DIY is not all about saving money


Since this comes up a lot, we all enjoy our audio / music hobby in different ways.


Some of us like to build things. We may be by nature builders, or curious. We like taking things into our own hands and learning what makes them work. Some of us love woodworking. Some soldering, and occasionally we like saving money!


It's important to understand that saving money is not my primary motivation for DIY work. I DIY things because I like to make things, I like learning and I like experimenting. I won't apologize to anyone that I don't necessarily feel the same excitement you do from serial purchasing of new (or new to me) gear.


As a culture, I think we benefit greatly from DIYers who share their passion and experience. Those of us who don't have a financial interest in making claims, or reviewing products.


Being a DIYer is also not about lowering the value of good products. As a speaker designer I can really appreciate how hard it is for some brands to bring to market fair priced, well performing gear. I would not attempt it.


It does give me a great deal of independence though. Since I adjust my sound by changing parts in the speaker, I really don't care about cables. I mean, I have some DIY and some Wireworld and that's it. When I think about tweaking something it's either room acoustics or a crossover component. Right to the heart of the matter.


You should make yourself happy when you spend money, but please recognize that like many DIYers, I DIY to build. Bulding something with my own two hands IS the point for me. It is the difference between buying a meal, and cooking it myself. I like both, and when I cook for myself it is as much making EXACTLY what I want to eat as it is about saving money on the food budget, not to mention how hard it is to eat a balanced meal when out.
erik_squires
Well said and I share your passion for building and learning.  Very enjoyable. I am currently building a 6sn7 based preamp and completely renovating and upgrading a set of Spica TC50 speakers. 

Not sure who was being negative about DIY, probably because I don't read many of the threads, but isn't DIY sort of the backbone of this hobby?

I think maybe DIY bragging might be self delusional at times as people are giving advice, but DIYing your own system has tons of advantages.

You can't take away from the guys that have the experience in doing things, as probably some DIYers do but compare DIY to expensive plug & play and I would think at least it's a fair shot that the DIYer is going to make something in the end that will out do or come close to, once they learn the tricks.

MG

Not everything I post is about others being negative, but sometimes comments make me think about areas where an explicit conversation can be helpful.


In general, there's always some one to pop in and criticize my DIY habits as cheap or low quality.  There's also times when I see people wanting to build their own speakers PURELY for cost savings.


The DIYers provide more of a service to the community than cost savings. :)
Eric:

I totally agree with you.  Decades ago, I used to really enjoy assembling HeathKits.  Assembled many of their kits including test equipment, tube and transistor audio equipment, and even a color TV as well as many other of their kits.  No greater satisfaction then powering up the finished product and having it work as advertised.  

As a result I now have five Heath W5M amplifiers in my basement!  Not sure what I will do with them.

I also made DIY speakers in the 1960’s and 70’s that were designed for my by a civilian sound engineer who worked for the Navy.  Even wound my own coils for the crossover.  Sounded wonderful for their time.

I made my current speaker cables about 20 years ago.  The currently connect my Diablo 300 to my Sonus Faber Amati’s.   They sound good.  I see no need to update my speaker cables at this time.

Don’t let anyone get you down about your DIY.  Keep up the good work and more importantly, continue to enjoy what you are doing.
@erik_squires 
I totally agree.  It's not about meeting the standards of manufactured products, it's the pure pleasure you get when you make something.  I used to do lots off wood working and construction.  And in reality many times you can make a better product,  especially with woodworking. I could hire, but I just enjoyed what I was doing.  Not for anyone to see, but for myself enjoyment of creativity.  Not everyone is capable of making things with there own hands and that's fine.  Maybe the resistance you get is do to jealousy.  As far as your pc making goes, I'm sure you can get better results than most companies.  You should use your new cord on your class d. Good luck, Pete.
Again thanks for the room correction advice, u where spot on.
At 13 I built 6" reflecting telescope and mount,  and a Dynaco ST-400 when I was 14. After college I built transmission line speakers, which sounded great with my home brewed beer. In between I rebuilt my 240-Z engine and suspension. It'd be a bit of a stretch to say I built the home I live in, but only a stretch and not a total fabrication. My turntable, equipment rack, and most recently distributed bass array subs were all built right here at home by me.

Which is why I know you guys are absolutely right when you say DIY is great if you just plain enjoy doing it. That alone will justify it. As if it ever needed justifying. DIY is worth doing simply for the sense of accomplishment and if not that, even if you totally botch it, still worth it for the virtue of the pursuit of self-sufficiency. You got a real good chance of learning to understand how things work a whole lot better. Maybe even gain some appreciation for just how much work and planning goes into professionally manufactured products.

Indeed, it is hard to think of anything bad to say about DIY. For the record, I sure can't. I highly recommend DIY. Often. Twice just today in fact! One tone arm/plinth, one speaker stand.

What I don't understand and what does bug me is when instead of focusing on the genuine benefits of DIY people talk about benefits that just don't exist.

Like, you are not usually gonna save money. Well, sometimes. A turntable sand box, speaker stand or rack, a few things like that IF you already have all the tools and stuff. Even then probably not if you truly match finished quality. Certainly not when including your time. 

But there are plenty of things where you just cannot come even halfways close to what you could buy for parts costs alone, yet DIY'ers can't resist talking about saving money. While assuming "just as good." Spare me. I've tried, and seen plenty of others try. Look at it this way. Caelin, the guy who runs Shunyata? Dude toiled away for YEARS before he came up with anything anyone would actually think is worth some money. Ted Denney (Synergistic Research)? Same deal. On and on. But you're the exception? Spare me.

By the same token, I also don't see anything in DIY that entitles one to act all superior, like you are the one who figured it all out. Those other poor saps, 95% of them anyway, don't know what they're hearing. They're just throwing their money away.

Right. 

There's plenty of really good reasons to DIY. Why not just stick with those?


millercarbon,

You do realize one can make a tube preamp, for example, with the same circuit and design of a “brand” with better parts for some 1/2-1/4 the retail price. Tube amp circuits are still pretty much the same as they were decades ago and one can build a nice tube amp for under $1200 that would sell for at least 3-4 times that retail. While this is not the point of this thread I feel like your post just went too far off the reality road. The real point of DIY is passion and the process, not the end savings. We agree on that. However, I don’t see your last point as being accurate in many circumstances.

erik,

Your reasons for DIY make tons of sense.

As it happens, it’s not where I prefer to put my own time and efforts.Maybe it’s laziness, or the amount of time I work or whatever, but when I have time to relax, listening to music (or watching a movie, or going out to dinner...) is what I want to do, not build speakers.

As you indicate, it’s all about the individual and what he likes doing. My pal built his own back deck. He enjoyed the process and was proud when he finished. I get it. But to me every description of his process sounded like a chore, not something I’d get pleasure from.   Same goes for some geek-heads who like to build their own computers.  If that's what interests you, then it makes sense.


But I’m not a DIY or handyman type, more an artsy fartsy, so there ya go....

I really appreciate the knowledge that some DIYers like yourself bring to the rest of us numbskulls.

For anyone in the San Francisco Bay area, Roger Modjeski (Music Reference, RAM Labs) offers a course in hi-fi electronic design. In his course he teaches you electronic theory, and you get to build your own amp or pre-amp.

Rythmik Audio offers their sub system as a DIY kit, proving everything but the enclosure. To make shipping more affordable, Rythmik produces their sealed 15" woofer sub in a 3cu.ft enclosure. For those building the 15" sub with the DIY kit, he advices using a 4cu.ft enclosure, for higher efficiency and more output. His OB/Dipole Sub (co-designed by GR Researches Danny Richie) is offered as a DIY kit ONLY. Plans for the required H-frame are provided by both Rythmik and GR Research, and GR has a cabinet builder making and selling an easily-assembled frame to Danny's specs.

Some of us Do It Yourselfers ARE numbskulls, but do it anyway, for all the above reasons. Persistence pays off, and we sometimes get it so right.

That makes it all worthwhile. Regards,
Dan
@grannyring ,

I still have my original buyer pair of Spica TC-50i speakers.
Long live DIY'ers!
Wish I learned the skill...
@slaw 

Do you listen to them now or are they stored away? I will have two sets. One original and one maxed out with upgrades and mods. Fun speakers! Addictive sound when set up right. 
Erik,

I agree with much of your post but I have to take exception to your comment about speaker cables and internal wiring.  You really should try some Audio Note Lexus Copper Litz for the internal wiring of your speakers.  It’s not all that expensive and I suspect you will be surprised by the improved sound quality.  

As as much as I like to build things myself (all of my electronics and speakers are DIY), I use only commercial cable products.  It may seem odd since cables are the easiest of all things to make, but I have tried all sorts of wires to make my own cables and none of them sound as good as the best of my commercial products.
Post removed 
Audio Note Lexus Copper Litz for the internal wiring of your speakers.


I don't have a solder pot, and feel like I'm pretty much done doing the cable things with them. :)


At some point I have to decide it's good enough. I may however upgrade to some copper film caps next year.
I would love to build my own cables and equipment but I just don't have the skills to do so.I can plumb,wire,build,and install things in my home but finer more intricate work,just nope. 
DIY is exactly like home cooking.
Someone cooks great food that is batter that most restaurants do, someone else cooks not testy food.
I listened many systems with DIY components. Some of them sounded horrible but some sounded amazing.
Actually I rarely heard that systems built from brand components sounded on the same level as good DIY systems.
So everything depends from the person who makes this DIY equipment and system. This person has to have good tests, knowledge and experience.
On other hand, IMHO, nothing works plug and play in this hobby. There are also not direct correlation between spanned money and sound quality. You can buy  expensive and really good brand components and get a very bad sound in result.
I would love to build my own cables and equipment but I just don't have the skills to do so


That's why DIY is for learning. :) We don't all start with these skills and tools.