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Old January 22, 2010, 12:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Xapoc View Post
I'm sure you get this question a lot, but how does built speaker quality compare to manufactured ones? Also, I can't really tell, but do you use a receiver, and if so, what model?
That can range quite a bit... of course the actual "build" quality is entirely dependent on you but it's not rocket science. Make a box, make it solid & airtight, and brace it well. Pretty much anything past that is cosmetics.

As for the designs themselves, when talking cheaper builds the cost saving isn't much if any. And you can only expect bargain tweeters and woofers to sound so good though in a DIY design there will be more attention to the crossover design so they can make these cheap drivers sound pretty good. AFAIK Vulcan is pretty happy with the SQ of the ~$25 tweeters in his build. As you start getting up higher in price the cost savings can be much greater, typically 3x to 5x. That's a pretty broad statement though because not all designs are worth building. A designer may have a particular driver on hand that he wants to use or may want to try some strange driver that doesn't offer a lot of performance/$. Also when the design was done a particular driver could have been a great value and has since over the years greatly increased in cost. It pays to do your research and see what others think about a particular design.

A while back I was in Long & McQuade and noticed a nice set of (large) bookshelf speakers that I immediately recognized the drivers used (a tweet and 7"). The cost of the actual drivers would have been ~$500 and just to take a WAG say add on $100 to $150 on XO parts. The DIYer could do them for ~$600, that pair was on sale in L&M for about $3k. Also some designers are better than others, the designer of the speakers I'm building has a pretty decent set of morals. He won't publish a design if it doesn't offer enough value and will remove designs if the value isn't there any more due to price increases or if he designs a similar design that is as good or better for less $$$. Here's one of his designs that I priced out at about $1500 in parts from Solen, in his write up he pegs their equivalent 'worth' in the 5 digit range $US. The guy knows what he says and is very respected but even if that is a little exaggerated that's still not a bad savings. One last bonus with DIY designs is that if things don't sound quite right, i.e. mids are too strong or bass is a little boomy due to room acoustics or what ever you can sometimes ask the original designer how to tweak the XO... and you can always use the drivers in different published designs should you want to go bigger or just try something different.

I'm not suggesting that DIY speakers are the only way to go, just pointing out it does have it's advantages.

BTW, I use on-board digital coax out to a Harmon Kardon AVR235 which handles the decoding and also spits out a line level signal to the sub which is a 12" with a 500W plate amp.

Originally Posted by vulcan500rider View Post
Eek. Good luck with the sale. I hope your new place has as nice a workshop as the one you seem to have now! I wish my wife and I could afford to get out of the rental market, and I could make a little shop of my own; one tiny basement room just isn't cutting it <sigh> Anyway, I'm definitely still interested in the build, and looking forward to the pics whenever you get them together.
Thanks. The new place has a double car garage so more space, plus I'm going to move my metal working machines (which is only a lathe right now but plan to get a mill some day) into the basement. The basement is a good size and I have full reign of it so I'm going to take some space for a little metal shop which frees up more space in the garage for more machines! Too bad I'm going to have all this extra space and not have any money to do anything with it for the near future.
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