The Price of NON-DIY..

ScottG

Member
2003-02-04 12:23 am
US
Here I am reading this review in Stereotimes about the ESP Concert Grand SI Loudspeakers:
http://www.stereotimes.com/

..And I'm thinking: "this guy really hasn't told me much about the speakers capability. Sure, he has delineated several key areas, but then says the same thing all over again (tonality, musicality, live-sounding..whatever that is..)."

So I get to the last paragraph of two pages (that could have been stated in a single paragraph - "..hmm, must get paid by the word").. and look at the price tag! **** ****!!

"I must have missed somthing there.. this is a line array with with a line of side firing ambiance tweeters right?"

NOPE, plainly stated near the price tag that its 2 tweets, 4 mid.s, and 4 woofers (..per side "even").

So I'm thinking the editorial division of Stereotimes was a little lax and messed-up so I proceeded to the posted website. Sure enough they got it correct.

The manufacturer then has the audacity to provide this "explanation" why the speakers cost what they do (as if they are priced W A Y to low):
http://www.esploudspeakersna.com/pricing/index.html

Sure, I understand the cost of Marketing, Legal, Insurance, Employment, "Boutique" production, etc.. But the cost of parts and material don't even amount to 5% of the total retail. What do they think they are selling..soap? (..and w/out discounts I might add.)

Now I know we all spend W A Y to much time on this hobby, but I gotta tell ya - building your own Loudspeakers just seemed to get a L O T cheaper!! (.. and probably better to.)
 
I had typed a long reply about how all of the "best" speakers over a certain point should really all start to sound the same, and how I would pay a large premium just to get it "right" to save my own time, if my time was so valuable that a few weekends were worth over $50k.

Something that's far more interesting to me is the area right around $1,000. What are some commercial speakers in that range, and how do they compare to DIY projects that cost significantly less? Mostly, I wonder if it is worth my time to spend $300 to $700 on a project when I could get something from Cambridge Soundworks or B&W for a similar cost.

Even if the cost savings isn't a huge win, this is still a fun hobby and I've had a good time learning all about the physics of it. :)
 
joe carrow said:
Even if the cost savings isn't a huge win, this is still a fun hobby and I've had a good time learning all about the physics of it. :)

This is exactly what has triggered me to get started on the journey into the area of DIY speakers.

If you don't count the value of your own time spent, my experience is that you can get better amps for the money DIY style vs. commercial (at least those commercial ones I've heard). I'm quite pleased with my B&W's, but I suppose time will tell if I am successful at DIY'ing speakers, too :)

Oh, well.. at least it's a way to learn. :cannotbe:
Jennice
 
ScottG said:
Now I know we all spend W A Y to much time on this hobby, but I gotta tell ya - building your own Loudspeakers just seemed to get a L O T cheaper!! (.. and probably better to.)

Believe it or not, even with as much time I spend on this forum, I disagree....

If you are looking at high end and the few who hang around here and are trully into the big $$$ drivers and parts, that is a different matter, they are spending less money DIYing than buying a comparable speaker, and that is great.

But the low end stuff with low end drivers....people building line arrays with $0.49 drivers with 9 dB response peaks that pass unaddressed :yuck: , well I am pretty sure my $100 (new) Monsoon computer speakers can blow the doors off of them! :)

Not, I don't mean to slam people by this, I know starting with inexpensive drivers and building your way up is the smart way to go, but for pete's sake, call it like it is!
 

soongsc

Member
2005-03-26 2:31 pm
Taiwan
Re: Re: The Price of NON-DIY..

leadbelly said:


Believe it or not, even with as much time I spend on this forum, I disagree....

If you are looking at high end and the few who hang around here and are trully into the big $$$ drivers and parts, that is a different matter, they are spending less money DIYing than buying a comparable speaker, and that is great.

But the low end stuff with low end drivers....people building line arrays with $0.49 drivers with 9 dB response peaks that pass unaddressed :yuck: , well I am pretty sure my $100 (new) Monsoon computer speakers can blow the doors off of them! :)

Not, I don't mean to slam people by this, I know starting with inexpensive drivers and building your way up is the smart way to go, but for pete's sake, call it like it is!

From one point of view, I must agree!:D

From a hobby point of view, this is really a good alternative to bars & pubs. :angel:
 
Re: Re: The Price of NON-DIY..

leadbelly said:
well I am pretty sure my $100 (new) Monsoon computer speakers

The MM500 (or the lesser successor the 502) were -- except for the quantity on the bottom -- the best of the monsoon line. Compared to a regular hifi speaker quite limited in total output but great for near field (i mutated 2 par into a single pair with stereo woofers and a bit less stress on the power supplies). With no current computer speaker anywhere near as competitive, i'm sitting on my spare pair until someone offers me way more than i paid for them.

The big LA have macho and BIG in their favour... as long as the owner enjoys the music more power to them :D

dave
 
As a teenager I don't have much money and time either. (but time is money so I have nothing :D )

For me, DIYaudio is a hobby at first and allows me to taste quality for less.

I like building and conception so when I build speakers I do all myself, except the drivers off course, because it's a sort of "defy" for me. Will it work ? Won't it work ?
I often stay on a project until I'm totally satisfied with it, like on my parent's Home theater speakers :)

When you do something good by yourself, you are the most often proud of your work, and this is a priceless pleasure !
 

AnthonyPT

Member
2004-10-29 9:23 am
Hi

While some of this high pricing is

"the King's new clothes" syndrome,

there are probably speakers that

justify the price. Always think that the

Pipedreams are worthy of some attention

and besides you get a lot of drivers for you

US$40,000.! ! ! Phy-HP drivers are another "worth it"

product from all accounts. Lets hope that some

of the cost is not a free flight to the factory to

shake hands with the CEO and sign the customer owners

manual and that the money goes into R&D and not hype!


Regards

AnthonyPT
:whazzat:
 
The age old question with DIY is can I beat consumer market for less.

I think the cheaper you want to go the harder it is to beat commercialism. You will probably get a pair of speakers sounding better then the comparitive price, if you spend about £200 on drivers and xover components, providing you are good at xovers or you are building a kit.

Where (to me atleast) DIY really takes off is when you want to build a really nice pair of wilson benesh beaters or whatever. The consumer product costing well into four figures if not five.

Here you can probably buy all the driver units & crossover components for 10% of the consumer speaker. Again if you are good at xovers you are going to get a VERY nice pair of speakers comparable to consumer ones costing many times what you paid.

To me thats half the benafit but I love opening up my newly orded cardboard box (albeit having gone off to some delivery depot because I wasnt in when they dropped them off) full of drive units and examining each one closely. Building the speaker myself is most of the perk of this hobby, yes I built that and yes doesnt it sound fantastic. If it sounded like crap I wouldnt be in this though.

If all you are is a bargain hunter then to be honest id buy a pair of really good second hand speakers. You will probably save half over the retail price and get a very good sounding pair of speakers. For practically zero effort.

If you are the bargain hunter who doesnt mind occasionally not making his speakers as cheaply as he originally thought but, most importantly, ending up with something that was crafted by your own hands then go DIY.

I for one have saved thousands of pounds going DIY over commercial.
 

ScottG

Member
2003-02-04 12:23 am
US
AnthonyPT said:
Hi

While some of this high pricing is

"the King's new clothes" syndrome,

there are probably speakers that

justify the price. Always think that the

Pipedreams are worthy of some attention

and besides you get a lot of drivers for you

US$40,000.! ! ! Phy-HP drivers are another "worth it"

product from all accounts. Lets hope that some

of the cost is not a free flight to the factory to

shake hands with the CEO and sign the customer owners

manual and that the money goes into R&D and not hype!


Regards

AnthonyPT
:whazzat:


Sure, there probably ARE some speakers that justify such a high price tag, particularly when considering new product development for drivers.

The one "high ticket" speaker that comes immeadiatly to mind are the MBL 101's. Now with THIS speaker I can see the reason for 40 large.

I also have no problem with ANY of the Maggies, most of the Martin Logan's, Thiels, etc.. Note that ALL of these manufacturers produce their own drivers in-house (..and most speakers do not exceed 20k).

Once you start hitting beyond 20k though the price you are paying is for either extremely limited production (about 20 a year max) and/or name branding - typically under the manufacturer's "reference" designation (though some brands will even "hose" you here). In otherwords you are blowing a wad of cash on perceived prestige, not product.
 
It is interesting what aspect of Hifi we spend our DIY time and $$ on.

I like building amps, but purchase my speakers and digital sources.

I personally own a pair of Vandersteen 2Ce Signatures that are incredible. They are in a couple of the Hifi mags "Class A" rating list (including Sterophile), and they cost only $1500USD brand new.

For me DIYing the Pass Labs pre-amp and amp circuits made hifi possible, since paying several thousand dollars was out of reach.

Saving only a few hundred on the speakers was not worth my time. I know others feel different, like having the satisifaction of building them.

There are awesome "Class A" rated speakers for fair money available.

-David
 
its pretty easy to look at it from this point of view...

for one, we are not trying to make money at this hobby, so building a speaker for $1k or whatever, means we need to spend less than $1k. for the manufacturer, they need to come in at around $200 or so. if you really want to compare DIY efforts to commercial efforts, at least compare to retail/dealer cost, or manufacturing cost (roughly 1/4 to 1/5 of retail msrp).

for lower priced speakers, economy of scale applies. that is why it is difficult to match a $300-$500 pair of speakers (given reasonable amount of time invested), because they build VERY many so their cost to build is cheap. for instance, the B&W DM600 is $350 retail, and about $170 for the pair dealer cost. I dare anyone to build a speaker that comes close to it for $170! but, they build tons of them.

then when you start talking about speakers in the $5k+ range, companies are building quite a few less of these, therefore their production costs rise. therefore, if it was built in the thousands, it might cost 20-30% less. but because of its general price/quality range, they cant produce that many, so the price increases. this is why its easier to compete with the ~$5k and up range. we only need to build one, and in many cases, we can get things produced for similar prices that the big boys would, but since we dont charge for our time, effort, and intellectual investment, we come out ahead.

I have learned that by buying surplus or ebay or whatnot, i can get things VERY cheap. manufacturers for the most part cannot do this. they are at the mercy of "full retail" or catalog prices. they might get quantity discounts, but for the most part, they are paying a lot more for their bits they we are. that is another factor to consider.

PLUS, i have seen very few DIY speakers on this forum that have anywhere near the fit and finish of the higher end retail speakers. sure, a pair of higher end B&W or sonus fabre are expensive, but their fit and finish is almost unattainable to most DIY'ers. even if you could build a speaker that competes in the sound department (which you probably could), it would cost you a lot of money to get the cabinet to look close. you would soon approach the cost of what they are selling it for.

so, at the very least, you should use the dealer cost when comparing your DIY speaker to a commercial one, because we are assuming no markup on our stuff. if you want to be completely fair, you should compare your cost to production cost of the speaker, since we arent including our time and effort either, which their production cost doesnt include. its just simply materials.

my 2 cents worth :)
 
cowanrg said:
I have learned that by buying surplus or ebay or whatnot, i can get things VERY cheap. manufacturers for the most part cannot do this. they are at the mercy of "full retail" or catalog prices. they might get quantity discounts, but for the most part, they are paying a lot more for their bits they we are.

That is possibly the most incorrect statement I have ever read on this forum.
 
leadbelly said:


That is possibly the most incorrect statement I have ever read on this forum.

ok, after realizing this is the loudspeakers forum, i guess you are right (albeit a little harsh). for electronics parts, you can get those dirt cheap, but i guess you cant get surplus drivers, cabinets, etc... so certainly manufacturers are getting them cheaper than us. sorry, i forgot we were talking about loudspeakers.

however, my statement still stands for electronics!
 
cowanrg said:


PLUS, i have seen very few DIY speakers on this forum that have anywhere near the fit and finish of the higher end retail speakers. sure, a pair of higher end B&W or sonus fabre are expensive, but their fit and finish is almost unattainable to most DIY'ers.

my 2 cents worth :)

Hmm I think that just has to do with the level of competance at the construction end of things. Some people do not have access to a whole host of tools, equipment and skills nescessary to get a superb result. Some do, look at Jim Salks cabinets, you cannot say they dont look "reference" grade.