My primary hobby has been drag racing. Talk about DIY. Even when my car looks better, drives better and is faster than the pro built cars, I still get remarks that make me scratch my head, like....."Gees, you ported your own heads, huh? Wow, think how fast you would be if XYZ ported them!"
I have learned that cubic dollars can buy a competitive car or you can DIY for much less. That logic applies in audio also. Take pride in the direction you are going. Some of us are following your posts closely and know in our heart of hearts that you're onto something. I wish you well.
At least in drag racing I can win the purse and bring home the trophy. Audiophiles don't have what it takes to enter their systems in competition and have a winner declared at a given price point. This industry is driven by insecurity and doubt which is obviously what you lack.
Keep it up.
Most likely the reason is REPUTATION. Companies spend major money to promote their name and products. Many DIYers claim this and that but without an established reputation it really is hard for others to have the same confidence you have. Also realize, wise people have learned to be skeptical. I'm sure you can demonstrate your great ideas like the "garage" companies that started with single products. As the word spread, so did their reputation. Look for ways to sell your ideas so others hear the difference your ideas make. Try to realize that people automatically view DIY projects as an unknown until shown otherwise. It can be your pleasure to educate. Invite friends to bring their consumer products over for a comparison. Let it be fun. You will all learn and you may get ideas that will improve your products. Chuck
As far as resale value.....Its the fear of the "unknown"....Those who buy mass marketed products cannot really understand or justify paying for DIY products even if they are better....the proof is in the pudding....Marketing works....
They just dont understand what makes a product work or they would likely DIY themselves.....therein lies the rub.....I suppose there are just some who refuse to let someone else make a buck and wont pay accordingly, but those have issues they need to deal with outside of simple misunderstandings... :-)
How much of the problem is that people just don't know you and the quality of work it is possible for you to turn out. If someone else knows they couldn't build a first rate piece of equipment why should they think you can? I build furniture in my spare time (Ha!) and people are alwways surprised that it doesn't look homemade or even worse, like crap. Who makes anything anymore. With the mentality of "buy everything" not many people understand quality anymore. Look at the clothes people wear!?! They could make a shirt for five dollars or buy it for fifty. People will keep buying the fifty dollar shirts and name brand mid-fi and think they got a great deal while yours will sound better.
I would guess the insecurity non DIY folks feel--was it assembled correctly?--Hardly likely,I can borrow the same thing from someone else;or go to a store to listen to the same thing.--So, yes;plenty of reasons for us phobics to be scared.
BTW; my DIY brain surgery kit should be here soon;I'll report back.
Many people probably think about the DIY projects they did themselves either as a kid or otherwise and extrapolate that experience to all DIY situations (for example, I believe I am a fairly good amatuer carpenter but I recognize my limitations and I certainly wouldn't buy a house built by me). Further, some might extrapolate that if it was "good", you would commercialize it but since you haven't it must not really be "good". There may also be the fear of "sawdust in the transmission" that give people pause in buying DIY equipment from unknown quantities.
In many cases, these extrapolations may be correct, though not necessarily in your (or all) cases. I don't know you or your work personally so I can make no judgement. However, you probably get painted with the same broad brush. Let's face it, there is some comfort (or discomfort) in a known brand from a quality, reputation, and/or repair perspective.
Having said that, I gather that there are some folks out there who do "mods" on equipment who, by word of mouth, have established a "brand", presumably having started from tinkering. So there is hope.
Man, the key is to not give a f*%k what other people think and just enjoy what YOU know to be the "truth." If people who see your system can't get past their visual perceptions and their value systems to hear the result, their loss. The MMTB crowd drives the commercial aspect of this hobby, and likely always will.
Here is what you need to do:
-- First name your company with meaningful unoccupied name.
-- Second state your philosophy and scientific conclusion on the home page.
-- Third take care of advertising your product over the internet, among the small retailers and than further on in the magasines like Stereofile or something else.
And finally Even if it's DIY who's going to care if it's so good!!! :^)
"And if you try to sell a DIY item, forget it. You MIGHT get parts cost back, if you're lucky"
-This is the reason why people are skeptical about buying DIY stuff... There is no standard brand or reviews to gauge the quality by. You basically have to know the guy or audition the piece in your system. I have just bought a DIY pre amp from my friend and will be receiving it later this week. I auditioned it in my system for about 2 months and requested some tweaks which were done at a very fair price for me. I am confident that this pre will sound much better than 2-3K pre amps out there and I only paid 400 (CDN). But I had to accept the fact that there was no way that I could ever resell that pre amp.
Why do people eat the crap at McDonalds ... because they know what they're getting. Same with Hifi. If I buy homebrew from some guy I have never heard of I might get a fabulous bargain. On the other hand I might get a complete dog which I can't resell. Given the risk I'll settle for a mass manufactured item.
Plus you have to respect that Hifi is not important to the majority of the population, just as, for example, owning the ultimate car might not be important to you. Hence you buy a Toyota or similar ... it works ... you might be able to build better in your garage .. but huh, who cares.
Audiophiles seem to spend a disproportionate amount of time fretting over why non-audiophiles aren't into their hobby.
Fear of low resale value, catch 22, no? The speakers and preamp I am listening to are both available as a kit, parts quality and sound are far beyond what I have heard for the money at shops. If you are careful (lucky) its like getting the top of the line for the entry level price. Be Not Afraid.
I applaud anyone who has the knowledge and ability to design and construct their own hifi equipment. I don't for a second doubt that the resulting product is sonically the equal to anything one could find in a store. However, there's more to product value than sound quality. When I purchase a product I pay attention to warranty, repair service, potential for upgrades and resale value. Rightly or wrongly, home built products don't offer these added value items.
I would have no problem buying DIY stuff, I would make my own if I had the time, and knew enough about electronics. The whole thing for me is to know what I'm buying. There are already enough scams online. I could tell you that I have a 7' tall majestic speaker that will *blow away* (I love when people use that term) Legacy Whispers or Dynaudio whatevers, only I'm charging 7500 a pair for mine. What a deal, huh? Maybe, depends on who built them, the quality of workmanship, and the sound quality. I can't test all those things unless I see the product before I buy.
I remember a classic ad for Business Week. A guy is hunched forward looking at you, saying, I don't know you. I don't know your product. I don't know your company. I don't know your company's reputation. Now what is it you're trying to sell me? That's what you're up against.
It's not that I'm trying to sell any products. That is just an example of what people think when they look at DIY. By the way, I agree with the ideas expressed above about possibly getting a pig-in-a-poke, with no warranty, no reputation, etc. and those concerns are definitely valid. I guess my main beef is that when someone goes to the extent of trying to do things different or even better than some of the commercial companies, the efforts are looked upon with disdain by many as "tilting with windmills". I suppose that Musicdoc's advise is as good as any, and just not give a damn about the critics and do what needs to be done. I appreciate all the good posts here, and I can see that many of you are pretty cool guys with open minds and good attitudes. So I will forge ahead into new horizons and keep reporting my findings here on the A'gon. Thanks.
As onhwy61 puts it, you are missing out on some very valuable value added items when you buy diy. High end equipment is a little finicky and having a manufacturer there to help is extremely valuable. Lack of support is why I stopped buying diy cars.
For me, Diy stuff is actually more expensive than factory made. My assumption when I buy something and build it myself is that is will essentially be worth nothing monetarily once I am done. It's a little like taking a vacation or paying for education.
Assume a $4000 preamp will have $1000 in parts. I spend $1000 on parts and build it myself. Provided it works, it's probably worth $200 on the used market. I've just spent $800. Fine if your attitude is that you are willing to spend $800 to experience building something yourself, or great if you keep the thing for 20 years or want something unique & flexible.
I like to trade equipment often, so I'm much better off buying that $4000 preamp for $1800, keeping it for a few months then reselling it for $1800 (well, ok MAYBE 1750).
For computers I'm the opposite. I build all my own for the flexibility, experience, fun and knowledge. (Twin Athlon 1800 Win2000AdvSrv clustered motherboards w/switchable 24inch 2048x1200 Sony, shared SCSI drive tower w/6 15,000 rpm U160 36 GB drives & 5 additional scsi's (for multi-os boot), two twin channel adaptec 39160's, 600 gb ide storage.) Spent 3-4K. Couldn't sell it. Don't want to. Perfect system for my needs.
It's all marketing!!! And everyone buys into it!
Everything costs money. Onhwy61 listed a lot of things that are considerations with a purchase. They all cost. With DIY, you fix it yourself. Knowledge is everything.
Remember, most audio companies were started by someone turning a DIY product into a commercial venture.
Also, one cannot compare a DIY cost to a retail cost without multiplying by at least a factor of 10. That's just the cost of business. So, there's a very real difference between Value and Retail Cost, though most folks tend to equate them as equals when they are not.
Yes I have the Jon Risch DIY sound panels and bass traps work wonders with my system and they total treatment cost about $100.00. :)
Jon Risch can be found on the tweakers asylum and has his website.
Davewavaolcom, I went to the Jon Risch website and saw the acoustic room treatments there. Pretty cool. I went right down to Lowe's and bought the materials for knock-offs of the Argent Room Lenses. The glue is setting on them right now. I made 6 of them. Since I already has some small pieces of MDF and glue laying around, my total cost for the 6 room lenses was $29.68. That's about $5 each. Hard to beat, since the real Argent Room Lenses cost about $2300 for 6. May not get to use them tonight, because the glue may not be hardened enough till tomorrow. Thanks for the tip!
The room lenses in my (non dedicated sound rented apartment) room did not sound very good I corresponded back and forth with Jon Risch who is very nice and informative. The room lenses require an almost perfect sound room with a Q factor of 1x1.6. I use the quick and dirty bass traps and DIY panels. The quick and dirty bass traps and panels work very well and even an ape like me can make it without tools. Most of us have access to “Home Depot and Wal-Mart”.
There are many user reviews for his acoustic products vs. store bought products as well.
Moniker Batman uses his all of his products all cables, power line filters and acoustic panels. His pictures and review of each panel is described on the inmate sections of the asylum. An ugly room but you can choose what materials and colors you want to.
Jon Risch does not sell anything. There are many DIY websites that build and JR DIY products (if you are not a DIY).
Hope this helps
From DIY projects come our future products. How many companies started from DIY projects that worked very well? The sad part is that you have to play the marketing game with those that will make your product a success. In this industry, it is the magazines. A full page ad costs somewhere around $5K per full page. The magazine advertising directors like yearly contracts, get the picture?
Davewavaolcom, my room lenses worked real well in my room. The one that is centered between the speakers about 18 inches back really helped alot. The side ones, less so. I am going to try to set one up behind my listening chair to see what that does. I also had to play with the tuning by adjusting the stuffing in the tubes. Of course, I am quite used to this, since I have been tuning transmission lines for about the last 6 months. Adjusting the tuning was necessary in my room. I like the lenses.
I'm glad they work well.
I'm very happy with my panels and traps.
Happy Listening :)
Nobody has added to this in years, so im bit later, but what the hey!
I think the problem with DYI is they see one person building something, that person is also somebody that they probably know, or have preconcieved notions about
Buying from a company however, you dont see the constructor of the object, you see a company mask, and will most likley assume that to creat such a project requires quite an impressive education, with multiple MIT graduates working to deliver you nice product.
when you see a guy in the garage, you see a guy in the garage.
So, even without the whole re-sale and purchace of such DYI, the, if you just know some guy who made his own cables, you would probably assume they were not as good as a company made product. So it would likley suprise you to see that it is a good product
everything was made in a garage at one point in time to some degree.
Ive seen DYI speakers and amplifiers and know that a guy in the garage with a good idea can produce a product that competes and even beats a well known brand, however, that product does not compete with the reputation of the major company.
Plus, its easy to get seduced by a brand names reputation, it almost comes as a status symbol.
Will a Bently get you somewhere better than a Honda? No, they do the same thing, and the honda is probably more economical and eco-friendly as well.
But the Bentley will get you there better! If Bentley couldn't do it better they'd be out of business. They are better made, more comfortable, and a heck of a lot faster. Nobody looks when a Hondas goes by, everyone notices a Bentley.
While I understand the analogy you tried to make, I think the mind set is that the factory made product is of better quality while such is not always the case. I have sold all of my 'store bought' power cords and use exclusively home made or DIY cords. They cost a lot less and sound a lot better.
DIY takes a lot of knocks but in my experience with PCs they are very cost effective. When people get to the level of amps and electronics though even I would tend to be leary. Although if Tom told me he was selling a DIY SET amp and it was at a price I could afford, I'd jump at it.
Everyone's opinion here on the perceived value of DIY has in fact set DIY's value. The true value of ANY item is what someone is willing to pay for it. It is my understanding that a commercially available speaker has components and materials in it that account for only 10% of its' retail price. Advertising, engineering, management, labor, distribution, profit, etc account for the differance. I have heard that a dealer typically purchases products for 60% of retail. This is one reason that companies such as ACI, Decware and Oddysey offer such great value. One very real drawback, you cannot get a test drive. 30 day money back return alieviates much of this drawback.
DIY can offer a great value and performance. Every high end audio company can attribute their beginings to DIY. If it was not for DIY, we would be left with Panasonic and other mainstream products.
We're seeing diy from the wrong angle, methinks. One prevalent motivation behind diy is creativity: design and/or construction, and enjoyment of operating what we made... While this value exists for the originator, it does not for the subsequent purchaser. Hence the remainder life resale value is low, barely covering the cost of the parts, as Twl notes.
On the bright side, another (important) factor is the possibility to gain access to the league of stratospherically priced commercial products; take, speakers, for example. The "legendary" ATC mid unit costs upward of $250 EACH. A 15" woofer from the same manufacturer will set you back another $600 EACH. Accuton (Thiele & partner) ceramic drivers -- as in Kharma & Avalon -- sell for upward of $200-300 each. A Raven2 ribbon tweet will set you back another $300 EA. Think of what the commercial speaker pair sporting (MANY) such units would cost!!!
Given time, LOTS of resilience and support, the diy may be able to approach (surpass?) the sound of the commercial offering for SEAMINGLY less. "Less" means that, lots of available resources are NOT counted in the cost equation: work-shed, bench, tools, electronic tools, the TIME spent fine-tuning the cross-over (say), friends' time who lend their ears, the beers & wine (that's for Tom) consumed in the creative process, etc...
A suggestion...Incorporate yourself as TWL AUDIO DYNAMICS.
Hang a sign on your garage. Advertize in Stereophile. Offer your designs for sale at absurd prices. You may not get many customers, but you will get some respect (but you will loose mine).