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SRMcGee 22nd September 2005 03:22 PM

Survey: Is there a demand for high quality DIY chassis?
I am considering starting up a new business importing high quality audio chassis for sale in the U.S. and Canada. This business does not exist today, but could be up and running in a couple of months. I am negotiating with a company that has been producing a variety of very attractive enclosures for DIY’ers in its local market for years. While they offer a broad range of products, I would likely start off by importing only 5 or 6 chassis styles. Additional chassis styles would be added as demand grows.

Par-Metal, Bud, Hammond and the other brands sell decent-looking enclosures, but no one would confuse them with commercial grade boxes. Thicker metal (including 0.25” thick faceplates), fewer seams and a beautiful anodized finish all cost more than the stuff that is currently available. Although nothing is firm at this point, I would expect that a rack mount-style enclosure (interior dimensions of 15.75w * 11.75d * 3.75h) would sell for about $110; a heavy duty tube amp chassis (12.5w * 16d * 2.75h) for about $100 and a 2-box preamp chassis (each box 10w * 11.75d * 3.7 h) for about $140.

My question is this: is the market for great-looking high quality chassis designs large enough to justify my making the substantial investment required to get this business off of the ground?

Yea or nay, please post your thoughts.

Thank you,

Brion55 22nd September 2005 03:45 PM

finding a good looking cassis has always been a problem with "home brew" amps. The other problem I've run into is decent looking control panels. I don't know if there's enough of a market to keep a company going though.

paulspencer 22nd September 2005 04:25 PM

Hmmm, I think probably no, unless income from the diy aspect is only a bonus to some other income related to the product ie suppose you had a viable business which came up with casing for a certain market but where you have some left over you sell them off to diyers. When it comes to selling this stuff only to diyers, firstly there is a limited number of customers, and secondly many of them prefer to buy raw materials and build themselves as this is part of the reason for doing it and thirdly many are into diy due to limited funds!

My (uneducated) guess would be that you'd most likely need more than this to make bread and butter.

One suggestion: diyers often buy from overseas, and many other countries have less access locally to diy products, hence consider offering any product to the world, not just USA. Just think - anything you lack in the USA is probaby a lot more scarce in other places. You guys have an abundance of subwoofer drivers compared to us. The only sub drivers that deserve a mention that we can get via local distributors are Peerless and Adire. Dayton/TC sounds/AE speakers/Rythmik and many others all have to be shipped internationally, and Ascendant Audio won't even ship here! :smash:

lgreen 22nd September 2005 11:55 PM

I think there is sufficient market. I have no equip to fab a case. So its crappy cases and new front panels from for me. I would encourage you to carry a class A amp case that includes big heatsinks, which is very very rare. People have no where to turn for high Q cases so it would be good to see you as a vendor.

jackinnj 23rd September 2005 02:25 AM

I don't want to rain on your parade, but DIY is notably cheap -- and I am exempla par gratia of that species.

You do point out an interesting paradox, however. One can build the moral equivalent of a Bryston, Krell, AR, Music Fidelity etc. for a fraction of the out-of-pocket costs. The cost/price difference is in the ergonomics and marketing, engineering etc. -- which are reasonable for the orthodontist or proctologist who will buy it to further their hobby, but they like to operate appliances...

kmj 23rd September 2005 02:48 AM

my thought:
If i were to build my wetdream it would be tubes and IF i did that it would be made out of wood and copper so no commersial chassi here.

In case of the krell ksa-50 poweramp from the solidstate forum i would probably make a chassi out of metal but then I would go to the local High school and ask if the students of the industrialprogram needed practice and if they could make it for me as long as i payed for the material (already done and they do :) ), then I would paint it.

If the project was something cheaper like a gainclone a expensive chassi is out of the question.

this however is from someone who probanlöy will bould lots of stuff and always change setup.

If your idéa is to float i think your contumer is someone who wants to build "just ONE amp" and then damn the cost.

Hope it helped and sorry for rambling but i wanted to explain my thoughts.

In any case, Good luck however it goes.

best regards

paulspencer 23rd September 2005 04:57 AM

When it comes to diy amps, the case is the most obvious visual thing that will set apart their particular amp or component. Most will build an amp they haven't designed, but the case is the one opportunity for many to make it a one off which is like no other in the world.

Then again, many people will build yet another shiva or tempest, and not be concerned that there are countless such subs out there ... and many go with kits, so perhaps there is more demand than I'm thinking ...

With the equipment that you need to do this, can you do other things as well? Perhaps you might need to broaden the scope a little and diversify to make it work.

Another thought: perhaps you could offer some things that diyers don't normally have access to - like custom printing - getting text and logos onto our cases.

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