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My experience with DIY and it's many frustrations that are not talked about.

ta240

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.....If you build a DIY project designed by one of the 'famous' names, you should stick to the design as verbatim as possible. This eliminates a lot of the variables or chances that the build will not be a success.

The mostly unwritten set of rules was clearly ignored in this case.
I often wonder just how close different people's builds sound with all the little (and big) variations that so many end up with.
 

JohnBooty

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You should get better than "not bad" for how much those cost in parts and the time spent building. 8030 are not much more and will perform better and you can shoot them with a gun and they won't care (love them metal cabinets).

The fact that you just traced on axis response makes me feel like you don't actually get what I'm saying.
This is an interesting comparison. The dispersion of the ZRTs is certainly not as even as the Genelecs. And this is ASR, where we (generally speaking) understand that objectively correct performance has a high correlation with listener preference.

And yet... I would expect the Zaph to have much more bass extension, power handling, etc. And the dispersion control is pretty good, just not Genelec-perfect. For musical enjoyment, I'd be surprised if most ASR members wouldn't vastly prefer the ZRTs. At least in a 2.0 setup.

Add a subwoofer or two to the Genelec system and the advantage probably swings back to them, although now we're surely up to 2-3x the cost of the ZRTs.
 

moonlight rainbow dream

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Yah.. speaker preference just isn't that simple. We all know every speaker design is a collection of compromises. How much bass performance, frequency response smoothness, low distortion, and output capability does it take to offset mediocre directivity performance? I'd argue you can't know without firsthand A-B testing. And waveguides themselves do have their drawbacks - namely, narrower dispersion and diffraction artifacts in the on-axis treble response. There is no objective answer to that, though for example, the preference score tries and does assign numerical weights to these factors. Zaph's ZA5.2tm and Dennis Murphy's Pioneer AJ bookshelf mod both come to mind as speakers with less than stellar directivity control but really high preference scores.

I also recall that Amir gave a positive subjective impression of the seriously flawed Wilson tunetot, and preferred it over a Revel bookshelf (I forgot which). That speaker uses a scanspeak 5" revelator, though in a trainwreck poor implementation.
 

fineMen

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I'd consider this design one of dated design principles and a poorly assessed speaker.
At least it is a three way, and of presumably wide dispersion. The next example you give is two way (more intermodulation) presumably with a constant (!) directivity tweeter that will keep up the treble in-room too much. If its a common waveguide it will also exhibit some irregularities from the mouth's perimeter / termination reflections around 2..3kHz.

I gave up DIY when I learned about the KEF R series. The plethora of innovations targeting advanced probs of mine as a DIYer could not be mistaken. Start at the reflex port, horizontal ++ vertical directivity, compact three way, virtually no distortion, visual design aesthetics, protective grill, not finished when considering the bomb proof construction, and finally at a sell out for way cheaper than anything out of my workshop coming remotely close at 4 times the size.

Today I lough at myself for running down the rabbit hole. But, granted, to know what I've learned is worthwhile, but not at the cost in money and time. It is only so, without I couldn't naturally appreciate the KEFs enough to arrive at them. In the end I own and use with joy probably the most cost intensive speaker on mother earth.

If the manufacturers and the magazines wouldn't lie to us that extensively ... I could have spared a lifetime.
 

Gorgonzola

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You should get better than "not bad" for how much those cost in parts and the time spent building. 8030 are not much more and will perform better and you can shoot them with a gun and they won't care (love them metal cabinets).

The fact that you just traced on axis response makes me feel like you don't actually get what I'm saying.
This will be my last response to you, @badspeakerdesigner. You're getting tedious without further enlightening discussion.

Genelec 8030C's would cost more than ZRT's cost me and I'm not going to "shoot" the latter with which I'm presently very please.

Of course I understand what you've been saying. In the ZRT case, off-axis is lower than but consistent with on-axis -- which will be no more or less true of the 8030C's.
 

egellings

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Howdy, I don't feel this website is the most active in terms of DIY speakers, but I feel my opinions may be of more value here than other sites. This will probably be quite scatter brained and I'm going to be as open as I can be maybe touching on some deeper personal issues in the end.

I got into DIY speakers a long time ago, starting with PA speakers. I transitioned into home stuff a few years ago, mostly sparked by the things I've learned here at ASR and the fact that I started to get older and not like the loudness as much (I can probably fix this with some good custom molded earplugs). I've made some kits and eventually tried my hand at my own designs. I thought I'd share some of my frustrations in hopes that more experienced folk may confirm or offer counter arguments. This is largely stemming from what I'd consider recent failures.

1. Celebrities - Boy this hobby has a lot of celebrities in it, and while at first I listened and absorbed their information, the further along I get the more I realize many
designers are simply propped up by users with little reference as to what good sound is and not so much that their designs perform well. I see A LOT of popular designers utilizing what
I'd consider very dated approaches to design delivering sub par performance. I've had to take a hard stance and only consider designs that have extensive and trustworthy measurement suites.

I'd consider this design one of dated design principles and a poorly assessed speaker.

And this is what I feel is a well done speaker with what is really the minimum amount of data.

2. Everyone wants to sell what they think is best - Go ask for driver recommendations at DIYaudio.com and you'll likely get a mess of recommendations that are nearly impossible to gauge. How does one know who is a reliable source of information there? When requesting data on things, I find many are still neigh on militant towards communities like ASR. It feels like much of the DIY community lives in it's own bubble.

3. The difficulty of making a GOOD speaker is vastly underestimated - I'm very guilty of this. I was under the impression that with time I could create something special, but I think I can admit defeat here without a hit to my ego. The analysis process can be daunting and many environments are not friendly to getting accurate data. You'll definitely figure this out if you embark on your project.

4. You can run into problems that will ruin a speaker and won't know till you make it - I made some big three way speakers that are basically paper weights because of a resonance problem that I'm unable to fix. I have fairly high standards for what I need a speaker to do and sadly with most resonances, once you hear them you can't unhear them.

5. It's hard to make something better than what you can buy for the same costs - Companies that make speakers have time and money to throw at making prototypes, I wager the average person doesn't have either of those things in the order that a manufacturer does. I tried quite hard to make some great speakers but ultimately none sounded as good as my friends Kali LP6. I make music and I often just go to his place to work on a mix, which is why I'm going to place an order for either LP6 or LP8 soon which will be augmented by subwoofers.

6. I fought the science and the science won - A lot of my speaker builds are more spur of the moment things that could probably use more preparation and thought before the build starts. Many times I ignored things like optimizing off axis response which I should have taken into consideration more or simply underestimated how the issues would effect the final product.

7. Drawers full of useless parts - At this point I consider myself at the end of my DIY journey. I learned a lot, but I feel I mostly learned that I find DIY far too cumbersome and time consuming to be worth it. I stare at my drawers full of drivers that are too cheap to justify the shipping costs to sell, and there is no market other than giving away my less adequate designs. What is one to do with all this waste?

Ultimately though I find that building speakers has really cut into my enjoyment of music. Part of me says "keep going, you're almost there" but this feels almost like an addiction that will never pay off and leave me fully satisfied. This may be over dramatic but as someone who loves to overthink and is usually a perfectionist to a huge fault, I was genuinely in tears recently considering all the time and money I had spent over the years trying to best even some $400/pair monitors and coming up short. I feel as though DIY for me has turned into something that has stifled my own personal growth. I've met some other DIY speaker folk in person and often times I feel like I see some similar things, it's like an addiction for them as well and their relationships appear to suffer. Being a musician, my musical output has declined dramatically since entering the DIY space and I feel more unsatisfied with life than ever. Nothing brings me more joy than creating music, and nothing gets in the way of that more than trying to build speakers it seems. The thought that I can just stop at any time though has been freeing and I must entertain the idea rather than walk by my pile of drivers and wonder what I could do with them.

I'd really love to hear what people think, not so much on the technical criticisms of it all, but the more personal and spiritual aspects I described.
My problem with DIY speakers is that I'd have no way to accurately measure their parameters, and trying to do it by ear is a rabbit hole I just don't want to fall into. Plus, I'm not a speaker expert. Chances of happening upon a good design by chance are nil. Even with REW and a mic with hardware, it's tricky. I'll buy speakers and build my own amplification, since I can measure amplifier performance with enough accuracy that I'll get a good audible result if I get good measurements. Speakers are just plain difficult to get right.
 

fineMen

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Speakers are just plain difficult to get right.
Affirmed, and should I say, the spinorama as the new standard doesn't help for subtle reasons either. It defines a target, which is meant to be good on the average, to sell speakers to a wider public. E/g the 'listening window'. It doesn't address the specific need of an individual.

Most individuals, when listening to music for recreational purposes sensibly don't care that much about the ears' position in relation to the speakers. Interior design is a factor that cannot be dismissed in favor of optimal speaker position. This alone cracks the spinorama's concept, so easily so that it may appear to evil minded scientists as if it was addressing the speaker assessment situation in a hifi selling room. Or, maybe, a 'confirmation session' at home even. Reiterated, the strict assessment setup reflects nearly none of common use cases.

DIY could shine if the DIYer was able to knit the right answer to immediately upcoming questions. That is rarely seen, and brave people are brought back on track, copying industrial product, following common wisdom quickly. As if it was enough to solve technical problems, let alone go beyond what the industry is regularly willing to do. Except for KEF, Genelec, Neuman and quite few other--for strict studio setups and really critically listening personell at work. One has to go farther than just commercial stereo to justify the effort. I gave up.
 

egellings

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Affirmed, and should I say, the spinorama as the new standard doesn't help for subtle reasons either. It defines a target, which is meant to be good on the average, to sell speakers to a wider public. E/g the 'listening window'. It doesn't address the specific need of an individual.

Most individuals, when listening to music for recreational purposes don't care that much about the ears' position in relation to the speakers. Interior design is a factor that cannot be dismissed in fovour of optimal speaker position. This alone cracks the concept, so easily so that the spinorama may appear to evil minded scientists as if it was addressing the speaker assessment situation in a hifi selling room. Or, maybe, a 'confirmation session' at home even. Reiterated, the strict assessment setup reflects nearly none of common use cases.

DIY could shine if the DIYer was able to knit the right answer to immediately upcoming questions. That is rarely seen, and brave people are brought back on track, copying industrial product, following common wisdom quickly. As if it was enough to solve technical problems, let alone go beyond what the industry is regularly willing to do, except KEF, Genelec, Neuman and quite few other--for strict studio setups and really critically listening personell at work. One has to go farther than just commercial stereo to justify the effort. I gave up.
Agree. A lousy sounding room can destroy the performance of the best speaker.
 

fineMen

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Agree. A lousy sounding room can destroy the performance of the best speaker.
Sure, but not alone. As I said, and I would like it to be acknowledged more often, people are not (!) sitting in the 'sweet spot' not having the head straight and so forth. There're galaxies of room for improvement, but, obviously, it isn't explored by those to do so, the DIYer. Copy cat is the best one gets. And it loses lousy when compared to actually good commercial specimen like KEF's R series used right.
 

egellings

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Buddy of mine had an almost perfectly cube shaped room, width length and height being the same. That baby had a resonant peak so bad that the equalizer used to fix it looked like it had a tooth pulled.
 
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badspeakerdesigner

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I had fun at the parts express event, was nice to meet a bunch of nerds who are into the same niche thing, makes you feel less alone when you meet people who can speak your language. Adding the human element to hobby was a nice experience.

Wolf it was cool to meet you, I'll be there next year. That time when they went to test a speaker and the song started playing instead of level setting noise, and they guy went "NOPE" I just lost it. Sadly it seems I missed a lot of the speakers I wanted to hear, yours included.

I mentioned some key points I took from the event on diyaudio but maybe some are worth mentioning here since not everyone goes there. I was definitely far too hard on myself and my builds, and frankly my speakers had comparatively way less issues than some stuff I heard, although I'd say our brains are really good at adjusting to almost anything.

I came the conclusion that my big speakers are wayyy to big for my rooms. The room they used for the judging was a far more appropriate and larger. Perhaps a focus on smaller stuff would yield more rewarding results and would be much easier to work with.

I took plenty of pics I can share in another thread.

The best sounding speaker to me were a pair of 8" (i think vifa woofers) and a dx25 in a sort of pyramid shaped cabinet, I think they were called aztecs?

20230805_123412.jpg
 

tmtomh

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I had fun at the parts express event, was nice to meet a bunch of nerds who are into the same niche thing, makes you feel less alone when you meet people who can speak your language. Adding the human element to hobby was a nice experience.

Wolf it was cool to meet you, I'll be there next year. That time when they went to test a speaker and the song started playing instead of level setting noise, and they guy went "NOPE" I just lost it. Sadly it seems I missed a lot of the speakers I wanted to hear, yours included.

I mentioned some key points I took from the event on diyaudio but maybe some are worth mentioning here since not everyone goes there. I was definitely far too hard on myself and my builds, and frankly my speakers had comparatively way less issues than some stuff I heard, although I'd say our brains are really good at adjusting to almost anything.

I came the conclusion that my big speakers are wayyy to big for my rooms. The room they used for the judging was a far more appropriate and larger. Perhaps a focus on smaller stuff would yield more rewarding results and would be much easier to work with.

I took plenty of pics I can share in another thread.

The best sounding speaker to me were a pair of 8" (i think vifa woofers) and a dx25 in a sort of pyramid shaped cabinet, I think they were called aztecs?

View attachment 303829

Sounds like you had. really nice - and redeeming - experience. Glad to hear it - and it sounds like getting the reality check (your speakers aren't so bad after all) and refocusing on smaller designs could put you on a path towards regaining fulfillment and enjoyment from this hobby.
 
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badspeakerdesigner

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Sounds like you had. really nice - and redeeming - experience. Glad to hear it - and it sounds like getting the reality check (your speakers aren't so bad after all) and refocusing on smaller designs could put you on a path towards regaining fulfillment and enjoyment from this hobby.

It was a good time, too bad when I left I got a flat and the police called a tow before I did. I now know why they did that, because they have a deal with the police which caused the release bill to be 2x what a normal tow would be. I guess that explains the thin blue line flags on all their tow trucks. Spent all day getting the car back, trying to change tired only to find out my bolts were stripped by the previous person who worked on the tires. Had to call another tow truck that my insurance would cover and couldn't leave the car for 4 hours in fear of the scam company just towing the car again....

I'm out a lot of money and apparently I'm not allowed to do anything enjoyable without something terrible happening... Life is exhausting sometimes. Needed to vent.
 

fpitas

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I only DIYed because I wanted to learn. I knew that it would be a long, difficult road. Usually, I recommend a kit for first time victims. Uhm, students of the art.
 

dukanvadet

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For me its more about learning and trying different things. I absolutely hope i can do something truly great some day but until then i think of it as much as an ongoing experiment. Of course the best thing is when everything works perfectly but if i fail at least thats a result that i can learn from. And hopefully i get passable speakers for every room in my house along the way.
 

Fredygump

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I'm kind of wondering what the OP's point is. Design is by definition an iterative process, and it isn't for everyone. And speaker design and speaker performance is highly subjective.

The reason why someone is attempting DIY is another question. I am highly skeptical that an individual can save money while matching or exceeding the quality of a mass produced product by DIY. Especially for a budget speaker.

But I think there is a financial advantage to pursuing a high end build, because high end speakers are low volume products, meaning your costs are more similar to the manfacturer's costs. But it still takes a lot of time to design the speaker, and making the critical decisions is always harder when you are paying for the materials...

I'm building a design that doesn't exist, or atleast the closest things to it that do exist are miles out of my price range. So I potentially get something unique and high quality for a relatively low price, but it costs me considerable time and energy.

Of course starting out with a challenging project is it's own issue, so to do it right you should do multiple small projects to build experience...and at that point you might as well forget about the "saving money" incentive for DIY.

But on the other hand, any speaker you build will be the best speaker in the world, atleast to you, atleast until you build something else that you think is better!
 

fpitas

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But on the other hand, any speaker you build will be the best speaker in the world, atleast to you, atleast until you build something else that you think is better!

Beranek's Law​


It has been remarked that if one selects his own components, builds his own enclosure, and is convinced he has made a wise choice of design, then his own loudspeaker sounds better to him than does anyone else's loudspeaker.
 

fpitas

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I see the pitfalls of DIY discussed frequently enough. It's just that a lot of noobs don't want to hear it.
 
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badspeakerdesigner

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I'd agree many issues are discussed, but not the one about the celebrities and bad designers being propped up for no reason, nor the part where getting useful info for troubleshooting can be near impossible.
I'm kind of wondering what the OP's point is. Design is by definition an iterative process, and it isn't for everyone. And speaker design and speaker performance is highly subjective.

Post is not for you if you don't get it. Thanks for chiming in I guess.
 

Fredygump

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I'd agree many issues are discussed, but not the one about the celebrities and bad designers being propped up for no reason, nor the part where getting useful info for troubleshooting can be near impossible.


Post is not for you if you don't get it. Thanks for chiming in I guess.
Who is it for? You complained about too many bad designs, no scientific rigour, the difficulty of making your own designs, there are people you think are unqualified and hold too much sway in the field, etc. You're not complaining about DIY; you're complaining about life in general!

DIY is like science; it is an abstract thing. It's just a bunch of people with similar goals. And the things you mention exist wherever there are a bunch of people.
 
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