High End Enclosures

For DIY audio including chip amps, amp clones etc. can anyone please comment on high end enclosures and/or the fabrication of faceplates?

Critics of high end audio sometimes suggest most of our money goes into enclosures - where for companies like Pass or Rowland who make unusually beautiful things, that may well be a significant percentage of the retail price tag?

Are the OEM manufacturers of high end enclosures known or are they trade secrets guarded by their clients?

In todays high tech, 3D printer world, can any appropriately skilled and tooled metal fabricator make a beautiful enclosure? Or would the initial set up be too expensive to make single pieces?

Further to who might make enclosures, I have also just noticed that the faceplate, finish, handles and power switch on the Vincent Audio SP 331 pretty much look identical to those on mid 1990's Levinson amps?

It would be fun to design and build things for personal use if I could find a fabricator who could do this without breaking the bank?

Thanks for any thoughts or recommendations,
If you are not buying large quantities, then I'm afraid the "fabricator will break the bank" or he will not be able to supply you at decent prices.
I know this first hand and believe what you read that a big part of the final price of a high-end piece of equipment is the cost of high quality enclosures.
Pose this question on audio circle DIY forums. There are definitely some good manufacturers out there.

Pretty nice enclosures, impossible to make here for that kind on money.

Best of luck

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Hello everyone,

Revisiting this thread as I contemplate a new, DIY project, and also admiring the beauty of the Pass Lab .5 amps, having recently sold a vintage Levinson.

Out of curiosity, does anyone know if say, Pass, Roland or other beautifully high end enclosures might be made in house by the high end audio manufacturer themselves?

In the case of speakers, it seems Wilson has built their business in part by the expertise they bring to their cabinets?

Viridian, appreciate the front panel recommendation, but if price were not object, what materials and/or fabricator would you recommend for amplifiers?

Have not been around the forum for ages and note that it is changing?

Best regards to everyone.
All I want to comment is that chassis of Vincent SP-331 appears from a distance to be the same as Mark Levinson amps of 90's but on closer examination,no they are not of equal quality enclosures,no comparison really. I own the ML 27.5 and everything on it is way thicker gauge metal and is put together with better precision.

Do you also own a Vincent amp to be able to make that comparison, or is that just your impression? 

I was comparing photos of the Vincent to my experience owning a Levinson 23.5 for about 15 years....

Further to the theory that much of the profit margin in high end audio goes to making the enclosure, it seems everyone wants to defend and protect the enclosures like the formula for Coca Cola or Colonel Sanders recipe for chicken.

Nelson Pass is always friendly and forthcoming with information, but declined to comment on his enclosures in another forum, other than to say it would be prohibitively expensive in small quantities which is a reasonable point.

Also, that the quality of the aluminum affects the quality of the anodizing, however this wont be apparent until after the metalwork is done.

Understanding this is not as easy as working in MDF, I would still sure be nice to know of any resources, metal workers or anodizing shops who can do this type of thing.

Happy New Year to All