Saturday, January 23, 2010

DIY or buy.?

I hang out at lots of forums.  I don't post on very many, for a couple of reasons.  One, DIY is frowned upon in many places.  Two, there is a core group of haters out there who dis Bill's cabs and diy in general every chance they get.  I've done a couple of internet flame wars, and won't do it again.  It's not worth the effort.  The old internet saw "Even if you win, you're still retarded", holds so true.

I just don't get the resistance.  DIY in home audio is an accepted practice, acknowledged to provide better sound for your buck than virtually any store bought speakers.  I accept the fact that if you're meeting riders, diy won't cut it.  Engineers going from gig to gig need some consistency.  But at our level, who's ever even seen a rider?   Most of my gigs are just glad to have a PA.  If it wasn't for me, they'd cobble together something that sounded like crap, but got loud.

Cost effectiveness is one of the arguments.  You can buy decent stuff cheap enough that it's not worth your time to build it.  They have a point, until you compare performance.  Open up a cab and take a look.  Maybe it's a plastic box, mdf or particle board.  BB is pretty rare under 1k.  And plastic boxes sound like plastic boxes, talk about the generic me too look.  They ALL look alike.  The cheapest components they can find,  the simplest construction possible.  Speaker in a box.  That's all I see at the sub 1k level.  Oh, and add a self powered version, now you've added an amp to a $500 speaker.  So which should sound better, the $500  with the amp, or the one without? 

I see post after post after post about which speaker to buy.  Picking nits.  The differences of anything under 1k is marginal at best, unless you get clear down to the white van speakers.  (Can you say Gemini?)

Do your homework.  Get smart about sound.  It can be very complicated, but the basics are actually pretty easy.  Response, sensitivity, dispersion.  None of those are hard to understand, and will serve the vast majority of users.  Know the limitations of what you're looking at.  Then make the choice to diy, custom build or factory cab.   Just be aware of the  tradeoffs, time vs money vs quality.

No comments:

Post a Comment