You might be surprised just how inexpensive most drivers are in speakers that are well over $3000. I wouldn't worry about it. It is all relative as long as you enjoy the end results. That's why some audiophiles go DIY..they get first hand knowledge of what drivers and other parts are used in their speakers..no surprises.
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Standard industry formula of 1:5, the Forrest would need to be manufactured for 600.00. The markup covers all the things we Audiogoners like to avoid: dealer markup, middleman/distributer, manufacturer profit, marketing, R&D, overhead, consumer discount, etc.
That leaves us with $300 per speaker. The cost to make the cabinet is the most expensive part. Say $200 each in quantity, probably more (actually a screamin' deal; real wood veneer and finished nicely with the additional borosilicate on the inside.)
After all that we have $100 for the actual drivers (tweet and woof), crossover/connectors and shipping boxes.
I've been diy-ing for several years, but really have not saved too much as I keep buying more and more drivers for future projects(!). However, if you are really disciplined and don't get addicted, you can save a lot.
DIY is wonderful. You learn a lot. After you learn a lot, you figure out how to save a lot AND get great sound. Before that, it's kinda hit or miss. The advantage of buying speakers you can hear first is that you can hear them first,
If you like the idea of saving money and getting great sound without most of the learning curve, look into speaker kits. North Creek Music has some very interesting ones.
You diyer's should let this person know that speaker design is much more complicated than it at first appears. I had the great idea of building myself some world class speakers. A four way design with a budget of 3k. What I learned that is to do anything more than a simple two way you could lose alot of money and have a speaker that sounds awful even with good drivers. Not to mention the frustration of wondering why it doesn't sound like it should.
Fortunately the people at Madisound and Partsexpress boards let me know what I was getting into. After reading the Loudspeaker Design Cookbook it made speakers designed and built by someone else look like the smarter move. That's what I did btw.
Another option is a kit speaker like Madisound, Vmps, Partsexpress, Selah Audio have available. Let someone else do the design for you or plan on years of practice.
Warnerwh , I believe this is what most are refering to. The kits give you a chance to see what's going on with a speaker and how it works. The designers of these kits don't treat the intrinsic designs like an ancient chinese secret or form of magic, as do some of the big brand names out there. This allows the end user to get a better grasp on what's involved.
I totally agree it is complicated. That's why there are speaker kit designers. ;-) If your lazy like me, you can even have them to assemble the kit for you. This saves a lot of money as you don't pay for a middle man or distribution fees. Sorry Warnerwh I forgot ..you are the middleman. :-o
Now if you can work past cost verses performance = the more you pay = pride of ownership illusion..you could possibly be a happy camper.LOL
As Ultrakaz points out the ratio could be 5:1 or more. You'll notice with kits the ratio comes down considerably.
My speaker ratio is less than 2:1 as the driver and internal components are roughly 1/2 the cost of the complete speaker including labor. Throw in the cabinets and labor and the the speaker cost 2/3 to build what it sells for. Speaker kits with this ratio would sell retail..I'm guessing some where between $5000 and $6000. That's using the 5:1 ratio which includes manufacturing speaker cost of $1150 for parts and labor.
To clarify, I was not alluding to DIY as being the ultimate solution as I would not know where to start personally....I was just thinking that with a $30 tweeter, a $60 bass driver and a nice rigid cabinet with good looking veneer, someone could assemble a " decent copy" and market it direct for less than $700...or may be call it a Swan Tree and sell it for $899!