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Future DIY Speaker Testing Strategy?

amirm

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#1
Hello everyone. Need feedback on where to go on DIY speaker testing.

Thanks to effort and initiative member @Winkleswizard took and funding on my part we managed to build, test and review a couple of designs. Question is, where to go from here. Funding is the issue for future kits and outbound shipping costs (I pay for return shipping). I can think of a few options but open to others:

1. We stop here and focus on commercial products. Of course, someone may have a DIY speaker that they send it for testing and indeed one is planned that way already (local source).

2. Some of you purchase the kits and we see if @Winkleswizard has the resources to build and send it to me for testing.

3. A few people get together and fund the purchase of new kits to be tested. You can donate the money to me, I will collect and send to @Winkleswizard to buy and build.

4. You all lean on kit makers to send them in for evaluation (built or not built).

I think our DIY testing has been successful in generating good data since we can deeply examine their components and designs unlike commercial products. So I am happy to continue to invest the time to test them and pay for return shipping wherever they need to go. Need a group effort for the rest of the expense.

Open to any other options.

While typing this, let me thank @Winkleswizard for the leadership he took to get us here and the work he has put in to get us the samples we tested. I look to him to lead the selection of what we test in the future since I am not up on what is popular and what is not in DIY world.
 

Icboschert

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#2
I'm all in for options 2 and 3. For option 3 I'd probably be willing to drop $50 to see a design I like tested.
 

Certainkindoffool

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#3
If @winkleswizard(or any other member) has the inclination to continue to build diy speakers, perhaps it would be worth compiling a list of diy speakers that he, or the community, would like to build/see. Then making a public checklist of diy speakers available to purchase on a one-off basis - incl. materials and shipping to testing and final destination.

Edit: Redundant post, as my proposal is already very similar to what already existed.

It might be fun to do the odd raffle to fund a diy build though.

That being said, it would be a lot to ask, and I am all for option 1.
 
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#4
My perspective is that 100% of amirm's available energy and money should be spent on getting his hands on and testing commercial speakers. If he has spare time and interest (e.g., he has no other speakers on hand to test), and others arrange for him to receive pre-built DIY speakers at no cost to him, then he can test DIY speakers. I'm all for DIY speaker testing as long as it does not impact commercial speakers at all.
 

sychan

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#5
I would donate money for reviewing speakers, but I'd like to have influence over which speakers.

Open to any other options.
You could try a "Review bounty" where for a certain period of time, maybe every 2 or 3 months, a list of DIY speakers for review are posted and then people can vote with their bounty donation (no bounty, no vote) which speaker gets selected (I'd highly recommended ranked choice voting).

The voting results get reported at the close of the time slot, and if once ranked choices are applied, among the highest ranked speakers one or more of them has accumulated enough $$$ for a kit+shipping, they get put into the build/review queue. Any remaining money/speaker bounties rollover into the next period along as an automatic candidate (or else they fall into the Amir/Winkleswizard "chef's choice" pot). The voting window + ranked choice helps to consolidate the bounties into a single winning candidate.

It might take some automation to manage conveniently, but it also sounds like the kind of stuff for which someone has already coded up a solution. Some expensive kits that are highly regarded, like the Philharmonic BMR, could accumulate $$$ over time if they were voted for as the only choice, and they rollover across multiple periods to accumulate money.
 

Thomas savage

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#6
Leaning on the kit providers works best imo.

It's in their best interest so no need for members to pay for the privilege. Just comes down to who builds it , amirm probably doesn't have time so it's either comes built or members volunteer to build it then send it on to a Amirm.

Members should not be paying to provide kit makers with free exposure.
 

bluefuzz

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#7
My perspective is that 100% of amirm's available energy and money should be spent on getting his hands on and testing commercial speakers.
Well, personally, I would rather Amir spend 100% of his energy on testing DIY speakers since I have essentially 0 interest in commercial offerings. So, since you can't please everyone, shall we say he does a bit of both ... ;-)
 

ta240

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#8
Members should not be paying to provide kit makers with free exposure.
I know some manufactures send samples for free for testing but don't some donations go to cover the expense of purchasing commercial built products which gives those manufactures free exposure? How is that different from the places that sell kits?

The place where kits fall short in availability for testing is that they aren't as easy to have random people send in their own speakers as store bought ones. We do not know how good of a job the person did following the plans so poor performance could be due to the assembly if an inexperienced person did the build (or one that goofs up like me). Also those that build DIY might not want to trust something they spent a lot of time on to a shipping company that at best will cover the cost of the kit if damaged.

Are DIY speakers a thing that people here build? Someone should do a poll on who has or thinks they would build a kit.
 

Thomas savage

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#9
I know some manufactures send samples for free for testing but don't some donations go to cover the expense of purchasing commercial built products which gives those manufactures free exposure? How is that different from the places that sell kits?

The place where kits fall short in availability for testing is that they aren't as easy to have random people send in their own speakers as store bought ones. We do not know how good of a job the person did following the plans so poor performance could be due to the assembly if an inexperienced person did the build (or one that goofs up like me). Also those that build DIY might not want to trust something they spent a lot of time on to a shipping company that at best will cover the cost of the kit if damaged.
They are kits ?

Big difference

Yes members can contribute money to help with the procurement of items for review , shipping and amirm's wangu orders .

That's already stretched , likely doesn't go very far .

Testing DIY speaker kits won't bring in massive extra funds , value wise we offer more to these DIY speaker manufacturers than we would to say devialet or schiit.

All in all makes sense they should bare some cost but that will require pressure from members ( free ) .

ASR is free , many members are not in a position to help with funds but people can help with spreading our message and asking companies for reviews like this.
 
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ta240

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#10
They are kits ?

Big difference.
Aside from the difference being that they need assembly I don't see how the financials on their sourcing would be different.

If money being paid for products and free exposure is okay for one section of the industry how is it not okay for another?
 

Thomas savage

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#11
Aside from the difference being that they need assembly I don't see how the financials on their sourcing would be different.

If money being paid for products and free exposure is okay for one section of the industry how is it not okay for another?
See above .
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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Thread Starter #12
I know some manufactures send samples for free for testing but don't some donations go to cover the expense of purchasing commercial built products which gives those manufactures free exposure? How is that different from the places that sell kits?
The supply of commercial speakers is healthy right now so I am not buying any with donation funds. I did that at the start to get the ball rolling.

The issue here is that members are helping a lot with providing commercial samples for testing whereas that is not happening with DIY. I only have one DIY speaker offered for testing that way.
 

GXAlan

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#14
I'm curious how the Vifa diy speakers will test but shipping cost are high. The USA is the most expensive dhl country, 119 euro for 20kg.
A DIY kit should be easily available. The store I got my kit from closed, the drivers have changed.
The C-note was a very interesting test. Madisound has a two-way Scanspeak kit, but the crossover parts used are on the expensive side and ScanSpeak drivers are always more expensive than Vifa.
 
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#15
Are DIY speakers a thing that people here build? Someone should do a poll on who has or thinks they would build a kit.
Yes :) I've build Vifa Filigran (two way floorstander), Gradient Kolibri (sat/sub combo for on a desk), Rogers Monitor 6.0 (Large 4 way transmission line) The Bang! (from Adire via diy audio or the bass list), Transfer Audio Sputnik (surround speaker) and last year Vifa Premium 11 (Bookshelfs)
 

Doodski

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#16
1. We stop here and focus on commercial products. Of course, someone may have a DIY speaker that they send it for testing and indeed one is planned that way already (local source).
and...
4. You all lean on kit makers to send them in for evaluation (built or not built).
Seems good to me.
 

Thomas savage

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#17
The supply of commercial speakers is healthy right now so I am not buying any with donation funds. I did that at the start to get the ball rolling.

The issue here is that members are helping a lot with providing commercial samples for testing whereas that is not happening with DIY. I only have one DIY speaker offered for testing that way.
It's a tiny tiny niche but maybe the measurements would actually be more beneficial for DIY guys that might know and have more interest in them.

I can't see why the makers of these kits would not jump at the chance to send in their offerings .

There's value in your efforts and subsequent exposure, they should at least pay logistical costs .

They should assemble them too as I can see that being bought up to tarnish adverse findings .
 

Rick Sykora

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#18
Thanks @amirm for the kind words. I originally offered to build speakers for ASR as it appeared it would not happen with some assistance. I have found value in building speakers and when you hear 500% or more markup, it is not hard to find individual value. The value gets better as the speaker gets bigger, but so does the shipping cost (as Amir mentions).

On the availability front, when we talk about DIY kits, there are much fewer available than commercial speakers. For that matter, I felt it should be clarified how they go to market many times it is not like the commercial vendor situation:
  1. Most of the kits are developed by experienced designers. For most kits, the supplier either contracted the designer or the designer licensed the design to the supplier. The Zaph ZA5.2 TM is an example. The supplier often offer a discount on the parts bundle and is making most of his margin on parts and accessories.
  2. The kit supplier designed the kit (like the C-Note). Does not happen often is the U.S., but it is comparable to #1 otherwise.
  3. The driver manufacturer designed the kits and markets through the kit supplier (often their local rep.). The Seas Loki is like this. These kits tend to be pricier and are not very popular in the U.S.
  4. Custom designers (like Selah Audio and a few others) who offer either completed speakers or DIY versions of their designs. As any other custom work, the prices may be higher due to higher value add. EDIT: finished thought on incomplete sentence
The best values are #1 and 2, but these suppliers are mainly selling driver and parts.. The kits are often just packaged up parts they already supply. As the DIY kits are not their primary business, they are not usually spending much time or money promoting them. EDIT: Should have mentioned that most kit suppliers carry more than one designer too. Promoting one over the other is likely counterproductive in a situations where margins are thinner.

So Amir's option 4 seems like a long shot to me. I have talked to all 3 of the major U.S. kits suppliers and none of them were aware of ASR prior to my calls. Given their margins are not like the commercial suppliers and their business is often focused elsewhere, pretty clear there is not a major motivation for them to donate many kits IMO.

I found ASR for the electronics testing and so helping build speakers is just a sideline for me. I hope you have found some value in it, but am around whatever decision comes from this thread.:)
 
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#20
Well, personally, I would rather Amir spend 100% of his energy on testing DIY speakers since I have essentially 0 interest in commercial offerings. So, since you can't please everyone, shall we say he does a bit of both ... ;-)
The interest in demand for measurements of commercial speakers is undoubtedly much, much larger than demand for DIY speakers. The DIY crowd is a small subset of the audiophile crowd. I like DIY measurements, but there's no doubt that measurements of the HDI-1600 for example and the KEF R3 will be disseminated far more. I don't disagree vehemently, this is just my stance. Either way, measurements are great!
 
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