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Old 21st December 2009, 09:12 PM   #1511
gedlee is offline gedlee  United States
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Andy

You can trust that I manufacture in the most practical way possible given my situation. Could the speakers be made cheaper? - I estimate that I could take out about 66% of the cost IF I made the whole thing in China, including the drivers. But to do this I would have to sell more than 10 times what I sell now, and I would have to mortgage my house to do it. Is there a market for this? I'm inclined to think not. Sound quality, in the end, is simply not that important to people.

If I add 50$ I need to raise my price by at least that much that's the nature of my markup. I'd add grills if someone requested and paid for them - no one has.
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Old 21st December 2009, 11:10 PM   #1512
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I built some speaker grilles in the past and never ended up using them. Firstly I could hear the difference and they look a lot better without. I've never found grilles appealing, but it's a matter of personal preference. Whenever I see a grille, I get the urge to pull it off! Maybe a "sock style" grille wouldn't be noticeable acoustically.

If the Geddlee speakers aren't getting the sales they deserve based on their performance and value (and I suspect they aren't), it's probably more related to how the majority buy. I think most still want to walk into a showroom and spend considerable time listening and auditioning. There is also a perception still among many that the big brands everyone knows about are better. And the ground where most audiophiles tread is well covered by a thick foggy mist that you might call "audiophile mythology." The internet is changing this to a degree, but I think many patterns that predate the internet boom persist.

Now imagine if Gedlee speakers were in hifi show rooms all around the world on the same scale as those big brands that we all know. I could see a problem ... no not the one that comes up when the wife comes along! Suddenly it becomes much more difficult for their most expensive speakers to sell. What do you do when your most expensive speaker with a nice big margin is inferior to something at 10% of the cost? I don't really know the ins and outs of the retail side, but I expect it would rock the boat.

Here in Australia there was a sub made by a company called Whise. It was reviewed in Australian hifi as a giant killer sub that blew away much more expensive subs in output and sound quality. It was a bandpass sub with a 15" custom pro driver. When I found out my local hifi store had them, I went in for a listen only to find they didn't have them anymore. The sales guy gave the impression they weren't that great, but in reality I think it was simply a matter of size and that most weren't willing to live with such a big sub. They prefer to stock wimpy 10" subs in tiny boxes as that's what they can easily sell.

Earl is also having to work against the idea that efficient speakers are coloured, compression drivers are bad and horns are a niche for those who choose dynamics over accuracy ... (not that these are horns). How do you change that perception? In the past I auditioned some Adire HE10 kits with the Eminence 10" coax. I thought the idea was great, but the sound was plain awful. They only sounded good at moderate levels, turned up the treble was harsh and screechy. With the big Rotel amp, the Focal floorstanders next to them could actually play louder - not on paper, but they had more useful output as they didn't make my ears bleed. I've experienced CD based speakers that weren't harsh, but they tend to trade something in for their efficiency. I think Earl has found the answer to changing this, but changing performance and changing perception are two very different things!

In this particular diy niche, most guys aren't put off by something as simple as no grille.
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Old 22nd December 2009, 12:05 AM   #1513
gedlee is offline gedlee  United States
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Paul

Very good analysis and I am well aware of all that you say and agree with it.

Here is how I see it. Retail and the "distributors" are never going to buy into what I am doing unless I raise my price to pay them a 40-60% margin at which point I am no longer such a great deal even if I am competitive. However, the market at that price point is not that great so I need to push my price up even more to make the same profit as I do now, and up goes the sale price even more - get the picture. And all this because "most still want to walk into a showroom and spend considerable time listening and auditioning", which is oh so true. But what if that does change and people started to accept the fact that speakers are science and that one does not have to listen to them to see if "they are suited to my tastes". In other words, what if accuracy, as can be defined by a comprehensive set of measurements, really is the best judge of a loudspeaker? Well then the whole ballgame changes doesn't it? And with that change I would be in an extremely good position.

And what if it never changes? Then my business will die along with hi-end audio because the current business model is already dying - the quality is stagnating while the prices go ever higher. I am trying to educate people in the ways and means of scientific design and evaluation and to show them that you actually can trust the measurements (while you can't actually trust your ears). If the audiophile world accepted this principle today then people would be listening speakers twice as good as they have for less than half the price that they paid. This carret is, to me, too great to pass up and I have to give this revolutionary approach a try. Only time will tell.
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Old 22nd December 2009, 01:15 AM   #1514
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Earl,

I think the mainstream will stay mainstream and change there will be very slow, but there is a niche and it has a lot of potential to grow. Can you capture a big enough niche to make it worth your while to keep doing what you are doing? I certainly hope so. I'm optimistic - comparing a small niche to the mainstream is like comparing a small motor boat to a large oil barge. One takes a massive turning circle, while the other can change quickly. And when you have a small niche market of happy customers who are thrilled with their speakers, you can get an exponential growth curve. It's difficult at first to detect and not always easy to survive the early stage. But then at some point you start to notice things taking off. I think in terms of consumer awareness you are in that early stage, but if you can keep going the word will get out, happy customers will do it for you.

By the way, I do realise you've been doing this for a long time and are known in the industry. I recall reading about the original Summa years ago when I used to follow the diy speakers "bass list."

In a perfect world measurements and theory would be enough, but as you know this has two problems. Firstly, no one provides the same measurements for the consumer market so people can't compare. I've seen off axis measurements for Genelec studio monitors, but they aren't that easy to compare and are for a different market. Secondly, people don't trust measurements and/or don't know how to interpret them. You can't change what others do, but you can work on the second one on a small scale.

So in reality I think "reviews" from happy customers will get attention. When the word starts to get out people will get curious about the theory. And when you start to hear things like guys selling their $30k speakers and upgrading to Summas ... then I think people will start to listen to the theory and start getting curious about how it's possible.

The studio market also seems like it would have great potential - especially considering it's a much more engineering-minded market. Would the Harpers make a good nearfield monitor? And I'd guess the Summa would make a great far field monitor. If that market won't be sold on superior measurements and dynamics without coloration, I don't know what market will.
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Old 22nd December 2009, 03:00 AM   #1515
gedlee is offline gedlee  United States
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Originally Posted by paulspencer View Post
Earl,

So in reality I think "reviews" from happy customers will get attention. When the word starts to get out people will get curious about the theory.

The studio market also seems like it would have great potential - especially considering it's a much more engineering-minded market. Would the Harpers make a good nearfield monitor? And I'd guess the Summa would make a great far field monitor. If that market won't be sold on superior measurements and dynamics without coloration, I don't know what market will.
The Harpers could be an option for nearfield. They certainly can't be any worse than what is used now! They play incredibly loud for their size, but then they do lack low end. Hard to say which is the more important in nearfield - but its probably low end. You can throw away some sensitivity for low bass since nearfield doesn't need as much sensitivity. But if dynamics is important then the Harpers will blow away almost anything else. Its always a tradeoff.
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Old 22nd December 2009, 03:06 AM   #1516
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Considering all the effort involved in bass traps and room treatment, multi subs makes sense to me there, but I'm not sure what mastering engineers would think of that.
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Old 22nd December 2009, 03:09 AM   #1517
gedlee is offline gedlee  United States
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Considering all the effort involved in bass traps and room treatment, multi subs makes sense to me there, but I'm not sure what mastering engineers would think of that.
Well there is the right way to do things and the right way to do things - take your pick.

Nice blog by the way.

Last edited by gedlee; 22nd December 2009 at 03:12 AM.
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Old 22nd December 2009, 03:53 AM   #1518
badman is offline badman  United States
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Default Let me toss something out there

I have been working with modifying waveguides for a couple days now- using the PE 12" as a base for a waveguide design nearly identical to earl's. My takeaway is "Unless you're crazy or REALLY poor, just buy the darned things pre-made". I'm now half a dozen materials in and the end is not likely before Xmas.....

That said they should be nice.... but between the fillers and casting and smoothing and woodwork and and and (and all necessary to get CD down low).....
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Old 22nd December 2009, 05:32 AM   #1519
gedlee is offline gedlee  United States
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I have been working with modifying waveguides for a couple days now- using the PE 12" as a base for a waveguide design nearly identical to earl's. My takeaway is "Unless you're crazy or REALLY poor, just buy the darned things pre-made". I'm now half a dozen materials in and the end is not likely before Xmas.....

That said they should be nice.... but between the fillers and casting and smoothing and woodwork and and and (and all necessary to get CD down low).....
I would agree with most of this (and your not done yet!), but disagree with "nearly identical to earl's" - that is not what I have seen. But I'm not about to go and tell my competitors how to make their products better! There is a reason why I charge so much - you get what you pay for.
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Old 22nd December 2009, 05:51 AM   #1520
badman is offline badman  United States
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Originally Posted by gedlee View Post
I would agree with most of this (and your not done yet!), but disagree with "nearly identical to earl's" - that is not what I have seen. But I'm not about to go and tell my competitors how to make their products better! There is a reason why I charge so much - you get what you pay for.
Fair enough. The profile is largely similar. What you have seen, not sure I follow- my build is undocumented.

Of course, I can give up now if you send a couple over
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