A Big DIY Bang for Your Buck?


I believe in getting the biggest bang out of my audio buck that I can. I don't know about you but my audio budget is actually limited. I find it interesting when I hear about folks spending a zillion on the best magnetic cables and then someone comes along with some new cable technology like new liquid-infused cables that equal or best the magnetic cables at a fraction of the price. Some makers of magnetic and other cables may want you to believe that a patent pending means there must be something there that ordinary Joe Audio could never make himself. My experience leads me to say -- don't believe it.

I have been using neodymium magnets for years in my cables and around my system to improve SQ -- at a fraction of the cost that makers of magnet-containing products charge. OK, mine may not be at the very top of the performance chain when compared to those expensive products, but who cares? I have managed to get stunning returns for a pittance. It would have cost thousands, or tens of thousands, to obtain similar results from various makers.

The same applies to audio makers with a patent pending (or an actual patent) who market little aluminum audio resonators the size of pimples. I make my own resonator pimples for about a buck apiece -- with stunning results. I saved over $4,000 making 70 of my own. Maybe they are not at the very top of the performance chain compared to those expensive products, but who cares? I am very happy with results that are far beyond what I expected when I started out.

I am having a lot of fun doing DIY projects at home that reap wonderful results at a small fraction of the cost charged by audio makers for their similar products. Have others had similar experiences making their own audio products at home? Can you share your DIY experiences with us?
sabai
I have recently made some NOLA BRIO clones which sell for about $3500 for about 10% of that price and they sound amazing. I have also recently made some of my own speaker cables which sound great for pennies. Very rewarding to DIY in this hobby where retail mark ups can be in the thousands of percent. !!
best DIY project is to forget about cables and build a Nelson Pass amp design
i'd be most interested where you source your  neodymium magnets. i'm a believer, in all of what you wrote...

I'm in the same bowl.
I save on DIY. I save more though on auto and truck DIY and still service my whole commercial fleet of vehicles including heavier duty diesel trucks.
As to audio-DIY it's great fun. I like to work on vintage SS receivers.
rhyno,

I use mostly 1/2" by 1/8" neodymium disc magnets -- sometimes in multiples. I also have used neodymium cylindrical magnets. I source them from Amazon and Ebay. There is a lot you can do with these little fellows. The results are often quite amazing. Before thinking of sending a large wad of cash to cable companies that sell magnetic cables I would strongly suggest experimenting with your own magnets first to see how far you can go. Once I started on this journey -- and this was before cable companies started offering magnetic cables -- the cumulative results were so spectacular that I had no desire to even consider expensive magnetic cables when they came on the market. If money is no object, well that's another matter. But money is very much an object in my case.
I’ve never thought of magnets.. I’ll has be to give it a try.

I just disassembled my rega p3 and put the motor on a maple plinth with the turntable over it, but physically separated. I also put some wooden balls in place of feet.

I’m a bit addicted to making my own cables. I’ve done 3 or 4 different types of power cables, speaker cables, 3 different interconnect types and a power distributor.

My latest messing about has focused on various vibration isolation tweaks which seem to always be ongoing..


toddverrone,

I also make some of my own cables. I use pure silver as well as top-of-the-line Furutech products. For vibration control I use sand boxes -- very effective.
I also used pure silver wire, but I used klei connectors. They sound incredible.

One tweak I forgot: I lined the lower, woofer portion of my speaker cabinets with dynamat, which is sound deadening for cars.. It made a significant improvement in bass quality
toddverrone,

I leave mine bare.
Looks like not much happening lately in the world of DIY.
I use magnets, too. Lots of magnets. Colored magnets. Magnets on wood. Magnets on glass. Magnets on mirrors. Magnets on steel. Magnets on aluminum. Different colors for different materials. Yeah, baby!
That is funny, I use pebbles. Little colored pebbles I tape everywhere. And stickers I put on bar codes all over the house. It's magical! 
Oh, wait, no, it's absurd and I don't do any of that. I get confused sometimes.
@sabai what do you leave bare? Your speaker cabs? And yeah, this isn't exactly a diy forum. Almost the opposite, actually. But still fun!
toddverrone,

The speaker wires.

toddverrone wrote,

"That is funny, I use pebbles. Little colored pebbles I tape everywhere. And stickers I put on bar codes all over the house. It's magical!

Oh, wait, no, it's absurd and I don't do any of that. I get confused sometimes."

Uh, oh. I'm getting a bad feeling again.

neodymium magnet is an interesting idea.   Any suggestions in attaching them to cables?   I'm thinking using 2 strips sandwiching wire near the connector.
exactly what do you do with the magnets??
Wouldn’t the magnets on cables attract the electrons flowing through the cable, producing a big old clump of electrons?

knghifi and stringreen,

I use neodymium magnets in various ways. They do great things on the QOL. I have a packet of 12 on each side of the QOL face plate. I have my DAC and transport stacked with a packet of 12 right between them. I recently put a packet of 12 on top of my breaker and another packet of 12 on top of of the AC outlet that is right on top of the breaker -- like a sandwich. The effect is amazing.

There are so many ways to experiment with neodymium magnets. Most placements have not given good results. So, you may need to do a lot of experimenting to see what works for you. All I can say is that this is one of the least expensive and most effective ways that I have found to improve SQ. I have been working at this actively for over 10 years. This takes patience but the potential rewards are well worth the effort. The improvements have not been subtle.
I did not fall off the turnip truck yesterday. I have been using magnets for audio applications for almost 20 years. I have at least four products that incorporate magnets in their design, one of those products is what, ten years old. Magnets actually don’t have to be very powerful to have a powerful effect. Ceramic magnets are OK. It’s all about the colors and where they go. Everything you know about magnets and audio is wrong. 😄 Magnets are one of things that signal something lying underneath, something big. Perhaps a big can of worms! 😬
Disclosure: I am not associated with any audio company and I am not using this forum to promote any products from any audio company or any audio-related company.

My experience has shown that neodymium magnets sometimes work much better in packets than singly, and that their color has no bearing on their sonic effects.

Thankfully, I have not fallen off any trucks in the past 20 years.
I will use two specific examples from my system to illustrate my point. I have used single neodymium magnets (N50) at the breaker (as per the above posting) and on the QOL (as per the above posting). In neither case was the effect with a single neodymium magnet even close to the effect with 12 neodymium magnets.
In fact magnetism, generally speaking, is very bad for the sound. Having electron tubes in proximity to large transformers is not good for the sound. Having any electronic elements or wiring in proximity to large transformers is bad for the sound. Even the induced magnetic field in is bad for the sound. In fact, the whole point of SHIELDING transformers is to REDUCE magnetic fields around ANYTHING carringly the audio signal and in some cases the chassis. My thesis, which was selected to be presented at the national AIAA conference, was on the dodgy subject of bombarding highly magnetized metal with high energy ions to produce low thrust for an engine to be used for interplanetary travel.

"My thesis, which was selected to be presented at the national AIAA conference, was on the dodgy subject of bombarding highly magnetized metal with high energy ions to produce low thrust for an engine to be used for interplanetary travel."

Is that how you plan to make it back home?
Geoff - sorry for the joke. I sent it before I could consider. I hold no animosity toward you, and hope you can accept it as just a quick poke.
geoffkait,

You stated,  "In fact magnetism, generally speaking, is very bad for the sound." Not in my system. There are many people who use magnetic cables and find them superior to non-magnetic cables.

Please note that my earlier posting did not refer to using magnets with cables, although I do use that application, as well.


Sabai wrote,

"geoffkait,

You stated, "In fact magnetism, generally speaking, is very bad for the sound." Not in my system. There are many people who use magnetic cables and find them superior to non-magnetic cables.

Please note that my earlier posting did not refer to using magnets with cables, although I do use that application, as well."

The magnetic induction cables avoid the induced magnetic field produced by conventional cables and use high permeability alloy for the conductor which would absorb any magnetic field that might exist anyway. So, that’s not a very good example to use to dispute by statement. 😄

I never said you did refer to using magnets with cables. Nor did I say magnets didn’t work in your system. I was making a general statement about magnetism. The magnet’s magnetic field B is orthogonal to the signal direction in cables so probably won’t interfere, depends how you’re using them. Generally speaking I have no problem whatsoever using magnets almost anywhere, especially when they are painted the right color for the application. Color is just as important as the magnet. I used or have used magnets for more than 15 years, both ceramic and neodymium types, for everything from wood bookshelves to glass to circuit boards to steel or aluminum chassis, to walls and ceilings. See, I told you it would open up a can of worms.
geoffkait,

What I was referring to was your generalized statement that "In fact magnetism, generally speaking, is very bad for the sound." I am not the only one who has found that magnets greatly improve the sound.
Sabai, I already explained what I meant by that statement.

geoffkait,

This is from Wikipedia;

A magnetic cartridge (phono cartridge) is a type of transducer used in the playback of analog sound recordings called records on a record player, now commonly called a turntable because of its most prominent component but formally known as a phonograph in the US and a gramophone in the UK.

This from Dynavector;

The The DV XX-2 MKII retains the benefit of the flux damper but features the Alinco-5 magnet and the similar rigid construction to the Te Kaitora Rua. Alnico magnets exhibit high magnetic flux density combining with a low coercive therefore magnetic resistance is lower than other magnetic types such as rare earth and ferrite, providing the exceptional stability of the XX-2 MKII output voltage.

My point being magnetism or it’s field wields beneficial use in phono cartridges and interconnects to stabilize signal.

Your sarcasm concerning colors of magnets really rubbed me the wrong way. Magnets and magnetism have a defining place in audio your thesis does not...

jeffrey75

geooffkait,

This is from Wikipedia;

A magnetic cartridge (phono cartridge) is a type of transducer used in the playback of analog sound recordings called records on a record player, now commonly called a turntable because of its most prominent component but formally known as a phonograph in the US and a gramophone in the UK.

This from Dynavector;

The The DV XX-2 MKII retains the benefit of the flux damper but features the Alinco-5 magnet and the similar rigid construction to the Te Kaitora Rua. Alnico magnets exhibit high magnetic flux density combining with a low coercive therefore magnetic resistance is lower than other magnetic types such as rare earth and ferrite, providing the exceptional stability of the XX-2 MKII output voltage.

My point being magnetism or it’s field wields beneficial use in phono cartridges and interconnects to stabilize signal.

Your sarcasm concerning colors of magnets really rubbed me the wrong way. Magnets and magnetism have a defining place in audio your thesis does not...


..............................

You started out on the wrong foot by misspelling my name. You also probably need to read up a little bit on moving magnets and moving magnetic fields before rushing into this discussion. I never said ALL magnets were bad or that all magnetism is bad. You probably didn’t notice my saying I’ve been using magnets in my system for almost 20 years. (Yup, you guessed it, sarcasm)

Magnetism is High Fidelity magnetic conduction interconnects is apparently a good thing. However magnetism in conventional cables is not a good thing. Due to the induced magnetic field. Didn’t I already say that? (Sarcasm)

I wasn’t being sarcastic when I referred to colors and magnets. I suppose this is the star of the can of worms opening up. (Now I’m being sarcastic again)

geoffkait,

No, it was a generalized statement combining moving magnets and magnetic fields, but I suppose only you can make a generalized statement and waffle either direction.

geoffkait,

I have attempted to educate myself concerning magnets and colors,
are you referring to different alloys as color? That is the crux of my post
and what I misread into as being sarcasm.
Jeffery75
geoffkait,

I have attempted to educate myself concerning magnets and colors,
are you referring to different alloys as color? That is the crux of my post
and what I misread into as being sarcasm.

i already explained that too. They're painted magnets. Either neodymium or ceramic. I also already explained different colors for different materials. Going a bit further, blue for anything steel, red for anything aluminum, green for any glass including mirrors, TV screen, any and all colors for wood.

 
koestner

Geoffkait: "My thesis, which was selected to be presented at the national AIAA conference, was on the dodgy subject of bombarding highly magnetized metal with high energy ions to produce low thrust for an engine to be used for interplanetary travel."

Is that how you plan to make it back home?

Whoa! What?! Ouch!


geoffkait,

Thank you for the clarification on painted magnets and see your post
for what it is now and realize I jumped the gun... One of my first purchases
here on Audiogon was a set of A.M. GA-0's that as you probably already know are two magnets wrapped around gold plated conductors to create a field that keeps electronic and RF smog out of the signal. In short they are still doing what they are designed to and believe sabai is creating a field to keep EMI and RF out with magnets as well.
Jeffrey,

To close the loop more or less, my use of magnets, colored magnets, has nothing at all to do with RF, EMI, electromagnetic fields, with addressing magnetism is the audio system, or with the audio signal at all, actually, or with room acoustics, or even house wiring for that matter. And the products of mine that incorporate magnets, with one exception, do not address any of those issues either. I know what you’re thinking, what’s left, right? That’s what I meant when I said this talk about magnets might open up a whole can of worms. 😃

Geoff, I waffle between thinking you know what you're talking about and thinking you're a loony. 

I bet you'd be fun to have a beer with. Non magnetic, of course
jeffrey75,

You stated, "In short they are still doing what they are designed to and believe sabai is creating a field to keep EMI and RF out with magnets as well."

This is correct. 

toddverrone,

You need to read geoffkait carefully since he often waffles, as you correctly observed. He owns an audio company so his postings should be read advisedly. His agenda is obviously to promote sales. Otherwise, why would he mention his own products and history so frequently? Not for educational purposes. All in my opinion. 
I'm instinctively wary of audiophile nonsense but have enough time on my hands (I'm a writer...) that I've tried most of the tweaks that Geoff specialises in. For what it's worth I've discovered the following three things: 

1. Turns out you absolutely have to spend $500-$700 bucks on speaker cable, but no more. In fact I made the TNT cable out of cat5 for around $50 and that was superb, although I can no longer use it with my current amp. 

2. Don't bother with fuses or clocks or coloured marker pens, let alone fuse directionality; it's all expectation bias. Although...

3. Get this: I put a chunk of iron-rich basalt on top of my preamp's transformer and it cleaned up some system noise. Go figure, but it totally works. Sabai, I imagine something similar is going on with your magnets. It's not subtle, which is the acid test for tweaks. If you're thinking, "Yeah, yeah, wait, that does have a darker background/better PRAT/sounds more like live music," then, it doesn't. Expectation bias. If a tweak isn't jaw-dropping, it's not a tweak, it's nonsense.


sabai,

You have asked for DIY "bang for the buck" experiences , I have one simple
suggestion. If there is a modem in the house use ethernet cord(s) and shut
off WiFi at the modem lessening the effect of RF pollution.



uberdine,

Basalt? I will see if I can get hold of some. How heavy is the chunk?

You stated, " If a tweak isn't jaw-dropping, it's not a tweak, it's nonsense." I tend to agree. I agree with you about expectation bias.

You stated, "Turns out you absolutely have to spend $500-$700 bucks on speaker cable, but no more." It was less than $300 for my pure silver speaker wires.

jeffrey75,

Thanks for the suggestion. I will do some A/B-ing with this.


geoffkait,

I see. Your comment that seemed very clear needed some explaining.
Sabai, I live on an ancient volcano so there's basalt everywhere, but I imagine any rock with iron in it will do the trick?
(Geoff I can sell you basalt rock at $500 a chip...)
uberdine,

I see. You're fortunate -- as long as the volcano is not active.
Sabai wrote,

"Geoffkait often waffles as you correctly observed. He owns an audio company so his postings should be read advisedly. His agenda is obviously to promote sales. Otherwise, why would he mention his own products and history so frequently? Not for educational purposes. All in my opinion."

Huh? What you interpret as waffling is actually your misunderstanding of what I said or your jumping to conclusions. You have done this many times on this thread, I’m afraid. Your continued snarkiness is duly noted. 

have a nice day

sabai OP

geoffkait,

I see. Your comment that seemed very clear needed some explaining.

Sabai, actually I haven’t explained anything yet. Aren't you even curious?



 
toddverrone

Geoff, I waffle between thinking you know what you're talking about and thinking you're a loony.

I bet you'd be fun to have a beer with. Non magnetic, of course

What's this, Revenge of the Nerds Pt. 2?

😀

Breaking News! I installed 30 copper bowls, 15 were 1" and the other 15 were 1/2". They were all installed in room corners, upper and lower, in some cases more than one per corner as there are 3 surfaces per corner. Without commenting on the sonic results yet, in my portable headphone system, I'm reporting that the TV picture is quite a bit better. In fact I had to recalibrate the color saturation from 3 down to 2. Never had to do that before. Whaaaaaaat? 😀

Cheers, everybody!