General diyAudio store feedback thread

Joined 2011
Paid Member
The cap socket screws are discussed in the Noir Build Instructions on page 4; it includes a photograph and a vendor (amazon). I extracted that page and have attached it to this post. Those screws are quite visible in the photos of Noir, attached to post #1 in the Noir forum thread; example attached.



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Whammy Headphone Amplifier

If you have any general feedback on the store or its products please post them in this thread. Thanks!

Hi everybody
This is my Whammy Headphone Amplifier. Amazing sound with my Hifiman HE-4XX and Periodic Audio Berillium in ear headphones.


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Outdated F4 BOM


The F4's BOM link points to a spreadsheet compiled in
2013, while the schematic in the manual is dated 2014.

While changes/updates between the two are visible, I'm
wondering if there were more parts changed since 2014?

I know this amp is ageing, but can the BOM be updated?
That'll surely help anyone late to the F4 party.

having problems with a delivery ex USA via DHL.

The order was scanned/packed into a container Aug 4th
Processed at export facility Aug 6th
Loaded for transport Aug 12th
Departed transit facility Aug 16th... and now nothing.

DHL sucks, every time they're involved I get delays with no explanation why.
FedEx on the other hand delivered a chassis ex Italy that was placed in the same order, received that Monday of this week.
The DHL side of the order hasn't even left the States!!

Why use inferior DHL??? DIYers would happily pay that extra to use FedEx ex USA
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Switches things on and off again
Joined 2000
Paid Member
G'day Allan :)

It's more complicated than you might imagine. I will try to fill you in with a bit more detail.

First thing that's important to make clear is that anyone who buys something from the store will receive it, or a refund. We purchase insurance or self-insure all packages. So you'll always get what you paid for, or your money back.

Our shipping policy pages details how long you have to wait for a package to be declared lost. That duration is longer than normal at the moment because of COVID.

Ok, next up, you were asking about DHL. DHL, started in 1969 in San Francisco but since 2001 majority owned by Deutsche Post, is (I'm told) the world's largest shipping conglomerate, and has half a dozen different business modules, all providing different levels of service. It's important to be clear about which one you're talking about, so you can compare apples to applies.

The main thing that customers of the diyAudio Store need to know is the difference between DHL eCommerce and DHL Express. They are two totally different companies, one started in the US and one in Germany, with different service levels and prices, but now both operating under the DHL brand name.

DHL eCommerce was not born from DHL originally, it is the new name for Deutsche Post's Global Mail business unit. When Deutsche Post took over DHL, they took Deutsche Post's Global Mail business, added it to DHL's business units, and renamed/rebranded it as "DHL eCommerce". It's a low cost, bulk consolidation carrier. Amazing value for money, not particularly reliable or fast. They rent cargo space from whoever has it (right now, slim pickings).

DHL Express is a "time definite" express service, delivered to your door by a DHL Express employee, flown on DHL Express's own planes. The feedback so far since we started using them about 2 months ago has been that everyone has been very impressed with how great their service is. It comes at a cost, but in general "you get what you pay for".

Your shipment of Aug was with with DHL eCommerce, and the service level was DHL eCommerce Direct.

Depending on location, we offer:

  1. DHL eCommerce Paket (hands over to the cheapest available local courier available in the destination country, we assume local couriers bid for their business)
  2. DHL eCommerce Parcel (hands over to the cheapest available local courier available in the destination country, we assume local couriers bid for their business)
  3. DHL eCommerce Direct (very limited country options, only available to popular countries where they can ensure a good service level, in our experience usually delivered by national carrier in the destination country)

Those three are listed cheapest to most expensive, and also the price reflects the service level too and that order is "slowest to fastest".

They slowly collect cargo, consolidate it onto pallets, and ship it in (we presume) cargo holds of available passenger aircraft. That's how they can do it so cheap. Pre-COVID there were lots of planes flying around and they could do it in a week or two. Now it's weeks or months. We do our best to keep our travel time estimations updated for your convenience when you checkout, so you can see what to expect. Most of these DHL eCommerce services you will see something like "up to 45 days" or so depending on the service or country, our best estimate of maximum travel time bound coming down with the service level.

COVID has taken a massive toll on this model.

Why use inferior DHL??? DIYers would happily pay that extra to use FedEx ex USA

We now offer DHL Express and our experience is 3-5 business days to Australia.

Why do we still offer DHL eCommerce? Some people like the price and don't care about the service level.

If you are happy to wait weeks or months instead of days (not everyone is in a rush to build a project), DHL eCommerce is a great choice and 95% of the time people are very happy with it. ~5% of shipments get delayed several weeks, and ~2% go missing off the face of the planet (again, I note we self-insure and guarantee you will eventually get what you paid for, or your money back).

All the carriers compete against each other, and are priced in the marketplace according to service level and reputation.

Here is the "rule of thumb" pricing of the carriers and services, based on my experience, from most expensive to least expensive. This order I have put together based on the prices we offer now or could offer if we were offering that service.

  1. USPS Express International (totally gone to pot during COVID, we have stopped shipping USPS entirely as we have DHL Express prices cheaper than USPS, so we can offer twice the service as half the price)
  2. USPS Priority International
  3. DHL Express (we have negotiated very good rates, and we pass those on to you, we make zero profit on shipping)
  4. FedEx Priority (very similar to DHL Express but FedEx is having some issues at the moment, even priority)
  5. FedEx Economy
  6. DHL eCommerce Direct
  7. DHL eCommerce Parcel
  8. DHL eCommerce Paket

And in our experience here is the current service level order (most reliable to least reliable)

  1. DHL Express (in our experience, the best)
  2. FedEx Priority
  3. FedEx Economy
  4. DHL eCommerce Direct
  5. USPS Express International
  6. DHL eCommerce Parcel
  7. DHL eCommerce Paket
  8. USPS Priority International

FedEx prices and service level are based on my experience negotiating with FedEx. We don't ship FedEx Ex USA because our 3PL can't offer that to us (we've begged and pleaded, not happening, but not very important now we have DHL Express which is a similar price and best in class service).

FedEx on the other hand delivered a chassis ex Italy that was placed in the same order, received that Monday of this week.

There's 50 VFET purchasers who like to tell you about how they have been waiting weeks for their FedEx shipment ex Italy. FedEx just had a major meltdown with 1-2 week delays even on priority shipments.

Normally FedEx is great, but COVID has caused problems. This is why I said before you generally get what you pay for. It's a rule of thumb and rules of thumb are the best you can hope for during COVID.

As you may be able to glean, this is a complex domain. It's tough to work out how to concisely explain the options at checkout so customers can make the best decision that is the best fit for their needs and budget.

I imagine most people, including myself want to read as few words as possible and immediately understand the options, or perhaps read one sentence at most, but there is too much information to try to convey. Throw in the fact we have to explain to people their goods are coming from multiple origins using different carriers, mixed DDU and DDP, signature on delivery and not, and well... yeah. A lot of hours have been spent trying to get the wording just right at checkout.

We include 95% percentile shipping time estimates and you see those when you choose the service at checkout.

Right now, COVID is regularly throwing spanners in the works of the shippers, from cheap to expensive. All bets are off. All carriers are claiming force majeure. Nobody is able to make a claim for late shipment.

The best I could say to anyone is that no matter which carrier you use, international shipping at the moment is unreliable and you should expect delays. The good news is things don't get lost much more frequently than they did in 2019, but delays are much more frequent and also longer in duration when they happen.

The order was scanned/packed into a container Aug 4th. Processed at export facility Aug 6th. Loaded for transport Aug 12th. Departed transit facility Aug 16th... and now nothing.

This is, unfortunately, par for the course during COVID. Especially to Australia. The government has iteratively reduced the passenger caps down to currently, 3,035 people per week for the entire country. Whole airlines are suspending service to Australia and the number of flights is lower than it has ever been. Cargo sits at airports and warehouses for weeks waiting for the vehicles to turn up (like it looks like yours did in the US).

DHL eCommerce Direct which is the service you chose (assuming I have the right order), is normally a great service to Australia, and it would be the one I would choose myself if I wanted to save money or was not in a hurry. Pre-covid, it was a reliable 7 days to Australia using DHL eCommerce Direct. Right now, usually looking at 10-28 from what I'm seeing. Still a much better choice thank Paket or Parcel, by my estimation. If someone is in a hurry or worried about wanting to reduce the risk of a package getting delayed by a few weeks or even a month or two, DHL Express would be the best choice at the moment.

I would not be planning to see another tracking event on your shipment for another week. Most of the country is in lockdown, all bets are off.

I hope that helped explain the situation and background, and helps to guide you in future choices of which shipping method to use, and that it has cast some light on the very nuanced international logistics situation in 2021.
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appreciate the response very much but since this is not my first bad experience with this logistics company then I'll take it with a grain of salt.
Be good if we had the option to also use FedEx ex USA instead of just Italy, pretty sure I know who most people would use

Thanks for your comprehensive reply.

I too have experienced the delays of DHL with my last Store order, it taking a month to get here, and the comparison with the time taken from Modushop in Italy with Fedex taking half the time to deliver.

However, as you say, with a hobby not much is so time critical that you cannot wait for the bits to come. I must say that even in these Covid times RS Components and Mouser manage to get orders delivered more expeditiously but then they certainly will have more clout with logistics companies because of the volume of their business.


Just an update here, might be of interest to Antipodeans... My Vfet parts kit was paid for last Monday evening about two hours from now. It arrived this morning about 10-11 hours ago, factoring in the time it would have taken to get organised to ship and picked up by the courier as well as been very early morning (aka night) at HQ... Probably about six days to NZ...
... and I'm still waiting for the very same order via DHL re post #295 !!!!!

DHL doesn't even handle this package in Australia according to my tracking, its handled by Australia Post.... DHL just pass the buck on this yet DHL are based here in Australia, everywhere. What gives?

I know what value for money means, but I'm damned if I can understand value for money here with this!

I just placed another order for an F5 Kit, paid over $110 for faster freight this time, no doubt I'm going to be a proven idiot for doing so!
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