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Multi-Way Conventional loudspeakers with crossovers

DIY vs. Modify vs. Buy used
DIY vs. Modify vs. Buy used
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Old 13th December 2004, 12:29 PM   #1
Sony is offline Sony  Europe
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Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Europe
Default DIY vs. Modify vs. Buy used

Let's consider the objective is to reach the desired level of sonic satisfaction, given a budget.

The three alternatives to buy a new pair of loudspeakers are DIY, modify a existing pair (parcial DIY) or buy an used pair.

I believe that all the three options have advantages and disadvantages, and may be the better option for a certain person.
I'll try to summarize my point of view on this, and it would be great if others would share their experiences, so that this may help and guide those who are taking the decision.

Buying an used pair
- If speakers in good condition it may be a good deal, since hi-fi equipment usually sells for half the original retail price.
- If seller is not near by, it may not be easy to confirm the condition of the speakers.
- Buyer should have listened the speaker on it system before, to be sure it matches, and this may also constitute a problem.
- Not fun (and proud?) on building it.

Modifying an existant pair
- This is an interesting approach if someone already has a pair that performs well except on areas where the modifications will make it better.
- Modified speaker will be very hard to sell, so it's better to think it is a no return path.
- Some speakers can't hardly be improved and on some, improvements may affect its balance.
- It is not an easy task (sometimes harder than plan DIY) before one must know original drivers and speaker specifications (box dimensions, tuning, drivers specs, crossover design, etc.).
- Some of the most significant modifications I've seen were: Replacing crossover by a better one; place the crossover externaly to the speaker; replace drivers; change wiring; reinforce box; change the way speaker touches the ground.

New DIY Project
- This is the more fun part, especially if it includes designing the all project plans, but not necessarily the best results. Lot of reading will be necessary.
- Wood is not very easy to work at the first time, and if one doesn,t have tools, they will make the project more expensive.
- After the prototype is finished, it will take lots of modifications, to make it right and integrate well with the rest of the system.
- Sometimes, there are main design options that compromise the final compatibility with the system, and one only founds it too late... What to do then? Trash the project, replace the rest of the equipment, start a new project, or buy a brand new pair?
- It comsumes a lot of time. This only constitutes a probem if someone has other important things to do (family, study, etc.).
- If successfuly, at the end you'll be proud and happy...

Some spend more money in the DIY project (not considering time) than buying a better speaker new (Tools, several attempts on drivers, more than one project, etc.). If one does not have the adequate space at home, there may also be some domestic conflits (shouldn't do it in the kitchen, or living room...).

So, do not neglet the other options: buy use and modify, especially if your only goal is sonic nirvana.

Good decision!
Take care.
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Old 13th December 2004, 01:31 PM   #2
Hennie is offline Hennie  South Africa
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Pretoria
There is lot to be said in favour of tweaking good second hand equipment. But if you have good component suppliers then building from scratch is one of the most satisfactory things you can do. Otherwise, it can be a huge frustration. Living in South Africa has influenced me, because good parts are hard to come by. I do not know anything about the component supply situation in Portugal, but keep that in mind with your decision. Can you also obtain the more exotic components if your taste is more towards the high end stuff?

As an example of what can be done I will do a separate post about tweaking the Sonus Faber Grand Piano in order to not hijack your thread.
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Old 13th December 2004, 02:38 PM   #3
foo is offline foo  Tibet
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Join Date: May 2004
Location: ...
it's hard to find a good pair of fast and accurate speakers .
(most of them available are too expensive)
it's the only thing u can do to get a pair of fast and accurate speakers by building a new project if u are not very wealthy.
however,if u are very rich , forget what i said .
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Old 13th December 2004, 10:49 PM   #4
jamesj is offline jamesj  New Zealand
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Middle Earth
I used to buy brand new manufactured loudspeakers. When my electronics improved to the point that my last pair (Sonus Faber Concerto) became the limiting factor and I set about 'improving' it by changing the tweeter. That worked to a small extent, by which time I had plucked up enough courage to design and build my own.

I'm extremely satisfied with my 3rd pair in my main system, and have my 4th pair in another smaller system. Currently, I'm about to design the XO for my 5th pair and in the process of building the cabinets for my 6th. I really should give my designs names ...

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