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keyser 20th January 2006 12:20 AM

DIY loudspeaker vs. factory built loudspeaker
Can a good DIY loudspeaker compete with a factory built speaker when it comes to sound quality? I am tempted to think so, but others say that the DIY enthusiast can never build a speaker as good as a professional could.
For example take a look at the Wilson Watt/Puppy VI. The drivers used are available on the DIY market. Why would we or would we not be able to build a comparable speaker in terms of sound quality?
Another question comes to mind. Are custom made drivers, ordered by loudspeaker system companies from known loudspeaker driver companies, of a higher quality than the ones those companies sell on the DIY market? Also, are self-designed en built loudspeaker drivers from companies like B&W (for example for their top of the range Nautilus 800) better than the ones available to us, DIY’ers?

gavinson 20th January 2006 08:47 AM

Of course DIY can build as "good" a speaker as any corporation. Read Siegfred Linkwitz website. Moreover, DIY can get much better quality-per-dollar than factory-built, leaning on the collective knowledge gained from the DIY community.

Wilson, Revel, Wisdom, Genesis.....their speakers operate under the same physics as anyone elses. Do they have special drivers...yes, sometimes. Is that all it takes to set them apart from what an engineering and attentive hobbiest can pull together? No.

Inside the most hallowed design group their is a guy (or gal) who has a job running a test bench and listening to results. Those same people exist in the DIY community. There are others who are materials experts. They exist in the DIY community as well. Others are mathmeticians. And, so on.

Besides, no matter what you build or buy....somewhere, someone will have a "better" speaker. Its the nature of the beast.

Ribbon Project

exhausted mule 20th January 2006 10:35 AM

the difference with diy and factory built speakers are the collective goal of the design group.

sure, with diy, you have thousands of diy'ers who are bent on building the perfect loudspeaker and the same can be said about the knowledge available in the community.

But, the one thing the average diy'er can't compete with is the shear prowess of the bigger companies.

They have years of research and technical background. They have means of quicker and more accurate results. A group of individuals working under the same guidelines and goals.

Now I agree that there are some diy projects out there that can compete with the best of the best (though it wouldn't far off to say that the best of the best would a dedicated enthusiast with ALOT of money and time ie: LR) its hard to imagine that any diy would have the time and money to compete on such a broad level that the big guys do.

Keep in mind, however, that without diy there wouldn't a market and a demand for the big guys to try and monopolise. And the biggest reason for diy are for the reasons above;

cost, individualistic design and goals along with an end product that is truly unique in its performance and appeal.

Vikash 20th January 2006 10:37 AM

Hi there are a few threads with the DIY vs commercial line of talk that you *should* search for before asking the same question.

The "others [who] say that DIY enthusiast can never build a speaker as good as a professional could" are simple naiive in my book, and too stubborn to accept that something could compete with speakers costing 5k or 20k or whatever at a fraction of the price. Perhaps they have bought a pair and can't bare the thought.

You're limited only by you're ability to research, your patience, and your wallet size in DIY (oh, and the patience of your spouse). In commercial designs they have to deal with many worldly compromises - and making a profit is the biggest of them all usually. The one's that compromise less require you to remortgage your property. And then all you've really bought is the bragging rights amongst other magazine readers.

keyser 20th January 2006 10:37 AM

Actually, I agree with you. But still I have my doubts if a DIY'er could build a speaker as good as say the B&W Nautilus 800, on which a full team of technicians and designers has worked for a long time. Which DIY speaker do you think could compete with this kind of speaker?

this was a reply to gravison. the other two were posted in the mean time.

Depth Charge 20th January 2006 12:10 PM

I'm not sure how you would define better. From what I've been reading recently I would probably consider controled directivity better, which is almost the opposite of the Nautilus. I'm really impressed by the design concepts that Amphion ( use.

Anyway, for something that is constructed like the Nautilus see the link below.

Scottmoose 20th January 2006 12:11 PM

Sorry, but I don't buy the idea that commercial systems are automatically superior. They are interested in making money -fair play, and I'm not knocking that, don't get me wrong, but not much of the price paid goes into the materials in the speaker. Nor do I buy into the notion that they are necessarily 'better' at designing than some of the gentlemen here. I have a pair of Martin King's ML TQWTs with Fostex FE167E full-range drivers that measue better, and sound better than anything available commercially under £1000 that I've seen or run across. Total cost of the build: £300. I also have a pair of Terry Cain design rear-loaded corner horns for when I want horn-sort of sound, with FF165K full-range units -cost me the same to build. I'm not aware of any commercial horns even near that price, and I can't think of many commercial horns that can deliver full 30Hz energy in-room either. But these can.

The new Krell speakers are a classic case in point: $11,000 worth, but you can buy the same drivers for around $2,000, the crossover components for around $1,000 (tops). And the cabinet materials are unlikely to run to much more than $500-$1,000 depending upon the level of finish you apply. What is more important though is that by going DIY, you get to tailor the response of your speakers to suit your own music, and your own room. When Martin's newworksheets are released, you'll even to a significant extent be able to design a speaker specifically for your room from scratch. And that's not something many commercials will offer!


Vikash 20th January 2006 12:23 PM

..and you can call it unique too ;) As Scott has said, it's fair game than manufacturers want to make money, the name of the game in life, and I also think you can put what ever price tag you think it sufficient for the R&D on a commercial design. But by no stretch of [my] imagination does it mean that you can't DIY better.

Also remember there are different states of DIY. Make the cab yourself, to getting a joinery to do it for you based on your specs, etc etc. You can have drivers custom made or modified as some manufacturers do, or use superfluous materials to impress (ahem Corian) etc etc.

The two advantages of going commercial for me are, a) resale value, and b) no research/building effort required. Sound quality (whatever that is) doesn't come into it.

inertial 20th January 2006 12:35 PM

Things talk for themselves....why you do not "comparate" the 800 Nautilus with some DIY speakers? ;)
This is the best way to achieve a good result for a seryous DIY lovers.
IMHO, anyway ,the 800-801-802 are really overextimated.

keyser 20th January 2006 01:02 PM

Inertial, I would love to do a comparison with some top of the bill DIY speakers and a Nautilus 800. However, how on earth am i going to get a pair of either in my place to do it?:angel: I've heard both the 801 and the 802 and thought they sounded really good. Haven't heard the 800's tho.
The best DIY speakers i've heard also sounded amazing, but i can't say which sounded better, for i have not done a direct, A-B comparison.

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