have a source though) who do work for many of the major furniture makers.
     
  8. Kenneth Harden

    Kenneth Harden Screenwriter

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    Chu - I will investigate domestic options, but I would expect they would be very pricey for what I need.
     
  9. Chu Gai

    Chu Gai Lead Actor

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    Yeah, but lead times might be quicker, no customs, stuff like that. Pays to look at all the options. You might also want to make a post over at Google group rec.audio.tech and ask that question.
     
  10. Kenneth Harden

    Kenneth Harden Screenwriter

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    Chu, that link you gave me was very useful, thanks.

    I would imagine filling a cargo container would make things a bit more affordable (1 year production run in a container!)

    My other question would be assembly. Sure, I could order parts (assembled and finished cabinet, drivers, assembled crossover, etc.) and assemble myself (I could EASILY assemble a week+ worth of products in 1 day), but could I have a bunch of stuff from all over China go to one place and be assembled and be affordable? Again, the idea would be to minimize cost, maximise quality, and pass the savings on in the price of the product!

    So many questions!
     
  11. Chris Quinn

    Chris Quinn Screenwriter

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    Are you going to be able to go to China for QC? Will you trust the builder to do QC to your standards?
     
  12. Kenneth Harden

    Kenneth Harden Screenwriter

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    At this point, all I am worried about is figuring out if my target prices are realistic. I have found I can get some VERY nice drivers in reasonable quantities for the prices I want. The next step is the cabinet!

    As far as QC, I would expect a sample piece and expect the products would meet that spec. There is no reason for products as simple as I desire, they cannot just 'do it right'. What I want is not rocket science. The pieces would be made with a machine and assembled in a jig. Unless it was a sloppy, sh!tty hack job, it would be fine.

    One reason I would not mind getting the drivers, cabinet, etc. is I would assemble the speakers myself and do QC. For my business model, it would be realistic (I am in college, I have time to spare!) Think low-volume, low-cost (low cost as in low business costs). Selling 1, 5.1 system a day would allow me to get by OK. Selling 5 a day and things would get VERY serious. I have been playing with a LOT of numbers.
     
  13. BradJudy

    BradJudy Stunt Coordinator

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    This is a pretty naive statement. Every shop must perform QC/QA to make sure things stay up to expected levels and some do this better than others. The fault could come from a number of places like raw materials (e.g. bad batch of glue), technical malfunction (machines get out of alignment), human error, and process breakdown. If there is a problem, how does the company address the issue both for you as a customer and to improve their processes? What margins of error are acceptable to the comapny? What does your agreement/contract allow for in the event of QC/QA problems? Producing quality consistently is rocket science.
     
  14. Kenneth Harden

    Kenneth Harden Screenwriter

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    Well, I would expect to do business with a company that could tell me what to expect! If I just grabbed any ol guy off the street and said, "Make me 500 of these", then I would be worried.

    The companies I have been contacting have been in business for 10-30 years and 90% of their work is making loudspeakers for themselves and other companies. I would expect to tell them what quality I expected and I would expect that to be filled. There would be the stipulation for rejecting parts that arrived to me not within the agreed upon spec.

    You say naive - but if I owned a business and ordered 100 computer monitors - a 'product', the odds are maybe 1 or 2 would not be within spec (not work, be broken, etc.). They would be replaced by the manufacturer.

    A speaker cabinet is a 'product' and coming from a large, established company (lets say Dell in the above example) - I see a sample product and I require the product to meet the specs laid out. If not, they send me more or credit me back for the defective ones.

    Your second, third, and fourth statement answer their own question. These large companies have their own QC - partly for their reputation and continued business, partly so they are not 'eating' 1/3 cabinets they send me.
     
  15. BradJudy

    BradJudy Stunt Coordinator

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    It's good that you're connecting with companies with some longevity and perhaps also good reputation.


    This is the item I struggle with - how do you plan on defining the 'specification' on items other than dimensions or other quantitative matters. Do you know how you'll contractually address qualitative matters with the companies?

    Yes, a company concerned about quality and delivering to the customer will be concerned about QA/QC internally, but since you seemed focused on low costs, you can certainly find companies who cut corners on QA/QC to lower costs. You can't assume all companies who have been around for a while have the similar levels of QA/QC. Some companies don't focus on it because there is a market for products with lower QC standards. If you've worked this into your search for a company, great, but your statements suggested you are assuming everyone does a decent job if they've been in business for a while.

    You started by asking for any reference for a cheap cabinet maker and now have progressed to discussion about 'large, established companies', which is very different.

    BTW: The reason you have that assurance from Dell is there is a warranty that covers returnable situations in great detail. In the example of monitors, it lists the numbers of dead pixels or adjacent dead pixels on an LCD which warrant a repair or return.
     
  16. Kenneth Harden

    Kenneth Harden Screenwriter

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    Well, I am not looking for 'CHEAP', I am looking for a company that makes hi-quality goods, and I just want them to build something VERY simple and no-frills.

    Think of it like a company that normally makes hi-end, complex, expensive, quality goods. Some of these companies also make a line of entry level products that are very simple, but benefit from the quality of the hi-end stuff (For example, Rolex makes watches that cost $5, 10, 20k, but they also make the 'Air-King' which is a
     
  17. LanceJ

    LanceJ Producer

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    BTW: have you even tried to see what an American manufacturer could do for you? You can be assured that there are many people out there that think seeing the words "Made in the U.S.A." on a product is a good thing & are willing to pay extra for it - not everyone wants the cheapest deal at the expense of.....well, I'd better stop there. [​IMG]
     
  18. Kenneth Harden

    Kenneth Harden Screenwriter

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    If someone can point me in the right direction for domestic options, I am all ears.

    And yes, you are correct, QC would be an issue, but I need to take things one step at a time, and as of now, there are other issues in terms of costs of goods and other finance issues.
     
  19. Kenneth Harden

    Kenneth Harden Screenwriter

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    Oh, and about US vs. foreign builders.

    I could get a cheap SW flight to anywhere in the USA, stay in a cheap hotel, and eat a Taco Bell - no big deal, few hundred bucks. Compare that with just one trip to China, which would be a few thousands bucks probably and is a big deal (I guess there is a lot of work when traveling for business, all sorts of permits and other such red tape).
     
  20. Arthur S

    Arthur S Cinematographer

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    Kenneth

    Please keep us informed of your progress on your venture. You are certainly a much more ambitious fellow than I am.
     

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