Speaker Asylum

General speaker questions for audio and home theater.

Return to Speaker Asylum


Message Sort: Post Order or Asylum Reverse Threaded

A competition

106.206.221.98

Posted on July 15, 2021 at 22:11:08
Bill the K
Audiophile

Posts: 8019
Joined: June 3, 2006
I feel it is time for a competition in designing a bookshelf speaker for $500. Madisound could perhaps organize it and call the winner as Winner and sell through Madisound.There could be sale of the runnerup and the second runnerup too.No stipulations on the driver or type of cabinet but must be saleable for $500. Dont know how complicated the modalities would be but it should keep audiophilic speaker lovers happy during the Covid times.I suggest a three member Jury of John Atkinson, John Marks and Kal Rubinson.

Cheers

Bill

 

Hide full thread outline!
    ...
I think they already had that, posted on July 16, 2021 at 06:47:40
airtime
Audiophile

Posts: 10906
Location: Arizona
Joined: February 4, 2003
The Zaph SR71 was something like $350 at one point and the raw cabinets were around $200. Not only are they one of the best sounding speakers I've had, they were also one of the cheapest.

 

Parts Express has sponsored a number of these over the years., posted on July 16, 2021 at 12:32:04
Brian H P
Audiophile

Posts: 853
Location: Oregon
Joined: December 18, 2012
And individuals associated with the PE Tech Talk DIY community have organized/hosted several regional design competitions. Typically the contestants are grouped into price classes, so there may be winners at different cost levels. Some of the winning designs from those competitions are now offered as kits (with cabinets) by PE. Others are available as parts-only kits from Meniscus and Madisound.

 

That's very kind of you... I am HONORED!, posted on July 16, 2021 at 17:00:07
John Marks
Manufacturer

Posts: 6342
Location: Peoples' Democratic Republic of R.I.
Joined: April 23, 2000



That's very kind of you.

Just to clarify things a little...

(1) I assume that you mean, total cost, $500 per PAIR.

If you meant $500 EACH, please clarify that!

(2) Also, I assume that your cost figure means cost to a US DIY-er for the parts and cabinet--shipping and sales taxes excluded; in that those will vary state to state. And, assembly labor and woodfinishing should be deemed to be free.

I'd also suggest that you (or the competition's sponsor) consider "Open" judging, and the possibility of non-ranked judging.

What I am driving at is that I actually have designed and built a "pea pod" loudspeaker designed to be listened to on a desktop... and most certainly not from eight to 10 feet away.

Whereas, for the same money, someone could get a 6-inch coaxial driver, a crossover, and a .5 cu-ft. box, and stay under $250 per speaker. And that speaker should be able to fill a room as well as any 6.5-inch 2-way can.

I think that both those speakers deserve to be judged only on their own intentions and ambitions...

I dunno if Stereophile would want to get involved as a sponsor; but, when you are thinking about companies, Madisound is great, but don't neglect Parts Express.

ciao,

john

 

I'm guessing that the cost would be $500 retail..., posted on July 16, 2021 at 17:39:26
Rod M
Web Geek

Posts: 13814
Location: So. California
Joined: March 1, 1999
Contributor
  Since:
March 1, 1999
which would means that the cost for the vendor would be in the $250-350 range.

Or one could buy drivers, binding posts, crossover parts etc. for under $400 and have $100 to either build a cabinet or whatever.

-Rod

 

RE: I'm guessing that the cost would be $500 retail..., posted on July 16, 2021 at 17:49:05
rivervalley817
Audiophile

Posts: 5400
Joined: June 15, 2020
'and have $100 to either build a cabinet or whatever'

not sure if you've bought wood lately but that $100.00 wouldn't get it done

especially cabinet grade stuff

prices are over the moon right now!

regards,

 

Let's wait to see what the OP had in mind, posted on July 16, 2021 at 17:54:14
John Marks
Manufacturer

Posts: 6342
Location: Peoples' Democratic Republic of R.I.
Joined: April 23, 2000
Be-cause, quite frankly:

...If we go by the ancient industry Shibboleth that there's $2,000 parts and labor in a $10,000-retail pair of loudspeakers, and if the OP has in mind reselling a design through triple-tier distribution, listening to designs meant to sell for $500 a pair at your local stereo store is not something I want to spend my time doing.

However, it seems from the OP's frame of reference that he is thinking about people's buying drivers that are sold by Madisound and perhaps getting a local cabinet maker to make cabinets.

BTW, please nobody experience the miracle of feline motherhood over the time-honored industry yardstick.

It's not a case of consumers' getting hosed; it's living out (the Gospel of) Matthew 10:10: the workers at every level are getting paid. And 20% cost factor is the way it usually has had to work.

Over and above parts and labor are The Costs of Selling the Things, and, Overhead, and NRE, and insurance and taxes and profits for the loudspeaker company's owner.

Then: Sales Reps, an often-thankless job.

Then, keeping the lights on at the local audio dealer, and paying his staff and overhead.

IMHO a $500-pair semi-DIY challenge is interesting. But if we are suddenly complicating the distribution chain, there is so little money left for worthy drivers and capacitors and cabinets, etc., that I would have to say, count me out.

john

 

Right! nt, posted on July 16, 2021 at 17:54:51
John Marks
Manufacturer

Posts: 6342
Location: Peoples' Democratic Republic of R.I.
Joined: April 23, 2000
nt

 

RE: Right! nt, posted on July 16, 2021 at 18:39:23
pictureguy
Audiophile

Posts: 14998
Location: SoCal
Joined: October 19, 2008
Wood prices have left ORBIT headed for MARS.

Void Free Plywood? Or the highest grades of MDF (the kind that hardly floats and you can't mark with your fingernail on edge)

Tooling? Finish? Fasteeners?
Too much is never enough

 

RE: Right! nt, posted on July 16, 2021 at 19:12:29
rivervalley817
Audiophile

Posts: 5400
Joined: June 15, 2020
I needed some framing studs in May figuring about $1.65 for eight footers

they were $6.45 at the local supplier and maybe a few dimes less at Menard's

talk about sticker shock!

regards,



 

You've nailed it...., posted on July 16, 2021 at 19:39:50
Rod M
Web Geek

Posts: 13814
Location: So. California
Joined: March 1, 1999
Contributor
  Since:
March 1, 1999
Just keep it to $500 of parts from wherever, and plans for the cabinet.

If it's popular, a vendor can CNC cut a flat pack for the masses to finish. Most don't have the skills or equipment to build cabinets. Lots of folks would build to plans.

-Rod

 

Midwest Audio Fest Speaker Design Competition, posted on July 16, 2021 at 19:58:25
Duke
Dealer

Posts: 4429
Location: Princeton, Texas
Joined: March 31, 2000
The competition categories' dividing line is not necessarily at $500 retail in parts, but this sort of competition has been done for years, with the winners often being offered as a kit by somebody.

Madisound, Meniscus, Parts Express, DIY Sound Group, and probably others that don't come to mind at the moment offer a wide range of speaker kits. They may or may not specifically target $500 bookshelf systems, but there's a pretty good chance that you're looking for may already be out there.

Duke


Me being a dealer makes you leery?? It gets worse... I'm a manufacturer too.

 

RE: That's very kind of you... I am HONORED!, posted on July 16, 2021 at 22:54:29
Bill the K
Audiophile

Posts: 8019
Joined: June 3, 2006
Thanks for the response John. What I had in mind was 500 per pair and similar to the Zaph but better due to improved technology over the years. Since Zaph is highly regarded any design to top it will be highly desirable. It should be far better than the Andrew Jones Debut B6.2. Well, he did great ones for Pioneer for peanuts, less than $200 or so. So for $500 it could be very good. Some of the Parts Express competition winning speakers with drivers costing less than $200 have turned out better than the expensive category designs.

Well, what am I looking for? I am looking for the common man's KEF LS50.

Best Wishes

 

Tang Band has you covered, I think..., posted on July 17, 2021 at 04:25:53
John Marks
Manufacturer

Posts: 6342
Location: Peoples' Democratic Republic of R.I.
Joined: April 23, 2000



They have an "Homage" to the LS-50.

Here are the cabinet plans--I don't think it's a "beginner" project.

http://tb-speaker.com/products/sug2-25#

The driver set costs $211 each, and then you need crossovers, so there goes at least $500, and then you need cabinets.

I'd budget $250 each for nice cabinets, so, all in, that's $1,000. Apart from the cost savings, there is the possibility that with first-class crossover components and long-haired Mongolian sheeps' wool, you'd have a very nice sounding pair of loudspeakers.

ciao,

john

 

There's also a Morel coaxial that should work, posted on July 17, 2021 at 05:04:09
John Marks
Manufacturer

Posts: 6342
Location: Peoples' Democratic Republic of R.I.
Joined: April 23, 2000




Again, a crossover is necessary.

jm

 

There could be trouble brewing, posted on July 17, 2021 at 08:08:28
M3 lover
Audiophile

Posts: 6035
Location: SW Mich
Joined: May 29, 2005
Contributor
  Since:
July 4, 2007
I think that is a beer commercial, not one for audio gear. ;^)

"The only cats worth anything are the cats who take chances. Sometimes I play things I never heard myself." Thelonious Monk

 

SEAS and SB Acoustic have marks of merit if looking at cost effective coax units, posted on July 17, 2021 at 10:29:27
Edp
Audiophile

Posts: 4018
Joined: September 23, 1999
Seas has the longest running commitment to coax drivers for home constructors and they have offered kits and crossover diagrams for decades with coax units

I have not heard or used th SB units but there non coax versions of drivers are quite good

 

RE: Right! nt, posted on July 17, 2021 at 11:35:54
pictureguy
Audiophile

Posts: 14998
Location: SoCal
Joined: October 19, 2008
Now expand that INSULT to the rest of the wood products needed to fabricate a High-End speaker enclosure.

I wonder about PLYBOO? A 4x6 shee of 3/4 (yes.....6 feet) was about 300# when I first checked.


Too much is never enough

 

RE: Right! nt, posted on July 17, 2021 at 13:11:07
rivervalley817
Audiophile

Posts: 5400
Joined: June 15, 2020
not even that high end, just nice enough not to embarrass used in the house

I could knock together a good performing cabinet for the garage or outdoor use for maybe under $200.00 but that's where they'd stay

regards,

 

Before the Pandemic hit, I went Cra-Cray on replacing the rotted ramp to the garden shed, posted on July 17, 2021 at 17:41:39
John Marks
Manufacturer

Posts: 6342
Location: Peoples' Democratic Republic of R.I.
Joined: April 23, 2000




When I was in my 20s, I had a gf who once asked me whether I was aware of the extent to which I was preoccupied with my own death... so, just imagine me 40 years later!

Therefore, when I size up a project, it is often from a standpoint of, "By how many decades will this outlive me?"

The garden shed had an awful pressure-treated pine ramp, and the low end was literally stuck in the mud.

So, I paid (I am not joking) a RISD-trained furniture designer to make a ramp out of solid, legally-obtained Brazilian Walnut, and I dug a 12 x 12 x 39 inch drainage trench, and did the whole landscape fabric and drainage rock thing.

That ramp gives me pleasure every time I see it!

So, just imagine how I approach loudspeaker cabinets!

john

PS: I told him I would pay for Blind Dowels, but he made a face as though I really needed professional help. So, the stainless screws are countersunk and have plugs cut from scrap lumber glued in. I have a spare plank; one day I should test to see if it floats or sinks.

The relevance: that was $400 in lumber then; I can only imagine what it would cost today.

# # #

 

RE: Right! nt, posted on July 17, 2021 at 19:33:44
pictureguy
Audiophile

Posts: 14998
Location: SoCal
Joined: October 19, 2008
I builts what is about a 30 cubic foot box for my BBQ stuff. It'll hold 90lb of lump, and another 50 or 60lb of ceramics as well as ALL the extra stuff from insulated mitts to charcoal chimney.

Cost? I have NO idea. Some things I bought for the construction, like a Pocket Hole toolset are useful for other projects...and have been so used.

but it is not of 'speaker box' level construction. Each of 4 panels is 1x4 or 1x6 with a 1/4" plywood panel insert....Fllush in inside (router edge)and inset on the out......
Lid is also framed / 3/8" plywood and TILTED to shed rain. Hinges are ADA compiant OFFSET used on house doors. FLOOR is 3/4" and SOLID. A 200lb+ person can sstand in the box and be wheeled around without a problem. Box is DRY inside because of overlap of lid and the tilt. It would have to rain UP to stand a chance. Never found a BUG in the box, either. Lid is tight enough to be soft-close. It won't slam......Just settles onto an air cushion and self-closes.
Too much is never enough

 

RE: Before the Pandemic hit, I went Cra-Cray on replacing the rotted ramp to the garden shed, posted on July 17, 2021 at 19:41:30
pictureguy
Audiophile

Posts: 14998
Location: SoCal
Joined: October 19, 2008
John, I had a FLASH.


In a PAST LIFE you were on the Planning Commission for the Great Pyrmid. It's roughtly 4500 years on, and the interior is still as good as the day it was sealed up......

You'd be into your ram for a Grand, easy, today.

I built a radio stand for my Tivoli #1 out of scrap Sapelle, looks like some kind of Mahogany?
I used pocket screws so NO visible fasteners. A good exercise and taught me a lot about the
particular tool and how to use it.

I've made planks / sheets out of tongue and grooe FLOORING. Edge glue and clamp flat will it sets.
I wanted to use as panels in furniture.......Heavy and will last forever, being preinished for floor use....
Too much is never enough

 

Thank you, my friend! nt, posted on July 17, 2021 at 19:51:47
John Marks
Manufacturer

Posts: 6342
Location: Peoples' Democratic Republic of R.I.
Joined: April 23, 2000
nt

 

The common man's KEF LS50 is the KEF LS50, posted on July 18, 2021 at 08:31:30
Dave_K
Audiophile

Posts: 3535
Joined: September 30, 2014
There's a bunch of decent coaxial drivers that you could make a small two-way with. If your goal is to make something like the Trenner & Friedl Sun on the cheap, that's attainable. But if your goal is to make a KEF LS50 on the cheap, that's not gonna happen.

 

Agree re: Seas, posted on July 18, 2021 at 09:50:24
Dave_K
Audiophile

Posts: 3535
Joined: September 30, 2014
I'd look at Seas Prestige L12RE, $160 from Madisound. A pair of them with crossovers, wire, and binding posts could be under $500, not counting the box.

 

I am the first to admit that KEF's resilient, self-damping port tube is very clever, posted on July 18, 2021 at 18:09:13
John Marks
Manufacturer

Posts: 6342
Location: Peoples' Democratic Republic of R.I.
Joined: April 23, 2000





However, the LS50 is built to a price point that includes distributor and dealer profit shares, and so...

I cheerfully assume that, for example, if an audiophile were willing to pay the retail price of a pair of LS50s ($1500) for DIY parts, the result should be better.

I think I should print up some T-Shirts that will say:

LET'S DE-PRIESTHOOD-IZE
LOUDSPEAKER BUILDING!

Case in point: SEAS makes a Graphene-cone 5-inch coaxial that has a US onesie-twosie MSRP of $555--EACH.

Two of those, two crossovers, and two decent cabinets (perhaps from IWISTAO) bring you to $1500, and obviously, you have spent a lot more money where it counts than KEF's business model allows for.

No disrespect meant to "real" companies. Who employ people and pay benefits, and so on.

jm


 

Restoration makes one proud..., posted on July 18, 2021 at 18:54:59
Rod M
Web Geek

Posts: 13814
Location: So. California
Joined: March 1, 1999
Contributor
  Since:
March 1, 1999
When we bought this house, we did some work on the basement door. At the time, it had a spring to automatically shut the door, but the door didn't shut fully, so we did some planning on the sides to remove too many coats of paint and tweaked it a bit. Then, we painted it, but didn't take it down to the raw wood, so it still showed the scars of chipped old paint.





After 10 years, the hinges had gotten sprung after we changed the spring to an screen door closer and some forced it closed instead of letting it do it's thing. It also wasn't closing right either with sprung hinges that caused on side to hit the jam.

The door is 85 years old and not a standard size, nor is it the full typical depth for standard hinges. For literally years, I considered option and asked for advice and came up empty until a buddy of mine found the actual exact, orignal hinges which are spring loaded.

Another issue was the door knob because the strikers get sticky and were an issue in the past. We decided to just take off the striker and have a 'fake' door knob that always closed fully, but we had to add a dead bolt for a lock. No problem, we've got a template, except for one little thing. On the other side of the door, there was 1" molding which would be right in the way of the dead bolt. No problem, we'll take off the molding and get 1/2" to replace it.

BTW: Someone, over the property's 85 years, added the stained glass. Now, I can proudly saw that it's better than it ever was.

-Rod

 

The Next Step... is to join the Church of Farrow & Ball., posted on July 18, 2021 at 19:31:08
John Marks
Manufacturer

Posts: 6342
Location: Peoples' Democratic Republic of R.I.
Joined: April 23, 2000



Join the Church of Farrow & Ball.

To paint with Farrow & Ball paint is to experience what it is like to paint with a McDonald's Milkshake.

And it is not just the consistency, or the snob value (see link); it is the color selection...





The above is just one of many color cards.

But the SNL sendup is for the ages.

jm

 

RE: I am the first to admit that KEF's resilient, self-damping port tube is very clever, posted on July 19, 2021 at 08:27:51
Dave_K
Audiophile

Posts: 3535
Joined: September 30, 2014
Yes, the LS50 is built to a price point. But you can't buy its design features from anybody else.

The response of that Excel 5" coax with the graphene coated Mg cone looks lumpier than the cheaper Presige model with the Al cone. The more expensive one is a couple dB more sensitive and can work with a lower reflex tuning. But the frequency response will be better with the cheaper one, on-axis and off-axis.

 

Thank you for making my point about the "Priesthood", posted on July 19, 2021 at 18:46:09
John Marks
Manufacturer

Posts: 6342
Location: Peoples' Democratic Republic of R.I.
Joined: April 23, 2000
I am with the Virtuous Pagan Aristotle:

"If it sounds good, it is good."

jm

 

KEF also has a long history of innovative engineering, and a substantial R&D budget . . ., posted on July 20, 2021 at 11:29:28
Brian H P
Audiophile

Posts: 853
Location: Oregon
Joined: December 18, 2012
. . . that any hobbyist or small upstart manufacturer would be hard-pressed to match. Their economy of scale helps offset overhead costs to keep the retail price down. There's no way you or I could design/build an LS50 equivalent and distribute and sell it for that same $1,500. Even if we paid ourselves third-world minimum wage for our design time and labor.

 

RE: I am the first to admit that KEF's resilient, self-damping port tube is very clever, posted on July 20, 2021 at 20:46:26
hahax@verizon.net
Audiophile

Posts: 3832
Location: New Jersey
Joined: March 22, 2006
as far as smooth response of a speaker(drivers/box/crossover) goes it's the total design that counts, especially the driver/crossover. Most drivers have lumpy response to various degrees. In a well designed speaker the crossover does more than just a crossover. It acts as a passive equalizer that helps smooth out the driver response. This smoothing can often be significant. Some times the smoothing is done with extra elements but some times it can be included in the actual crossover by varying some values from the ones that would only provide a crossover.

 

RE: Thank you for making my point about the "Priesthood", posted on July 21, 2021 at 04:18:34
Bill the K
Audiophile

Posts: 8019
Joined: June 3, 2006
I am wondering about a speaker that I cannot listen to. It is a birthday gift from my bro in law who chose it without consulting me. Surprise. Spent 600 bucks on it. Cannot stand the sound. I am planning to tear off the yellow drivers and throw them out of the window over to the east river and modify the cabinet to receive the appropriate new drivers. This will enable me to go for some solid drivers as suggested here.

This brings me to an old question of mine. Where are all the speakers gone.There have been millions of them sold over the years and I dont see too many at Goodwill. I was told that folks take them to camping trips for late night fires to scare the bears. Playing my yellow driver speaker would do the same. Where are the Insignias? Can be reused with new drivers.

Thanks for the patience

All the best

Bill

 

RE: I am the first to admit that KEF's resilient, self-damping port tube is very clever, posted on July 21, 2021 at 07:55:02
Dave_K
Audiophile

Posts: 3535
Joined: September 30, 2014
True, but you lose some sensitivity and maybe power handling as well. In this case, if you equalize the Seas Excel drivers to get a FR as smooth as the Prestige drivers, the sensitivity advantage of the Excel is lost. Notwithstanding the allure of graphene, I'm not sure that it's worth the tradeoff with this particular driver.

 

RE: A competition - No thanks, posted on July 21, 2021 at 20:20:00
Presto
Audiophile

Posts: 5943
Location: Canada
Joined: November 10, 2004
$500 retail? After markup?

So, $100-$150 worth of parts? Including drivers, crossover and cabinet?

Sounds like a waste of time to me.

I'll leave it to others to take $20 drivers from China and make something that simply "doesn't sound horrible" for the $500 retail price point.

You're asking designers to put in effort using crap components.

So my response is "Why bother".

Cheers,
Presto

 

I took it differently, posted on July 22, 2021 at 06:05:23
Dave_K
Audiophile

Posts: 3535
Joined: September 30, 2014
I thought he was talking about $500 for a kit sold by Madisound or PE or similar. Not a mass produced $500 speaker.

 

RE: I took it differently, posted on July 22, 2021 at 06:11:14
Bill the K
Audiophile

Posts: 8019
Joined: June 3, 2006
Yes, a kit. Similar to Zaph but to reflect new thinkings and innovations and materials.

Bill

 

"to reflect new thinkings and innovations and materials"......, posted on July 22, 2021 at 11:01:08
TWB
Audiophile

Posts: 6932
Location: Long Beach, California
Joined: January 5, 2001
Are there any? Sometimes the fit, finish and sound on vintage FAR surpasses anything on the current market. YMMV...

 

RE: I took it differently, posted on July 23, 2021 at 09:39:31
Presto
Audiophile

Posts: 5943
Location: Canada
Joined: November 10, 2004
"I feel it is time for a competition in designing a bookshelf speaker for $500."

"No stipulations on the driver or type of cabinet but must be saleable for $500."

Those statements seemed to shout "complete box, full retail".

If he meant kit, then sure maybe you could do a kit (drivers and crossover parts) with NO cabinets for $500.

Unless you're talking about starting with $25 woofs and $10 tweets which is pretty much a waste of time.

Cheers,
Presto

 

RE: I took it differently, posted on July 23, 2021 at 09:45:25
Presto
Audiophile

Posts: 5943
Location: Canada
Joined: November 10, 2004
So I checked again. Zaph Kits start at $250 for drivers and crossover parts at Madisound. (John Krutke is GIFTING these things to our community. He's clearly not in this for the money!!)

So how much for cabinets and finishing?

https://www.madisoundspeakerstore.com/2-way-speaker-kits/zaph%7Caudio-za5.2-tm-2-way-pair/

I still think the parts alone will be $500 and that's not retail unless you're doing this as a charity mission and plan to make zero dollars.

Retail means markup. Even a kit should be marked up.

As for tech - you won't find a better performing driver than Zaph's drivers for the money. Nowhere. Nothing out of China at that price point can come close. His drivers perform as well as units costing 2 to 3 times as much.

Just my 2 cents.

-Presto

 

RE: "to reflect new thinkings and innovations and materials"......, posted on July 23, 2021 at 09:53:51
Presto
Audiophile

Posts: 5943
Location: Canada
Joined: November 10, 2004
Depends on the price point.

Vintage as in before copper rings on pole pieces, frame venting below the spider, or neo magnets...

You might not be able to beat a vintage midbass with a $25 driver from China but you can do it with a Zaph driver that costs $50 to $60. There are many very-high-value midbass and tweeters available now if one knows what to look for.

Scan Speak (now owned by Tymphany) has come out with value price point drivers that use Scan Speak motor technology and the bang for the buck is incredible. You can get midbass drivers in the $65 range that crush the previous generation performance wise.

Unless your idea of vintage is "Seas Excel Magnesium"... I don't think the vintage argument is a any longer true.

What could be true is a specific vintage *design* is just a better overall *design*!

Cheers,
Presto

 

Well, for some time it seems, the remarkable Mr. Krutke has been recommending Indonesian drivers..., posted on July 23, 2021 at 17:45:09
John Marks
Manufacturer

Posts: 6342
Location: Peoples' Democratic Republic of R.I.
Joined: April 23, 2000
I actually have an SB thing or two around I have not had the time to test, because of the press of other work.

I am also told that Massachusetts, USA's Aerial has used SB drivers.

As far as the OP's original suggestion, I think it needs refinement.

But I would, in the spirit of his DIY orientation, want to make the competition one based on parts costs (INCLUDING CABINETS), with woodfinishing and assembly labor (as well as taxes and shipping) written off.

Now... for a speaker I'd want to own for myself and not cringe every time I fired it up, let's just arbitrarily "norm to" my first non-Irving Fried major audio purchase, that being Spendor SP1s, circa 1987: MSRP $1200.

That being, for this competition, $1200 for drivers, crossovers, and passable MDF cabinets.

A little higher than Madisound's Seas A26 10" 2-way kit, but one can live with a cheaper cabinet.

And Madisound has many other kits as examples.

I am too busy to take a role in setting such a competition up, and, unlike the Association for Independent Music awards, where they only send you CDs or downloads, this competition involves receiving many boxes into one's garage, so... dunno even about that.

amb,

john

 

RE: Well, for some time it seems, the remarkable Mr. Krutke has been recommending Indonesian drivers..., posted on July 23, 2021 at 20:25:40
Presto
Audiophile

Posts: 5943
Location: Canada
Joined: November 10, 2004
"That being, for this competition, $1200 for drivers, crossovers, and passable MDF cabinets."

This was my one and only point.

How much does a speaker from 1987 at $1200 cost today?

Inflation calculator says $2500. That's five times what the OP suggested.

I think this is why a lot of speaker maker startups fail.

They don't realise that you need to mark up a speaker 4 to 5X the cost of components to cover labour, overhead, staff, shipping materials, shop supplies, tools, and lets not forget all those trips to speaker shows that are not free!

Cheers,
-Presto

 

I am painfully aware of the economics of the audio business!!!, posted on July 24, 2021 at 07:53:54
John Marks
Manufacturer

Posts: 6342
Location: Peoples' Democratic Republic of R.I.
Joined: April 23, 2000



I was told some time ago by one of the major music software (LPs, SACDs, etc.) and audio hardware (turntables, digital front ends, amps, etc.) e-tailers that they could sell digital gear all day long at prices over $10,000; but at some point between $1000/pr. and $2500/pr., customer resistance to buying a loudspeaker they had not heard kicked in.

So, yes, of course, at least in the past, if a brick and mortar retailer had a pair of $10,000 speakers on sale, the arithmetic worked out something like:

Consumer pays $10,000 (ha ha ha! Almost never. Prices are higher to give the mandatory "sucker discounts").

Salesperson gets $1,000.

The dealer paid $6,000, so the dealer banks $3000 minus the discout.

If there is a sales rep, the rep gets between 5% and 10%, so, the manufacturer gets $5,000.

The manufacturer has to pay overhead and salaries and advertising and taxes and insurance. And bank a profit.

That leaves $2,000 for parts and labor, Non-Recurring Engineering Amortization, the boxes, packing material, owner's manual and warranty cards. In a "real" loudspeaker company, "labor" includes QC on all incoming subcomponents, as well as the final product.

So, for the $10,000 a pair speakers, how much is left for a pair of woofers and a pair of tweeters?

Let me be so bold as to suggest that a "real" company selling loudspeakers through sales reps and dealers, and which buys ads in the magazines and on the websites, and which exhibits at audio shows, cannot put $500 each Scanspeak Illuminator D3004/6640-00 1" Beryllium Dome tweeters and $367 each ScanSpeak Illuminator 18WU/4741T-00 7" Woofers in a "$10,000/pr." loudspeaker. Because those drivers eat up something like $1500/speaker pr. at wholesale, which means no money for cabinets and crossovers.

Assuming that I am not totally all wet, my educated guess is that the $10,000/pr. loudspeaker, after paying for cabinets and crossovers, there's $250 per speaker for drivers; let's say, $150 for the tweeter and $100 for the woofer.

That is why most loudspeakers have cabinets made out of sawdust and glue.

Which is also why the entry-level loudspeaker from Wilson Benesch costs nearly $9,000 a pair in the US.

But, most consumers don't want to buy from a one-man company whose global headquarters is half a suburban garage, and that goes double for buying direct. Years ago, someone taunted me over my enthusiasm for the French company ASA, asking whether I knew that it was two guys making loudspeakers in the garage of a private home, and presumably in violation of local zoning ordinances.

I replied that I had known that the company was two guys, and further that they just assembled known-manufacturer drivers into cabinets by subcontractors, but, the magic was in the voicing, and that the simplicity of the crossover enabled them to use a supremely expensive capacitor, and I thought that the Pro speaker was extraordinarily good, and that the Baby speaker committed only sins of omission, and was something of a bargain.

That person chided me for misleading my readers and risking that they would own "orphan" products. My reply was, "Oh? Is Dynaudio going out of business?"

That was at least 25 years ago.

And, ASA is still going strong, but not in the US... the Pro Monitor that was US$5000/pr. 20 or more years ago is now circa 12,000 Euros/pr.

A funny business, indeed.

jm



 

Thank you for that excellent well articulated post, posted on July 24, 2021 at 19:36:44
Presto
Audiophile

Posts: 5943
Location: Canada
Joined: November 10, 2004
You've made my point to a T here.

What I value is a guy's time. I value MY time. I value other people's time. So, I'd suggest they made the goal $1000 and not $500.

Even if you use a more "DIY/Kit" marketing strategy and forget the "500% markup on parts" retail formula, a guy has a decent chance of making something decent sounding.

Even then, we're looking at "usual suspects" for caps and coils and nothing elaborate. A lot of designers believe strongly in a high-quality cap for the series cap for the tweeter filter. These things can be $50-$75 a piece.

I guess my point was if the OP got a bunch of entries that were "okay sounding" he'd have to call that a success. Look at Zaph - for him to create something amazing in the value-level designs, he had to get a driver made to his exact specifications.

Anyways, the contest sounds fun but I think it would give designers a much better chance of success by simply making the target $1000.

Or maybe he meant a $500 kit and I'm on about nothing.

Anyways, I enjoyed your post because it mirrors my own "math" on what a speaker takes to go from design to market. It takes *a lot*.

Cheers,
Presto

 

Actually, Tymphany sold Scan Speak back to some previously-involved Danish investors in 2009., posted on July 27, 2021 at 11:21:28
Brian H P
Audiophile

Posts: 853
Location: Oregon
Joined: December 18, 2012
Then in 2014 it was sold to Eastech, Eastern Asia Technology (HK) Limited, who I believe is the current owner.

Tymphany continues to own the Vifa and Peerless brands, which it acquired in 2008 when it bought Danish Sound Technologies (DST).

Tymphany (then owned by Ken Kantor) pretty much ruined Vifa and Peerless when it transferred production to China -- many popular models were discontinued, and QC went down the toilet. Scan Speak was kept in Denmark as the "prestige" brand.

In the last few years, Scan Speak has re-introduced several of the most popular discontinued Vifa models as part of its "Discovery" series.

 

What a mess..., posted on July 27, 2021 at 20:22:11
Presto
Audiophile

Posts: 5943
Location: Canada
Joined: November 10, 2004
Thanks for sharing that history of this company and it's incredible founders and stewards. Frankly, I just can't keep up.

For Scan/Peerless/Vifa from my Canadian source it's always been Solen, but I used to rely on Parts Express back in the day when the dollars were more on par...

I was excited about their "Discovery" line as there are some drivers there that are particularly close to my heart. The new little 4-incher with the larger neo magnet (10F/8424G00) appears to have roots in the famous Vifa MG10MD0908 fiberglass, that I use as mids in my WMTMW speakers that serve as my present-day reference. I would bet those full-range neo drivers would absolutely sing in a compact WMTMW...

The sub I am using right now is in a DIY setup employing a later Peerless XLS model that now seems to be re-badged as the Discovery 30W/4558T00. At $348 Canadian, can a guy find better bang for the buck? Maybe... I paid about $150 for the Peerless on sale. Value is incalculable. First time I've had a metal-cone sub pass as a "music" sub, to be sure.

Hope to do a build with an Illuminator series D3004/660000 (was a 6600 air-circ prior I believe) one day before I go, but the Revelator D2904/710003 is only a few bucks more per side for almost 3db more sensitivity...

It's funny, really, thinking about doing a build for $500 retail when a single tweeter can cost $300 or more.

Then again, those components are worlds apart.

Cheers,
Presto

 

Many audio manufacturers have similarly convoluted histories, posted on July 28, 2021 at 10:25:27
Brian H P
Audiophile

Posts: 853
Location: Oregon
Joined: December 18, 2012
I'm a fan of Morel drivers, which have much in common with Dynaudio, because in the early 1970s Edjvind Skanning and Meir Mordecai co-developed several of the core technologies and shared the patents before starting their respective companies. In fact, Dynaudio started recommending Morel replacements for their own drivers after getting out of the DIY/OEM market sector. Now Morel offers some ultra-upscale drivers, but their standard line are quite decent and priced competitively with Euro brands like SEAS.

For awhile there were two "Morel" companies, after Mordecai and his finance guy split up. The latter took the name and the designs and started manufacturing in the U.S., while Mordecai remained in Israel. Lawsuits and litigation of course followed, some lawyers earned their keep, and the American company changed its name to "Renaissance" or some such.

 

Yes I remember that!, posted on July 29, 2021 at 15:46:49
Presto
Audiophile

Posts: 5943
Location: Canada
Joined: November 10, 2004
I remember the Morel split. I had no idea the American side changed it's name. Fascinating. Morel makes some crazy drivers... World renowned tweets - their 2" mid-dome is well known.

I've always wanted see some of their big V.C. superwoofers in person...

Cheers,
Presto

 

I just saw this.............., posted on July 30, 2021 at 14:42:51
Kal Rubinson
Reviewer

Posts: 11955
Location: New York
Joined: June 5, 2002
but I must decline. I have little experience with (or interest in) small speakers. Thanks for thinking of me.

 

Page processed in 0.042 seconds.