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bjackson 6th November 2005 02:14 PM

Prices, in general
 
Let's say that all of these designs are state of the art and near perfection (i.e. ignore individual designs). These prices are for a pair of speakers.

The overall question being, is 300 spent only 30% of a 1000 dollar project, or is more like 90%? Where does the law of diminishing returns kick in, in DIY audio?

How much difference is there between a 300 dollar and 500 dollar project, how much from a 500 to 1000 dollar project?

bjackson 6th November 2005 10:27 PM

Alright, well let's make it more specific.

I am thinking about making a Dave Brown 717TL with Dayton RS drivers. Would this compare favorably with the Seas Thor (well, I know there is some problems with the Thor, but a transmission line of equal quality, with much nicer drivers like Seas Excel, etc).

i.e. would a 717TL hold over my lust for high end speakers until I get out of college (2 years), or after 3-6 months would I be wanting to upgrade?

simon5 6th November 2005 10:39 PM

Audio is subjective alot, but the law of diminishing returns hits you quite fast. A project of 1000$ is maybe 10% better than a 500$ project. The 10000$ project is about 1% better than the 1000$ project...

wintermute 6th November 2005 11:30 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by bjackson

i.e. would a 717TL hold over my lust for high end speakers until I get out of college (2 years), or after 3-6 months would I be wanting to upgrade?

IMO unless you listen to something vastly superior then it should do just fine :)

I was very happy with my 3 Way speakers (which have lots of flaws) for many years, until one day I heard about $100,000+ worth of speakers, source and amplification..... after that I thought that they sounded completely awfull!!!! after a week or two though they didn't sound so bad once again. To put things in perspective, the total cost of my system at the time was probably about $1650, the speakers (diy) being about $800 of that, the amp (diy) $400 and the cd player $450).

note that my $800 3 ways are in no way optimal and were thrown together when I had very little idea what I was doing..... the mids are not well matched to the woofers, and the crossovers are stock ones that have not been tweaked, so a well designed $800 DIY speaker would sound a LOT better ;)

Tony.

DIY_newbie 7th November 2005 04:07 AM

Re: Prices, in general
 
Quote:

Originally posted by bjackson
Let's say that all of these designs are state of the art and near perfection (i.e. ignore individual designs). These prices are for a pair of speakers.

The overall question being, is 300 spent only 30% of a 1000 dollar project, or is more like 90%? Where does the law of diminishing returns kick in, in DIY audio?

How much difference is there between a 300 dollar and 500 dollar project, how much from a 500 to 1000 dollar project?

This is a quesion I was grappling with quite a bit during my project. I think what you really need to ask is "where is the best money spent" not how much..

For example, if you spend $500 on speaker drivers and $100 on a crossover. Then spending an additional $200 to upgrade drivers probably won't buy you as much as spending the same money on the crossover. Likewise, if you drive the pair with an integrated receiver, you would probably get the most gain by upgrading to seperate amps... Also the upgrade may not be linear improvment. IE, if you start spending like $300-$400 on crossover parts you're probably hitting diminishing returns. IMHO the next big step may be switching to an active crossover however this would require serious investments in amplifiers.

I believe you're better off with all your components (source, amps, crossovers, speakers) at the 85% mark then trying to get 99% speakers and neglecting the rest.. That being said, $200 on amplifiers doesn't buy you the same quality as $200 on speakers. So you need to balance he overall quality of the components not the $$ spent..

HTH

--Chris

planet10 7th November 2005 04:41 AM

Re: Re: Prices, in general
 
Quote:

Originally posted by DIY_newbie
however this would require serious investments in amplifiers.... $200 on amplifiers doesn't buy you the same quality as $200 on speakers
You forgetting how much bang-for-the-buck a chip amp can give?

dave

TerryO 7th November 2005 07:18 AM

Re: Re: Re: Prices, in general
 
Quote:

Originally posted by planet10


You forgetting how much bang-for-the-buck a chip amp can give?

dave


Dave has identified one of the ways to get better BFTB, but there are others. Used, vintage gear can be purchased for pennies on the dollar if you look hard enough. A couple of years back I came across a Sansui AU-7900 integrated amp at St. Vinnie's for $19.95, but since it was 25% off day, I got it for $15. It sounded lousy until I used contact cleaner on the volume pot and switches.
At the Amplifier Shoot-out our Stereo Club held last year it was bested by a new Moon amp and a highly modified Scott 222 tube amp (196x ?). It did beat a lot of much newer, expensive amps including the Club's own Conrad-Johnson amp. I also have a chip amp that sounds pretty good, I'm not sure it's better than the Sansui, it's pretty much a toss-up.

For speakers, there are a lot of DIY designs that are pretty good. At the recent Seattle DIY Meet, Dave Rosgaard brough 2 pairs of identical speakers.......... well almost. One pair used "cheap" crossover componets and the other pair had the "good stuff" utilized in the same topography. Nobody was told what the difference was, just that they were different, and they were asked which one was better. Guess what? Most people couldn't really hear a difference.

The one area that really "can" make a difference, IMHO, is the inductors. I'd use large guage, air core coils, as that seems to be the one componet that really can be heard with carefull listening, at least at higher volume.

I could go on about building passive "preamps" using cheap Radio Shack pots (or ALPS for a little more), etc., but this forum has plenty of projects and ideas that are fairly inexpensive. And don't spend a lot on wires, it takes a system with absolutely superb resolution to really enable you to hear any difference at all, regardless what the Audio Rags say.

To put it in perspective, my personal reference system has a total of slightly over a Hundred Dollars ($100.00 USD) invested. I've got other and more expensive stuff, but this one is satisfactory in a way that many other systems don't quite approach.
YMMV,
Best Regards,
TerryO

Cal Weldon 7th November 2005 04:39 PM

Quote:

Originally posted by simon5
The 10000$ project is about 1% better than the 1000$ project...
Simon?

dnsey 7th November 2005 05:44 PM

Quote:

IMO unless you listen to something vastly superior then it should do just fine
Very true!
Hi-Fi is a bit like wine - rough plonk tastes fine until you become used to better stuff, then it becomes awful:bawling:

bjackson 7th November 2005 06:02 PM

Well, I guess I am wondering how much it'd cost to make a pair of loudspeakers that would be up their with the top of the line designs.

There is no way I can go for a budget of more than 1200-1500 of pair right now (I'm a college student! and I can't even afford that right now. I'd have to save up!). If I can't make something that is 99% of a really great loudspeaker for that budget, I figure I might as well make something for 300 bucks or so that's 85-90% of it... you know?


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