Pulsars and the Mythical Armchair Speaker Maker


There’s another thread going about Joseph Audio Pulsar speakers which I did not want to derail, but it is showing up some common logical fallacies and dead ends I wanted to talk about.


As anyone who has read my posts knows, I’m a huge proponent of DIY for speakers and cables especially. Not that I think you should only go with DIY but because the more audiophiles who can build their own we have in the community the less snake oil gets spread around as fact and there’s less worshipping of the price tag as the almighty determiner of speaker performance.


The myth I want to talk about is kind of related. It is the idea that we should value speakers based purely on driver cost. JA’s Pulsars suffer from this because they seem to use off the shelf components, in very nice cabinets, with perfectly executed crossovers. The thing that I don’t understand are buyers who look at driver cost, and say "well, these speakers should cost no more than x amount, so I’m not buying them... "


I call hogwash. Speakers are more than a collection of parts. They are curated components brought together by a designer and manufacturer. Those same people who are likely to engage in this behavior:

  • Can’t actually design a speaker themselves
  • Would NEVER build a DIY speaker even as a complete kit because it doesn’t have a brand, nor would they buy an assembled DIY speaker.
  • Would probably go with a speaker with in-house drivers which have an even higher markup
  • May not have very good ears anyway


My point is, knowing the price of the parts does not make you at all qualified to judge what the final price should be. That is, fairly, in the hands of the market, and it doesn’t actually make you a better listener or more informed buyer. I would argue you end up buying speakers for brands with even more of a markup and more likely to have questionable performance.


It’s perfectly reasonable for a manufacturer to charge for parts, and skill. So, yes, talking tech and drivers and crossover components is always fun, but please stop evaluating the price of finished goods until you’ve attempted at least designing one pair yourself.

And again, DIY is a lot of fun, and if you want to go that way, you should, but let’s not denigrate high value, high quality manufacturers and delers by reducing them to part assemblers any more than you'd judge a restaurant based on the cost per pound of chicken.


Thank you,

E
erik_squires
@erik-squires ... Exactly! Bravo and well said.
Some people find overpriced restaurant meals or expensive clothing objectionable. Why should overpriced high end speakers be any different?

Speaker design is not magical. All you need is a very rigid sturdy mdf box. Mdf is a very cheap material. Buy the best drivers you can afford and stick them in the box. As for the crossover, that is much easier to do now than it used to be due to the availability of dsp crossovers like hypex.

Most commercial speakers are actually worse than diy since they use passive crossovers that have no advantages over active. 

The only advantage you get from commercial ones is the glossy finish which has no effect on the sound but is used to justify the cost.

if we dont stop buying these overpriced toys, the manufacturers will happily continue raising their prices.






Some people find overpriced restaurant meals or expensive clothing objectionable. Why should overpriced high end speakers be any different?

It isn’t, totally different argument.


Judging the price of the meal by the cost of chicken at the store is a horrible way to judge a restaurant. Judging a shirt by the cost of a bale of cotton is a terrible way to judge the value of clothing.


Most commercial speakers are actually worse than diy since they use passive crossovers that have no advantages over active.

Most DIY speakers are passive, so this statement makes no sense.


In addition, I disagree with the statement I think I can discern, which is : "Active crossovers are universally better than passive." Dear lord do I disagree with that for home use.


Based on kenjit’s argument, homes, cars, restaurant food, and most every other item should be valued solely on the cost of component parts. That scenario is unrealistic since most folks do not have the skills to roll their own.
When Art Dudley comments upon the quality of parts in a piece of electronics, I take notice. Herb Reichert who evidently had a history of repairing electronics does this too. 
I understand your point with loudspeakers and cables. I particularly shake my head at people who buy loudspeakers with their eyeyballs-looking for futuristic driver materials and cabinet shapes. But at the other extreme-call me what you will-but I reject certain speakers with my eyeballs too-Tektons in particular. Even if they sound as great as reported, I don't want those ugly things in my house. 
We all make value judgments. A Rolex and an IWC may have the same cost and virtually every horology enthusiast will tell you that the IWC has the more costly movement contained inside, and yet the Rolex has more cache' and some take more joy out of having a well-known status symbol whereas the IWC is not going to be noticed for what it is except by watch enthusiasts. 
As a Garrard 301 owner, let's talk about plinths. That is a DIY type of thing. But even a pretty handy guy like Art Dudley's can't build a plinth for his Thorens and Garrard that looks nearly as nice as some specialists. Does it sound just as good? That is an open question. Plinths need to be tuned (IMHO) to the motor unit. A Thorens TD124 will sound best in an open plinth-again IMHO-whereas a Garrard 301 needs a very dense-but not too dense-plinth, preferably of cherry wood. You can spend $4000 with an Artisan Fidelity plinth, 3200 on a plinth by Steve Dobbins, and $400 on a nice looking plinth from Hungary. The cost of the wood is not much. It is the labor and expertise you pay for-and you pretty much get what you pay for. 
I agree about the Tektons. I've written at length here defending their technical execution (mostly) but no way would I allow one in my home! It's just too ugly.
@erik_squires I think some people who are more price conscious might do some internal calculus and decide to go with speakers from say selah audio or salk or GR or some other speaker builder that would be happy to build you a speaker with the same drivers at a fraction of the cost, and nobody would question Dennis Murphy or RIck Craig's bonafides.
Big +1 @erik_squires and well said.  You could give me and Mario Battali the same ingredients to make a bolognese sauce, but does anyone think they'd prefer mine?  Ha!  Would you pay more for Mario's sauce?  I know I would if I really want to enjoy my dinner at a high level.

You're paying for knowledge, expertise, development time and costs, manufacturing labor, shipping, warranty, and the final results of all of this.  Like Erik said, the market will be the the fair and final arbiter of price and the success of the product.  As far the Pulsars, given their popularity and positive reviews, I think it's hard to make the case it's overpriced.  Also, Silverline's newest version of the SR17 is a similar product in that it uses premium drivers, a well-designed crossover, and a nice cabinet.  And guess what?  It's priced right in the same range as the Pulsars.  That, to me, is indicative of a competitive market at work and fair pricing.  Also, you have to factor in that companies like these are small, boutique manufactures and sell in much smaller numbers than the big guys, so their costs per unit are naturally going to be higher.  But they still have to compete with the big guys so they're still limited at how much they can charge. 

The only caveat I'd say is the direct-sale model where the dealer markup can be avoided.  Yes you could potentially get more value buying this way -- assuming you can find a speaker you really like -- which is tough because there's nowhere to hear them.  But that's a different business model and has downsides of its own. 

Some of you seem to be implying some of these speaker manufacturers price their products agregiously and at whatever they want like they're monopolists.  The competitive market would weed this behavior out rather quickly.  And I highly doubt Jeff Joseph and Alan Yun are driving around in Ferraris -- that'd be the cable manufacturers.  Save your ire for them. 
I agree that custom/ bespoke makers, including my buddy Fritz and Taylor, have amazing value and performance.


They’re struggling. Why? Brand recognition.


At a recent audio Show, myself and a pair of musicians from Blue Coast rated Fritz’ speakers best of show. Few people have the internal discernment to say "yes, these are great, and a bargain, I’ll buy them"


Instead, they revert to part price comparisons, and end up buying branded speakers which are no better values.


This is why I call BS on all these arm-chair builders.


They’re struggling. Why? Brand recognition.

@erik_squires -- Yup, that may be the biggest problem with the direct-sale business model.  It's a real uphill battle for them.  

Never heard of Taylor.  Did you mean Tyler?  Heard nothing but good things about Fritz speakers.  Thought I remember reading he uses a series crossover?  Or am I just making that up?  Why are series crossovers so infrequently used BTW?
I used to know this audiophile, he was the classic case of the guy always whining about overpriced snake-oil interconnects, especially the overpriced part. Tried telling him yeah sure, they're overpriced based on the cost of the wire, insulation, and connectors, but what about the massive time and trial and error and everything they put into it? Oh its not that hard, he assured me, over and over again telling me how many of these things he'd reverse engineered or even torn down and copied. 

Strange though, every one of his supposedly just as good DIY cables sounded to me like crap. 

One time he calls me up all excited, cracked the DaVinci Code, had one DIY cable just absolutely indistinguishingly as good as this kilobuck interconnect he'd copied. 

Well, you want it to be true now, don't you? I mean, who wouldn't? Even if you were the proud owner of the $3k interconnect, if you could build a few more for $300 wouldn't you want to do that? Course you would.

So I was really hoping for it to not be just another piece of crap. Which it was. Total POC. Which even he had to admit.

Problem was, it turns out, his whole system was full of so much DIY POC it had everything distorted to the point he couldn't even hear any difference between these two interconnects. Until he put them in my system. Which made the differences obvious even to him.

Now to put in perspective, this guy had been working on this almost nonstop for like 30 years. By which I don't mean a long time. By which I mean THIRTY YEARS! To say he was crestfallen does not even begin to cover it.

Speakers, btw, same thing. Audiophile club here had a $100 speaker contest- parts budget $100. Per pair. Only they got a break- cabinet costs not included. That's a huge break! Even so, there were at the time several $100 retail speakers on the market that sounded better than the contest winner.

Not saying DIY is a waste of time. Not saying all professional products are better. Saying the good stuff isn't overpriced at all, and the best is really good value. Saying more often than not you're better off trying to find the best than build it. 
DIY is absolutely one very real means to great sound at astounding savings. Been there, doing that and so loving it!

It does take some skill and experience to get to the point of making gear as good or better than big dollar brands.  That experience does cost money, but learning is part of the fun for many DIYers.  
@millercarbon 

he couldn't even hear any difference between these two interconnects.

thats because there is no difference between interconnects. Any difference you think you hear is imaginary .


A few additional factors to consider.  The DIY speaker guy is for the most part, designing a speaker to mate to his room, with his ancillary gear to please his ears with his music.  I have had the pleasure of listening to several "life time of design"  DIY speaker builds and they all sounded good, some sounded great.  Now take those 4 box/open baffle/line array/wide band with a woofer  et. al. designs out of the designer's room, haul them to another room or another house, hook them up with different amplification and sources.  Play different music.  Same results as the designer's system?  Bollocks! 
  The real trick for the commercial speaker designer is to come up with a design that sounds good to great in a ton of different rooms, with a ton of different amps, sources and on a lot of different music.  Guys like Jeff Joseph have a talent to create great sounding speakers that can work in a lot of environments, with a lot of sources, amplification and with a lot of different music.  Oh and they have to be able to replicate the design in some version of "mass production".   Create shipping cartons, design literature, market their designs, ship them, warrant them and the list goes on and on and on. 
  What if there was a way to leverage the DIY results ( your room, your, ancillary gear, your music) within the context of a commercial design? 
  There are a lot of examples of exactly that.  Legacy Speakers, the new Bryston Active models, Gayle Sanders new designs, Siegfried Linkwitz speakers all have at least some user adjustable parameters to allow them to perform in a variety of set ups and locations.  
  Full Disclosure, I am an audio retailer.  Only one of the above manufacturers do I represent.  Joseph Audio is not it. 
  DIY is a great avenue for the listener who wants to participate in their own system's design.  The knowledge gained can be invaluable.  It is also a lot of fun.  DIY builds are not generally intended to be sold to a wide swath of the audio community and therefore are not constrained by the myriad of concerns faced by a commercial design. 

Guys like Jeff Joseph have a talent to create great sounding speakers that can work in a lot of environments, with a lot of sources, amplification and with a lot of different music.  

No they dont. Commercial speakers do not satisfy every audiophile. Thats why there are dozens of choices
Kenjit,

    So what you are saying is that speaker designers like Jeff do not have talent?  Do not create speakers that can work in a lot of environments, with a lot of sources, amplification and lots of different music? 
  At no point did I ever even come close to stating that "Commercial speakers satisfy every audiophile". 
 
all speakers diy or not are highly room dependent. Whats special about the pulsar that makes it less room dependent?
So the question for Kenjit remains, why are you not designing, building, marketing, and selling your own speakers that equal or out perform the Pulsars for far less money? It is a piece of cake, right? Have you ever heard the Pulsars? 
why should I do it for far less money if other manufacturers are charging such high prices? 

I have not heard the pulsars no. 

The question is why dont more audiophiles try doing it diy?

its not exactly a piece of cake but you can save alot of money in the end. 


erik well said indeed great post. A lot of great commentary here as well great thread guys. kenjit assuming you're not a troll, a bit of a leap for now, I don't do DIY  because I can't and am not really inclined at age 49 to learn. Jeff Joseph designs speakers for a living it's his life's work. He's been tremendously successful in a very tough competitive business. That success speaks for itself.


Not always, but often, people who complain about high prices have little actual idea of what it costs to make something. Also they seem to never take into account things like returns, labor, equipment costs, rent, utility bills, and other costs that are more industry specific. In the case of a speaker company perhaps providing samples for reviewers.

It's not just "drivers stuffed in a box" not matter how you slice it.
Also they seem to never take into account things like returns, labor, equipment costs, rent, utility bills, and other costs that are more industry specific. In the case of a speaker company perhaps providing samples for reviewers.

It’s not just "drivers stuffed in a box" not matter how you slice it

plenty of hifi companies do cheap speakers. They too have to pay rent, utility bills, marketing and all the rest of it.

So why cant you take a mid priced speaker costing say $500 a pair and instead of using drivers that cost $50 a piece, use state of the art drivers costing $300 a piece? that would still only be $250 more per driver which means $1000 more than the basic cost of $500.
It doesnt come to $10,000 does it?
Many of these high end speakers are nothing more than basic mdf cabinets using higher quality drivers.
Even the ones that dont use mdf, are not demonstrably vastly superior to mdf. A cheap speaker uses no brace whereas a more expensive speaker uses a single brace. So for a tiny bit of mdf youre paying thousands of dollars more. Every speaker should be braced. It costs nothing to add a piece of mdf inside the cabinet during assembling.



Kenjit,  you clearly do not or choose not to understand the intent of my comments or this entire thread.  Please take the time to tell us of your own DIY speakers.  Or, failing that, tell us what cheap speakers that sound better than the over priced Pulsars do you own?   No more platitudes.  Put up or....... well you know.
You know, kenjit's entire theory is analogous to representing yourself in court, or performing a homemade appendectomy ... neither is a good idea, particularly if you either don't know what you're doing or are not inclined to learn. Jeff's speakers, like those of any designer, are not necessarily appropriate for every audiophile or every listening situation ... nobody here ever said they were. As a very satisfied owner of a pair of Pulsars, I suggest that anybody knocking them should hear them first before passing what is nothing more than an uninformed judgment

All I know is that i am very interested in hearing a pair of the Pulsars. I plan to search out a dealer in the Midwest and have a visit. 
So why cant you take a mid priced speaker costing say $500 a pair and instead of using drivers that cost $50 a piece, use state of the art drivers costing $300 a piece? that would still only be $250 more per driver which means $1000 more than the basic cost of $500. Itdoesnt come to $10,000 does it?

Clearly we’re dealing with 10 megabytes of RAM here. I explained this to you in the prior thread to this one, but you apparently just can’t wrap your head around it. A manufacturer who sells through a dealer network needs to charge about 4x (or even more) the cost of the product to cover his fixed and variable costs and still make a decent profit. Your example makes no sense. If a speaker has two $50 drivers, he’d have to charge $400 just for those, which would leave him $25 for both the crossover and the cabinet if he’s setting a retail price of $500. And if he used drivers that cost $250 more each, that would raise the price by an additional $2000 just for the drivers alone. Add a much heavier, better braced, and more attractive cabinet and a better crossover with much more expensive parts, and sure, that speaker could easily and justifiably reach $10,000.

Many of these high end speakers are nothing more than basic mdf cabinets using higher quality drivers.
That’s just simply not true of high-end speakers. Any manufacturer who puts in the time, effort, and expense to design and build a high-end speaker is not just going to slap it into a simple MDF cabinet. They’re going to carefully custom design and build a cabinet that complements the other components, damps unwanted resonances, and helps achieve the overall sound he’s looking for. This is just something you’ve made up in your own mind to try to support your extremely flawed reasoning.

Even the ones that dont use mdf, are not demonstrably vastly superior to mdf. A cheap speaker uses no brace whereas a more expensive speaker uses a single brace. So for a tiny bit of mdf youre paying thousands of dollars more. Every speaker should be braced. It costs nothing to add a piece of mdf inside the cabinet during assembling.

Where is your proof of this ridiculous statement? Talk to Wilson or Rockport and they’ll be able to explain to you in great detail why they don’t use MDF and why their complex cabinets are significantly better -- and they can likely give you measurements to back up their claims. You’ve once again greatly and incorrectly oversimplified speaker cabinetry to try to support extremely flawed thinking.

You seem to think this this is a commodity business. It is NOT. You can’t build a good high-end speaker and just slap on a 25% markup and stay in business. I doubt any of this will find it into your brain as it didn’t last time, so peace out.

I’ve made the same financial points before.


The same people think that a restaurant can stay in business by selling meals for the cost of the raw ingredients.


If you are a pure factory, you can run on a small markup, but no one is. You have salespeople, administrators, warehouses, package designers, shipping costs, and greasing reviewer’s palms to think about.


The basic calculus is that you must sell speakers for 10x the driver cost, at a minimum. If you can get higher you are more likely to stay in business. And again, this presumes all speakers are designed equally well, which let me tell you based on listening, they are not! :D

cheapskates will find a way to rationalize being cheapskates ;-)
even bad rationalizations.
And I am among the most frugal, but making my own speakers, and working through the math, I can respect what it takes to be a manufacturer.


And yes, I meant Tyler Acoustics, not Taylor.  Sorry buddy.


Erik
kenjit
So why cant you take a mid priced speaker costing say $500 a pair and instead of using drivers that cost $50 a piece, use state of the art drivers costing $300 a piece? that would still only be $250 more per driver which means $1000 more than the basic cost of $500.
It doesnt come to $10,000 does it?
Many of these high end speakers are nothing more than basic mdf cabinets using higher quality drivers.
Even the ones that dont use mdf, are not demonstrably vastly superior to mdf. A cheap speaker uses no brace whereas a more expensive speaker uses a single brace. So for a tiny bit of mdf youre paying thousands of dollars more. Every speaker should be braced. It costs nothing to add a piece of mdf inside the cabinet during assembling.


Spoken like a man. A man that is who has never built a single pair of speakers in his life.

My guess is, you have never even run so much as one piece of MDF through a table saw.

Wait- have you ever even used a table saw?



There are those who rationalize that they can purchase very similar or sometimes identical drivers for a fraction of the price of a speaker at retail and assemble a speaker of similar performance. There is much more to speaker design than the drivers themselves, and even when using advanced software to develop suitable cabinets and crossovers the best designers spend a significant amount of time and resources in listening and then tweaking their final designs which is commonly referred to as voicing. When using a crossover designed by the applicable formulas you will only get a glimpse of a speaker's true potential and it requires experience, technical skill and a bit of engineering 'art' to be able to fine tune a design to capture that last degree of magic that escapes many lesser designs. When purchasing a properly engineered speaker you are not only paying for the raw parts but for the engineering and expertise that has been put into the complete design. Building your own speakers can be a fun and even rewarding venture, but don't kid yourself into thinking that you're ending up with something identical to some of the best engineered speakers on the market by attempting to copy their design.

Post removed 
If they don't buy them then who cares? I must be missing something...
If they do buy them, who cares?
Let me make a very concrete example. I present to you all my SNR-1. My main daily speakers.

Tweeters alone will set you back a grand, $500 more in the woofers, and $300 or so to execute the crossover well.  Tweeter similar to used by Gryphon, mid-woofer used by Gryphon, Wilson and others. A bargain compared to retail. 

http://www.taylorspeakers.com/


will make you the cabinets for about $900 a pair.

I've yet to meet anyone who actually built another pair.

https://speakermakersjourney.blogspot.com/2017/12/snr-1-two-way-high-end-diy-monitor.html
Assuming I attempted to go commercial with them, there's just no way I could list them at a retail store for less than $15k.


I've yet to meet another DIYer who would put down the cash.


Which proves my main point:  Using speaker driver cost alone as the 'worthiness' of a speaker is an absolute farce.
I present to you all my SNR-1. My main daily speakers.
where are the measurements? its easy to make a nice looking box but thats not what matters. 

I could buy similar drivers to the pulsars, stuff them in a box, tinker with the crossover at a fraction of the cost. Doing an active crossover would provide quicker and better results.I could save myself further time and money by doing without the high quality finish.

Where the extra money goes if you buy the commercial version is irrelevant. It either ends up as profit or rent or whatever but we know that most of the money you pay doesnt go into the speaker youre buying. Why pay more when you can get better results for less? Nobody has access to these companies financal records anyway so who knows where the money goes and how much they pay for parts? 






@kenjit Read the article, it has links to full simulation files.

Why pay more when you can get better results for less?

Which is actually the point. The point is you should buy performance, not parts.

If you can get better for less, do so. That's what the market is about. Denigrating a particular brand solely on part cost is the opposite of buying performance.
Also, @kenjit : Those are my qualifications, so before you go critiquing, lets see your work. 

You won't just be allowed to critique until I've seen you demonstrate reasonable speaker acumen. Criticizing the work of others without being able to make anything yourself is exactly the type of conceit I meant to point out in this thread.
(copied part of the post from the other pulsar thread)
I just had to chime in after reading most of this nonsense/bs of people *assuming* they know more than Jeff Joseph. It’s actually quite embarrassing that people are jealous of success and pretend they have the knowledge to DIY. Heads up I do own the Pulsars for 4-5 years or so. I didn’t make the purchase after one stellar review but after a plethora of stellar reviews from all over the world and MOST IMPORTANTLY auditioning them first. Without question they have been rated and still one of the best sounding speakers in the world (yes very true) and now the first upgrade since 2012. Hmm odds are 100% that this upgrade / modification will significantly better the sound... to criticize about actually listening to something first hand is fine but to make crap  up about nonsense is laughable!
@erik_squires 

i dont see any measurements.

You won't just be allowed to critique until I've seen you demonstrate reasonable speaker acumen.


That is exactly the point I'm refuting. It does NOT require speaker acumen. There is no such thing. Every speaker designer has their own belief about the best way to do things. Sometimes diametrically opposed. Every speaker sounds different. Often vastly different. 

If I was to do a diy speaker i would get somebody to do the box. It wouldnt cost thousands of dollars though. The crossover would be dsp. Passive is not only more difficult but the results are worse. Are you looking for the best performance with least effort and cost or do you enjoy spending more money than necessary?




Are you looking for the best performance with least effort and cost or do you enjoy spending more money than necessary?

You really just can’t grok this issue, can you?

If I go to a local restaurant with a great chef and enjoy some fine dining am I "spending more money than necessary?" Of course not. I could potentially spend the time learning to cook at that level myself, shop all over for the ingredients, and keep trying until I cook a good meal.

But....

Since I DON’T WANT to spend my time that way, and also can’t be even guaranteed I’d match the talent of the chef in any case, I make the totally rational decision to spend extra money having a professional chef cook for me.

Similarly, yes speakers sound different of course. And if it’s the case that a Jeff Joseph design stands out to me as just what I want, the alternative you seem to imagine is that I become a DIY speaker designer. So I’d have to spend significant time and resources taking up a craft that I don’t want to do in the first place, and then hope to hell that I somehow match the results of someone with years of experience and whose designs have been vetted as outstanding by reviewers and listeners, which measure really well etc.

But I don’t want to! We all make the rational decisions on how to spend our time on this earth, and most of us don’t want to learn a craft instead of make a purchase. That’s why people pay for services and products made by other people!!! When you have other people do things for you...it costs MORE than if you do it because you are paying for THEIR labor, knowledge, and business overhead.

Why you keep ignoring this fundamental principle of an economy to keep implying one is "needlessly spending too much" just because ’you could do it yourself’ is bizarre.


What a stupid, and utterly naive dichotomy you have going there.
And saying things like this:


It does NOT require speaker acumen. There is no such thing.




Immediately removes you from any rational consideration.  You don't know what you are talking about.





I agree with Prof.


If you don't know the effort it takes to build something you have little business critiquing based on part cost. It's like, you value parts, but not skill or labor. Imagine being a plumber, and only being allowed to charge for the pipes. What a ridiculous setup.


Thanks Kenjit for demonstrating every single fallacy I meant to point out at the top of the thread.

Best,
E
Imagine being a plumber, and only being allowed to charge for the pipes. What a ridiculous setup.
plumbers are well known for overcharging. DIY will save you money with plumbing too. But lets stick to discussing speakers.
plumbers are well known for overcharging. DIY will save you money with plumbing too. But lets stick to discussing speakers.

No, lets stick to the value of work and skill.

That’s the argument. What kind of work do you do, because I’d like to know how you think your work should be valued.




Best,

E
This could go on forever. I’ve decided to not continue banging my head against this ignorant, uninformed, and irrational brick wall. In fact, we’d probably have an easier time explaining these simple concepts to an actual brick wall. Me, I’m gonna take the time I would’ve wasted here and do something productive like learn how to make a good bolognese sauce.

Ill just end with [email protected], do you even realize that between this and the prior thread there's not one audiophile here who agrees with your point of view?  Doesn't that say anything to you at all?

"after all, it’s not easy banging your bleeding heart against some mad bugger’s wall."
- Pink Floyd
Another interesting thread Erik. As a Chef I can certainly appreciate the food analogy here.

For instance, one could go to a butcher shop and buy a prime grade cut of steak, go home and fire up the grill, throw in a baked potato, steam some broccoli or grill some asparagus and couple that with a nice bottle of wine and essentially re-create what you could get at a decent steak house for a fraction of the cost. This is a very easy thing to do and requires very little culinary skill or knowledge. Which seems to be the premise of kenjits argument.

However if you are looking for a true gastronomic experience where ingredients are being paired or cooked in a very technical manner requires a true craftsman who has invested years into honing their skills and expanding their knowledge. It is much harder for the layman to re-create that.

Throw on top of that entire dining experience from the impeccable service to the ambiance and you then begin to see what you are truly paying for.

The problem with the argument is scalability. You cannot just stuff speakers into a box and say they are only worth x amount because thats what you paid for them any more than you can say a meal is only worth the price of the ingredients. In order to scale it into a business you have to take on the ancillary costs.

Many who have never run a business have no idea that there are costs involved that the consumer cannot even conceive of. Restaurants are among the worst with average margins of about 4-5 percent. It’s quite common for people who have enjoyed big successes in typical business get in to the restaurant game and lose everything.

I suspect audio, especially speaker building is very similar in that regard in so much as the hidden costs to scale it would probably come as a shock to most people.
@chrshanl37 As someone who makes a living selling wine to restaurants I know exactly what you mean. The overall cost of doing business is lost on people who just focus on one thing as kenjit is doing.
For instance, one could go to a butcher shop and buy a prime grade cut of steak, go home and fire up the grill,

I’ll just stop you there. I went to a respected butcher and bought some beautiful prime rib eyes, fired up the grill and still ended up with mediocre steaks. In the end, no matter whether it’s food or cars or anything else, it’s all about knowing what the hell what you’re doing in the end -- and the all-important final result. If I want a transcendant cuilinary experience, I’m paying a premium because I am NOT going to create that myself. Some things are just worth paying for!

Here’s another apt analogy. If you’re going skydiving and some guy offers you a half-price deal because he’s only charging you for parts plus a small premium but has never gone skydiving before, would you do that or would you pay more and go with an outfit that’s experienced and has done hundreds of successful drops with no fatalities? Yeah, I know I bowed out of this thread, but I had some downtime as my bolognese sauce is now simmering for a couple hours.

Soix thats why I said “one could” vs “anyone can”. That was assuming no formal culinary training but had a basic grasp on how to cook a steak you “could” pull off a meal you would get at a “decent” steakhouse I didnt say the best. Not sure what happened in your situation but it sounds like you made a huge mistake somewhere along the way. Hopefully you fair better with your Bolognese which is much more difficult :)

kenjits proposal is similar....if one had a basic grasp of using tools....they could buy everything they needed from Madisound including cabinet and crossovers and with no skills at designing a speaker whatsoever, build one. Not the best but decent.

But that really wasn’t the crux of my point, I was making a statement about determining the value of a product based solely on the cost of the raw materials alone while ignoring the hidden costs and the skill involved to make something better than decent which has to be priced accordingly.


I don’t personally want to wade into the DIY vs Pulsars camp, but I do object to some people in some of the older Pulsar threads who having been hyping the Pulsars as if no other company can do the same thing with off-the shelf drivers as if JA had used actual voodoo or magic on these speakers. These aren’t even the top of the line Seas drivers, and yet some think the Pulsars are uniquely special. For those that believe that, Ascend Acoustics sells a 2-way monitor with the Seas flagship diamond tweeter and Excel woofer and sells it for less than the retail price of the Pulsars. I guarantee you the Pulsars aren’t going to win a head-to-head between these two speakers as I’ve heard both.

The best analogy I could come up with this type of reasoning is people believing their company had created something so amazing with Seas Prestige drivers that another company couldn’t do better even with Seas Excel drivers.